Thursday, January 31, 2013

What kind of runner shall I be?

Hello friends,

Remember me?  I have been quite distracted this month and have not been crafting very much.  And since I usually blog about my crafts, well, I've been a little absent.

But I'm back today with a short post and a crafty project to share.

Did I make this card recently?  Well, define recently?  I made this in early January.  One of the main reasons I haven't been crafting is because I am re-locating my craft space as we have the house on the market.  Trust me, no-one wants to see my craft clutter all over the family room when they are touring our house in the open house.  So I have been sorting and purging and organizing my stuff and have set up a very small craft area in one part of the house.  I haven't finished setting up my new space but I hope to have it done this weekend.   I have a few February birthdays to get busy with.

So I've been thinking about something lately.   I have been really wondering what kind of runner I am going to be.  I have decided that I am going to be a runner.  It's just do I want to attempt to become a long distance runner?  I had heard about the Princess half marathon and had really imagined it would be cool to do that.  I mean how fun would it be to run through disney world?  And lots of people my age (and my weight) run half marathons.  Everyone has told me that if I set my mind to it and train for it I can do it.  But then lots of sane people who are really into fitness also say 'I won't ever run one of those.'

And then when I mentioned to my chiropractor that I wanted to run a half marathon he jokingly said 'well I'll be seeing you after that is done.'  Hmmmm, doctors telling me that I will need medical care after it.  Fit people saying they won't do it and then countless stories of people who say 'I used to run, until that injury after running XX miles (insert number over 10)'

So that got me thinking.  What is the real benefit of running 13.1 miles?  I get lots of benefits from running 3 miles.  I get lots of benefits of running 5 miles.  But it seems that the health benefit diminishes after you move past the 10k and get to the longer runs.  And let's face it.  I'm 50.  And until last year pretty out of shape.

What prompted me to consider this today of all days?  Well in December I started seeing a chiropractor - Dr. Wexler out of Framingham.  He is a great doctor and a great guy.  I highly recommend him.  And he told me to not run while he was making his corrections to my neck and spine.  From the x-rays it was clear that my neck was out of alignment and he said running would further empahsis the incorrect curvature and that low impact activity was fine (and encouraged) but the impact of running should stop - until my spine was back in alignment.  So last week (my 6 week mark under his treatment) he gave me the go-ahead to start running again.  Thanks a lot doc.  I was enjoying the break during the winter. The day he told me that it was 3 degrees out.    I wondered do I even want to start running again?

Then Wednesday was predicted to be in the 50's.  And Wednesday is my day off.  So I determined to go for a run on Wednesday and see how it felt.    Tank and I headed off the golf course and did a three mile treck.  It felt great, but it also hurt.  My neck and shoulder hurt while running and after.  But I felt great.  I loved the feeling of running (after I got past the first 1/4 mile.)  But after 3 miles I also loved the feeling of being done and I had to put ice on my neck to ensure I didn't get swelling.  I'll go back to Dr. Wexler tomorrow for a regular adjustment and he'll tell me if my run set me back any. 

But based on yesterdays experience I decided, yes I want to be a runner.  But no - I don't want to be a distance runner.  So instead of making plans for the princess 1/2 marathon, I'll have my eye out for some fun 5k or 5 mile races this spring and summer.

Any of you have any thoughts (or facts) about this topic?  I could still be swayed in the other direction and would love other opinions from those who have any expertise on the subject.  Dr. Wexler's opinion will play into my final leaning as well.

Well, thanks for visiting my blog today.  I hope to have another post next week.  I am hopeful that I'll be doing more crafting in February now that I have my new craft space.

Friday, January 25, 2013

papertrey ink January Blog Hop

Hi friends,

Today's post is for the January PTI blog hop.  The challenge this month was to use a black background on a card.  This style is becoming very popular - especially to create a chaulk board effect.

I went a different route with my card.  I used my hexagon stamp set and a mask from the die to create a nice black background image.  Then I added in aqua mist as an accent color.

This card is for my friend Bridget.  She is moving back to NY to be closer to family.  We have gotten to know each other over the last year and I'm happy that she is making this very important life decision, but I will miss her. I hope we are successful at staying in touch.

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What's new in the empty nest

Hi friends,

Today's card features a fun snowman image from Taylored Expressions 'the cool crowd.'  These images are fun and easy to work with.  They do get some coloring - blues for the shading and various colors for the snowman's accessories, but the coloring is quick and easy.
I figured it's been a while since I did a 'what's new in the empty nest' post, although I have blogged a lot about the family over the holidays.

So what IS new in the empty nest?  Well, the main thing that is new is that Bob and I are turning our beautiful and comfortable home into a marketable property for a new family to see, fall in love with and settle into.  We have sold a number of houses and for me, it is easiest to disengage from the 'home' several weeks before it officially goes on the market.  By disengage I mean, I no longer consider the house my home, with everything set up just the way I like it.  Instead I mentally disengage from the home aspect and try to think of it like a rental, a place where I'm staying for a while AND then clean it and set it up as a product I want to sell.  This week, and coming weekend, Bob and I will be busy painting.  I intend to paint the trim in Eric's room on Wednesday and finish boxing up his books, trophies and personal items.  Then I'll decorate his room like a model home, putting his younger boy items on the shelves and walls.   Bob will get to painting Sarah's room Saturday and I'll do a similar thing in her room Sunday.  My plan is to completely finish one room per week.   If we are able to do that we should be ready for the open house on February 24th.

Let's see, what else is new in the nest?  Well, sadly I gained 4 pounds over the holidays.  It was very easy to do.  Weight Watchers talks a lot about how our environment influences our eating and I am a big time victim of a poor environment.  As soon as Eric came home there were snacks and sweets in the house.  So for 3-4 weeks we had all kinds of tempting foods in the pantry and I wound up eating all kinds of foods I hadn't been in the habit of eating - like chips and brownies!  Last week I tossed a bunch of things out and now the house is much more weight watchers friendly.  Now I just have to get my portions under control, start using a tracker to keep track of what I eat and hopefully within a a few weeks be back at my goal weight again.  A huge priority for my life in 2013 is to keep the weight I lost off. 

Another priority is to help my daughter as she considers big life-time decisions as a young adult.  She is going to be 24 this year and when her peace corp service ends in November/December she will be making key decisions about her boyfriend, her career and where she wants to start her life.  She is very smart and very wise.  She is also really looking for my input in these areas so I'm trying to be available to her when she can talk or skype to help her gain confidence and offer her wisdom into her situations. 

Bob and I listened to a podcast sermon by Andy Stanley on our way home from the out of town Christmas party this past weekend and the scripture used was from Nehemiah. "I am engaged in a great work, so I can't come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?"  Nehemiah 6:3.  Andy challenged us to consider what is the great work I am called to do this year?  How can I build boundaries in my life to ensure that less important things don't get in the way of the great work.  For 2013 I consider my great work to be loving and supporting my family (Bob, Sarah and Eric) and ensuring that I develop life-long healthy habits including weight maintenance.

What about you?  Do you have a great work you are called to do in 2013?  How will you guard your time and attention to make sure nothing distracts you from that great work?

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

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Another Winter Day

Hi friends,

It's another ordinary winter day.  Sigh.  The days are short and while the weather isn't cold, it's certainly not beach weather either.  I don't really suffer from seasonal light disorder (or whatever it's officially called) but I do find myself struggling to be motivated and energized in January.

Today I have a bright and fun birthday card to share with you.  I gave this card to my cousin's daughter Lane this weekend.  Sadly Lane had the flu and could not attend the family belated christmas party.  I debated about giving her a get well card or a birthday card but since her birthday is early January, chose to go the birthday route.

I love adding black accents to pastel cards.  I think it adds a nice pop to the colors, but don't always think to do it.

Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a great day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wonderful Washi (tape that is...)

Hi friends,

Are you here for the DeNami Blog Hop?  Welcome. Thanks for visiting and as you probably know, if you leave a comment, you may win a gift certificate.  Good luck in the drawing.  I have never had someone win from my blog yet, so I am very over-due.  Maybe January is your lucky month!

The challenge this month is to make a card using Washi tape.  I had a business trip that took me to Japan last spring and I found a cool store called Tokyu Hands in Tokyo (yes I spent hours in the store, yes I bought lots of cute things.)  It is a fun store for 'do it yourselfers of all types'  They have locations in Japan and Taiwan, so if you are ever there check it out.  You can also get the same beautiful washi tapes from Denami, but without the long flight and expense.  But, if you find yourself in Japan or Taiwan, check it out.  It is superfun.  It is all merchandised beautifully and they had a huge selection of papercrafting supplies including copic markers, stamps and YES - lots of Washi Tape.  So, like many of you, I bought a bunch of pretty rolls of washi tape and then allowed them to sit unused for months.  I mean, what do you do with washi tape?  Well, from seeing the inspiration of others I decided to get out the Japanese Washi Tape and make a card.  I liked it so much, I made TWO. 

And since I figured you guys are probably wondering how to use Washi tape also I figured I'd give you a little information about HOW I used the washi tape on my cards.

So, first up is a fun purple card.  Here I used the washi tape in two ways.  First I snipped the edges off and made my washi tape into varying length banners.  Super easy and super cute.  I added the ice skates from my DeNami collection for a fun winter themed card.

I also wanted to add another pop of washi tape color and pattern to my card so instead of putting a button on my ribbon bow, I made a Washi Tape thingamabob to adhere to the bow.

To make the thingamabob, I put some tape on my card stock and used my circle punch to get this fun small circle.
Easy Peasy and I think this little extra detail pulls the card together a bit more.  Sure, I could have left it out, but I was challenging myself to be creative with my Washi Tape.

Okay, next up is another washi tape card - this one is pretty in pink.
For this card, I put three rows of washi tape together to provide a background and then paper pieced my washi tape on my stamped images.  To do this, put your washi tape on scrap card stock.  Then stamp your image twice. First stamp it on white card stock.  I cut my images out with the circle punch.    Then stamp your image (or images) a second time on the Washi/Card Stock.  Cut out the image (here I just cut out the bottom mittens and top of the hat) and adhere your Washi image onto your stamped image allowing some areas of your image to remain white.  Of course I added some glitter to the mittens and hat, added some twine and a circle sentiment and VOILA - a fun washi tape winter card.


So, see using Washi Tape isn't hard at all.  It's just coming up with the idea that's challenging.  Also, in the above card I put my washi tape on WHITE card stock but then allowed part of it to hang over.  Then when I adhered that layer onto my pinks, the washi overlapped partly on pink.  It makes a nice effect of varying color.

If you are following the 'hop' your next stop is Kanani Kawamura

Don't forget to leave a comment before you go to be eligible to win!  Thanks for visiting and have a great day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Hi friends,

I don't know about you, but I love stamping with snowmen.  They are so darn cute and fun in the wintertime.  I like to create with my snowmen all winter long - not just for Christmas so when I wanted to make a gift pack of handmade cards I grabbed this fun Taylored Expression set 'the cool crowd.'

Since I didn't want these to look like Christmas. I stayed with a green and blue color scheme.  These guys really are cool in person (pun intended.)

I hope to get a few more snowmen cards in before spring officially arrives.  Since spring rarely arrives before April, I think I've got a little time.

So, what's new with you in 2013?  We are busy for the next few weeks preparing our house to put on the market.  I have it set up with the realtor to come by and take pictures and sign paperwork on February 13th.  That is only 6 weeks away and while we have been slowly working away at painting and clean-up projects we still have quite a bit of work to do to get ready.  We have only lived in this house 5 1/2 years and even in that short time we've accumulated a lot of stuff.  Sarah went through her items when she was home and I dropped off about 6 bags of assorted clothes, bags, books, puzzles and games at Treasures (the school thrift store.)  I've been bringing a load of stuff to them every other week for the last few months.  They are going to miss me when I'm done.

Today I emptied Sarah's two large bookcases and boxed up all her books.  She wants to keep them all (remember she was an english major and LOVES books) so that took a little time to get them all packed up.  Next on my list (for her room) is to box up the things in her closet that she wants to keep.  Hopefully I'll be finished with her room by next Sunday and Bob can put a fresh coat of paint in there and I can do a deep clean of everything.  Sigh.  Lots of work and lots of memories.  It will be good though.  I'm confident that we'll find another house we love and create new memories there too.  We've lived in 4 houses in the last 25 years and we've enjoyed our time in each of them, so while I'm feeling nostalgic about this house, I'm also pragmatic about it and know that the memories will go with us and not stay behind.

What's on your 'to do' list for January?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Make It Monday - Repeats and Rainbows

Hi friends,

Last night I headed down to the craft room and did a PTI make it Monday challenge.  I haven't played in a make it Monday challenge in forever.  It was fun to create with PTI goodies again.

The challenge this week was to use repetition and rainbow colors.  This is a style I don't always use so it was a great challenge for me.  It took me out of my comfort zone which is a perfect thing for a cold January evening.

Check out Nichole Heady's blog below for details on the challenge.

I chose to use Nichole's Rainbow color selection.

These are fun, bright colors and thankfully I had orange zest ink, paper and ribbon to work with.

Thanks for stopping by today and visiting my blog.  Have a great day and come back tomorrow for a fun snowman card.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hi friends,

I'm back with a crafty project to share today.

Impression Obsession has a challenge going on now called 'It's your choice.'  I love these kind of challenges.  I can do whatever I want (well at least with the stamps!)  I was playing with purples (for the DeNami challenge card that I'll post on Sunday) and loved those colors for January so I inked up I/O stamp - F2290 Flower Pitchers and did a purple color scheme.

It seems like I typically use oranges and pinks with this stamp, but doesn't it look great with the violets? 

You can play along too, click the link below for details.

Don't have time to make a card for this challenge, no worries.   You can still win!  I/O is also have a blog hop with prizes to win so check out their blog this week for inspiration and a chance to win.

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

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A really great 3 weeks

Hi friends,

How are you doing in this new year?  I am doing great.   We had such a nice Christmas and New Year's Celebration.  It was such a treat for us to have my daughter home from Ukraine and my son home from Clemson S.C.  We had a nice mix of travelling and visiting and relaxing at home.

It wound up being really great that the company my husband and I both work for shut down for two weeks.  We were off work from December 21st (last day) until January 7th (Monday when we go back.)  It enabled us to really spend time with our kids and extended family and not feel stressed out with too many other obligations.

Below is a visual highlight of our time off.

First, I made my first SUCCESSFUL pinterest recipe.  My usual experience with pinterest recipes is I see something I like but when I make it, it looks nothing like the picture.  Voila.....  my christmas chocolate covered strawberries looked AND tasted amazing!  AND, it was super easy.  Melting white chocolate in the microwave and then dipping in green sprinkles.  Yum.

Jessa came over and helped Sarah and Eric wrap gifts  She was so proud of the excellent wrapping job on her gift (a travel mug) for me.  It was darling!  Thanks Jessa.
I did an impulse buy at Michaels and bought this 'do it yourself' gingerbread house.  The kids had fun putting it together, all by themselves.
We had snow on Christmas morning.  It was so nice to have a white Christmas.  Even thought we live in New England, it is still rare to actually have snow on Christmas.
Eric did not put anything on his Christmas wish list.  So that meant that everyone got him CLEMSON items.  I loved this little Clemson pillow pet.
Sarah really enjoyed spending time with her cousins.  It's funny to call them all kids still.  The youngest is 14!
Our tree.  We made the switch to an artificial tree last year.  While I do miss the real tree (and the evergreen smell) it is a beautiful tree and we have so many pretty ornaments (old and new) to decorate it.
On Wednesday the 19th, Eric, Jessa, Bridget and I headed down to Jordan's furniture and enjoyed walking through the 'enchanted village.'  It was really darling and a fun, relaxing day with friends and family.
Sarah's homecoming!  On Friday the 21st Bob and I headed to Logan airport (with balloons and flowers) to get Sarah from Ukraine.  It was a joyous homecoming!
What did Sarah want to do (after eating at Panera Bread?)  Go to Target.  She was so happy to be at an American Store.  They don't have department stores (or Target) in Eastern Europe.
Jessa also got quite a few clemson things.  She seemed to really like this fleece clemson blanket.  

On Sunday before Christmas we headed into Boston for the day.  Sarah's friend Kellie joined us.
Here we are skating on frog pond.

Then we went to the North End and enjoyed a wonderful italian dinner.
We got cupcakes from DC cupcakes on Newbury street and then carried them around the city all evening.  Sadly when we got home and unwrapped them, we saw this.  ) - :
They still tasted yummy.
Sarah brought back Ivan's old border guard hat.  He loved it.  He looks very soviet like in it.
 Sarah was super happy with her gifts Christmas morning.  Here she is with her 'stash.'
 The day after Christmas, the girls headed to Kimberly's day spa in Latham NY for Mani-pedi's.

 For New Year's we headed to Vermont to enjoy some quality time with my mom and sister.  On the way to VT we stopped at Yankee Candle Village in Deerfield MA.  Believe it or not they had Santa and Mrs. Claus still there.  I made Jessa and Eric get a photo.

My mom loved her hat, scarf and Ukrainian wine gift.  She wore her hat to bed!

My brother and law went with the kids to ski on Monday, Bob and I headed off to Harpoon brewery for lunch and then King Arthur Flour bakery.

 That evening (new year's eve) the kids were pretty wiped out, so we enjoyed chinese food (take out) and then watched the Chik Fil A bowl. Eric and Jessa were so darn cute snuggling on the couch.

We were all sooo excited when Clemson came out with a WIN in the last seconds of the game.  Go Tigers!

 Lastly, when we got back home, I enjoyed some nice walks up at the golf course with the snow.  Tank loves going up there off leash in the snow.  He just runs around and gets snow EVERYWHERE.

So, that is my photo journal of my 3 weeks of Christmas Vacation.  Now I'm off to help Sarah finish packing her bags and take her to the airport.  I hope I don't cry too much saying goodbye.  We have Eric for a few more days, but then he heads back next week and the house will get really quiet again.  It was great having them home and it will also be fine getting back to the routine in the empty nest again.  Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Stop back tomorrow for some crafty pictures....