Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm having a Give Away

Hi bloggers,

Today may be your lucky day!  I cleaned out some of my stamping area over the last few weeks and I have a nice pile of stuff I no longer need or want.  I had originally thought of selling it all on ebay, but frankly I just don't have the energy.  However, I do really appreciate all you blog readers and I would love to bless you with a gift - if you would enjoy it.  So here's the deal.  Below are photo's of stamp set's that need a new home.  If you would like one or more, just post on the comments which one you want.  Don't worry about being greedy.  If you want all of them tell me.  After 2 days, I'll allocate the stamps to whoever asked for them and mail them off to you - for free.  It's a gift.  Really, I just don't want to fill the landfill with them and I'll pick up the postage (US address only.)  I'm happy to send some to any international friends, I'll just have to charge you guys shipping so I don't go broke - you know!  

So, I've never done this blog giveaway before.  I'm assuming I can get your e-mail from your sign in account, but if you have that hidden, include an e-mail in the comments so I can contact you privately for your shipping address. If you don't want to expose your e-mail on my blog, just send me an e-mail message and include it.  You can access my e-mail at the top of my blog and in the side bar.

If you cannot comment on my blog, but still want one or more of these sets, again, send me an e-mail and you'll be included in the giveaway.  This will be a first come, first served deal.  If everyone wants the same set, the first one to contact me will receive it.

My only request for your gift?  Pay it forward.  Make a card and give to someone to encourage them.  Find a stamp set or product you don't use and give it to someone who would like it.  Just be generous.  But you guys probably already do that anyway... keep on doing it then!

So, here goes.....
In no particular order...  Sorry, I don't have labels for these sets.  hopefully from the photo you can tell if it's something you would use or not.











Sunday, November 27, 2011

Girl and Bird

Happy Sunday Evening bloggers,

Today's post is two cards for two challenges.

First up is a fun paper pieced card for My Favorite Things Wednesday Sketch.





I love this paper from My Mind's Eye.  The non-traditional holiday colors are fabulous.

My second card is a second entry for Papertrey Ink's make it monday.  The technique is to use sentiment stamps with soft colors to make a patterned background paper.  I also am using this card for Stampin Sisters in Christ challenge to make a card using a bird.  The scripture verse is from Matthew 6:25-34 ".... Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?...." 

I love birds so this was a fun and easy challenge for me.  I had been playing with this wreath that I made by cutting a hole through my doily die cut (without the doily pieces pulled out.)  I thought how cute would this be with a bird on it, so voila - here it is.  The only problem?  I added green stickles to the card and before they were dry proceeded to drop the card face down on the berber rug.  So, there is a nice smudge on the bold sentiment.  Bummer!  But it's still not too bad.  Next time I'll be more careful.


So, how was your Thanksgiving?  We had a nice Thanksgiving.  My sister and her husband and my niece all arrived Wednesday night.  We had a peaceful and calm Thanksgiving - very low key and quite nice.  Friday, Kathie and I headed out for some black friday shopping.  Then my Mom, Stepfather and brother arrived in the late afternoon.  I find that I get pretty overwhelmed, pretty easy these days.  Having nine boisterous and talkative people around wears me out.  It's not even the cooking and cleaning and hostessing that tires me out.  That doesn't really bother me at all.  It's all the talking.  I know that sounds terrible, but I'm good for about an hour or two of conversation but after that I'm pretty much wasted.  My husband is great though.  He picks up the slack when I wear out.  I think he can talk for hours.  He's a great conversationalist and is comfortable talking about all kinds of various subjects.  So, over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I retreated into my craft room each day for a 'talk' respite.  I was starting to feel guilty about it today, but then realized that was crazy.  If I was in one of my advanced Yoga classes and was getting too tired to do another plank flow, I would take a break and stay in downward dog or go into child's pose until I got my breath back.  And then, when I had my much needed rest, I'd continue with the next flow.  I figure my daily 1 hour craft break was like my skipping a flow and hitting child's pose for a bit and then I'd head upstairs and engage in conversation again for a bit.  However, even with my breaks, I was pretty worn out today when the last guests left at 5:30pm.  I figure I'm good for at least 6 months when we host Eric's graduation party in June.  That gives me lots of time to rest up.  Thankfully we aren't hosting anything for Christmas.


So, no more feeling guilty, just feeling thankful that when I need a break I have my card making to calm me down - and thankful that I have a husband to carry on the conversation in my absence.


Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope you have a great day!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday, Bloggers Challenge and PTI Blog Hop

Hi bloggers,

Well, I'm one of the crazies.  No, I"m not as crazy as the crazy Target lady, but I was crazy enough to head out to the mall this morning.  My day started super early - but not on purpose.  I had a nightmare that I got fired from my job (who knows where that came from, but I'm sure going to bed with a full tummy didn't help.)  So that happened at 4am.  So I tried to go back to sleep, but no luck.  At 5:30 I got up pulled on my Yoga outfit and started drinking coffee.  My sister got up and came down around 6:30am and we headed out together to the mall at ten of 7:00am.  The mall wasn't too bad that early, but there was a HUGE line in front of Hollister.  I heard that it was a two hour wait just to get into the store.  Crazy.  We hit 3 mall stores and then headed over to AC Moore.  Now, I got a GREAT deal at AC Moore.  I did not know they sold My Mind's Eye there.  They had 6X6 paper pads for 2.39.  With a 30% off coupon, there were less than $1.75 each.  I also got a new nestability die for a little more than $10.00.  I was quite satisfied with my bargains.  After that we went to BCalm yoga and did a 90 minute power yoga class.  Boy did we sweat.  It was over 100 degrees.  I drank two water bottles and by the time we were done I was like pudding.  But it was good.  It's good to be sitting and blogging with a class of wine.  I don't think I'll be doing much more today - but thankfully I made lasagne Wednesday so dinner is all set!

So, do you want to see the cards I made?

First up is the card for Papertrey ink's blog hop.  Below is the link to Nichole's blog and all the fun....

http://nicholeheady.typepad.com/capture_the_moment/2011/11/november-2011-blog-hop.html

They had a super fun inspiration photo and I pulled out my winterberry set and friendship jar to make my card.




I just love this winterberry set.  So many ways to play with this.

Next up is for the bloggers challenge this week.  The challenge is 'color my world.'  I couldn't help but make this fun paint brush card.  Of course I used my favorite card making color - Pool.  Well it's pool for SU and Memory Box.  Papertrey ink calls it aqua mist.  I love it anyway it comes.  Below is the link to Lisa's blog if you want to see the challenge or what the other ladies did.


http://www.lisasomerville.com/2011/11/color-my-world-bloggers-challenge.html

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope you enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving - TCP Challenge

Happy Thanksgiving everyone,

So I got a little time in my craft room today - yeah- and I inked up this Cat's Pajama's airplane bunny for this weeks challenge.


The challenge was to use a photo collage as inspiration.  One of the images was a snowy scene so I went with that.  My Mr. Bunny is probably quite cold flying topless in this snowstorm, but he looks happy enough.

So, we are enjoying a very mellow and relaxing holiday here and I thought I'd take a minute and jot down 10 things I'm thankful for this year.

10)  My job - I LOVE my job.  I work 30 hours a week so I get to have off on Wednesday and I only work 7 1/2 hours on Mon/Tues/Thurs and Fri.  I work with some really great people and my job is always changing so it's not usually boring.  I travel for work and it's actually good.  It's no overwhelming travel but interesting - different places - international destinations where I get to work with great people that I know.

9) My home - We have a very comfortable home here in New England.  It's a great layout and very comfortable to live in.  It's not too big and not too small.  It's warm and simple.  We have a fireplace (love my fireplace), a really nice wooded backyard (lots of privacy), a neighorhood with sidewalks (great for walking the dogs and chatting with neighbors) and an awesome finished basement with my craft area.

8) My blog - I love my blog.  As you know, I update a few times a week and I love expressing my artwork and my thoughts.  It's very easy to use and I enjoy posting and getting comments from my on-line friends (like YOU!)

7) My church family - I love my church.  I love the people that go to my church.  I look forward to sunday morning and seeing my church family and worshiping God together.  Our music is loud and energetic.   The sermons are relevant and interesting.  It's a great place to be.

6) My body - okay - this one is interesting.  I can't believe I am saying this.  I do not have an 'awesome' body.  I am not going to be modeling swimwear or lingerie, but seriously, as I get older I really do love my body.  I am healthy.   My body is not broken or sick.  I appreciate that.  I value that.  Not everyone has that and it's something really to be appreciated. Since I started going to Yoga and Pilates this year, my body is strong (well stronger than it was.)  My body let's me do all kinds of things - like walk and drive and move and all the other things that I do day to day.  What's not to love about THAT?

5) My friends.  I don't have a lot of friends, but I have enough friends.  I have my on-line friends, I have my card making friends, I have my work friends, I have my neighbor friends, I have my yoga friends, I have my old friends (well, they aren't old, I've just known them for a long time) and I have my church friends.  I have lots of interesting people to talk to and laugh with.  Friends are awesome and very much appreciated.

4) My parents.  I don't see my mom and dad very often, but I still appreciate them.  They are a huge part of who I am today  They passed their DNA on to me, and they also encouraged me in my youth and helped me develop into a kind and caring person.   My mom is a very unique individual (she is an opera star and - in her youth - a race car driver.)  She is full of life and full of love.  There is always something interesting happening when I get together with my mom - she is very full of life and sometimes that means full of a little crazy - but she's my mom and I love and appreciate her.  My dad isn't at all crazy.  He's the most down to earth person I know.  He is very logical and practical.  He can fix anything.  He is smart and strong and engaging.  He's a great listener and can discuss even controversial topics without starting an argument.  Don't get me wrong - he has strong opinions, he just knows how to express them in a way that generally doesn't start a fight.

3) My kids.  I adore my children.  I think they are awesome.  I love them more now as teenagers and young adults than I did when they were in footed pajamas.  I love their friends too.  I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm not looking forward to the empty nest years nearly as much as I thought I would a few years ago.  I'm sure my husband and I will find tons of blessings in the next season of life, but I am really enjoying having my son around for his senior year and I miss my daughter a lot as she serves in the Ukraine.

2) My husband.  Yes, I really do have a DH (dear husband.)  He is awesome.  He is good looking, kind and loving.  He is gentle and smart.   He drives me crazy a lot, but I love him a lot too.  I should tell him that more often. 

1) My relationship with Jesus Christ.  That has to be #1 on my list, because it is through my relationship with Jesus Christ my Savior that I appreciate any of the blessings I have above.  He loves me.  He died for me.  He created me and is my friend.  He gave me everlasting life and it's through my relationship with him that caused me to finally start to love and accept myself - as I am. 

I hope you can easily think of 10 things you are thankful for today.  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your evening.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Make it Monday Card and preparing for Thanksgiving

Good evening bloggers,

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  What an awesome holiday.  No gifts, lots of food and a reason to count your blessings.  I love Thanksgiving.  I am especially looking forward to this thanksgiving because I feel I have the best deal going.  My brother in law loves to cook.  So I bought all the groceries, but he'll be doing the bulk of the cooking.  My husband is the cleaner-upper.  He always does the dishes.  So, my work is done.  And no driving!  Granted, it required 3 trips to three stores over the last few days to stock up on all our goodies AND I'll be in charge of dinner Friday night AND I had to get all the bedrooms ready for house guests, but I still think I make out like a bandit.

Today's card is for Paper Trey Ink's make it monday challenge.

The challenge was to use a sentiment stamp and 'stamp off' the ink to give a very subtle background look for a card.   I used two stamp sets - Bells and Boughs and Silent Night.  I used the sentiments from Silent Night and did 'joy to the world' in aqua mist and  'Thanks be to God' in Antique Linen by Tim Holtz.  I then stamped full strength the bells and merry christmas sentiment.  I added some twine to the top of the bells and two crystals to the top of the bells.  Peeking out in the lower portion is the Memory Box die cut in sahara sand.  I love this effect and will use it again.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving.  I'll be back on Friday with another post for Bloggers Challenge and maybe Papertrey inks blog hop if I'm not too wiped out from Black Friday shopping!  Thanks for stopping by today.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Missing my girl; cards for challenges

Hi all,

I am missing my daughter so much, I almost cried when I finished up this card for her.   I just want to give her a big hug and chit chat with her face to face.  At least we have technology and we can talk and e-mail....but it's not the same, you know??

She is just finishing up her peace corps training in Ukraine and then she'll begin her 2 year assignment there.  We won't see her this holiday season, although we hope to go visit her in the spring of 2012.  That is a long way from now, but she's doing great.  Gosh, I love that girl.  She has such a sweet heart - really.  We talked to her on the phone yesterday and she has her interview today to state her preferences for her permanent assignment. She'll get her permanent assignment in a few weeks and go there in mid-December. She says 'I don't want to put any requests out there because I don't want to limit my experience.'  Bob and I had to laugh thinking about the 'experiences' she may get!   I just hope she doesn't get the worst assignment because she is the least demanding.  We are totally praying that God will be in control here and she'll be placed where she needs to be. 

So to give you an idea about the kinds of things she could request - she could ask for an assignment where there is running water and toilets - but no - she won't ask for that.  She is willing to take an assignment in UKRAINE - where it is COLD and she's willing to go out to a water pump and heat her own bath water, and she's willing to use an outhouse - all winter long.  Talk about a servants heart.  Love, love, love her... and praying that she gets a good assignment...She did say she will ask for one thing.  She will ask that she be in a more rural area (not city) where she can become fully integrated with the community, BUT, in a town with public transportation so she can easily visit other neighboring peace corps volunteers.  That is very wise of her.  If she gets lonely and is not connected, she will not succeed.  In a city, that could happen.  It's the reason she thrived in a small high school and small college.  She is not the big city/big campus type.  She has always been one who 'gets by with a little help from her friends' and is not at all the super independent, I can do this on my own type.

Anyway, onto the cards.

First up is the card I made for her.  It reminds me of a beautiful eastern european girl dressed up for a day out.  I did some stitching on this card and it's EVEN, but you can't really see it on the blue patterned paper.  Bummer - just my luck - the one time my stitching is AWESOME it doesn't show.  I guess I'll consider it good practice though.  This card  is for My Favorite Things Wednesday sketch challenge.  Great sketch.  Very fun to work with for a vertical image.


Next up is a fun card for 'The Cat's Pajama's Challenge.'  This was also a sketch challenge and I had fun making my own rolled red rose and doing some die cuts to make the 'movie reel' element that was to go on the card. I flipped the sketch on it's side and I'm quite pleased with how this turned out.  I think those holiday stripes go really well with this fun image.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Impression Obsession Challenge

Good morning bloggers,

Today's post is for the I/O challenge 'Stamps only - no patterned paper.'  You can get all the details on their blog.

http://mitrafriant.typepad.com/impression_obsession_news/2011/11/stamps-only-no-patterned-paper-challenge.html

This stamp set is : 02308 Telephone line by Leigh Hannan.  I colored the birdie's in with my copics, keeping the colors neutral so this can be a man card - if needed.  I embossed my kraft circle with an alphabet embossing folder, added the soft suede ribbon and stitched the edges to add some more visual interest.

I'm off to church in a bit.  I'm helping out in the youth group cafe.  They have this cute little room in the youth wing where we serve soda and snacks to the Jr./Sr high group during the 30 minutes before youth group starts.  My son doesn't frequent the area, but I think the younger kids go.  I'm excited to help out there today and see how it all goes. 

Later, we'll head home and I'll be busy indoors and out getting ready for our Thanksgiving company.  It's going to be beautiful today in New England so I'll get outside and clean up the flower beds cutting the dead branches back and bringing in the garden ornaments and pots (sigh - sad face.)  Then inside to clean and organize.  What do you have plannned for today?

Thanks for stopping by.  Make it a great day.




Saturday, November 19, 2011

Attempting to get published

Hi Bloggers,

Have any of you ever submitted your cards for publication?  I decided this year to give it a try.  I submitted the below three cards to CARDS magazine.  This is my favorite card making magazine and they had a really easy website to submit to.





Sadly, they didn't pick up any of them.   These were all for a sketch challenge.  The sketch had three vertical elements on the left side, a horizontal element on the bottom and an oval element on the right side.   My favorite is the daisy with the fence.  I'm not going to become discouraged though that they didn't pick them up.  I now have three beautiful cards in my stash to give away or send to a friend.  A few thoughts on submitting cards for publication.  First, I love the challenge of getting creative.  Normally I am making cards for challenges and need to stay somewhat in the guidelines of the challenge but when I am submitting cards for publication I try hard to find something unique and different to do.  That is kind of fun.  Second, it really challenges me to be as perfect as possible.  I'm more of a 'wing it' kind of girl and often my cards are 'good enough.'  When I worked on these I was extra careful with everything to try to minimize any little mistakes, not one of these is perfect, but they are probably more perfect than my previous cards.  I still need to work on that some more, but as you all know, it's really hard to make a PERFECT card.  Third, it is a little frustrating to get no feedback what-so-ever on the card.  All I know is that they didn't pick them up.   Were they close?  Should I modify it somehow (make it simpler, make it fancier, use more color, use less color....)   I do not expect them to tell me anything - heck they are running a magazine, not teaching a class, but I really wish there was a place or a way to get learning feedback so eventually one of them could make it to publication.  I'm thinking an American Idol kind of harsh - in your face - critique.  Okay, maybe not.  Maybe I prefer to live in my fantasy world thinking that someday I may get a card published, rather than have them say flat out 'don't quit your day job.'  Can you relate?

So, I'll work on trial and error.  I'll just keep making cards, submitting them and hope for the best.  There are many benefits to trying to get published, even if I never make the goal.  So, I'll plug away and see what happens.

How about you?  Have you tried?  Have you succeeded?  Have you given up?

Thanks for stopping by today.  I'm off to my strength and flexibility yoga class, then meeting some friends for a stamping shopping trip.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bloggers Challenge 'Let's hear it for the boys.'





Good evening bloggers,

Today's post is for the Lisa Somerville's bloggers challenge.

http://www.lisasomerville.com/2011/11/for-boys-bloggers-challenge.html

I had so much fun creating this masculine card.  My brother in law has a birthday in December so I decided to get a head start on his card.  We actually have quite a few birthdays in December and my first thought was to make my Dad's card for this challenge, BUT... my Dad just started following my blog (Hello Dad - Glad to have you reading along) so I didn't want him to see his card before his birthday, so I'll make that one and post it AFTER he gets it in the mail.

So, today on my way to work I listened to the last message in a podcast series called 'staying in love.'  Do any of you listen to podcasts?  I love them.  I have a long commute to work and a 40 minute podcast keeps me entertained for most of my ride.  I also like to think I'm improving myself during that otherwise wasted time. 

There are several ways you can hear this.  You can go on your computer and watch the video from their website. Just click the link and hit play. If you have an MP3 player or ipod (or like me an iphone) you can download these through itunes or from this website for free and listen to them.

This is AWESOME for anyone in a relationship.  FAB-U-LOUS.

http://www.northpoint.org/messages/staying-in-love



So, I'm off to my craft room to start getting organized and clean up.  I'll have guests sleeping in that area over thanksgiving so it's high time I picked it up a bit.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Make it Monday Glue Pad

Good evening bloggers,

Today's post is for Papertrey ink's make it monday challenge.  I love this!  I never would have thought of trying this, but now that I've done it once, you bet, I'll be trying this technique again.
The technique is to ink up your stamp on a glue pad, then add in flocking or glitter onto that image.  I chose to use the branches from Winterberry and my green flocking to create a velvet effect background paper for the joyeux noel sentiment.  I wish you could see this and touch it.  It has the neatest texture effect.


So much fun and then I added in some stickles to make pretty white berries on the branches. 

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Tomorrow I'll have a post for Bloggers Challenge for 'for the boys.' 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grateful

Good morning bloggers,

Today's post is a Thanksgiving card.  Don't you just love Thanksgiving?  I mean we all love the food - but for me the holiday goes beyond that.  How awesome that we have a day set aside to just simply count our blessings and be grateful for the good things in life.  Each year, there are always some things in my life that are not perfect.  I mean has anyone ever had a time where everything is going perfect?  But Thanksgiving is more about looking for the good in the circumstances and being thankful for the blessings we have.

This beautiful card will be sent to my daughter Sarah in the Ukraine. I doubt she'll get it by next week, but that's okay.  I think she'll appreciate anyway.

This card is also for the 'stamping sisters in christ' challenge' for the below verse...

 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 

You can check out their challenge with the link below:

Stampin sisters in christ 


And since we are on the topic of thanskgiving and looking for the blessings in a situation, I thought today would be a good day to post my son Eric's college essay.   I am so proud of him for his view of this situation he writes about.  It was such a challenging year for him and I love how he turned it around for good.

Enjoy reading an 18 year old view of disappointment...


I felt like a loser. As I stood at center court faking excitement with my teammates after our State Championship victory, I will never forget feeling that I didn’t deserve to be there. I had done nothing, or so I thought, to help our team reach the goal we had worked hard to achieve. I was embarrassed to be on the court celebrating because I thought of myself as the meaningless bench warmer and not a valuable part of the team. However, looking back I see how that basketball season of my junior year helped to shape me in the person I am, and is still transforming me into the man I hope to be.
            It would be wrong of me to say that I did not have fun getting treated like a celebrity in the weeks following or getting all sorts of free jackets and items, but I can honestly say that that championship basketball season was the worst basketball season I have ever had. I had always pictured my junior year as being the pinnacle of my basketball year, but as it turned out I was a bench player that didn’t see action unless we were winning by a large enough margin that I couldn’t cause too much damage. To say that this was a humbling experience for me would be a drastic understatement. I went from being one of the best players the year before, to be being a practice player; someone who worked as hard as could in practice every day, but couldn’t quite seem to catch the eye of the coaching staff.
            At first I struggled with my new role and wanted to quit, but as the season progressed I realized that self pity would get nowhere and I needed to find a way to make the season a learning experience that I would one day remember fondly. I eventually found this solution through a teammate. He was in the same situation as I was and as we talked one day after a tough practice, we decided that we would focus on encouraging everyone on our team and helping make the other players the best that they can be. We knew our team had the potential to be champions and I was up to us to make sure that we all stayed positive and motivated to reach our goal. I can vividly remember one of our assistant coaches coming up to me after a practice and telling us that he saw what we were doing and thanking us for our sportsmanship and our leadership even when things weren’t going our way. This assistant coach had been my head coach the year before so he knew the hit that my ego had taken, so it was meaningful to me that he noticed the hard work and determination that I was showing.
            As the final buzzer of the State Championship game rang and I stood there amidst the chaos feeling like a complete fool, I realized that it didn’t always have to be about me. I was not the star and that is something I would have to get used to and embrace. That basketball season taught me more about myself then anything I had experienced before and although I would never have admitted it at the time, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  
 Written by Eric Monroe 6 months after the championship season ended.
Okay, I can't help but add a few comments to the story above.  First off let me explain that the reason Eric sat the bench his junior year is because a superstar player transferred to his school in 2009.  Colin really is 'that good.'  This kid will be playing division 1 college basketball.  And Eric plays point guard.  There is only one point guard on a team so when Colin transferred in, he took Eric's spot and there wasn't any amount of training that Eric could do to displace him.  Colin was faster, taller and just that much better.  But don't get me wrong, Eric is very talented too, just not as talented.  It's a tough lesson and I'm sure each of us has a story of a similar disappointment, but I was so glad to see Eric recognize 'it's not about me' and look at the big picture.  That skill will take him far in life.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Enjoy your day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

MFT challenge

Good morning,

Today's post is a quick one.  Below is my MFT challenge card for this week's sketch challenge. 

Now, off to shower, walk the dogs and head to work.   Make it a great day.  Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Christmas card and a funny business trip

Hi Bloggers,

First up today is a Christmas card I made with this adorable SU image that my friend Kimberly let me borrow. 




I used my pencils with this image to keep it subtle and rustic looking.  I love how the effect ties in with this lovely patterned paper and the limeade paper.  I'll plan to make a few of these and send them off to our World Vision sponsored children in Africa & Haiti.  I like to find Christmas images that they may relate to.  Somehow the usual ornaments, trees and sleigh's don't translate to them as well as a simple nativity scene.

So, this past week I was on a business trip to the west coast.  It was exhausting, but actually a lot of fun.  Usually when I travel it's international.  I typically go to our main offices in Taiwan, Japan and Germany and train a large group of people.  Usually I travel alone or with my boss and while my boss is a great guy, it's sort of formal - well - because he's the boss.  Well this trip was different.  We have had a number of pricing challenges in the west coast.  Why - well a lot of the business on the west coast is manufactured overseas and it adds quite a bit of complexity.  So last spring we formed a team to try to minimize the issues.  One action of the team was for our group to be a resource to the sales force to help analyze these complex situations and develop a way to handle them, before we finalize a deal with the customer.  So, this trip was a visit into the sales offices to really talk through the complexities of their customers and ensure we worked together to fine ways to alleviate the issues.  So, this trip was with co-workers and the meetings were not about training but collaborating.    The group of co-workers I went with were a riot.  We all get along really well and we laughed a ton. 

Our first stop was Costa Mesa in southern California.  It was very nice where the hotel was.  There was a path around the lake and I got out bright and early and enjoyed a walk. Don't you love those palm trees???
The dining area was very pretty.  It was too chilly to eat breakfast outside, but it was nice to see the clean lines of the outdoor furniture and the metal and white color combination from inside the dining area. It was also nice to have someone bring me coffee and eggs.  One perk of business travel is yummy breakfasts!
So below is a photo ov our group.  I'm on the left in the red sweater.  Next to me is 'I'm low maintenance' Becky.  More about that in a minute.  In the middle is MG.  He coordinated all the travel and drove the rental car.  He drove very fast and there were a few times where one of us hit our head on the rental car ceiling as he careened over a speed bump.  Yup - lots of laughs over that.  His nickname on the trip was Mariah since we discovered he was a total diva.  He would insist on the best room in the hotels and tried to get upgraded all the way.  Next to MG was Neil, our resident comedian.  He had us laughing the entire trip.  On the far end is Steve - he's brand new to the job, but we all know him from his old job but he was pretty quiet.  No nickname yet for Steve.  My nickname?  I got the name 'babyface assassin.'  They all discovered that behind my sweet smile I was a determined take no prisoners type who hates to be wrong.  Sadly, they are dead on with that.  Ask me if your blood thins when you live in a warm climate after living in a cold climate and you'll understand.
So what are we holding?  Water bottles.  This wild and crazy road trip involved very little alcohol, just lots of water!  MG had a bunch of water bottles for all of us so we took a picture with us and our 'drink dejour.'  We were in San Jose for a night and then headed up to Bellevue Washinginton - right outside Seattle for our last stop.  As we were driving from the airport we stopped for lunch about 10 minutes from the office at this place called 'The Crab Pot.'  We enjoy a pretty good lunch and Becky says 'I bet they take us here for dinner.'  We don't believe her but we agree that if they do, we won't say a thing and just enjoy the meal.  Well, you know where this is going don't you.  We get to the meeting and they say 'we're taking you guys to 'The Crab Pot' for dinner.'  It took all we could do to not bust up laughing in the conference room.  So, here we all are (sales office included) at the Crab Pot.  The food was good and the menu was robust so it didn't even feel like the same place, but geez, what are the odds?



So why is Becky called 'I'm low maintenance?'  Well we went and had a beer after the last meeting and while we were talking she insists that she's as low maintenance as they come.  Neil and I almost spill our drinks when she said that.  I love Becky and she's not high maintenance but the night before she was standing in the lobby insisting to see a manager about a complication with her room and there are a million other examples of her being assertive and speaking her mind.  I told her she was the perfect balance.  I mean heck, low maintenance people often hold their feelings inside and don't ask for what they want.  That's not healthy, but it did make us laugh. 

Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope you have a great day.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Make It Monday Challenge

Good morning bloggers,

Today's post is for PTI's make it monday challenge from last week, reverse applique. 

I stayed pretty true to the technique post and I'm reasonably pleased with the results.  I'm not sure this is a technique I'll use often, mostly because I'm not that comfortable with the 'free form' stitching on the machine and second, I don't have that many 'single' die's, meaning dies where there is only one image on the metal.



http://nicholeheady.typepad.com/capture_the_moment/2011/11/make-it-monday-40-reverse-applique.html

So, we have a cold, breezy and sunny Saturday here.  I was out of town on a business trip all week, so I have lots of laundry and picking up to do.  Stop by tomorrow if you want to read about my trip out west.  I'll have some Christmas cards to show you and some photo's and stories to share.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lot's of cards for lot's of challenges

Good morning,
We got some very good news with the mail yesterday.  Eric got an acceptance letter from Clemson University AND he got a decent scholarship as well.  Clemson is one of his top picks for school and with the scholarship they are offering him, it is in the price range of schools he could go to, without having to take out loans.  Whoo, hoo.  We were all very pleased to see that.  He still has a few more schools to apply to and then he'll make his decision, but it's awesome that Clemson is a great option for him.

Now, on to my card post.  Today I have a long post.  I was busy crafting yesterday and created several cards for several challenges.  I am posting them all on this one blog post.  Why?  Well, I'm leaving for a business trip to the west coast.  Costa Mesa Monday, San Jose Tuesday and Seattle Wednesday.  Home on Thursday.  With this busy schedule I knew I wouldn't get a chance to post so wanted to get these out there today.

First up is another stinking cute card using 'There She Goes My Little Friend' set. This cutey pie will be sent to my niece Hannah for her 10th birthday.  The challenge for this card was 'au naturale.'  We were asked to use twine or other 'au naturale' products. 

Next up is a card for My Favorite Things Sketch Challenge.  My friend Kim loaned me this adorable A La Mode set with the candy cane.  This card will be sent over to Ukraine for Sarah next month.
 Next up is an Impression Obsession Card for their challenge on SNOW.  This card uses the stamp D6757. Isn't it adorable? I also want to try this with cracked glass.  You can get all the details on the I/O challenge on the website below.
http://mitrafriant.typepad.com/impression_obsession_news/2011/11/its-snow-much-fun-challenge-week.html



 And last but not least, below is my post for 'The Cat's Pajama's' challenge to use red, chocolate and marigold.  What a great color combination. 
Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great day and a great week.  I'll be back with my crafty goodness on Friday or Saturday.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bloggers Challenge - Sketch Challenge

Hi bloggers,

Today's post is a congratulations card for a friend of mine.  She has been in a frustrating job (low staff/low pay) and has been looking for a new job for a while.  She just got a new job that pays a lot more and she's very excited to make a fresh start.  She is part of the Tues Eve Bible Study I lead and we've been encouraging her and praying for her.  It's a huge blessing for her and I wanted to acknowledge the joyful moment. 

So, here is the card I made for her.






This uses the sketch challenge that Lisa Somerville.  You can see the sketch, play along and/or see what the other ladies did by clicking the link below:

http://www.lisasomerville.com/

I embellished the inside and the envelope with this adorable patterned paper.  I love this little fat birds.

Oh and before I go today, I have been thinking.  Earlier this week I mentioned that November is one of my favorite months of the year.  I came up with the following '10 things I love about November.'  Which of these are your favorites too?

10) Leftover Halloween candy
I have a wicked bad sweet tooth and love many types of candy.  I love having left over fun size treats. I won't ever indulge in a whole candy bar but a fun size Snicker bar after dinner - you bet.  Yum.

9) The end of golf season
This is good for two reasons.  Both my men love to golf and in the high season I really am a golf widow - spending most Saturday and Sunday afternoons alone.  We also live within walking distance of a golf course.  When the course closes, I take the doggies and let them off - leash for a long walk.

8) Football
I don't know if I've ever sat down and watched a full football game from start to finish, but I love the game anyway.  I love having the football game on in the room.  I love watching parts of the game.  I love having my men hanging out in the basement watching the game and me crafting.  I love watching the instant replays.

7) Pie
Remember #10 and my sweet tooth?  I also LOVE pie. November is great for Apple pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cherry-raspberry pie.. nuh said.

6) Black Friday
Okay, I'm a weirdo.  I actually like black friday.  I love getting the paper on Thanksgiving and sorting through the sale flyers after dinner.  I love coming up with a shopping strategy and yes, I love a bargain.  I love getting 50% off glue dots at Michaels and getting a nike sweatshirt for 19.00 at Dick's sporting goods.   I am a morning person so when I wake up at 6:00am, I pull on some jeans and a sweatshirt and head out while everyone else sleeps and I hit the drive-through for coffee and then my first store.   I don't like to 'power shop' for the day, but I do enjoy heading out for a 2-3 store mini-spritz and getting back home when the others are starting to stir for the day with a bag or two of super bargains.

5) A roaring fire in the fireplace
Nothing better than toasting my tootsies with a good book and calm music in the background on a cool fall afternoon/evening.

4) Velour PJ's
When the crisp air hits and the humidity drops, out come the snuggling clothes.  I put my PJ's on as soon as I know I don't have to go out again for the evening.  Some days (not many) this happens as early as 5:30pm.  I just got a darling pair of velour pants from Target and I broke them in last night.

3) Fall yard work
I love to hunt for bulb bargains.  Ocean State Job Lot and other surplus stores have big bags of tulips and daffodils and at some point in November they start selling them at 75% off.   I plant these bulbs as long as the ground isn't frozen.  I love doing that because when I do, I think about how much fun it will be in the spring when they pop up out of the frozen ground and fill the yard with the early spring color.

2) Snuggling
It's great in the cooler weather to snuggle up in the bed with my dear husband.  I am not very snuggly in the heat of summer, but when the weather cools off, I love to pull the body heat from my hubby and warm my tootsies.

1) Crafting
November is probably my most productive craft month.  I'm still excited about all my potential christmas gift projects, I'm getting a jump start on some of my christmas cards and in November it's all still good and fun and not stressful.

So, what do you love about November???

Thanks for stopping by today.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's nifty to be .....

Hi Bloggers,

Today's birthday card is for my sweet cousin (C-Line, I hope you got this in the mail by now, if not, here is your spoiler alert.)  She has a special birthday this year.  Yup, it's nifty to be - well, you can guess the number.   My sister and I had two fun cousins who were close in age growing up.  Kathie and Caroline were born in '61 and Caroline's sister Noralee was born in '63 with me.  We all lived in NY state but they lived upstate (near Rochester) and we lived downstate (near NYC.)  We were like the city mouse visits the country mouse and vice versa.  We would see each other a few times a year and always had a blast (often mixed in with trouble - TFINY!)  We've all managed to stay in touch even though we are all even further apart (Kathie in PA now, me in MA) and we all are busy with our families and responsabilities.

So, Kathie and C-Line both turned 50 this year, Nor and I will hit that milestone soon enough.  I'm impressed with how full of life and energetic my older cousin is.  You'd never know she was older by her appearance and lifestyle.  You go girl.
So today's birthday card is for two challenges  First, it's for Karen Giron's sketch challenge and second it's for the Stamping Sisters in Christ Autumn color challenge.

The image is perfect for C-Line.  She's a knitting addict and she loves everything to do with fiber.  She's incredibly talented at both weaving her own yarn and knitting various garments.  So I knew for her b-day I would ink up this beautiful basket and add in the wool and needles.   All supplies on today's card are from Stampin Up (except for my copics!)

Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Make it Monday - Snowman

Good morning bloggers,

Can you believe that it is November 1st already.  I love November.  The crisp days, the leaves under my feet when I walk the dogs, the anticipation of the holidays.....  It's actually one of my favorite months.  It doesn't feel like November though.  Our town postponed Halloween because many streets have power lines down and they didn't think it was safe.  They will trick or treat Friday, but I have a feeling it will be a little subdued. 

Today's card is for Papertrey Ink's make it monday challenge.  The technique is making your own designer paper and I had fun inking up the mitten image from the snowman set I got last month.

I inked up the two mittens in pear pizzaz and pure poppy.  Then I die cut my snowman, added a scarf, added his hat and face and put a punched layer on.  Very easy and very fun.  I love his little expression.  Too cute.  Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great day.