Monday, April 27, 2009

{joy} for mourning

****Whiner Alert****
The last several weeks have been such a struggle for me --mostly battling with our two youngest over school work, even having to spend much of our last three weekends prepping for the state test or finishing up regular assignments because of it, has kinda zapped my creativity along with most of the time I'd have had to play with my stamps. At least the testing is behind us and kids said they felt over-prepared (if there is such a thing). I'm reserving judgment, though, until the test results have come back. ;)

So as I do my best to plug along in our routine, trying hard to keep silent my longing for our summer break to begin and an upbeat attitude while doing it, my list of cards to make is getting longer by the week (and I think you all know I am not known for being able to produce a card in a reasonable amount of time). Not usually one to let stress get the better of me and determined to persevere...

despite the gloomy weather we've been having more often than not...

despite the fact that the kids seem to be more in need of a break than I am (can that be possible???)...

despite the fact that I couldn't leave well enough alone and ended up cutting on my hair yet another time {or two}, which I should already know better, but especially so when having issues in other areas of life (and yes, I realize I need to hide the scissors from myself, especially when I'm in this frame of mind! And no, I don't have any pics to share with you yet...sorry guys...but honestly, you're not missing anything -lol), and...

despite the fact that my mojo seems to have taken an extended {and unauthorized!} leave of absence (of course with all that's been going on here lately, I'm not surprised ol' Mojo got up and left Dodge --perhaps it thought I'd cut its hair off too! lol-- and, call me a bad mommy, but even as much as I love my kids, I'd have been sorely tempted to hitch a ride outta town with it if I'd have known the departure time -lol), I thought a little stamping therapy would be a good idea. I went ahead and made this sympathy card (that should've been sent out literally two months ago).
I've only made a small handful of sympathy cards, and I still don't feel comfortable with them, so I'll just go ahead and count my avoidance of them as Strike One (or is that Strike Five? lol). However, I thought that the pretty sketch and beautiful Scripture would tip the scale enough to outweigh the negative. The sentiment is Isaiah 61:3 from Verve, as is the older sketch I used: In hindsight, I think my attempt here was the source of a little more frustration, as it didn't come together like I'd hoped. In fact, so much so that it hasn't made its way into an envelope yet, but it's growing on me the more I look at it. (If you're reading this and I owe you a card, please forgive my's not because I've forgotten about you. Truly. I'm working on it....) I love the color combo and the patterned papers here, but after putting it all together I realized (too late, of course) that it really could have used some piercing or stitching --or something-- on the upper and lower left panels. ;C Oh, Mojo, oh, Mojo, where for art thou, oh, Mojo? Mother's Day is right around the corner, and I really NEED you!! (Not kidding here. lol)

This weekend my hubby is tagging along with our 11-YO son on his first Scout campout (assuming it isn't postponed again due to bad weather), so on Saturday Chloe and I plan to have an {uninterrupted} marathon day of eating junk food, watching movies, and stamping to our hearts' content. I sure hope my mojo returns in time to join us...if so, I know it'll be a LOT more fun (no offense, Chloe -lol)...pulling supplies out, staring at them, waiting for something to inspire me, and then, having out of time, putting them all back {again} with nothing to show for all my brain strain is getting depressing! UGH! I'm assuming that other people know what I'm talking about...hope I'm not alone in this when that happens, What do you guys do to get out of your creative slump?

On a more positive note, my parents are coming for a visit next week so even though the kids let me know they weren't happy with my decision to postpone our "Spring Break" by more than a month after the schools around here had theirs, it will definitely be worth the wait! We girls have been saving our pennies and gift cards and will be taking a day to do some shopping at the {relatively} nearby Michael's (not the typical Michael's, but rather the newer, more complete and totally budget-breaking and drool-worthy concept store variety) and maybe even squeeze in a stop at Archiver's (if anyone has any money left -lol). Yep, even if my mojo hasn't returned, next week should be more than enough to put a big smile back on my face...I'm so looking forward to it! I'm also hoping the sun will once again be shining brightly and spring will be in full bloom to greet my parents. ;)

I hope you're having a good week and really appreciate your stopping by to visit (even when I whine...though I did try to warn you -lol), and I hope I'll have something more inspiring to share with you soon. Until then, many blessings to you!

Economy Boosters (just doin' my part -lol!):

Cardstock: Colonial White, Garden Green (CTMH); Patterned Paper: Wild Asparagus "Baby Girl" Floral, Dots (My Mind's Eye); Stamps: Isaiah 61:3, Serenity (Verve); Ink: Garden Green (CTMH); Other: Simple Scallop border punch (Martha Stewart), pinkish sparkly dark ribbon (American Crafts), peach organdy ribbon (thanks, Mom!), adhesive-backed pearls (Joy! Crafts), foam mounting tape

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Faith{ful} in the small things

I can't believe how fast time flies these days!! It has been really hectic for us these past few weeks, as the kids have their state tests coming up this week (our first time as homeschoolers) and so we've been having a lot of prep work for it added to our normal school schedule. Let me just say that I'm not very popular around here with the kids right now. lol I think I'm even more eager than they are to put this behind us. ;) Until then, I'll just hang in there and keep reminding myself that how we're spending our days is worthwhile. I'm just praying we survive...and that they do well on their testing. ;P

Sadly, I haven't had any time to stamp since I made Chloe's birthday card a couple weeks ago, so I thought I'd post the first ATC card I made for the Scripture Challenge. (I posted the second week's challenge card quite a while ago, and I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I haven't made any since. ;( I am, however, keeping all of the subsequent weeks' challenges in a binder so that I can continue with them as I have time. I really LOVE the concept of this challenge and am so thankful that Patter is providing it.)
The day before I made this card, this acronym I used for "faith" on the front jumped off the page at me in my daily reading and I knew I had to find a way to include it on my project. In hindsight I regret not taking the time to use stamps to spell out all my words, but you know me...always in a rush. Due to the size of these ATCs I'm thinking that using my own handwriting is going to be a must more often than not, so I'm gonna have to make peace with that.

And here's the back side:The colors look a little washed out (they're more pink than purple in real life). And I actually have an old CTMH wood-mounted stamp with that Scripture on it that may have worked well here, but it's still packed away so again my handwriting had to suffice.

And speaking of being self-sufficient...this morning I chopped off another couple inches of my hair (a total of about 6-7 inches since last week...maybe I lost some weight?! lol)! Because of the stormy weather here this weekend (my new neck warmer came in real handy --thanks, Jeanne!), Noah's first Scout campout was rescheduled for a couple weeks from now...which happens to be the very same weekend of my long-awaited salon app't. ;( Due to various scheduling conflicts, the soonest I could reschedule was the the first weekend in JUNE (over five months since my last visit --Yikes!)! Knowing what I'd done to my hair last weekend was only a temporary fix, I knew I was going to have major trouble waiting that long, so I did what any impatient former hairstlyist with scissors (and a tight budget) would do...I cut it some more. lol I've never messed with cutting layers in it before, so this was new and a bit scary to me. I did get rid of a lot of split ends, but before I end up looking like a boy, though, I think I'm gonna stop here and call it good. Hubby's happy because between the two of us hacking on it, we've saved quite a bit of money (he thinks we should just do this from now on -lol). Now if I could just weave it myself....

I hope you're enjoying your weekend, whatever it is you're doing. ;)

Thanks so much for the visit, and I hope you'll stop by again soon. Until then, many blessings to you!

Economy Boosters (just doin' my part -lol!):

Cardstock: Vineyard Berry (CTMH); Patterned Paper: "Sari" and "Dancing Shoes" Perhaps collection (BasicGrey); Stamps: Royal Day Background, Poetic Perch from "Growing in Unity" set, Journaling Dots from "Amazing Me" set (Unity), Brayton font 50 pt. (Justrite Stampers); Ink: Timber Brown Staz-On (Tsukineko), White Daisy pigment ink (CTMH), black Sharpie; Other: 1 3/8" circle punch, floral punch, 3/4" circle punch, 1/4" circle punch, small oval punch (SU!), threading water border punch (Fiskars), ATC card (7 Gypsies), crystals (Swarovski), Liquid Glass (CTMH), sandpaper, foam mounting tape

Friday, April 10, 2009

{shear-ing} some special RAKs

We are so blessed to have such talented and generous family and friends! ;D Check these out!!!

My mom made this darling cupcake card for Chloe's birthday last weekend: I'm bummed that you can't see it, but there's a LOT of glitter on this card (Chloe loved that!). I love the faux-stitched twill (so feminine), the cupcake theme, the distressed edges, the colors, and all the layering. And the inside was decorated up just as cute (with vellum, glittery cardstock, and some cupcake dp), but since it was personalized for Chloe, I opted not to share that. But trust me, it's every bit as sweet as the front!

And my friend Jeanne surprised me this week with a soft and dreamy knitted neck warmer in black and gray tones (that I was actually able to wear last night, and I know I'll be wearing it a LOT whenever we have cold weather...and we do for much of the year here --thanks again, Jeanne!): You're probably laughing...or at least my choice of "model" here, but I thought Shadow was the best candidate for the job today. ;) Aside from my being extremely UNphotogenic, here's the other reason: I've been struggling with my hair lately (to cut or not to cut, that is the question -lol), and in trying to save money I pushed my next salon app't off by several weeks. In hindsight, I'm not sure that was the best idea because when you're a former hairstylist and still have shears, sometimes your mood can get the better of you (like late last night, for example). I'm used to cutting my own bangs, etc., but I don't recall ever trying to hack off 4 inches from the overall length of my hair before. As I cut into it, my hubby, watching from a safe distance away, called me "brave"...I'm not quite sure that's the adjective I'd have chosen, but he's nicer than I am. ;)

Fortunately my hair was longer than it's been since Chloe was a baby (it reached my bra strap in the back), so I knew I had some room for error. Even still, let's just say that there's merit to the old adage, "the doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient," and that it could also be applied to former hairstylists. lol I am happy to report, though, that even in the light of day the results of my impatience could've been a lot worse. My hair is going to need to be touched up a little, but fortunately for our budget, I taught my hubby how to do it back when we were first married. It's just been a long time since I've let him put scissors to my hair, so I hope he remembers how...otherwise any "savings" will have to be spent at the salon tomorrow (but at least I could then honestly blame any needed repairs on him -lol!). ;)

**And in case I haven't shared Shadow's story with you before, suffice it to say that "she" has been in our family for nearly 22 years --a gift to my firstborn and has been well-loved by all five of my kids, most notably by Chloe-- and is still very much a part of Chloe's daily life...which would explain why she's wearing a wedding dress in this picture. So you see she's practically family, and that's why I didn't think you'd mind my selecting her to model in my place, even if the neck warmer fits her a little loosely. {You understand; right, Jeanne?} She's much prettier, doesn't need makeup or time to primp, and she never objects to being photographed (even if her hair's kinda mangy looking, which, being nearly 154 in dog years, she can't help that...and it's not my fault either --my shears have never touched her! -lol).**

Oh! And if the neck warmer weren't enough of a special gift, Jeanne also sent along this beautiful card: I love everything about this card! What's weird is even though they're not really alike at all, the more I look at this, the more I'm reminded of this Mother's Day card my mom made for me last year. I think it's the Swiss Dots, the shimmery flowers, the Ocean cardstock, and the Aquamarine-colored accents? Interesting, don't you think? Great minds think alike, and crafty hands do such beautiful work. ;) Thanks so much, Jeanne!

I love receiving handmade gifts (who doesn't?!), but really struggle with accepting them when I know I can't reciprocate in a like manner. Jeanne and my mom are two perfect examples of ladies whose talents, creativity, love, and generosity know no bounds, and I am so very blessed to have these very special women in my life. How do you possibly (adequately) thank them when your own talents, resources, and time are considerably less than required? I'm hoping an appreciative and humble heart counts for something --not too tangible, but other than that, I'm stumped for the moment, and I'm all ears....

This week has been more crazy than usual around here, but I'm hoping to get some stamping time (aka therapy --I need it badly!) in tomorrow. If I do, and it comes out okay (ya never know...), I'll try to get it posted to share. But in case I don't get back here before the weekend's over, I wanted to wish you all a very special Easter.

Thanks so much for the visit, and I hope you'll stop by again soon. Until then, many blessings to you!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

{Poor} Enchanted Lily

Happy Saturday to you!

Well, staying true to form, I made a special effort to post today since it's my youngest daughter's birthday (can't break tradition, right? lol). The rest of the family is watching "Ratatouille," but since I've had enough of playing chef today (more on that in a minute), I thought I'd come say hi to you all. ;)

My "baby" is now nine --it's so hard to believe how fast the years go! Today isn't quite the "fun" day we'd planned due to the storm that blew in last night leaving us with below-freezing temps today and about five inches of new snow (at least the dog loves it). More blizzard-like weather was predicted for today...and we're still waiting for it, but she's having fun nonetheless and knows that the activities planned aren't cancelled, just postponed. And actually, it's been a blessing to me because I've spent most of the day in the kitchen cooking her birthday requests, which would've been kinda hard to do if we were gone. After I made brunch for everyone, next up was a coconut cream pie for dessert, and then came the lasagna, which is now in the oven making the house smell heavenly. Kitchen duty may have taken up most of my day, but it was a labor of love...and we're gonna be eating well for days (I'm sure glad my kids choose foods that I love!)! Yum!! ;D

Okay, onto the card. Thursday night Chloe told me she wanted a card that was blue and brown...totally threw me for a loop. I bought Enchanted Lily just for this occasion, although I had pinks and yellows in mind to be paired with some of the Urban Prairie papers. Not wanting (or having time) to go buy new paper yesterday, it took me a while to find some with the right colors in my stash, and so without a lot to choose from in the feminine category (although I do love this piece of dp), here's what I came up with: No fancy interactive card (I made this last night after Chloe went to bed...tired eyes and tired me), but I'm not sure I could pull that off even if I'd had a week to play with it. My first thought was that it might be fun to make a spinner-type card where her swing was going back and forth, but couldn't quite figure out the placement of the curved slot for the seat, as well as the pivoting how-to of the swing 'ropes' at the top end. It's gonna take some monkeying around for sure (anyone have any ideas to share so I won't have to tax my brain too much?). What I'm picturing would be really's just getting it from the head to the paper that's proving the challenge.

I had to laugh after I colored in sweet Miss Lily's skin --I'm not sure if she was excited to sneak out of the house wearing a new pair of pink tights or if she actually got sunburned, but I'm inclined to go with the latter because her arms look a bit lobster-like too. Poor dear, I'm guessing she doesn't have a clue that getting sunburned like that can cause skin cancer (but she'll find out when she's older, and likely have a few regrets about being so carefree in her youth -lol). Yep, she may be smilin' now, but you can bet in a little while she's gonna be cryin' for the aloe vera gel (don't ask me how I know all this stuff). ;)

Well, it's time to pull the lasagna out of the oven and start the food fest and gift opening session! ;) And then maybe later tonight when the house is quiet I'll practice my coloring of skin with more realistic tones. lol

Thanks so much for the visit, and I hope you'll stop by again soon. Until then, many blessings to you!

Economy Boosters (just doin' my part -lol!):

Cardstock: Colonial White, Crystal Blue, Cocoa (CTMH); Patterned Paper: unknown print in my stash (Daisy D's); Stamps: Enchanted Lily (Pink Cat Studio), Cupcakes (Hero Arts); Ink: Timber Brown Staz-On (Tsukineko), Heavenly Blue, Cocoa, Desert Sand (CTMH); Other: Prismacolor pencils (Sanford), odorless mineral spirits (Mona Lisa), blending stumps (Loew-Cornell), Cuttlebug (Provo Craft), Scallop Rectangle Nestabilities (Spellbinders), velvet ribbon (May Arts), felt flowers (American Crafts), Star Dust and Xmas Red Stickles (Ranger), button (Foof-a-La), waxed linen thread (unknown), paper needles (Making Memories), sponges (CTMH), sewing machine, white thread, red line tape, foam mounting tape