Sunday, October 28, 2007

CE, CKU, CTMH, SU, and other abbreviations

On Friday I got a special email that I had "won" the lottery *to register* for Creative Escape (CE) 2008 in Arizona (E finds that whole concept suspect and silly, so)...It took me all weekend to figure out how to propose this to E, as it is a weekend away from him and the kids, albeit not until next September.

Going is going to require a lifestyle change for me. It is quite an expensive event, but after going to Creating Keepsakes University (CKU) in April, blowing my budget *after the fact*, and having moved into a house with a room for me to spread out my scrapbooking stuff, I have realized a few things.

1. I am not the kind of scrapper who stocks up on supplies because they are pretty, and I *might* have a use for them, someday. I have been guilty of that in the past, but it's not what makes for happy scrapping in my world.

2. I have everything I could want from Close To My Heart (CTMH -- for whom I have been a consultant for 4 years now) and I've been in a Stampin Up (SU) monthly stamp club for a year and half, so, same sentiment there. Those two commitments have cost me over half of my monthly budget each month for too long now; I need resign from CTMH and quit the SU stamp club when my latest round is up in February.

3. I have soooo much leftover stuff from CKU that I haven't used yet (see moving into my own space, above) that I don't need to buy anything for a while.

4. Putting a down payment on the event (non-refundable, gulp) and *saving up ahead of time* to finish paying for it, as well as hotel and airfare, was a challenge for CKU (see blown budget, above), but I have been less interested in spending money on new stuff (see leftover stuff, above) and I feel totally ready to go on a serious craft diet to attend something this special.

5. I have plenty of knitting stash to keep me going through the winter when I get the itch to knit (my other expensive hobby, which I have not been spending much money or time on lately).

6. Ditto quilting stash.

7. Scrapbooking gives me the most relaxation and satisfaction right now. I need to step back and step up and really treat myself to an extended scrap retreat.

7b. And I need to save up for it this time, instead of paying for it the year after.

I sound like I'm still trying to convince myself, don't I?

UPDATE: Sorry, I wasn't trying to convince myself since I've already paid the deposit. Now the challenge is to see if I can stay on track until the final balance is due February 4th. When I quit CTMH and my SU stamp club (which I am glad to give up; both have been exhausting to my budget), I should have $130 or more to save toward CE --per month -- and I feel that is totally do-able.

Besides, I am SO not giving up my spot! Not yet, at least :D

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Smile Box

Just playing with a new toy...haven't subscribed yet, as Mom's on dial-up and I think this will completely choke her system...

Dang it, I just printed 24 of my favorite photos from Ben's first year, and I forgot the sleeping one! Another favorite!!

Ben's First Year
Slideshows and scrapbooks - Powered by Smilebox
Make your own slide shows and scrapbooks

Saturday, October 20, 2007


No thanks!
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile
Took Tess to a program at the library today. We had a really great "Girls Day, " actually. E's FINALLY getting the message (plus, it's colder in the mornings now, and doesn't get light enough TO PLAY TENNIS EARLY) that after scrapping until midnight, I like to SLEEP IN Saturday morning (really?)! So he took the kids to the daycare at our gym (Becky, feel free to snort right here) first thing this morning and let me have breakfast and shower and get ready to pick up Tess and take her to this organization's program. It was exceedingly cool (until they got too close).

Tess is fascinated by bats, wants one for a pet, has a little Beanie Baby bat she takes to bed with her (and has named "Whizzie," for some reason known only to a 5 year-old). And she did great with the whole program, again, until they got a little too close to her (she came and climbed on my lap, crying, shortly after I took this photo. Poor girl).

I took many fun photos (he could have let me pet one and I wouldn't have shied away...just bees and wasps, remember?!) and put them up at the usual place. Great organization, BTW. We saw a similar presentation at Cranbrook a few years ago, with a Russian friend of E's family, but we didn't have Tess with us at the time.

Tess and I went to lunch at Dexter Pub after that, then costume shopping. Ben is wearing a recycled costume of Tess's (a cow/sweatsuit number), I'm recycling my farmer's outfit (um, overalls, basically) from that same year, and Tess wants to be a black and white (barn!) cat...not a black cat, that would be too easy, sigh. So from the suggestion of a friend, we looked for a white feather boa to cut up and sew around the neck, sleeves, and cuffs of a pair of pants for her ensemble. For a family party next week, E has graciously offered to be a pig (!) to complete our barnyard theme (seriously...his suggestion).

Speaking of cats, we may have to borrow my MIL's. Seems mice *do* poop and eat at the same time, as I found suspicious pellets ON BENJAMIN'S HIGH CHAIR TRAY yesterday. E heard (and saw) evidence (in the form of a mouse scuttling under our stove) at 3am last night, after he fell asleep on the couch downstairs while watching TV. Thank God for Chlorox wipes and D-Con traps that hide the body. Yeeeech. Wish us happy hunting.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

A near-perfect Sunday

Yesterday was nasty. The boy behind us (12) had friends over, and for some UNGODLY reason they were up at 7a, in the backyard, shouting and laughing and causing a ruckus. AT SEVEN A.M. Gah. Thank goodness the reigning adult over there finally got done with his/her 30-minute shower (I'm horribly biased, I'm guessing it's a him) & settled them down, but it was too late for me. I had gone to bed at 1a after cropping in Chelsea, and I was awake for good. Actually, awake for the worse.

Today went much better. E took the kids at 9a to our gym's daycare, then took them swimming there, then visited his mom for the afternoon. A whole day to myself! I almost wasted it sitting around drinking coffee (in PEACE) and reading the paper (again, in PEACE).

I finally got motivated, showered, and spent about an hour working on my Thanksgiving swap cards for stamp club ("the first rule of stamp club...we don't talk about stamp club"). I won a pound of handmade paper at crop Friday night, and I've already started using it for cards. Some of it is really pretty. I used up some of the uglier stuff for this card, and now I find I have a fuzzy sort of fondness for the crinkly brown paper I used. Go figure.

Then, I ran my favorite Sunday afternoon "errand" -- hanging around poking through the stacks at the Ann Arbor Library's Friends of the Library Book Sale. They have raised their prices drastically, though, so I had to do some serious weeding before I got up to the cash stand. Two bucks for hardcovers and trade paperbacks! Zut alors. Anyway, here's what I snagged:

Great Little Quilts, Eleanor Levie -- just for the fleur-de-lys pattern, and the elephant and donkey picture quilts
The House, Teresa Waugh -- started reading this at lunch. Gotta love eccentric British characters
Pushkin's Children, Tatyana Tolstaya -- just trying to figure out E
The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls -- to help me get over my mild childhood
To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife -- I need a laugh
Made in Detroit, Paul Clemens -- because I collect Detroit books and I've been meaning to read this.

I ate lunch (in PEACE) at Seva's, one of my favorite restaurants (and vegetarian, so E never wants to go there) and had two of my favorite dishes: Enchilada Calabaza (stuffed with butternut squash -- hee, I can sense my friend Gabby curling her lip in disgust already) and Cocoa Cake, which I was surprised to find on the menu. A waitress there told me a while ago that they take it off the menu when the temperatures get over 78 degrees. My piece was certainly refrigerated, but still good. I can never finish it, though. Mmm...late-night snackage.

Came home to an EMPTY house, had coffee, relaxed before E came back with the kids. He put Ben straight to bed and Tess is listening to Harriet the Spy on CD. Hee. I'd better go in there and listen, too.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The hazards of a (very) warm autumn

Cider mill
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile
I am so ready for sweater weather. I know in about a month I'll be bitching about the snow and ice, so I'd better be careful what I wish for.

We had an outing, Ben and I, today at Jennie's Farm Market. I'm glad I announced early that I'd only stay about an hour (Ben needed to nap, I needed to eat & get ready to volunteer at Tess's school), because -- like at the cider mill in the photo above -- there were bees EVERYWHERE.

Some of you who know me know I can take anything but bees...give me a mouse, a snake, even a big, hairy spider, I can deal, but bees -- nope. And they were really lovin' me today. I had one bumping my arm over and over, another took a shine to my glasses, several times...well, let's just say I had to come home and rest this afternoon after that morning battle. Hey, I'm just proud I lasted a whole hour. Sometimes I see a bee, and I scoot.

But I do love me some cinnamon donuts & fresh apple cider. Even if I do have to eat them in the car.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Did you think I forgot?

12 months!
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile
I had the weird feeling after this last photo was taken, that somewhere I had missed a month. But no, I got them all.

I just missed a newborn photo...I remember thinking around day 2 or so, when I was home alone for an hour or so (Mom and Dad were visiting, but out shopping, or doing something equally useful for us), "gee, I should start taking the orange quilt/Ugly Doll pictures today," but then I was tired and worried about Ben's endless sleeping; sure enough, we went into the hospital the next day to take care of his severe jaundice.

So that is a story in itself, with plenty of photos...

Anyway, here is the full set. Complete at last!