Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How it all started...

In case you wanted to know.

Still love me some Santa-trackin' on Christmas Eve.

Ben is fascinated this year :)

Some stats (check passenger weight before and after his flight...hee)

Sleigh Technical Data
Designer & Builder: K. Kringle & Elves, Inc.
Probable First Flight: Dec. 24, 343 A.D.
Home Base: North Pole
Length: 75 cc (candy canes)/150 lp (lollipops)
Width: 40 cc/80 lp
Height: 55 cc/110 lp
Weight at takeoff: 75,000 gd (gumdrops)
Passenger weigth at takeoff: Santa Claus 260 pounds
Weight of gifts at takeoff: 60,000 tons
Weight at landing: 80,000 gd (ice & snow accumulation)
Passenger weight at landing: 1,260 pounds
Propulsion: Nine (9) rp (reindeer power)
Armament: Antlers (purely defensive)
Fuel: Hay, oats and carrots (for reindeer)
Emissions: Classified
Climbing speed: One “T” (Twinkle of an eye)
Max speed: Faster than starlight
Note: Length, width and height are without reindeer.

Monday, December 8, 2008

All Things Tim

To keep me from thinking about the huge flame war/phone call fight I'm in the middle of with family (Merry 'effing Christmas, eh?!), I'm over at Tim Holtz's blog, enraptured by his 12 Tags of Christmas tutorials. Oh, and I've posted some holiday music, which you can turn off if it makes you crazy.

Speaking of going crazy, I had to go to special notice at the All Things Tim Yahoo group, as there are about 900 members and over 200 emails a day coming off of it. But it's a fun place for swaps and ideas and talkin' Tim.

Here's a bit of Christmas knitty goodness for ya...I'm halfway through Mom's Noro armwarmers...luckily I think my brother and I have kept her out of our happy holiday battle (it's been a long time coming, is all I can say about that).

I'd better go cast on arm warmer #2...peace out.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The "Ice" President


Oh, and I totally forgot about Shannon's Welcome party and our assault of Tim Holtz in yesterday's entry. So I've added it to the bottom there. Fun stuff, go look!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ready for a Rant? (and a Really Long Post)...

Since Ben turned two, I realized I no longer have claim to postpartum anything. I realized the same thing when Tess was two; I felt better, more myself, still connected to my child in that mysterious way (you're tired when they're tired, still...but now once you put them to bed, you get your second wind...things like that).

So before I go into how wonderful CE was (and it was...the energy is still vibrating around me a month later), I have to get something off my chest. For once, it's not about the kids. Sorry if I've been boring you silly with their antics in the past two years (mostly over at Project 365 seems to be mostly ProjectBen365).

I met so many spoiled women at Creative Escape that it started to piss me off (then I stopped paying attention to them). If I heard one. more. woman. tell me that "oh, my husband sent me off to my first CE, and he just keeps sending me!" or, "I just dropped $400 at the on-site store!" or, "They really should let CE alumni have first grab at registering, everyone else can wait!" I was going to bitch-slap someone.

Luckily the classes were all fast-paced, and I naturally gravitated towards more laid-back, sweet people, who -- like me -- knew how lucky they were to be there, had worked really hard in the past year saving up money for the event, knew they were getting tons of swag, and didn't have to hit every. scrap. store. in the greater Phoenix area.

Somehow I missed the worst of the bitchiness (yes, I've heard there was worse...but I didn't ask for details) and unfortunately, whenever you get a group of women together there is bound to be that cattiness out there in the open for the rest of us to gape at.

'Nuff said. On to the good stuff.

Wednesday, September 3rd
Tess started school Tuesday, so I barely had time to wave her off on the bus before I turned around and left for the airport (Ben was up north with my folks). This was my first time packing for a scrap event that required air travel, so I made sure to hop on my scale at home to double-check my Giant Bag Full of Really Heavy Tools (seriously, Crop-A-Dile? Ten pounds right there). "We" weighed in at 37.5 (well, my *bag* did, haha), so I knew I was safe to check it and not pay the extra fee (of course, the airline weighed it in at 38 pounds even, so I was glad I was not close to the 50 pound limit...two words: ball machine. We've been there).

On the plane, I managed a first even for klutzy me -- I spilled an entire can of tonic water in my lap. Luckily, it landed only on me, because the girl sitting next to me was watching Lost Season 1 on her pretty white Mac laptop -- thank God I didn't splash her. Also, mom was should always have a complete change of clothes (and by complete I mean Including Clean Underwear) in your carry-on. Saved by a Momism!

On the shuttle to the resort, I met the most interesting 85 year-old man, VERY talkative, who was heading back to his condo after ferrying an old 747 around the world...literally. He rattled off the places he had been in the last week of "work" (he's actually a volunteer) -- including Turkey and Singapore. He told us his life story, from when he first learned to fly at age 13, to his military training during WWII, to the fact that he could ferry planes now due to the fact that he was the "last of his line," thanks to all the radiation he was exposed to during his military career (a little TMI, but like I said, VERY talkative). I'm one of those strange people who could listen to stories like that all day; older people fascinate me. One of my roommates, Renee, told me later that there is a whole group of older retirees who ferry these hulking, ancient aircraft around; they're called the Confederate (or Commemorative) Air Force. I got goosebumps just talking to the guy. Made my day!

When I got to CE, I checked into my room and called Julie (my SIStv angel), who lives in Phoenix. We were hoping to meet up, but unfortunately we got the day we were to meet mixed up and she was without a ride, bummer. Later I sent her the Little Miss Chatterbox magnetic notepad I found for her at Target's dollar spot. Yup, I attract the talkers, hee.

As I walked around the resort, I kept *thinking* I recognized people from a tiny 100x100 pixel photo at the Yahoo group site, but alas, no one had name tags yet and I was too shy to approach anyone. I wandered around by the pool in that wonderful "dry heat" of Arizona, which I usually relish, but since it was the end of monsoon season there were mosquitoes bigger than crows out there, and they were going for jugulars.

There was a treasure/scavenger hunt going on, sponsored by Oriental Trading Company, but I didn't even have to get out my map -- I just followed the crowds of women gathering around styrofoam treasure chests. You had to sign the book inside to be entered for prize drawings on Saturday night, so I did my thing and went back inside before getting eaten alive.

I realized it was 5:30 p.m. local time, which meant 8:30 p.m. *my* time, and all I'd had to eat was a box "lunch" (Snacks of Doom) on the plane (I ate dried sausage...that's a first) almost 4 hours prior. I had dinner scheduled with my Circle Journal gals at 6:30 p.m., but knew I couldn't wait (until 9:30 p.m.) to eat dinner. I also realized some alcohol would loosen me up a bit; I was wound tight with anticipation and shyness. Sure enough, a beer and a chicken enchilada or two later, and Josiane (of the CJ group) came right up to me; I was able to smile, relax, say hello, and act like an adult, not a middle-schooler.

This also helped me keep my expenses down at dinner; we were given all meals with our registration for Friday and Saturday, but I was on my own the rest of the time. I split a salad with Susan ("in NY" -- there were no less than FIVE Susans on the Yahoo board...also a lot of was hard to keep everyone straight without a face for the name). The salad had an amazing creamy garlic dressing that I was hoping would keep the mosquitoes at bay, but alas...I did not venture outside again that evening to test my theory.

It was fantastic to meet IRL all of the ladies whose journals I had worked on in turn over the last year; I'm so glad I got in on the first round Circle Journal right after winning my "Golden Ticket" last October. I knew from CKU-Detroit to find & join the complimentary Yahoo group (I even joined the 2007 CE group, waiting for the 2008 group to form!).

The artwork that rolled by as each more complete album crossed my desk was increasingly inspiring and each journal really challenged me as a scrapbook "artist." I can only hope that my work was up to par!

picture courtesy of Shannon Coyne.
Back row: Susan (in NY), Elsa (Canada), Shermala (Kansas), Shannon the Great (organizer of all CE swaps, Arizona), Carolyn (my "mailer" from Maine), Keri (Texas); front row: me!, Josiane (Texas), and Shari (another Michigander!)

After dinner, I headed up to Shannon's welcome party...60 women, even in a suite, was too dang hot for me, so I ran downstairs with most of them to stalk Tim Holtz and see his reaction to Shari's T.I.T. (Totally Into Tim) buttons. Hee!

I will say this about Tim...I don't think that guy ever has a bad day. Here come 35 women charging at him and he stood up with a smile and had us all laughing about his fear of heights (discovered suddenly when he was taken to a hot air balloon ride...and couldn't get out of the car) in about five minutes. Must be all that grungeboard he sniffs, or perhaps his alcohol inks. Whatever, he is one cool dude. His project was the only one we finished in class. Okay, from now on I am dotting the "i" in Tim's name with a heart whenever I can.

Exhasuted, I finally retired to my room around 11 p.m. (still calculating the time change, that made it 2 a.m. for me...soon, I would have to stop doing that) and met Renee, with whom I shared a room for 4 nights, and we each settled into our full- (not queen, as touted) sized beds, after watching a bit of the (ugh) RNC and discovering Tina Fey's double running for VP with McCain. Spooky!

More on Days 2-5 as I have time...thanks for reading so far!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lil update

Well, after my 3rd day of wearing pink (I'm a black, brown, grey fan, myself) I caught this sp as I headed out for more classes at Creative Escape. Seems I've come home with quite a bit of pink to wear, and little by little it is sneaking into my wardrobe...dang that pink!

My computer has been sluggish (since before I left, actually) and I caught a cold on the airplane home (that's why it's called Airborne, right?!), then I was swept into the frenzy of school mornings, getting Ben from my folks, getting him back into a routine at home (thought he might be giving up naps, like his sister did at 2 years, aaaaccck!), so I haven't had the computer time I dreamed of in the last week or so. I've even had a couple of days without 365 photos of any kind...sp or otherwise!

Seems my priorities have changed up a bit...that's what happens when you give yourself a luxurious creative retreat in Arizona for 4 1/2 days. It's a good thing. I might even give it a try next year...( can sign up for the CE09 registration lottery already...go go go!)

Have to run in a few minutes to meet the school bus...will try to give you a day-by-day Creative Escape update soon!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Catching up before taking off...

E just came up to compliment me on this photo, and I realized it sums up our travel experiences of late.

I haven't been posting for several reasons. First of all, our summer was deathly quiet and boring until about 2 weeks ago. For some crazy reason, we decided we could travel about 2000 miles in the space of 2 weeks...first, to Cincinnati and back, then to Camp Michigania and back. What were we thinking?

I'm going to blame it on my sister...she "took" our usual Fourth of July time at our folks', stretching it into a two week visit so that we could get no time in before (bad weather) or after (folks off sailing for a month).

Then perhaps I'll blame Camp Michigania. That's easy. Well, really it's our fault, for not deciding to go until after their annual lottery (in January...who's thinking of summer vacation in January?! Not us...) We were put on the wait list for Week 10 and Week 11 (the last two weeks of camp).

We got in for both weeks...but couldn't take Week 10, as we'd already planned our trip to Cincinnati, to see friends in from California we'd hadn't seen in 3 years. We were #9 on the wait list for Week 10, we'd never dream we'd get in. Being that we were #1 on the wait list for Week 11, we had a sinking feeling we'd be called up for it, and we were.

Add in the complication of getting Ben to my folks after camp (for my jaunt to Phoenix later this week), and a bout of flu (yes, while at camp) for three of us (Ben, Egor, and me, not all at once, thank God), that left us stumbling into town late yesterday, tired, sick, not ready to unpack and repack and shop and cook for my week ahead.

Look at that countdown clock! Whoo-hoo. I'm hoping to share more pictures soon, but probably not before I take off on Wednesday. Phoenix, here I come!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guess what his favorite new word is?

Originally uploaded by CreativeExile
Ben, say bottle.
Ben, say orange juice.
Ben, say supercalifragilisticexpialdocious...
Ben, can you say yes?

The boy is spent.

Busy preparing for CE. Went to look for new luggage rolling carry-on is so small, and the next size up in our luggage collection is HUGE (will weigh 50+ lbs with paper supplies stuffed in there upon my return...), so I need something medium-sized but I want something cUtE, KWIM? God, luggage is ugly these days.

Maybe I'll borrow Tess's cupcake suitcase...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer slump

I have just figured out something that bothered me for years. I'm glad I did it before August, when I usually snap over it.

You see, every July I'm at an emotional and physical peak. I'm a summer baby (who turns 42 next month) and I have always loved hot weather. Summer is my absolute favorite season. I love the late summer sunsets, I love all the light, period. I'm on a personal high that doesn't end until October or so.

Creatively, however, I always find myself in a slump. I have all this energy but I can't seem to focus it into amazing projects. I go to a quilt show, and for the first time, I don't buy anything from the vendors. I'm not feelin' it. Perhaps I'm finally realizing I need to use what I've been collecting for 20+ years...just sew the damn stuff, kwim?! But I'm so scattered I just don't find the time. Oh, wait, rotary cutter + sewing machine + toddler = disaster. I'll use that as my excuse (this time...)

Then I take part in an online scrapbooking challenge. Wow! My work really pales in comparison to gals using the latest and greatest (which I have ceased buying to save up for CE08...can't help it). Really, it's embarrassing. My work can't possibly be picked as one of the four weekly winners, and I don't even have the collection they are using for extra "points" in the game, so I have no prayer of winning the Big Prize.

I almost let that get me down today (I went over to Webkinz and took care of my horse -- finally figured out that damn weight lifting class, sheesh!! -- that calmed me down) but perhaps being in my 40s helps put this annoying annual cycle in perspective.

I'm participating in the challenge, that's enough. I know creative mojo comes and goes (right now, for me, it's left the building). It will be back. It's just an online game, and I don't have to put my entire creative ego on the line over it. I'll participate next week, and the week after, even if I don't have a chance of winning, because it's stretching me creatively (even if I don't take it far enough at times). I can be inspired by the winners, by the other folks who participate and *don't* win, because really, most of the creations are truly amazing, given the crazy rules we are handed each week.

Perhaps I need to shift my creative priorities. The quilt show was amazing. It's only held every two years, and the last time I attended I was 7 months pregnant with Ben. In two more years, he'll be nearly four years old. I think I can sew SOMETHING by then, don't you?

Not as lovely as this, but SOMETHING, right?

The Lizzie Quilt
made by Jean Ballou
and Alison Winter
quilted by Crystal Smythe
I had a hard time deciding between this one and a pictorial quilt for my Viewer's Choice...but being that this was made for a six year-old, and had a very sweet dedication, sentiment won over sensibility.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer Indoors

I keep a list of all the books I have read in the front of my daily diary, and recently I was AGHAST to learn I've only been averaging 6 books a month. Shameful. Well, it's not like I have a busy schedule or anything...or a toddler ready to crawl all over me, demanding cuddles & tickles (seriously, who can resist?!) every time I collapse on the couch to polish off a chapter or two.

We've been heading to the library every Monday so that Tess can record her books for the week (she's committed to 7 books a week, or chapters of a book, easy enough, for their summer reading program) and get a weekly prize. Last week (when I discovered my lack of reading prowess) I took out a pile of books & got to reading.

So far, I'm enraptured by Gone With The Wind (although I'm having a hard time getting Clark Gable out of my head...such perfecting casting...Vivian Leigh? Not so much...too old). I can only imagine the opinions this work of fiction raised when it was first published in different from the narratives then on the market...I think of the depressing and ponderous works of oh, say, Hemingway or Fitzgerald, and find this work flows so much easier...really, the first modern romance novel since Jane Austen (who is ponderous only for the language of her day...I'm sure she was an easier read back in her day).

Many times I really have to get my head into the "voice" of an author (like Jane Austen) before my reading starts flying. I can't believe I'm nearly done with GwtW, a 1,000-pager, in just over a week.

However, the other books are coming due and I need to move on.

In other (probably TMI) news, I went to my OB/GYN doctor for my annual check-up (2.5 years overdue, oops) and found out I have indeed been dealing with a yeast infection...since taking antibiotics at the end of November. The symptoms weren't the usual (that is DEFINTELY TMI), and they were mild enough that I managed to "fight" it for that long.

However, now that it is taken care of, I'm beginning to realize exactly how hard my body was fighting...over the weekend, I felt like a wrung-out dishrag, and last week (before the diagnosis) I had a killer migraine that almost made me vomit. My glands were so swollen that I could hardly swallow (and I'm still dealing with the remains of a sore throat) and overall I was tensed up like a boxer waiting for a hit.

The moral of the story is, get to your doctor A.S.A.P., especially your "female" doctor, if you're dealing with strange symptoms Down Below. I actually had an appointment in June, but had to...ahem..."re-schedule" due to the visit of my Red Haired Friend...okay, definitely TMI.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Crazy knitting

If you are a CE teacher, volunteer, roomie, etc...NO PEEKING.

Oops, too late.

I've heard that some folks give gifts at Creative Escape, and I've been trying to decide what would be appropriate...something crafty, but NOT scrapbooking-related (lord knows we're going to get enough swag, after paying what we've paid for registration)...something from Ann Arbor, to boot...

I started to make these for my three roomies (Renee, Michele, Cendrine) and realized it only takes a day (seriously!) to knit one of these (from One Skein), and felting is oh-so-fun. I can fill them with crop candy (Jelly Bellies and Gummi Bears) and Zingerman's Magic Brownies (will they individually wrap those for me?), put a pretty tag on them and voila! My requirements for a little crafty, Michigania giftie are fulfilled.

Now to make 11 more of different colors, because if I had to work with that much pink & green, I think my eyeballs would fall out.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Vintage love

I have wanted an old manual typewriter for a while; I had two (!) growing up, both Underwoods. This project from toomuchcoffeegirl really sparked my desire, though. Good thing the ribbon is still working; she helped me understand that getting a new one and rewinding it take quite a bit of work. It can be done, but it doesn't sound as easy as it used to be. At least I can use it when the electricity is out ;) Typing away is quite therapeutic, as well.

The kids like banging on it and it stinks a bit from being stored in a barn or garage somewhere for too long, but I love the smell and have a handful of project ideas for it. It's rather small, student-sized and portable; came with a box that I had to put in the garage for airing...really stinky. E wanted to throw out the box but the collector in me said, "No way!"

I love the "self-starter" button on it. I sure could use one of those from time to time.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Stormy Weather

Originally uploaded by CreativeExile
We've had several days of hot, windy weather and I have been waiting for a big storm. There was thunder, lightning, and rain through the night last night, but it was still muggy today, and windy.

FINALLY something wicked blew through town. And of course, I had to stand on the front porch and get a picture. Stupid Midwesterner.

Before this, I showed Tess a storm cloud directly over our backyard. You know the kind, the swirling storm cloud that looks like boiling water? Tess said, "it looks like toothpaste coming out of the tube!" Clever girl.

That's when I went and got Ben up from his nap, to get both kids in the basement.

And then I went to the front porch to get this shot.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Crafty grrls in the house

I have been the Queen of Super-Crazy-Busy scrapbook layouts lately. I'm inspired by so many LOs in the SIStv gallery, but I can't quite pull them off. Ah, well, I'm having fun with lines like Tinkering Ink and the latest from Luxe. Patterned paper doesn't cost much (at most, $1 a sheet) and I typically pick out about 3 to use. Then I raid my stash to see what matches -- cardstock, ribbon, bling, chipboard accents, paint, etc.

I just cleaned out my PSB (Paper Sticker Binder, for those of you who are lost already) and gave Tess a shoebox full of old stuff I know I'm not going to use. She sat with me and created six 2-page "spreads" like "Florida" (with a dimensional Cropper Hopper sticker she labeled "luggage") and "Spring" (with every old Mrs. Grossman's floral sticker I've held on to for the last 7 years). She's got style, that kid.

And yes, I'm still knitting. I recently started this chevron scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Ever the Queen of Blended Yarns, I'm mixing a silk thread I got in a 2005 swap (from an angel in Japan; my swap partner had bailed on me) with the alpaca sock yarn I picked up in Chicago in April. The watery light in my kitchen does not do the purple justice; trust, me, it's pretty. And oh so soft. I think alpaca is my new favorite fiber. I love that I found it in sock yarn. I've got to find some more of that!

I even taught Tess to knit. She eagerly looks forward to going "into the woods, around the tree," to see "up pops the rabbit" who "slips away" (my horrid paraphrasing of a knitting chant I heard someone teaching kids to knit to). She only lasts about one row (20 stitches) and I have to be sitting rightnext to her; I think it is more about "cuddling with mom"-time than learning to knit. Hey, whatever turns her on to the craft!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

True story

I don't often open emails from my cousin, she's a recent born-again Christian and is always sending the worst schlocky chain emails, but this one had no FW in the subject, so I gave it a chance. I opened one like this previously and it was really important news about my aunt (her mom).

True story.

Good morning all,

I just wanted to share a letter that I am submitting to the American Kennel Club for an award for mom's dog Brutus. They award 5 different types of awards for outstanding dogs. Its called an ACE award.....Award for Canine Excellence. Because of the Yorkie lover I am and the love I have for my mom, I think he deserves it. Keep your fingers crossed!!!!



PS. Mom seems to be doing pretty well, we go to the DR. on Wednesday.

Dear AKC,

This letter is being submitted for my mother's Yorkshire terrier, Brutus, as a candidate for the AKC-ACE Award. Brutus is two years old and a puppy from my very first litter of 5 pups.

The moment my mom laid eyes on him, she fell in love. My mother is currently a lung cancer patient. She had a portion of her lung removed in Feb. 2007 and has endured radiation therapy and chemo therapy. In March of this year, she awoke during the night with symptoms of the wintertime flu. At 6 am she called me and told me of her sickness and we decided that she had picked up the flu the prior day while attending a funeral. I would call throughout the day to check on her.

At 2 pm that afternoon, she called me and was complaining about Brutus. She said that he was driving her crazy because every time she would almost fall asleep, he would bark and jump at her continuously. I told her to just put him in his crate so she could rest. She reiterated to me again, that he would not leave her alone. After hanging up, I decided that I should go get Brutus so she could rest easier. I tried to call my mom and tell her I was coming, but she did not answer the phone.

Being 25 minutes away, I decided to call her neighbor and have her check on my mom but before I could call, the phone rang and it was the neighbor. She informed me that my mom had called her to come get Brutus but when she got there my mom was extremely sick. She was vomiting and extremely ill and laying on the bathroom floor. I told her to call 911 and I would meet my mom at the hospital, which was only 2 miles away from my mom's house.

Upon arriving at the hospital, my mom was being checked out and before I knew it, they were telling us that she did not have the flu, she was bleeding internally somewhere and she was extremely critical. You see, her blood pressure was at 52/37, heart rate was 125 and she was very low on her blood counts. They were assuming that she was having a heart attack because her vitals were so bad. This hospital was going to stabilize her and they would be airlifting her to a hospital 40 miles away in Ann Arbor, Michigan. That is what they did and my mom spent 5 days there but I have no doubt that if it wasn't for Brutus keeping my mom awake, she would have gone to sleep and who knows what would have happened.

Cancer keeps us wondering daily but I feel somewhat safe to know that we have a 7 pound Yorkie looking out for her. Please consider Brutus as a recipient of this award, he deserves it in my eyes and in my mom's.

Tess in 2006 with Brutus's mom, at my cousin's house.
We were there visiting her new puppies, Brutus among them.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dude, where's my paint chip?

I am so happy with this green I could marry it.
(family room...winner: hmm...nobody guessed this one.)

I always heard you use warm tones where you eat, and cool tones where you "live"...saw this green on a home show, and they mentioned how it "brings the outdoors in" ...our willow tree seems to be in front of our fireplace now!

The orange (Benjamin Moore's Aura in Buttered Yam) was pretty intense going on, but dried to a warm finish. (dining/scrap (ha!) room, winner: Shannon guessed I'd do 2 colors in here, so is she half-right?)

Our painting supervisor called in the color code for a *quart* (what I picked up to sample on Friday) when he ordered another *gallon* (oops), so this went on too light at first, BUT the guy doing the painting knew I wasn't happy with that, and he took his lunch hour to go to the paint store and get me the right shade. (bathroom, winner: Shannon!)

Since I was going with a Sherwin Williams shade, I had to give up my paint chip (I want it back! It's called "Drizzle") , but I was delighted that the painter went the extra mile for me and STILL got it all done today.

I'm pretty easygoing in life, except when it comes to color matching. Then I get a little persnickety.

All in all, a crazy Mother's Day weekend. My sister came in to town on Friday; she wanted to tag along with me to Novi to meet Mom for Mega Meet, but decidedly did NOT want to check out scrapbooking. She insisted on going to Flute World, which bored Mom & I to tears, but we got back at her by getting so absorbed at Mega Meet that we were very, very late picking her up from 12 Oaks, the mall where we dropped her whiny @$$ off earlier. All's well that ends well, even if I didn't get to go to Archivers. I only picked up and dropped off my Mom there :(

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Eeny, meeny miney moe...

I have lived in a beige house for the last 6+ years (and before that, beige know, apartment "cream"...?!) So I am delighted to take on the task of painting our new place. Not sure why the old house never got painted (except for the purple room we did for Tess...a year before we put the whole place up for sale). And I did have a pink living room in my home in Redford...which ended up painted taupe (Martha Stewart "Mushroom," actually) when the ex-fiance almost moved in (and then I sold the place, two years later...I'm detecting a trend...)

This time around we are here for a while (we hope), so I want colors I love...although I do have to please E with them as well.

So, the colors above are for three rooms: family room (accent wall), dining room (whole kit and kaboodle) and 3 walls in our luxury bathroom upstairs. Your mission? Figure out what color goes in which room. And yes, I've already made up my mind.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Shining sinks

E was admonishing me yesterday because Ben hadn't been outside to play all day. After all, we have a new swing set and the weather was gorgeous, but perhaps he's forgotten just how much a 19 month-old can get into outdoors...especially when you have a pond to make you extra-nervous.

After I did my self-imposed morning chores (I subscribe to FlyLady's emails, but rarely follow them...the task for yesterday --cleaning off your kitchen counters-- suddenly inspired me) where I felt the urge to clean every. single. bathroom. sink. (did I mention we have 5 bathrooms in this house? One of them a handicap bathroom that we hardly use, for a previous owner with ALS, but still...FIVE)...seriously, I went to put a full liquid soap container back in the main floor bathroom and the sink was DISGUSTING...once I start a job, I may as well be consistent...but not perfect, right, FlyLady?

ANYWAY, after that was done (I left one upstairs sink for later...the backyard was calling), we all trouped out to the back forty and had a very pleasant morning swinging, pulling chairs under the overhanging branches of our willow tree (the one advantage to having a pond...willow trees...), checking out the goldfish in the pond (amazing how they survive the winter...they are HUGE and were coming up to the surface to feast on water bugs) and generally enjoying the sun on our backs and the wind in our hair.

Now I'm about to get my recipe LOs done (for a CE swap), and I was just thinking how much I got done in January...during Lain's challenge...and how that has changed my perspective on my "free" time. Ben's home, but napping, so I can grab the hour and a half or so that I have and spend it cleaning (did that this morning!), cooking (peeled potatoes & got them in water as he was settling down) or getting creative.

I'm so glad I got the cleaning bug out of my system first thing this morning!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

NSD hoopla, sort of.

Well, National Scrapbooking Day has come and gone AGAIN, and again I did nothing special...on that day, at least.

Ben has been gone all week, so I actually got a lot of scrapping in during the week...including my first altered item...this altered clock. Here's what it looked like when I bought it (for a DOLLAR) at the rummage sale the week before:

I swear we had the exact same clock in our (orange and avocado green) kitchen growing up.

Best of all, I put a battery in (had to bang it around a bit) and it is keeping REAL time. Tess wants it in her room but it's in my scrap room because I MADE IT and it WORKS.

Friday I went out early to the Zone, they were having an anniversary sale and giving away goodie bags to the first 100 people. I got there at 9:30a (they opened at 10a) and was given a card as #67 in line (!) Too bad somebody else got to all the dark black Bazzill card stock before me; it was 5 sheets for $1...also too bad they didn't get their Herma shipment in of removable adhesive refills; I would have stocked up!

I did get out to Chelsea and crop from 12 noon until nearly midnight, with only a break to get home and meet Tess when she got off the bus, give her dinner, and get her to the gym's daycare (where E was playing tennis). I still only managed to get 4 layouts done in all that time, but I did use up a lot of my stash and I'm happy with the results (the fourth LO is for Tess's school album, and not exciting enough, IMHO, for my SIStv portfolio!)...

Saturday (the Official NSD) I was supposed to go to Grand Rapids and (finally) meet the Michigan SIStv "SIStas" to crop with them at Pages in Time, but Ben had developed an ear infection while up at my folks and, while he was on medication and feeling better, I decided to go get him and give him cuddles. It's hard to be away from your baby, especially when he's sick. Of course he's perfectly fine today but it's nice to have him here to keep an eye on him and he enjoys being home.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday moanin'

Well, that wasn't TOO bad...Dr. Roy was done in about a half an hour with Tess, she only cried when she got the "sleepy juice" (novocaine), a concept that originally made her laugh. Our dentist is great with kids...told Tess she had some "cavity bugs" he had to put to sleep (thus the sleepy juice) and take out for her...although I knew the real procedure would not make her laugh...she's at school doped up on Motrin, hopefully she'll get through her day okay.

It was wonderful to be out in the morning, even though it was cold. We went to the Dexter Bakery as a "treat" (yum...get a filling, fill up on a sugary donut...brilliant, mom!) since she wasn't going to make her bus and needed lunch (yes, I know, a donut...) We wandered over to the downtown Dexter Pharmacy, one of those wonderful old teeny tiny family-owned pharmacies, something that actually gives us one up on snooty old downtown Chelsea, our artsy-fartsy neighbor to the west.

The pharmacy had a bunch of tiny 3x3 encouragement cards marked down to 50 cents; I bought a handful to put in Tess's lunch on Fridays. Yes, I know, I should actually MAKE her little cards, I used up all my little card creations (so far, need to make more) on her earlier this year. I can't believe she has only 7 more weeks of school left.

Tonight is my Stampin Up Stamp last for a couple of months, since I am still saving for Creative Escape. I'm pretty much caught up on my registration fee, but I still have to get airfare and save up to pay my roommate, whoever she may be...I've decided not to get a hotel room, but instead depend upon The Kindness of Strangers. Good thing I'm in the Yahoo Group, lots of roomie connections there.

Here's this month's swap card...I went to my cardstock stash and picked a color (CTMH's Barn Red) I'm not all that fond of, that was masculine, that I had a lot of, and added some copper accents (embossing powder and metallic paper) for an elegant-yet-whimsical Father's Day card. Crown is Anita's, argyle background is SU, letters are my current favorite CTMH alphabet, Tiny Typewriter. Which reminds me...I have a new CTMH shipment coming today, including a new Summer be released Into the Wild May 1st...I'll be listening for my Man in Brown for the rest of the afternoon...ready to pounce!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Amoeba knitting

I noticed today, as I put YET ANOTHER new knitting project into a leftover gift bag (this time a Hello Kitty from Tess' birthday), that my knitting bags seem to be splitting and multiplying. I haven't touched what's in my ACTUAL knitting bag for about 3 months (the red tank top from IWK I started last Fourth of July...and it's nearly done, too...) While I swore I wouldn't get stash, I do have an overabundance of actual projects.

I went to Chicago the week before last (spring folks did not go to Florida, and E wasn't budging, so I said I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE, and I did, to visit my sister), where I stopped in at Loopy Yarns. As I walked in, the gal behind the counter said "everything in the bins on the floor is a dollar a skein, because we're sick of looking at it," so I snagged a very pretty blue ribbon yarn (Berroco's Glace) and some Elsbeth Lavold alpaca...not enough to make a sweater, of course, but I've got a pattern for a decent vest (and I have a vest phobia, so that is something!) that might work.

On another note, Tess has the first (!) of her cavity fillings tomorrow. I am so depressed about this I can't even think. *I'm* the one who brushes her teeth for her (most of the time), and she still got cavities. At our Friday night crop, Kelly and I were praising the flouride in Livonia water (where we grew up), she never had cavities and I have only 3 after all these years.

Tess has FOUR cavities, three filling appointments coming up. It's making me physically ill to think of it. I just hope I can hold it together for her tomorrow.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hoppy Easter

Originally uploaded by CreativeExile
I was laughing so hard at this concept over at my MILs today, that I actually started crying. Then did it again about 20 minutes later.

So of course, I had to go home and recreate it in the snow on our deck out back.

Still makes me laugh.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Those crazy Russkies

Consider the source when you view this: my ultra-conservative brother sent it on:

Sweet Home Alabama I know what crazy stuff he subscribes to online.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A relaxing Easter weekend ahead...really

Ben is up north at my folks' for the weekend so I'm getting in some quality time with Tess...oh, where is she now? In front of the TV, of course. But we have kindergarten P.J. night tonight, no siblings and E out of town for the day, so it worked out. Too bad she has no school tomorrow; I could have cropped all day but now I have to entertain her. I might even take her cropping with me for a bit tomorrow.

As always, sorry for the lack of writing in here. I am keeping up (!) with my Flickr 365 projects, so I am updating there every other day or so with my photos and stories. I guess I'm just out of steam for writing here.

Finishing projects left and right, though...

Baby hat for Ingrid & Co.,
guaranteeing that the weather
will now warm up.

Hat for me, with yarn bought last
Saturday from a local spinner.
Yet another reassurance that warm
weather is around the bend.

Page for a Creative Escape Circle Journal
on Travels/Destinations for Shannon.
Fun one!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

It's O-VAH!

Originally uploaded by CreativeExile
Whew. E thought I was crazy when I told the girls' parents to come back in an hour and a half; turns out I was right on target (he thought they needed 2 hours).

Here was the party line-up:

Arrival: put handprint on Tess's birthday T-shirt. Sign it. Get your rock star gear: sparkley boa & glitter sunglasses (the Hannah Montana specs I'm sporting were one of Tess's gifts...shh...don't tell her I tried them on...)

Craft: Rock Star/BFF foam frame creations. Photo opps with party girl Tess.

Game: drop-a-clothes pin -in-the-bottle. This determined the order they would go in for...

Goodie bags: follow your color of curling ribbon (7 in all) twisted around in our basement to your goodie bag (fun to set up, until I got to ribbon #4...#5...and got increasingly tangled in my own cleverness).

*proceed to drive adults crazy with the whizzing lip favors I put in the goodie bags*

Food: cream...juice.

Gift opening.

Everyone arrived at once, and everyone left at once. Clean up began.

Made for a short Sunday, though!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Well now...

How often do I get to post on a Leap Day? I've been blogging (we used to call it Online Journaling) for nearly 10 years now (anniversary in April) and I don't think I ever have posted on a February 29th. How exciting was my Leap Day? Well, I stayed home from my usual Friday night crop because the roads are frightening (good thing, too, it started hailing around 7p) and I needed to make Tess's birthday cake...SIX girls coming over Sunday to celebrate and things are gearing up.

E is still sick, he went to the doctor's today but nothing more than constricted bronchial tubes. He's had a history of asthma so when it went to his chest (mine went to my sinuses), he was in a lot of pain. He's actually been home from work since Tuesday, poor guy.

He was so terrific all last weekend when I was laid flat by this bug, that I didn't mind staying home and helping out with the kids tonight. Especially with the driving being so bad.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Gah I hate winter

Originally uploaded by CreativeExile
Sorry, I haven't been updating. This morning at 2:00 a.m. whatever put a chokehold on me Friday night let go; I've been sick all weekend (such a good employee). At least I've been keeping up on my 365 projects at Flickr, even if I don't upload That Day (I've been as much as 4 days behind, catching up all at once).

This is a quilt I'm working on, that I'll be working on a long time. Saw one done as a high school graduation gift, a handprint from each of your child's teachers over the years. Mrs. P was the assistant teacher for both of Tess's preschool years, and by the time I saw the quilt that inspired me, her first preschool teacher was gone, so I decided to use Mrs. P's handprint to represent both years of preschool.

Not sure how it works for middle and high school; I guess your child picks her favorite teacher for the year and you hunt them down at parent-teacher conference. We'll see.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Cabinet

The Cabinet
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile
Would you pick this up if you saw it sitting curbside in the snow (and 7 degree weather)?

Even with a missing door? (I'm going to Velcro a piece of brown velvet there for a "curtain")...

Even though the back of it has been replaced with an piece of paneling, and several inside sections with plywood? (very neatly, I might add)...

Even though the bottom left drawer opens with a twist tie? (the matching hardware fell out as I was carrying this into the house, yay!)

Even though you have a very similar record cabinet (handmade by the father of a parish member at your old church) already in your scrap room?

Here was the tipping point for me:

Vinyl records: 12"
Scrapbook paper: 12"


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Pick your hobbies carefully...

Tess on horseback
Originally uploaded by CreativeExile
The key to not being bored out of your mind at your kids' practices, lessons, games, whatever, I guess, is to hope they choose a hobby YOU love (or for you to take up knitting, which I plan on pulling out at all future soccer, basketball, tennis, or other sports-related event either kid picks up).

I absolutely LOVED being in the barn/practice ring with Tess Saturday morning. Even though it was bitter cold in the ring, even with the smell, even though *I* did not get to ride. And she really enjoyed it too.

Now, it looks like Ben will be taking up tennis...that should make E glad.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Checking in

Originally uploaded by CreativeExile
Still around, still taking pictures. Still doing a layout a day, sometimes more. I'm really rocking the scrapbook supplies. Can you believe I've done over 20 LOs this month? Holy heck, that's more than almost all of last year. Ben's baby album is almost done, our family album for 2007 only needs Christmas scrapped, and I've got a great head start on my parents' 50th anniversary album (that's for next month...) I discovered how to link to my gallery at need for me to upload twice (there and SISTV), although it looks like you have to be signed in at BPS to look at my stuff. SIGH.

In February I take a big hit to my crafting budget...$549 to be exact...for Creative Escape. I've already done 3 circle journals (of 9), including my own, which is out there in the "circuit." We'll get them back at CE. It seems so far off but it's getting closer every day.

Not feeling well today, sore throat, headache. Took a looooong nap while E had the kids out at the gym. Tess is big into her new Webkins pony (now that we can get online with it). When she was done playing she was instantly "bored" and wanted to do a I built her a fort. I need to take it down now and get my quilt back on my bed...freakin cold tonight! Brrr.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

No resolutions...

...just lots of photo projects for me in the year (and month) ahead.

Project365: A photo a day. I'm already struggling, but I'm determined to keep my camera with me and read. the. damn. manual. Finally. I'm also putting these photos into this group, since I started on January 1st. You can start Project365 anytime if you'd like to join me...

365Days: A self-portrait each day. This one is much easier, since you have a built-in subject. I can see myself sticking with this for the long haul.

Get a L.O.A.D. of This: A layout a day challenge (free!) at Big Picture Scrapbooking. I have finished more pages this month than in all of October, November, and December 2007 combined. Since the gallery is impossible to search, I've loaded all my completed layouts into my portfolio at SISTV.