Monday, November 26, 2007

Dear Santa ... (stick with it -- pics at end)

Well, I apologize for not being here to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving. The eternal sinus infection was the culprit again, along with a there-day migraine. But I am thankful for so many things – family, my home, the blessings of being able to afford (mostly) the tons of stamping/scrapping stuff I have, my talents, and most of all the Savior who loves me just like I am (boy is that a big love!) and loves me too much to leave me like this!

So it’s on to Christmas. First of all, I feel a need to write Santa my Christmas list this year. I’m not going to put the usual “peace on earth, good will to men” stuff on there. I mean, Jesus came and brought that already. It’s here, it’s just up to people to accept the gift of it in Him, and it doesn’t seem like too many people really want to do that, so many of them reject Him. So if Jesus Himself can’t get them to, I don’t imagine Santa is gonna be able to do much better. So on to the “selfish” stuff:

Dear Santa,
Okay, I don’t know that I’ve really been all that “good” this year. I’ve been pretty whiney, discouraged and darned selfish a lot of the year. But let’s just overlook that stuff, okay? You know, in the spirit of Christmas and all that. I’m not going to ask for the “big stuff” – good health, world peace, etc. That seems to be out of your realm (with all due respect). So here, without further ado, is my wish list for Christmas 2007:
1) A major trip to New Zealand. Like, three or four weeks, at least. This is Number One on the list, and, yes, I’m going to keep bugging you about it until I get it. ;-)
2) Have my credit card debt paid off. I promise to cut up my card and close out the account once this happens! Yes, PROMISE. I’ve even told Bjorn this, so he’ll hold me to it.
3) A Cricut diecutting machine for my scrapping, and lots of wonderful little cartridges to go with it. Yes, I really do need one. Desperately. Trust me on this.

Um … other than that I can’t really think of anything. I’m keeping it simple this year, as you can see, so it shouldn’t be too hard for you to come across with the goods. As always, there’ll be cookies and milk waiting for you and goodies for the reindeer.

Ever yours,

P.S. If my mother tries to talk you out of the New Zealand trip – DON’T LISTEN TO HER! You know she’s overprotective, so just nod your head, say “Uh huh”, and then go ahead with the tickets, etc., anyway. Thanks!

Okay, back to reality. We’re traveling for Christmas this year (not New Zealand, sadly; but we will be visiting family), which I dread because of the health issues I always seem to have this time of year. I just really have felt rotten for the last month, but I’m hoping my doc and my neurologist can work out something to help me get over the sinus thing and the migraines. I thought I had a plan to lick the migraines, since they’re hormonal, but that doesn’t seem to be working, so I feel like I’m kinda back to square one there. I will be seeing the neuro on the 18th, I think, so maybe we can figure something out before I have to travel. I always feel like I’m such a lousy house guest for my in-laws’ when we’re there at Christmas, and I don’t think it’s going to be any better this year. It’s hard to explain to extremely healthy people that you really aren’t slacking, you just really, really feel rotten. They’re sweet people, but I feel like I must be an alien to them sometimes!

So, anyway, enough whining. Being sick meant I did get my entire novel (such as it is so far) “charted” with my Scene Tracker chart program. I’m not ready to jump into figuring out the plot yet, though. I still have lots of scenes to write (and, therefore, chart), so I’m gonna concentrate on that for awhile.

I did manage to make a couple of cards the other night. One of my customers wanted me to make cards for two of her grandchildren’s upcoming birthdays (she doesn’t feel confident enough in her stamping yet to make cards – she’s a scrapbooker), so I said I would do that. I’m very pleased with the one for the 21-yr-old girl, not as much the one for the 19-yr-old boy (guys are so hard to make cards for sometimes!), but I’m hoping she’ll like them. Here they are:

This first one uses an image from Sparkle-and-Sprinkle stamps, and the paper is the "Charbon" PP set from Stampin' UP! -- it's really more a cream and black than white and black. I used Very Vanilla cardstock as the base for stamping the lady, if that tells you anything. There's a clear rhinestone brad at the lady's waist.

This one uses a stamp from StampFrancisco that is a knock-off of a Hokusai painting. I've used it before, and I really love the image, but I'm not sure how well it works as a birthday card! Especially since I don't know anything about the 19-year-old boy for whom I made it except that he is "sweet". I've forgotten the name of the technique I used on the panel with the webbing spray -- something TJ, but as my brain is still addled from sinus stuff, I can't remember and I don't feel like looking it up! (Aren't I nice!)

Okay, well, off to the grocery store, then I'll probably take a nap and ... who knows what. Maybe work on Christmas cards (hey, stop laughing so hard, you'll hurt yourself!) or write. Then pick Aidan up and definitely write. And then ... who knows. I'll probably be back before the new year. Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Gasp! I stamped!

Can you believe it? I actually got up in the craft loft last night and did stuff! I started on Christmas cards (just six so far) – did some of the basic elements for them (I’m doing the Colorwash Batik technique on them, so got the images stamped, embossed and sprayed over; haven’t ironed out the EP yet). Then I made the 6”x 6” scrapbook page I was planning to do for my “Favorite Pictures” album that I’ve been planning to start ever since I took Stacy Julian’s “Library of Memories” class online summer before last! I’ll post the pic of the page here:

(Stamps: Autumn Leaves/Rhonna Farrer; Paper & Ink: SU River Rock and Always Artichoke; Copper elements: SU & Making Memories)

It’s a picture of me that Bjorn took waaaaaaaaay back in 1991 when we had first moved to Boulder, Colorado. We were in the Rocky Mountain National Park on a hike in October of that year, and there was already snow everywhere (this amazes this West Texas girl!). I like this picture because I look so YOUNG! I was almost 29, but I think I look much younger – 15? Well, at least maybe around 20. But there’s really more to this picture than just that. I was suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and if you look at my eyes, you can see that there’s a tiredness in them. It’s from more than just the hike (we hadn’t actually gone all that far at this point). But I wanted so badly to make Bjorn happy (we were newlyweds), and I truly did love being out in the Rocky Mountains at last, a place I’d dreamed of seeing since I was a young teenager. So I was doing my best to make the most of being out there in nature on such a perfect hiking day. So when I look at this picture, I see a young woman who was determined to push ahead, at least on that day, despite a health situation that was often overwhelming, baffling and at times even debilitating. God gave me the grace I needed on that day, and that’s why I could smile. And honestly, God gave me the grace I needed for each and every day that I struggled with that awful disease, even as He does for whatever I face in my daily life now. Which is a really good thing, because there are days that, if it wasn’t for Him, I can’t truthfully say I’d still be here! That’s why one of my favorite Bible verses is “His grace is sufficient for me, for His strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Anyway, one other thing I like about this picture – I wasn’t wearing any makeup! When I first got this print, I hated it for that reason. I’ve never thought I looked good without makeup. But in this picture, I just look … real. And, strangely enough, that isn’t such a bad thing! lol

Monday, November 05, 2007

Where have I been?

Good question! I’m not sure I know the answer to it. Okay, I’ve been dealing with several different things – not the least of which has been major stamping burnout. Something about the poor results of the craft fair just dealt me a blow. It wasn’t so much that I felt sorry for myself – it was just an unfortunate mix of bad location, less-than-stellar display and … whatever the thing was that made people not even look in my general direction. But I had worked so hard and made so many cards, and when I ended up bringing most of them back home, well, I just didn’t have it in me to make any more (except for Bjorn’s birthday card). I think I figured why bother making any more when I had that many that needed to be sold. Why just keep adding to the inventory? I’m trying to keep my eyes open for another local craft fair, and since Stampin’ Up! now allows us to sell creations in permanent retail locations, I need to get busy trying to find a place that will sell my cards, but I just sorta have lost heart.

(Random photo of Cathedral Rock, on the Coromandel Peninsula, North Island, New Zealand)

I actually went up to the loft yesterday and cleaned it up a bit, hoping that would be inspiring. It was, sorta. I meant to go up and do a mini scrapbook page today, but it didn’t happen. I have the lazies today, so I haven’t done much of anything except help my mother roll my grandmother’s hair (she’s got probably a crushed vertebrae or two, and is in a lot of pain, and there’s not much they can do about it – and she sure as heck doesn’t feel like going to the beauty shop, but she’s too vain just to go around with shaggy hair! I love it!). I have a brand new grand-nephew (welcome to the world, David [whatever] Roy!), so I ordered the stuff I needed to make his mama a brag book. Hopefully that will kick-start me. I have thousands of dollars worth of craft stuff sitting in that loft (collected over about ten years), so I can’t just give it up!

(Random beautiful New Zealand Rainbow)

Good thing, though, is that I’ve been concentrating on my writing, which has been fun. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned that I’ve got a story going with a character who is similar to Phil Joel, but isn’t him. For one thing, my Phil (yeah, his name is Phil, but his last name is Murray – somehow I just couldn’t use any other name), while being from New Zealand, moves to Texas with his family at the age of eleven, and that’s where he meets the main character, Caddie, and becomes best friends with her (she’s ten). The story doesn’t actually start with that, it starts with a suicide attempt by Caddie when they’re in their twenties, after they’re married. It’s mostly about what brings about this attempt (Caddie’s emotionally abusive father), and her relationship with Phil, which is simply that of “best mates” until she is seventeen and he is eighteen. Anyway, I have a ton of scenes written, lots of character development stuff, but my plot is pretty weak. Actually, I’m not sure what my plot even is. I’m not gonna worry about that right now, though. My goal right now is just to crank out as many scenes as pop into my head, as much character development as I want to, and then one day I hope to go back and pare all that down and hang the useful, necessary bits together with a plot. Being that the Phil character is pretty easily identifiable as a “knock-off” of Phil Joel (my Phil even ends up in a major Christian rock band where most of the guys are from Australia – yeah, it’s sad, but that’s how the story happened in my head), I doubt I could ever publish it, but it’s a great exercise in writing.

(Intentional Phil Pic)

Anyway, so between burnout, migraines, Homecoming-induced teen angst (which, thankfully, resolved itself, but nearly tore all three of our hearts to ribbons before it did) and getting Phil and Caddie through their lives, the craft loft has seen very little of me (except that I made Aidan’s date’s Homecoming mum, and it was pretty nice, if I do say so, myself!). I guess it’s okay to take a break now and again. I am loving the writing!

So … off to make dinner. Thank God for pre-cooked, microwaveable Salisbury Steaks!