Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Any fans of "Fiddler on the Roof" out there?  Remember the song Tevye sings, about "Tradition?"  It absolutely amazes me how steeped in tradition the holidays become.  As you may or may not know, our lives have changed quite dramatically over the past six years or so.  And no, this isn't a "feel sorry for me" post.  Just a fact.  In September of 2007, we were unsuccessful in fostering to adopt a baby girl.  Our dog of 14 years passed about in July of 2008.  My mom passed away after a short illness in September of 2008.  My sister died in January 2009 after a 14 year battle with breast cancer -- it metastasized to her brain and took her within a matter of months.  My mother-in-law passed away in June of 2010 after a 5 year battle with colon cancer.  And then, my brother-in-law passed away unexpectedly in May of this year in a motorcycle accident.  He had been out of prison only seven months.  Each of these illnesses and deaths has taken a little bit of tradition from the holidays -- especially Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Those seem to be the hardest, no matter the loss.  Maybe it's just me.  

For instance, this year Thanksgiving hit me really hard.  It had been "tradition" the past several years before my mom's death for her to come visit us the week of Thanksgiving, and for us to hit the "Black Friday" sales and get her Christmas shopping done in one fell swoop.  See, she had come to dread the "traditions" of Christmas, buying and wrapping gifts, decorating, baking, all the things we usually look forward to, as her health began to decline.  Her coming at Thanksgiving was twofold -- it was fun to spend the holidays with her, and we took some of the stress out of her life.  After she died, my MIL and FIL started coming down and doing the same thing -- boy, could my MIL shop!!  (She took after her mom!)  So they were here in 2009 and 2010 -- and even though she needed a scooter last year, she still shopped her way through Black Friday!  And of course, we always had "traditional" foods at Thanksgiving -- the turkey, of course (and I confess, I have never cooked one by myself.  Never.  You aren't misreading.) and the "dirty rice," and the lefse, and the green bean casserole, and the glorified rice.  Mmmmm . . makes your mouth water just thinking about it!  But, I discovered this year that tradition had become my enemy. My FIL came down, and we invited a friend over, and I found I was paralyzed with fear -- fear of cooking the turkey wrong, of not being able to make the gravy, of disappointing my family.  So, we began what might become a new tradition -- eating Thanksgiving dinner out.  (Well, maybe not.   I missed all the homecooked food -- I may get brave and try it next year!  But it sure was nice not to have to cook all day, and not to have tons of dishes to wash!)

My point here, is not to whine about our losses, but to point out that "tradition" doesn't have to be set in stone.  My husband and I have been married 18 years -- when we got married, we started some of our own traditions.  As we don't have children, some of those may be a little different, but they work for us.  And with Christmas coming, it will be hard again this year to see the changes in tradition as we try to help our nieces and nephews celebrate their first Christmas without their dad; yet, at the same time, it will be fun to see our niece and nephew start traditions with their sweet little one-year-old.  It will be good to be with family for Christmas.  It will be good to see my sister's son, whom I haven't seen since last Christmas.  I'm excited to make a December Daily, and hope that will become a tradition.  And, I think I am more equipped this go 'round, to both begin and enjoy new traditions that I can start with the loved ones around me -- traditions that may fade out after a few years, or traditions that may last (like my sister's biscotti!) until the next generation leaves the nest and begins their own families -- and their own traditions. 

Until next time,


Friday, November 18, 2011

The Cutest Little Great-Niece EVER!

I might just be a wee bit prejudiced, but seriously, can you resist this face??

Or this sweet little downward facing dog?  

I know I can't!!  And I want to take just a minute to wish Miss Penny Ann the happiest of first birthdays!!  Yep, she's ONE today!!  YAY, Penny!  I know it sounds goofy, but this little one has brought so much joy into my life -- as much as her daddy did when HE was born 30 years ago!  My sister is very blessed by her family, and I'm sure will be enjoying the day with her sweet little grandbaby.  Have a wonderful day, Penny!!  We love you!  Until next time,


Seriouly, this has dragged on long enough!

Really?  Here we are, a week from Thanksgiving, and I'm finally going to share my last 10 pages of my "30 Days of Lists" album I made in September.  Procrastinate much?  Yep, that's me.  I'm pretty sure I could write a book, like, "The Procrastinator's Guide to the Universe" or something like that.  See?  Here I am, babbling, when I could be posting photos.  So here ya go:

Day 21 -- Another transparency, and I used my label machine to make the entries and glued the library card to the back to give it more depth.. 

Day 22 -- The cute little pink journal box was included with my kit, and the butterfly was from a K&Co. ephemera pack.

Day 23 -- LOVED the surfboard paper!  Made the list easy-peasy!  :)

Day 24 -- List made on cute Martha Stewart labels I found in the clearance bin @ Michaels.

Day 25 -- Simple journaling card from the internet, torn and inked edges. 

Day 26 -- The two labels @ the top of the page came with the kit (thanks, Monika!) and the birthday candles were an image I printed from Google and used for my journaling. 

Day 27 -- Journaling on Washi tape purchased on Etsy . . . asked the hubbs to help me with my list.  Let's just say I eliminated a few.  LOL!

Day 28 -- Loved the music paper, and so made little circles on the computer that said "Notes" to make my list on.
Day 29 -- List printed on a downloaded journaling card, placed in envelope and washi taped closed.  Title is on the envelope. 

Day 29 -- Inside of envelope, journaling card.

Day 30 -- List made on Avery labels; sticker from Pebbles, Inc., metal tab from Close to My Heart.
Ah!  How good it feels to finally have this posted!  I hope you've enjoyed my little mini-album.  It was fun to do.  The great thing about this, is you could really do one any time you wanted -- you wouldn't have to do an online class.  Just make up your own list of 30 things you want to remember, make a little journal, and start writing!   In fact, head over to the link, and you can see what they have planned for future lists!  I have to thank Kam, Justine and Amy for this fab idea, and of course Monika for selling the ca-yoot little list book, and helping inspire me along the way!!  **note -- I've been trying to post this for three days, and my internet is acting wonky,  I apologize for the additional delay!

Until next time,


Monday, November 7, 2011

Carved Pumpkins and a blog update!

Here we are, a few days into November, and I wanted to share our awesome Halloween Pumpkins before we got too much closer to Thanksgiving!!  I have one more group of photos to share for my 30 Days of Lists (check back tomorrow for days 21-30), then next week I'll be sharing pages from my Fall Mini-book as well as some art journaling I'm working on for a class I'm taking from Stephanie Ackerman.  I'll also be featuring glances at my December Daily that I'll be working on putting together so when December comes, I can complete one page each day.  Check out Ali Edwards blog for more deets!  That's what's coming up in my life -- that and we're traveling later in the week to celebrate my sister and great-niece's birthdays with them, then back here for Thanksgiving with my FIL.  Ah, the busyness!  I need to remember to take time to enjoy the season, as well!

Mike and I had so much fun carving pumpkins this year -- we did eight.  Yes, eight.  And not all easy, either!!  As promised, I said I'd share the "power tool" pumpkin, so here it is:

The photos of the hubbs actually using power tools didn't turn out too well, but the Fu-Man-Chu Pumpkin is the end result -- a creation from the mind of a mechanical engineer, LOL!  He used a drill and a multi-tool (which I have to admit was great for cutting out the tops!), but got a little carried away on the mustache.  So, he was a lopsided jack-o-lantern. You can't really tell in this photo, but this pumpkin was HUGE!  Here are the others we carved (all of which were free patterns off the internet):

My favorites are the Lab and the "Trick or Treat" -- though I would NOT recommend that pattern for anyone who has carpal tunnel syndrome.  My fingers were numb for a few days!  (My doc would probably not be happy with me.  Won't do that one again!)  But I thought they turned out pretty fun, and we had many people comment on them -- kids especially liked the "Trick-or-Treat" pumpkin. 

Well, there you have it!  Our Halloween Jack-o-lanterns!  Hope you enjoyed them.  Tune in tomorrow for the final saga on my 30 Days of Lists.  Thanks for stopping by!

Until then,


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Join Me -- The Happy Day Project!

Hi! Are you looking for a fun, inspirational project to kick off your holiday season?  Do you enjoy spreading RAKs?  (Random Acts of Kindness?)  Has it been on your heart to "Do Something" lately?  Well, then, JOIN ME for "The Happy Day Project!"

 I encourage you to head over to Joy's Hope and let Julie tell you all about it!  It begins on Monday, November 7th.  Here's the schedule for the week:

Doesn't that sound amazing??  I'm so excited!  Hope to see you there!

Until next time,


Friday, November 4, 2011

Close to My Heart November Specials

As usual, I'm late.  I'm pretty sure I was born late, but my mom isn't around anymore to ask!!  It is something I constantly struggle with, and posting the Close to My Heart specials for November is no different!  So, without further ado, here there are!!

There are 2 wonderful specials for November:
The November Constant Campaign, Holiday Wishes and the November Stamp of the Month: Cherish the Day

Holiday Wishes: During the month of November, if you spend $25 on qualifying stamp sets, you can purchse this stamp set, which coordinates beautifully with the CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut Collection, for only $5 (a $17.95 value!). As you can see in the photo, this set is so elegant and looks so gorgeous when used with the cricut cartridge. It's a must have! If you order on my website, then you will be prompted to add this set at the end of your order if you have spent $25 in stamp sets. 

November Stamp of the Month: As always, CTMH has created a wonderful stamp set for their Stamp of the Month program. I love this one for so many reasons. It's great for birthday cards, anniversary cards, scrapbook layouts, and so much more. I love that each of the months are represented and include a little bubble to stamp a date in! And, of course, each month stamp coordinates beautifully with the ticket image on the CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut Collection too!

You can get this stamp set in one of two ways:

  • you can get one for $5 for every $50 you spend (before shipping and tax. You'll be prompted to add it at the end of your order if you are ordering on my website)
  • you can purchase it for it's full retail price of $17.95 (use order #S1111)
So hop on over to my website and order this amazing CTMH stamp sets today!

Until next time,


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Days of Lists -- Days 11 through 20

As promised, here are days 11-20 of my "30 Days of Lists" mini-album.  Without further ado:

Day 11 -- added a fun felt sticker from Michaels

Day 12 -- NEVER have I ever . . .

Day 13

Day 14, using a tiny glassine envelope as a pocket

Day 15 -- I used little tiny Post-it tabs (with added glue) for my list

Day 16 -- Another web freebie journal spot, and cute washi tape

Day 17 -- More washi tape, photos, and an Avery sticky name badge

Day 18 -- A Few of my Favorite Things

Day 19 -- A Post-it note for the title, a web freebie journal spot, and some fiber from my collection

Day 20 -- The base of this page is an old repurposed book page.  I used rub on letters directly onto that page for my title, and added a stained shipping tag for my list

Well, I hope you've enjoyed the middle part of my little mini.  I'll share the final 10 pages at the end of the week.  I will try to track down where I got the journal spots and link you up.  Check back!  

Until next time,