Sunday, January 25, 2015

Valentine's Day

Hello friends,

Today I have a valentine's card to show you.  I used Karen Giron's Sweet Sunday Sketch as my sketch inspiration and I made it with hearts with PTI products for Papertrey Ink's blog hop.

I love when a challenge comes along that encourages me to make a card - early.  So often I'm making a card at the last possible moment.  Now I can R-E-L-A-X knowing I've got my dear husband's card finished and ready.

I even fancied up the envelope with a liner to make it a little more special.  Inside it says 'Love you Forever with two little hearts.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Acetate Card and new glasses

Hello friends,

When I went to that stampin up workshop last weekend, we made this fun birthday card using acetate as the card.  I've used acetate before (and love the impact) but always forget about how fun and unique this is.

So, do you wear glasses?  I do.  I started wearing glasses when I was in my mid-20's.  I remember driving at dusk one day with a friend and yelling at a pedestrian who walked out in front of my car 'don't you know we can't see you!!!'  My friend said 'you didn't see him?'  I said, no, not until I was almost on him!  And for the record, no he was not walking in the cross-walk!

Well, I went to the eye doctor and got glasses to fix that situation.  Good thing the event happened on a main street with lots of traffic lights and no-one was going more than 5 miles an hour.

So, lucky for me my prescription doesn't change much year to year, so it's been over 2 years since I've gotten new glasses.  Now that Bob wears glasses too, we try to stagger who gets them year to year since they get quite pricey (especially since I love the fun new designer frames.)

A few years ago I discovered that I could save a ton of money by buying my glasses at Target so I went to the Target Optical in my old town.  There was this great guy who worked there, Richard, who was informative, friendly and always helped me pick a nice pair.  So last year, I told Bob to head to Target (and not pay ridiculous optometrist office prices) so he headed to the Target near work (keep in mind this location is 30-40 miles from the one I went to with Richard.  He comes home with a FABULOUS pair of sunglasses and told me that Richard helped him.  I guess Richard lives between the two locations and transferred.

So of course this year, when my flex spending money kicked in, and it was time for me to go get my new glasses, we had to go see Richard.  I actually called the store to see if he was working on Sunday.  The guy who answered said, no, he's not working Sunday but he's here on Saturday.  We made plans to see him and it was funny, when we showed up, he remembered both of us and confessed that when someone (that would be me) called to see if he was working, he thought it was his girlfriend checking up on him.   We all got a good laugh over that and he was thrilled to hear that we changed our schedule to visit the store on a day he was working so he could help us.

No surprise, Richard helped me pick out a great pair of glasses.  They are the ones on the left.
What do you think?
Bob wasn't so sure about the clear... but Richard and I convinced him.  

While we were there I brought a VERY old pair of prescription sunglasses to see if he could adjust them.  They were scratched and VERY crooked on my face.  Richard did a good job getting them in the best shape possible, but since the sunglasses were on sale, both Richard and Bob convinced me to replace those too.  Here they are with just regular lenses in them (to the right), but I think they'll look fabulous as sunglasses.  These pictures probably aren't very good, so when they come in and I pick them up, I'll take some photo's for you to see them.  

Do you have an experience with someone where you go out of your way to be served by them.  Don't you love when you get great service and want to go back to that person?  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A bird card and what's your parenting style?

Hi friends,

Just a quick update for you all.  Below is a fun birthday card I made at a stampin up workshop last weekend.  Even though I have so many supplies, I still love making cards that someone else designed in a group setting.  I just show up and leave with 4 fun cards.  And there are snacks.

I haven't been very chatty on the blog lately so I thought I'd shake things up for you and get you thinking.

 One topic that has been all over my social media accounts lately is the topic of parenting.  Specifically - the extremes of parenting styles.  One hand are the 'helicopter parent's who won't let their 10 year old kid slice a tomato or meat on their plates for fear of injury.  On the other hand are the 'free range' parents who send a 6 year old off with a sibling to the park alone and are outraged when others question their judgement.  So below is a link to an article to get you thinking about where you stand on this topic.
Probably none of us (reading my blog) are fully over in either camp, but which side of the fence do you lean towards?  for me, I definitely lean more toward the free range parenting style as best.  How about you?  Are you more on the helicopter parent side?  Why do you think you fall on one side vs another.  Most likely personal experience (either your own or with your kids) makes you where you are.    My sister and I grew up with a lot of freedom and flexibility.  My kids did too.  Of course times change, but it is interesting to see how significantly what was considered acceptable 20 years ago is now cause for police action!  What do you think.  Go ahead leave a comment and let me know.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Floral Birthday Card

Hi friends,

I had a birthday card to make this weekend.  I decided to go with a floral theme.  Floral cards are so fun, you just can't go wrong with them.  It's not that clear in the picture (cloudy day today in New England) but I heat embossed the 2 step stamping step.  I used paper-trey ink's stamp set 'garden grace' and red and pink with light green ink color.

If you see the card in person you would notice a nice shiny tone to the flower petals and leaves.  It was so fun and easy.  Making cards like this brings back the fun of stamping.  I found Christmas overwhelming and am just now starting to get back in the groove of the fun.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Make it a great day.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Christmas Crafts

Hi friends,

Our family has a tradition where we have a post-Christmas celebration (this year it was January 3rd) where the ladies draw names and hand-craft an item for the recipient.

I decided to venture off my papercrafting hobby and ventured into fabric crafting.

I coaxed my dear husband to come to the fabric store with me and I found two lovely prints to use to make tote bags: one for me and one for Linden (my craft name.)

I took lots of pictures of the process.  First, I found two corresponding fabrics in canvas for the outer layer.  Then I found a corresponding fabric for the lining.  I added fusible interfacing to give the bag more structure.  I sewed the two canvas fabrics together and then cut out my 16 X 16 inch squares.

Next it was time to put Sarah's sewing machine to work.  I sewed up the edges of the canvas and lining and then added the pleats for the bottom and the handles.  Next step is to sew it all up and flip it around.  Last step sew the finishing edge and you are done.

I repeated the process for the blue floral fabric.  For this bag the contrasting solid was a blue denim.

I wanted the bags to have a firm structure for the bottom.  I hate tote bags with floppy bottoms! So I purchased some plastic cross-stitch material at Michaels and cut it out to go to the bottom of the bag. I then sewed the contrasting solid in a pouch to hold the firm plastic and then inserted these 'bottoms' into the bag.  No more floppy bottoms.  Bottoms that stand up as they should!

Voila - Two tote bags - complete!  It took me a few hours - mostly because I had never done it before, but I was quite proud of my accomplishment.  I use my turquoise bag back and forth to the gym.  I filled Linden's bag with a comfy, cozy robe and gave it to her at the belated Christmas Party.

Hopefully as a college student she'll find a use for it.  I know she'll use the cozy robe - winters are cold in upstate NY and a bright tote bag can be used for shopping, gym or books!

 I added a zigzag stitch to finish it.  I think the purple lining is super fun with this color combo.

I have not sewed anything (except on my cards) in sooo many years.  I was very intimidated by the thought of doing this all by myself, but thankfully there are you tube videos out now and Whitney does a great job explaining how to do it on her videos.  She's a darling girl with big bushy eye-brows! Check out her video here!  Whitney Sews.

Basic Lined Tote Bag by Whitney Sews

As for the gift I received, I got a great one.  My cousin Caroline is a fabulous knitter.  She not only knits but spins her own yarn.  This is a neck warmer/scarf and it's so nice.  The yarn on this is both soft and warm.  It's not at all heavy and is the perfect weight to offer warmth without bulk. I love it.  I wore it to work today and within moments of walking in the door (with my winter coat still on) received a compliment on it.  With the cold winters we have in Boston, this will get a lot of use, I know.

The colors are so beautiful.  It has an ombre effect since the color transitions from light to dark.  Just gorgeous.  I love it!

Thanks for visiting today.  Make it a great day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Back to the routine and a masculine birthday card


Are you back into your normal, non-holiday, routine?  My company shuts down over the holidays and we enjoyed a nice break from the everyday from December 23rd-January 4th.  So January 5th was a harsh welcome back to reality.  Can I say that it really stinks to wake up to an alarm clock?  On a cold winter day?  The good news is there is lots to look forward to in 2015, so although it hasn't been fun to wake up early and head to work, I do love my job and I love the people I work with so it's not terrible.

And soon, I'll be challenged with a new opportunity at work.  Just prior to the break I got the confirmation that the details had been worked out and starting Feb 1st I'll have a new job (with a promotion and new title!)  I'm excited about the new opportunity (I'll have 4 people working for me) and I'll be doing some new things related to pricing.   I'll still work for the same boss and I'll still be in the same dept, but my role in the group will be very different and many of the responsibilities I have now will need to get transitioned to others in my dept. The hard part is there is so much that is still going in my old job.  I'll be challenged to finish up strong in my old role and then jump into the new one in a few weeks.  

You might be wondering - will I still do my international travelling in my new role?  The answer is - I have no idea.  My new roles is still worldwide, but in the old role I was responsible for training and that won't be my focus in my new role, so my gut says probably not so much international travel in the new job.  And that's actually a good thing.  Last year I made so many trips and missed so much of the summer so I'm kind of glad that it may be minimized in the future.

So, I do have a card to share.  The photo is terrible.  The lighting is terrible, but the card has already been sent to it's recipient (my father in law) so I don't have a chance to re-take the photo.  Happy Birthday Dad.  Hope you have a great day!

This was a birthday card with a snow scene.  It's a fun shaker card with 'snow' inside the box.  I added quite a bit of texture to this masculine card.  It isn't my favorite, but it does convey they message 'happy birthday.'

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

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Hello friends,

Happy New Year.  I wish you the healthiest and happiest year ahead.  Are you excited about what 2015 may bring?  I am.  2014 was a busy and joyful year for us and while we loved all the excitement, I for one, am looking forward to a slightly less eventful year ahead, but who knows what surprises may await us.

Before I give you an update on one event we expect to happen in 2015, let me share my Christmas cards.  I found myself way behind the 8 ball this Christmas on cards.  On Sunday December 21st I had not only NOT made any cards, but had not even planned for the design of the cards and we were away celebrating with my mom and sister until lunchtime in ME.  So I got home around 2:30, headed up to the craft room and whipped together two designs and got busy making 10 of each.  Not my best work, but thankfully the stamp sets are fabulous (and easy to use) so I got good results without a ton of effort. Then at 8:30 at night, I had my dear husband busy addressing envelopes and got them in the mail Monday morning.  Hopefully they arrived Christmas week (and not a week later) and next year (I vow) I will start MUCH, MUCH earlier.  The funny thing about this?  I actually bought 4 Christmas stamps this year!  Ba Ha Ha....  At least stamps I CAN plan to use them next year.

So, what do I have in store for 2015?  Well, the big news is that Bob and I are buying a cabin in New Hampshire.  We've been talking about it for many, many years, but this is the year when it will happen.  When my grandmother died, many years ago, she left me an inheritance.  It was not a huge inheritance but enough money to aside with plans to use it for 'something worthwhile.'  We intentionally didn't spend it because we had Sarah and Eric to get through college.  We had been saving for their school since they were babies, but things happen and we wanted to have a little reserve in case they either needed more money for school or our financial situation changed.  Then we downsized and bought a new place (thankfully under the original house budget) and we thought right away, this is good, we can get this place AND still maybe be able to get a place up north.   Then Sarah got engaged and we wanted to be sure we had enough for her wedding. So now that all those things came together, this was the time when we felt it was reasonable to act on the dream.  Things were too uncertain prior to now and we are glad we waited.

Now all this time, we've been 'looking.'  A few years ago we went up north and considered buying land.  We didn't find anything that struck our fancy, and we were nervous about the very unpredictable costs of building from scratch, especially when site work costs can be high in remote areas.  And I've been on the real-estate sites several times a year, seeing what's around in the area we like.

All that thinking and looking, locked us in on the area we wanted to focus on.  We wanted to be near a ski area, less than 2 hours drive from our house and in a 'peaceful' area where we could get away from the city.  We also wanted something, move in ready.  Bob is very handy, but did not want to be a slave to constant repairs on a place that was meant for relaxation.

So, this fall we worked with a realtor and headed up north on multiple occasions to see places that looked interesting.  In mid-December, we found this cabin on a dirt road, in the middle of no-where that we both just loved.  So Monday we headed back up to look at it a second time.  We brought Eric with us and he loved it too, so we made an offer and after a bit of back and forth we got an agreement.  We are set to close in Mid-February.  We are excited.  We have our condo in the city, that is perfect for our Mon-Fri life and now we'll have a mountain cabin to go to on the weekends to get away.  The place we found is less than 20 minutes from Mount Sunapee (a nice mid-size resort right up 89.)  The place is about 1 1/2 hours door to door from our condo and 5 minutes off the highway (where there is a very convenient marketbasket grocery store.)   Half a mile away (in the woods) is a little remote pond (stocked with trout) for fishing and 1 mile away is a town lake for swimming, picnicking and kayaking.

Want to see?  Of course you do!

Here is a view of the cabin from the front door.
This is a view of the 'meadow.'  We don't call it a lawn, it is much too naturalized for that, but it's a nice wide open space.  This is what we see out the window from the kitchen and screened porch.  Eric says it's perfect for wiffle ball.  I think we could set up archery, and a nice wildflower garden.  Bob has plans for a fire pit and Sarah might do some organic gardening for fresh veggies!
Here is a view of the upstairs loft.  There is a half bath and another room in the back.  We think this will be a perfect 'bunk room' for when we have a bunch of people want to stay over.  If we have grandkids, this will be a fun place for them to all sleep!
And here is the screen porch, a very nice place to relax and look out over the meadow.
I didn't take pictures of the downstairs, but trust me, it's very cool.  The main room has a big stone fireplace with a wood stove in it, rustic hardwood floors and beams on the ceiling.  The kitchen is sufficient (not galley size) with painted white cabinets and some old appliances that hopefully work!

The best part is the location.  It's at the top of a hill on a town maintained dirt road.  Our cabin is the last house on the road and then it becomes a class 6 road.  This means no cars, but hiking, ATV's or snowmobiles only.
This is the start of the class six road, heading further up the mountain and into the woods towards the trout stocked pond.  We hiked up it and it was just gorgeous.

So with the cabin, we are hoping that 2015 will be the year of getting out doors more often.  I have no resolutions this year, just a few 'more of this, less of that statements.'  The two I'm focused on today are 'move more, snack less' and 'experience more, purchase less.'  Those seem like good mantras for focus on for the next few weeks.

I hope you have a great start to your New Year.  Thanks for visiting today.