Friday, August 31, 2012

Bloggers Challenge & Bragging rights....

Hi friends,

I was so honored to be selected by DeNami Designs as a runner up in their sketch challenge last month.  Check out the link below to see my card featured...

There wasn't any monetary or free gift prize for this, just bragging rights but many of you know that bragging rights are still very rewarding.  When someone selects your card and features it on their blog, well let's just say it's a nice warm fuzzy feeling.  It definitely inspires me to keep making cards and try to work on improving my techniques as well. 

So today's card uses the sketch for Lisa Somerville's bloggers challenge.  I used the 3 step rose stamp set from papertrey.

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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hogs and Kisses

Hi friends,

Today's post is a birthday card I made for Eric.  I saw the sketch on TSG's blog and chose to use the pig in the mud image from 'oh crop.'  I roughed up the oval image, added glossy accents to make the mud look liquid and colored in the pig in several shades of light red copics.  I had a new 8X8 paper pack from October Afternoon 'Sassparilla' which had some really fun, masculine, country papers that worked perfectly for this card.

Here is the sketch I used from TSG.

Thanks for visiting today.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Celebrate your day (MIM & SSSC)

Hi friends,

Today's card is a fun and festive birthday card using some of my new October Afternoon 'Cake Walk' paper and the Make It Monday challenge technique of making garland.

The card also utilizes Karen Giron's sweet sunday sketch.

My photo's don't show it well, but the banner was created using a PTI die and cutting 8 triangles.   I glued the triangles together with the twine in the middle to create the garland.  It's a fun technique and I"ll use this one again.

I am off to my Yoga/Pilates/Chi class then I'll be taking Bridget to Mass General for her next to last radiation treatment.  She is really ready to be done with her cancer treatment and I'll be glad to spend time with her today to make her final treatments not so miserable.  I continue to pray that the cancer is gone completely and she can live a full, healthy life from this point forward.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How does my garden grow

Hi friends,

I had fun inking up my gnome buddy from TSG's stamps this weekend and it got me inspired to photograph (and share) pictures of my summer garden with you.

Do you have a garden?    I think I like my little backyard fence garden the best of any garden I've ever had.  I only do flowers now.  There is an awesome farm stand in my town and I think it's actually cheaper for me to buy my veggies and fruit from Foppema Farms.  I can spend a lot of money on soil, plants and stuff and still only yield a handful of tomatoes.  I better leave that growing to the experts.

What I love about my little backyard fence garden is that there is something in bloom from March-October.  Want to see what's blooming today?  Of course you do.

I have an early blooming yellow mum.  I did cut this back in May and then again in July, but it's gang busters now and I hope it stays blooming into the fall.  It sure is pretty.

 My white phlox is also still going strong.  I love how those blossoms stay full and beautiful for several weeks.
 I have some hydrangeas that manage to bloom nicely even though they don't get a lot of sun. 
And I love, love, love my black-eyed suzie's.  They bloom non-stop all summer long and the bright yellow is just fabulous.  Do you see the back area where the fence is?  The contrast of the bright yellow blossom against the white fence is soooo pretty.  I also have some pink cone flower and some cleome over there.  It's pretty on the driveway view into the deck and the view from the deck to the yard. 
I am definitely going to find a way to replicate this garden when we move.  So easy to care for and so pretty all year long.  Plus it is so handy to have a small fenced in area for the dogs.  I just let them out and they have a small stone area to take care of business late at night or early in the morning.

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

Monday, August 27, 2012

YNS challenge 12 and What's going on in the (empty) nest

Hi friends,

First, I made a second card for the YNS sketch challenge #12.  I wanted to practice my hair coloring so I experimented with a strawberry blonde.

 I thought Ellie's boots liked like UGG's so I added some cream flowersoft to reflect the fur lining on UGG's.

I also decided to add some shine to Ellie's heart on her hair band.  Glossy accents work great for this.
 As for the hair, you  can see on the close-up how many different colors I used to try to get the effect of the strawberry blonde.  I think I need some more YR copics to really do this color scheme justice.  It's way more blonde than red, but I think she looks awesome.

So I thought I'd give you a quick update on what's new in the empty nest.

This week we sold the piano.  The downsizing begins.   We plan to put the house on the market in January so it seemed appropriate to sell the piano now before we do anything else.

I also packed two care packages.  One for Eric and one for Sarah.  Eric got home-made peanut butter cookies and a few things he left behind.  Sarah's includes power adapters that she can't get in Ukraine.

We skyped with Eric yesterday and he's doing great.  He loves school, but is a little intimidated by Calculus.  He has lots of options for extra help and I think he'll do okay if he puts the work in and gets the help that's available.  He can also choose to drop this class and take the Calc 106 (he is in Calc 108) by next week if he really thinks it's beyond him.

Sarah is in love and happily telling the world about it.  If you want check out her blog post.
As for Bob and I, we are doing fine.  We are adapting to the new quiet household.  I am enjoying only having 3 loads of laundry to do a week and grocery shopping this week was a bargain.  I'm trying to increase my mileage with my running.  My sister and I may run a 5k together in October and want to be able to run the whole thing in a reasonable amount of time.  I have 4 pounds to go till I reach my goal weight and I'm hoping to get there before October 1st.  Increasing my running and taking a Zumba class each week should help on that front.   

Well, so much for brief.   I'll try to work on that for next time.  Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Have a great day.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

YNS sketch challenge

Hi friends,

How is your sunday going?  I hope you are able to enjoy a peaceful, restful day.  It's sooo good to take some time in your week to slow down. In our house, we try to use Sunday for that. 

Sunday for us is usually Bob leaving around 8:10 to head to church.  I use that time to go for a run and then relax with an extra cup of coffee.  I head to church around 10:15.  I love going to church.  I see my friends, listen to an inspiring message and worship God with upbeat music.  Then it's off to lunch somewhere (sometimes breakfast at the local spot, other times, subs to go from the deli or maybe even throwing something together at home.)   After that, I often take the dogs for a walk, work on a project around the house, craft or watch football.  Bob may head over to the golf course or do some projects around the house.

Bob almost always vacuums on a  Sunday.  How nice is that.  A husband who vacuums.

Today, I plan to go through my closet and transfer some summer clothes to the basement and get out some of my fall things.  I have a bad habit of forgetting what my next season clothes are and then seeing something in a store and loving it.  It is not unusual for me to accidentally buy a shirt in the same color I have at home because I forgot I had it!  Sigh.  To avoid this, I try to get my next season clothes up and in my closet before they start showing them in the stores.  It also helps if I stay out of the stores.  I won't bring all my summer stuff down, but it's time to start transitioning some of them out.  I like to keep my closet uncluttered so I try to keep only about 12 outfits in there at a time.  I try to rotate through every 12 weeks.

What is your system for storing your clothes?

Okay, enough chit chat.  On to my card for the day.

The YNS challenge this week was a sketch challenge.  I inked up Ellie walks the dog for this and used some older patterned paper.  I paper pieced her jacket with the argyle and fussy cut both her and her dog out to fit it on the circle die cut.  Isn't she adorable and fall like?

Have a great day.  Thanks for visiting my blog.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Papertrey August Blog Hop Challenge

Hi friends,

Can you believe that it's August 25th already?  You know what that means don't you?  Why if it's the 25th it's time for the papertrey ink blog hop challenge.  

The challenge was all about textiles and texture.

I chose to ink up my chair-ished set and my argyle set.  I used a combination of cork, felt and dry embossing to add the texture to the card.

Argyle was one of my first papertrey ink stamp sets.  I was almost reluctant to buy it, thinking it would be hard to use, but I love this set and use it often - especially for masculine cards.

So we have a beautiful late summer day in New England.  Warm and sunny and happily not a lot of plans.  I'm off to yoga in a bit and then I have a young family coming to look at our piano that's for sale.  I hope they like it.  I put it on Craig's list Thursday and would love to sell it soon.  Now that our youngest son is off to college we are starting the process of downsizing.  Selling off some things is the first step.  Then in the early spring we'll put the house on the market.  Lots to do but it's not so overwhelming when you take it one step at a time.

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

Friday, August 24, 2012

Black and White and Splash of Green

Hi friends,

Happy Friday,

Today's card is a beautiful black and white creation using a favorite scripture verse - Philippians 4:8

'Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.'

If you struggle with negative self talk or fear, I recommend you memorize this verse and when you feel the fearful or mean thoughts pop into your head, you counter them with this verse.   In some cases, the things you are thinking may be true, but by focusing only on thoughts that are both true and lovely, you can really modify your attitude.  It worked for me.  So for instance I used to think 'I am overweight, I am a glutton', but instead of focusing on that (which again, may have been true) I chose instead to focus on other thoughts - like the fact that Jesus loves me, I am a good mother and I have friends.   It didn't do me any good to focus on the fact that I was overweight.  It did me good to focus on the fact that I am loved. 

This card is for several challenges. 

1) Lisa Somerville's Bloggers Challenge - Black, White and a splash of color.
2) The Play Date Cafe Challenge - Black, White and a splash of green.
3) Stampin Sisters in Christ - Sentiment only.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting my blog today.  Come back tomorrow for my card using Argyle and Texture for the papertrey ink blog hop.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gnome Birthday Card

I just adore these cute little gnome men from the 'There She Goes' little friend set.   When I saw the TSG sketch this week, I decided to ink up Mr. Gnome with the flower pot for my card.

I actually used some scraps to make this card.  I keep a huge stack of scrap paper (leftovers from other cards where I didn't need the full page) and most of the time it just sits there, gathering dust.  But today I reached in there and found this darling floral paper and trimmed off a square to use in this sketch.  What about you?  How do you keep your scraps?  Do you go to them often?

I finished this card and for a moment, only a moment, thought about using it for Eric's birthday.  But then I looked at it again and realized it's pretty girly.  A great card for a guy to give to a girl.  Not so great for Eric.  But I may ink up another gnome from this set for his card.  His birthday is early September.  I better get to it.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Things that make me smile

Hi friends,

I was encouraged to participate in a new challenge this week.

It is from a christian card making group called Word Art Wednesday.

Their challenge this week was to make a card that reflects something that makes me smile, based on this lovely quote from Mother Teresa.

So what makes me smile?  Lots of things, but the thing I honed in on this week was coffee.  A good cup of coffee first thing in the morning definitely makes me smile.  So does an afternoon latte.  And coffee makes me think of my darling daughter Sarah (a true coffee freak) and she always makes me smile. So lots of reasons to smile when using this image on my card.
I inked up my new Elle loves coffee stamp from Your Next Stamp and did some fun paper piecing.  The only problem I had was I used a pre-made tag and the tage was very glossy.  I had the darnedest time coloring her hair.  The ink kept smearing.  Next time I'll be using my 'good' marker paper (papertrey ink stampers select white) and I'll make my own tag.  Lesson learned.  The paper does make a BIG difference in the coloring results.

Aren't these 'My Mind's Eye' papers perfect for fall?  Love them and I thought the striped papers for her skirt were just right.

Since the YNS challenge this week was 'anything goes' this card is perfect for that challenge too.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Stop back tomorrow for a card using my gnome set 'my little friend' from There She Goes.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The making of a Clemson Tiger family

This past weekend we took our youngest child, Eric, down to South Carolina to get him set up and moved in for his freshman year at Clemson University.

Today’s post is the story of the steps leading up to that move in day, and the move in weekend experience.

There is a 4 year age gap between our oldest daughter Sarah and our youngest son Eric, so when Eric was in 7th grade he wandered around with us as we took Sarah to several small liberal arts schools in the northeast.  It was obvious to everyone that he was not interested in that type of environment for his college experience even back then.  When Eric was a junior we started talking to him about what he may want for his college experience and in typical male fashion, he had no desire to talk about college.  Heck, he was busy living his high school experience; college was a long way away.  Not to be discouraged we asked basic questions – big school, small school, close to home, far from home?  Art, science, medical, engineering?  The only answers we got back then were bigger, not smaller, southern, not northern.  That was a start.

With the help of we were able to identify a listing of about 50 schools that matched his criteria that were in the range of SAT and GPA scores that Eric had from his PSAT.  So we dragged Eric on his first college visit in the fall of 2009 to Boston College.  He hated everything about it.   So that told us something.   Since BC was $52,000 per year, we were not disappointed that he hated it.  It was out of our league anyway.  In November he and his dad checked out UConn.  He thought that was okay. In February we visited Boston University.  I think it was the coldest day of the year.  Not too enticing.  In the spring of 2010, we headed down south and visited NC State, Elon and Clemson.   He liked those schools, even though they were all a little different.  He still had no idea about a major.  As summer approached we made plans to have him apply.  We encouraged him to apply to no more than 5 schools.  Each application was $50-75.00 and quite time consuming.  We did not see any value in applying to a stretch school so all the schools he applied to were a good shot at getting in.

We encouraged him to apply to the school he thought he liked best and then get through the applications one after another.  Clemson was the most aggressive with their interest in him.  They waived the application fee and sent him a ‘pre-approval’ letter.  That was nice.  Clemson was the first application filled out and I’m pretty sure he submitted it in October of 2011.   Then he worked on his application to Elon, NC State, UConn and lastly Northeastern.  We knew he was pre-accepted at Clemson but we didn’t hear about the scholarship money until January.  They offered him a $10,000 scholarship and that definitely put them on the ‘quite possibly –this is the right school for me’ list.  But Eric was still enjoying high school and not especially interested in being pinned down for a decision. 

In March of 2012, we took another trip down south to try to choose between his two top choices – NC State and Clemson.  Both are fabulous schools.  Both are quite different from each other.  NC State is a HUGE school with over 28,000 undergraduates.  It’s very modern, high tech and embedded with the high tech companies in the research triangle in Raleigh.  It had a lot to offer.  But then we went back to Clemson.  Clemson is large, but not huge.  They have 18,000 students.  The campus is gorgeous, a real old fashioned college town and being outside of a major metropolitan area, everything was college and yes, everything, everywhere was ORANGE.  It felt a little older and more homey.  We felt either school would be a good fit for him, but I knew that if it was my choice I would go to Clemson.  I told Eric, you have your whole life to live in a city.  You only have college to live in a college town (unless he becomes a professor!)  Still not ready to be pinned down, he expressed a ‘leaning’ toward Clemson but not a final decision.

At the same time, his girl friend Jessa was going through her decision making process.  She had applied to several southern schools and Clemson was one of them.  In March, she too went on a ‘decision making’ trip.  She was torn between a school in South Carolina that offered in state tuition and Clemson who offered her a generous scholarship.  She made up her mind first – Clemson was the school for her and shortly after, Eric made his decision – Clemson.  They really didn’t choose the same school on purpose, but for each of them, it was a great fit.

So with the decision made in April, Eric focused on finishing up his senior year of high school.  He had a fabulous baseball season and the only time I think he reconsidered his Clemson decision was when he heard of a bunch of other baseball players that he knew that were heading off to play ball at school at division 3 schools.  There might have been a twang of regret but it was short lived.  We encouraged him that going to school where he would get the best education was the most important thing.  Playing baseball should be secondary.  He is now trying to decide if he’ll play club level baseball at Clemson.  He’ll have time to decide and from what I can tell, club level ball at division 1, is pretty comparable to varsity level ball at division 3 (depending upon the school.)

This past weekend, we flew down to Charlotte NC and rented a car to drive the 2 hours to Clemson.  We arrived and the entire hotel was packed with other incoming freshman from out of town.  We hit up Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and other stores to buy all the dorm stuff – XL sheets, comforter, pillow, toiletries, organizers, snacks etc.    My credit card got rejected at Target.  I had to reply to a text asking if I had attempted a purchase.  I guess the flurry of activity out of town, set off their system to investigate. 
Saturday morning was move in day.  They had a team of people ready to help us park, get the stuff to the room and get settled in.  We arrived around 10:00 and Eric’s roommate Brent arrived around 1:00.  

Eric’s roommate is fabulous:  A clear answer to prayer.  He and Brent are like two peas in a pod.  They have lots in common with one exception.  Brent is an oldest child.  Eric is a youngest.  A perfect fit in my book.  Those of you who know Eric, know that he can sometimes be a little forgetful and appreciate someone looking out for him.  Brent, being an eldest seems to take this role on easily.   The funny thing is that both Brent and Eric put in a for a random roommate.  It’s nice how things like that sometimes work well. 

 Sunday was the day for goodbyes.  Sigh.  I only cried a little after I said goodbye.  It helps a lot to know that he’s in a great place where he has a high probability of being successful.  

 He admitted to being ‘a little’ nervous before he left but once he got there he didn’t show any signs of it.  I think now that it’s happening, he’s really glad that Jessa is there at Clemson with him.  They are very compatible together and in high school, they were both pretty independent, even as a couple.  I think that style will suit them well at Clemson, but I think both of them are really glad they have each other nearby.  They keep laughing about the fact that their dorms are at opposite ends of campus, maybe a 15 minute walk.  I tell them they are closer at school than they were at home.  At home their houses are 30 minute drive apart; at school, only 15 minutes.  The library is in-between their two dorms.  Maybe they’ll meet up at the library for study dates. 
 As you can see from the pictures peppered throughout this post, our whole family has become Clemson Tigers.  The dogs now have their Clemson attire, the garden flag is posted out front with a big paw.  Heck, even my pandora bracelet is adorned with a Clemson pawprint.  

The first game is Saturday September 1st.  We will be wearing our orange proudly and cheering for the football team.  Us and a bazillion other fans.  There are a TON of Clemson fans - many of whom have no affiliation with the college. I think family weekend is going to be a blast when we get to see a game live.  I think it's going to be WILD.

Oh and about his major.  He is starting in engineering.  He does well in math and science and is interested in medicine (but not med school.) He doesn't see himself as the engineering type (not tinkering with things and making robots) but he has a great mind for problem solving.  We are happy he's starting in engineering. It's much easier to transfer out of engineering than into it, but we are encouraging him to explore all kinds of courses and see what peaks his interest.  Who knows maybe we'll have another engineer in the family?  

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Stop back later in the week for more crafty goodness.