Friday, May 29, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday--Oh, Deer!

We've had a couple visitors around here! On Wednesday I went out to get the mail and I surprised this little dude in my side yard. Then he went to the back and started snacking, where I took this photo:

Then yesterday his mama (or someone's mama, anyway) stopped by, too.  [Note to self: always put your camera back on Auto mode when you're done, so when you spot a deer in the yard your photos don't come out all wonky when you just start shooting away without checking the settings!]

I know some people consider them a nuisance but I really like seeing them. Until I plant a garden, anyway. :)

Lots going on around here and lots more is floating around in my head.  I like bulleted lists, so let's go with that.
  • My aunt Susan moved back to Oregon last Sunday and I've almost pulled myself out of the depression it left me in.  (Almost.)  I miss her!!!  I can't think about it too much or I'll start crying again.
  • One loneliness leads to another, I guess, because I've been feeling lonely for all my friends who are scattered across the country (and the world), too.  I need to start booking plane tickets to go visit some people!!
  • I just feel OVERWHELMED by my To Do list, most of which has been on the list for far too long at this point.
  • I'm feeling guilt for leaving some of my friends' stuff on the To Do list... if they were normal etsy customers I'd've had their stuff done a long time ago, so why do I think it's okay to slack when it's my friends' orders?  Guilt guilt guilt.  Sorry, friends, and it's coming!
  • I've recently received a whole slew of custom jewelry orders, yippee!  I'm going to finish my friends' stuff pronto so I can get on my other orders.
  • My house is such a mess and I really want to get everything in order and finished the way I want.  Yet another thing that's overwhelming!  We put together six HUGE boxes of stuff to donate to the Salvation Army, which is a good start.  (Now I just need to drop it off to them so I can have my garage back to park my car inside!)
  • I'm taking Cathy Zielske's MicroBlogging class (yes, it's a scrapbooking class based on Twitter and Facebook Status Updates!).  I just went out and bought Photoshop Elements from Costco so hopefully next week (after I finish my jewelry orders!) I can make my pages.
  • I'm also taking a couple classes from SISTv, which I won, wow!  Claudine's class rocks, as usual, but the other two are just so-so and make me glad I didn't pay for them.
  • Taking a couple online classes is making me really friggin' happy that I did not have to take any college courses online.  I get antsy watching the videos and need to do jumping jacks or something! We have two monitors on our computer and I find myself doing something on the other monitor while the video is showing, then I have to "rewind" it to see what I missed.
  • I joined this cool quilt-along with some of my Inspired friends.  I KNOW, I'm already stressed about my To Do list, let's add making a friggin' QUILT to the mix, right?  But I think that it will be fun, and so many of my fab friends are making it, too, that it kind of feels like we're hanging out together and bonding.  Or something.  And I found some fabric that I ADORE... it's on the way to me right now, I can't wait to get it and cut it up to catch up with the rest of the gals... and then show you!
  • I'm starting the South Beach diet on Sunday.  I wanted to start it right after Inspired but then, you know, life happened.  So Sunday it is!  I think that my most vicious cravings from starting South Beach will coincide nicely with my PMS cravings schedule, so it should be interesting.  But I'm not putting it off another week, dammit.
  • In the interest of supporting me, Jason offered to stop drinking beer (and switch to wine) until I'm off of Phase One (two weeks after I start on Sunday).  That lasted exactly 21 hours, until John found out he's being promoted to Major in the Marine Corps Reserves (which, I agree, calls for a toast... but still). 
  • John's schedule is changing next week as he takes on a few graduate classes.  He'll be staying with us every night but won't be getting "home" until about 9:30 at night.  I need to remember to adjust my grocery buying since I'm used to him eating with us three nights a week!!
  • Tomorrow we're going to a Crawfish Boil with my friends Elizabeth, her parents, and our friend BJ.  We went last year and I'm hoping for better weather but just as much fun tomorrow!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #49--Remembering

It's Memorial Day Weekend! Three days off! Barbecues, beer, pool openings! Bratwurst, popsicles, watermelon! Suntan lotion and bug spray!

Oh, and this:

This Memorial Day Weekend, remember to remember. Remember to be thankful. Remember to thank a veteran. Remember to thank a veteran's wife. Remember the men and women who are across an ocean fighting right now, and the husbands, wives, children, and parents left behind here. If you know anyone in that situation, call them up and thank them. Drop a card in the mail. Write a note in your calendar to call them in two more weeks, and two more after that. Just to say you're thinking of them. (I have quite a few calls to make and e-mails to send this weekend.)

Here are some of my favorite photos of the many memorials here in D.C.:

[The first, second, third, and last photos taken by me. The fourth, fifth, and sixth photos were taken by my dear sister-in-law, Angella. Thanks, Ang!]

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm Scrappy

I had a super super super weekend this past weekend! Jason was off having a fabulous time riding his motorcycle with new moto friends and I was hiding out at home scrapping the days away and avoiding leaving the house. It was awesome.

I bought myself flowers from Trader Joe's last week, and I've decided I should do that more often. These orangey beauties made me happy several times a day! Until they died; now I'm just hoping they'll magically disappear. (I don't know what my problem is with throwing away flowers, I just hate it! It's right up there with getting gas in my car. Leaving dead flowers on my counter won't leave me stranded anywhere, though, so there's less incentive to get it done.)

Anyway, back to the scrapping. I get monthly kits from Scarlet Lime, and I highly recommend them. I LOVE their kits! They always have a good selection of papers and embellishments. The colors of their latest kit just got my creative juices flowing and I wanted to make something right away. I semi-recently got a Silhouette machine, and I freaking LOVE it. I bought the unlimited downloads package (with a half-off coupon, thanks Cheryl!!) so when I saw this "What a Lovely Bunch" design I downloaded it right away. The photo that Zanne took at Inspired is a perfect match for the phrase (thanks, Lady!).

I don't know why it took me so long to realize that I can cut shapes out of patterned paper, too, but DUH. Love this "Lovely" in red and white patterned paper, as well as the lacey border in green and white patterned paper.

Jen took this photo of us at Inspired and I love it. I didn't realize it while I was scrapping this, but everything about this layout has an Inspired connection! I got the hymnal page in Jennifer Stewart's class. The owl rub-on is from the Glitz Girls, whom I met at Inspired (where I found out Jen loves owls, too!). The dress-form is a love of Donna Downey, creator of Inspired, and has become one of her symbols... I cut it on my Silhouette, which I bought from the store Cheryl manages (...where I took a class with Donna last year and further convinced Cheryl to sign up for Inspired this year!). The little notepaper is from a set that Katie gave me at Inspired. The adore bingo card is from Jenni Bowlin, whom I also met at Inspired this year. Even the little brown corduroy flower has an Inspired connection--it's from one of my Scarlet Lime kits from Christy Tomlinson... and yes, I met her there this year, too!

Jen calls her daughter's best friends "besties," hence the title because she is one of my besties for sure!

The next pages were created from a desire to actually USE some of the patterned paper I hoard have. I tend to love the colors and styles of the paper, buy the entire coordinating line, and then only use one different pattern on each scrapbook page (along with plain colored cardstock). So I challenged myself to use a whole bunch of different patterned paper on each layout, just to see how I liked it. (These papers and most of the embellishments are from the K & Co Que Sera Sera line.)

I kinda like it! It was fun to make, anyway, and fun to use borders, stickers, rub-ons, acetate, bling and glitter stickers all in one place. And to break out my corner rounder--I had to dig through a couple piles before I found it! The title, Hard Laughter, is the title of a book by Anne Lamott. The book is not her best (it's her first), but I love her and I love hard laughter and I love these two ladies, Heather and Deitra, who always make me laugh--and laugh hard--whenever I'm around them. (I think Jen took this photo, thanks Jen!)

One of my favorite places in the world is Powell's bookstore in Portland, Oregon. It's so big they hand you a map when you walk in. I'm not kidding. You must go there. Anyway, last time I was there I took some photos to document my love.

I really like this layout for several reasons, almost none of which have anything to do with the overall design of the layout itself. First, I love Powell's. I love that I chose my colors based on their sign out front (in front of one of the entrances, anyway), and then I actually found stuff in my "stash" and made it work. The papers all had stark white and it looked wrong, so I just used an off-white ink pad to sponge on top and make all the white off-white. I love how the flowers go together even though all the layers are all from different manufacturers (which means I have them stored in different places because I'm crazy, so the fact that I even found them all is amazing). I love that I finally used some of those dang Thickers and felt borders that I have stockpiled. I love that it's raining in the photo, because that's so Portland. I love that Jason looked at it and said, "Oh, those must be tourists, they have umbrellas instead of raincoats with hoods."

Back in September of last year I drove down to Richmond to meet with Deitra and take three classes from Donna. I didn't do anything with the photos then because my favorite one was taken without a flash and I couldn't fix it in my photo editing software. But I decided that I love the photo anyway so I went ahead and printed it out and used it on this layout, another experiment with using a bunch of different patterns on one page.

I decided to add in some journaling so I cut out the scalloped circles on the Silhouette machine and just wrote directly on it... which is another thing I'm doing more often, I used to only type things out on the computer.

After all those colors and different patterns I wanted to get back to the basics, so I "scraplifted" this from the Scarlet Lime gallery. Simple, simple.

The scroll is chipboard I painted white, and then I brushed a little blue along the edge to make it coordinate with the blue used above.

Simple and pretty.

I have a couple more pages in the works but I think this is way too much enough for now. :) Thanks for looking! :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #48--A Soft Place to Fall

Inspired this year was great, and it was so great to catch up with all my friends from last year! After we arrived on Thursday I just ran around finding friends and jumping up and down for joy and giving and receiving huge hugs. It was awesome. And once per year is not enough! I love all these ladies and trying to cram all our face-time into three days per year is just too hard. I'm going to try to visit as many people as I can and take everyone up on their invitations. :)

I shared a couple of my favorite photos from Inspired yesterday, but my favorite photo so far is a shot that Jen snuck and I didn't even know she'd taken until we got home. It's nontraditional; if you were given a stack of photos you might not have ever guessed that it's my favorite (or maybe you would). Jen took it as Aimee and I snuck out for a minute and walked down the hall. I LOVE it because it captures this moment so well and makes me remember how I felt just then. Thanks for the love, Aim, and thanks so much for capturing it, Jen--you're brilliant.

I love it so much that I already printed it out and scrapped it--and that doesn't happen often enough, let me tell you. I'm laughing now that I took the photo and posted it on here--the title does not refer to our tushkas, ha ha!

The colors are a bit off, but if I wait to get perfect photos I'll never post any! You can click on this to open it bigger and read the journaling.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Whatever part of my brain decided that it was reasonable for me to do the Avon Walk and Inspired back-to-back should be fired.

Both were amazing experiences, and each of them alone was enough to wear me out for two weeks at least.

I've been recovering all week, and my level of exhaustion is reminding me of the summer in college when I had mono; I'd wake up, lay around, eat something, and then have to take a nap. Then I'd take a shower and be so exhausted from the effort that I'd have to take another nap. Of course it hasn't been quite that bad, but I am tiiiiiiiiiiiiiired. I know that most of you Inspired ladies are so much better than me; you came back home and jumped back into life and are busy with 8 zillion things. La-tee-dah, of course you are! You are superwomen! But me? I am an introvert! I need me some serious downtime after two major events like this. And I am taking it.

Jason is gone this weekend at a motorcycle rally. When he told me that he was leaving straight from work on Thursday I nearly cried for joy--four whole days of the house to myself? The timing could not be better, I tell you!

I started out this morning by spreading out all the lovely things I bought at Inspired all over the entire living room floor and sat amongst them, admiring it all. I should have taken a picture. In fact, Stella even told me to take a picture, and I still forgot.

Anyway, my point is, I've been catching up on sleep and enjoying my downtime. But I thought I'd pop on here and post a couple of my favorite photos from the last couple of weekends.

Starting out the Avon Walk with Laura.

Forty miles later, finishing the Avon Walk with Laura and new friends Cindy and Sherri.

I'm so glad that everyone at Inspired had cameras and actually used them and are sharing photos, because I only took 79 photos all weekend and 10 of them are of a paint palette! Anyway, here I am at Inspired with some of my best friends: (from left back-ish) Deitra, Chiara, Jen, me, Katie, Lori, and then Aimee and Heather in the front. I love these ladies! Thanks for the photo, Zanne!

Jen and I in the Embassy Suites bathroom. :) Love this shot.

Love and miss you girls TONS! I'm saving my favorite photo for tomorrow since it will be Favorite {Photo} Friday. See you then!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #47--Inspired Artist Workshop

Last year about this time I was attending Donna Downey's Inspired. Artist Workshop.

And, in short, it changed the way I create. It changed the way I think about my art. It changed the way I think about me. It provided me a community of amazing women artists that has helped me and meant more to me than I could possibly write in a blog post (at least more than I could write in this blog post!).

And now I'm going back! By the time this posts on Friday I'll be ensconced in all that yummy arty goodness and surrounded by so many of my friends at the workshop in North Carolina.

Here are some friends from last year: Jen, Aimee, me, Shani, and Sooz. Shani can't make it this year but the rest of us here will be there, and I am so stinkin' excited to see everyone again! Coincidentally this photo is also from my very first post on this blog; I started it right after coming back home from Inspired last year!

Katie arrived Tuesday night and we headed down to North Carolina on Thursday morning to meet up with everyone else. It was a whirlwind in between finishing the Avon Walk and packing and preparing for Inspired. Who in the heck planned my two biggest weekends of 2009 right next to each other? :)

When I get back next week I'll post photos of and stories from my Avon Walk, along with photos of and stories from Inspired as soon as I crawl out of my introvert cave where I plan to spend a couple of days, that is! Have a great weekend... I know I will! :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #46--Avon Walk Weekend!

It's Walk Weekend!! This morning I ran around finishing packing and going to the chiropractor for a last-minute adjustment, and then my awesome aunt Susan came to pick me up. This afternoon I headed into D.C. for "Event Eve"... event check-in and vendor fair. I sold some jewelry and met some great people and got properly pumped up for this weekend! The excitement was palpable!

I turned in my donations and my total ended up being--GET THIS--$3964!!! Holy crap cow! I qualified for both the Champion Fundraiser workout hat (which I also got last year with my $2500 of donations) and the Fearless Fundraiser wicking sports shirt. GO ME! I'm so excited. A thousand thanks to everyone who donated to my walk!!

Now it's time for me to head off to bed since I have to wake up at--gulp gulp gasp--4:15 a.m.!! But I will leave you with another favorite photo from last year's walk.

I walked with Andrea last year and we had a great time! When we finished the entire walk we had a while until closing ceremonies so we headed over to a brew pub conveniently located across the street to reward ourselves for a job well done. Yes, I'm all sweaty and gross; but check out that dark beer---yummmmm. The memory of that beer, so good after being so hard-earned, makes this photo a favorite. And yes, I will be enjoying a good, dark beer after this year's walk, too! :)

Wish me luck and good weather!