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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lost in a Digital World

I spent countless hours over the past several days uploading hundreds of photos to a photo printing service, all with a less-than-reliable internet connection.  Talk about frustration.  My plan had been to take a closer look at the pictures before I ordered the prints, and weed out the duplicates (and all the ones of me).  But I kept losing my connection (to the internet, not to reality.  Yet.)  So I threw my hands up (figuratively) and said "screw it" ( myself...out loud.  Maybe my connection to reality is as weak as my internet connection after all.)  I decided to just order a copy of everything and sort through it later.  After all, the first 500 prints were only a penny each.  I could afford that.  Well, almost.

At checkout, I saw the astronomical shipping cost.  Maybe I should take a second look at all those photos.  So I painstaking sorted through my shopping cart, choosing only the pictures I really wanted.  My shoulders ached.  My eyes were tired.  I hadn't even had my morning coffee.  And then I lost my connection.  Again, only to the internet.  Reality was still all too real.  All my efforts were in vain.  None of my changes were saved.

I've decided to do what the young people do.  Forget paying for photo prints. That's for chumps anyway.    I'll just keep a digital copy of all my photos on my computer the way God intended.  Until my hard drive crashes and I lose everything.  Including my sanity.

I hate technology.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pegboard Envy

I'm not sure what to think.  My husband has been way too involved in my scraproom transformation.  All coinciding with his renewed interest in my life insurance policy.  I haven't made the connection yet, but there's something goin' on...

I've been complaining about my craft room since the day it was created.  Although the room was fairly large, it had slanted walls.  You'd be surprised how much space you lose that way.  And I shared the room with a very large desk, a large television, and two giant pieces of exercise equipment.   Once I started getting serious about buying (and storing) supplies, there really ceased to be any space left in which to actually craft.  I've totally redesigned the space several times, which says a lot about the lack of functionality since I've only been there a couple of years.

From the moment we moved into our house twenty years ago, we've had this small room on the main level which serves no real purpose.  It was intended to be a guest bedroom, but our builder screwed up the floor plan and the room ended up too small and with no closet.  A wasted space.  I wanted to turn it into a giant closet so I could continue to collect clothes, but closets tend to add little to a home's resale value unless attached to a large bedroom.  So I've mostly used it as an office.  Or more precisely (since I'm no longer earning a living), a room with a computer.  Then a few years ago when I realized our granddaughters were going to be living here permanently, I turned it into a nice space for them to do homework, art projects, or spend time on the computer.  Because it was near the main living space, I tried to decorate it as nicely as possible without spending much money.

Kids don't appreciate anything.  We had already spent a small fortune finishing our basement into a nice hangout for the girls, complete with a large-screen tv, home theater, game system, and tons of cabinets for storing all the other things kids think they need.  They rarely go down there.  Then I noticed they weren't spending much time in the computer room, either.  When they did go in there, they were trashing the place.  But more and more, they were spending every available moment in their bedrooms.  Enough's enough.  I decided to reclaim my life.  And my home.  I could have kicked their ungrateful backsides out of the large basement.  It has all the storage I could ever dream of.  And a big tv.  But being the loving grandmother I am (contrary to what you might have heard), I decided to move my craft room into the tiny computer room.  (Which, by the way, was my computer room before the grandkids were even born.  So there.)

Anyway, to make a long story even longer, I have wanted pegboard since forever.  I see craft rooms with pegboard and my evil, sinful nature rears its ugly head.  I want your pegboard.  What makes you so special?

I have a short attention span and an even shorter memory, so the only way I can remember what I have is if I can see it.  Pegboard puts everything front and center.  And don't get me started on how unlikely I am to use something if I have to fight my way to get to it.  I need to reach and grab without much effort.  Yep, I'm a lazy crafter.

So my (sometimes) sweet husband convinced me to boot the kids out (of the room, not the entire house) and move my craft space to the main level.  Almost as soon as the decision was made, he was installing a wall of pegboard.  He seemed so very eager to do this for me.  A little too eager.  Now that I think about it, maybe I should see just how securely that heavy pegboard is mounted...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Giraffe Card

My big sister and I were always close.  She didn't have a choice.  We were only 13 months apart, and I followed her everywhere.  Eleven years ago this month she suffered a post-surgical infection, which left her in a persistent vegetative state.  I don't get to visit her very often since we're hundreds of miles apart, so I try to send cards from time to time.  I don't know if she is aware of her surroundings, but just in case, I want her to know I love her and that she is always on my mind.  She collected giraffe figurines for many years, so I usually include a giraffe on each of her cards.

This card was my first attempt at coloring a stamped image.  It was so relaxing to channel my inner child!  I can see myself spending a lot of time practicing this technique in the future.

And I can't conclude this post without saying how very much I appreciate my younger sisters for always being there for Teresa.  Even though they have families and lead busy lives, they visit her in the nursing home regularly and make sure she is well cared for.  They are my heros.  And hers.