Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Today's blog challenge at Two Peas seems particularly appropriate today:
Special family plans this summer, we all have them.
What are yours?
What are you doing that you consider SPECIAL this summer?
What are you anticipating?
Well, as we are heading into June, I'm actually anticipating quite a lot! Todd's sister Julie and her two kids are flying in tomorrow and staying till Monday.
Next Friday is my niece Marissa's first birthday party in Harrisonburg. My dad, mom, sister, nephew, and niece are all coming down for that, and then journeying on to our house to stay from Saturday till Monday.
The following weekend, Todd's other sister, her husband, and their two girls are coming for a long weekend.
The next weekend, my friend Cheryl and I are talking about running up to Chantilly, VA for the Great American Scrapbook Convention.
And the weekend after that is Fourth of July weekend, and we'll be heading up to Ohio for five days or so.
And there you have it--June, poof!--gone in the blink of an eye. I'm not sure what is happening the rest of the summer...there will probably be a short visit from my brother's family in there somewhere, but we won't have any vacation time left to take any fun trips. Such is the sacrifice of living so far away from family!
We spent Memorial Day weekend painting our downstairs half-bath red. Bright red. Tonight Todd is going to put in the new light fixture, towel bar, and TP holder. I painted the dark wood vanity white, and the doors red...but I had them outside to paint them, and the humidity has been off the charts, and the paint has never fully dried. Not too sure what I'm going to do about that...?
Anyway, home improvement chores combined with menstrual hormones = lots of muttered and not-so-muttered bad words. I hate to paint on a good-mood day...on a bad-mood day, it really sucks. Todd was a sweetie and took on most of it himself, since the bathroom isn't big enough for both of us to be in it at the same time. I still managed to drip pink primer and red paint on quite a few surfaces, though.
Oh, yes, the pink primer. I had the paint guy at Lowe's tint the primer for me since I figured it would take the red better. It was PEPTO pink. Pink Panther pink! We were cracking up as we slapped it on the walls...it gave off quite a rosy glow. Of course, so does the red. I'm not sure what I think about it, to be honest. I know when we turn around to sell this place, the potential buyers are going to moan and groan about it!
I'll post some pictures if we ever get it done.
Friday, May 26, 2006
I've felt so BLAH the last couple of days! Just very nothing-going-on-upstairs. Blank, blah, blue.
I tweaked my neck and shoulder, either flying kites on Tuesday, or sleeping on our hard hotel bed Tuesday night, and that is definitely slowing me down and adding to the blahs.
In lieu of anything more interesting, here's a layout I did a couple weeks ago for an ongoing contest at Scrapforums. The topic for the first challenge was to use any part of the lyrics of the Dixie Chicks' new song, "Not Ready to Make Nice." We could use all of it or just a word or two, in the title or in the journaling.
The song is a pretty mad, defiant song, and I really don't "go there" in my scrapbooking. Plus, I'm not really in that kind of place right now in my life. I pulled virtually the only positive sentiment out of the song, the line: "It turned my whole world around, and I kind of like it."
I was going to scrap about some things in my life that seemed negative but turned out to have positive results. That seemed too complicated (and I'll be honest--too much thought involved), so I decided to scrap about how scrapbooking has turned my world around. I took pictures of all my tools and radiated those around my paper-pieced globe. I'm pretty pleased with it. I took it out on the sunny deck to photograph it, so the lights and shadows look a lot more extreme than they really are.
Got my "40 Techniques" book in the mail today, along with all my cards, so I updated my resume while I was thinking about it. It's seriously time to start submitting again!
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
This picture is one that Grandpa took of her around the time they got married in 1943. It's been through quite a few years of bad handling since then. A couple months ago, Grandpa asked my mom to see if she could get the photo restored.
I talked to my dad last week, and he said the restored copy came out wonderfully--not a crease or rip to be seen. When my mom gave it to Grandpa, he got tears in his eyes and said to my dad, "Wasn't she beautiful?"
Well, she still is, of course. And she is very loved, and I hope she feels that love today in abundance. Happy Birthday, Grandma!
Ever since I read Bridget Jones' Diary to Todd several years ago, he's been fascinated with the concept of a "mini-break." It's just a weekend getaway, but "mini-break" sounds so much more...Continental.
So that was my "pack a bag" surprise yesterday for our anniversary. First, Todd came home at lunch time, bringing me my present: a teeny tiny MP3 player. Then we went to our favorite diner for lunch, and then down to Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach to fly kites. Then we stopped at the LSS there--and they had the new Paper Crafts book that I contributed to, and that I've been DYING to see for months! So we sat and looked through that, and found all my cards. It was such an unexpected treat!
Then we went over to Portsmouth and had dinner at our absolute favorite German restaurant, the Biergarten. Their claim to fame is having umpteen-dozen fancy beers on tap, but since I don't drink beer, and Todd doesn't drink at all, that part is sort of lost on us.
What they do have is fabulous bratwurst, knockwurst, cabbage, sauerkraut, dilly green beans, German potato salad, of course...oh, and Black Forest cake. And excellent coffee. It's delectable.
Then we drove back up to Yorktown, walked along the river in the dark, spent the night at the hotel on the river, got up and took another walk along the river...then we had lunch, and Todd went off for an afternoon at work.
Wasn't that a nice mini-break? I'm happy Todd thought of it.
Here's the cover of the book--I'm kind of surprised they went with this all-white look for the cover, but the book is really excellent: spiral-bound with a built-in stand, tabbed sections for each set of techniques, designer and theme indexes, and a DVD with 40 extra cards. I'm really thrilled it's finally out...it was fun to do the projects for it.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Apparently Todd was lying when he said we were going to celebrate our anniversary on the weekend, because he e-mailed me this morning and told me to pack a bag and that he was coming home at lunchtime. So I'm sitting here waiting for him to get home any minute now. I'm all curious!
Thought I'd blog while I was waiting and share this layout I finished yesterday, which I really like. I like the big picture of the girls at the bottom. They are both so beautiful!
The journaling is probably not legible, so in a nutshell--this is my sister's daughter (the big girl) and my brother's daughter (the tiny girl). They are both the second kids in their families, and it's been funny to see how Marissa, the baby, is so much like Kylie, the big girl, was as a baby. Kylie was the squirmiest, movingest little thing you ever saw--crawling on stuff, climbing like a monkey, absolutely fearless. And Marissa is the same way. They both have the same little spark of devil in their eyes. This was the first time I've seen them together when Marissa was really old enough to respond to Kylie, and they really just connected. I just think they are the loveliest things, don't you?
Oh, and Kylie is the very little girl in the Father's Day frame below. She is growing up so fast--well, they all do!
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Just another quiet Sunday here. Todd's been out fishing all day and I've been hanging out in my PJs, doing laundry, messing around on the computer. It's a nice day to be inside, with the windows open and the ceiling fans blowing a breeze around.
Yesterday we went down to the Outer Banks for the day, to celebrate our....drumroll, please...fourteenth anniversary. Fourteen years--and I'll go ahead and trot out all the clichés here:
It hardly seems possible!
Seems like our wedding was just yesterday!
Time flies when you're having fun!
...because they're all sort of true. It's definitely been fun. Lots and lots of life experiences between that day and this, lots of laughs and giggles and shared jokes, blessedly few tears, lots of places we've been and things we've seen together. I love being married to this guy and hopefully he feels the same!
Our actual anniversary is Tuesday, but as Todd pointed out, yesterday was really the anniversary, as we were married the third Saturday in May, so it made sense to celebrate on the convenient weekend day.
It was a gorgeous day...we hit a few shops in Kill Devil Hills and Nag's Head, spent an hour on the beach at Nag's Head, ate lunch at our favorite BBQ place, and had dinner at a tiny local bar/seafood joint. We honeymooned on the Outer Banks, and the weather was gray and cloudy and COLD, the whole week. Yesterday couldn't have been different, except for one thing--the water was just as freezingly cold!
I felt like I should take tons of pictures, but it is such a pain dragging a camera around. I did get a few, but I don't know if they were any good. Todd took the camera on the boat with him today, so I can't check yet.
Todd called a few minutes ago and said he's bringing home some freshly caught sea bass, so I suppose I should do a little Net research and find out the best way to cook it for dinner tonight!
Friday, May 19, 2006
I found something exciting at Barnes and Noble today--my Father's Day frame on the last page of PaperWorks magazine. I've been waiting for this for like eight months! It's the first time I've ever been published in this magazine.
This is a picture of my brother-in-law Ky and his kiddies Tanner and Kylie, taken on Father's Day, as a matter of fact, by Todd. We were in Missouri for a family reunion, three years ago. The kids look so little! Especially Kylie.
It's a drop-dead gorgeous day today--breezy, sunny, even a tiny bit chilly in the wind. I love spring days like this. I had to run a couple errands today, and it was such a pleasure to drive around with the windows down and the radio on.
I'm trying to get a couple layouts done for the CK Idea Annual call--deadline today of course. It's been a long time since I've scrapped for a CK call, and I'm finding it just as creatively stifling as ever! Seeing something I made in print always sparks the spirit, though--makes me want to keep trying.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
I scrapped one of my rose pictures the other night, just because I couldn't wait any longer. I love Rhonna Farrer's new papers and rub-ons, so I used those. I think they were just made for this picture!
I also made my own printer paper block by printing a poem on a white crackle paper. It's from "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" by Robert Herrick. The opening line, which may or may not be legible on my layout, is "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a'flying; And that same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying."
Which seems like a truthful sentiment, if not perhaps profound...until you read the rest of the poem and see that what's he saying is. "Hey all you young hotties who are saving it--you need to get laid now, 'cause you ain't getting any younger. And by the way, how 'bout it?"
At least that's what I got from it. Heh. I think Herrick was a player.
Someone posted this at Two Peas today...I remember 12 of these things.
Older Than Dirt Quiz: Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you were told about. Ratings at the bottom.
1. Blackjack chewing gum
2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water
3 Candy cigarettes
4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
5 Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes
6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
7. Party lines
8. Newsreels before the movie
9. P.F. Flyers
10. Butch wax
11. Telephone numbers with a word prefix (OLive-6933)
13. Howdy Doody
14. 45 RPM records
15. S&H Green Stamps
17 Metal ice trays with lever
18 Mimeograph paper
19 Blue flashbulb
21. Roller skate keys
22. Cork popguns
25. Wash tub wringers
If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young
If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older
If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age
If you remembered 16-25 = You're older than dirt!
I remember how candy cigarettes seemed soooo cool and sinful. I still remember how those wax bottles tasted when you chewed them. I remember my mom collecting S&H Green Stamps when I was very, very little.
I remember my small collection of 45s...I got to the age of having disposable income just a couple years before 45s were being phased out. We also had children's music on 45s, too, and I think we had a tiny record player, too.
I remember mimeographed school papers and how they smelled. And I remember blue flashbulbs and how they would look all milky and melted inside when they'd been popped. And metal ice-trays make me think of going to my Grandma Martin's house.
It's so funny how those products that we never paid any attention to way back when can unleash a flood of memories years later!
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I saw these lines on another blog yesterday, and I want to put them here so I can see them when I need to. I hope they speak to someone else, too.
“Ring the bells that still can ring-
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
The challenge at Two Peas today is to blog about something in your scraproom that makes you happy. Here's a couple of things I enjoy:
I've had this poster for 10 or 12 years...I bought it in Idaho. I've had it in several homes and on several different walls since then, but it looks the best on my teal wall here.
I got this wall vase and silk flowers at Jo-Ann's and stuck them in a corner that I thought needed livening up. Seems like they get lost here, but I do like the way they look.
I think my mom got this old jar for me, and I've never found the perfect use for it until I realized I could keep my ribbon odds and ends in it. I have a rack for the spools and the really long pieces (wound onto paper towel rolls) but those little snippets needed a home. I like the way they look in here.
Here are the cards I created for my "at home" class last Friday. Kay, Pat, and Rosalyn all came, and we had a terrific time. It's so much more fun to teach at home than to teach for a store, where you have to use the stuff they carry and want to sell. Teaching for myself, I can grab and use anything that catches my eye, as long as I have enough of it!
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Well, the yard sale was perfect. Perfect weather (sunny, warm, breezy), lots of people stopping, and lots of compliments on how well-organized and displayed our stuff was. (Finally some pay-off for my 13 months of retail work!) Our neighbor came over and sat and chatted with us most of the time, too, so it was great to get to know her better.
And...we made $400! Much better than I had hoped! About half of that is mine, from the sale of my craft stuff and my clothes. It will all go back into the house one way or another, though.
Today I am totally beat. And a little sunburned. I'm glad it's Sunday, so I can feel justified in lounging around.
Happy Mother's Day to my sweet mom and my sweet mom-in-law! Love you both!
Friday, May 12, 2006
You know, I've never thought of us as conspicuous consumers...but how in the world did we accumulate so much crap otherwise?
Yes, it's yard sale time tomorrow, and I spent the afternoon and evening hauling things out of boxes and closets and slapping on price stickers.
In my defense, about 60% of the scrapbooking stuff I'm getting rid of was sent to me, not purchased by me, so I don't have near as much money sunk into the pile as it may appear.
But the clothes? Yeah, that's all my money. Sigh.
My back is killing me! But it's going to feel so good to rid ourselves of all this stuff.
I didn't realize till today that I was going to get rid of as much scrap/stamp stuff as I did. I called my friend Cheryl and asked her to spread the word among her friends. She called back a couple hours later and said she was spreading the word on the Internet, too. ***forehead slap*** It's so nice of her to be my brain when mine is vacationing. If only I'd realized the scope of this earlier in the week, so I could have really promoted it all week!
It's supposed to be a gorgeous day tomorrow, so fingers crossed that we can make a bundle!
Anybody else swoon when Jim kissed Pam on "The Office" last night? Mm mm mm mm MM. I can't tell you how many years it's been since I was all agog over a season ender and all upset because I have to wait four months to find out what happens!
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Just a quickie, as the big thunderstorm hits and I wrap up my computer time and cross my fingers that we don't lose power or satellite before "Earl" and "The Office" finales tonight!
Thanks so much for the nice comments about my previous soul-searching post...I appreciate it a TON.
I took some pictures of the last of my gorgeous roses last night...thought they'd look lovely in my McCoy vase and I was right. I'd love to add to my McCoy collection of one, but I just don't see them in antique stores any more.
Okay, that rain is coming down HARD. Time to wrap it up!
I've seen myself as creative for quite a few years now, but seldom have I felt it to be WHO I am. It has never pervaded my life...rather, I have tiny to moderate bursts here and there, always in the proper format. I feel like maybe there's an ocean hiding in me and I'm trying to access it through a straw stuck in a brick wall.
I read several blogs by scrappers and paper crafters who seem to have art pervading their entire lives, from the stuff they hang on their walls to the shoes they put on their feet. They are who I think of as artists--people who live in creative parts of the country (West Coast, especially), who are younger and hipper and way thinner than I could ever be. I think of artists as free-spirited, and I have never been that.
Because I don't kid myself. I know that I am lacking in discipline...in the ability to make myself do that which I know will help me grow.
But, I have to confess, the creating part was not exciting. I didn't feel challenged. I've been getting the designer e-mails for upcoming issues of magazines that I submitted to a LOT two years ago...and I'm just not feeling interested. Part of me thinks I just need to push myself, and part of me wonders if I've moved past that part of my creative life. But if I have, what part of my life am I in now?
Something's brewing, I can tell. I'm just not sure what. But I still want to cling to what I've done in the past, because it made me happy and I got paid for it--poorly and irregularly, yes--but still! I want the recognition and I want to be a designer.
I'm just not sure how to get that anymore.
I used to read self-help books a lot 12 or 14 years ago, when I was working my way through a major depressive episode--my first and worst. I've gotten rid of most of them, because there was a lot of New Age-y mumbo-jumbo running through that movement and a lot of it just stopped being relevant for me.
But I did keep a couple of the best books, and one that I pulled off my shelf the other night is called Finding Joy by Charlotte David Kasl. I started reading it a little at a time, and I'm so glad I kept it. It's such a simple book, but reading it is like remembering all the things you used to know about how to treat yourself and how to get through life and enjoy it at the same time. It's helping me, to go back in time as I read the book and think about where I was then and how it's different from where I am now. But the issues are still the same--ack.
Monday, May 08, 2006
This was a movie-watchin' weekend at our house. Two movies Saturday night, two movies Sunday night. Todd has been on a total movie kick lately, and I've been making him watch by himself, mostly, because I seem to have a hard time devoting two hours to anything anymore...but I switched into total couch-potato mode this weekend and made him happy.
First was Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I'm still not sure if I liked this or not. A little too violent for my taste, but there were some humorous tidbits, especially in the first half or so. Angelina Jolie didn't seem to put too much into her character--seemed like Brad Pitt carried the whole thing. I've never been a Brad fan, but I appreciated his humor in this one. But the whole scenario, and especially the over-the-top stunts and effects, seemed beyond unbelievable. When Angelina's hit-woman team zip-lined out of the 99th floor of their office building...that's when I started to lose interest!
That same night we watched Bruce Almighty. I didn't intend it to be a Pitt-Jolie-Aniston love triangle night--they just came from Netflix that way, honest. I liked the movie, overall...how can you resist Morgan Freeman as God? Jennifer was quite good, too...and I even liked Jim Carrey. He usually annoys the bejeebers out of me, but he's becoming more likeable as he ages, I think. I liked him in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, too. The movie got awfully sappy, which I don't have a lot of patience with...I thought they could have gotten the desired character growth without going all sappy, but overall, a fun movie. It was especially fun watching Jim Carrey run amok as he starts testing out his God-powers.
Sunday night we started with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I wasn't at all sure what to expect from this one, because the book looms extremely large in my childhood religious life. I really didn't know if they could do it justice. Overall, I'd say they did. Since the story really pivots around the character of Lucy, I knew she'd have to be really well-cast...and she was. The little girl who played her was truly wonderful--I instantly loved her and sympathized with her, just the way you do in the book. The rest of the kids were really well-played, too. Some of the effects looked awkward or funky, but Aslan seemed fairly real. Not as impressive as I felt he should have been--his presence dominates the book, as I remember, even before you meet him, but for a computer-generated character, it was probably as good as could be expected.
The only element I felt they missed was C.S. Lewis's gentle humor that really makes the book come to life, particularly the scene where Aslan frolics with the girls after he comes to back to life, but before they head off to the battle. That was always one of my very favorite scenes, and right after, when the girls ride on his back to the battle--that scene didn't have any of the wonder of the book.
There were a few moments, though, that improved on the book--Lucy's huge grin of amazement as she enters the world of Narnia, and each time she returns to it; the moment when Peter and Edmund embrace after the battle and forgive each other; the Witch in her chariot fighting Peter. She wasn't quite scary enough to satisfy me, but she did seem evil.
Anyway, it's fascinating to see a childhood book come to life. I really enjoyed it. Watching it on the small-screen made us really wish we had made it to the theater to really experience it...but we were in the middle of our move when it was out and never found the time, darn the luck.
After we wiped away our Narnia-induced sniffles, we took a major turn and watched The Island. I've wanted to see this ever since I saw the theater previews and realized it was a remake of parts: the Clonus Horror, which the guys at MST3K spoofed. The Clonus director, Robert Fiveson, filed a copyright infringement suit against Dreamworks and Warner Brothers, who produced the film, and I think he definitely has a case. However, since this movie had a budget increase of about $99.5 million over the previous version, it was a lot better! Todd and I are both big fans of Scarlett Johannsen, so we liked seeing her in something really different. Lots of chases and things exploding--very cool--but you really do feel sympathy with the characters, and that's because Scarlett and Ewan MacGregor are so good. I thought it was terrific.
I bought the Entertainment Weekly summer movie preview issue last week, which is a little ritual of mine every couple years. It's fun to read about what's coming out and what I might like to go see. Summer is movie season for us, and I'm looking forward to The DaVinci Code, Superman Returns, The Break-Up, Pirates of the Caribbean, among others. I think it's time to gear up for movie season!
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
I made a couple small quickie cards tonight, to tuck in with the boxes I'm sending to my mom and MIL for their combined birthday/Mother's Day presents. (Both my mom and Todd's mom have early May birthdays.)
I love all the Hero Arts images that you can layer and combine for an artsy look with minimal effort. Every stamp on these cards is Hero Arts, except for the key. It's been ages since I stamped anything for real, beyond swiping distress ink on stuff.
I scribbled over the flowers with one of my new Glaze pens, the clear one. I got a set of Glaze pens and also a set of Soufflé pens at AC Moore last week, after seeing a few rapturous comments about them online. Doodling is a huge trend in scrapbooking and paper crafting right now, and although I do like to doodle, I never really do it as an art thing. The trend is moving away from polished, professional types of layouts and projects, toward a more freeform, handmade, artsy look, which is very far from my comfort zone. I thought it might be good to venture that way just for fun, though, and the pens are one of the few art tools that one can find in this creatively-deprived area.
(I've been feeling a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction with this area now. We've lived in Hampton Roads for three years, and I've always liked it fairly well--more than many other transplants I've met--but lately I am SO ready to move on to better things. I like our house a lot and enjoy it so much...but this neighborhood is gloomy, and Newport News is pretty run-down. I think moving into NN from the more "rural" part of York County is what's inspired some of this disgruntlement. I also just really want to live somewhere with a little more life and energy. I guess this is one of my periodic "homesick-for-Columbus" phases.)
Anyway, the Glaze pens are supposed to produce a raised, glossy line, and the Soufflé pens are supposed to produce a raised, puffy line...well, not so much. It's certainly not as dramatic as I expected. I'll need to play with them a little more, I think.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Today's blog challenge at Two Peas:
Blog about your most fave summertime dessert!
What do you really enjoy each and every summer?
Share the recipe if you can!
Dairy Queen soft-serve is my favorite summertime treat, but as for a real dessert with a recipe and all...that would have to be strawberry shortcake, as we had it when I was a kid, with homemade pound cake, sliced sweetened strawberries, and vanilla ice cream. No sweetened biscuits or those nasty pre-fab circular shortcakes you get at the store. And no whipped cream or Cool Whip...although I guess that would taste pretty good, but ice cream is better...it soaks into the cake quite nicely.
Here's the pound cake recipe, straight from my mom's old Betty Crocker cookbook:
Loaf O' Gold Cake
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. shortening
1/4 c. softened butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5x3" loaf pan. Measure all ingredients into a large mixer bowl.Blend 1/2 minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan. Bake 65-70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.