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Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Listicles - The same, yet different!


There are some things that are good and bad about how I've grown or matured, but every day I hope to be better than the day before...  so, you be the judge - here goes:

1.  I hate saying this, but I gotta just get it out there first - my weight!  I have struggled with being over weight my entire adult life.  When having conversations with the doctors about it - I know it's impacting my life negatively - that part I HATE!  And, to make things worse they (and I) am baffled about how I'm a very educated woman and clearly understand the long term impacts of being overweight, have set out really BIG goals in my life and achieved them, yet this one escapes my grip!  (this is feeling like a confessional, so I'll stop here) - I weigh a LOT more than I did when I graduated high school.  That same girl is inside me somewhere, but covered with layers of my love for food...  :(  I have seriously thought about applying to The Biggest Loser if I could only take 3-4 months off of work and still pay the mortgage!

2.  When I was younger, I was both very active and outgoing, yet couldn't speak up for myself very well.  Early in my professional life (insurance industry), my supervisor had to send me to 'assertiveness' training.  Today, I manage millions of dollars of capital construction money for the public and often need to assert myself in my job, every single day!  So my co-workers laugh heartily when I tell them I had to go to training to learn how to be assertive - they just snicker and say 'it stuck!' LOL!!  (I can't believe they have a pic on the internet for this!!)

3.  I am still stubborn as the day is long - that has NOT changed a bit!  It is what it is...  I always tell people that I was raised a German, Catholic, military (dependent)...  I'm not sure how that totally makes me stubborn (instead of just traditional), but I am!  My friends and family would quickly attest to this fact!

4.  I still very much love the outdoors and did a lot of hiking when younger - today, I'm lucky to walk very far without pain.  I'm sad for this, but desperate to not give it up!  I love the sun shining on me, seeing critters in their natural environment, and the sound of running water...  walking is my favorite form of exercise!  Zumba is the second, but that has NOTHING to do with the outdoors!!  Somehow dancing (and music) makes it less painful ~ go figure! Now where did my youthful stamina go?

5.  As I've grown older, I know that my mind has totally grown up to be more open-minded and compassionate. With time, I've certainly become more adept at being a better listener (although I still try to work on that every day - see # 2), can better understand others' views and positions on an issue, and have forgiveness (not always, but I try every day to be better at it).  I think this is a natural progression, but I specifically attribute it to my:  1. continued education; 2. travel experiences to other cultures; 3. living longer and having seen the unexpected; 4.  compassion for others and the need to understand them...  when young - it was my way or the highway (see #3)

6.  How I know I'm getting 'old'.  Last night for example I was up 1/2 of the night with restless legs and just couldn't relax enough to sleep.  I fell asleep somewhere around 3am, and felt hungover all day today.  Not a stick of 'partying' at all last night and no alcohol involved, but the hungover feeling all day!  Staying up for an 'all nighter' is just NO WHERE in my vocabulary anymore! (and I'm ok with that!)

7.  Sleeping in on the weekends - at 50 51 is still my favorite thing!  I get up at o-dark thirty Monday thru Friday every week and go to bed between 10 and mostly at 11 all week - so...  I NEVER get 8 hrs of sleep during the weeknights, and ALWAYS try to make up for it on the weekend...  (even tho I know you 'can't make it up') I am also old enough to know that is VERY BAD for me to vary my sleep schedule by more than 2 hrs daily - but ...  I've been known to sleep in till NOON on weekends...  My mom has finally figured out not to call before about 10am on Saturday (thankful) and her first question is - are you up yet?!

8.  Snoring!  Yup, I snore, much to my husband's dismay!  He's been known to wear ear plugs to block out my rumblings, but it is what it is.  I have already done a sleep study and have borderline sleep apnea, but thankfully don't have to have a CPAP machine (thank you!) YET!  I have allergy issues and with that and my weight - well it is what it is!

9. My love for little ones (human or animal)...  I was always the one offering (for free) to babysit when younger, wanted nothing more than to have kids of my own as soon as I got out of high school and still today - crave for time with the grand kids!  So for this - no change, if anything, I'm even more obsessed by the little ones because I don't have any close to me that I see regularly!  >:(  I shoulda been an elementary school teacher!  I just shoulda!  Kindergarten should have been just about right - then I could have kids and do arts and crafts all day every day, right?  (LOL)  Besides, babies smell sooooo good!  Animals, I love them just as much - but they stink and I love them anyway!!  Specially when my daughter's dog licks me on the face!  :)

10.  My love of music and/or the type of music I listen to.  As a child of the 60's and 70's - classic rock is what I grew up on.  I could not crank it up loud enough and ALWAYS was being told to turn it down by my dad (You're going to ruin your ears!!).  Now I listen to a lot of country, but am finding myself listening to lots of other types this past year because the country is getting very 'rock n roll'y' (irony?).  The reality is that I LOVE LOVE LOVE music in all forms, have a very wide variety on my iPod including classic, rock, pop, blues, alternative, a Capella, celtic, hip-hop, Indian and cajun music (I live in Washington state, lol).  I also still CRANK IT UP!  The louder the better and I sing loud right along with it!  :O)  I particularly love music that makes me want to dance - Just call me the dancing queen!

With that long discussion about my list, I hope you pop on over to Monday Listicles with Stasha at Northwest Mommy to check out her and other folks' lists.  It always makes for a fun read!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Very Merry Christmas Blog Hop

Welcome to our October Stamp of the Month Blog Hop! This month Close to My Heart is offering a stamp set called "Very Merry Christmas". This set can be purchased exclusively through a Close to My Heart Independent Consultant for only $5 with a qualifying purchase of $50. (That’s a $17.95 value!)

In this hop, you will see projects featuring this fun stamp set from many talented crafty ladies! Enjoy our blog hop - we hope we inspire you to create your “very” own Merry Christmas projects!

We are having a giveaway – that’s right, blog candy for you hoppers! I am giving away a stamp set to one of our hoppers! The stamp set I'm giving away is called "Bonjour" (B1414). All you have to do to be eligible to win is to leave a comment on each blog and become a follower of my blog by clicking on 'follow me' on the sidebar.  I will be picking a random winner on Saturday Oct 20th, so be sure to enter your comments and join my blog by Midnight on Friday Oct 19th.

For this blog challenge, I kept it fairly simple.  This is one of the cards I created for my 15 card Christmas Workshop.  I used the Artiste cartridge by Cricut (Z1790) which is only available through a Close To My Heart Consultant.  You can get more information about the cartridge at my CTMH website.  The two cuts I focused on are the mittens found on Pg 79 Accent 2 (no shift) and then the tag was cut from Pg 34 3-D Object (shift).  I used red bakers twine and made a small bow on the tag and then a piece strung on a red brad for the mittens to be hanging on a peg.  The background is made with three simple strips of the B&T Duo card stock from the Pear and Partridge paper packet (X7162B).  I did a little daubing with my Ponderosa Pine (Z2145) and Cranberry (Z2116) Exclusive Inks pads.  I added some of my FAVORITE bling, bittys (Z1263).  I also used some Glitter Glitz, silver (Z1482) for the cuff of the mitten and it draws up the Cranberry ink and makes it red.  I hope you enjoy it!

If you have just hopped onto my blog, please start at the beginning at Lucy's blog – Love 2 Create. If you came from " name of person " of " name of blog with URL link embedded" (the person before you in the lineup) then you are in the right place!

Your next stop on our Very Merry Christmas blog hops is Stephanie at The Quilted Scrapper.

Here is the complete lineup in case you get lost along the way:

Thanks for hopping along with us - we hope we were able to inspire you to create your own "Very Merry Christmas" projects.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Monday Listicles ~ 10 compliments I'd love to share or receive!

Stasha's Monday Listicle for this week is all about compliments! She's encouraging us to list out compliments that we'd love to either give to someone else or receive from someone else... So here goes:

1. You are a ROCK STAR! (I often shorten this to say - YOU ROCK!!) I love this saying and use it fairly often when folks really pull off something great. I'm not really sure why a 'Rock Star' is something special, but... I do love me some classic rock music!

2. My Handsome Dude!! I still get twitter-pated when my hubby is all shined up and ready to take me out on the town. (I also call him my Stud-Muffin, but he HATES that compliment no matter how affectionately I give it...LOL)  He looks AND smells nice....!! So handsome, I am soooo lucky!

3. Adorable! I often use this when someone has created or made something from scratch or with their hands and it tickles the eyes... I also use it fairly consistently when it has to do with animals or children/infants.

4. Cool Beans! This is one of my favorite sayings that I've picked up from my (adult) kids and I use it often to admire something or someone...

5. Amazing! Probably one I'd use when someone thinks up something that is unique, wonderful and stands out.

6. You Complete Me! This is a really good one and I use it sparingly with my sweet husband! This typically comes out of the tool box when he provides the voice of reason and balances me out... ok, this happens more than I like, but he is such a great 'compliment' to me!

7. You move like Jagger! This is a new one from the song by Maroon 5... AND I LOVE IT!! Cause I want to move like Jagger... You want the moves like jagger, I've got the moves like jagger, I've got the mooooooves... like jagger.....    you can't help but make yourself MOVE LIKE JAGGER!

8.  Hey good lookin', what cha got cookin'?  This is an oldie but goodie, everyone likes to be called, 'good lookin'  :O)  This one comes from (in my era) Jimmy Buffet, but you gotta enjoy an old Hank Williams version.

9.  Do that again!  That is a great compliment to ask someone to repeat what they did because you liked it so much!  Two is ALWAYS better than one, right?

10.  For #10, I am going to combine two things that are the biggest compliment - honesty and trustworthiness.  If someone tells you that you are honest or trustworthy - those (to me) are the most meaningful a person can give/receive, because if you have that, you have 'everything'!

As I have been contemplating compliments this week, I've discovered (or remembered) a few things that I want to pass along - 

  • First, when giving a compliment, it must be sincere - people can see right through a fake compliment and you'll loose points instead of getting them!
  • It's hard for me to think of receiving compliments, although everyone wants to...  it's much easier to give than to receive, but it is important that a person can gratiously receive compliments as well as give them!
Happy Monday Listicles!  Head on over to Stasha's blog to find more listicles for some fun reading!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Here Comes the Bride - La Belle Vie by CTMH

I'm getting so excited for my cousin who is getting married in two weeks!  She loves elegant, yet thrifty ideas in decorating as well as her wedding planning.  Since she loves my work, she's allowing me to prepare two projects.

The first is the MR & MRS WAMALA letter signs for the bridal party to hold during the photos.  Those were easy to accomplish with my Art Philosophy Cricut Cartridge, that only be purchased through a Close To My Heart consultant.  I stocked up on some dark plum card stock and went to work.  I had to determine how big to make the letters in order for them to all fit on a 12 X 12 page.  To do that, I searched the Art Philosophy booklet to determine which letter is the largest (it is found on page 7) letter in the alphabet with the basic font.  It shows me that the 'G' is the largest and would determine the largest size you could on a given size of paper/card stock.  I loaded the card stock, chose the 'G' and told the machine to fit to page.  It then calculates the maximum size the G can be cut on the 12 X 12 and displays it at 7-3/4".  I then set my machine on 7-3/4" size and cut all letters at that measurement.  The machine cuts the letters all proportionally with that dimension even if it didn't fill the page.

See the diagram below for more information.

The second project she trusted me with was to make a 'Here comes the Bridge' sign that the flower girl will carry!  For this I perused the internet and spent quite a bit of quality time on Pintrest (every crafter's best friend)...  I settled on using the La Belle Vie papers to use at the sign base, and then used the dark plum for the lettering.

To make the sign base, I purchased a package of 3 canvas boards at the local craft store.  I needed something that is flat and stable, but also made a great base to add layers of papers and card stock without getting soft, folded or bent since an 8 year old will be carrying it down the aisle.  Before I started, I checked in with the bride about colors and combinations of ribbon, paper, cardstock and my plan.  She feel in love with the La Belle Vie papers since the deep purples complimented her wedding theme...  I took the two sheets of the tan papers (stripe and french writing) and tore them into pieces to layer over each other.  I was a bit nervous about the Mod Podge since I hadn't done it since grade school, so I tried out a test piece of the base and papers to see how to layer them up and avoid the bubbles...

Here is how I proceeded:  I began the Mod Podge process by putting on an initial base later over the canvas board, not too thick!  As I began to layer up the papers and card stock, I learned a few tricks of the trade to share with you ~

Helpful Hints when using Mod Podge:

  1. use only very thin layers of the Mod Podge 
  2. put on a fresh layer PRIOR to placing a layer of paper and let it sit for 5-10 mins till it becomes a bit sticky and acts more like adhesive
  3. use your paint brush or sponge to apply the paper layer to get the air out from underneath - if that doesn't work, use your fingers to get it all laid out flat, and wipe off any excess
  4. if you put your paper on it when the Mod Podge is freshly applied, your paper will likely slide around and you'll struggle more with placement (see hint #2)
  5. let the under layer stabilize and dry BEFORE adding the next layer over your paper - trust me and don't get anxious here...  If your paper gets too wet with under and over layers both wet at the same time, you will bubble up as it tries to dry or as you place more Mod Podge on, your papers will slip
  6. just add consistent, even and THIN layers and let each dry fully before you do the next - don't rush this, take your time and do many thin layers, you will like the results much better
  7. as you get towards your top layers, be sure to use brush or sponge strokes all the same direction so it doesn't look random and every which way (unless of course, that's what you like)!!

Here are a few pics of the process

first put thin layer on base, then place paper
use brush to lay paper flat and get out bubbles
use brush to apply thin layer on top of paper
apply thin layers over top, let dry, repeat
After I did about 6 more layers of the Mod Podge over the papers, I was good to go!  I then drilled two holes in the upper left and right corners for the ribbon hanger.  I also included some decorative ribbons intended to hang down to dress it up a bit as well as a few Cricut cut flowers from the Art Philosophy cartridge - these flowers are truly my very favorite and I'm ALWAYS looking for a new way to use them.

Here are the Cricut cuts made:

Art Philosophy ~
'Here comes the' letters were individually cut from the Font Layer of each letter separately all cut at 2"
pg 58 Font Layer for the scroll work in the upper right and lower left corners - cut at 4-3/4"
pg 68 Font Shift for the flowers - cut in 5-1/2", 3-3/4" and 2-1/2" 

Artiste ~
pg 61 'Bride & Groom' - Accent1 cut at 'fit to cut' (cut largest possible) on a 12 X 12 card stock.  I cut away the '& Groom' so it left only 'Bride'

While making the flowers, I included some used my dauber with white ink to give it a more natural look and then added lavender sparkles with 3(each) pop dots to lift up the bling in the center.

And here it is ~ all dressed up for the wedding!