Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Little Perspective (at Just the Right Moment)

This Saturday I will attempt to walk a marathon (26.2 miles). Then I will set up and sleep in a tent, shower in a truck, and wake up at the crack of dawn on Sunday to walk another half marathon (13.1 miles). I've been training and fundraising for three months, and now the big event is in three days! I tend to spin myself into an anxiety frenzy about this kind of thing--worrying, packing, worrying, worrying.

So it was a blessing to receive this in my inbox. It's a message to all of us walkers from a Crewmember (they are the people who do pretty much everything to make sure that all we walkers have to do is walk and are taken care of if we can't), and is an important reminder about perspective, and why I signed up for this in the first place:
For those about to walk for the first time, I thought this just might help address those nagging questions:

I am so nervous! – Ok, you’re nervous. So what?

What if I can’t walk all the way? – Who cares? No one is keeping track but you.

What if I get a blister? – What if you do?

What if I don’t know anyone? – You’ll meet hundreds of nice people.

What if I packed too much? – You did.

What if I didn’t pack something? – You’ll live.

What if it rains? – You’ll get wet; you won’t drown.

What if is it cold? - You won't freeze to death.

What if it is hot? – You’ll sweat.

What if I don’t like the food? – You’ll pass 472 supermarkets and convenience stores; you’ll manage.

What if I don’t like the porta-potties? – No one LIKES the porta-potties. You’ll survive.

What if I don’t like the showers? – Ok, don’t shower. But you should check with your tent mate first.

What if I can’t sleep in a tent? – You’ll be tired; you’ll sleep.

What if…? Enough already with the “What if’s?” You’ll do fine. Relax and enjoy the experience.

Because of the money you’ve raised, money is going to go towards early detection programs. In a few months, a woman (or a man) is going to take advantage of one of those programs, and is going to find out that they have breast cancer. But because of you, they will have found out early enough to get treatment, and to survive. They are going to get to watch their kids grow up, and to be there at their concerts and their games. They are going to go to their graduations and to their weddings. They are going to get to see their grandchildren. And their kids will never have to face growing up without them. All because of you. And while they will never know it, you will know it.

Any more questions? No?

Have a great walk. Stop by and say hi! I'll be crewing, and spending most of Day 1 at Rest Stop 3, and Day 2 at lunch.

You can bet I'll stop by and say hi. :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Everyone Photographs Jewelry This Way, Right?

I'm working on photographing some jewelry I've recently made and there is a smidge of sunshine this morning on the back deck.

Everyone photographs jewelry next to their barbecue grill on the deck on top of stacked wooden patio stools with a pillowcase for a backdrop, tomato sauce cans holding down the corners from flying up in the wind, hanging earrings from a Korean rice bowl and waiting for the moment when the sunshine peeks through the clouds and hits the crystals just right and the wind isn't blowing them sideways, right?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Scrap Your Day" Photos and Pages, Month 1!

My first month of the Scrap Your Day challenge was a success! Here are some of my photos for the day:

Side note: I hate Flickr, I just cannot figure it out, it all seems like such a hassle. Can anyone tell me if I can make the above thumbnail collage within Flickr somehow instead of pasting all the thumbnails into a photo editor and then anally organizing them all into a grid like I did?

In brighter news, I did figure out why my photos weren't popping up into another window, and I fixed it! So if you want to see any of the photos in this post larger, just click on them! :) Yay!

Speaking of being anal, here is a brief glimpse into my mind, via the planning page I drew up before I even printed a single photo:

Yes, I do realize that Shimelle already did this. But not with my measurements. So I drew up her plan and decided how big I wanted each photo to be, and then went about finding photos to stick in each place before I even printed a single thing. It's a sickness, I know. But it did save me a lot of printer paper! I'm all about conservation. :)

Another side note, to the Group C Inspired ladies--Do you now see why Steph's class made me come unglued? I think I should sentence myself to fingerpainting and colorwashing at least once a week. :)

Now! On to the good stuff. Here is my two-page spread, yippee!

The album pages are only 6" x 12" each, so in this essentially 12x12" page I crammed 16 photos. That's a lot!

Hey, did you just count and find only 12? Me too! Let's take a closer look at that top page:

Okay, check out that cute photo of Jason and I:

What is that little strip of green doing under there?

Oh, cool flip page! One more!

Okay, sorry, that good night kiss photo is inexcusable, I know. We don't always kiss like that, but it's hard to aim a camera in the dark with your left hand and try to kiss without laughing. :) When I did my count of 16 photos before I just counted the bottom index print as one 'cause I didn't want to throw everyone off. :) But if you count each one individually it's 31 prints total. I usually don't like doing this many photos on one page, 'cause it's kind of ridiculous, right? But it's all about the challenge, and I thought, "Oh heck, why not?" So there ya go. I also like the look of this faux index print, and how it offers so many tiny little details that helped to make up one day.

Now I have to show you these cool date stamps from Close To My Heart (CTMH):

I love them and plan to use them every month for a little continuity. (Contact your local consultant or me to order.) I almost didn't circle the 25 since it will be the same throughout the year, but then at the last minute I did anyway. :)

The bottom page:

And a close-up of the journaling:

Stuff I used: CTMH acrylic stamps (Library Cards, Today's Date), blocks, and Chocolate ink; Autumn Leaves stamps (which have great designs but don't stick well!); and Sakura gel pens. I stamped right onto some of the photos and I LOVE how the CTMH ink absorbs into the Epson printer paper--I actually saved the larger white scraps just to play with later this week. I also wrote onto some of the photos with the gel pens, and outlined all the photos on the bottom page with the glitter gel pen, which looks cool enough in person to warrant a comment from Jason. :)

All in all, I had so much fun! I think next month I will throw a little more caution to the wind and not plan it all out as much 'cause it took too long. After seeing other people's photos from the day I also plan to take photos a little bit differently next month!

And now, my fellow challenge-ees... I showed you mine, now you show me yours! :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

"Scrap Your Day" Challenge

About two minutes after writing a draft blog posting asking if anyone wanted to do crafting challenges with me, Aimee sent out an e-mail asking me (and a bunch of others) to join her in Shimelle's "Scrap Your Day" challenge. Hoorah! Now that's what I call synchronicity.

Basically the idea--if you don't want to go chasing all over the internet with my links--is that you/we take a bunch photos on the 25th of each month, every month for a year. Then we put all/some/most/whichever don't show our muffin-tops and double-chins and under-eye bags of the photos into this cool calendar/album thingy. Since I spent about a kajillion dollars while I was at Inspired I decided to make the album instead of buying the luscious Making Memories one with the perfectly scalloped edges and the little window on the front. But mine is just as good. :) And FREE since it was all sunk costs, anyway. [Any Econ majors out there know what I'm talking about? :)]

The photos, in general, should document our lives either that day or in general or whatever we want. It's flexible.

So far today I've taken photos of: my alarm clock when I woke up, my morning cappuccino, my lunch, my "studio," my feet, a glass of wine, the computer, the stamps I used to make the album, etc, etc, etc.

And I finished my calendar/album. I used BasicGrey's Stella Ruby papers, which I might not have used had I thought about the fact that most of it will be covered up, and whenever I use BasicGrey papers I like as much of the paper to show as possible since they are expensive beautiful.

Since I haven't finished taking photos today all the pages in the album are still blank. Here is the cover:

25 (as in the 25th of each month) * 12 (as in 12 months) = details. I love it! When completed, this album may or may not accurately reflect a year of my life--but it definitely will reflect some details of that year! The cover is made of bookboard (from PaperSource) that I painted with Making Memories Scrapbook Paint and then covered with the Stella Ruby Paper. I punched the holes with my McGill drill punch and then because the binder rings were going through the holes and making me crazy, I put big eyelets in each of the holes... a nice touch, I think! I love happy accidents! Everything except the word "details" is Close To My Heart acrylic stamps with Chocolate ink, "details" is a Lisa Bearnson foam stamp with MM paint. (Isn't this paper beautiful?)

Here is the "Title Page."And a detail close-up of my journaling. You can't see how cool all my sparkle pens look on here:

In addition to previously-mentioned supplies I used Heidi Swapp foam stamps, Sassafrass Lass stamps, and Sakura gel pens.

The rest of these photos are the blank pages for each month that I will add photos to as we go through the year:













The Inside back cover, with space for my journaling after I finish the project in a year:

And, finally, the back cover:

All supplies on these pages are the BasicGrey Stella Ruby Papers, DCWV textured cardstock (from the stacks), Close To My Heart (CTMH) Chocolate Ink, and CTMH acyrlic stamps. Let me know if you have any specific questions!

Woo-hoo, can't wait to put photos in it tomorrow!

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels--In Other Words, Your New Plans for Friday Night

Oh my stinkin' heck! Ree posted a new chapter to her ongoing "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" true love story. If you have not followed along with this and don't have nine hours to kills, then please ignore this knowledge for your own good and go off and be productive.

But if you are stuck at home sick, or your husband has commandeered the television, or you have no Friday night plans, or you have been accidentally glued to your computer chair and have some time to kill, or you want to laugh a lot and sigh big sighs while you think of chaps and wide open spaces, then please go visit here. Then be prepared to wait with baited breath until she posts the next chapter.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Mamma Earth!

My friend Kate is super-amazing-cool. She is incredibly smart (I mean, like, knock-your-socks-off smart), absolutely beautiful, an awesome mom, a great friend... and somehow she's totally down-to-earth, too! All around she is pretty much a super hero and I feel lucky to call her (and her husband, Dave) a friend.

Anyway, she and Dave started a blog when they had their first girl Ava, and I love to check in on them from time to time and watch their gorgeous girls grow. I love everything she shared in her Earth Day blog... so I thought I would share! Check it out:

Happy birthday Mamma Earth!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Avon Walk Page Post

I just added a new post to my Avon Walk training page.

Only TEN days until I walk 40 miles, woo-hoo!

Check out my page by clicking here.

Lots more to say but lots to do so I am going to go do.

Doo bee doo bee doo. :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Word of the Day is: Verdant. (And the other Word of the Day is, apparently: Rambling)

It poured rain yesterday. Buckets. Barrels! It rained a lot. So this is what greeted me when I woke up this morning and peered through my bathroom window to the back yard:

Of course the photo just doesn't do it justice. It is so bright green--dare I say spring green?--and the dogwood blossoms are so pretty and the reddish-orange of the tree bark... Well, it is a symphony for the eyes of this little lady. :)

Another beautiful thing this morning is the... shhh, listen... it's quiet. The only sounds are the fridge humming and my fingers typing. Take it in for just a moment and breathe deeply. After two days of Jason's cousin Aaron and his wife Daniella in the house, the quiet is a beautiful thing. Daniella is a beautiful thing, too, whom I adore and cherish and who is a fantastic addition to this family... but quiet she is not. :) At one point during the storm yesterday Daniella was upstairs and Aaron said, "Oh, here comes Daniella down the stairs," but it was not Daniella coming down the stairs. It was thunder. And the best part is that he was not even joking. :) In case you think I'm being mean, Daniella herself said that having her in the house is good practice for having kids. :)

After A & D left this morning Jason came back to bed and said, "I think a nap sounds nice, Angella's taking one too," [Ang is his sister who is also visiting] and I jumped out of bed and said, "I think a cappuccino while checking my e-mail by myself sounds nice." So here I am. Ahh, so nice and quiet. And in case you're wondering, nope, I'm not an introvert at all. :P

Okay, now that I have thouroughly enjoyed this quiet moment, let's review the weekend, huh? :)

We went to a couple of wineries on Saturday when the weather was decent. We tried a few things that we liked and a whole bunch that we didn't. My favorite discovery, however, was that the wineries save all their corks for crafty nuts like me who come in and say, "Hey, what're you doing with all those corks?" So I scored a big bag and an offer to stop back by and pick more up any time. Woot! Can't wait to make something with them.

We also saw some great things while we were driving around in the Northern Virginia countryside, like this old house:

And this lovely lady:
And here is a photo of all of us:

After the wine-tasting and driving around we came home and made dinner. I wish I would have taken photos (maybe Daniella did?) because it was great. It was a complete group effort with all the women in the kitchen, Jason on the grill, and Aaron (and Jason) cleaning up afterwards. A bunch of people were fed in my house and I did not have to do all the work and I got to enjoy myself. Sweeeeeet.

Then A & D gave us a wonderful housewarming/hosting gift:

And it helped to kick-start a really deep and enlightening (and lengthy) late-night discussion. It was really great, and I think that all of us learned more about one another. And that is a beautiful thing.

Sunday was rainy, as I mentioned a few hours ago when I began this post. :) So we all hung around and hung out and made a huge breakfast (again a total group effort, I love this group!) and hung out some more and ate some more and hung around some more. Daniella and Ang and I taught each other how to make French Toast. Daniella had said she wanted it the day before when we were at the grocery store, so I bought the supplies and then laughed out loud the next morning when she said she didn't really know how to make it. Totally Daniella, I love it. But I knew that you should add a lot of milk to the eggs, and Ang knew which spices to add, and Daniella knew how to cook it (in butter), so we collectively managed this:

Of course it was a hundred times better than it looks--I am no Pioneer Woman when it comes to food photos (or a lot of other things, I'll admit). But you'll just have to trust me when I say it was gooooooood.

Then Daniella came up with the idea to make a get well card for Papa, the patriarch of Jason's family, who is in the hospital after having his hip replaced. He is a trooper and is doing really well, but who doesn't like a card? No one, I tell you!

I started to slip into "there are a zillion options and I have a zillion supplies we could use and where do we start?" mode, but I managed to pull out when we decided to use the photo of all of us at the winery. Then Daniella asked if she could stick on things like glitter and sequins and ribbon, and I decided that Daniella + glitter = glitter on every surface and in every nook and cranny of my house. So, no. Let's just keep it simple, shall we? After being all Inspired I felt completely capable of just letting go and making something that wasn't "perfect" but was made. So obvious but something I just finally learned. And that is awesome.

So I printed the photo and slapped it on a card and stamped "get well" on the outside and "NOW" on the inside because the card is from us grandkids and we are bossy. :) We all signed it in pretty sparkly gel pens, and then I handed the card and some Target glitter glue pens over to Daniella. This is what she came up with:

I really like how she did the A's in Papa on the front. And the best part is that the card is already in the mail. Woop-woop!

Jason took the day off to hang out with his sister, but it's still raining and Ang feels like laying around reading her book, which is just A-O-Kay with me. I need to get caught up on a hundred little things and may run to Macy's for the Clinique special. May even work on some of my Inspired stuff. Ooooh, I love days with so many possibilities. Let's go!

Friday, April 18, 2008

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

...then don't blog. :P

I have written about five drafts of a blog about my last few days, and I just didn't want my biggest post (on my new blog, yippee!) so far to be all cranky and whiny. :) Who wants to read cranky and whiny? Not even me, let me tell ya. So let's skip all that and I'll quickly sum up in case anyone out there is paying attention. :)

I took Monday off to let my introverted self recover a little bit from the excitement of Inspired. And to sleep, since I didn't do that very much while I was being very, very Inspired (which I promise I will blog about). :) Tuesday I walked almost 20 miles (in training for my Avon Walk
) and developed an owie foot. Wednesday my foot hurt so much that I couldn't walk the 10 miles I was supposed to. And that really bummed me out. Really, really.

I really love to check things off my (multiple) list(s) and keep up and stay on track... and not being able to do that, combined with a very painful foot, combined with trying to catch up from being gone for a week (laundry, groceries) and prepare for houseguests this weekend... well, it just put me in a yucky funk. Yucky, yucky, yucky. It reminded me of a StoryPeople, the one called New Friend: "I'm at that point in the day where I'm tired of myself, she said, so if you don't mind, I'm going to be someone else until bedtime & we had a lovely time together, my new friend & I." I was tired of myself for sure, and I most definitely was not creating much beauty. :(

When I woke up yesterday and my foot still hurt, I decided I needed to do something about it. So I figured out my insurance and called up my local Podiatrist and made an appointment. 'Cause this is no time to mess around, I'm doing the Avon Walk in just over two weeks! [Have I mentioned that? :)] It was sort of scary to walk into the examining room and see several Black & Decker power tools, but it did also make me laugh (and it also made me wish I had my camera in my purse!). Anyway, you don't need to know the yucky details but the nice Podiatrist lady fixed me up:

Please ignore that my toes aren't painted. :) Now that I am on the road to recovery I'm feeling much better. It was also nice to have the Podiatrist say, "Ooooooooh," 'cause it kind of validated my pain. And sometimes all it takes is a little validation, right? :P

Afterwards I went to Costco to stock up for the mini-gathering that will descend upon our home today and tomorrow. J's sister, cousin, and the cousin's wife are checking out D.C. and our new (and very messy at the moment) digs. And while there I bought myself two dozen of these babies:

Life is good, friends. Life is good indeed.

I'm off to create some porcelain beauty by cleaning the toilets. Hey, it counts! A clean bathroom is a beautiful thing. :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, April 14, 2008

North Carolina

OH MY STINKIN' HECK I had fun at Inspired. I have about a bajillion things to say about it so I won't even start yet. For now, here is what I loved about my weekend that had absolutely nothing to do with the workshop:

--Crashing in on the Mondos at 9:45 p.m. and keeping everyone awake until much too late when they had to get up early. They are just the best friends and DANG, I love those girls. Hi Emma and Abbie, it was so good to see you and I can't WAIT to visit you again this summer!

--Forty-eleven (that's a lot) country music radio stations. I could live there just for the radio.

--Hearing James Taylor's "Carolina In My Mind" not once but twice on the few radio stations that aren't country (or hip-hop/rap). As we were driving into and in North Carolina. Sweeeeeet.

--Eating at Quaker Steak, which was yummy and brought back good memories of Ohio. :)

--The awesome Bellman Frank, the best bellman I have ever met (even though I worked at Bellagio in Las Vegas for three years). Frank is amazing. Have fun fishing in Alaska, Frank!

--"Y'all, y'all, y'all." I could die for these accents, lawsie mercy!

--Holy POLITENESS, Batman. Southern Hospitality is not a myth, y'all.

--Cracker Barrel and Waffle House. Need I say more?

--Sweet Tea.

--Checking into the hotel at the precise moment when the only available room that matched our criteria was a top-floor room with--I mean, seriously!--a balcony.

More on Inspired later this week. :)

Pictures from Inspired

Inspired [Test]

Blahg Blahg Blahg...

I'm doing a couple tests for this whole new deal called my blog. Here are some friends I made at Inspired!

That's Jennifer, Aimee, me, Shani, and Susan!

Beautiful, creative, wonderful women all and I am SO FRICKIN' GLAD I MET THEM. Smooches, girls!