Sunday, April 29, 2012

A birthday card for a friend and a summary of girls weekend

Hello friends,

Did you have a nice weekend?  I hope so.  Life is too short to let whole weekends go by without trying to fit something fun it it.

I had a very nice weekend visiting with my female relatives at my sister's house.  It's our annual girls weekend event and it's a great time to re-connect.

Before I tell you about the girls weekend, let me share the card I made for my friend Karen.  Karen introduced me to stamping 5 years ago.  She is a fabulous stamper, very attentive to details with a nice eye for design.  She loves nature images - especially flowers so it seemed appropriate for me to make her a fun floral card for her birthday.

So our girls weekend this year was at my sister's in PA.  Some of us were up bright and early for a morning run with my sister's running friends.  Near her house is a beautiful park with wide running trails.  We did a three mile loop and I convinced my cousin Nor to jog slowly with me.  It was a brisk morning but the sun was shining and we had a nice 8:00 run.

After our run we quickly showered and headed out into Philadelphia for lunch and some sightseeing.
What a pretty historic city Phili is.   The Philadelphia Terminal Market is a fun old market that has been around for forever.  It's a mixture of farmers market, kiosk stores and upscale food court all mixed in a historic building.

It was a little overwhelming to choose from all the tasty options but everything was delicious and several of us brought goodies back to house to enjoy later.  ( - ;

My cousin Nor (photo above) was diagnosed last fall with a damaged vocal cord.  She has needed to modify her lifestyle to not project her voice and use a soft voice sparingly.  My dear cousin is a funny, chatty woman and it has been very challenging for her to modify her behavior but one gadget she has helps her out.  She has a microphone with a speaker fanny pack.  She used it all weekend during car rides to allow her talk in a soft voice, but be heard clearly though out the car.  She put on Hannah's Mouse Ears and we all picked on her as the tour guide.  She had us laughing all weekend long.

The pretty lady in the photo on the left is my cousin Jan has always been called the queen.  As children, she was the oldest and when they played 'castle' she was always the queen and made the peasants serve her.  The name has stuck with her all the years and she proudly owns up to it.   On the right is my cousin Caroline.  She got nicknamed as the prime minister this year because she is our planner.  She does all the logistics - including researching activities on-line and organizing our outings, so it was very appropriate that she would get this title since she holds all the power!
My sister Kathie and my cousin Lin are in the photo above.  Kathie is considering some home renovations so here they are looking over the plans and discussing the options.

Above is my cousin Nor.  She is very artistic and here she is making a beaded bracelet for Lin.

 Here is Nor, Tracy and Caroline in front of the packed car.  We hit both Steinmart and Marshalls so there were several shopping bags of goodies going back home with everyone.

Here we all are together.   What a lovely group of ladies, don't you think?  Thanks for visiting my blog today. Have a great day.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Gift for Kathie

Hi Bloggers,

Today's post is to show you one more gift I made for my sister Kathie.  As I said earlier this week, at Christmas, she asked me to make a wall hanging with the quote 'do or do not, there is no try.'  The quote is from Yoda.  So this morning I whipped up this 4X6 creation that I will put in a picture frame for her.

I used Karen Giron's sweet sunday sketch.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this sketch.

I also used the Papertrey Ink Make it Monday Challenge to die cut with glitter.

Lastly I made my own background paper to meet Lisa Somerville's bloggers challenge this week.

Now I'm off to my sister's in Pennsylvania to enjoy a nice visit with my female relatives for Girls Weekend 2012.  Stop back this weekend for more crafty goodness and some photo's of Philadelphia.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Papertrey Ink Blog Hop

Hi Bloggers,

Today's post is for Papertrey Ink's monthly blog hop.
The challenge this month was to make a card using the below inspiration photo.
 Don't you love those pinks and blues mixed with dots and flowers?  I knew right away I wanted to use Rosy Posy and luck for me, my order arrived on Friday so I had all weekend to play.  Here is what I came up with.  I used melon berry, spring moss and aqua mist.

Check out the papertrey ink blog if you want to see some other fabulous creations:

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beautiful Day in Chicago

Hi Bloggers,

Many of you tell me that you enjoy traveling with me on my out of town adventures, so today is a quick update on my visit to the Windy City.

What a beautiful city Chicago is, especially in late April.  Too bad most of my time here is being spent inside conference rooms at the Marriott.

First, why am I here?  Well, I work in the pricing group of my company Analog Devices.  We are part of the finance group and our department is involved in defining pricing policies and systems to ensure the sales and marketing people can make optimized price decisions on customer price requests.

One of the software tools we use for this is a software solution Vendavo.  They have several software products and we currently have one product in use for some of our employees.  We are looking to expand and add a few of their other products later this year and expand so that many of our employees who work on pricing have these tools.

Vendavo holds an annual pricing conference for their customers.  The customers and Vendavo staff present information about how they use the software to improve profitability.  It's a very well run conference and it's been very informative so far.  I met all kinds of interesting people from all types of industry.  At dinner last night I met a guy who works for a big food company that sells milk.  He had some big challenges with pricing since his 'product' is only good for 18 days.  His company is the head company of Garelick Farms - a big milk brand in Boston.  I also met a guy whose company makes sharpies, several from gas, oil and chemical companies and today I met ladies from a company that make food packaging products (you know the bags that chickens come in.)  But you guys don't care about that, let's talk about the city of Chicago.

I went out early this morning for a run and what a nice run it was.  I'm getting so that I don't dread my runs anymore.  As a matter of fact there are times now that I actually forget I'm running! It's taken over 8 weeks to get to this point.  Every run I've taken for the last 7 weeks, I've been painfully aware of every minute I'm running.  But now I find myself in the 'zone' and my mind wanders as I check out the sights around me and I'm not thinking 'when will this end!'  I consider that progress.

Anyway, today I headed out from my hotel and jogged down Michigan Avenue - otherwise known as the 'Magnificent Mile' and jogged past some beautiful stores with colorful window displays.

I found myself at at the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and enjoyed a beautiful time jogging along Lake Michigan.  The sun was up and shining brightly on the lake and the path was filled with other joggers, bicyclists and a rollerblader.   The lake is so big that there is surf and you can't see any land on the other side.  It looks like an ocean.

I had one AWESOME moment when I actually passed another female jogger.  I was so excited.  I thought to myself I am NOT the slowest jogger on the face of the earth.  And then reality hit when she promptly passed me moments later and left me in the dust.  All I can figure is she was interval training and I passed her during her slow time. Ah well.  I may be the slowest jogger in the world, but at least I'm a jogger!

When my Nike plus/iphone told me I was 1/2 way through my run (15 minutes and 1 mile in) I turned around and headed back. The second half of my run was along Lake Shore Drive and I saw some very nice real estate.  I couldn't imagine how much these condo's cost.  What a view and what a beautiful historic building.  The tulips and hydrangea plantings were stunning next to the buildings.

After my jog I got myself all presentable and headed down to an executive meet and greet event.  It is nice to be a potential customer and get treated to special events.  The meet and greet was with Oakland A's manager Billy Beane.  He is now quite famous because of the recently released movie Moneyball. 

His story is very relevant to a pricing conference since he used data to change a historic process of recruiting players.  In the same way many of us in business are embarking on change processes within our company to take price decisions away from subjective decision making tools to more objective decision making tools.

And of course, I had to get a picture with him.  I also got a copy of his book and a signed baseball.   He chatted with about 20 of us over breakfast and then he was the speaker at one of the first conference sessions.  He was very nice and quite entertaining.  If you haven't seen the movie - go.  It's very well done and Brad Pitt plays his character.  Even if you have no interest in baseball or statistics you'll find the movie entertaining.  Below is the movie trailer.

I'm looking forward to reading the book on my flight home tomorrow.

Tonight I'm off to a cubs game.  I wish I could share more about this beautiful city, but I am off in meetings all day today and tomorrow so I won't get to wander around the city again, but I really hope I can get back here again someday.  Kim - let's try to make a trip happen in the next five years!!!

Well thanks for heading to the Vendavo Pricing Conference in Chicago with me this week.  Stop back on Wednesday for my Papertrey Ink Blog Hop submission using Rosie Posie stamp set.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

Hi bloggers,

I realized about mid-morning that it was earth day.  And so what did our family do on earth day?  Well about the most earth unfriendly thing there is to do.  Yup.  We went to Walmart.  Sigh.  I know, I know, we should be shopping locally and all, but my prescription was in and I'm heading out of town for a few days so Bob and Eric need some MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) so Walmart was where we went.  And we forgot our re-usable grocery bags.  Sigh again.

Seriously, I do really need to make more of an effort in reducing my carbon emission.  Bob and I are already thinking about our life-style as we transition to empty nest and I'm thinking ahead to how we can simplify.  I'd like to have a smaller house, a shorter commute and more local shopping options - especially for food.  We hope to put the house on the market next January and move to either Natick or Framingham in the spring.  So maybe for next earth day I can say I did something positive to reduce my carbon emission.

Anyway, on to my craftiness.  My sister Kathie told me at Christmastime that she has a new favorite quote.  Can you believe that it is from Yoda (yes, of Star War's fame?)  The quote is 'Do or don't do.  There is no try.'  She said she'd like some cards or a wall hanging with this quote on it for Christmas.  Sadly I was way to stressed out and over-committed by the time she told me her idea in mid-December but I didn't forget her request.  I am heading down to her house this weekend for a visit so I got down in my craft room today and whipped up a batch of cards for her with this quote.

To make it simple I made two card designs.  One with Botanical Silhouettes and the other with Trendy Tree-tops.  I made 4 of each and mixed it up a bit with each one, varying the colors and/or the ribbon accents.

I will put these in a nice clear card box and put some fun ribbon on it.  That will be my hostess gift for her.  I would have made her a wall hanging but I ran out of time.  If she likes this, I'll make the wall hanging and give it to her on another occasion.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great day.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Blogger's Challenge - Sketch

Hello Bloggers,

Today's post is a card I made using a sketch challenge from Lisa Somerville's Blogger's Challenge.  You can check our her blog by clicking the link below:

I love using sketches when making cards.  For me, it allows the perfect inspiration for creativity.  Frankly I struggle with no boundaries.  My favorite craft environment?  Having an occasion for a specific person with a sketch.  Why?  Well, it narrows it down for me.  Kind of like a creative writing class instructor giving you something to work with like - write a 250 word essay on what you did over summer vacation.  If the teacher just said 'write something' well, that's too vague.  You know?

So I'm in my wheel house on this one.  I have an occasion - sending my daughter Sarah a care package.  I have a person - my daughter Sarah.  I have the below sketch and voila, above is my creative output!

I like sketches because they give me the framework.  So that gives me the freedom to choose my stamp set (My little friend from There She Goes Stamp Company) & my color scheme (Cosmo Cricket Patterned paper matched with Aqua Mist and Pure Poppy.)

So what is your favorite way to stamp?  Do you like an open assignment or are you like me where you appreciate a few boundaries before you get inky?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thanks Bunches

Good morning Bloggers,

It's another beautiful spring day here.  Too bad I have to go to work.  Most days I don't mind getting up and going to work.  I'm actually one of the lucky ones who love my job but even though I love my job, there are some days where I'd just rather sleep a little late, enjoy savoring a second cup of coffee and putz around the house for a bit.  Today is one of those days, but after I post this card I'll hit the shower, guzzle a second cup of coffee and start my one hour commute into the office.  Maybe I'll listen to a podcast on my iphone to break up the monotony of Boston traffic.

Then for tonight, it's home, walk the dogs, make dinner, head to weight watchers (to confirm on the scale another no weight loss week ) -: ) and then hit a Zumba class.  My weight loss is going extremely slowly.  Since January I have lost 4 pounds.  But the good news is my clothes fit looser, I'm making much better food choices and I keep telling myself if I keep doing the right things - eating right, exercising - eventually I'll be at a more healthy weight.  And that, my friends, is what it's really about.

So today's card is for The Cat's Pajama's Tuesday Challenge.

This little bunny is so cute.  I love him on the red, blue and Kraft background.

Well, off to hit the shower and start the day.  Thanks for stopping by today.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Graduation Invitations Take Two

Hi Bloggers,

A few weeks ago I posted a fun orange graduation invitation card.  I liked the card and all, but I have been playing with the design and decided to get a little more personal with it.   I wanted to incorporate a photo of Eric on the card, but liked the clean and simple design I had going.

So for my second attempt at a graduation invitation I came up with this one.  Don't you love how masculine it is?  The Tim Holz embossing folder gives a deep image in the green and I sponged some Tim Holz distressing ink on the edges. Then I added some rough twine to it and voila - a nice personal, masculine card.  These colors are fun - navy, green, white and burlap.  It perfectly picks up Eric's hair color, shirt and background in the photo.  The only weird thing is the whole in the top of his head.  I guess it can't be avoided and hopefully it's not too weird.

So now I will be busy this week making 10 of these.  We are actually having two graduation parties.  Eric wanted to have a party with some of his friends, so here is the schedule.  Graduation is actually Friday June 8th.  The friend party is Sunday June 10th.  This party is at his friend Axle's house.  They have an awesome house with a big deck and yard and his mom loves to entertain.  For that party all the seniors, all the high school teachers and all his local church friends will be invited.  We have a big to do list going since it is a 5 family party.  We each have things to bring, buy and bake and in May we'll do a group BJ run for chips, paper goods and soda.  Since it's a 5 family party we should have a pretty good turn out and it should be a lot of fun for the kids. 

Since the friend party is Sunday we knew that wouldn't work for our out of town relatives so we will have the family party on Saturday June 16th.  That is what I'll send these invitations for.  The friend party will have flyer style invitations and facebook invites.  The family will get these personal photo cards.  I think I can whip up 10 of these by Sunday and then get them out in person and in the mail by the end of the month.  Next up is figuring out a menu for the family party.  On one hand I love having food all ready to go (think lasagne) but on a hot sunny day, a bar-b-q is nice.  I'll have to ask my hubby if he wants to man the grill.  It's also hard to predict the weather.  June in New England is often rainy (most days 60% chance) and grilling in the rain is no fun at all.  I'll figure it out in time....

I can't believe that graduation is only 2 months away.  This past year really flew by.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Make it a great day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Make it Monday - Layering Technique with Sunflowers

Hi bloggers,

We have another beautiful and warm, sunny day today.  We had record breaking temperatures in New England yesterday which was awesome for those of us with the day off, but not so great for those running the Boston Marathon.  Our family watched from Ashland 6 KM into the race and the runners we saw looked pretty hot at that point.   We saw on the news that many didn't make it, many didn't have great times but everyone seemed to be playing it safe which is good.

So before I show you my make it Monday card today, let me tell you our good news.  Our dog tank ate my Nike plus mileage tracker last week and thankfully it is now out of his system and all is well.  He must have coughed it up because yesterday I took him to the Vet and via X-Ray they confirmed that it was not inside him.  Later that evening, I found it under the TV stand.  It was pretty mangled with bite marks all over it.  I'm soooo glad we didn't have to extract it out of him surgically!!!  Silly dog.  A whole lot of worry and hassle because he just had to nibble on that little red and white gadget.  I'll be sure to put my running shoes in the closet from now on.

So, let me share my card with you.

The technique from Papertrey Ink this week was varying degrees of layering on a card.  The front of the card has 6 layers.  The card base (1), the canyon clay mat (2), the saffron yellow zigzag die (3), the ivory layer with the faded sunflower images (4), the leaves die cut and stamped (5), the sunflowers die cut and stamped (6) and the sunflower centers die cut and stamped (7.) Lot's of layers making a beautiful birthday card.

The inside of the card is one layer, but with several layers of ink.  Again, the sunflower (ink level 1), the leaves (ink level 2) and the sunflower center (ink level 3.)  It's fun to add layers with card stock and ink! 

Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great day!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Denami Blog Hop

Hi Everyone,

Happy Sunday!  If you are here for the Denami Blog Hop - Welcome!  I'm so glad you stopped by.  You probably arrived here from Pam Wendt's blog:

For those who follow my blog regularly, we are still waiting - sigh - for the nike plus gadget to leave my dog Tank's digestive system.  We are now at day 4 and Monday we'll head to the vet for X-rays to see where it's at and how it will be removed.  Surprisingly, the tracker still works.  Tank burned 43 calories walking .45 miles yesterday.  ) - :

To the left is a photo of the tracker that he ate (small red and white thing.)  I bought a new one since I didn't think I'd want the old one anymore.  The one inside him still works.  See the walk he took? 
And below is a photo of my very stupid dog whom I adore.  Poor baby.  These next few days are not going to be fun for either of us.

So, on to today's card.  I love ribbons so it was really fun designing my card for this challenge.  When I decided to go with this layout, and this tumbling chickie stamp set, I knew I wanted to use the light yellow color scheme.  This would make a great mother's day card don't you think?  It could be for any number of occasions.

The scallops are super easy to make.   I embossed the cardstock first, then used a circle punch and adhered them to the back of the white layer.

Be sure to leave a comment to be eligible to win a Denami gift certificate before you head to the next stop on the blog hop at Tenia Nelson's site:

If you want to go directly to the Denami blog, you can click the link below:

Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great day!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bloggers Challlenge black and white with splash of color.

Hi Bloggers,

Well, I continue to wait to see how my dog will extract his nike plus GPS tracker.  Read the blog post from Thursday if you want all the details.  Yesterday Tank walked 1.33 miles in 30.11 minutes and burned 132 calories.  In addition, he ate a 1/2 cup of Cracklin Oat Bran (in addition to his gravy laden dog food) but still no extraction.  Amazing that the tracking device works inside his digestive system.    Sadly the longer it goes without coming out, the more likely it is stuck and will require surgery.  ) - :  So, we continue to watch and wait.

For today's bloggers challenge I decided to use my Taylored expression tree stamp set and add a touch of green to my black and white 'My Mind's Eye' papers.  It's an unconventional color combination, but it has a simple elegance to it which is an interesting backdrop for the whimsy stamp.  I adore the font on the hello and couldn't resist adding a little bling to the sentiment.

Oh and before I go, did I mention that I was a winner at the Stampin Sisters in Christ Blog?  A few weeks ago I was selected as the winner and got a wonderful prize pack from a great little on-line store called Pizzaz a plenty.  Judy sent me several bags of rhinestones AND the best little crafty tool, called a Gel picker.

 It's the size of a toothpick with a gel top.  You use the gel top to pick up your rhinestones and easily adhere them to your card.  If you are into bling, you MUST check out this store and add a gel picker onto your order.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Let your heart sing

Good morning bloggers,

Well, it's been an interesting week at the Monroe house.  First, on Monday I had a fender bender.  I rear-ended a woman just a few feet away from my office.  Ugh.  Not a great way to start a Monday.  She was pleasant and no-one was hurt, but I was all wigged out all day long.  And then Tuesday night we got the estimate from her.  $875.00 to repair the smallest scratch to her bumper.  Sigh.  We will still do this without insurance because in MA, if you file an insurance claim over $500.00, and you are at fault, they add 3 points to your license which equals a 15% increase in your insurance premiums for 3 years.  So it's totally not worth it to file the claim.  I guess the thing is that many newer cars have pearlized paint on them.  So the bumper replacement isn't expensive but they have to paint the whole thing with this pearlized paint and that is where the bulk of the cost is going.  I have no idea what happened that morning.  I drive at that intersection every single day - for over 5 years.  It's a right turn lane and you merge into the traffic off Rte 1 onto University drive.  I was paying attention.  There was no weather issues: No snow, rain or sun in anyone's eyes.  All I know is I was moving slowly making the turn behind her and then I hit her.  All I can think of is that she stopped short and I didn't have enough space between her car and mine.  Ah well, that is why they call it an accident.  I haven't had an accident since I was 17 years old.  I guess I should be really thankful because it wasn't fun and it wasn't cheap.

So, then, as if that isn't enough, yesterday, my dog Tank ate my Nike plus ipod gadget.

See the little oval red and white thing?  Well I have this gadget tucked in a baggie inside my running shoes.  When I go for my run I turn my iphone on and it tracks my mileage and speed.  Well, I had my running shoes out on the kitchen floor when I left yesterday to go to the store.  I came home and my shoe is moved, the baggie is out and ripped up and there is no sign of the gadget.  Sigh.  Sigh again.  To be sure he actually ate it, and didn't just move it under a chair or something, I got out my iphone, put him on a leash and started a 'run.'  Sure enough, it was tracking him.  Amazing that this gadget still works inside the digestive system of a very stupid dog.  I mean really, how does this thing still work inside him?  I wonder if they do product testing to verify these conditions????  Well, anyway, now it's wait and see.  I really hope it passes on it's own.  I really don't want to be doing surgery to remove this thing.  Did you ever read the book 'Tales of a 4th grade nothing?'  It's a great classic children's book and one of the chapters in the book describes how the baby brother of the protagonist ate a turtle.  I feel like that family waiting to see if the giant, in-edible object somehow manages to pass through.

My friend Melissa is a trained vet nurse so I called her for advice.  My vet wanted me to come in for $180.00 worth of X-rays just to see if it was in his stomach or intestines.  My friend said to instead give him some oil and gravy in his dry food and wait and see.  So, I sent an e-mail to my boss telling him I'll be working from home this morning as I watch him and see if he either poops out a little red and white gadget or starts to show signs of being really sick.  Sigh.

So, that's been my week!  Let's just hope nothing else happens!

But I did get into my craft room last night and had fun playing with my papertrey ink Bitty Bird Addition set.

The original bitty bird images are the fat birds stamped in brown.  The additions include those adorable polka dot wings, the fence, the music notes and the sentiment.  This is adorable and I can't wait to play with it some more.  I also forgot how much I love marina mist blue mixed with chocolate chip brown and white.  It's a fun and classic color combination.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great day!