Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Birthday Fireball aka. "what NOT to do!"

We went to my aunt's surprise 60th birthday party at
my cousin's home a few weeks ago.
Aunt Diane had NO freaking clue until she saw
a couple cars in the driveway that looked familiar
(they told her to expect the neighbors' cars in the
driveway), but still had no idea how many of us would
be there hiding in the basement to jump out at her!

Btw, don't put 60 candles all to one side of the becomes an enormous fireball, sets off the
smoke detectors, makes the kids all run for the exits
screaming WE GOTTA GET OUTA HERE, and you ruin a
perfectly good glass of beer extinguishing the
candles, not to mention melting another plastic cup.
Yikes! Then you freeze b/c you gotta open the windows
for awhile to let the smoke out.

Actually that just made the party all the more fun. I had
to poke a little fun at Dad. He just stood back watching
the events play out with the fire. I guess when he retired
from volunteer firefighting, he really retired! My guess is
he'd have whipped out his cell and been the first to dial 911
if it had truly gotten out of hand.

The kids had a fun time too, including a dip in the hot tub
and I got to catch up with my two younger cousins who are at the
University of Iowa (where I went) and have taken
several of the same classes I did.

All photos taken by DH:)

Have a great day!

Brothers Layout

This is my new favorite layout. Funny how the ones that take the least amount of time often end up my favorites. It just seemed to go together well:) Great subject matter never hurt either!
Photo by Deanna Cathcart Photography (disclaimer: This copywrited photo has been reproduced at 72dpi via my digital camera solely to show off my SB page to friends and family. She did a great job with the kids' pictures, though service was a bit slow.
DCWV cardstock
CI background paper and "sons of mine" sticker (I added the s at the end with a pen) and "moments" epoxy sticker
Basic Grey (Motifica and Mellow lines) and Sandylion (clock) papers
K & Company "boy" vellum (matches BG Motifica), horse sticker, and I Love You sticker
BG ribbon
Leaving Prints (I think) alpha from Kristina -thanks GF:)
Lil Davis chipboard heart
BG chipboard brackets and Color Box ink (my fav quick method for recoloring chipboard)


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Interior Design

I LOVE the IDEA of interior design...the reality is a little frustrating. Say what? Well I love it on HGTV when it all turns out perfectly and effortlessly in a nice 30 minute (or 60) time slot. Reality: You almost divorced your husband b/c of all the yelling involved in putting up a wallpaper border in the living room 3 years ago and it scared you off doing any more home improvement projects for a nice long while. Disclaimer: In the highly hypothetical wallpaper scenario above, neither party had worked with wallpaper before. And if we do so again, we might just hire a professional:)

Ok, now that you have the background information necessary, here goes the real story of the day/week/month (yes, I'm finally getting around to blogging this Janalee!!): DH has coveted a flat screen HDTV for a long while now, thwarted by me and my love for our beautiful entertainment center which of course would not accomodate a modern rectangular big screen. Dh won:) Part of his bonus this year went toward a lovely (yes, even I like it) 42" Vizio which he promptly hung on the wall with his dad's help. We now have a very strange blank, recessed wall in our LR with a TV hanging in the middle. All stereo equipment, etc, hangs out on our floor.

A very painful trip to Redekers in Boone ensued, with the resulting fact that no ready-made piece of furniture was going to fit in the hole. Thus enters Top Shelf Cabinetry in Nevada, IA! For a fairly reasonable price IMHO (DH about keeled over), they will build us a custom entertainment center. This just might be the fastest DH and I have ever actually accomplished a major-ish design issue! :)

Here's a layout from 2002 when we had just moved into our home. If you click the image, you can see a much larger version of my poor, beloved entertainment center. The next photo is the ugly hole we live with now. I would love to show you the schematic for the custom piece, but it was emailed to us as a .pdf and I have no idea if I can even save as a .jpg. If anyone is DYING to see it, please email me and I'll forward it to you:) Otherwise, stay tuned. Top Shelf should begin work for us in late April...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Halloween in Spring

The boys have been playing a lot of pretend trick-or-treat lately, which inspired me to put the finishing touches on the 2007 Halloween pages and get them posted. Pretend trick-or-treat involves elaborate pirate, robot, and sometimes even cowboy elements from the toybox and closet, then going around the house banging on doors and walls and shouting an exuberant trick-or-treat. If you're lucky enough to encounter a person on the other side of the door (eg. the bathroom), you might even get a response and a pretend piece of candy:)

We'll let these guys & gals remain anonymous unless they tell me I can provide details:) Suffice it to say it was a grown-up party...

The Memory Bound staff Halloween party was an absolute blast!! The DCWV paper is perfect, don't you think? The haunted house die cut is the very cool, elaborate invitation we all received.

This the preschool party I blogged about here

TFL and have a great weekend! Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Creative Team News!

I'm happy to report I am now on the design team for Carrie's Creations! Carrie designs awesome files for cutting machines including my beloved CraftRobo. This is an excellent excuse to get the cutter running more! Here's my first installment, using her very cute chick file.

Layout description: My cousin and I holding Grandpa Charlie's chicks and kittens in 1976. I'm not sure if you can see, but the little chick's leg is down in between my hands, and in the other, it looks like I'm practically choking the poor kitten...good thing Gpa is there to help!
Supplies: Reminisce shimmery chicks background paper
KI Memories blue bird paper
Bo Bunny striped paper
May Arts & American crafts ribbon
chenille fuzzy rick rack from sewing store
Memory Makers buttons
twine for button thread
Slick Writer pen
AL Serenade font for title
Color Box ink
layout based on a Becky Fleck sketch

Incidentally, usually I just photograph my paper layouts in natural light and crop. For the design team, I made the extra effort to scan (in 4 pieces mind you, to get every tiny edge) and stitch together...may I just say Photoshop is AWESOME! It has an automated feature allowing you to effortlessly (more or less) stitch together panoramics and things like scanned SB pages!:) Worth its weight in gold anyday, lol.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Random Things I Want

Inspired by Suzanne, I thought I'd show you a few things that have caught my fancy lately, and would love to have at my own home sometime:) These are in no particular order, btw:
We currently have a Pentax *istD, a Pentax digital SLR from I think 2004. I have been a bit unhappy with the sharpness of images and the price of new lenses. I'd really like a lens that allows shots in super low light, and those are few and far between for the Pentax. Luckily Walden Photo here in town will allow me to try-before-I-buy if I really think I want to switch. DH jokes that I'm their best customer (I don't think he knows how much some people really DO spend at a photography store!) Anyway, this is one I have my eye on, or the more expensive D300. As you can see, I borrowed the image from Ken Rockwell I hope he doesn't mind, especially since I'm linking you back to his most excellent photography site!:)

My Ames cropper friends mentioned this one...turns out DH has heard really good things about these too. Our vacuum has given warning signs of death lately, so if it kicks the bucket, we'll probably splurge. When one has two beagles, one must have a great vacuum!

I've also been thinking even more environmentally lately...I've switched to using reusable bags at the grocery store (mine are stylish freebies I received through Memory Bound, the LSS at which I work 1/2 day per week. The SB companies are always giving out cool bags at their trade shows, and they pass them along to staff:) An article about steam cleaners caught my eye in the newspaper lately, and I love how it's chemical free! Again, one with 2 beagles (not to mention 2 boys) NEEDS a nice carpet cleaner, and the steam cleaner can do that and SO much more:) (Again, we have a perfectly decent regular old soap-using carpet cleaner).
Daimer steam cleaner

So the bottom line is, I'm not likely to see any of these things at my house real soon, lol! But a girl has to have dreams, right?

Friday, March 14, 2008

More CR Layouts

Here's a few more:

Title and tractor cut on CR. Tractor is based on a QK design.

Title (except stocking sticker) and swirl trees cut on CR.

Title and keys cut on CR.

Title designed by me using a free font and text on a path, then welding, in Pazzles software.

If anyone needs a supply list, please let me know!

CraftRobo Scrapbook Layouts

Just trying to show off what I've done with my cutting machine:) I've had a lot of fun with it in the 2 years we've "been together", lol. If anyone wants supply lists, please let me know.

Paper pieced title cut on CR. The interior of the scissors is darker IRL. I didn't leave it open b/c the photo in the background was too distracting through the holes.

This one is based on a layout from a friend of mine. She used purchased chipboard letters; I used 5 layers of cardstock for my "family" title.

Just the letters cut here, but heavily embellished with Jolee's Boutique items and Club Scrap papers/stamps.

Just the horse here.

Based on a Becky Higgins' sketch. The bookplates are my own design made in Inkscape:)


Tag; You're It!

Janet has tagged me again:)

Here are the rules:

* Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
* Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
* Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
* Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are my 7 random/weird facts:
1. I have read almost all non-fiction books in the past year, highly unusual (I've always read one now and then, but to be exclusively NF is very weird for me). Currently I'm reading Overtreated, which is fascinating to me (DH finds it a bit dull, but then, it's intimately about MY profession).
2. Lately I spend more time scanning old photos & slides than scrapbooking. I hope soon that can change again!
3. Why is it that on preschool days, I have to wake DS practically kicking, screaming, or whining out of bed, but on non-PS days, he's up within about 20 minutes of that time anyway, cheerful and ready to roll, all on his own.? (Oh wait, these facts were supposed to be about me...)
4. My current favorite You Tube movie is The Mom Song
5. I have spring fever, as in: it's still only in the 40s here and I've barely been out of Iowa in the last 12 months, and I'd REALLY rather be ANYWHERE (well almost) than here right now.
6. We might actually get the big wide space filled around our new TV soon. hey wait, I haven't told that story here yet...give me a couple days, I work ALL weekend long!
7. After a long weekend at work, I really feel weird thinking TGIM!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Boundary Waters Camping Trip

Click images for larger version.

My readership may have a few more guys than usual when DH forwards this on to his cousins and uncles with whom he spends a week each August in The Boundary Waters area of Minnesota. Hi guys! Don't worry, Jeff didn't share TOO many of your secrets with me, hehehehe.

Journaling: Just remember the most important lesson of the week: “What happens in the Boundary Waters STAYS in the Boundary Waters.” And don’t forget to drive that lesson home on the way home! Mothers and wives generally don’t tolerate that kind of behavior like your fellow man. Aside from typical guy stuff, the cousins and uncles have a great trip full of canoe- ing, fishing, laughing, eating, and even loofah-ing (don’t ask, remember, it stays in the Boundary Waters). This year the weather was mild, the rains few, and at least one day, the fish were plentiful! The two biggest complaints were the swarming mosquitos and the biting black flies, as well as the in- cessant chipmunk raids conducted on the food supply...were YOU aware they could chew through a jar of peanut butter?! Me neither...(see separate page)
First layout above:
SweetShoppe hroselli Carnival cream background
LivEsteban Designs round frame & leather paper (week 1 freebies) & glitter foliage with shadow (week 2 freebie)
KPertiet curled vintage frames
mfe (?) September alpha
ScrapGirls_Thao Cosgrove Naturescapes elements
Tempus Sans ITC font
inspiration for layout from travel advertisement in 2/08 Reader's Digest (quite possibly the strangest place I've found inspiration, lol!)
Second layout:
LivEsteban designs Adventure kit pocket page (complete with all the cool text around it), background. Thao Cosgrove sketchbook brush set (doodly circle & arrow pointing at the chipmunk damage)
AL Highlight font.
All photos on both courtesy of DH...and the couple pics OF him: courtesy of DC (dear cousin, probably Dan)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Thoughts of You Make Me Smile

Michael & my mother-in-law in a beautiful moment together at Christopher's birthday party last month.

Little Dreamer Designs is hosting a digital apprentice program, basically a contest for the next up-and-coming digital designer. Liv from Jessica Sprague's website is a contender (the best one, IMHO), and these designs are from her FREE contest kit (the word art up top is from Brandy Hackman at I just LOVE Liv's leather paper and that alpha (love) and the frame! So very cool:)

If you'd like the kit (or huge wads of other cool, but not as cool as Liv's), freebies, here's how you can get to them:
I cannot post a direct link or can be kicked off the site. They want to promote more people in their community, not have links directing people just to the here goes:
LDD Gallery home page
Once there, scroll way down until you see the menu, and click on Apprentice Round 1 Freebies. Liv's kit is then on page three, on the top row. Oh, you will have to register at the site before you can gain access to the freebies. I think it'll prompt you to do that. And if you really do like Liv's kit, please oh please post her some love...that counts in the contest!

Thanks for isn't often I solicit, but this is just one of those times I want to help out a digi friend:)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Harry Potter & Halloween

This is from the midnight party for the
final book. Friend Amy's daughter Sydney and I were there for
the party the whole night. Christopher stayed with us
until about 8pm dressed as Hagrid.

I’m guessing not many authors realize they are writing
a classic. Not until much later, sometimes even after
the author’s death, is something even recognized as a
classic. Not so with the Harry Potter septology. It’s
exciting to be of the only time when readers will not
have the ending available for them, or indeed, already
know much/all of the ending before actually reading
the series.

The long-awaited seventh and final book was sold at
the stroke of midnight (how apropos for a book about
wizardry and magic) on July 21st, 2007. Sydney DeGeest
and I are avid readers, so I made sure we had
preorders for our books and I stood in line in the
morning to get us 60th in line for our books at

Christopher didn’t want to miss out on the party at
8pm, so he dressed as his favorite HP character (who
he knows from LEGO sets): Hagrid. Note his cap,
over-sized polar fleece jacket, and boots. Jeff came
to get him long before midnight, but he sure enjoyed
the sorting hat, the shrieking shack, the Ford in the
whomping willow, Professor Sprout (pictured) and her
very cool plants (lent from Reiman Gardens), drinkable
and stirrable potions, live owls, the choosing of
wands, divination, butterbeer, and most importantly,
perhaps, the treat trolley from Hogwarts.

I dressed as a witch trying to pass as a Muggle (thus
the strange conglomeration of mismatched and
inappropriate clothing and accessories). Sydney was
good ‘ol Hermione. Hastings bookstore had the best
party, by far and away.

Unfortunately the stores did not have an itinerary out
until very late, and I had bet on the Borders
Bookstore. So we started out at the Hastings party and
finished up and got our books at Borders. The only
worthwhile activities at Borders were a scavenger hunt
and a costume party. A very elderly man came dressed
quite convincingly as Ollivander, complete with an
ancient box that looked as if it indeed could contain
magic wands.

The journaling pulls out from the Bazzill library
pocket. Most supplies are Club Scrap (I got the kit
free!) and are pretty shimmery, which I think the
photo of the layout conveys. Also used HP font cut on
CraftRobo, a leftover soft fuzzy Jolee moon from a
baby set and wizard Jolee's.

The background is a scraplift of the sample layout on
the MM packaging the paper, stickers, and epoxies came
with. The brads are also MM. The Twistel is
compliments of Kris' garage sale at the crop:) It fits
through button-holes quite nicely, and looks really
cool splayed out then...dig into your old stash, come
on, you know you have some lurking in their
somewhere!! Font is Arrr Matey.

I LOVE the photo on the much so that I
uploaded it by itself in hopes you can see it better.
:) You can see Christopher' s reflection in their door,
which is way cool.

How spooky is this ghoul?! Christopher went up to
“it” the first time thinking it was

a stature, so he lifted its arm up and let it plop
down. The second time, the ghoul made a hideous,
scary noise

and we wished desperately for a retrospective
videocamera! By the time I ran home (around the
corner) for the

camera, Christopher wouldn’t go anywhere near. Smart

Hidden journaling behind right page:
October 30
We could not have asked for better weather this year
for "Beggar's Night," that peculiar central Iowa habit
of trick-or-treating the night before Halloween. At
least we in Ames don't have to tell a silly joke
before obtaining the candy as they do in Des Moines. I
really don't get that...enlighten me if anyone out
there knows how that one got started.
Last year it was thirty degrees out and Michael's nose
was so cold, even with a winter coat and mittens on,
that our neighbors thought he was a clown with an
artificially red nose. And I promise we only took him
around our little circle street. This year it was a
balmy sixty degrees...btw, my poor laptop is so broken
that the numbers don't usually work...Santa, help help
help...anyway, Christopher didn't even have to wear a
coat over his thin Batman outfit. Thanks to Pauline
for finding him a great costume. Oh yeah, no
exclamation point either. I cannot LIVE without an
exclamation point on my computer, ARG.
I love how the picture of the ghoul--possibly our
neighbor, possibly someone/thing more sinister--turned
out. Christopher went up to "it" the first time
thinking it was a statue, so he lifted its hand up and
let it plop down. The second time he did it the ghoul
made scary noises, and I wished I had a videocamera to
have recorded Christopher' s poor, surprised, possibly
happily scared face. By the time I ran home and got
the camera and the boys came back to the house,
Christopher wouldn't come close enough to touch the
ghoul for a picture. But his reflection is in their
shiny door, way cool. I wouldn't sing my praises if
I'd actually planned it that way, lol.
Michael totally "got" trick-or-treating and was
basically trotting around the neighborhood waiting for
us to catch up. He did need help ringing doorbells,
but covered the trick-or-treat and thank you parts all
by himself.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Pirate Party (scrapbooked already)

LivE designs: 9-piece template
SweetShoppe_hroselli Yo Ho Ho collection
R Young skull and crossbones paper (free from her blog)
Gunhild Storeide folded frame (freebie)
Arrr Matey font
Katie Pertiet paper curl
invitation made by me using the Yo Ho Ho collection above
I burned the edges of the journaling blocks inside the folded frame
I used the pen tool to extract the pirate sword and the photo of my son to pop it forward out of the frame. I also made the sword into a custom shape and applied the silver style to it. TFL!