Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Precious Legacy

I've been struggling against God and His will for my life for a long time now.  I guess it's human nature, and contrary to popular opinion, I am human.  But I had other plans, and I couldn't convince Him to get on board.  Trust me---in these situations, it's a losing battle.  God always wins.

I love my granddaughters more than life itself.  But I always thought that when I finished the task of raising my own children (and it wasn't an easy one), I'd have many good years left to spend with my husband having all sorts of exciting adventures.  But before our baby finished high school, we found ourselves raising our first grandchild.  And then our second.  Fifteen years later, our lives are consumed with school, after-school activities, post-after-school activities, and all the expenses that go along with such an exciting lifestyle.

I've been known to grumble about these responsibilities (sometimes on this very blog!).  But once in a while, when I pull myself out of the black hole of despair and back to reality, I realize the task God gave me isn't without its rewards.  I have two beautiful, kindhearted, loving granddaughters who warm my heart and make me feel hopeful for the future.  They have persevered during some very difficult times and are becoming wonderful young women.  And somehow, my selfish outbursts during times of extreme distress don't seem to have harmed them.  They are thriving.

When I read stories in the Bible of all the great men and women who came before me, I feel shame.  My time on earth will only be remembered, briefly, by those in my very close circle of family and friends.  I won't go down in history as a remarkable person.  I doubt a Google search of my name will yield any results five years after I'm gone.  But if my greatest legacy is that I gave two precious children the best life possible, I can live with that. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Another Giraffe Card for Teresa

I've written several times about my sister, Teresa, her love of giraffes, and the tragedy that changed all our lives.  She recently had another birthday, which under the circumstances is both heartbreaking and a blessing.    As much as we hate to see her suffer, as long as she lives we have hope that God will give us a miracle and bring her back to us.

I thought I had used every giraffe image on every Cricut cartridge I own until I remembered Noah's ABC Animals, which I had only recently purchased (and by "recently" I mean within the past two years--not nearly enough time to have actually used it.).  It was nice to have something new that I hadn't sent to Teresa before.  I'll always make cards with giraffes for Teresa, at least until the day she wakes up and tells me "Enough with the giraffes!!!"  I long for that day.

In addition to using Noah's ABC Animals to cut the giraffe, I used a Spellbinders die from the Labels 25 set for the blue background.  Adding a little ink and twine made me feel like an artist.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hey, Dude

I'm starting to look like a dude.

I thought I hated it when I was called "ma'am", but I'm pretty sure the first time someone addresses me as "sir" will push me completely over the edge.

I've noticed a degree of masculinity creeping into my face and voice.  Even my body no longer has womanly contours.  And I seem to be developing a bad case of male-pattern baldness.  It's sad. Really, really sad.

Today my granddaughter came into the room and addressed me by her grandfather's name.  I corrected her, but she didn't even realize what she had done.  It just seemed so natural to her.

Old age sucks.  Becoming an old man isn't going to make it any easier.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Adventures through Corn Relish


I wanted a little more adventure in my life.  Since world travel is out, I thought I could use my cooking talents to add a little excitement to my daily existence.  Wrong.
My family says I'm a good cook.  I have no reason to think they're lying.  They've been exposed to "outside" food, so it isn't that they have nothing for comparison.  Yes, they could lie to prevent me from screaming, "Well, if I'm such a bad cook I just won't do it anymore!".  But think about it--if they hated my cooking, wouldn't they want me to stop?  So yes, I have some degree of talent in the kitchen. 

Why, then, won't they branch out a little and eat something besides tacos and spaghetti?
No matter what's on the menu, there is at least one out of three who won't eat something.  And I'm not talking about toddlers.  The youngest is in middle school and the oldest is...well, supposedly a grown man.  And I have a chef's knife.  A chef's knife!  By definition, that should mean I'm a chef.  Every chef I've ever seen gets to spread his wings and fly.  I'm still perched in my nest watching the world pass me by. (That sounds like the beginnings of a great poem.  I think I'll work on that later.)
We were walking through Costco after church this week at sample time.  (You know, mid-day when the store is packed with people looking for a free meal, one tiny paper cupful at a time.)  I usually try to avoid sample time because I hate crowds, especially those that knock over small children to get that one last mini cup of ravioli.  But it was necessary this week, and I'll admit I partook of a few offerings myself.  But what really got my goat was when my granddaugher and my picky husband both tried pretty much everything that was offered!  My husband actually came to tell me how good the hummus was.  Hummus!  I can't tell you how many partially-eaten containers of that very hummus I've thrown out because I'm the only person in the house who eats the stuff, and after a couple of weeks straight of trying to finish it by myself, even I get tired of eating it.  And don't get me started on the spring rolls...
Well, I decided after watching the two of them scarf down a variety of semi-exotic foods (by their standards, at least), I would once again try to expand their horizons by getting them to try something new at home.  I decided to start with corn relish.

I've made corn relish (or salsa, or salad--call it whatever you want if it will get someone in my house to taste it) several times in the past and couldn't get anyone to try just one little bite. Yesterday I decided to make crab cakes for dinner.  Ever since the first time I had crab cakes and corn relish in a restaurant (I have to eat out just to get a satisfying meal), I've been trying to perfect my own version (since I can't eat out every day).  I even decided to sort-of follow a recipe, figuring my family would be more willing to try it if they knew it was a socially-acceptable dish and not just something I made up.
Nobody even tried it.
What is the harm in tasting a new food?  Even I don't like everything.  But I'll try anything once (unless its primary ingredient is an insect).  I'm not a big fan of barbequed chicken.  But I fix it for my family once in a while and I eat it.  I'm not particularly fond of pulled pork sandwiches.  But a few times a year I'll buy a pork roast and go through the painstaking process of cooking and shredding it.  And I eat it. 
Tonight we had hot dogs. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Doll T shirt and Yudu Cardshop

As someone who can't resist a bargain or a new crafting toy (or a bargain on a new crafting toy), I recently purchased a Yudu Cardshop.  Okay, I confess, I purchased several of these.  I first purchased two from the Cricut.com website when they were on sale for $3.99 with free shipping.  As usual, I was less-than successful on my first few screenprinting attempts.  But that didn't stop me from purchasing 5 more of these from Cricutmachine.com when they had a buy-one/get-four-free offer.  I'm not insane.  Well, at least my insanity played no part in my decision...

I reasoned that I could use the extra mats, screens and inks that came with the kits.  I also bought some multi-packs of ink (another buy-one/get-four deal), which came with emulsion remover.  I hoped that I could use the remover to reclaim the pre-burned screens that came with each Cardshop, and I would then have several to use with vinyl designs (instead of needing to burn emulsion-coated screens, which isn't possible with the smaller Yudu system without purchasing or making a light box).  Even after paying a rather high shipping rate, each item came to less than four dollars.  And I now have a lifetime supply.

After successfully cleaning one of the pre-burned screens, I cut a stencil from vinyl with my Cricut using the Mickey and Friends cartridge.  (There are several Youtube videos and blogs that explain how to use vinyl in screenprinting.)  The most difficult part of the experience for me was getting the vinyl to adhere to the screen completely.  Also, it was frustrating that each vinyl stencil can only be used once since water breaks the bond with the screen, and with each failed print it was necessary to cut another piece of vinyl. (Luckily, I have a lifetime supply of vinyl.)

I had heard from a couple of different sources that the inks can be washed out if done so prior to heat-setting.  This was just the information I needed to get the courage to try my first fabric project.  The project was a fail.  So was removal of the ink, even though I immediately put the shirt in cold water.  There was still a dark stain from the ink.  Not willing to give up, I then soaked it in Oxi-clean and ran it through a wash cycle.  Still there.  I finally soaked it in bleach for a full day, to no avail.  Eventually, I made a second attempt at printing and just made sure I lined up my design to cover the remains of the first one.  And this time it was a success.  The shirt has a slight pink tint and a few faint smudges, but overall I was pleased with the results. 

As a side note to further prove I have an obsessive need to collect a small stash of supplies for every type craft known to humankind, I finally used my heat-setting tool (that I just had to have a few years ago because everybody else was buying one) to affix a few crystals to the jeans that came with the t shirt.  Two crafts in one project.  Yeah, I'm ambitious like that.  
(As of today, Cricutmachine.com is still offering the BOGO deal on the Yudu Cardshop and inks.  I am in no way affiliated with them except to the extent I shop the website way too often.)
Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Scraplifted Halloween Card

Yes, I totally scraplifted this idea last year. 

I fell in love with Amy's card the minute I saw the little monsters peeking around the edges inside.  I had to make a few substitutions on my version, such as using an embossing plate to create the spiderweb background and replacing the twine embellishment with a spiderweb border (this was prior to my amassing a lifetime supply of baker's twine).  I couldn't find the stamps she used, but I found some little creatures I thought were cute and worked especially well for children's cards. And since I was too lazy to even come up with my own idea, it should surprise no one that I simply stamped my monsters in black ink and called it a day.
Amy has a great video tutorial on her blog if you'd like step-by-step instructions on how she created her card. 
Thanks for looking!



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mr. Potato Head Birthday Card

Since I haven't been crafting much lately, I dug around and found a picture of a card I made last year but never got around to posting.  When I simply can't come up with an idea for a masculine birthday card, I usually resort to something silly and childlike.  Since most of the men in my life act like children (at least once in a while), it's all good.
Mr. Potato Head is from the Cricut cartridge Toy Story.  The Cuttlebug Happy Birthday folder was used to emboss the black background.
Thanks for looking!