Thursday, December 25, 2008

I hope you had yourself a Merry Little Christmas (long)

I so totally meant to post a MERRY CHRISTMAS message yesterday, but it was a crazy Christmas Eve! Had to run get Bjorn a different present from Aidan, since the original one didn't work out, then came home and had to wrap presents. I grabbed a nap, then we went to the 4:00 service at the "rock-and-roll" church (because I wanted to rock out, lol), and then went to the 6:00 service at our church (which I liked much better), then we went out for dinner (had to wait 45 minutes even though we had a reservation!), and then went over to my parents' before we came home and collapsed into bed! I didn't even remember to fill the stockings after Aidan went to bed like I have done consistently for the last 16 years, even when visiting Arizona.

So, the rock-n-roll church's service was good ... the sermon, especially. But, IMHO, if you're going to have a "sing along" with Christmas carols, you need to NOT sing the carols like solos, jazzing them up in weird places and doing non-standard things that no one has a clue what you're doing. For solos, sure. But it was really difficult to sing along with these folks, even though I consider myself pretty skilled at singing many different styles of music. So, since one of the reasons I went was to sing Christmas carols, I was disappointed.

But then we went to our church, and it was ... home. Plus, I just liked the service (except that our worship minister picked some of the less common songs, and we didn't do a candlelight at the end). We could sing along with the songs, the pastor's message was wonderful (about Jesus being the Prince of Peace, following the verses in Isaiah about Him being the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace -- we've been touching on those the last few Sundays), and then we did the Lord's Supper (communion/Eucharist), and that was really awesome. I don't tend to think of the Lord's Supper in connection with Christmas, but it was perfect! I mean, after all, Jesus was born here for the purpose of dying for our sins and saving us from eternity in hell, without God, without Love (and then, of course, He rose from the dead three days later to give us victory over death!).

Afterwards we went to a nearby Pasta restaurant. I was so hungry by that point I literally thought I was coming down with stomach flu (weak, woozy, queasy), but all I needed was some food and WATER! They had a "special" Christmas Eve menu (read: more expensive), and I really debated about what to get, since I'm allergic to wheat (bye-bye pasta), and I didn't want to risk spicy or greasy stuff. So I finally told Bjorn I would pay for my own meal out of my Christmas money, and I chose the New Zealand rack of lamb, for $28. Yes. I really, really had to choke down that price tag! But, let me tell you, it was possibly one of the best meals I've ever had at a restaurant. Not just because the lamb came from New Zealand (although they do have, reputedly, the best lamb in the world), but it was tender and SOOOOO tasty, and they served it with asparagus (which I love) and baby new potatoes. It felt like such a healthy meal compared to Aidan's oven-fired pizza and Bjorn's lasagna! When we were finished they were painfully stuffed, and I was pleasantly full (and NOT of grease and spicy tomato sauce!). So, yeah, it was worth the $28 for one day out of the year!

My parents came over for Christmas this morning, and we had a wonderful celebration together, just laughing and bantering about the presents, etc. Not that it matters hugely, but I did get some nice gifts -- two table-top Umbra "fotofall" photo displays and a floor model to display my cards from (at home, in the living room). I've wanted those for years, and finally got them! Plus I got Guitar Praise (the Christian version of Guitar Hero -- and I'm scared to death to try it out! I told Aidan he'll have to show me how to do it so I won't look like a total loser!), some adorable mugs from Aidan that say "Creativi-tea", "Sereni-tea" and ... I'll have to look up the third one later. A gorgeous painting from Bjorn (via the kitties) of an adirondack chair on a porch with the ocean in the background, a pair of sort-of primitive paintings of cats from my mom (one orange, one dark grey, just like my kitties), a "chandelier" (I have to put that in quotes since it's not the big, heavy crystal kind) to go over our piano to replace the icky old 1970s one we've had since we moved in -- that was from Bjorn. Just lots of nice things, nothing I didn't like. I know I'm totally being a hypocrite about my distaste of the commercialism of Christmas, but the thing is, all the gifts were just very thoughtful, and reflected the people who gave them to me, so that was what made them fun and special.

The kitties (ahem) gave Bjorn a mug that says "I do everything Stacy tells me to do." We all got a huge laugh out of that.

OH! Did I mention what we got Aidan for Christmas? First, let me tell you that Bjorn and I are certifiably insane to have done this: We got him a Japanese samurai sword (a "katana"). Yep. And it's razor sharp, too.

He's wanted one, like, forever (well, since he got into this Japanese stuff -- before that he wanted a Lord of the Rings replica sword of some kind). It's a beautiful sword. It's just that it's, well, razor sharp. The unsharpened ones were boring and blah, so we decided we would trust him with this. It's strictly for display, and he's not allowed to show it to ANYONE without one of us present. He's a good kid, though, so we're not terribly worried. The only thing is that he hung the display rack fairly low on the wall, so we'll have to really police when we have little kids (or kids of any age!) over here. Anyway, he was TOTALLY psyched -- that look you really wanna see on your kid's face when they open their BIG Christmas present.

(Somehow that is a scary picture! Geez, we're insane! But ... we couldn't come up with anything else we knew he wanted that worked for us.)

Anyway ... it's been a terrific Christmas. There was only one tough moment in it -- I went over to my folks' house to help them fix Christmas dinner, and we needed to use the oven in my grandmother's little apartment-thing she lived in before she passed away back in March. So I took the dish back there and walked through her living room and kinda whispered, "Merry Christmas, Granny!", and while I was putting the dish in the oven I was just overwhelmed with this desire to kiss her warm, soft cheek. And I couldn't! And it was just so painful and sad and, like I said, overwhelming that I just had a total meltdown. Part of the reason we'd had Christmas at our house was so we wouldn't have to be faced with Granny missing from the usual routine of Christmas morning at Mom and Dad's. But it hit like a ton of bricks and was just so hard there for awhile! I do miss her so much ... she was (is) such a special lady, such a huge part of our lives. But I've been so good at just pushing those feelings back for so long (I don't do emotional pain well, I prefer to run as far from it as possible), so when it hits, it HITS.

But I know she's up celebrating Jesus' birthday with Jesus this year, so that makes things feel a little better.

Anyway, I know this post has been long and probably would try the patience of Job, so I appreciate anyone who stuck with it until the end. I'm still having mojo issues, but now I have all these little "fotofall" clips to fill with cards (many of which I already have, but I could definitely make more!), so I need to get busy. Plus, I want 2009 to be the Year of the Scrapbook around here!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I'll be back soon ...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmastime is here ... caroling and cheer ...

Remember that from "A Charlie Brown Christmas"? I LOVE that album! My childhood Christmases were permeated with various TV specials, and one of the few I could stand was "A Charlie Brown Christmas". "Rudolf" and "Frosty" were waaaaaay too stressful for me. Tear jerkers, those. So I much preferred the relative safety of Charlie and Linus and Snoopy, et al. Anyway, that was totally random, really, just me trying to think of a title for the post.

I know I've not been incredibly faithful at blogging of late. Partly it's due to the yearly chronic sinus thing. (At the moment I'm feeling alright ... at the moment.) Partly it's because, even though I'm finally in the Christmas spirit, I am rather tired of Christmas cards, so I haven't been real "up" on making any of those for your inspiration. And partly it's because my mojo is playing hide-and-seek with me. I made a beautiful frame mat for my mother for Christmas (haven't photographed it yet), but I can't seem to just go up and play. That stinks.

So, since I don't have anything crafty to show you, I'll show you a few Christmas tree type photos. The first is of our tree this year with Aidan standing triumphantly next to it, having helped his dad put the tree together (you don't seriously think a sinus-infection-ridden/allergy-tormented person like me is going to have a REAL tree, do you?), and after we'd decorated it. I did go back the next day and shift a few things around, but the bottom is intentionally a bit sparse on the decorations, since we have two kitties. Our tree is on a platform we make every year by setting three cinderblocks on end (not on each other, but each on the floor), then putting a circle of thick plywood on top of that. This is because we bought our tree when we lived in Arizona, and our living room had a much lower ceiling there. Here, we have the sloped two-story ceiling, and a 6-foot tree looks a little, um, small beneath it, so we elevate it a little more than a foot. We put a round blue tablecloth over the circle and cinderblocks, then put my very special Nativity tree skirt over that (covering the tree's "feet").
(Yes, I know the star on top is crooked, but we did fix it!)

Then I'll just show you a couple of my favorite ornaments. I took these pictures two years ago, but, of course, since we hang the same ornaments year after year, nothing has changed since then except probably their location on the tree.

This is a British Telecom phone card from the year Bjorn and I met in London, where we were both doing a semester abroad. We saved the Christmas-themed ones, and they were some of our very first Christmas ornaments after we got married.

This Celtic cross is made of compressed Irish turf! I bought it at the gift shop at Drumcliff church in County Sligo, Ireland when we were there in 2000. I got an Irish turf angel ornament, too. Too bad they don't have the wonderful, sweet smell of the turf before it's compressed!

A Waterford Crystal train my parents gave Aidan when he was little. He was obsessed with trains, and I was obsessed with Ireland, so it was a perfect combination!

And, of course, the real reason for Christmas:

This Jesus fish is made from olive wood from Israel.

So I just realized that I didn't take NEARLY enough pictures ... and there have definitely been additions in two years. So I need to get in there and take a few more photos! That's all for tonight, though. Aidan is calling me to come do bedtime prayer with him, and I'm getting pretty tired myself, so I will call it a "blog" and head off for bed. And hopefully I will have more postings before Christmas Day!

Hang in there! And try to keep the true Spirit of the season at the forefront!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Joy to the world ...

Okay, you know what? I'm not really to that point in the season yet. I'm still dealing with sinus-related Scrooge-ness and praying that I will enter into the full joy of the spirit of Christmas soon.

In the meantime, I will show you my "Joy" card that will be the sample for this coming week's challenge in the SHINE group over at Paper Craft Planet:

The very cool ;-) background paper is actually a TJ technique called "Faux Background Paper" (or something like that). So I made it myself, and that's why I put the winky after "very cool". I like this tech a lot, but I'm not sure I have it totally figured out. I need to go over to the TJ website and see the filmed tutorial (rather than just the text one that's in the newsletter) to see if it helps me get the nuances I think I may be missing. But at any rate, I like the way it turned out. I chose "Joy" as the theme for the challenge over in my SHINE group because it's the theme for the Advent week that starts on Sunday.

So, rather than typing out a laborious paragraph with all the deets in it, here are the ingredients:
Stamps: SU (UM Swirling Stars wheel, Holy Triptych angel, verse from Madonna & Child, "joy" from (? -- whatever the name of the retired one with the four little script words is); alphas -- Rhonna Farrar/Autumn Leaves and Technique Tuesday

Paper: All SU -- Very Vanilla, Cranberry Crisp (ret.), Blue Bayou (ret.), Night of Navy

Ink: Versamark; Encore Gold; SU Blue Bayou (ret.), Baja Breeze, Not Quite Navy, Cranberry Crisp (ret)

Misc: Clear EP, Black EP, EK Success corner punch, SU burgundy grosgrain ribbon, Twinkling H20s (Heavenly White, Iridescent Gold, Buttercup, something Blue)

It's my parents' anniversary today (12/11). They've been married 57 years! I can't imagine putting up with the same guy for that long, but I'm planning on doing it myself, God help me! lol (And God help him, too!)

Okay, gotta run -- we're going over there for dinner.

Have a good 'un!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Here Wii go again

Well, my birthday has come and gone. And with it came a new Wii game -- Wii Music. And it is FUN! Not if you're planning on writing virtuoso concertos or anything, but if you just want to play around with making music, performing all six parts in your own ensemble, trying your hand at 60 different instruments (if you can count a barking dog or a mewing cat as an "instrument"), it's a lot of fun. Especially if you play with other people. Aidan and I have been having a blast doing duets and jamming in combos. So far the songs in the "jam sessions" are all pre-set (i.e., songs like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", "Swan Lake" and "Daydream Believer," to name a few), but you can play them in different styles with different instruments. So I think it's worth whatever the guys paid for it. Except for the fact that it ate a chunk out of my day today! (looks embarrassed)

I did manage to finish a card today! And, by golly, if it isn't this week's Techno Stamper Challenge (#47, and turned on its side) done on the very first day! Here's the card:
and here's the sketch:
I started on the background last night -- a new TJ technique called "Glimmer Silk". It sounded perfect for something Oriental, so I pulled out my SU "Eastern Blossoms" set, along with a Sakura (cherry blossom) from About Art Accents and one from Hanko Designs and got with it!
And for some reason I go all red and gold when I think Oriental (even though I have washi paper in all kinds of colors), so I used my Tattered Angels "Oriental Poppy" and gold shimmer sprays. Then I stamped the geisha (I think she's from Art Neko, but I'd have to double check) in archival black ink on watercolor paper and decided to try my hand at watercoloring with markers, since I have this new book that's supposed to help you learn how. My first attempt totally stunk. (Stank?) It might have been that I'm using cheapo wc paper, but whatever, I hated it. So I stamped her again and decided to try using the shimmer spray as a watercolor medium. I dipped a paintbrush in the Poppy color and colored the red parts of her kimono with it; as I was painting I thought, "Y'know, this looks a lot like Twinkling H20s ..." So I got my Twinks out and got a darker red color to add some depth. I'm still not good at blending, but it turned out alright. Then I used "Buttercup" (a very pale yellow, which does NOT show up in the photo) on the sash and her collar and hair band. For the three accents on the right side I used a CarlaCraft "Sakura" punch and the SU Three For You flower punch, then just stuck a gold brad in the center. I have no idea what the Japanese writing (Onyx Expressions) says, and Aidan didn't know either, but it looked good in that corner to sort of balance things out. I'm actually pretty pleased with this card. I just wish I could get over Red and Gold!

Other supplies included: SU Riding Hood Red CS and ink (around the edges of the background), SU Black CS, Paper Company Gold, Paper Company shimmer red CS, Black Staz-on ink, red Mizuhiki cord.

I spent this evening over at my parents watching the last episode of Storm Chasers for this season (recorded from last night). It was amazing! On their last day of chasing they had the most incredible day of multiple vortices spinning out and making a single huge tornado, tornadoes dropping all around them, the TIV (Tornado Intercept Vehicle) finally got inside a tornado, although Sean still didn't get the shot he's been trying for seven years to get for his IMAX film, and Reed and his team managed to get their video intercept data pod into the path of an EF2 twister (and nearly got themselves into the path of it!). It was so awesome. I never, ever want to be in a tornado, but they are breathtakingly amazing wonders of nature, so I appreciate the Storm Chasers crews going out there and doing what I wish I could do and bringing back the footage for me to enjoy!

Okay, well, that's all for tonight. It's getting close to bedtime, and I've still got a few other things to do. Hope you all have a great day, whatever day it is you read this!


Friday, December 05, 2008

When you can't stamp ...

... go online and buy them! But more on that later.

So, yes, this has not been a good week health-wise. I did manage to get into the loft and make the sample for this week's SHINE challenge over at Paper Craft Planet. So at least I have to make one card each week (when I don't cheat and pull one out of my stash that I've already done! -- don't tell!).

Here's the card:

I thought that, since we're into Advent now, it would be a good idea to pattern at least one of the week's themes around an Advent theme. Since the candle to be lit on Sunday represents "love", I decided the challenge would be to create a paper craft that reflects God's love at Christmas. If you want to participate, hop over to Paper Craft Planet, join up (if you haven't yet), and then go over and join the SHINE Christian Crafters' Challenge group and follow the instructions there.

Anyway, my card just pretty much says how I tie God's love in with Christmas -- He sent His Son as the very first Christmas gift to US, giving us the gift of His Son to come here and live with us, as one of us, for 33 years and then to die on the cross to not only forgive us of all our sin, but to give us eternal life -- eternal life that starts here and now as we experience His love and grow to be more like Jesus! Okay, I could preach a whole sermon on this card, but I'll spare you, lol.

So the part with Mary and baby Jesus is done with a TJ technique called "Colorwash Batik". I stamped John 3:15 with the silver color of Opalite ink (can't remember the official name of it) then embossed it with silver EP. Framed that with gold paper from the Paper Company and used an EK Success corner punch. The card base is a piece of very velvety paper from Club Scrap, and then I used a glittery DP I got at Archiver's (and can't remember the manufacturer's name -- so sorry!). The rest of the paper is SU. The green is Kiwi Kiss, although it didn't scan anywhere close to that color and trying to adjust it in my photo program brought it close, but not exact. Ribbon is unknown. The square and scallop punches are SU, and I made the sentiment inside with the JustRite mini alpha. Oh, and I used the Fiskars "Threading Water" scallop edge punch, too.

So, on to the spending "spree". Now that I've started this Christian Crafters' Challenge group over on PCP, my "Scripture stamp collecting illness" has resurfaced. I find myself "needing" more and more scripture stamps! Yeah, I know y'all know how this goes, maybe not with Scripture stamps, but you get hooked on something and you've gotta have more. For awhile it was Oriental stamps (and I still love them), but now it's back to the Scripture ones. So this week I spent time making these elaborate wish lists from various stores that have lots of Scripture stamps, then yesterday (which was my birthday, though I didn't really feel well enough to celebrate much -- we're going to do that Saturday), I went through and double-checked against my list of verses I already own, and placed three orders! One with Heart & Soul Rubber Stamps, one with Sweet Grass rubber stamps (which is a division of the Rubber Stamp Shack), and one with smARTworks Rubber Stamps. I am definitely hoping I get money for my birthday! lol

Okay, it's getting late, I'm pretty tired and I still have a few things to do (like rescue the laundry that I forgot about and left in the washer! ack! now I'll have to wait up half the night while it dries, and it's mostly blue jeans -- you know how long those can take in the dryer!). *SIGH* Oh, well, at least tomorrow's Saturday and I can sleep in. I really hope I'll feel like making something crafty tomorrow -- especially since I also bought a new Martha Stewart punch at Michaels today!

Have a wonderful, grace-filled weekend!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Home again, home again

It's Sunday, and am I ever glad I'm not in an airport today! Coming home on Friday was a very smart thing to do -- short lines, small crowds (as opposed to huge). Yes. Wise decision!

Plus Aidan and I have come down with varying versions of whatever the relatives had, so I am doubly thankful to be at home where I can cuddle up with my blanky, my kitties and my computer instead of fighting crowds and sitting in a cramped airplane. God knows what He's doing!

So, since I won't be up in the loft today, I'll show you another of the altered CDs that I started showing you before we jetted off to beachier climes. (Boy, do I miss having a beach close at hand ...)

Just more variation on the materials I had at hand. The "ribbon" that I used to make the "v" shapes across the top third of the CD is actually strips of a silk fabric that shimmered red and green. I'm sure there's a name for that kind of two-toned silk, but not being a sewing person, I have no clue what it is. It looked pretty cool in person.

So ... have you started putting up your Christmas decorations yet? I mean, now that Thanksgiving is over, it's finally "okay" to be into the Christmas season. We don't put our tree or anything else up until around Dec. 10th. That's a compromise between my side of the family -- we always put our tree up the day after Thanksgiving -- and Bjorn's side, who, being Norwegian, never put their stuff up until December 23. We'll be here in town this year (thank You, God!), so I'll go all out with the decorations. The years we go to Arizona it just doesn't seem worth it, somehow. Hopefully this year I'll also feel up to helping my parents get their stuff out. It's been hard for them the last few years to get it all out and up, so this year I'm vowing that we'll be the Christmas Decorating Team and get over there and help out! My big problem is that I usually feel so rotten this time of year (we have a Horrible Allergy Illness here in Central Texas called "Cedar Fever" and I'm one of the lucky ones who usually gets hit with it), and it's hard to feel like dealing with all of the Christmas Cheer when you have Cedar Fever-induced "Bah Humbug" syndrome. But this year is going to be different. Yes. It will.

Well, at the moment I have nothing else of any great import to say, so I guess I'll just go off and arrange and order photos from our trip. I got some real goodies of Aidan, and I can't wait to get them printed and framed.

Hope you're all doing well!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm Thankful

So by the time anybody reads this Thanksgiving will probably be over, but I thought I'd take a minute to list just a few of the things I'm thankful for:

My family. This includes first and foremost my husband and son, who are the most wonderful guys in the whole world (even when they aren't acting like it) and whom I love with every fiber of my being.

Family also includes my parents, who are just the best parents ever and who I am so blessed to live so close to! I'm very thankful for the priceless Christian heritage they have given me, and continue to give me every day of my life.

My home. It's not perfect, it's not my "dream home", but I love my home because it's right for me now, it's where the good things happen, where the love is, and it is a direct gift from God (even though He still is requiring us to pay the mortgage! lol).

My church. Again, it's not perfect, but it's full of people who love Jesus, who understand the whole concept of "we're all in process", and it's got such an awesome pastor who really makes so many of the tough concepts at the very least "not so tough."

My son's school. Praise God for such an amazing Christian school that not only is shaping him spiritually, but really feeds his intellect, as well, which is really important with this kid, given the brain he's got and the things he's interested in. And praise God my parents can afford to help us on the tuition!

The rest of my family, including my in-laws. I'm truly blessed to have people I can truly say I love as my family members. We don't all think alike or see the world from the same point of view, but that has never caused rifts or serious problems and we can respect the differences and keep on loving each other!

My gifts and talents. I'm so grateful God has given me a voice to sing with! That's my "favorite" talent. But I also LOVE writing, and I'm also grateful that He's allowed me to have a somewhat creative talent in the area of stamping and scrapping. I may not be as good as the "gurus", but at least I enjoy it and my recipients seem to like getting the stuff I make them!

And very, very most of all -- I'm so thankful for my savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him and His salvation, none of the rest would have as much meaning. Without Him I'm not even sure I would still be here. Without Him and His grace and mercy, I would be the worst mess ever. There's no way I can fully express all the reasons I'm thankful for and to Him, but He knows my heart, and He knows that this screwed up girl with some heavy baggage is so, so grateful that He has saved me, not only for eternity and Heaven, but from myself, from my past hurts and scars, and for whatever wonderful things He has for me in my future. (Now if only I could keep that in mind every moment of every day!)

I hope all you US people had a very wonderful Thanksgiving Day. And if you're going out (or have gone out) for Black Friday, PLEASE try to keep in mind the REAL Reason for Christmas -- which you can find in the first five letters of the word.

Now, I will end this post with a couple of pictures my husband took yesterday when he and Aidan went down to the Maritime Museum in San Diego and went aboard a Soviet-era B39 submarine that was parked next to a late 1700s era sailing ship, which was near a replica Chinese Junk that had been built in China recently and sailed across the Pacific to the U.S. and which is going back, via Hawaii, in a couple of days.

Clash of the Centuries -- HMS Surprise (a replica small British frigate from the late 1700s which appeared in the movie "Master and Commander") and a USSR B39-class submarine. Note the teenager crawling through a portal to the lower right of the picture ;-)

You have to be able to fit through this portal to go through the submarine. Aidan clearly has no problem!

I tried to find a good picture of Aidan with the junk, but the only ones with him in didn't show the junk well. So here's the Chinese junk sans anybody I know.

Okay, now we're looking at old family films from when Bjorn was a kid. So I've gotta run (boy, was he cute!).

Behave yourselves on Black Friday -- and if you're not in the U.S., behave yourselves, anyway!

Blessings to all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ahhhhhh ... just what my soul needed

Torrey Pines State Park from the beach near La Jolla/Del Mar, CA.

Oh hai! (As they say in lolcat land) I'm sitting here in San Diego in my brother-in-law's house listening to a game of "Farmer Bridge" going on (it's a Norwegian card game), while my sister-in-law is on her computer and the twins are (hopefully) asleep upstairs. It's been a very busy day and I'm wiped!

This morning we went up to Encinitas to the Quail Botanical Gardens. There's a children's garden there that has a garden-scale train that the twins LOVE, and they were dying to go see it, so we thought it would be fun. After watching them for awhile, Bjorn, Aidan and I headed off on our own to see the awesome flora they have there -- it's a small place, but full of really beautiful and exotic stuff! They even have a New Zealand Garden!! (Okay, they have an Australia Garden, too, which was also cool.) So we wandered around and I took WAAAAYYY too many pictures of plants of various types. They also have a bamboo garden, and I went nuts taking pictures of black bamboo, yellow bamboo, striped bamboo, "spotted" bamboo ... apparently I'm going to be doing a Bamboo Retrospective exhibit somewhere! lol

Here's a pic of Aidan looking at the black bamboo:

And here is a pic of one of the native New Zealand species, the Titoki, which is a kind of soapberry tree. I thought the berries were really cool-looking. Bjorn felt of them and said they felt "weird" (as in "interesting"):

I took about a jillion more pictures there, but I'll try to spread them out and not post them all tonight ... ;-)

Then we went to the beach. We went to the beach yesterday, too, but it was freezing cold and, valiant try though we gave it, we finally threw in the towel after about an hour and went down to La Jolla Cove and walked along the beach walk there (where it was still cold, but Bjorn's sister really wanted to take us down there so we went -- and it was a pretty cool place). The sun finally came out just at sunset, and we decided to watch the sun go down before going to find a Starbucks. It was a good thing we did -- it was an INCREDIBLE sunset, and we even saw the sun turn green just before it slipped into the water! It wasn't quite the "green flash", because there wasn't the flash aspect to it, but we definitely saw green. I saw it but didn't say anything because I thought I'd just imagined it, but then Aidan said, "Wow, the sun just turned green!" and Bjorn said, "Yeah, I saw that, too!" so it was the real deal! It's a pretty rare phenomenon, so it was definitely a God Thing, in my book.

Then today we went to the beach near where my BIL/SIL's house is, and it was perfect weather for quite awhile. Sunny and warm, but with a cool breeze. Aidan and I took a long walk, and he discovered that the sand that was being washed by the water looked like it had gold dust in it -- it was sprinkled with something that was literally gold and shimmered in the sunlight, and it was, in his words, "amazing!" We had so much fun just watching that for awhile, then he went to get Bjorn and I went for my camera because the lighting was so perfect, and Aidan just looked so handsome and adorable out there, and he'll be a senior when we come out for Thanksgiving in two more years and then probably leaving home after that and ... so I had this amazingly heart-rending Mommy Moment and had to grab a bunch of photos! So here are just a couple of what I took:

*SIGH* I love this kid probably WAAAAAYYYY too much, KWIM? Enough to lock him in the guest house so he can never leave home ... and yet really, enough to not do that, enough to let him go Out There and be the man God wants him to be. And if I don't stop writing about this now there will be HUGE teardrops splashing all over my keyboard.

So, anyway, it was a crash hot day, and I am so utterly exhausted! But those two or so hours on the beach today ... totally what my soul needed. Just sitting watching the waves roll and break, roll and break. Aidan asked me how I could just sit there and do nothing but watch the waves, and I didn't know how to explain it to him. I tried. I tried talking about how beautiful the curve is as the wave rolls over, how powerful when it breaks, how you can just feel so connected to God at the sea. I don't know if I got through or not, though. Some of us are just "called" by the sea, I guess, and it's not something that can be explained.

Everybody around here keeps thinking they're coming down with some kind of cold (except for me, Bjorn and Aidan), so please keep us in your prayers that we'll stay healthy in spite of it all!!

Grace & peace to all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thankful for you all!

So next Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the US, and since I don't have your snail-mail addresses, I'll just post my Thanksgiving card to you right here. Yes, it's early, but we'll be leaving for San Diego tomorrow morning and I won't have access to my photo files:

In all honesty, I made this card last year, so I remember very little about the manufacturer deets. But I truly have thankful thoughts when I think of you all, whether you're a subscriber or you just happen to come here from time to time, or whatever. It's just nice to know that there are people "out there" who are interested in my crafting and in the little bits of my life I share with you! And when I hear from you, that's just so awesome because I love having that connection with my readers. So, yes, I'm thankful that I can connect with such interesting and wonderful people from around the world!

Okay, so, yeah, tomorrow morning we leave for San Diego to visit my husband's brother's family. Our flight leaves at nearly 8am, which means that we have to leave the house at 5am to get to the airport and deal with lines, etc. Which means we have to get up at somewhere around 4:30am. And I am NOT a "wee hours" person by any stretch of the imagination. All I can say is "YAAAAAWWWWNNNNN ...ZZZZZZZ". I think if I can just get everything ready and go to bed at a decent hour (like, 9pm) it will all be okay. Yes. I am telling myself this over and over and over ... lol

I remember a couple of years ago when we did this (same destination, pretty much same time of day but maybe different day of the week?) we were so proud of ourselves for getting such an early flight so we could avoid the horrible crowds we just knew were going to be there later in the day ... and there were THOUSANDS of people there in line ahead of us when we got to the airport and our airline's counters! We were floored! And we were running late, too, so talk about stress! It all turned out alright, but I think I learned to NEVER think you're ahead of the game when it comes to airport travel!

In all honesty I am really looking forward to this trip. Last week when I was sick/just not feeling well I was totally dreading it. Especially since I have such a history of falling apart physically whenever I'm around my in-laws. They're all such strong Norwegian people (even when they're sick) and I always feel like they think I'm such a wuss, even though we all love each other. So that's always such a huge stressor for me. But I realized a few days ago that part of my problem lately has been that I had upped my dose of my anti-migraine med, and that was making me feel like I was walking around pushing a brick wall and having bees in my head making things fuzzy. SO I went back down to the dose I had been on, and am happily feeling much better. So as long as I don't get plain old SICK, or get a migraine ...

Anyway, I love San Diego, and my SIL and BIL (and their nearly 4-yr-old twins) live close to a beach, so I'm planning on spending some serious time just hanging out there at least one of the days. I need a break.

I don't know how much blogging I'll do next week. It probably won't contain much stamping stuff, since my files are all on an external hard drive that we'll be leaving here with my dad. Maybe I'll find some kewl (uh, COOL) links for y'all or something. Or maybe just post pics of the trip. Or maybe just pretend like nothing exists outside my little beach world! lol At any rate, I hope all my US readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that the rest of you just have a plain ol' wonderful week!

Blessings to each and every one of you! (Oh, and if you wouldn't mind, would you PLEASE pray that we all stay healthy while we're on this trip -- and safe -- and that it's just a lovely, fun visit? It would be a first in a long while!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No pics today, but a very kewl link

(Does anybody even use the word "kewl" anymore? At least I know some current teen-speak, like "owned to the face", which my son is now using to mean "Dude, I totally kicked your ***." Somewhere down the line we lost "pwned" -- pronounced "poned" -- which some enterprising young person thought up when "owned" wasn't strong enough. I had finally learned to use it, and now it's passe. Figures. Think I'll stick with "cool" and "that ROCKS!!" lol)

Okay, I have a very ... um ... COOL link for you today. Found it at Splitcoast, and it is to a blog where the blogger-chick has done a Mythbusters style (sorta) video on whether or not you can really use a soda can to sharpen your dull punches. The link is here. I thought it would've been ... COOL ... if she would have also included testing whether tinfoil alone or wax paper alone or any other rumored-to-work method actually worked (in TRUE Mythbusters style), but she didn't do that on this episode. I can tell you that foil does NOT work on a dull SU Scallop Edge punch. For some reason mine came dull, so when I get a chance I'm going to try the soda can thing on my Scallop Edge and see if it will finally stop giving me fuzzy edges.

So, anyway, that's all I have today. Hopefully I can get into the loft and make my brain/mojo work tomorrow and it will all be good.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chocolate Kiwi Kisses

Oh, wait, that sounded ... rather more dreamy than the reality. What it's referring to is the colors in the card I have to show you today:

I woke up the other morning with this idea in my head, only the colors I was thinking in were more pink and green. But, thought I, pink and green are far too springy for this time of year here in the US. And I have been on a pink-n-green binge before, many moons ago, and wasn't in a hurry to revisit those colors. So I first thought blue and brown, but I've done that recently, too, so I thought I'd revisit the sorta retro-ish '70s green and brown that has become popular again. (Someone please tell me why we have to revisit the '70s? I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the scars from jr. high school, and really, really don't need to go back there again!)

SO, in the interest of time (since we're about to have dinner and watch a Blue Man Group DVD), here are the ingredients as best I can recall:
SU's "Fresh Cuts" stamp set
SU CS -- Whisper White, Kiwi Kiss and Chocolate Chip
SU inks -- Kiwi Kiss and Chocolate Chip Classics; Choc. Chip and White Crafts
Cuttlebug words folder
Corner punch (EK Success)
Ribbon -- SU Choc. grosgrain; olive grosgrain (unknown)
Technique: Cuttlebug Highlights (TJ)

Oh, speaking of techniques, I need to let y'all know I've been calling the tech I've been showing you with the acrylic tags the wrong thing. It's actually called "Glimmer Mist Chips" and it's a Technique Junkies tech.

So ... yeah, the card is a little ... green around the gills, but hopefully in a good way.

I felt better most of the day, until I took a nap, which, for some reason, was a huge mistake. You ever have one of those naps that's, like, NOT a restful nap, but you wake up feeling like you were run over by the UPS truck and they didn't leave you a package with goodies in it? lol Yeah, that was the nap today. Oh, well. I'm still very grateful that I not only felt up for church this morning, but really enjoyed going and singing and being a part. I'm such a stage junkie it's pathetic! I mean, yes, I'm there to lift God up and make HIM the focus, bring others to worship Him. But I will admit I love being up there and singing and getting to use the talent He has given me. I just wish we were more of a "rocker" church. Oh, well. Nothing wrong with calmer worship!

Okay, we've started the show, and it's hard to blog and pay attention to the DVD at the same time. It is, I will let you know, pretty awesome so far!

More later, if I can scrounge up some mojo ... wasn't happening in great gobs today.

Peace out ;-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Post Number Two for Saturday

Just in case both the Saturday posts go out actually on Saturday, please know there is another one before this with the picture of my third Gessoed Acrylic tag card!

I was afraid the post wouldn't get in on time, so I went ahead and posted it before I was through. I wanted to show you a picture of Hamlet ... yes, the very Hamlet of Shakespeare fame -- only this is actually Hamlet of "The Fifteen Minute Hamlet"-by-Tom-Stoppard fame, and he is the Adorable Dane instead of the Melancholy Dane. In fact, he's not a Dane at all, but a Texwegian. Are you thoroughly confused by now? Okay, here's what I'm talking about:

This is my Adorable Texwegian son playing Hamlet the Dane in his school's presentation of "The Fifteen-Minute Hamlet" yesterday. It was so well done, and very funny, especially if you knew the Shakespeare 5-1/2 hour version. I'm not incredibly versed on Hamlet, except for some of the famous lines like "To be or not to be," and "Get thee to a nunnery!" but the teachers in the audience were howling with laughter, and I did know enough to enjoy the play. Actually, they did Hamlet in 13 minutes, then came back out and did it again in two minutes, and the two minute version was HILARIOUS. So, yeah, I'm proud of my incredibly handsome, tall, blonde, talented son! (Remind me of this next time I'm trying not to strangle him! lol)

Okay, now it's really late and I need to get to bed. I'm hoping I'll be able to make it to church tomorrow and sing. I have really felt rotten all day today, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's not from going back to 75mg on the Topamax (to prevent migraines). I seem to recall that the reason I wanted to go down to 50mg in the first place was because the 75mg dose made me feel like I was pushing against a brick wall so much of the time. So ... do I have nasty killer migraines and feel not so bad when I'm not having them, or do I feel crummy most of the time but not get the nasty killer migraines that knock me out of commission for days at a time? Gotta love genes, huh?

Hope you have a terrific day, whatever day you're reading this!

Yay, finally! The third gessoed acrylic tag card!

So, hopefully better late than never!

This tag was done with the Oriental Poppy and Gold Glimmer Mists from Tattered Angels, as well as the Golden Bamboo Radiant Rain shimmer spray from Luminarte. I used one of my Japanese Kokeshi doll stamps from About Art Accents, stamped, of course, in Black Staz-on. The hair didn't turn out as dark as I wanted, so I colored over it with a black Sharpie, then inked her sash, the tip of her umbrella and the ornament in her hair with a gold paint pen. Around her I stamped the cherry blossom branch from the SU "Eastern Blossoms" set, then went over the blossoms with a dark red Sakura Glaze pen. Even in real life you can't tell it's red, but it does add shine and dimension to the blossoms. I went over the centers and branches with the gold paint pen, then I painted the edge of the tag with the same paint pen.

I used a couple of Nestabilities oval dies to make the oval backings in Paper Co. gold and SU Basic Black CS, then mounted that on a piece of BasicGrey DP which was mounted on SU Chocolate Chip CS. Then I adhered that to a panel of SU Ruby Red (there it is again!) that I had watermark stamped with the cherry blossom branch from the "Eastern Blooms" set, as well as a bamboo leaf stamp from an Inkadinkadoo clear set (I don't remember the name, but it's Oriental themed), using Versamark.

The little square piece of gessoed acrylic at the bottom was colored the same way as the tag, minus the Oriental Bamboo Rainbow Mist. I stamped on it with John 3:16 in Chinese from Sweet Grass Stamps, and once that was all dry, I mounted it on Paper Company gold and SU Basic Black. I tied a Mizuhiki knot (my first ever -- I think this one is a "togetherness" knot, I'm not sure, I just found it on the internet with instructions how to tie it!) using Mizuhiki cord I had bought awhile back somewhere online, then adhered that to the whole panel, fixing it to the John 3:16 square. When I did this, I realized that I had not remembered to seal any of my tags with matte finishing sealer -- which would explain why I got a tiny water-drop mark on my Texas tag while it was at my parents' house (which I photoshopped out before I posted it here), and why the Crystal Effects made a bit of the shimmer spray come off this square when I put it on to glue the knot in place. Grrrrr! Wouldn't it be nice if I read ALL the instructions when I did a technique? Well, now I know, don't I? So, anyway, the whole thing is mounted on some retired Morning Marigold (or is it Marigold Morning?) CS from SU.

Whew! That was a lot of description!

This has been a LOOOOOOOONNNNGGG day. Aidan and Bjorn went off early this morning to a Latin competition Aidan's school Latin Club had (they won, BTW!), then headed straight over to a Board Gaming convention taking place in a suburb north of town. It's almost 11pm and they're still there!

Ooooh, I'd better get this posted! It's almost midnight EST, and I think that's when the subscription e-mail thing is sent out. Okay, so here I go! I may add another post in a minute but at least this one will get out in time ...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A new challenge group for Christian Crafters!

Hey, everybody! I am really excited ... I've decided to start a group over at Paper Craft Planet called "SHINE - Christian Crafting Challenge". It will be a place for Christian papercrafters to hang out and enjoy talking about our crafting and our faith, and there will be weekly challenges each Friday relating to integrating our faith and our crafting. I'm a little scared because I've never done anything like this before (essentially I'll be a moderator!), but I'm really excited, too, because I know there are a lot of Christians in the paper crafting world, and it'll be fun to come up with challenges each week to get our creative juices flowing and our spirits lifted. So if you're interested, come on over to Paper Craft Planet, join up, then (as soon as my group shows up in the "Groups" section, which will probably be Friday, Nov. 14) come and join the group!

If I'm allowed to go outside PCP, I may try to expand the challenge so I can offer it on my blog (here), too.

So I will show you another altered CD today:

Mainly this one is a variation on the one I showed yesterday. Doesn't this one look kinda like a turkey though? lol I promise they aren't all just variations on this color/paper/etc. theme.

Well, dang it, I had someone unsubscribe from my blog today. I know that's bound to happen sometimes, I just wish I knew exactly why. The reasoning was "content no longer relevant", but I wish I knew what exactly that meant in this case ... I haven't changed my content over the last ... well, ever, really, as far as I know. It's still stamping-focused. I guess maybe I'm not posting as often as I should? Or maybe because I'm not an SU demo anymore? (Although that was waaaaay back in April.) Hmmm. If I knew, then I'd know if there was a problem I needed to work on. Oh, well. I just hate feeling like maybe I've offended someone or bored them to death.

Anyway, this has been a really long day, so I think I'm gonna go check on a few things and then head off to bed. Hope you all have a terrific Friday (or whatever day it is when you read this!)

Blessings to all!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Paper Craft Planet invite and an altered Christmas CD

I have done nothing useful today. Nothing. Well, except I did do some writing on my story (which, in reading it back seems incredibly boring). I am feeling somewhat better, but mainly just tired. Bjorn, Aidan and I are currently watching a 1979 Disney movie called "Black Hole" that is incredibly stupid and boring, even if it does have Anthony Hopkins and Maximillian Schell in it. We tend to watch a lot of stupid movies. Fortunately, lots of them are funny stupid. We usually turn off the stupid-stupid ones before they get too far, but I think Aidan and Bjorn are actually enjoying this one, God help them. Oh, by crikey, this has got to be the STUPIDEST yet! (We just came to the going through hell, then heaven and coming out the back side bit ... do NOT watch this movie unless you really like making fun of movies!) Oh, okay, Bjorn and Aidan are totally making fun of it now. And now Bjorn is initiating a discussion on why this movie is an Epic Fail and why Star Wars worked. Prof. A's Cinema 101. ;-)

So, I wanted to introduce y'all to a new social networking site just for paper crafters. It's called Paper Craft Planet, and you can find a link for it in my sidebar. I'm not much of a social networker, but this is looking like a fun place, and so far everybody I've met there is very nice. You can join all kinds of groups that have to do with your favorite stamp companies, or groups that have color challenges or sketch challenges ... all kinds of good stuff. So take a hop on over and check it out!

Okay, now on to the altered CD.

I made six of these, all different, a few years ago as Christmas "cards" for the ladies who were in my online SU monthly club (I was a demo then). It was my way of thanking them for being such good, loyal members. I really have no recollection of where the stamp came from, or the paper, and the ribbon and trim mostly came from a lady from my son's school who made (well, still makes) drapes and window coverings as a business. I was helping her out one day a week doing ironing and piecing and things like that (nearly killed my back and knees!), and she gave me a bag full of great scraps, most of which were the perfect colors for Christmas. So I had fun digging through and using bits on the CDs. I don't think I've made another single altered CD since ... don't really know why! I've been saving those AOL CDs and other ones from around here that have gone bad ("When Good CDs Go Bad ... tonight at 11"). I just need to dig them out and do some playing! Especially now that I am into GESSO!

Hope you enjoyed that, and I also hope I'll see you around at Paper Craft Planet!

Correction: I do know that I used an SU stamp for the big treble clef. Forgot the name of the set, though. (Nah, me forget?)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A brand-spanking new award

Well, after a good day yesterday, I am sitting here sick again today. With fever. So I've had some time on my hands, as you can imagine. Not stamping time, sadly. And I haven't felt up to photographing the third Gessoed Acrylic Tag card I made (whew! you say! lol), and I remembered I needed to pass on the "I Love You(r) Blog Autumn 2008" award I had gotten not too long ago.

Only it's November. Now, here in Texas we're still having Indian Summer. But for some of you winter has already started (and for those of you Down Under it's almost summertime!). So I decided I would create my own award and send around -- the Sparkling Blogger 2008 award.

What I want the awardees to do, once you get it, is to pass it on to five other people and THEN post a favorite Christmas/winter recipe (I'm not being PC about Christmas -- I firmly hold to the "First five letters of Christmas are CHRIST" thing, but you might have a winter recipe you'd like to share that has nothing to do with Christmas). Please link back to the blog of the person who sent the award to you (which in this case would be me) so I can see your wonderful recipes!

Now, I'm going to award this to six people ...

Card Art, Etc. -- Shirley Ross
Stamp-a-Latte -- Leonie Schroder
Stampelicious -- Barb Hardeman
Technostamper -- Mary Jo Price-Williams
Blessings on Paper -- Christi Milliken
One American Dreamer -- Ora Lea

Please check out their websites! And, please, I know some of you "out there" read my blog and I don't know if you even have a blog or not, so please leave me a comment with your blog URL in it so I can check YOUR blog out, okay? Blog, blog, blog. What a weird word.

Our next door neighbors are having their Christmas lights strung as I type. Don't y'all think it's a bit early? Well, maybe not as long as they don't turn them on before Black Friday. I really love Christmas, but I get burned out pretty easily if they start it too soon.

Whoa ... the NWS just issued a tornado warning for an area just east of here!! In November!! Thank heavens it's moving northeast, not coming this direction. One of my favorite shows right now is Storm Chasers ... and one of the reasons I love it is that I'm watching it when it's NOT tornado season.

Anyway, I'm not going to post a recipe right now because I'm sick and don't feel like going to look one up. Please remind me and I'll find one later.

Okay, so I'd appreciate prayer about this stupid health issue of mine (I'm being serious here). And hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow and can do something crafty.

Catch ya later ...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Totally, abso-flamin'-lutely crash hot!

I got the most fan-bloody-tastic thing in the mail today! It came all the way from the Godzone (New Zealand, for those of you who may not have been enlightened yet), and I have had a blast reading it and taking notes of my favorite phrases ... this is it:

I love Kiwis, I have to admit it (as if I haven't before). They seem so laid-back and, well, I don't know ... they don't seem to take life as danged seriously as we Americans do. I may be wrong, but it sure seems that way.

So, anyway, here are some of my favorite "NuZild" bits from the book (there are others I've gleaned from the Internet, but I'll limit this list to the book):
"Haven't seen you in yonks!" -- yonks being "ages"
"Rough as guts" -- can either mean something is difficult, or ugly.
"You can take it for a blat, just don't prang it." -- "You can take it [a car] for a spin, just don't bang it up."
"He's a kumara short of a hangi." This can also be said as, "He's one log short of a barbie," or "He's one sammie short of a picnic." We would say, "He's one fry short of a happy meal." A kumara is a kind of sweet potato, and a hangi is a kind of pit oven in the ground.

So there ya go, mates. A few sayings in Kiwi Speak for your reading pleasure. It's much more fun the HEAR the phrases spoken, though.

I have a card to show you that I finished a few days ago, just had to let some glue dry for a few DAYS. Yes, days. Don't know what was up with that, but it took awhile. I "pounced" some glue from the Glue Pad in a few places and put some little teensy glass beads on the card, and it took a couple of days for the beads to be set enough that most of them didn't fall off. Anyway, here's the card:

Told you there'd be more Gessoed Acrylic Tags in your future, didn't I? Mwuhahahahaha! So I totally love this one, with the dark teal and blue. So oceany, y'know? So ... mysterious and and stormy and all that good ship stuff that I love. Now, I wasn't as thrilled with how the "backdrop" to the tag turned out, but after I added the bead "spindrift" (aka "foam" or "spume") to the card, I liked it better.

The tag uses Guatemalan Green Radiant Rain (it's a teal color), as well as my own Pacific Point (SU) shimmer mist concoction. Stamped on, of course, with Staz-on (black). The stamp is an OLDIE from SU (the Schooner set -- one of my very first SU sets from, like, 1999). I embossed the sides of the tag with Australian Opals "Daintree" color. (Opals are like UTEE only much classier -- and a lot more expensive. If it wasn't for my Aussie friend Leonie I wouldn't have any -- she gave me some small jars as a gift. THANK YOU, Leonie!!)

The DP is all from the "Sea Glass" paper pad by K & Co. In fact, it's all from one sheet -- I used the front AND back designs! I got the beads at JoAnn years ago. The CS card base is SU Not Quite Navy. I think. Either that or Blue Bayou. Sad that I can't remember from a few days ago what I used. (No, I'm not in the loft right now to check.) I'm blaming it on Topamax brain fog.

I finished another card last night, and I will show you that one next time. I worked on yet a different one today, but didn't get it finished. I know I should be making Thanksgiving and Christmas cards with which to inspire y'all, but I've already done mine, and I'm honestly already sick of both holidays! At least as far as card making goes. Tell ya what, if I remember (and we all know how dodgy that is), I'll show you some of the altered CDs I made for special Christmas "cards" a couple of years ago.

Hey, before I go, I want to direct you to the coolest website ... it's called Kuler (I'm assuming that's pronounced like "Color", and it has all kinds of totally "crash hot" color combos from which to garner inspiration. One of the blogs I follow had a link to it today, and I went there and "wasted" tons of time selecting and saving favorite color combos. I think you can make your own, too. Anyway, you've got to go check it out.

Okay, I will go now and ... um, I guess it's time to get ready for bed. Fought some of the "teenager" wars today, and I think I might have won ... although we all know that "winning" the teenager wars doesn't really happen (if at all) until loooooong after they're no longer teenagers. I think I won a battle, though. Which means that, really, he won, too. He just doesn't know it yet!

Welp, cheers, mates! Catch ya later!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I've been a Deadbeat ...

In more ways than one. Mainly my title refers to the card I made with strictly Deadbeat Designs stamps. And, also, I've been sick again with the sinus thing, aggravated by some minor asthma. I'm about ready to give up, but I think I'll call my allergy doc first, see what he says. I love living in Central Texas, but it being the Allergy Capital of the US, this is not good for me!

Okay, on to the card. Here is what I made much earlier in the week. I would have posted it then, but I took the card over to show to my parents and my visiting aunt, and it just sorta ended up staying over there. I finally got it back today to photograph, and now you can see it!

Okay, I have to admit to you that I LOVE the way this card turned out. It took some trial and error and perseverance (and a liberal sprinkling of help from the ultimate Creator!), but in the end it really turned out well. I used Mary Jo's Technostamper sketch for this week.

I started out by making a Gesso Acrylic tag. Actually, you don't make the acrylic tag, you buy those, but you do paint the gesso on it. This was the Splitcoast technique that came out this week, and, lucky for me, I had some acrylic tags I had bought years ago at a scrapbooking convention and had never used. They were various shades of blue, and I didn't really know what to do with them, other than stamp on them with Staz-On, and the notion had never struck me. So I got them all out and painted them with gesso, then sprayed them with various shimmer sprays (for this one I used a couple of existing shimmer sprays -- Lemon Zest and Oriental Poppy Glimmer Mists from Tattered Angels (I just looked at their website and these people have a zillion colors! I sense an upcoming boost in the economy from my wallet ...), Oriental Bamboo Radiant Rain (from Luminarte, the Twinkling H20s people -- the only thing I don't like about Radiant Rain mists is that some of them really smell bad, especially when you heat dry them), and then I made my own Really Rust shimmer mist by adding RR reinker to water and putting in a small scoopful (probably about a 1/4 teaspoon) of Micro Pearl Pearl Ex and shaking it up. You're supposed to heat-dry the shimmer sprays after you spray them on, but you have to be careful not to make the gesso bubble up.

Then I stamped the "Texas Tag" with black Staz-On and let that dry, then embossed the edges with copper EP. Easy as pie! (Well, note to self ... using Versamark is so much easier than using sticky strip on the edges to emboss with!)

Then I stamped the "Texas Background" several times (using my Stamp-a-ma-jig to line it up) on kraft CS with Really Rust ink, and overstamped that with one of the Western Swirls, and inked the edges with Really Rust and Chocolate Chip. Then, because I decided it looked dull, I spritzed lightly over the whole thing with the Really Rust shimmer spray I'd made.

I used a piece of Coffee-aged paper I'd done awhile back and made the pennant/ribbon piece, stamping it in black archival ink with both left and right Western Swirls, then mounted the tag over a black mat on top of the whole thing.

I have some other Gesso Acrylic Shimmer Spray tag thingies I made this week, and one card that's almost finished. If I can get to feeling better I am DYING to get up there and play with them! I also ordered some new tags to play with ... do y'all do that, too, get so caught up in a new technique that you just do a hundred things with it, and then most of them end up in the "unfinished projects" file? Oh, well, I guess that means there's always something I could be doing, even if I don't feel like stamping. (Don't feel like stamping? I didn't say that!)

We drove up to Salado last night to see "The Foreigner" at the Silver Spur playhouse. It was hysterical! I didn't even remember I felt bad the whole time the play was in progress. Bjorn and I had seen it before -- twice -- when we lived near Denver, but that was before Aidan was born. We remembered it was funny, but I think we'd both forgotten how funny. Aidan loved it. We were all just about rolling in the floor. I love a good play. Theater is so much better than movies sometimes -- it's just fun to be there with live actors (especially in a smaller theater), there's just this sort-of interaction between the actors and the audience. Not necessarily overt, but they get energy from a good audience, and the audience, of course, really can get great entertainment from a great cast and a play well done.

I also discovered that Salado is not as far away as I thought. And they have a GREAT stamping store, from what I've heard (Stamp Salado). So I may have to hie myself up there one of these days. Maybe when Aidan's school has some kind of "thing" going on in the morning. His school is almost halfway there from my house, so I could run up to Salado after the "thing", shop for awhile and then pick him up afterwards. Could be FUN!!! And I know that store carries a whole lot of the Deadbeat Designs line -- the guy that IS Deadbeat Designs lives right there in Salado. (BTW, it's pronounced so that it rhymes with "tornado" -- "sa-lay-do" NOT "sa-lah-do" -- Bjorn kept saying it the wrong way yesterday and it nearly drove me crazy!)

Hope y'all have a good start to your week!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A few thoughts

At the moment I don't have anything new to show you, although I have been working on some card "elements" today. If I get up into the loft tonight and finish anything, I'll try to get it scanned/photographed and show you, which means I'll be editing this post!

But I wanted to make a few comments about the election of our 44th president. Before you close your browser or move on to something else, this is all positive, so have no fear!

First of all, I'm just glad the whole thing is over. I don't think I'd realized how much the whole campaign thing was just dominating my mental life over the last few months, and how the "us vs. them" mentality had really crept in there and taken over. Now that the election is done and we've made our choice as a nation, I'm just ready to take a deep breath, pull the McCain sticker off my car and move on. It feels good.

Second, I do think it's pretty awesome that we have finally elected an African-American as President of the United States. I personally wish it hadn't been this specific one, but at any rate, the African-Americans in this country have waited so long to finally have a President of their race in the White House, and I'm very happy for them. I'm happy for the US in that respect, too. I'm thrilled that we have finally broken the "old white guy" thing, even though I do wish we could have had McCain in there -- I respect him SO much and really do think he would have made a great Prez.

Third -- it hit me today while I was driving to pick Aidan up from school ... my true citizenship isn't in any country on this planet, it's in Heaven. I'm a child of the Kingdom, my citizenship, through Christ's saving grace in my life, is there. That doesn't mean I'm going to slack off and sit around waiting for Jesus to come back or to die so I can get to Heaven ASAP. I still have a responsibility to this country, to my fellow human beings, etc. But I live in the Kingdom, and that is the most immensely freeing thing! God is in control no matter who sits in the White House, He has His purposes that are far above anything we can come up with, and I'm going to trust Him for all that.

So no sour grapes from me. Yes, as I said, I do wish McCain had won. I truly think he deserved it, I think he is a fantastic statesman, a very honorable man, etc. I have not lost my respect for him one iota. But Barack Obama will be our president starting on January 20, 2009, and it is my job to pray for him and the rest of our government for God's guidance, and that he'll listen to that guidance and obey.

Congratulations to those of you who voted for him! Now, I'm ready to move forward and live life outside of campaign season and inside the Kingdom of God.

Blessings of peace to all!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Artsy Oriental

Tonight I am trying to ignore the election returns, since I think it'll only make me a nervous wreck before everything is all tallied up (of course, by the time most of you read this, we'll all know who won ...)

So I spent time over at my parents' house watching last week's Mythbusters and Storm Chasers (I LOVE those shows!). After watching the aftermath of a tornado on a small town in Mississippi last summer, I can say there are worse things than my candidate not winning the election.

And now I'm killing more time blogging! Clever girl, aren't I? I'm going to show you the "artsy oriental" item I made yesterday and put together today. It's a framed card front, really -- I decided I'd rather frame it than make it a card. So here is the picture of it:

I got the inspiration from StampMom's blog for Nov. 2. She had taken hers from this painting called "Modern Bamboo" by Don Li-Leger:
She had a bit of a different color palette and look, but I wanted to make mine look as close as possible. I thought of the "Floating Varnished Pearls" technique from TJ (or is it "Varnished Floating Pearls"? ... anyway ...), and modified it a bit so it would be smooth instead of textured. I stamped this Hero Arts bamboo image twice in Black Staz-on, then stamped the sentiment from Art Neko (it has a bamboo image on the stamp, but I cut that off for this card -- cut it off the stamped image, NOT the stamp!), then after matting the image and the sentiment, mounted them both on a cut-down piece of bamboo sushi mat I had purchased at the grocery store eons ago as a potential craft item. Then I mounted that on black cardstock with the intent of using it as a card, but decided to frame it instead. I really like the way it all turned out!

Well, Aidan is ready for us to come pray with him before he goes to sleep, so I'd better honor that before he gets to sleep first! I'm sure I have more to blog about, but aren't you glad Aidan has cut me short?

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow ...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Debossed Swirly Birds

Well, it's the start of another week, and I'm feeling MUCH better this go-around! I started a card on Sunday afternoon, and had intended to finish and show it to you then, but Bjorn decided he wanted us to watch "Shanghai Noon" after dinner, via Netflix's instant download program, so we did that instead. It was a really funny movie (we skipped through the parts we deemed inappropriate -- for ourselves as well as Aidan!), with Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson in it. A "Noodle Western" Bjorn deemed it since it involved Chinese people in the Old West. I just wish movie makers didn't think sexual stuff and foul language was necessary in movies. It just detracts, as far as we're concerned. "Adult" language and "Adult" situations? Um ... it all seems pretty juvenile to me.

First, I received another award! My dear friend Christi Milliken gave me this one:

We're all aware that there's supposed to be an "r" in there to make it the "I Love Your Blog" award, although an "I Love You" award is a nice thought, too. Anyway, thank you, sweet Christi! I am very honored! I will be awarding this one to a few folks (Christi wasn't aware of any special rules with this one) once I have some time to sit down and sort through who to give it to.

And now I'll show you the completed card that I started last night (I finished it this afternoon):

This uses a technique called debossing that you do with Cuttlebug folders (non-TJ -- I got my instructions from Julee Tillman's "Poetic Artistry" blog awhile back). I used Soft Sky CS and Chocolate Chip ink for the debossed birds panel, and sponge-ink-distressed it after debossing it. The DP paper strip is from K & Co. (I have so many of their DP books it's shameful! I need to start scrapbooking again!) I made the sentiment circle with my new JustRite stampers (mini font and Brayton font), and punched it out with an SU circle scallop punch, mounted on circles of Soft Sky and Choc. Chip. Both the DS panel and the sentiment circle are distressed in Choc. Chip. Then for the background I ran Soft Sky CS through the Cuttlebug with the Swiss Dots folder twice, side-by-side (this card is 5"x7") and then sort-of dry-brushed the whole thing with Gesso. It's mounted on Very Vanilla.

I've had the debossed bird panel around (four of them, actually) since, like, July or something, so it was nice to finally find a use for them!

I'm working on another card now, totally different vein, and will hopefully have it done by tomorrow evening. I just have to figure out how to adhere a piece of a bamboo sushi mat to cardstock and have it stay. ATG Gold framing tape (my standard VERY PERMANENT adhesive) didn't do it ...

So Tuesday is the election. For those of you U.S. registered voters who get my blog updates via e-mail, that means TODAY. So if you haven't voted yet, get out there and do it, long lines or not! It's your sacred duty (well, you know what I mean).

Okay, so I'm off to bed now. As I said, it was a MUCH better day today, but I'm very pooped now, so I'm ready to feel the comfy goodness of my mattress, pillow and sheets. (No blanket tonight -- sadly, it's been too warm for that these last few nights. So far I'm wanting a refund for November -- it's not the cool, crispy one I ordered! We've got somebody's used September. At least the leaves are finally turning, though!)

Well, hang on through tomorrow (Tuesday). It may be a rollercoaster ride!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Oh, happy day!

The headaches are gone and I STAMPED today! Actually MADE A CARD!! There is joy in Loftville tonight!

Okay, so without further ado, here it is:

I am SO loving this stamp! It's from Stampin' Up!'s "Bella Blossoms" set, and it is gorgeous, don't you think? I put off buying it forever, I have no idea why, but as I was re-working my SU images index these last couple of weeks, every time I would go to the Splitcoast SU Gallery to get an index image (if it was one I didn't already have), there was that Bella stamp as the header image for "A-B", just staring me in the face. I finally broke down and ordered it, and it came while I was so sick. So today I got to go play with it!

For the background (behind the flower panel) I did my first try at the August '08 TJ technique "Gessoed Pearls". It didn't come out as well as I had hoped, but I decided to use it anyway. The bummer thing is that you can't see from the scan that there is Pearl-Ex in the gesso, so some of it shimmers. Nor can you tell that I stamped the flower with Brilliance ink "Rocket Red", which also shimmers. *SIGH* But overall I'm pretty darned pleased with how the card turned out, especially considering how long it's been since I've made one!

I don't recall who made the ribbon or the pearls. The background behind the Bella flower is SU's "En Francais" background stamp inked with Blush Blossom. If you look very, very closely you might be able to tell on the gessoed panel that I actually stamped the smaller Bella flower into the gesso in a few places, thereby making a debossed image of the flower. Let's see, what else ... the inking on the edge of the Bella flower panel is Ruby Red (which I seem to be using a lot these days!). The copper behind the background panel is from the Paper Place. It's mounted on a Whisper White (SU) card base.

Well, this has been the week from -- the place where they don't serve breakfast (which is a reference to a Newsboys song, and means h*ll). First it was the sinus infection, then the sinus headache, which was then joined by a hormone migraine, and it was just killer for three days. Actually, I started getting better Thursday afternoon and evening, but I woke up again about 1:30 Friday morning and the hormone headache was back, skewering my left eyeball with a railroad spike. I suffered all night without taking anything because I didn't want to get any rebound headaches started (which I, unfortunately, get if I've taken too many pain meds, which, trust me, by this time I had!), but I finally gave in about 6:30am and took 2 Aleve. They knocked me out, and by the time I woke up about 9:30 I was MUCH better! Go figure. I'd tried everything else for three days, and it's an over-the-counter thing in the back of my medicine cabinet that does it. Remind me next time -- TWO ALEVE, Stacy, TWO ALEVE!!

Anyway, I've been "hung over" from all the meds today (and no, I didn't get a rebound headache, which is a direct miracle), and still have a teense of sinus pain, but I'll take it all over what I dealt with earlier! I'm still scared to do the sinus rinse thing, though. Guess I need to break down and go to an ear, nose, throat doc.

So, are you bored yet with the saga of the sinuses? lol Trust me, I am! I am NOT looking forward to the winter, if this is how things will be. But, hey, I did get all my SU index images done and put into my notebook (don't ask me how I could do that with a migraine from h*ll -- I guess anything to keep my mind off the pain), and I also found exactly where I want to live. Central Texas is nice, but this place is IT, fellow babies:

It's a beach somewhere on the eastern side of the Coromandel peninsula in New Zealand. I want my house right about where the person is standing who's taking the picture, just a little off to the right so it's not blocking the path. Can you imagine waking up to a view like that every morning? Some people do, you know, all around the world. It's so unfair.

So, I'm off to rest up in hopes I can make it to church and sing on the praise team tomorrow. I'm just gonna take it as it comes in the morning and see if I'm up for it. Making the card almost killed me, but it was also VERY creatively energizing. If I wasn't so dang tired I'd go make another one!

Remember to get out and vote on Tuesday, if you haven't already. I hope everyone has a terrific week!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


(Photo --; Caption -- mine)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NSR: Crooked journalism (political) (and there is another stampin-related post for today after this one)

Okay, I said I don't do much politicking here, and I don't, but this article made me so mad I had to do something about it. It refers to a videotape the LA Times refuses to release that shows Senator Obama at a farewell party for a professor Rashid Khalidi who is a spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (or he was at one time).

My post isn't whether or not Obama should be nailed for that. My post here is about the fact that the LA Times won't release the tape (they've endorsed Obama) and let us make up our own minds about the connection. They did do a story about the tape awhile back, but we aren't allowed to see it for ourselves.

If you're interested, please read the story, and if it makes you as mad as it did me, there is information at the bottom of the story on how you can contact the LA Times to express your feelings. They need to know that the American people aren't just going to lie down and let them get by with such a blatant double-standard. PLEASE -- if you do contact them, remember to be respectful! Ranting never got anyone anywhere. But I do believe we as American voters have the right to see this tape (as I would feel about any tape relating to Senator McCain, as well -- really!)

Thanks for letting me get the word out on this. Please be sure to scroll down (here on my blog) because there IS another stamping-related post for today!