Friday, July 3, 2015

Life is Exhausting

I'm praying for God to do some serious work on me right now.  The devil has been working overtime.
 
I'm ashamed to admit I've let my frustrations show where my grand/daughters are concerned.  I do think they need to learn that their actions aren't without consequences and that there are responsibilities in life.  But some days my irritation shows before they've even fully entered a room.

In my defense, they are dirty little creatures, and fully capable of cleaning up after themselves.  But they don't.  And I'm overwhelmed.

Raising kids without abundant financial resources is exhausting.  Trying to prepare a large home for future downsizing after 25 years is exhausting.  Doing laundry and cleaning for two teenage girls is exhausting.  Dealing with teenage drama is exhausting.  Having teenage girls argue against everything you say is exhausting.

Getting out of bed...exhausting.

But God gave me a task, so He must have thought I could do it.  With lots of help from Him, I'm trying my hardest.

So many outside forces are taking away my joy.  If I could lock myself inside my crumbling home and never face the selfishness, judgment, and anger of others, I think I could breeze right through. But I can't. Life just doesn't work that way.  So with a lot of prayer, I'm trying my best to cope. Knowing God is in control is sometimes all that keeps me going.

Even in the midst of days that seem to consume my very being, I thank God for loving me, a flawed woman who wakes up every day begging for forgiveness and a fresh start.






Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Airplane Themed Travel Card

My oldest granddaughter was going on her first international mission trip with the youth group from our church, so I thought the least I could do was make a card to let her know I would be thinking of her and praying that she would have a wonderful experience.  

The airplane was cut from the Cricut cartridge Pack Your Bags.  I also used travel-themed background paper and a sentiment I found in my ever-growing collection of papercrafting items.


I'm beginning to accept that God didn't place me here to do great things.  But as I watch my granddaughters grow into loving, caring Christian women, I'm pretty sure I know why I'm here.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

View From the End of My Rope

I thought I could do it.  I thought, with much help from God, I could survive the remaining 9+ years.

I'm pretty sure I can't.

The hardest part is having no one to talk to.  If I try to talk to my husband, we usually end up in a screaming match.  On the rare occasions I find myself having a conversation with anyone else, I don't really feel I can just blurt out, "Help me...I"m drowning!!!" And no one ever seems to notice.

Life is hard.

We've spent the past 16 years raising our granddaughters because their parents have other things they'd rather do.  My husband and I, instead of relishing each other's company during our tarnished golden-years, are constantly fighting about how best to do this.  We've walked through hell together and come out on the other side with very different opinions of how to avoid another visit.

We now approach life in much different ways:  He ignores subtle signs of potential trouble, adopting a "wait and see" attitude, while I watch with hypervigilence to spot anything suspicious so I can stop the problem in its tracks.  Maybe we're both wrong.  Maybe there's a perfect plan somewhere in the middle.

I'm at the end of my rope.  I'm still hanging on, but it seems to be slipping from my grasp.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Nautical-Themed Masculine Birthday Card


I'm always desperately searching for masculine card ideas.  I saw a cute nautical-themed card on Pinterest and decided to make my own version for my husband's birthday card.

I cut the ship's wheel and anchor using the Cricut cartridge Splish Splash.  Map-print paper was used as the base for this card and I added a strip of corrugated paper to "anchor" the nautical embellishments.  I cut a banner shape from thin cork, then attached the ship's wheel using a silver brad.  The anchor was attached to the corrugated strip with jute rope.   I used a Spellbinders Nestabilities die set to cut the rectangles for the sentiment. 


Thanks for visiting!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Teenagers (Need I Say More?)

Life just doesn't seem to get any easier.

I don't really need to go into specifics.  If you have children you know what I mean.  And if you say your teenagers never give you trouble, you're either lying to me or lying to yourself.

I'm not talking about big problems, like drugs or criminal behavior.  I just mean that every kid ever born will refuse to do something they're supposed to do, or they'll try to get away with something they know they shouldn't do.  It's just the nature of the beast.  And have you ever met a teenager who didn't think they were smarter than the idiots who are raising them?

For 25 years I've been raising one teenager or another.  I've heard it all.  The excuses.  The half-truths.  The outright lies.  The blame.

Oh, dear God, the blame.

Today I was trying to address an issue with my 16-year-old granddaughter.  I thought I'd try something a little different since my attempts to hand down "consequences" weren't working.  I decided to ask her what she thought her punishment should be, not because I had any intention of allowing her to dictate the consequences of her own wrong behavior but rather to make her feel like she's part of the process.  I would still be the final authority, but I figured maybe if she felt "heard" by me she would be a little more compliant.

How wrong I was.

It began with her saying she didn't think she should be punished at all.  Then she started with the excuses.  I tried to calmly explain why I felt the excuses weren't really reasons, and why she needed consequences to prevent this behavior from recurring repeatedly.  Pretty soon we were both raising our voices.  Then I was yelling.

Then it was all my fault.

I punish her for everything.  I yell all the time.  My life sucks.  (That one is true.)  I don't praise her when she does something right.  I don't listen to her.  And it went on from there.

I've been hearing about my lack of praise and my constant criticism for years. Nothing anyone does is ever good enough for me, the Queen of High Standards.  I can't prove otherwise because I don't have decades of voice recordings backing me up.  Besides, it all comes down to perception anyway.
 
I'm not perfect.  I wish I'd had a higher sense of self-worth so that I could have raised children with endless amounts of confidence and self-esteem.  I regret any time I ever said anything that hurt my children.  But I'm human.  I came into this job with lots of baggage and my own hurt feelings.  I'm tired.  I'm stressed.  I'm old.  I've been doing this job for a very long time. And I could use a break.

But I won't get one.  Not until the younger granddaughter becomes an adult nearly a decade from now.

If I live that long.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Graduation Pop-Up Card

This was my first attempt at a pop-up card.  I could pretend all went well and turned out exactly as I had planned, but it didn't and I won't.

When Cricut released the cartridge Everyday Pop-Up Cards a few years ago, I told myself I had enough images from which to choose.  Another untruth.  One can never have enough cartridges.  Ask me how I know.  Ask me about the retired cartridges that are no longer available, and how suddenly I have grandchildren who adore those licensed characters.

Oh, well.  Life would be boring if it were perfect.

Eventually I found this cartridge at a great price and decided the cute images would come in handy sooner or later (even if I never made an actual pop-up card).

But then I needed to make a graduation card and I had a little extra time to get it done, so I decided to jazz up my card with some pop-up action inside.  It looked easy enough.

It wasn't. 

My first try ended badly even though I was following the instructions provided by Cricut.  (I could only find one example of a phrase pop-up at the end of the PDF file, so we'll use that as my excuse for why I found it so difficult to piece this particular one together.)  Was mine assembled correctly? Who knows?  But I could find no evidence to the contrary and that's good enough for me.




Have you ever made a pop-up card?  If so, did you find it difficult or did it make perfect sense to you at first glance?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Graphic 45 Botanical Tea Shaker Card

I've been hoarding Graphic 45 paper for quite a while.  It's been so intimidating to think of cutting into all that loveliness, and I was beginning to think it would never happen.

And then it did.

I wanted to make a card for someone who needed uplifting.  And simultaneously Graphic 45 was having a contest.  So I took a deep breath and the plunge and created a shaker card inspired by one that had been created by a Graphic 45 design team member, Lori Williams.

I chose paper from the Botanical Tea 12x12 paper stack.  I cut a frame for the shaker window using a Martha Stewart Punch-around-the page set, and glued some fussy-cut flowers and a bird around the edges.  The shaker was filled with some beads and coarse glitter from another of my hoards.  The edges were inked with a Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad.

I wish I could tell you which punch or ink pad I used, but I simply don't remember.  Keeping up with those kinds of details requires a more organized person, or at least someone who promptly posts her projects while the details are still in her memory (and I'm neither of those).


Do you find yourself hoarding pretty paper (or other craft supplies)?  Are you afraid you'll find the perfect project for it...five minutes after you've used it for something else?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Read at Your Own Risk


No craft sharing today.  Read ahead at your own risk.



I finally fell asleep at 6 a.m. this morning, not because I was out partying and having a fabulous time all night, but because my mind won't rest.  So the day never even had a chance to become something good.

Oh, and in the "wee" hours of the morning (pun intended), when I inevitably had to get up to pee, I had to replace the toilet paper.  Yes, a big old cardboard tube was mocking me at 4 a.m.

It's laundry day.  Every Saturday is laundry day.  Every Friday I remind the family that I need their laundry in the hallway before they go to bed.  Do you think that happens?  Have you read my blog?

Today was no different.  Not only did I have to beg for the opportunity to wash clothes, but as usual there was no prep work done before the full contents of the girls' floors was scooped into laundry baskets, candy wrappers, shoes and all.  Why would I ever expect clothes to be turned right-side-out, with undergarments disengaged from the clothes that previously covered them?

Before you advise me to refuse to wash anything that isn't laundry-ready, let me stop you right there. I've tried that.  They will either wear their clothes dirty (risking a visit from Child Protective Services), or when my back is turned they'll wash one or two items, wasting water and electricity that is already hard enough to pay for.

Excuses, excuses.  Maybe I'm just too old and tired to try teaching old dogs new tricks.

Speaking of dogs, our oldest granddog has become incontinent.  Within hours of our arrival for a rare visit with our youngest grandchildren (who live seven hours away), our dog walker called to say the dog appeared to have suffered an injury and was dragging his back legs, unable to walk without assistance.  He had also done his business in our house.  (The stories I could tell--and probably someday will-- about what happens when we try to get away for a few days...)

Anyway, the dog suffered a ruptured disc, and is on the mend.  But he either hasn't regained his ability to control his bladder or he no longer cares (a sentiment I'm quickly beginning to understand). Now my house is not only dusty and falling apart, but it reeks of urine mixed with cleaning products.

Then there's the younger granddog who is responsible for the blood spatter all over the walls.  I don't often notice it because I don't typically wear my glasses when I walk through the house; therefore, it blends in with the other dirt and grime.  And I like it that way. Ignorance really is bliss sometimes. I just pray my house isn't raided someday by law enforcement; they will rip the sheetrock off the 2x4s for lab analysis, certain a deadly crime has been committed here.  And yes, we try to clean it up as best we can, and we've tried to eliminate the health issues the poor dog has in an attempt to prevent her from scratching and shaking, but we also have lots of other things to take care of.  There are only so many hours in a day...and it obviously isn't enough.

After starting the laundry today (and drying the tears from my face after yet another frustrating morning), I was famished and realized I couldn't go on without a little fuel.  I went to find whatever leftovers I could in the fridge and turned on the oven to reheat them.  It didn't take long to notice a HUGE pile of shredded cheese on the oven floor, which extended into an even larger HUGE pile trapped between the door and frame.  I reached for a paper towel, but the roll was empty!!!  (Why was I not surprised?) Without enough energy to make another trip down and back up the basement stairs to get a new roll, I improvised with the empty cardboard tube.  (This was one cardboard tube that wasn't going to get the best of me.)  I slid the flattened tube across the oven floor and into the door opening, trying to remove as much cheese as possible.  (I knew if I waited until someone baked something it was really going to be a job to clean it up.) And since this is a wall oven, every attempt I made to scrape the cheese out ended with cheese being shoved behind the oven and into the wood cabinet, which can only be reached by removing the oven from the wall.

That's one project too many.

I still need to pull up my tiled kitchen floor to remove the dishwasher (the one I've already repaired twice) so that I can try to diagnose and repair its most recent malfunction.  And my other oven, part of my range, hasn't worked correctly in over a year and is still waiting for me to disassemble it to make a repair while crossing my fingers that's even the problem.

(And that's just the kitchen.)

Now the tears were really flowing.

Nope, no time for that.  I have at least eight loads of laundry still to do.  I haven't showered.  And there's a box of wine with my name on it.  (Yes, I've officially changed my name to "Franzia".)








Friday, April 10, 2015

How to Make a Difference


Alone.  Insignificant.  Misunderstood.

I think we've all felt this way once or twice (or every day) in our lives.  It's easy to feel invisible or forgotten.  Even if we know God's love, sometimes we still need to feel loved by those around us.

I hope you'll take a moment to listen to this beautiful song from Sidewalk Prophets. You never know what a difference even a small gesture can make in someone's life.



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thinking of you card

I made this card for my sister, Teresa, to remind her I haven't forgotten her.  I decided to take a crack at "fussy cutting" some elements from a K & Company paper pack, Life's Journey.  I also cut a giraffe from Tim Holtz grungepaper using the Cricut cartridge Martha Stewart Birthday Cake Art  (Teresa's cards always need a giraffe).  I used my Tim Holtz texture hammer in an attempt to add a little dimension to the giraffe, but unfortunately it didn't end well.  (Sorry, little giraffe.  I must have been having a really bad day.)  






Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Real Reason for Menopause

There is a reason women have a limited number of childbearing years.  Raising children is exhausting. And when circumstances make it necessary for us to raise children beyond that timeframe, even with years of experience that hopefully taught us a thing or two, it can get ugly.

(In contrast, men can procreate throughout their lives.  Kind of tells you who's doing all the heavy lifting.)

Motherhood isn't for the faint-of-heart.  It's brutal, stressful work.  The pay isn't great.  Yes, there are rewards, but there are also struggles.  Lots and lots of struggles.  Eventually, the heartwarming moments will be those you remember most.  But I'm not there yet.  I think you have to actually get to the empty-nest years to experience that.

I'll say it again:  There's a reason women lose the ability to bear children at mid-life.  We. Are. Tired.

I'm pretty sure children spend most of their time honing their skills at pushing our buttons.  And by "our", I mean mothers (and sometimes grand/mothers*).  They spot our weaknesses (which usually stem from our desire to mold them into happy, successful adults) and zero in on how they can best take advantage.

If I hear one more, "I know!  I know!", in response to my "gentle" nudging that one child or the other needs to do one thing or another, I'll scream.  Because I know that if I don't "lovingly" remind them to do what should be obvious, I'll hear the inevitable, "I didn't know!"

I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.  And I'm post-menopausal.  Need I say more?

*Reminder:  grand/mother refers to a grandmother serving in the capacity of a mother.

Thank You Card


Sometimes in life, usually when I'm completely overwhelmed and desperately needing nothing more than a chance to catch my breath, God steps in with an unexpected blessing.  Usually it's something small.  And that's okay.  It's still a reminder that God loves me and knows my struggles.  But once in a while it's something fun that really brightens my day.  It's as if God is saying, "I can't make the changes you think you need in your life; they aren't in My plan.  Until then, enjoy this and know I love you and want to see you smile."

Last September, in a moment when I really needed some encouragement, I received an email that I had won a contest.  Honestly, at first I thought it was a scam, and it took quite a while for me to find the company and the contest to see if I had even entered it.  (More than five minutes had passed, so of course I couldn't remember.)

Much to my surprise I had won a Cricut Explore!  Mind you, when this new machine was released in February I wouldn't even entertain the idea of buying one since there was no way I could fit it into our budget.  So I lived vicariously through those who were fortunate to actually own one, telling myself I could live without it for a long, long time.   But now I don't have to!

I decided the best way to jump in and learn to use the Explore was to make a card to thank the company, Creativebug, for their generous prize.  I found this image on the Cricut cartridge Paper Lace, and of course I wanted to keep the card simple and within my abilities since it was, after all, going to a company called Creativebug!  Sending a card to some real crafting experts didn't seem to be the appropriate time to try new and challenging techniques.  But my mama taught me to be thankful, so I cut this simple, but pretty image and added a strip of washi tape and some twine across the lower edge of the card.



Do you enter contests?  What are some prizes you've won?  I would love to hear about it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Serving a Life Sentence

Today my husband and I should be celebrating our 32nd anniversary.  We've been planning a nice dinner out, just the two of us, for a few weeks now.  This doesn't seem like too much to ask once a year.  But evidently it is.

From the time the youngest grand/daughter arrived home from school, I've heard the never-ending saga of how she's ostracized because I won't buy her a cellphone (gotta give her props for the creative stories she tells), how she doesn't have any cute clothes like all the other kids (she has clothes, just not the ridiculous amount of name brand, overpriced things some of her friends have), and just a few minutes ago, she came to tell me she likes the denim jacket I found for her to wear with one of her dresses, but it's of no use because she doesn't have the right shoes.

Uggggghhhhh.

The oldest grand/daughter started in on me before I even realized she was home from school.  I guess she was on the phone with her biological dad and he's been moved to a prison within an hour of our house (oh, wonderful) and she wanted to know if I'd take her to see him.  Yes, that's how I want to spend my spare time...in a prison visiting room.  Sorry, I didn't commit the crime and I shouldn't have to do the time.  And could somebody leave me alone for five minutes so I can get ready for dinner out with my husband?????!!!!!

As it got closer to dinner time, I tried to get both girls to tell me what they planned to do for dinner.  I wanted to make sure they were going to eat something with an ounce of nutritional value and not look at this as a free-for-all snack binge.  I couldn't get the oldest one to tell me anything.  Actually, as of last night she had plans to go to her Bible study group tonight where the leader usually serves dinner, but by today she had decided not to go.  (This left me suspicious in light of the fact she knew my husband and I wouldn't be home, so my already-frayed nerves were sent into high alert.)  Finally, even though I had already showered, spackled my face, smoothed the frizz out of my hair, and put on nicer clothes than my usual jeans and sweatshirt, I decided the best thing to do was stand over a hot stove and cook a semi-healthy dinner for the kids.  Heaven forbid they should have to eat leftovers or a sandwich (which just happens to be what I eat for lunch every day).

To be honest, I really don't blame either of my grand/daughters. They're good kids, but they are kids, and they want what other kids have.  As a matter of fact, I often feel guilty because they deserve better than what this tired old lady has to give.  I've been raising children for nearly forty years and I just need a break.  But there's no light at the end of the tunnel for me. Realistically, my husband and I have another decade of supporting these girls, both financially and emotionally, before we can even dream of time to rest and be together.

Dinner out tonight isn't going to happen.  Somewhere between listening to one complaint or another, I simply lost my appetite.  I'm sure the biological parents of these children are going about their day doing whatever they want, or at least whatever they can with the lives they've chosen for themselves, without giving a care in the world to the needs of these precious girls.  Because of their irresponsible actions I feel like I've been given a life sentence for a crime I didn't commit.

And there's no justice in that.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Things are the Same Wherever I Go

In my home there are four people and three bathrooms.  It doesn't matter what time of day, what day of the week, or which bathroom I use...I think every time I go I have to replace the toilet paper roll. Sometimes it's obvious the last person intentionally left behind just a square or two.  You know, technically it wasn't empty.

Today I went to Michael's for a little retail therapy after my dental appointment.  First stop--the bathroom (I'd been at the dentist's for a while).  I sat my naked behind down and immediately checked the paper situation (too many past regrets).  Whoops.  No paper.

I immediately started to re-dress myself and move to another stall when I spotted the giant toilet paper roll propped on the back of the toilet.  I sat back down, reached for the giant roll, then noticed the paper holder on the wall didn't have a locking door.  (You know society has reached an all-time low when every public place has to lock up the scratchy one-ply toilet paper.)   I put the giant roll onto the dispenser and faced the hard, cold truth.

No matter where I go, there's a good chance I'll be refilling the toilet paper.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Giraffe Card

I wanted to make a card for my sister, Teresa, just to say, "I love you".  I've written several times before about how she loved giraffes, and how she has been in a vegetative state for almost 15 years now.  I can't visit her very often since we live hundreds of miles apart, so I like to send cards once in a while to let her know how much she means to me.  My other sisters, who live in our hometown and visit her regularly, are kind enough to deliver my cards and read them to her.  (They are my heroes for all they do for Teresa, even though they have families and other responsibilities that keep them plenty busy.)

The giraffe was cut from the Cricut cartridge Wall Decor and More.  The background was embossed with the Darice embossing folder Corner Scroll.   I finished with a stamped sentiment (and some really bad photography).

Thanks so much for visiting!

I've Got a Job to Do

I know this life isn't all there is, and our focus should really be on eternity.  But the here-and-now is what I'm faced with every day.  And it isn't easy.

I've been brutally honest about my struggles (or at least as much as possible without hurting too many feelings), and how in the midst of it all God has pulled me up from despair, slapped me a couple of times to get my attention, and then blessed me in ways I probably don't even recognize.

But that doesn't mean it isn't difficult.  My family is still struggling financially (although it isn't as hopeless as before). Every day the kids mention one thing or another their friends have that we can't (or won't) buy for them.  College is just a little over a year away for the oldest grandchild (and we have maybe enough saved to cover a semester or two at a state school).  My husband and I will celebrate our 32nd anniversary next week, but can't even dream of a romantic getaway; at this point, we're just hoping we can slip away for dinner without something going wrong.  And I watch other people--especially those who should be the ones shouldering these burdens--spending life living only for themselves.

I watch as those who walked away from their responsibilities are lauded as wonderful people, deserving only of the best in life.  My granddaughter's paternal grandmother sends gifts to my house to be passed along to my daughter, the birth mother, to show her how special she is for giving birth. Meanwhile, I spend my days alone, keeping house, cooking meals, doing laundry, and listening to teenage angst that threatens to last forever.   And never an encouraging word, much less expressions of appreciation.

I know God has given my husband and me this task, and I think I know why.  And I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of two children I adore.  Someday I'll stand in the presence of my Lord, and I hope He'll say, "Well done, my child".  (But I suspect He'll say, "I gave you one task, and you complained about it constantly.  Go sit in the corner until I can stand to look at you.")  Either way, I'll continue my struggle, do the job I was given to the best of my ability, and know that in the end I might very well have changed the lives of my two granddaughters for the better.  And that makes it all worthwhile.

Even if I don't feel it at this moment.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy Birthday Card with Metallic Accents


Here's a simple birthday card I made for a very special young man. I wanted to add a little sparkle without making it look girly, so I used metallic paper for the banners and patterned paper with metallic accents for the background.  I won't even pretend to remember which Cricut cartridges I used, but I'm pretty sure I did actually use my Cricut.   

Thanks for visiting!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Boy's 13th Birthday Card

Cards for men and boys are one of my biggest challenges.  But the most difficult are for teenage boys. You've got to keep the card interesting without making it too "cutesy".   And I've never raised a son, so I'm not quite attuned to what they like or find "cool". Considering my confusion, I've learned to keep it simple without making it look like I didn't try at all.  Two things I turn to again and again are embossing folders and fancy (yet masculine) paper.

For this card I used the Cuttlebug embossing folder Diamond Plate to emboss a metallic sheet of paper.  I chose patterned paper that included silver stars, then cut the number 13 from grungepaper and painted it silver to match.

The most rewarding part of this project is that it went to a wonderful young man who always appreciates my handmade cards.  And that makes it all worthwhile.


Do you find cards for men and boys difficult, or is there another type card you find especially challenging?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Thinking of You Card

This card was made for someone who was going through an extremely difficult time, so I felt I should keep it simple.  I used the Darice embossing folder Circle Interlock for the background, stamped a sentiment to match the border colors, then added a strip of washi tape as a final touch.



Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 16, 2015

First Birthday Card for a Girl

My youngest granddaughter celebrated her first birthday recently.  (And by "recently", I mean six months ago.)  I posted photos from her party here.  Today I'm sharing the card I made her.

I used the Cricut cartridge Baby Steps for all the die cuts.  I added some dimensional white paint to the cupcake in the sentiment to give it the look of frosting, then topped the candle flame with glitter glue.



Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 13, 2015

First Birthday Banner and Cake Topper

No, I haven't been a crafting dynamo lately.  But in an effort to bring a little life to my blog, I've dusted off some never-before-posted projects and I'm now trotting them out to make you think I've actually been doing something.

I haven't.

My daughter asked me to make a cake topper for her daughter's first birthday.  Or maybe I volunteered. I'm pretty sure I insisted she let me make a Happy Birthday banner whether she wanted one or not. I know she would have loved to make all her own decorations (she's much craftier than me!), but she has a full-time job and two toddlers, whereas I'm a stay-at-home grand/mother who needs a purpose in life beyond cleaning up after able-bodied teenagers, so I enjoy an opportunity to make something fun that will actually be used and appreciated.  

I wish I had been able to get a better picture of the window, but my photo skills are seriously lacking. But you get the idea.  The giant pompoms and purple streamers in the window were made by my daughter (probably while two little cuties were pulling at the crepe paper and trying to undo all her hard work).




The banner was made using the Cricut cartridges Creative Memories-Tiny Treasures (butterfly, ladybug, bird, elephant and "1st") and Birthday Cakes (letters).  The letters were placed on simple rectangles I cut with my paper trimmer.  (Another horrible picture.  When my ship comes in I hope there's a professional photographer on board.)




I stitched a simple banner for the cake topper, then made some matching pompoms using a variety of fabrics.  I wasn't sure I liked the color combination, so I tried again with softer shades of purple.  I let my daughter choose her favorite (which turned out to be the first ones!)




And this was my reward--spending time with my two precious grandchildren, who live much too far away:




My adorable granddaughter wasn't a big fan of the cake, which seemed to perplex her equally-adorable brother.


Oh, and they don't live in a tropical climate, far removed from the cold weather and snow currently sweeping across the country.  This party actually took place in August.  I'm that slow.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Birthday Card for a Young Boy



I made this birthday card from two of my most-used Cricut cartridges.  The monkey is from the Cricut cartridge Create a Critter 2 and the bear balloon is from the original Create a Critter cartridge.  I used button-shaped brads on the monkey's shirt and baker's twine for the balloon string. Since the card was for a boy, I didn't want to add too much bling, but I though cutting the balloon from glitter paper would add a little extra sparkle for a very special young man who brightens up my life.


Do you have a Cricut cartridge you find yourself using over and over again?  I would love to hear what your favorites are!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Toy Story Birthday Card

It seems like only yesterday I was writing to announce that my daughter was expecting her miracle baby.  That precious boy just turned three.  

Yes, time flies.  I think when we are raising our own children we're so busy that we don't realize just how quickly the years are passing, until one day we look up and our babies are grown.  But with grandchildren, especially those who live too far away, we are reminded with every photograph or visit that the years are indeed slipping by.  That's exactly how I felt when I realized my first grandson was turning three.

Three.  That's a big number.  Especially when you realize he's speaking in real sentences.  Wears big-boy pants.  And doesn't just walk, but runs all over the place.  He's still adorable.  But by no means is he a baby any more.

I love when a child has favorite toys and characters, especially when I have a Cricut cartridge to match.  My grandson just recently developed a love for the "Toy Story" movies, so his birthday card was easy to plan.  I used the Cricut cartridge "Toy Story" for the Woody character, and with my Cricut Explore I utilized the print-then-cut feature (which is so much easier than cutting all those teeny-tiny pieces, then trying to layer them).  I also printed and cut a balloon image, then layered the number "3" on top.  I cut some twine for the balloon strings and let Woody hold them.  

The first thing my grandson said upon opening the card was, "Where's Buzz Lightyear?"  Kids don't miss anything.

Of course this granny was right on top of that.  Just wait until he sees his valentine.



Monday, February 9, 2015

Anniversary or Valentine card

With Valentine's Day less than a week away, I thought it was the right time to share this card.  It was actually the anniversary card I made my husband last year, but I never got around to posting it.  And since this year's valentine will most likely be finished just before dinner on Saturday, this was the only romantic valentine I had any hope of sharing before the holiday is over.

Creativity isn't really my thing and I'm ready to own that.  (I'm not sure how I ended up with a 10 ft. x 9 ft. room filled with enough paper products and embellishments to start my own scrapbook store, but here I am.)  At some point during my many, many trips around the www, the idea of using negative space to add dimension and texture to a project had been planted in my brain.  It seemed like something my husband would appreciate, so the seed took root and a card was born.

I cut strategically-placed hearts out of patterned paper using my Cricut Expression, then backed the openings with red corrugated paper that I had attempted to soften with gold paint.  The color didn't turn out quite like I had hoped, but with time running out I decided to adhere it to the solid card base before I could change my mind.  As a final touch, I cut a strip of patterned paper that contained the word "love" and stamped "31 years of" to complete the sentiment.  

(All those years of wedded "bliss" weren't easy to achieve, and I was going to acknowledge every last one.)



Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Heart-shaped Valentine Card

Here's another valentine card from 2014.  I made one of these for each of my two oldest granddaughters.

I used the heart-shaped card from the Cricut cartridge "Wild Card".  I didn't even pretend to get fancy; I made them exactly as they were designed.  But I did go the extra 1/4 mile by making envelopes using some floral scrapbook paper and my Martha Stewart scoring board.

If I don't fast-forward back to 2015 and get busy soon, this year's cards might just be construction paper with "Happy Valentine's Day" scribbled in crayon.

Thanks for visiting!