Friday, September 27, 2013

Twins - A Denami chickie card to welcome them

Hi friends,

Today's post is a very happy one.  I've been working at my company (Analog Devices) for 15 years and for most of those years I've worked with many great people.  One of those great people is a guy named Will who is a super genius in our IT group.  He is very smart, very hardworking and a really nice guy. 

We were all so happy to hear last winter that his wife was expecting.  And then we celebrated again when we heard she was expecting twin girls.

The happy day came two weeks ago (the same day we kicked off a very large work project) and Will and wife had their own 'project kick-off.'  The girls were tiny, but healthy and viable.  One twin is home already the other doing well and heading home soon.

So of course I had to make a fun card to celebrate the occassion.

I really wanted to do something girly.  I also really wanted to do something cute.  So I improvised.  Can you believe that I have very few baby stamps?    So I inked up 'hula girl' and inked it twice to represent the two babies and added a few embellishments onto my pink layered background.  I just got an e-mail from Denami that they are offering 10% off so I may be heading over to the website to expand my stamp collection to include some baby stuff. 

We are really hoping that Will's wife will bring the babies to the office once they are settled.  So far we are enjoying the photo's he sends us periodically.

Thanks for visiting my blog today. Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary and I hope to get some time in the craft room this evening to make my dear husband a fun card to celebrate the occasion.  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Papertrey Ink Blog Hop

Hi friends,

Just a short post today to play along with Papertrey Ink's September Blog Hop.  The challenge this month was to make a card with a wreath.

I created this super simple card using the PTI patterned paper and the Mighty Oak die.  I added in a PTI tag attached via twine for this fun and simple creation.

The sentiment says 'thanks so much' and will be perfect for a fall thank you.

Thanks so much for visiting today.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A card for Allyson and info on our new condo and town

Hi friends,

So I made a birthday card for my new neighbor Allyson.  I used a fun Taylored Expression stamp and since my inspiration was from Pinterest this is now eligible for the TE birthday challenge.

First, let me show you my card that I made for Allyson.

Next I will show you Tammie's card which was my pinterest inspiration.

I loved how Tammie did that blue speckling behind her image.  I'm not quite that skilled but did add a blue background to the edge of my image to try to match it.

Since this card is for my new neighbor I thought today would be a good time to give everyone an update on our new place.

So, we've been in our condo for 2 months now and the novelty has worn off, the boxes mostly unpacked and we are on to living our new 'downsized' life.  It's mostly been very positive but now that the newness has worn off I'm ready to admit that not everything about the downsized life is perfect.  Did anyone expect it to be?  I didn't. So let's start with the positive.

I love the fact that my husbands alarm goes off at 5:45am and not 4:45am.  In our old house he had to leave for work at 5:30am to make the 1 1/2 hour drive.  And he wouldn't get home till 6:30pm.  I love the fact that he now eats breakfast at home with me and goes to the gym a few nights a week after work.  He doesn't look quite so tired and that is a really good thing.  I also love that it only takes me 30 minutes to get to work.  In the past it would take anywhere between 50 minutes to 90 minutes for me to make the drive.  Not only do I like the extra time but there was a huge emotional stress that came along with the 'unknown' of the drive.  If I had a 9:00am meeting I would have to leave my house by 7;15 because I never knew what kind of day it would be driving.   Here in our new place, it's never more than 45 minutes unless something really unexpected is going on (which hasn't happened to me yet.)

I love all the restaurants that are all around us now.  We have so many restaurants within a 10 minute drive of our house it is crazy.  And if we drive an extra 10 minutes we have all the restaurants in Cambridge, Brookline and Boston at our fingertips.  As new empty nesters we now eat out about once a week and there are so many great options it is super fun to try them.   And here in this area there is rarely a wait for a table for 2.  In our old house we would have to drive 30 minutes to find any restaurants (besides pizza or fast food) and then we'd often wait 30-60 minutes to get a table.  Very nice.

I love the first floor and the third floor of our condo.  The first floor is a front to back open concept room that includes a very large kitchen, a dining area and a living area.  It's very nice and comfortable. Below are some photo's I took so you can see what a nice space it is.  It is open and bright with lots of light coming in the windows.  Love it!

On the third floor we also have a front to back room that is a mixed use space.  In one corner is a nice double bed that works perfectly for overnight guests.  In the other corner is a 'man cave' type of TV viewing area.  A nice leather loveseat and a big screen TV.  This is a perfect spot for Bob to watch a game by himself or for me to watch a Downton Abbey episode (or two - yes I'm addicted) or for the two of us to watch a movie together.  And in the middle is my craft desk that doubles as a desk area for making phone calls (either work conference calls or just other calls where you want to place to sit and write.)  Note:  I like to 'keep it real' on my blog so notice the super messy craft desk area.  Yes, I'm a sloppy crafter (I had just made this beautiful birthday card at the top of the blog) and no I'm terrible about picking up after myself.  Sorry it's not 'pinterest' beautiful but I wanted to show you the space.  Refer to a previous post if you want to see my craft area in pristine condition.

So I'm sure you are wondering 'what's wrong with the second floor?'  Well, it's not awful but I don't love it.  The second floor has two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  The rooms are small, the air doesn't flow very well between the space and I have a not so great teeny, tiny laundry area.  The second floor is also where I notice the traffic the most.  In the front bedroom during rush hour it is pretty loud.  Cars, trucks, buses all going by, horns honking, trucks shifting gears.  Not especially pleasant.  And the laundry.  Somehow the washing machine will only wash in either very hot water or warm water.  There is no way (that I have found and trust me I've tried every setting) to get a cold cycle.  I have already ruined several items of clothing (sob - lululemon cute green yoga top) with a lack of cold.  My dear husband Bob has agreed to look at it and possible replace it soon.  But in the mean-time, I'm not loving it.  We are still working on the master bedroom and it's cute, but small.  I have added a fan and we ran the A/C a lot this summer (another plus for the condo - our old house had no A/C) and I'm adjusting to the lack of nice breezes in the sleeping areas.

The other thing I don't love about our new downsized life is Waltham drivers and Waltham traffic intersections.   Oh my word - are they obnoxious.  First, if you drive down the main street (Rte 20) and you want to go through several lights to get to the other side of town you have to constantly move from the left lane to the right lane and then back again.  Each light has a 'right turn only' or a 'left turn only' lane and it switches all the time. When we first drove it we were always in the wrong lane and the drivers in this town are not forgiving.  They honked (all of them) and cut you off and made you afraid for your life!  Second there are a number of intersections that are beyond confusing.  In one intersection, Gore Street, Warren Street and Rte 20 all come together.  If you are trying to cross over Rte 20 on Gore Street, it is impossible to really know if you have the right of way.  The light shows you an arrow pointing right, but you need to go left.  If you go left you never know if someone coming from the other direction will side swipe you.  If you stop and wait, the light NEVER GIVES YOU ANYTHING BUT a right arrow and everyone around you honks drives past you and gives you the finger.  So we go left and hold our breath. Don't worry I wasn't driving when I took these pictures.  I was a passenger in my husbands car!  I've learned that when the right arrow is green, no other cars have green so I'm a little more confident crossing, but the other thing about Waltham drivers is that they all run red lights - especially at weird intersections like this one.  So basically I hold my breath as I cross any intersection in town.

And if I thought Waltham drivers were bad, they are MUCH worse in Cambridge and Somerville.  I drove Bob into Somerville one Saturday and I've never heard so many horns honking in my life!  And it was a Saturday at 10:00am.  And I wasn't doing anything wrong!  Crazy.

So the red light below may mean stop or it may mean go.... you never know.  I just do what the car in front of me does and if I'm the lead car and I'm stopped, if the cars behind me beep, I crawl into the intersection slowly and run the light like everyone else.
So the right arrow below means you can go straight or turn left.  Go figure!
So, that's basically the love/hate relationship with the new downsized life.  Thankfully the positives outweigh the negatives and I think we'll get used to most of these things over time.  My friend says that very soon I'll be giving other drivers the finger too.  I really hope that I don't deal with the traffic and drivers by turning into them but ask me again in a few years!

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Stop back later this week for a cute Denami baby card!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wedding Planning

Well, if you follow my blog you may recall that my daughter Sarah has been serving with the U.S. Peace Corps since fall of 2011.  Soon after arriving in her village as an English Teacher she met a like minded Ukranian man, Ivan, and they started dating and soon fell in love.  In July of 2013, he proposed and of course she said yes.

They have submitted paperwork to the US govt for a  K-1 Fiance visa.  Sarah's PC assignment will end in December and if Ivan's paperwork comes through in a timely manner, they will be both come to the US this winter and establish residency.

The K-1 visa will require them to marry within 90 days of arriving in the US so they plan to have a small, informal, wedding shortly after arriving in the US and then having a traditional wedding celebration in the summer.

So in August, we started to make plans for the wedding celebration.   With Sarah and Ivan overseas, Bob and I became their eyes and ears in selecting venues for the ceremony and reception.  If you know me, you know that this type of thing is right up my alley so I was more than happy to dive in and get going.  First step - a spreadsheet of course.  Sarah decided she wanted a 'feet in the sand' ceremony and an evening reception (with a band.)  She wanted to have the wedding in the 'north shore' area of Boston, ideally in Cape Ann, an area that includes towns like Gloucester, Manchester by the Sea, Rockport and others.  It's near where she went to school and where most of her American friends live.  It's a beautiful area known for rocky, hilly views of ocean.  It's also known for art colonies and seafood.  When you think of coastal New England, this area is what comes to mind.

So, I hit the internet and started inquiring about all kinds of options.  There were farms, country clubs, function halls, hotels, yacht clubs and even properties on college campus's.  Each had something interesting to offer, but most of them were quite pricey.  Some had minimum catering requirements (at least 100 people or $10,000 spent.)  Others were fully booked for all Fri/Sat and Sun's in June.   We visited a few and ruled out most of the places based on price or lack of availability.

And then we found the Rockport Art Association.  It is a historic building that is used as an art museum during the day and is rented out at night.  Way back when it was a house and two barns.  Now it's converted into a beautiful space with high ceilings, exposed beams and 'character.'  The price was right, they had availability in June and when we visited it, we had a feeling it would be 'just perfect' for Sarah and Ivan. They are both so artistic, it seemed so natural that their wedding would be at an Art Museum.

So, without any hesitation, we decided to have the ceremony at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester and a reception to follow at the Rockport Art Association.  There are still many decisions and actions to come, but this one was a biggy and we are happy with the choice.  Next step - have Ivan and Sarah's engagement photo's taken and get out the 'save the date' announcements. We also need to establish a wedding blog to provide options for accomodations and choose a caterer.

Oh and a word about Good Harbor Beach.  This is a beautiful sandy beach with a rustic boardwalk leading from the parking area to the beach.  The path to the beach is lined with seagrass and wild roses.  I think it will be beautiful for a wedding ceremony in June.  We are already praying for a nice sunny day.
We are so happy for Sarah and Ivan and I can't wait for them to get here to America and begin their life together.  Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Stop by later this week for a card and another update.

Friday, September 13, 2013

You Color My World

Hi friends,

Back in August my dear husband had a birthday party for me.  He is wonderful.  He arranged that we would stay at a darling little bed and breakfast in Brewster MA (on cape cod) and arranged all the details for a lovely lunch served at my favorite cape cod restaurant.  My family came in from all over the country to celebrate with me and it was really a fun time.  It made me not at all upset about reaching a milestone birthday.

I wanted to send a thank you card to each person who was there and I pulled out this fun DeNami stamp set to make my first card (I know, I'm a little late sending the cards.)

I liked this sentiment (you color my world) because it reflects a slightly deepen thanksgiving than a simple thank you note.  I also thought it went well with the colorful flowers on the card.

Below are some photos of the birthday weekend.  The weather was perfect. It was warm and sunny.    We got in a few good beach days while in town.  Below is the beach at Brewster we visited on Friday.

 This is the outside of the Candleberry Inn.  I loved all the flowers blooming all over the property and the delicious breakfast served each morning.
Below is a photo of my father and his wife Marylu.  They came all the way from Arizona.

 Below is Bob's father and mother in white and my stepfather Peter with the straw hat on.

 Below is Bob and my mom.
 The luncheon was held at the Scituate Harbor Cafe.  It's this place right at the harbor that makes fresh seafood.  We took over a few picnic tables and enjoyed some great lobster rolls and oysters.  Yum.

After lunch some of us headed to Nauset Beach and went for a walk.

 On Sunday we got a few nice group shots at the Inn.

 A really special weekend that I will treasure forever.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Eric's Birthday Card

Hi friends,

A quick post today to show you the card I made for Eric's 20th Birthday.  I used Papertrey Ink's 'Mighty Oak' set (die and stamp) with the PTI chartreuse patterned paper.  What a fun set with lots of possibilities - especially for those, hard to handle, masculine cards.

This year was really nice because Clemson Family Weekend fell on Eric's birthday.  Normally we don't see him on his birthday since he's back to school in August, but it was fun to actually celebrate his birthday with him.  We took him and Jessa to a nice restaurant in Greenville SC (Sobey's) and then went to the football game Saturday. 

Yup, that's us wearing our Clemson Orange (with pride.) 

Eric is doing really well.  He had a busy (but productive summer.)  He had an internship at a paper manufacturing company.   It was difficult work for him for a number of reasons but very good experience for life.  He started the time working side by side with factory workers.  Talk about a motivator to stay in school.  All the people around him encouraged him to stay in school and discussed that without an education factory work was all they could get.  He saw lots of social challenges as he worked side by side with various ages, ethnicity and personalities.

He also had the opportunity to do some factory planning and analysis.  The company was planning on a factory acquisition and Eric worked to determine how the equipment and labor would fit into the new facility.  His analysis helped the company decide that it was not an effective property for them.  Much of the equipment would need to be retrofitted to meet the new lower ceilings in the new space so his work helped the company not engage in a costly move.  At first it felt like a failure to Eric.  All his analysis 'wasted' since they wouldn't actually move the equipment and go with the plan he created, but we (and others) insisted that his work was invaluable since without that analysis they never would have known the true cost of the move and would have made a bad business decision.

He finished his internship in late July and then went to visit Sarah in Ukraine and travel with her to Germany.   That was a good trip.  They got to spend some fun time together, he got to meet his future brother in law (Ivan) and see a little bit of Europe (both Eastern and Western.)   He headed back to school in Mid-August and this year (sophomore year) he got to bring his beater car with him.  Jessa drove with them and they had a nice (but long) car ride down.  I think it was about 16 hours.  Thankfully Eric and Jessa have made the transition from high school sweethearts to a college couple.  We adore Jessa and the two of them are so good for each other.  It was a long-shot that they would make the transition but they treat each other with respect and give each other a little space and they made it work.

Here they are at the Smokin Pig.

Adorable!  Thanks for visiting today.  I hope to be back to blogging at least once a week now that our move is over and the weather is cooling off.  Have a great day!