Friday, February 27, 2009

Under a Blood Red Sky

Yeah, baby. Remember that video? "U2: Live -- Under a Blood Red Sky". The Red Rocks Concert. 1985. I was at the grocery store today and they had the DVD for sale. Cleaned-up video, extra songs, commentary, etc. Do you think I could pass that up? I mean, heck, this was the defining music of my young adult life, the defining concert video. I bought the vid back in early 1988, watched it constantly (enough so that my parents began to get worried about me and I had to sneak watch it when they weren't home -- and I was 25 years old!) I do tend to be obsessive, if you hadn't noticed that yet. (Does the name "Phil Joel" ring a bell? lol) So tonight I watched it. First time since we got rid of our VHS player several years ago. Gosh, I love this concert! (And, boy, did Bono ever have THE DEFINITIVE mullet!)

I got interested in U2 in 1988 when The Joshua Tree album came out. Because I liked that one, I dug up their older ones and bought them, too. "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" really caught my attention, and I began to wonder what the song was talking about. So I looked up "Bloody Sunday" in connection with Ireland and discovered the 1972 massacre of civilians at the hands of the British army that had happened in the town of Derry in Northern Ireland. (You can look it up in Wikipedia if you're interested.) 1988 was the same year that there was a sort-of tit-for-tat thing going on in Northern Ireland involving funerals of IRA men and members of their counterpart Protestant terrorist gangs. I can't remember who was killed first -- I think a Provie (an IRA man), and then I think the UVF or one of the other Prod paramilitaries killed someone at his funeral, and then if I recall correctly some Provies killed someone at the UVF guy's funeral. I got very interested in the Northern Irish conflict from that and the "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" song, which started me off on an over-12-year-long obsession with Ireland.

I know the terminology because 1) I did an Independent Study course on the "Current Troubles" in Northern Ireland when I was in college at Arizona State, had to write a 25-page research paper on the topic, and 2) I later wrote a novel that was set in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the early nineties, before everybody began to become more level-headed and the Cease Fire started up, and the Modern Troubles pretty much changed irrevocably so that the IRA and the Protestant paras are no longer a huge factor in the lives of the Northern Irish people -- at least where violence is concerned. In all honesty, I've lost track of what's going on over there now. But for ages I knew so much about it, and I can even talk with a Northern Irish brogue (which is very different from other types of Irish brogues). To get a hint of it, here's what it sounds like when a person from Northern Ireland says "Northern Ireland": Norn Iron. It's so cool!

Anyway, I totally love U2's stuff up through Rattle & Hum. Then they went weird on me and I couldn't stick with them anymore. I think lately they've supposedly gone back to their roots a bit, and they have apparently put out a new album that I'm mildly interested in. But for me Iconic U2 is the "War" album, "Unforgettable Fire" and "The Joshua Tree." Their best stuff ever. Ever.

I promise I'll show you my two finished mini-scrapbook pages in a minute. Allow me to wax a bit more "nostalgique" about U2 and then I'll be done.

It's their sound that does it to me. There is NO other band that has the U2 sound except U2. They started it, and no one can do it half as well. And they are the standard by which I measure all other bands. I know the Newsboys are not U2, but they were unique in the Christian music world when I first heard them (and I still consider them to be unique in the flavor of their sound), something I considered "worthy of U2" because of their freshness, their uniqueness, and their excellence. That's the main reason I fell in love with them, and the main reason they're still my favorite band today. And I still measure my Christian bands by U2 (because I don't really listen to anything else). The only other band I've heard that halfway compares in my book is Tree63. They have a U2-meets-Sting sound, and they are awesome. They just aren't the Newsboys ;-)

Okay. To summarize -- U2 are AWESOME (even if I'm not still their #1 fan today; I do really think Bono is an amazing person, incredibly intelligent, his world-saving ideas are brilliant and really will work if we can just get enough support going for them, and he's a Christian, albeit a rather unconventional one, but much more Christlike, despite his filthy mouth, than a darned awful lot of "good Christian people" I know); U2 is probably the definitive music influence in my life, even more so than the Beatles, who I really grew up with as a small child; U2 is my measuring stick by which all other rock bands are judged.

Oh, and I had a mullet in 1988, too -- just like Bono's (his 1988 one, not the 1985 one in "Under a Blood Red Sky"). It was unisex, remember? And very, very cool despite what people think now.

AND NOW, if you're still with me, here are the mini-pages you've been waiting for:

Now, I realize that the photos aren't exactly high quality. I don't even know for sure who took them. These are pictures of my dad and my nieces when the girls were in high school and were in town for a bowling tournament. (They were excellent bowlers, BTW!) The reason these pictures are in my Favorite Photos album is because they capture so well the huge amount of love my daddy has for "his girls" (granddaughters). And you can tell the girls love him, too, in their "too cool" high school way. I don't know, I just really love the feelings coming out of these pics.

They're 6"x6", and I used Bazzill scalloped CS for the yellow base, and SU textured Riding Hood Red for the BG. The DP is from a K&Co mat pack, and the flowers are from a K&Co diecut pack that coordinates with the mat pack. Brads are Making Memories, marker is Stampin' Up! Ruby Red, and I think the rhinestones were also K&Co. I used the SU scallop-edge punch for the journaling tabs.

Gosh I love these girls! And gosh, do I ever love my daddy! I'm glad we have these pictures, and I had fun making these little pages.

Well, it's really late, and even though it's Saturday tomorrow, I need to get to bed. I'm hoping we can get some Actual Housework done around here this weekend. We'll see. A cold front is coming through tonight, and that always messes with everybody around here. Hopefully we'll feel good and have the energy!

Grace and peace, and a good weekend to you!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

God broke the mold ...

Well, today I finished exactly half of the layouts I had begun at my friend's house on Tuesday. Okay, I don't know if you can TECHNICALLY say half, because I finished one 12x12 page and two 6x6's, and now I have to finish two 12x12's and one 6x6, but I did do three out of six! PLUS a card for the SHINE challenge at Paper Craft Planet. Yeah, babies! I was rollin'!

I'm going to be stingy and only show you one of the projects I finished today -- hey I've gotta have other stuff on hand for the days I don't get anything done!

Here it is:

This layout celebrates my oldest nephew Milo. He is absolutely the most interesting, unique and amazing young man! He is 25 years old and has lived on the streets of San Francisco as a "starving artist", traveled up and down the West Coast trying to raise money for Ralph Nader (when he was still too young to vote for him), he has tramped around all over India with very little money and a backpack full of audio recording equipment (instead of a camera), making the most amazing recordings of everyday life there (staying in a buddhist monastery as a sort of hostel because he didn't have any money at one point), and he does some truly fantastic and, again, unique artwork. He's basically an artist, just kinda works at whatever jobs he can to keep a roof over his head (he could live with his mom, but he would rather not be a "moocher" that way). He is funny/witty, incredibly loving, and I wouldn't trade him for the world! (BTW, my other nephews are wonderful, too, just very different people -- one 20-yr-old, and twin 4-yr-olds!) Milo doesn't drive, doesn't want to, so he gets around everywhere on his bike. Occasionally he does have a girlfriend with a car, so that helps!

Not that he doesn't have his problems, the largest of which is pretty serious ADHD. Well, and that he's my brother's son. (JUST KIDDING, David!) David is an artist, too, so I'm joking about inheriting the "starving artist" gene. My other brother is also incredibly artistic ... somehow that gene skipped me. I couldn't draw my way out of a paper bag (whatever that truly means). However, I can sing. If they can, I don't know it because I've never heard them.

Anyway, back to the layout: I found these pictures in a pile I had had printed from my mother's camera card. They're a couple of years old, I think, and apparently Mom had told Milo she wanted to take his picture, so he hammed it up for her. And the series was a perfect Scrapbook Moment sort of deal. I had so much fun putting it together. Just looking at all his expressions was fun. I can't wait to show him the layout next time he comes out our way for a visit!

Oh, yes -- ingredients:
DP: "Zach's Life" collection -- Little Yellow Bicycle
Stamps (alpha): Stampendous
Ink: SU (also marker)
Brads: Making Memories
Diecut: K&Co.
Cricut "George & Basic Shapes" cartridge (MILO font)

Well, it's very late and I have to get to bed (should've been there an hour ago). Tomorrow will be a busy day, which may include getting the damage on my car appraised for repair (finally). So I'll have to get an early start to cram everything in.

Hope everyone is having a great week and looking forward to a great weekend! (My Down Under readers will already be into their weekend by the time they read this, I think.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another digi page!

So what did I say last time -- that I wasn't "getting into" digi scrapping? Well, it's still true, but it's awfully handy to have a few digi kits around when you don't feel well enough to go mucking about in your craft loft and you have a deadline for a page!

Yes, I had a page due on SHINE at Paper Craft Planet on Monday morning and I was NOT feeling well over the weekend, so on Sunday afternoon I decided I would grab the laptop, lounge on the couch and whip out a digi page. Did I say "whip out?" Um, it took me about four hours, a page I could've "whipped out" in the craft loft in about an hour or so (after designing it, of course, which easily could've taken three hours, except this time I had the idea in my head when I sat down to scrap it). So, no, I am not turning into a digi scrapper. I will admit I'm having a love affair with Photoshop brushes ... so I'll have to think up lots of other ways to use them. (I actually did that on a photo last night, but you can't see the results until I finish the PAPER scrapbook LO I'm working on that includes that photo. Oh, yeah, I made my blog banner entirely with brushes, too!)

So, here is the digi-page I did on Sunday:

The theme this week is to scrap our "Life Verse" -- the Bible verse or passage that God has given us (as individuals) that guides our life, gives us a beacon to follow in dark times, etc. Obviously, the entire Bible is our guide, but sometimes there will be a verse/passage that just speaks to one's heart so strongly that you know God has "given" you that verse specifically. You can read the journaling on my page to see why Isaiah 43:1-3 is my "Life Verse" (verses, really).

Because the passage talks about not being overwhelmed when we go through "the waters," I had this image of high ocean waves as they might appear to a person in a small boat. I found some old brushes I already had loaded on my computer that were PERFECT for what I had in mind (if I had paper scrapped this, I would have used swirl stamps). Then there were other brushes that were kinda wavy, so I used those for the ocean part at the bottom, and finally I used another set of stamps with a stipple effect to get the spindrift/foam look that's behind the verses. If you really need to know the names of the brush creators I can try to find them for you. I probably have the documentation somewhere. At any rate, I didn't create them. I don't even have the first clue about creating brushes! The "paper" is from a kit I downloaded two years ago, so I would have to look up the documentation on that, too. I altered the color of it slightly so it would have a more sea-green look (I think it was originally more green.) Oh, and the "brads" were from a kit I recently downloaded called "Sun Porch". I thought it needed something "three-dimensional."

I spent five hours today at a friend's house scrapbooking! Her son and mine go to the same school, and although they aren't friends, she and I have often sat through various school events and chatted. So she decided she needed to get back to scrapping, and invited several people over to her house for a crop. It ended up being only me and her most of the time, and another lady came for awhile but had to leave early. It was really a lot of fun! Now, I had kinda stressed over what to take, since the only other times I've ever scrapped outside my own home were for classes, and then all I had to take was a paper trimmer and adhesive. Here I had to know what I was going to scrap so I could take the photos, pull the paper, pick out embellies, etc. I was up until midnight last night doing all that. But it all ended up okay, and I came out with three almost-finished pages (I'm doing the journaling and titles at home, since I didn't take my Cricut and she doesn't have anything like that, and I might add another embellie or two), and three almost-finished 6"x6" inch pages for my "Favorite Photos" album. Not bad, I'd say! She'd like to make this a monthly thing, and I think that's a great idea. I told her we could have it at my house at some point -- I have so many stamps, plus all the SU inks, several others, the Cricut, a Cuttlebug, etc., so that would be fun for them to play with. I'd have to haul it all downstairs, of course, since my loft is too small for more than one person, but it would be worth it. Plus, my house would finally actually get clean!

Okay, I'm exhausted so I'm going to go veg out now. Tomorrow will be busy, since I have to take the kid to the ortho for "banding", whatever that is (he already has his braces, so don't remember what they said this deal was), then grocery store, allergy shots and hopefully time for a quick trip to Archivers for a couple of embellies I need (I needed a matching set and I only had one half). After all that I hope to still have the energy to finish at least one of the layouts! (Technically, two of the pages belong to one layout.)

Hope you're all doing well -- and happy scrappin/stampin!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stampin' Up fun today

This morning I went over to my former upline's house for a class/club get-together. She has a Big Shot club which I didn't join since I don't have and don't want to purchase a Big Shot (my Cuttlebug is good enough, thanks), but you can go to the classes as a guest for $5 (waived if you purchase more than $15 in anything SU). I should have joined the club -- it's not entirely Big Shot based, and you get to be a hostess one month (like any regular stamping club), but, oh well. It's still a lot of money to fork over for SU-specific stuff each month. (I think it's $25).

We had fun, though. We made two non-die-cut cards, and then one Big Shot card and one little box. I decided to use one of the cards for the SHINE challenge sample for this coming week (since I need to post for tomorrow). I've been sick again (yep, again; yep, sinus infection), and that's one of the reasons I went to the class even though I didn't feel very well -- I could make a challenge-useable card without having to think! I did leave off the SU sentiment, though, and substituted a different one after I got home because I had wanted to use this specific sentiment on whatever card I made for this week. And I knew ahead of time what sets we would be using, and I LOVE the one we used for this card (and, yes, ordered it today), so it all went together well.

So here's the card:

Obviously all supplies are SU except for the sentiment, which is from Rubber Stamp Shack. (And isn't that the kewlest saying?!)

I got my printed-out hard copy version of my "Watching Over You" layout in the mail today, and it looks great! I don't remember if I mentioned where I had it printed, but I am going to give them a huge plug right now, because I probably won't be giving them a lot of business, not being much of a digi-scrapper. They are called Scrapbooks to Share (, and you can actually order a sample page from them for free, plus $6 shipping. The cool thing is, it's any of your layouts that you choose, and you get two copies of it. Here's what they say about it:
We print digital scrapbook pages on acid and lignin-free paper for as low as $1.00 a page! We are so confident in our quality that we offer a sample package of one of your digital scrapbook pages so you can judge for yourself for only the cost of shipping and packaging - $6.00. If you order a sample package you will receive your digital layout printed on a couple of the different types of paper we offer.

They have text-weight paper and cardstock-weight. When you order your sample, you get to choose what you would like to see (i.e., text-weight or cardstock). I chose cardstock and got my layout printed on both matte CS and glossy CS. Plus they sent two 6"x6" samples of their text-weight paper (plain, no layout). I really loved the quality and texture of the matte CS. It's so much nicer than having a layout printed on photo paper (I think, because I don't want my layout to have the photo paper texture. They can do photo paper, but I just don't like it. And no, I'm not getting paid or discounts or anything to plug them -- I was just really impressed, that's all.) What's awesome about getting the free samples is that now I have one for my scrapbook album, and one I can frame and hang in the office!

Anyway, I will TOTALLY be using them again whenever I do anything digi, and if you digi scrap and don't have a printing place or don't like the one you use, try these people out. I haven't looked into how much they charge per page yet, but I'm pretty sure it will be cheaper than the other places I looked at online before I picked them.

I need to ask for personal prayer here, so if you aren't interested in hearing my health woes, you can stop reading and go on to the next blog on your list now. Would those of you who pray please pray for me about my chronic sinus infections (if you aren't doing that already)? I am really, really discouraged about this (it's been probably two years now since I started getting them so frequently). It's so hard for me to get things done when I feel this bad. If you've never had a sinus infection, you just can't imagine how bad they make you feel. I totally do not understand how something that sounds so minor can so completely wipe you out, but all you want to do is sleep, and even though I've been out doing things today, I have just felt like jello all day long. I can't take care of my family properly, I feel guilty ALL the time because Bjorn is under so much stress and I can't pick up the slack. I don't think I'll be able to go to Aidan's big Latin club meet thing this weekend and support his team (I've missed every meet so far this year). I haven't been able to sing on the Praise Team since October, and even though I'm planning on going back to the team in March, I don't know how realistic that is.

What's really scary is that I have a friend at church who also has chronic sinus infections, and she is a real mess (health-wise). It doesn't give me much hope. She's been to specialists, had the sinus-clean-out surgery, the whole nine yards, and is still getting them just as often as she ever did. My allergy doc says mine will get better once my allergy shots start really taking effect. But that won't be in, like, three or more years (it takes that long for them to build up enough in your system that they begin to make a real difference). In the meantime, my house is dirty, my husband is overwhelmed, and I feel like the worst wife in the universe.

So, yeah, anyway, enough whining. But please, do pray for me. Some days I just want to go walk off a cliff, not because I feel so bad, but because I can't take care of my family the way I need to. If it were just me and I had somebody taking care of me, I wouldn't care. But I have a family to take care of, that's my JOB, that's my CALLING, it's a big way I show them that I love them, and I can't do it well. That's hard and it hurts (especially since I don't think my husband truly understands).

Alright. Enough for real. I've got to go post my card to Paper Craft Planet now. I really hope I feel better tomorrow because I WANT TO SCRAP!!!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This is My Song

So I said I would show you my digital layout of the Christian song that speaks to me the most, and, without further ado, here it is:

My favorite song? "God is Watching Over You" by Phil Joel (surprise, surprise). It's the one song in all the world that can get through to me when I'm in the depths of despair, or worried, or lamenting the past, or whatever. Consistently, this is the one. And that was even true before I fell in love with Phil's hair!

It's pretty rudimentary digi-scrapping. No baubles and embellies and shadowing and all that, just words layered around and a pic in the corner. That's Phil in the corner, BTW, a still taken from the video of the song on the "it's time to fly!" part. (Free fun fact: Now that I know more about Phil AND New Zealand, I have deduced that he is standing atop Lion Rock at Piha Beach near Auckland in New Zealand -- Piha is his favorite place and he and his wife and kiddies have a vacation home there. Must be nice.) The original pic was very small, and was pretty pixelated by the time I got it to the size I wanted, so I decided to mess with it to make it "artistic." I used PaintShop Pro 7 (yes, it's a very old version, I know) and applied the "Photo Grain" filter, then played with the color until I got it to a close enough match for the layout. I'm not sure Phil would be thrilled to be pinkish-purple, but, hey, it's for art's sake, y'know?

I spent a large chunk of today making layouts to send to Jennifer McGuire so she can send them on to the lady in Australia who is putting together scrapbook albums for the Aussie fire victims. I said yesterday that I wasn't good at doing photo-less layouts, but when I was re-organizing my paper this morning, I found some "already started" layouts I had purchased at Target a couple of years ago on sale. They had layers and some stitching and ribbons or other kinds of flat embellies on them, so I added photo mats, some DP and a few other bits, and voila! Scrapbook pages for the Aussie fire victims! I didn't put a whole lot of embellies on them because we're supposed to leave a lot of that part for the people who get them to do. Plus my pages all ended up being pretty masculine because of the pre-done bases I started with and the DP I ended up picking to go with the bases, so I didn't stick Prima flowers and rhinestones and glitter and all that all over them. But I think they turned out nice, and I think whoever gets them will enjoy adding photos, journaling and their own embellies to make the pages truly their own.

If I get a chance I'll scan the pages. Otherwise I'm going to try to get them out in the mail tomorrow, so it just depends on how much time I have.

I'm going to a Stampin' Up! club/class thing at my former upline's on Thursday morning. From the projects she showed and the sets and paper she'll be highlighting, I may have to break down and purchase a couple of things. *SIGH* It sure has been hard to keep my New Year's Resolutions!

Hope you have a great day, and I'll be back soon!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Successful loft day results

Well, as promised, I'm here to show the results of my Successful Loft Day yesterday. Today I didn't quite make it up there, but, hey ... some days you make the stuff, some days you post it.

First, here is the card I made for the "Friendship" challenge on SHINE Christian Crafters Challenge at Paper Craft Planet:

A different style for me, huh? I got the inspiration from the Winter 2007 "Take Ten" magazine. I used a stamp from smARTworks, then stamped over it using Versamark on a square stamp I'd made out of a piece of stamp-carving rubber (once upon a time I carved a whole Celtic alphabet stamp set out of this rubber, which I'd purchased at Michaels), then chalked over the squares. The verse (part of Proverbs 18:24, it says, "... a friend who sticks closer than a brother.") was printed out off the computer. CS is GinaK Designs (white) and SU (Cameo Coral). I used SU Cameo Coral, Chocolate Chip and Garden Green markers to color the stamp.

And here is the layout I made "for fun" (I put that in quotes because, even though it WAS fun to do and it wasn't for a challenge or to post for a project, it's still part of my "serious" life-archiving scrapbooks):

These are my two kitties, so the layout goes in my "All About Us" album (yes, I include them as family). I got the "guidelines" from a webpage called "Guidelines For Cats", and modified the ones I liked best so they would fit the pages and still leave room for my kitties' pictures. (Max is the orange tabby, Mokii is the Russian Blue mix.) You'll need to click on the picture of the layout to read the quotes and see the pictures very well.

DP is KI Memories (cats) and K&Co. (the non-yellow Cricut-ed stuff)
CS is Stampin' Up!
"journaling" printed from computer
diecuts from Cricut "Home Decor" and "George & Basic Shapes" cartridges
Marker: SU "Ruby Red"

So those are the two I promised you last night. Tomorrow (or soon) I will post the digital page I did for the Faithbook project. I meant to scrap today, but it's fibromyalgia weather today, and whether or not I truly have fibro, I definitely felt yukky today, so didn't get much done at all, other than posting things here and there on various groups and forums. What I really need to do is get cracking on the "blank" pages for the Aussie fire victims (see post here). I want to do this, to help out, but I've never actually made a scrapbook page without photos before. At first it sounded pretty intimidating, since I plan my pages around my photos, not the other way around. But as I was looking through a scrapbooking magazine tonight, I saw some layouts that I could see taking the photos out of and adapting, and I thought, "Hey, maybe I CAN do this!" So perhaps tomorrow I'll try to get some of those done. (I'm the world's worst procrastinator, so I hope I don't procrastinate until it's too late to send them.)

Well, that's really all I have tonight. Hope your Monday wasn't bad and that you're off to a good start this week.

Happy scrappin'/stampin'!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A successful loft day!

Well! I spent TIME in the loft today. (I know I did that the other night with the Valentines, but that was "required", and most of today was "for fun.") My shoulders are tighter than a drum tonight but it was worth it!

I won't show you the fruit of my labor until tomorrow, though, because I still want to show you the last two Valentines I made, and I don't want to just inundate you! I mean, you might pass out or something! lol

So here's the first of the last two:

This one was for my mother. I used all Basic Grey paper and my Cricut, as well as the Fiskars "Threading Water" punch, a couple of random buttons and a sentiment stamp from Stampin' Up! I'm happy to report that she loved it, even if it wasn't blue and white (her favorite color combo, and the one I tend to lean toward when making things for her).

And last, but not least:

For my dad. No, Dad isn't a cowboy. He IS a Native Texan. But the reason behind this card (and a few others I've made him) is that, when he was little somebody dressed him up semi-cowboyish, sat him on a pony and had a "portrait" made of him. Yeah, the classic "little boy on a horse in the 1930s, '40s, etc." picture. He was SO CUTE. So, unfortunately for him, this is the image that pops into my head when I think, "What kind of card can I make Dad?" Of course, there aren't too many stamps that reference Chemical Engineering ...

Anyway, I don't know where the bandanna paper came from, and I can't remember who made the lil' cowboy stamp (gee, who woulda thought?). I do know that the blue paper behind the bandanna paper is actually a piece of faux denim that I made using a Technique Junkies tech awhile back, but, sadly, it doesn't really show up (not even in real life). I made the title with the JustRite "Braydon" (sp?) font set. And, yes, Daddy loved the card.

So, that's all I have for you tonight. But next time I will show you the card I made for the Paper Craft Planet SHINE challenge I was supposed to have had ready last Thursday (now posted there), and a scrapbook layout I had started (barely) several days ago, and which I finally sat down and worked (hard) on and finished today.

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Until next time ...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Late Valentine's Day Wishes

Well, by the time most of you read this Valentine's Day will either be over or at least almost so. Therefore, I wish you all belated Valentine's Day wishes for lots of love in your life all year long!

I have several things to cover in my post tonight, so let's get started:

First, I have started a new blog, "Foggy Specs" (as in "spectacles"), which is where I will be writing new and posting older writings dealing with my walk with Christ. Hopefully there will be some profound things there, but mostly it will be me journaling this walk, trying to figure things out, asking the same questions you do (and hopefully sometimes having some answers), giving praises for the good stuff and the things I "get", sometimes crying on God's shoulder or just talking to Him straight. So if you're interested in that kind of thing, or even just want to see the kind of stuff I'm talking about, you can click on the link at the top of my sidebar and check it out.

Second, y'all know how I've been touched by the fires in Australia. Well, Jennifer McGuire (of Jennifer McGuire, ink) has discovered a creative way we can help out. Here's the blurb, and I'll follow that with links:

Jennifer has come up with a way for U.S. scrappers to save postage ... you can send your project page(s) to her and she'll ship them all to Australia on her own nickel, which is a very generous thing for her to do, I think! Here's how to find out more from Jennifer.

And, third (and possibly last): I spent 4-1/2 hours last night making four Valentine's day cards for my family. There are many reasons why I waited until the last minute to do this, but I'm pretty happy with the results (at least on the inside -- I got a little brain-dead by the time it came to write inside them, lol). I found inspiration in the Winter 2007 "Take Ten" magazine. It still took me around an hour to make each card (some more, some less). I guess it's hopeless!

So here are the first two. I'll show you the others tomorrow:

This was for the hubby. The "love" stamp is by The Angel Company, and the background stamp that I used in the "Shimmering Wallpaper" technique panel is SU. It's pretty simple, but it says it all. (Of course, being WAAAAAY too influenced by the I Can Has Cheezburger site, on the inside I wrote "We has it!" Bjorn's was the last card I made, and I was a bit loopy by then.)

And here is Aidan's:

Aidan is not into Valentine's Day (obviously, he does not yet have a girlfriend). He says it's all a commercial ploy, etc., etc., etc. He did not give me a card, but he did "go in" with Bjorn to buy me some roses. (I imagine he didn't actually have to fork over any money.) So I decided to make him a card that was not Valentiney. And, as you all know, he is very into Japanese stuff, and somewhat into Chinese stuff, too, so I decided to go with that. I'll have to double-check, but I think the bamboo stamp is by Stampendous. I know the "love" kanji is SU. The background paper is ... oh, pooh! I thought I would remember! It's from a paper pack I got at Michaels, but I'd have to go upstairs and look at it, and ... no, not today, sorry. Oh, and I used SU "Kiwi Kiss" ink.

So those were two of my creations. As I said, I'll show the other two next time (for my parents).

And I did finish my digi layout for Monday's SHINE Faithbooking project today, and even ordered a 12x12 print of it, but I can't reveal it until Monday, since it's "top secret" until I post it for the project.

Well, I've got to go finish supper -- I'm taking a pot of gumbo over to my folks' house tonight! (Go, me!)


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chocolate bar wrapper

I had some loft time today. At Aidan's school they encourage parents to "adopt" a middle/high school teacher ("officially" so only one parent has one teacher), and you're supposed to help them out through the year, etc., as well as give them little gifts on holidays and their birthday. So I adopted Aidan's Latin teacher, since we have the most interaction with her (him being in the Latin club, on the Certamen team, etc.). So far she hasn't asked me to help her with anything (which might be good, considering how often I'm laid low with sinuses, etc.), but I have done my part with the goodies. Since her birthday is coming up in just a couple of weeks, I decided to go a little light on the Valentine's Day treat and just do a bar of chocolate.

Now, for her, this should be a good thing. She's a dark chocolate fanatic, and I would think any bar of decent dark chocolate would be appreciated. It's Lindt "Excellence" 78% dark, so that should be up her alley.

Being slightly under the weather again I wasn't up to making her a full-fledged card, so I decided to make her a custom wrapper for her chocolate bar. This is what I came up with:

All the paper except the cream backing is Basic Grey (the cream bit is from The Paper Company). Oh, and the bit I stamped on is SU Very Vanilla. The stamp is from The Angel Company (they had a 1/2 price sale on a couple of weeks ago and, I mean, how can you pass that up? So this is one of the stamps that just showed up in my mailbox today!). Ribbon is unknown, and ink is SU "Riding Hood Red".

So, I hope she likes it. I also hope she doesn't rip into it to get to the bar. She can just slide the bar out -- I hope she figures that out. And then, of course, she has to keep the wrapper forever, right? I mean, because it IS handmade! ;-)

Tomorrow night I'm supposed to be a "tour guide" at this open house thing A's school is having ... have I mentioned this already? (Whew, brain fog is thick tonight!) Anyway, just in case I haven't, the open house is for current parents so they can go get a glimpse of what the high school is like so they'll get very excited and decide they simply MUST send their kids there, and so they'll commit, like, NOW so the Powers That Be will see the commitment and won't feel like they might have to shut the high school down the year before A graduates. So I'm supposed to go lead a little tour group from classroom to classroom (where there will be "high school class" sort-of demonstrations ... A will be in the Latin classroom being part of that) and, I guess, be a sort-of cheerleader for the school. They were asking for volunteers to do this, so I decided I'd better put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, and DO something about encouraging the lower-school parents instead of just talking about doing something. So I hope that goes well. I have a bad habit of volunteering for something and then, like, the next day really wishing I hadn't because it disrupts my non-schedule. How pathetic is that?

I'm actually working on a digi-scrap layout! Gasp and horror! lol I don't really like digital scrapping (I mean, for myself) in general -- I've tried it in the past and it just doesn't have the "thrill" of paper scrapping for me. But next week's theme for our faithbooking project on PCP is going to be "This is My Song" (shhh, don't tell yet ;-) ), and I realized I had started a digi-page on this very topic a year or so ago. Since my favorite, most encouraging Christian song hasn't changed in that time (guess what it is -- "God is Watching Over You" by ... oh, you knew it, didn't you ... Phil Joel!!), I figured I might as well finish the page for next week, then have it printed out somewhere and stick it in my scrapbook. It will sure look flat next to my other pages, but, what the heck. I like the way it's looking, so it's all good. (If I could only figure out how to do this one thing I'm trying to do that isn't working ...) I have Photo Shop Elements 4.0 (can you say "archaic"? I knew you could.), so that's part of the problem. All the tuts are for the current edition.

Anyway, I need to go so I can plan the theme for the Friday SHINE challenge. I need to make the card tomorrow, and I won't have the evening in which to do it!

OH! BTW, please remember to pray for the Oklahoma tornado victims from Tuesday night. Last I heard there were 8 dead in one little town, and lots of damage in several places. And there may be more tornadoes going on further east tonight.

More later!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Another Faithbook page

So, like I promised yesterday, I'm here today with my second Faithbook layout for the project over in the SHINE group at Paper Craft Planet. This week's topic is "This is My Story" (a phrase from the chorus of a great "old" hymn called "Blessed Assurance"), and we're to tell our salvation stories, the story of how we came to "trust Jesus as our Savior and Lord" in Southern Baptist parlance. Other phraseology might be how one made the decision to follow Christ, or when one realized they wanted to truly be a disciple of Christ. However one phrases it, the basic idea is that each Christian has a story about the time they decided to truly follow Christ, so that's what I want each participant to scrap about this week.

Here is my page:

November 8, 1970 was the most important day in my life, and that will always be true. It's even more important than the day I got married or the day I gave birth to Aidan, because it's the day I said "YES!" to Jesus and invited Him to come live in my heart and be the Lord of my life. It's the day my name was written down in the Lamb's Book of Life, that book that Jesus will consult one day to see if I'm allowed to enter Heaven, or if my reservation is somewhere considerably hotter. And because of what I did that day, I know He'll find my name there, and I'll be welcomed in as a daughter, a child of the King, a full-fledged member of the Royal Family of God!

No, that's not my journaling! lol If you would like to see that better, you can click on the picture and see a larger version of it.

All papers on this layout are K&Co., I think it's from the "Sassafras" collection. I also used some self-stick rhinestones from them, but I'm not sure where the pearls or some other of the rhinestones came from. Nor am I sure about the lace. The buttons are just random buttons collected over time. (I have a bad tendency to take things out of their original packaging and store them in accessory drawers or boxes and not remember who made them.) The picture is a scan I made off a bulletin from the church I grew up in, Sherwood Baptist Church in Odessa, TX. And, last but not least, the title lettering was cut with the "Jasmine" Cricut cartridge.

I am so naughty (yeah, God still has a LOT of work to do in me, even 38 years later!). I had a doc's appt. this afternoon, and had lots of time to kill afterward, so after I had my car safety inspected (in Texas you do this once a year; mine was due last September -- do not laugh ... how many of YOU look frequently in the lower left-hand corner of your car's front window, huh?) I went to Archiver's just to get a few embellies. Uh huh. Let him who is without Archiver's sin cast the first stone. I came out with a package of chipboard letters (very necessary), some adhesive (boring, boring, boring,), a package of 12x12 paper storage folders (boring, boring, boring), some buttons in colors I didn't have last night when I needed them, and paper. When did they start charging $1.99 for a piece of stinkin' paper??? Now, granted, the paper was double-sided and did have "texture" on the front (some kind of slick stuff in the stripes), but yeesh!!! And I always buy two of every piece of paper I get in case I want to do a two pager or if I screw something up, which I have been known to do from time to time. And then there's the 99-cent paper. Come on! But, yes, I had to have it. For a kitty layout that I want to make. And then there was some gorgeous "guy" paper from Basic Grey (blues and greens). And ... and ... *SIGH*. Like I don't already have enough paper?

So what is it with paper, anyway? I have a ton of the stuff, and yet I'll sit down to scrap, and I'll discover that with all that paper, I do not have the exact right piece to go with the layout I'm designing! I may have two pieces that I want, but then I don't have that exact, right piece that would coordinate perfectly, or that exact right color of blue/brown/yellow/red/insert-color-here. It's uncanny! I'm thinking this is a secret magic ploy of the scrapbook paper industry. Somehow they know. Somehow they know that when you buy a certain piece of paper, you will need that intangible, undefinable "something else" that doesn't exist, not even in their matching collection, until three years later when you finally decide to use that piece of paper. Then you will have to go back to the scrapbook store, even if you've taken a pledge of No New Paper For Ten Years to get the piece you need to finish the layout. And of course, you'll have to get the other gorgeous pieces you see there. It's kinda like "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie," only with scrapbookers.

"If you give a scrapper a piece of Basic Grey ..."


I hope I get some time to scrap tonight. Don't know if the hubby will want me to spend the evening paying attention to him or if I can slip away to the loft and Be Creative. As much as I love him, I hope it's the latter!

Keep praying for the Aussies. The death toll from the fires now stands at 171. (And thanks, Leonie, for your very sweet comment on yesterday's post.)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Prayers for Australia

I don't know if y'all have been keeping up with this in the news or not, but there are some terrible things going on Down Under the last few days. The main big news is the bushfires (bush = "forest" in general for us Americans). Over the last two or three days 128 people have been killed in horrible fires that are raging in the Australian state of Victoria near the city of Melbourne. There are a lot of national parks in that area with a lot of trees, and the weather there has been ridiculously hot lately, and dry. (Hot, like Arizona summer hot, like 115 degrees F or even more -- remember, it's summer Down Under right now.) All that's been contributing to the speed at which these fires are spreading. Last I heard there were 30 fires going in this area. Whole towns have burned to the ground. It's just unimaginably devastating. So we need to remember to pray for these folks -- the survivors, families and friends of victims, those who have lost everything, firefighters, emergency and medical personnel, everybody. It's just amazingly horrible. Here are some pictures:
This bloke's face breaks my heart ... he's trying to get the firefighters to save his farm.

Hard to start over in your 80s

Even the little blokes have to start over ...

The white ashy looking places were once homes.

I also understand, from Leonie Schroder, who lives in the Aussie state of New South Wales, that the state of Queensland, to the north, has been experiencing flooding, so they need prayer, too!

I'll be back tomorrow with an actual layout ... it's finished tonight but there's glue drying on it. (No, it's not about the fires, it has to do with the Faithbooking project over at Paper Craft Planet)

If I have any Aussie readers from these areas -- know that you're on my heart and mind and in my prayers!

Friday, February 06, 2009

A Valentine for ...

... God! I mean, after all, who deserves my love more? Yeah, the One who redeemed my life from the pit, who brought me into His eternal Kingdom, who wiped away the guilt of all my sin. So I made a Valentine for Him:

Yeah, I know, most of you probably think it's weird. My own husband (who is a Christian) did. He said, "So ... who are you gonna give it to?" I said, "God." And he just looked at me with this look that says, "Okay, just act like it's okay, like she's not really one step into the Funny Farm already and well on her way further in." I get that look a lot. Well, hey, I had to come up with an idea for the SHINE Christian Crafters Challenge this week, and I wanted to do something with a Valentine theme, but I didn't want it to be the usual type stuff. So this is what I ended up thinking of. Meh, even if nobody else understands me, God does.

Papers are all from the Basic Grey "Sugared" collection. Stamp is from SU's "Always" set. Buttons and photo turns are also SU, and the verse is copied from the New International Version of the Bible, and was printed off the computer.

This has been a surreal week. Ended up having to take A to the doc again today (still can't sleep for that cough). We got to actually see our PA today instead of the doctor that's in charge of the place. If only we could've done that on Monday, he probably would be well by now. (She was out of the office Monday.) She says she thinks it's a sinus infection that's drained and settled into his chest, and that the antibiotic (azithromycin) that the doc prescribed on Monday has a 50% resistance rate, so his bacteria were probably in the 50% that resist it. So she switched his antibio, told us what OTC sinus/cough med to get, told him he needs to rinse his sinuses every day (he was thrilled with THAT), and that he should try sleeping on his stomach to keep the drainage from tickling his throat. She is so awesome! Anyway, we're really hoping it works tonight, because he has to take part in a Mock Trial competition for his school tomorrow, and he's determined that he's going to do it and not let his team down. They don't have alternates for these roles (he's a witness), so he feels very responsible to be there. I'm glad he has that sense of responsibility. I just hope he doesn't have to go on two hours' sleep, like he would have had to do if it had been today. So I'm nervous about tonight, but hopefully things will be much better!

Well, we need to start moving toward bedtime. No one around here knows how to use a Neti Pot, but that's what the PA said we should be using (I've been using just an Ayr bottle and salt water), so I went to CVS today and spent $70 on two Neti Pots (one for me), two different bottles of Mucinex (I can't have the decongestant, but he needs it), and a couple of other little things I needed. That was almost as much as the antibio cost!

So, I'll let you know how things go tomorrow. I would really like to get to feeling better, too, so I can get some scrapping done! I've got a new page I need to do for the SHINE Faithbooking project for Monday, and then I've got a cat LO floating around in my head I'd like to do, too.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

"Cardbook" sample -- and my broken car

Note: The poll concerning my sidebar music has closed. Most people said they didn't like music on blogs, although there were several who thought the music was "awesome" (thank you!). But in deference to the majority, I have removed the music player application. If you'd like to listen to the Newsboys, I guess you'll have to just go buy their music for yourself! ;-)

First, the good stuff. Well, depending on your opinion of my artwork! lol

I managed to get up into the craft loft today and make the "cardbook" sample I had promised to the folks in my SHINE group at Paper Craft Planet. It's for the Faithbooking project, to encourage those who aren't scrapbookers to get involved anyway. So I made a card into a mini-scrapbook page to show them what they could do:

Size is 5"x7". Paper is Basic Grey's "Urban Prairie" line. Stamp is a very old one from a company called Sonlight Impressions (like, 10 years old). Technique behind stamp is the TJ "Floating AI (Alcohol Ink)" tech. And, yeah, the mini-page came out looking a little "girlie" for what I intended, but, hey, Jesus loves us girlie-girls, too.

I did well to get this done today. Yesterday, after taking Aidan to the doc for his cough, we got rear-ended. We had gone to Chick-fil-a for lunch, but the drive-thru line was too long, so we decided to just skip it and go home. So as we were sitting on the street in the left turn lane waiting for our green arrow, some guy in a pickup behind us slams into the back of my beloved baby RAV4. CRY!!! Now, fortunately, he wasn't going fast. And, fortunately, we didn't hit the car in front of us. And, fortunately, no one was injured (so it seemed), and my car actually didn't get the worst of it -- thank God for rear-mounted spare tires! They're better than bumpers! The tire-case is cracked in several places, and the rear door is dented, but it could have been much, much worse. His pickup had a lot more damage to the front than did my precious, beloved, baby RAV4.

However, today I have the most killer headache. And I know this kind of headache -- it's an "occipital neuralgia" headache, i.e., the nerves in the back of my neck that go up over my head were irritated in the rear-ending yesterday, and so now I have pain from h*ll shooting over my head, into my eyeballs and occasionally even behind my nose. How do I know this kind of headache? Because I had to be treated at a pain management clinic for these a couple of years ago.

So now I'll probably have to have the treatments again (two rounds of shots right in the nerves, three months apart). And it's not like I really mind that much, but it's a hassle, and until I get the shots I'll be subject to these very, very nasty headaches that are quite debilitating. As in "more time away from the craft loft". (Oh, yeah, it stinks that I can't take care of my family, too.)

The one good thing that may come out of this is ... my husband got rear-ended several months ago and has had severe headaches ever since, as well as shoulder pain. He's had phys therapy for the shoulder, and is now going to a chiropractor, and nothing has really helped the headaches. It finally occurred to me today to ask him to describe his headaches, and he said, "Well, they start in my neck and kinda shoot up over the top of my head ..." Bingo! Occipital neuralgia! So now we know how he can get help! And if it took me getting rear-ended so we could know how to help him, I'm cool with that.

(Of course, in the current mood he's in, was he thankful that we now probably know what's wrong so he can get help? Nooooo. He just seemed very grumpy and went up to bed to "rest [his] neck." He has been very depressed lately, and I don't know what to do to help! Part of it has been this chronic headache thing, so I'd think he'd be asking for the doctor's phone number right now, but no, for some reason this makes him more depressed.)

Sorry, I digressed. I guess I need to talk about it, but maybe y'all aren't the ones who want to hear it?

Anyway, the cardbook page is done, but tomorrow I need to come up with something for the normal Friday challenge at SHINE, then the next scrapbook topic will be due on Monday ... not a good time for killer headaches! (Prayer would be appreciated, BTW)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Blast from the past

Well, I have had an interesting weekend. In a weird sort of way. I have spent the weekend with myself from 1964, 1967, 1971, and other random years of the "awful decades", as well as with my brothers, parents, grandparents and various friends and other relations. Time machine? Um, no. If I had a time machine, you think I'd be wasting my time going back to those horrible years of pre-puberty in the 1960s and '70s?? Yeah no.

But I DID spend my time scanning slides. I was sick (sinuses again) and unable to do much else, so I just hung out with my little ion "Slides2PC" gadget and a big stinky bottle of slide cleaner and did my bit for archiving family history. Only ... I don't know if it's the scanner or the slides (I know I could tell by looking more closely), but sooooooo many of the slides are slightly blurry (could be the ravages of time), and either exceedingly dark or ridiculously overexposed, and I am NOT at all skilled in the ways of photo rescuing. I have Photoshop Elements 4.0, JASC PaintShop Pro something-or-other, ACDSee 8, and the scanner comes with ArcSoft PhotoImpression 6 (basic version). And I cannot seem to do any kind of decent job rescuing the bad slides. I can clone out spots and that kind of thing, but I'm talkin' horrible contrasty stuff and darkness and all kinds of yuckness. Here, let me show you:

Here I am at Christmas time with my brothers in 1964. (I was cute then. This was well before the horrors of pre-puberty.) I mean, what do you do with this? Dark, contrasty, slightly blurry. This is the best I could do:

See much difference? I didn't think so. That's because if I did too much it would come out with weird ... stuff. Stuff that I really don't know how to explain, but things like shifts in colors that became highly pixelated, etc.

Anyway. I hope I'm not doing all this in vain because the scanner thing was a hundred bucks of my Christmas money. But I guess the deal is to at least save and digitize the slides so they aren't lost completely. And, honestly, it's been fun seeing the old pictures. And creepy. And sometimes sad. There's a picture of my oldest brother when he was at probably the lowest point in his life, when he was suicidally depressed for three years. And you can just see it on his face. He looks bleak, sort-of hopeless. That picture rips my heart out, and I had to finally quit trying to tweak it because his face was too haunting. Happily, he came out of that time (we discovered his main problem was that he was hypoglycemic -- he should NOT have been eating sugar at all, and he needed drastic vitamin supplimenting) and he's pretty much okay now. Still some scars -- those never go away, I know that firsthand, but he's okay.

Whoops, I digressed.

I meant to get up into the loft today and work on a "scrap-card" sample for the beginning of the Faithbooking project I'm initiating tomorrow on Paper Craft Planet, but I just totally did not have the energy. So, hopefully tomorrow will be a better day and I can get that done. Part of the lethargy prob today was that Aidan was up until about 2am coughing last night, despite all the medicinal interventions. B went to sleep in the guest house, but moms can't do that, y'know? I slept in between his coughing fits, but he coughs like some kind of beast, really deep and really hard, so it's a little hard not to be distressed when he's in the throes of a coughing fit. If he does it again tonight, I am DEFINITELY taking him back to the doctor tomorrow. Well, not to the doc, but to our beloved PA. She'll know what to do!

So, I shall leave you with one more blast-from-the-past picture (brave soul that I am).

Me in 1969 at the Glorieta Baptist Convention Center near Santa Fe, NM. Aren't little girls such wannabe models sometimes! Yeah, well, Twiggy, eat your heart out! lol

Until next time ...