Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

"For unto you is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."   Luke 2:11

The best gift ever.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Practicing my Surgical Skills (when I should be doing other things)

Minnie looking none the worse for wear.
I've always wanted to be a doctor.  But I hate the sight of blood (and other parts of the human body not meant to be seen).  I also long to be a skilled crafter, but I find my talents lie more in the collecting of cool crafting tools and not so much in the creation of beautiful objects (with the exception of my children--how, genetically speaking, did that ever happen???!!!)

For several years now, I've had this cute Minnie Mouse ornament that I insist we hang from our tree every Christmas.  (I love all things related to Disneyworld, which is my ultimate escape from reality.)  So imagine my horror when my husband informed me that some unknown person (or dog, or slight breeze) had knocked my precious ornament from our dying Christmas tree.  Minnie had lost an ear in the process.   Something came over me: maybe it was a touch of Christmas spirit or maybe I just wanted to prove I could find a use for all my dust-collecting craft supplies.  Or maybe I just couldn't bring myself to do another load of laundry.  Whatever.  I was determined to restore Minnie Mouse--if not to her previous glory, at least to a condition acceptable for hanging out in a tree.

I had to think about it for a while.  Not only can I never remember what crafting supplies I have, but I'm hard-pressed to remember how to use them. 

After much contemplation (and quite a bit of internet distraction), I thought of the Mold-n-Pour I just had to have because I knew some day it would come in handy for something.  Well, that day was here.  I also gathered my black Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE) and my handy Ranger Melting Pot.  And I knew I could depend on Aleene's Jewel-It glue to hold everything together (too bad I can't use it on my fragile psyche).

My neglected supplies finally called to action.

I started by mixing the two components from the Mold-n-Pour and forming it around Minnie's one good ear.  I allowed the mold to set, then removed it and placed it on my craft mat.  I heated some UTEE in the Melting Pot, then carefully poured it into the mold.  After it had cooled, I removed the new ear from the mold and trimmed it with scissors as necessary to make it fit neatly over the gaping hole in Minnie's head.  I used Aleene's Jewel-It glue to attach it, and although a close-up look reveals Minnie's disfigurement, from a distance she looks as good as she did in her prime.  If only I could be so lucky.

Making a mold of Minnie's one remaining ear. 
(Yes, she also sustained a cracked skull,
which I repaired with Aleene's Jewel-It.)

Minnie after reattachment surgery.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

O Christmas Tree

The weekend after Thanksgiving my husband and granddaughters carefully chose our Christmas tree from a nearby retailer.  We all assumed that if we kept it watered it would easily last through Christmas.  Wrong.
Too late to save this one.

I'm not sure when the tree was cut (apparently it was sometime during the summer), but within three weeks of bringing it home it had become kindling.   The dog was using it as a back scratcher. 

The aftermath

When the branches started to resemble a brittle weeping willow, it was time for a replacement.  (I hope my husband doesn't make the same decision with me.)

New and perky. 
I hope my husband doesn't realize he can just as easily replace me
 with a newer, less droopy specimen.
Aaahhh, nice and fresh!  And less flammable.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dianna's 50th Birthday Card

First things first.  Happy 50th birthday, Dianna!  Your secret is out.

If you're looking for simple, you came to the right place.  The banner and numbers were made using the Cricut cartridge "Martha Stewart Birthday Cake Art".  The border is from an American Girls Crafts punch, cut from both green and red paper, trimmed and layered.  Looking at it now, I wish I had taken it a step further and made the flowers a third color.  Oh well, I'm lazy and Dianna knows it.  I'm sure she's just happy that I finished the card and got it to her on her actual birthday.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Daughter's 28th Birthday

My youngest daughter was born 28 years ago on Monday, the 28th of November (28 on 11/28/11--interesting!)  She's now expecting her first child.  Where did the years go?  It's a shame I had to get old in the process, but it's all good.  And isn't she a lovely mother-to-be?

Pregnancy never looked this good on me!

The owl on the card was cut from the Cricut cartridge "Give a Hoot".   And as usual, I can't remember specifics on the paper or sentiment except that they were found in my ever-growing stash.  I made the envelope using the Martha Stewart Scoring Board (love this tool!)

Thanks for looking!

Birthday Card for my [Nosy] Husband

In the midst of the holiday frenzy last week, I tried to make a birthday card for my husband (who in their right mind has a baby during Thanksgiving??? ...Oops, I did that myself 28 years ago!)  Anyway, he kept interrupting me.   Everytime he stepped into my craft room I had to hide another piece of the card under one pile or another (this is a man who seems to avoid me unless I've got something to hide, then he's all over me like white on rice).  In the end, it was like a scavenger hunt trying to find all the pieces.  Luckily, there weren't that many.  Yet another reason to keep it simple.

As for the card, the boy and his dog were cut from the Cricut cartridge "A Child's Year", and the paper and rubber-stamped sentiment are just random finds from my ever-growing hoard.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Party of One

I know my husband is tired of my pity parties.  Maybe I wouldn't feel the need to throw them so often if someone other than me would attend occasionally.

Late last night as I was making my way to bed, I noticed a telltale glow coming from beneath my granddaughter's bedroom door.  Mind you, it was well after 1 a.m.  "Get your light off and get to bed!", I lovingly reminded her (as is my way).

"uuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh", was her reply (this one I have no idea how to type, but if you have teenagers, you probably know the sound--it's that one-syllable low grunt they're so fond of using).

I walked into my bedroom where my husband was already fast asleep.  I made as much noise as possible.  No response.  "I hope you realize your granddaughter is still awake", I said, once again in my nice, calm voice.  Still nothing.  Okay, this would require the turning on of overhead lights.  Take that, sleeping beauty.

I continued to my bathroom to slather on the multitude of skin products I so desperately hope will someday turn back the clock and restore my youthful contours.  Fifteen minutes later, and in a really foul mood from spending that much time looking at myself in a mirror, I returned to the hallway to see if my gentle reminder that it was past bedtime had had any effect on my granddaughter.  Her light was still on.

I flung open the door to find her sitting at her computer, not a care in the world.  "GET TO BED NOW!", I said, just slightly more agitated than before.

Back downstairs I headed, knowing it was my job to remain alert and ensure that the night owl didn't slip outside while her grandfather slumbered peacefully.  Tossing and turning on the sofa all night was the most effective way to do that.

About an hour later the dogs decided to get in on the fun by barking at something outside.  I dragged my tired self up and turned on all the exterior lights to see what the hell they thought was so important at 2 a.m.  Yeah, tomorrow was going to be a fun day.

When my husband ventured downstairs this morning, I thought it best to let him know right away that I wasn't happy and well-rested.  "I didn't get much sleep last night", I said, hoping for a teeny-tiny word of sympathy.  "Your granddaughter was still up at 1 a.m."  His reply?  "Yes, I know.  She was up when I went to bed.  I was up and down all night checking on her, too."

My reply?  "Mmmh, hmmm".  Again, not sure how to express that in writing, but if you're married, you know the sound.  The one that says, "Yeah, sure you were."

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Favorite Vacation Photos

I had a wonderful time at Disneyworld with my husband and two granddaughters recently, and I have tons of pictures to prove it.  But a couple of my favorite photos came from a detour we took on our way home.

We decided to "stop in" and visit with our youngest daughter and her husband.  It actually added about nine hours to our drive, but it was worth the effort.  Thanks to modern technology, I got my first glimpse of my first grandson:

I can't wait to meet the little guy.  Maybe you can't see it, but I can tell he's adorable!

Friday, October 28, 2011

An Ounce of Sympathy, Please

That's not me, but that's how I feel.

Last week I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and vitamin D deficiency.

I know what you're thinking. That's the same response my husband had. He might as well have said, "So?" As diagnoses go, these aren't terribly earth-shattering. But to me, it was sweet vindication.

Finally, I had an excuse a reason for my laziness lack of energy. And I wanted some sympathy. I expected to hear something like this: "Oh, honey, I'm so sorry! No wonder you can't get anything done around here! I can't allow you to prepare dinner for us tonight, not in your fragile state.  Where would you like to dine? Or is that too much trouble?  Should I just order takeout?"

Only in my dreams. I cooked dinner that night, just like every other night of my life. The kids complained about what I served, just like every other night of my life. I'm still cooking dinner every night.  The kids are still complaining. And I still can't put onions in anything.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Please Join Me For a Glass of Whine

It hasn't been a good month life.  And today, our one semi-dependable vehicle was rammed by a clueless woman who proceeded to park at CVS as if nothing happened and step inside (for an awareness pill, I hope), all while my husband and his car were fishtailing helplessly on the highway outside.

I would love to buy a new vehicle.  Or a newer old vehicle.  Just something that doesn't leak a quart of oil daily.  Or doesn't have a crushed side panel.  Something that was built in this century would be a nice change.  I'm just not sure that's a luxury we can afford right now.  We're already dipping into what little retirement money we still have to pay for the monthly cost of living (things like food, housing, electricity, water, orthodontia, and motor oil).

I'd cry if I had any energy left.  My husband depends on that car to get him around while he works his second job trying to sell things to people who don't want to buy.  I drive the kids around in the Pennzoilmobile. Thank goodness we were able to vacation at Disneyworld recently.  It was a great stress-reliever (at least it was once I got used to dodging oversized strollers and speed demons on scooters playing chicken with us).  Luckily, with the exception of food and gas, the trip was already paid for.  And we had to eat no matter where we were.   As if by Disney magic, we didn't have to deplete the retirement funds to finance this trip.

Upon reflection, my life really isn't so bad.  I have two beautiful granddaughters who keep me young (or age me excessively, depending on the day).  I have two daughters I love dearly who give me precious grandchildren (including the brand new grandson I'll get to meet in a few months).  And I have a loving, hardworking husband who thankfully wasn't hurt today, and who laughs along with me (and allows me to cry) about this crazy life we've been given.  I guess I've been blessed after all.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Next-to-Last Visit to Walgreens

Part of my evil plan to rule the world

I just returned from what would have been my last visit to Walgreens except that I plan to go back one more time to return my purchases.

My primary reason for going was to buy a box of haircolor for my granddaughter using a coupon I received from Garnier for a free box.  (The last free haircolor coupon I received was thrown away by my husband, and I was determined to use this one.)  First we stopped at CVS.  They didn't have the bright-red color she thought she had to have.  "Let's go to Walgreens", she said.  "They'll have the exact same selection!", I told her.  "No, they won't!", was her all-knowing reply.  Mind you, it was her idea to go to CVS because "they have more colors than Walgreens" and "I don't like Walgreens anymore".  (The last one I can so agree with now.)

Thanks to the highway department trying to protect us from ourselves, I had to wait at a traffic signal to make a left turn and go around the corner and make another left turn to reach the store directly across the street.  But whatever.  I had to prove to a thirteen-year-old that I actually learned a few things in my 53 years on this earth.

As I expected, Walgreens had the exact same shades of haircolor as CVS.  Of course granddaughter insisted they had more, just not the color she wanted.  So I picked out my shade instead. Don't worry; she found plenty more for me to buy.  It seems the shampoo and conditioner we have at home isn't as good as what they sell at Walgreens.  And the entire time we were there, younger granddaughter had to touch pretty much everything she saw, and 75% of those items were dropped on the floor at least once (no, she isn't a toddler--she's nine).  To say I was about to lose it is a gross understatement.

It gets better.

I took my armload of merchandise to the register.  The clerk started ringing it all up, but he was having trouble with the coupon.  He called the manager, who looked young enough to be my grandson.  Manager Boy whipped out another coupon to use as an example, then chastised me: "I can't take a coupon unless it has a barcode like this!"  He pointed to the standard style barcode as he hissed at me, and I couldn't argue because my coupon didn't have a code that looked like his.  It had several codes, just not the right kind.  He felt the need to repeat himself as I looked at my coupon in complete confusion.  By now there were several angry people in line behind me, so I just muttered "okay" and Manager Boy walked away.  He didn't say "I'm sorry, but that's store policy", or any of the other niceties that most managers would utter.  Maybe by the time he turns 18 he'll have learned some manners.  Some manager manners.

The cashier did apologize.  He already has manager manners and he's not even a manager.  I'm not sure he's even 18.

I also purchased some hair care products for myself because the sign said they were on sale 3-for-$10, with register rewards of $5.  Seemed like a sweet deal to me.  Do you think I got my register rewards?  Of course not.  Do you think I noticed before I got home?  Of course not.

I plan to return the hair care products because that was the final straw for me.  I expect the cashier will accuse me of trying to return the qualifying purchases and keep the register rewards for myself.  Because as far as Walgreens is concerned, I'm out to overthrow world order one box of stolen haircolor at a time.  Stealing register rewards is my backup plan.

So after this ordeal I decided to calm myself with a bottle of wine.  (And yes, I plan to drink it all.)  After dropping the kids off at home with my husband (let them be his problem for a while), I headed to the nearest grocery store and made my selection (the cheapest, biggest bottle I could find).  The cashier boy thought it would be fun to toy with an old lady like a cat bounces around a helpless mouse.  "I might have to see your ID 'cause I'm not sure you're 21!", he said, thinking he's the only child who's ever come up with such a clever line.  If you think I climbed over the conveyer belt and took him down, well, I'll admit I thought about it.  But that must remain only a fantasy.  I can't risk getting banned from the store.  I can live without ever stepping into another Walgreens.  I can't live without a handy place to buy wine.

It's a cruel, cruel world.  But with a diabolical plan involving counterfeit haircolor coupons and stolen register rewards, I plan to change all that.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How Could I Forget to Pack That?

Keep never know what you'll find.

It's no secret--I carry lots of stuff in my purse.  Being a wife and mother requires me to bring along anything and everything that everyone else will certainly need.  I once had to see a neurologist for some mysterious symptoms.  He picked up my purse to move it out of the way and told me he wasn't surprised I was having numbness and tingling in my arms.

As we drove the ten or so hours to Disneyworld recently for a much-needed vacation, my granddaughter asked if I had a stapler.  A stapler.  Okay, I come prepared, but not that prepared.

Later in the week one of the girls asked if I had any tape (I'm probably better off not knowing why she needed that).  And then there was this gem: "Nana, do you have a hole puncher?"  Mind you, this was all while we were hundreds of miles from home.  At Disneyworld.  Not at a business conference.  Do I really look like an office supply store?  

Next vacation I'm turning the responsibility of packing the "essentials" over to someone else.  This office is closed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Card for Teresa

I made this card for my (slightly) older sister, Teresa.  Trying to come up with ideas for cards is always difficult for me.  When it comes to cards for Teresa, the concept is always the same:  giraffes.  It's the sentiment that I find incredibly difficult.

How do you wish a happy birthday to someone who no longer knows happiness?  As I've written before, Teresa suffered surgical complications many years ago that left her in a vegetative state.  I wish I could send her a fun, lighthearted card because that's the kind of sister she always was.  I want to kid her about growing older, and especially the fact that she's older than me.  But that isn't how we celebrate her birthday anymore.

I miss my big sister.  She's always in my heart and on my mind.  I'm sure she wishes I'd stop sending her cards with giraffes; she had packed away her collection of giraffe figurines long before her illness took her companionship from us.  But as I wrote inside her card, if she wants me to send something besides giraffes, she needs to tell me so.  God performs miracles.  I would love it if He'd send one Teresa's way.

On your birthday, Teresa, I'm wishing that you feel all the love we have for you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tough Times

As we sat in church on Sunday, Mark asked if I had the checkbook in my purse.  "I have the checkbook," I said, "but I doubt there's any money in the account."

He chuckled, and said, "Oh well, what's new?," and reached out to take the checkbook from me.

"You're not planning to write God a bad check, are you?"

"No," he answered, "I'm writing Him an IOU."

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Simple Craft Room...and finally, Pegboard!

Yes, this is the entire room.  It might be small, but it's all mine.

My tiny craft room is finally ready.  I'm not.  But hopefully soon I'll feel like crafting again. 

It's nice to be on the main level of the house.  I can keep an eye on the kids without constantly running up and down the stairs (which is a danger zone for me), and the view is better from here.

To save money, I tried to repurpose furniture and items from around the house as much as possible.  It isn't the fanciest room ever, but it fit into my current budget (which is just slightly above zero dollars), so it's all good.

I used inexpensive cafe rods to hang my punches.  Adding an extra center support made this work.

Some of the punches wanted to fall on my head, so I banished them to a basket on the table.

An old wall shelf holds my ink pads. 
I attached cup hooks on the underside to keep my blending tools handy.

Magnetic canisters hold buttons, brads and flowers. 
A few pieces of the children's artwork purchased from their school hang beside them to put a smile on my face (as long as I don't think about the dent they put in my wallet).

Bookshelves that were already in the room now hold most of my supplies.
My husband installed additional adjustable shelving between the two main units.

Baskets from my neglected closet now hold Sizzix dies. 
(Who has time for clothes anyway?)

More Sizzix dies. 
Now that I can find them, I'm more likely to use them.

Cuttlekids machine and dies; Sizzix boxed sets.
Again, I can reach them, therefore I'll use them.  Probably.

Photo boxes hold Cricut cartridge handbooks and overlays in alphabetic order.

Embossing folders and texture plates.  I threw away the outer packaging on most,
but kept the cardboard inserts for easy identification.

Large binders hold clear stamps grouped by theme

Stamp sets were slipped into page protectors. 
For the larger sets, I used staples to divide protectors into sections,
then cut with scissors to make pockets. 
I found this idea somewhere in cyberspace. Wish I could give credit,
but it has been longer than 5 minutes so the info has been deleted from my memory.

Small stamp sets (those you find for $1) are in baseball card protector pages. 
Post-It flags were used to separate and identify themed sections.

Wire towers hold paper stacks.  Each pad is labeled for quick identification. 
I used S-hooks to hang Cricut mats along one side,
and I have over-the-cabinet-door wire baskets hanging on the other side to hold tools.

More paper storage and my teeny, tiny tv (at least I can hear the shows). 
Cricut cartridges and inks are in pull-out drawers.

Cricut cartridges are labeled with Post-It flags and kept in alphabetical order. 
I found these little green baskets at Big Lots a while back, 3-for-a-dollar.

Even though I didn't have a good spot for my spinner storage, I couldn't bear to part with it. 
It's perfect for Stickles, embossing powder and glitter.

Expandable bamboo storage trays made to organize utensil drawers were
hung from the wall to hold my mounted rubber stamps. 
 I attached picture hanging hardware to the back along one side of each
so that gravity would cause them to fully extend.

This long folding table was the work surface in my old space.  It now holds cardstock and other loose paper.  Underneath are plastic storage drawers, which hold various tools and supplies.

I decided to finally use some of my hoard of vinyl to dress up the walls. 
(Serenity is another dream of mine, right behind the desire for pegboard. 
Hey, that happened, so maybe I'll find serenity some day, too.)

Vinyl Butterflies. 
(My mind is thinking, "I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away..."...Yep, some day.)

Birds adorn my favorite pegboard wall, that is.  More thoughts of taking flight.

Love these little pegboard baskets I found at Home Depot!

I used an old lipstick holder to keep my mini misters upright.  This is why I can't throw anything away.

I cut strips of foam and glued them inside the squares to hold the mini misters securely.

An old door shelf unit mounted to the wall holds rolls of ribbon.  My husband advised me that since it's full, there would be no reason to buy more ribbon.  He has his dreams, too.

This storage case is perfect for my Sizzix paddle punches. 
And now that it's within easy reach on my shelves, I might actually use them.

A separate zippered compartment in the storage case holds the hammer and mat for the paddle punches.

And the dream that started it all...A wall of pegboard.

It might not be the most beautiful craft room, but it's functional.  At least, I think it will be.  I haven't actually made anything in there yet.  Mostly I sit and stare at the awesomeness of my pegboard.