Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Crinkly Green Hydrangeas

So, I am deep into dreaming and imagining what will go where and how I will decorate our new-old home and what I will be able/afford to buy and what antique-vintage-new-old treasures I will find to give our new home life and soul... anyway, I have this dream of a loose bouquet of crinkly green hydrangeas tucked into a lovely vintage green ceramic vase I've been hiding in the cupboard in my laundry room all year. Anyone have a source for some nice realistic artificial stems that look like the blooms in this photo? Don't know if I would display this bouquet in the dining room, on the mantel, in the kitchen, or maybe it would wander from room to room... hmmm... oh, the possibilities!

My arms and back are sore today. Cleaned windows at Diane's new temporary shop. Lots of work to do this week and next. Never a dull moment!

Speaking of Diane's new temporary shop, here is the scoop: Stampin' Treasures is having a "last blast" month-long clearance sale. Diane's rented a storefront in Folsom, and we open next Friday, January 7th. Go to for all of the details including store hours, etc. She should have more info posted soon. This will be a great opportunity to score huge bargains. Diane will have THOUSANDS of goodies for sale and you don't want to miss this! again, that's

Gotta run. Hugs! PS - Diane, I love you! You, my friend, are awesome.

"Home, the spot of earth supremely blest; a dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest." —Robert Montgomery

"The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home." —Confucius

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Together Time...

So... Christmas at the Allred home was FABULOUS. How was yours? Other than Steph not being here, it was really a nice time. And Rich has this whole week off, so we're doing lots together so I probably won't be blogging much this week. In fact, all of January may be sketchy, what with work, packing, cleaning, moving, etc. We'll see how it goes. But for now I am thoroughly enjoying extra quality time with my sweetie. Rich, I love you so much! You are the best hubs ever. And so nice! And so cute! I am in love, can you tell?

Also, this Thursday I am hosting a lunch at my home for four of my best gal friends. Kari, Kim, Carrie and Sharlie are amazing ladies and I am so lucky to have them for my buddies! I'm making a pot of my special roasted butternut squash soup and they're bringing appetizers, salad, bread and dessert. I can't wait - it will be a delightful time, as it always is when we get together.

So. It's been a long day. Good night - have a wonderful week - the last week of 2010, and what an amazing year it's been...

"Remember that a successful marriage depends on two things: Finding the right person, and being the right person." —unknown

"Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb. It's not something you get, it's something you do. It's the way you love your partner every day." —Barbara deAngelis

"What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow." —Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas List

Today is December 23rd - Christmas is almost here! I've been enjoying myself with last-minute preparations, taking my time and savoring the moments. Next week we start packing for our upcoming move, so I am trying to take the time to relish the relative peace we have in our home right now. Exciting changes are afoot! It's a good thing.

So... the other night I was attending my niece's vocal recital and this song was performed by one of the girls - I had heard it before but I think this was the first time I really listened to the words. What an amazing message! It's quickly become one of my favorite Christmas songs - and that's saying a lot because I LOVE Christmas music and I have lots of favorites! So here are the words, and to hear the lovely Amy Grant sing them, go HERE.

MY GROWN-UP CHRISTMAS LIST —by David Foster & Linda Thompson Jenner

Do you remember me? I sat upon your knee.
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies.

Well, I'm all grown up now, and still need help somehow.

I'm not a child, but my heart still can dream.

So here's my lifelong wish — my grown-up Christmas list,

Not for myself, but for a world in need:

No more lives torn apart, that wars would never start,

And time would heal all hearts,

And everyone would have a friend,
That right would always win,
and love would never end.
This is my grown-up Christmas list.

As children we believed the grandest sight to see

Was something lovely wrapped beneath our tree.

Well, Heaven surely knows that packages and bows

Can never heal a hurting human soul.

No more lives torn apart, that wars would never start,
And time would heal all hearts,
And everyone would have a friend,
That right would always win, and love would never end.
This is my grown-up Christmas list.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All Wrapped Up!

Well, I do believe I am finished wrapping Christmas presents. All finished for this year. Whew! The gifts look really pretty all stacked up and waiting for Christmas morning. I also did the last of my grocery shopping today, and will start tomorrow with some do-ahead preparations for our Christmas dinner. We've decided this year to have an assortment of appetizers, along with a few salads, some veggies, and of course several desserts. Two of my sisters and their families will be joining us for the afternoon and evening on Christmas day for eating, games, togetherness, and fun. I also found an adorable and touching video on the nativity that we'll show, so everyone gets a chance to remember the true reason for this blessed holiday, and can focus their minds and hearts on our savior and His birth. HERE is a link to the video if you're interested. It's absolutely the cutest thing ever!

Rich helped me photograph our gift tags and Christmas card so I can post them here. For the tags I started with all-white cardstock. Everything you see on the tags was done with ink and stamps. Who needs to buy patterned papers when there are so many amazing and lovely stamps out there? I used Tim Holtz distress inks in Peeled Paint (of course), Barn Door, and Vintage Photo, as well as a little Memento Tuxedo Black. Oh, and also some Antique Linen Distress ink for some added aging and character. Needless to say, my hands were pretty inky when this project was finished, but I am thrilled with the results!

For the card, I used the Music Background Cover-a-Card stamp from Impression Obsession, and the same inks as I used on the tags. I cut the snowflakes using my Silhouette (an early Christmas present from me to me that I got at CHA in Chicago this past summer). Love that machine!! The "Comfort & Joy" sentiment is my design from the brand new CL304 set from Impression Obsession. It's available from retailers but it's not quite yet on the IO site. It should be soon. I stamped the sentiment with Verasmark and embossed with white embossing powder (thanks dear Sharlie for lending me your heat gun - mine is packed in a box somewhere!) Snowflake gems are from Memory Box, and the lovely green velvet ribbon is from my stash.

I've also included a photo of a couple of our gifts showing what the tags look like with the gift wrap I chose for this year. Everything was done in that lovely shade of green (peeled paint!) with black, and just small touches of white and red added in. I really am liking how it all turned out. Most of my Christmas decorations are red and silver/white, so the darker green and black are a nice contrast.

So... two more days until Jesus' birthday (or the day we celebrate it, anyway). I hope your final preparations go well, and that you all get to spend time with those you love. Peace on Earth, and Merry Christmas!

"At Christmas, play and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year!" —Thomas Tusser

"Christmas is a day of joy and charity. May God make you very rich in both." —Phillips Brooks

"Christmas is love in action." —Dale Evans Rogers

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Quick Last-Minute Gift Ideas

Real quick before I head off to dreamland, here are a couple of books that would make great gifts... and I'm sure everyone knows someone who could use one or both of these. I sure do! Haha... I'm just sayin.'

Merry Christmas.

"Politeness makes one appear outwardly as they should be within." —Jean de la Bruyere

"Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to wax." —Arthur Schopenhauer

"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use." —Emily Post

Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength." —Eric Hoffer

"Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you — not because they are nice, but because you are." —unknown

Thankful for Friends Part IV

How many posts will I do about Friendship? Well, this is my 4th and I'm sure there will be lots more. Friends are so important to me, and I have some wonderful ones! What a blessing they are in my life. They make me laugh, they give me good advice, they listen to me, they help me do stuff, they keep me company, and they bring me joy. I love my friends! And I'm trying to get excited about the prospect of moving away from the town I've lived in for over fifteen years and going to live in a new town where I will get the opportunity to make new friends. It's sad, exciting, and daunting all at the same time. I know this is the right move for my family to make, but I am also a bit nervous about it. But... it's only a 30-minute drive away so I can always come back to Folsom for some fabulous friend fun! Oh yeah.

Here are a couple
of my new designs that were just recently released by Impression Obsession. They're available from retailers now, and will soon also be available to purchase directly from IO. The "Friend Box" is part of Clear Set CL317, and the "Large Flower" is part of Clear Set CL318. Lots of new stamp releases this time of year and it's exciting! Stay tuned to see more designs, and as soon as I get the stamps in my hands I'll make some sample cards and post them.

Well, it's off to work for me. The sun is shining here today, which is a nice break from the rain. Enjoy your day!

"I get by with a little help from my friends." —John Lennon

Monday, December 20, 2010

The word is: SNOWFLAKE

I have a thing for snowflakes. I think they are beeee-utiful. How amazing they are! I live where it doesn't snow, so I don't see many snowflakes IRL. But I love them just the same. This year I have used lots of snowflakes in my holiday preparations. I bought cello bags embossed with snowflakes for packing goodies in. I have some luscious wrapping paper that's black with white snowflakes on it (and it's extra wide - perfect for wrapping those large gifts!), and my cards (all 70 of them - thought I'd never finish) and gift tags are covered with snowflakes this year. I hope to get them photographed and share them here soon. Hopefully. Fingers crossed.

So, some friends and I tried to go to the mall tonight to watch a "spontaneous" random act of culture, the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus by a large "random" group of vocalists. Unfortunately the "spontaneous" nature of the event was sorta destroyed by facebook, twitter, email and other explosive word of mouth. Suffice it to say that we couldn't even get close to the mall. Police had to close and evacuate it due to the excessive crowds and worries that the food court balcony was in peril of collapse under the weight of 5000-plus eager singers. It was crazy. What a mess. What was intended to be a lovely display of true Christmas spirit turned ugly in a hurry. Google "Roseville Galleria Flash Mob" for more info. Luckily nobody was hurt. But I'd bet that's the end of this type of event in these parts. Bummer.

Oh well. We made it home safely. Now it's time for bed! It's been really cold here today (by central valley standards) and I am ready to don my snuggly pjs and wool socks and get my warm on! Good night. Only five days until Christmas! Are you ready?

"Christmas isn't a season; it's a feeling." —Edna Ferber

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Only Ten More Days...

Christmas is a week from this Saturday. That's right - ten days away. Today I worked on Christmas cards (I have very inky fingers right now). It will be a couple more days at least until they're ready to mail. That means I am behind. Way behind. Lots to do this time of year, as it says in The Grinch: "The presents! The ribbons! The wrappings! The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings!" But this year we're having a pared-down Christmas, with pared-down decorations. It's nice. A bit more peaceful, and quieter than usual. But I still want to get the cards mailed, and I have some baking to do, and fudge to make, and friends to visit, and my hair needs cutting... and parties to attend... and on top of that we are starting to pack because we're moving at the end of next month. Makes me tired thinking about it.

But then again, it makes me grateful to have so m
any good things in my life, starting with my amazing hubby and two incredible kids. They make me so happy!

Oh, and another thing that makes me happy? Hazelnut Rolled Wafers from Cost Plus World Market. They are lovely. Try some. And the Vanilla and Lemon flavors are pretty tasty too.

Well, it's my goal tonight to be in bed before midnight, so I gotta get to it. Good night!

"Bless us, Lord, this Christmas, with quietness of mind. Teach us to be patient and always to be kind." —Helen Steiner Rice

Monday, December 13, 2010


My girl flew back to Utah today. Boooooo. She really wanted to stay longer and I really wanted her to stay longer but her ticket was nonrefundable and it would have cost an unreasonable amount to change it. Besides, she had work and other things to attend to and she needed to get back to real life. Steph looked so good and she was so happy - it did my heart good to see her! We shared an early Christmas with her yesterday, including a stocking full of treats from Santa that she took with her on the plane. Oh, how I love my girl! We are proud parents.

A storm is coming in. Heavy rains are predicted for tomorrow. I lamented the warm weather in my last post, and I guess I got my wish - cold and wet weather on its way! But we need the moisture now or next summer will be unbearable.

I thought I'd share
a simple layered Christmas card today. It features the Holly Collage stamp from Memory box, some distress inks, Prismacolor pencils, liquid pearls, and some yummy dotted ribbon. A simple earthy Christmas greeting. Love it!

Tomorrow is a big day - we're having the inspections done on the home we're planning to purchase. These inspections will show us if there are any hidden problems lurking, or if the house has a clean bill of health and we can buy it. We should have an answer by the end of the week, then if we decide to proceed we'll probably be able to close escrow by mid-January and move by the first of February. Fingers crossed that all goes well! It's been a long year in this rental home.

Ok, that's it for me. Sore back and tired brain. Good night!

"There is nothing wrong with change if it is the right decision." —Winston Churchill

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Oh, the Weather Outside is...

I live in the central valley of northern California. I love California. The weather is mild, as everyone knows. I grew up here, most of my family and loved ones are here, and this is my home. But I think I am needing to go see and touch some snow sometime soon. It's been too warm here lately, and it's starting to affect my Christmas spirit just a bit (it's supposed to be almost 70 degrees this weekend, for heaven's sake!). It's hard to feel very Christmas-y with the back door open and the ceiling fan running because I got too warm just from vacuuming the floor... I'm just sayin.' And yes, there IS snow in California, not too very far from here, actually. Should take less than an hour to get there. Maybe we'll bundle up tomorrow, jump in the car and head eastward into the mountains to see some winter wonder for ourselves. Sounds fun!!

Anyhoo, I do love this time of year. It's wonderful. Steph is home for a visit, we are all together, I actually got my ENTIRE house cleaned this week, and I am almost finished with my Christmas shopping. And we got some really good news on the house-hunting front today. Getting closer to that dream home! Yay!

Okay, it's late. Time for some sweet dreams. Good night!

"Christmas waves its magic wand over the world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." —Norman Vincent Peale

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

God Bless us Everyone

Well, here we are on the last day of the first week of the final month of 2010. Only 18 days until Christmas! And only two days until my Steph comes to visit! Oh, happy times. We've been getting lots of rain here lately, but there's also been plenty of lovely sunshine between the storms. Life is good.

Here's a Christmas card that was really fun to make. The greeting is my design from THIS clear set (or get it individually HERE). I used a Hero Arts powder card and snow layering paper, plus Memory Box paper from their Holiday Greetings 6x6 paper pack. Other stamps I used were Hero Arts Cling Dots (the blue dots in the background) and the tree is from the Hero Arts CL465 set, "Tree Mendous." Inks used were Hero Arts Cerulean Chalk Ink, Punch Chalk Ink, and Tim Holtz Peeled Paint Distress Ink. The snow hills are lined with Rock Candy Distress Stickles (quite sparkly and nice IRL). Snowflake Gems and red pearls on the tree are from Memory Box. Oh, and everything's layered up with foam dimensionals, which you can't see in the picture but they make the card extra fun!

I hope everyone's holiday preparations are going well. Remember to keep it simple and focus on the true meaning of this wonderful season!

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." —Calvin Coolidge

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Boutique & How Time Flies

Happy Monday! Here we are with almost a week of December gone already. I had the opportunity this past weekend to participate again in a wonderful Christmas boutique hosted by my amazingly talented and so-nice friend Sydne. I made and sold (and got pre-orders for more) lots-o-pans of frozen take-and-bake cinnamon rolls, as well as both chocolate and peanut butter fudge. It was great fun. Last year I also sold cards and Christmas ornaments at the boutique, but this time I decided to simplify and it was, I believe, a good decision. Everything was sold and I made some extra money for Christmas, for which I am most excited!

My Steph is coming home for a visit this week, and I can't wait to see her! I was thinking last night what a huge change it's been for our family to have her gone. When you have two children and one of them moves away, it makes such a difference. I know that David misses his sister even more than he says he does. And I also know that it won't be long before David also leaves home, then it will just be Rich and I. Where have the years gone? How did we get so old? Sometimes I sit and think about all we've been through, and where we are now, and what the future may hold, and my head just spins at the wonder of it all. Life goes so fast!

"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let others spend it for you." —Carl Sandburg

"How long is a minute? Depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on." —Zall's Second Law

Thursday, December 2, 2010


As I run out the door, here's a quick thought on happiness today, sent to me by my sweet friend Adrienne:

"All people bring happiness into our lives... some by coming, and others by going." —anonymous

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Welcome, Sweet December

What a beautiful, crisp and lovely December morning it is here in northern California! Just a little bit of frost, and several of the trees are still showing brilliant colors against a stunningly blue sky. What an amazing world we live in! It's gor-gee-ous!
Can you believe it's already Dec
ember? 2010 has gone by in a flash. Looking back, I can remember that lots of things have happened, but wow how time has flown. I'm looking forward to next week when Steph flies home (speaking of flying!) for a short visit. She has to work on Christmas day (and she also had to work on Thanksgiving), so she's squeezing in some family time in between holidays. I can't wait to hug my girl!

Thought I'd share a Christmas card today. This one is built on a Hero Hues Grenadine card, stamped with my favorite Hero Arts Branch Background in Punch Chalk Ink. Very subtle and a little hard to see in the photo, but nice IRL. The red star behind the sentiment is from the Hero Arts Swirl Christmas clear set, and the "Wise Men Still Seek Him"sentiment is my design, available as part of THIS clear set or as a rubber stamp HERE. Black ink is Memento Tuxedo Black, and I popped the sentiment with some foam dimensionals and a small piece of black cardstock to frame it. Added some red gems (Hero Hues mixed accents) and some red grosgrain ribbon from my stash. Lovely, simple, and some may say a little masculine. I call it classy.

OK - off to work. Things are starting to wind down over at the Stampin' Treasures Going Out of Business Sale, but there are still lots of goodies in the warehouse and everything is now 50% off retail. Go over to the website and get yourself some stuff! And Diane is preparing for a big warehouse sale in January, so everyone who is within driving distance to the Sacramento area should get on her email list and stay tuned for more info about that. It will be an amazing sale! Oh, and let me say, Diane, you are the greatest! I love you!

"Friendship isn't a big thing... it's a million little things." —unknown

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thankful for Friends Part III

It is such a blessing in my life to have good friends! I had the opportunity last night to enjoy a special dinner with four of the best women on the planet, and I am so lucky to call them my friends! We laugh together, we cry together, we share life's experiences together, we understand each other, and it's just so good. Thank you, my dear friends!

Here's a card I made a while ago - it says what I'm feeling today. Simple construction, with a little distress inking on the edges and a heart-shaped brad for embellishment. The sentiment design is mine, not yet released as a stamp. Stay tuned for that.

So the weather today is a little less cold than it was yesterday. Less ice to scrape from the car windshields. But I do have to say that I enjoy the crisp weather, and the sweaters, and the scarves, and the boots with warm fleecy linings. I love the layers. Oh, and also hats. I've recently discovered how much I love hats.

OK - time to get to work. Let's make it a great day! Don't let the losers get you down!

"I get by with a little help from my friends." —John Lennon

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thoughts on Family Part II

WARNING: I am sad today. If you read this post you're gonna find out why.

Why are families so important, and why do they often break our hearts? Sounds like the first lines of a country song. Oh, what a day it's been. I think I'm gonna change my email address and move to Fiji. Ugh. Despite our best efforts, sometime certain aspects of our lives just fall apart. Despite searching and searching for the very best, most effective words, sometimes we continue to be misunderstood. Despite our good intentions, sometimes people insist on disliking and criticizing us anyway. And sometimes those people are those we share blood and a lifetime of history with. It's heartbreaking. It's sickening. It's exasperating. It's damaging to the soul and sometimes all you can do is walk away and shut the proverbial door. Say, "you go on and have a good life, now, and I will do my best to have the same." That's all. What a shame it is, but life has to go on, as does the quest for joy, fulfillment, and a positive attitude. The alternative is despair, and that is completely unacceptable.
No poison allowed.

And on that note, happy Sunday! Glad I got that off my chest. Had to say it. I was about to explode. Now I feel much better. Well, maybe a tiny bit better. We're moving on. Let's go and make it a good week. Inhale... exhale... find the peace. That's my goal.

"Family quarrels have a total bitterness unmatched by others." —Mignon McLaughlin

"Family is just accident. They don't mean to get on your nerves. They don't even mean to be your family, they just are." —Marsha Norman

"No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?" —Elbert Hubbard

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful for Friends Part II

So, how was your Thanksgiving? Ours was lovely. Small, intimate, and low-fuss. Just what I needed. We ate a quiet dinner, then in the evening time my sister and her family joined us for dessert and a viewing of the classic "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Love that movie! It's truly one of my all-time favorites.

Today I thought I'd share an art piece I created this past summer for a group of my friends that I adore. These are the ladies that are there for me always, and they are awesome! This piece was created on a chipboard background that I added an easel back to so it can stand on its own. I used Hero Arts' Friends Definition as the background, then added a variety of papers and embellishments from my stash. The stamp is THIS one from River City Rubber Works, aptly called "Five Girlfriends." It's made from an old photo that bears an uncanny resemblance to the five of us. It was lots of fun to make and it warms my heart every time I look at it and think how grateful I am for good girlfriends who are there for me in good times AND in bad, and tell it to me straight. They're the greatest.

So I hope you all don't spend too much money out there today on "black Friday." Let's all try to keep the true spirit of the holiday in our minds and in our hearts, and keep those credit cards in our wallets and don't over-do it. As is pondered at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store... Maybe Christmas, perhaps means a little bit more." I wish you peace and sensible living on this day and always.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


For these things I am truly thankful:
1. Rich, my eternal sweetie. I love you forever!
2. Stephanie & David, my babies, my precious children, my very life.
3. My savior, Jesus Christ, who did everything for all humankind that we cannot do for ourselves.
4. My country. God bless the USA!
5. My warm and cozy (albeit temporary) home, where I share love and good times with my family who is always there for me!
6. Time. I have learned that time is a gift, and the gift of tomorrow is a wonderful thing. We get to learn and grow (and hopefully improve ourselves) every day. I pray for lots of tomorrows.
7. My extended family and friends. In good ways (and sometimes not-so-good ways) I learn from you all every day. We grow together, or we grow apart, and sometimes a little of both. I hope you all know that I strive always to do my best in my own way.
8. Food to eat and clothes to wear, and yes, my favorite spot in the corner of the sofa by the lamp where I love to curl up and read.
9. An active and creative mind. I love to think, and I love to make things. All kinds of things. It keeps me alive. Never stop learning. Never.
10. My grandmothers, both of whom are still living. How I love your example, and the way you show love to me. It's amazing. I also love that my children have the blessing of knowing their great-grandmothers into their young adulthood.
11. A dependable car.
12. Music. It feeds my soul! Especially music played by my boy David. How I will miss that daily treasure when he moves away!
13. Peace and quiet. I strive to get a little of that every day. Clears the cobwebs from my mind, and allows me to search my soul. It's a good thing.
14. Employment, and the ability (and blessing) Rich and I have of providing for ourselves and living within our means, and doing it in an honest way.
15. Going to bed each night with a clear conscience - or trying to. Peace. It's what I strive for.

Well, that's a pretty good starter list. I think I'll go put my head on my pillow in my warm and cozy bed and think of some more. And I will say a special prayer tonight for those who are alone or lonely. And for my Steph, enduring her first Utah winter. Be warm, my baby!

Happy Thanksgiving. Don't make it all about the food or the football. Focus on the truly important things. Life is such a blessing! Oh - I just thought of #16 and #17 for my list: sunshine and fresh air.

Good night! Happy long weekend! Love your life!

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was 'thank you,' that would suffice." —Meister Eckhart

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Belated BOO

I have got to get over my fear of cameras and learn to take my own pictures! If it wasn't for my sweet hubby, none of my work would be photographed at all. Thanks Rich for helping me!

So, nothing like being about three weeks late on this: here is my Halloween card that features the candy corn template from
my October 25 post. I printed the template onto white, orange and yellow cardstock, cut it out, inked the edges with Tim Holtz Antique Linen Distress Ink, wrapped it with some twine, popped it onto some awesome black brocade paper from my stash, and added a little bling to up the fun factor. The BOO stamp is my design from THIS clear set (get it HERE as a wood or cling rubber stamp). Anyhoo, I made a few of these and gave them to some of my gals. Oh, and on the inside of the card I stamped THIS sentiment (pictured at right).

It's been (and continues to be) a crazy year, and there are many things I hope and plan to do that aren't getting done. I still plan to make a large candy corn pillow using a large version of the template. Maybe I will make a few of them and give them as gifts next fall. My favorite aunt Julie has a birthday at the beginning of October and I know she''d love one. I'll add it to my list....... Next year will be better! (I hope)

So, it's raining here, and windy. Typical for this time of year. My driveway and lawn and backyard are buried in leaves. Time to get out the rake! Oh, what fun. But I love the fall. It feels great.

Have a nice day!

"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take some time to sit still and watch the leaves turn." —Elizabeth Lawrence

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful for Friends

It's the week of Thanksgiving. One of my favorites of the year. Of the many things I am thankful for in my life, one of the biggest is my friends. Oh, what would I do without my friends? They listen to me, they give me great advice, they care about me, they worry about me, and they are there for me in too many ways to mention. And it's so great to have different circles of friends, and different kinds of friends. It really helps to make my life complete. I love you, my friends!

Here's a simple "friends" card (photo is a little blurry - sorry about that), built with Memory Box papers, a big metal "f" from my stash, some mini staples, and that's about it.

Time to run. Make it a great day!

"And a youth said, speak to us of friendship.
And he answered, saying, your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace."
—Kahlil Gibran

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Rich and I just got home from David's jazz choir concert at Sac State. What amazingly talented young people - such good music, performed so well! David had two solos and he did a great job. He looks so comfortable and confident up there on the stage (not to mention really good looking too!). Got it on video; can't wait to watch it and show it to Steph when she comes home next month!

One of my favorite tunes of the night was an arrangement of "Four" by Miles Davis. This is a great jazz standard, and the words have great positive meaning, so I thought I would share them:

Of the wonderful things that you get out life there are four.
And they may not be many, but nobody needs anymore.

Of the many facts making the list of life, TRUTH takes the lead,

And to relax knowing the g
ist of life, it's TRUTH you need.

Then the second is HONOR, and HAPPINESS makes number three.

When you put them together you'll know what the last one must be.

So baby, TRUTH, HONOR, and HAPPINESS, and one thing more:

Meaning only wonderful, wonderful LOVE that makes it four.

Of the wonderful things that you get out life there are four.
And they may not be many, but nobody needs anymore.
Of the many facts making the list of life, TRUTH takes the lead,
And to relax knowing the gist of life, it's TRUTH you need.

Then the second is HONOR, and HAPPINESS makes number three.

When you put them together you'll know what the last one must be.
So baby, TRUTH, HONOR, and HAPPINESS, and one thing more:

Meaning LOVE, and that's the real score and more than enough

When times are tough and poor.

They may not comprise a lot,
Still you only got those four,
And there ain't no more.

If you want to hear Miles himself play this sweet tune, go HERE.

So that's it for tonight. I've been working extra long hours helping with the Stampin' Treasures Going Out of Business Sale, and I am tuckered. Another big day tomorrow. Good night!

"Brief is life but love is long." —Alfred Lord Tennyson

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Inspiration

It's starting to happen, as it does every year. Ready or not, the Christmas Spirit starts to have its effect on me. Sometime around mid-November (that would be now), and lasting through the start of the new year, there's just this feeling. Extra emotions. Lots of thinking about the world and how to make it better. Wanting to make everything good and beautiful. Striving to be more loving, caring and considerate of my family, friends and those around me. And I know that most everyone feels this same way at this time of year... and how great would it be if we all felt this way ALL the time, and acted on these good feelings ALL the time. Setting aside the commercial commotion and the junk mail, and just being happy, and kind, and patient, and all the good things. Hmmmm, what a world that would be! Heaven.

So, in that vein, I thought I'd share another Christmas card today. Another non-traditional color scheme: purple, white, and shades of green. So rich and refreshing! This one incorporates my "Peace on Earth" design from THIS clear set (you can also get it HERE individually as a wood or cling rubber stamp). I used a Hero Arts card, some Memory Box paper & jewels, lovely Versamagic chalk ink in a color called Purple Hydrangea, and some delicious green velvet ribbon that I picked up last year in my travels. The background on the card (Hero Arts Branch Background cling stamp) is stamped in Hero Arts Snow Chalk Ink (kinda hard to see in the photo, but it's nice & white IRL). Put it all together with a tape runner and some foam dimensionals, and viola! It's Christmas.

"Peace on earth will come to stay when we live Christmas every day." —Helen Steiner Rice

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's Friday night, and, well...

Just one last thing I wanted to say tonight: being a mom is hard. REALLY HARD! The older they get, good grief & holy smokes. I love them so much and I want them to stay sweet and pure and innocent and good forever. Is that an impossible dream? I do believe it is. If you thought potty training was tough, just you wait. Oh, my. That's all. Good night.................

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." —Elizabeth Stone

"When you have brought up your kids, there are memories you store directly in your tear ducts." —Robert Brault

Fabulous Friday!

Today is a crisp, sunny fall day. I am sitting at my computer in my jams at 9:28am working. The heater is on and it feels lovely. I should have taken a shower about 2 hours ago, but alas I am behind. In addition to doing my other work (which yes, I have been doing, I promise!) Ive been trying to do a little redesign and tweaking of my blog to make it a bit cuter and more fun. I am still working on it. It's a tedious and frustrating process to get it just how I want it, mostly because I don't know just how I want it and I don't really know what I am doing and I will not pay someone to do it for me. So I will keep working on it. As someone who tweaks things for a living I am used to the tedium, but it's still slow-going. So for now I will leave it how it is (not bad), I will get in the shower, and I will go take on the rest of my day!

Hope yours is a good one. Love life! Be nice! Be happy! Don't let the losers get you down!

"Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself, 'I, not events, have the power to make myself happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead; tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.'" —Groucho Marx

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The word is: BELIEVE

I have given in. I bought some Christmas decorations today. Even if some stores start displaying their Christmas inventory as early as August, I try to wait until after Halloween to start thinking about Christmas. And with my family's impending move and the plethora of still-packed boxes around our small temporary home, it's also kinda hard for me to get in the holiday mood what with the tight quarters and the chaos. Plus, there's literally NO PLACE to put a Christmas tree in this house. It's looking as though we'll still be here this Christmas, however, and I may have to settle for a mini-tree on the mantel and a few small decorations on a table or two... and I will start planning for Christmas galore at our new home in 2011. But I suppose that's OK. The wait will be worth it!

I thought I'd share a Christmas card today. It's done in shades of green and pink with pearly touches. Not your traditional Christmas color scheme, but it's soft and cool and I like it! The "Believe" greeting is my design from THIS clear set (also available HERE as an individual wood or cling rubber stamp). I used Hero Arts celadon paper, Magical Background, as well as pearls and a jewel from their Earth Mixed Accents (love those). Memory Box pear collage stamp (paper pieced & layered with some sweet Memory Box paper), and the ink is my all-time favorite green, Tim Holtz' Peeled Paint Distress ink. Love it!

Today is Veterans' Day. Here in Folsom we have an amazing parade, complete with my favorite Marching Band. The parade was started several years ago by the incredible Wayne Spence, a true American Hero who is now in Heaven. Wayne and his sweet wife Jane (yep — Wayne & Jane, so cute!) are just the best people. Love them! I hope you all will take some time today to thank a Veteran near you for all they have done and sacrificed for our nation and our world. And if your favorite Veteran is no longer with us, then bless them, and bless you, too.

"Do you know what a soldier is, young man? He's the chap who makes it possible for civilized folk to despise war." —Allan Massie

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

There is a Pleasure...

THERE is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.

From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can never express, yet cannot all conceal.

—Lord Byron

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Farewell, Stampin' Treasures

Stampin' Treasures, owned by my dear friend Diane, is closing. After almost 14 years in business, Diane has decided to move on to other things and I am helping her close the business and sell off the inventory. Great deals are afoot! Go to early and often to get in on the action. There's lots to choose from including Hero Arts, Memory Box, Lockhart, Impression Obsession, My Sentiments Exactly, My Favorite Things, Ranger, Kodomo, Hanko, and more. Right now everything is 25% off, and the discounts will get deeper as the month goes on (however if you wait the stuff you want may sell out).

Diane's customers love her and the unique, personal and wonderful service she provides. She's already received a flood of well-wishes from the dedicated and loyal customer/friends she's earned over the years. She will be missed by many!

I am excited for Diane and her future. The online stamping world will not be the same without her, but new opportunities are coming her way and now she'll have the time to dedicate herself to them. Change is good! Love you, sweet Diane.

"The secret of success in life is to be ready for opportunity when it comes." —Banjamin Disraeli

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Fall. Yum. Delicious weather, delicious food, and what a beautiful world! I can't get over how lovely the fall colors on the trees are this time of year, yes, even here in Northern California. Simply stunning, especially contrasting against a vivid blue sky. Amazing. To quote Truman Burkank's best friend Marlon in "The Truman Show" (one of my favorite films): "The big guy... quite a paintbrush he's got."

Fall is also great because it
's apple season. If you're from this area, you know all about Apple Hill. It's an area just east of Placerville just off Highway 50 headed toward Lake Tahoe, where the hills are covered with apple orchards. You can go spend the day picking apples, taking in the local festivities, or just sitting around enjoying the atmosphere while eating apple cake, apple pie, caramel apples, fudge, etc... and drinking THE MOST delicious fresh-pressed apple cider on the planet. It's pure heaven!

Here's my favorite recipe
for Apple Crisp. It's simple, lovely, and especially comforting and delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

8 cups peeled & sliced apples (Granny Smith or Golden Delicious)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup light-brown sugar, packed

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

dash ground ginger

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine peeled & sliced apples with the 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour; place into a buttered 9x13-inch pan. Combine remaining ingredients and mix until crumbly; spread evenly over apples. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until apples are tender and top is golden. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree." —Martin Luther

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Seeking Peace

So, today is election day in America. Yesterday I threw away a stack of political advertisements that had come in the mail over the past several days. What a pile of garbage, literally! And I don't even want to answer my phone any more, what with all of the pre-recorded political calls. What a waste. It's so disappointing, really, to see what our system has become. Do we want ANY of these people in positions of leadership over us? I think when I go to vote today I will be holding my nose. Other than one or two good choices who I strongly support, the others can all go jump in a lake as far as I am concerned. I know it is important to be informed and to vote, but it's become a real mess out there...

And I won't get overly personal here, but I have been struggling in many aspects of my personal life lately. Being misunderstood, and not being able to find a way to BE understood, is highly frustrating. I have a
hard time just walking away but that is what I am doing because I know it is best. I grieve for the lost relationship. Sometimes things happen, and we don't see the purpose for a while, until after some time has passed. I pray for that clarity when it comes.

So it is now November. what is usually the start to my favorite time of year. I am seeking to find the wonder and joy that I usually feel. Sometimes I get glimpses of it but it still eludes me. I am working on it. Happiness is a choice, right?

OK, so... I thought I'd share one of my Thanksgiving designs, that is part of THIS clear set (also available by itself as a cling or wood-block rubber stamp HERE). It's a peaceful, season-appropriate saying and I love it. It reminds me to slow down, be thankful for my blessings, and breathe...

Have a good day!

"If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily." —Gerald Good

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thoughts on Family

What is a family? Why do we have them? Why are they important? What is love, and do we just say it or do we show it? Do we spend our time being our best and doing our best, or do we focus too much on what others should be doing for us? Just some things to think about today...

"The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together." —Erma Bombeck

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." —Jane Howard

"Family quarrels are bitter things. They don't go by any rules. They're not like aches or wounds; they're more like splits in the skin that won't heal because there's not enough material." —F. Scott Fitzgerald

"What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories." —George Eliot

"No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?" —Elbert Hubbard

"Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example and not his advice." —unknown

"The final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands." —Anne Frank

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The word is: YAMS

When my babies were small, even before they were born, I would sing to them:

You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are gray.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take
My sunshine

After Steph was born, when she was just a day or so old, I sang this song to her in the hospital. When she heard my voice she lifted her head, turned her beautiful blue eyes toward me, and smiled. I think she remembered hearing that song before! That sacred moment has always stayed with me. And when David came to us two years later I sang it to him, and to the both of them for years to come. I don't know if they remember, as it's been awhile. So the reason for this post is to remind my two sweet angels how much they mean to me, and how much their mommy will always love them.

And I realized today that an acronym for the title of this song is YAMS. So, here's to you, my sweet Steph and my amazing David. YAMS.

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life." —Abraham Lincoln

So Very Thankful

I just love love LOVE the cool evenings and mornings this time of year! How refreshing they are. The world feels crisp and exciting, and I get to wear sweaters and jackets and scarves and other fun layers of clothing. And boots! Can't wait to wear my boots.

Here's a card that features two
of my stamp designs from this summer, "So Very Thankful" and "Pumpkin Pie Recipe" from THIS clear set (also available individually in cling or wood-mounted rubber HERE and HERE). And yes, it IS a real recipe that really works, as is its companion stamp, "Stuffing Recipe." These stamps make a great background or feature on a card or scrapbook page. And these cards would make great Thanksgiving invitations, don't you think? The papers used on this card include Hero Arts Kraft Note Card & Grenadine Layering Paper, as well as a great print from the Memory Box Blackbird 6x6 paper pack. Inks include Tim Holtz Distress Inks in Vintage Photo and Spiced Marmalade. The Stitched Pumpkin stamp used in the background is a retired Hero Arts goodie (SKU #F4031 if you can find it).

OK, time for work. Let's make it a great day! Be thankful!

"It isn't what you have in your pocket that makes you thankful, but what you have in your heart." —unknown

"If we fill our hours with regret over the failures of yesterday, and with worries over the problems of tomorrow, we have no today in which to be thankful." —unknown

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Ghost of Halloweens Past

Here's some more Halloween nostalgia for you. David as Darth Vader (note his missing front teeth - what a cutie!) and Steph as a witch (don't you love her green face and warts?). This pic was taken sometime around 1998 or so. What fun those days were leading up to Halloween when they were small. "What are you going to be?" was the big question. Oh, how they have grown... sigh... Still I wonder, "What are they going to be?" I have my dreams for my children, and my worries, and my fears, and my hopes, and my prayers...

Insect Update: Still in full anti-ant combat mode around here. I hate it! I want my house back! Get out, you tiny black creatures of nastiness!

Life is uncertain these days. I am longing and praying for stability and peace. I make lots of mistakes. I read of the trials others are going through and my heart hurts for them, and I pray for them. Trying to stay positive and optimistic is tough. Trying to forgive yourself when you've erred is tough. But the alternative is despair, and who wants that? Finding the joy in everyday things, that is the key, but it's sometimes easier said than done. I know. But I believe in the collective power of the human spirit. We can do anything if we put our full effort into it. I know it. I know it. I know.

"When the world says, "give up,"
Hope whispers, "try one more time." —unknown

"Fall seven times, stand up eight." —Japanese proverb

Monday, October 25, 2010

Yummm, Candy!

We made it home. Rough trip. Long story. For now I'll just say that Steph is all moved into her place, and she's making the adjustment to living with roommates she barely knows instead of the family she's been with all her life. She's in a new town, doing new stuff, and the transition is a bit of a rough road. But she's doing relatively well and I know it will be up from here. The time for her to fly on her own has come and I need to let her go. For you moms of younger kids, I can honestly say that you won't know how that truly feels until you go through it for yourself. Emotional chaos.

Anyhoo..... on to the holiday! Life goes on, right? Here's a handy CANDY CORN TEMPLATE (just right-click on the image to copy & paste it). The possibilities for this little guy are many: paper-pieced cards, banners, gift bags, T-shirt transfers, etc. I have plans to enlarge it and make a pillow. Fun! I did make a card using this template and I hope to get it posted soon. It turned out pretty cute if I do say so! However, before I can photograph it I need to get some things cleaned up — with the recent rains we've had here in Northern California, our house has been inundated with ANTS, and we've had to empty out several cupboards in our efforts to eradicate them. Oh how I despise those insidious little creatures! Until they start paying part of the mortgage they are OUT of here!

On a happier note, our son David started his new job today at Michael's craft store this morning. He looked so sharp in his black shirt, new shoes, apron and name tag! He is excited and I so hope this works out for him! They've given him some early morning shifts that work perfectly with his class schedule. Fingers crossed that this one takes!

OK, it's off to work for me. Have fun out there and try not to eat all of your candy before the 31st! Haha!

"Eat, drink and be scary!" —unknown

"Shadows of a thousand years rise again unseen, Voices whisper in the trees: Tonight is Halloween!" —D. Kozen

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Ok, here's a quick one before I run, too funny not to share. I was in a store yesterday, and there was this mom pushing a shopping cart with her young daughter (maybe 3 years old) inside. The first thing I heard the mom say to her daughter was, "Don't you just love running errands with me?" And the daughter replied, "No, I don't!" Then a while later I saw them again. This time the daughter was being somewhat less pleasant. The mother said to the girl, "You need to shape up or I'm gonna knock you silly." To which the daughter said (in a loud voice), "Mom, Take a deep breath!" I had to walk away so they wouldn't hear me laughing! It was precious. Oh, the things our babies say to us.

So to all of you moms out there, just hang in there. Someday they grow up and say THANKS for all of the rules and the discipline. It's worth it!

"Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children. Now I have six children and no theories!" —John Wilmot

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Holy smokes, it's been a week since my last post, and it will be more than a week until my next, since Rich and I are leaving Friday for yet another trip across the lovely Nevada desert to see our girl Steph in Utah, and help get her moved into her new digs. Where does the time go? Work, work, work, and not very much play, although I do admit that I feel very blessed these days and life is really good.

Thought I'd share an OLD photo of my kid
dos, appropriate for the Halloween season. This was taken circa 1996 or 1997, the second or third year we were in our home. What cuties they were, am I right? David was going through a phase where he was ALWAYS shirtless! It was funny. Glad he's grown out of that habit... Yep, it was October (in California, but still it gets cool here!) Steph was in a turtleneck and David was in the all-together. What a pair they were. Oh how I loved them when they were small, but how I love them still, and maybe even more, now that they are so grown up. What a blessing it is to be a parent! Steph and David, I love you my sweets!

More in a couple of weeks. I love my family! Tempus fugit!

"Other things may change us, but we start and end with family." —Anthony Brandt

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The word is: HAPPY

Abraham Lincoln, a very wise man, one said, "People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. My sweetie, Rich Allred (who is one of the nicest people I know and I am so blessed to have married him), has often reminded me of this very same concept. We can choose to be happy, relaxed and pleasant if we want, or we can choose to be a mean bundle of grouchy nerves. The grouchy thing often comes naturally to me. I have to sometimes work on the nice & happy thing. I know it's better for me, and for the people around me, if I am nice, patient, and accommodating. I want to be this way all the time. I am working on it. It will add years to my life and remove wrinkles from my brow. It's a good thing!

Rich and I had a very pleasant and uplifting conversation with Steph on the phone last night. She's doing so well and is happy, which makes me so happy! I worry much less when my girl i
s contented. She has lots still to do, but she's on the path. And her "little" brother David is also doing well in school and elsewhere, and he's happy. He's trying hard to find a job, so far with little success (Great Harvest ended up being a no-go), but it will come with time, I know it. Life is just good! We are blessed!

So, for today's word I chose HAPPY. It's pretty easy sometimes to dwell on our problems. But it's oh-so-much better, physically and spiritually, to have a heart filled with gratitude & optimism, and to spread a little love and peace wherever you go.

"Be happy. It's one way of being wise." —Sidonie Gabrielle

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have; but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have." —Frederick Keonig

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Living in Thanksgiving

Ahhhh, Fall. I love the cooler weather! It is delightful. I love walking with my sweetie in the cool evenings, I love wearing sweaters and cuddly layers of clothing, and I love waking each morning to the crisp fresh way the air smells. It's simply a delightful time of year! Leaves are changing, pumpkins and large bags of candy are everywhere, and there is much talk of parties. And did I mention that I also love Fall because of Marching Band season? For those of you who don't yet love marching bands, check out a marching band competition at a high school near you this year. There is almost nothing better that the excitement, the precision, the pageantry, the colors, the music, and the amazing talent displayed at these shows. It also does much to restore one's faith in the coming generation. Those kids are sharp. It's awesome and I love it!

So, our Steph is safely settled in Utah. She'
s started her classes, and we found her a really cute house to live in. She'll have three room-mates and her own bedroom in a sweet little cottage. Things are working out! Steph is a little overwhelmed with the changes and the work of school, but she's doing great. I miss her but I am so proud of her! She's my girl.

I thought I'd share a Thanksgiving card today. This one uses my "Live in Thanksgiving Daily" stamp, along with the Hero Arts Friend Definition and Maple Leaf stamps. I used the super-fun technique of blending distress inks with Perfect-Pearl water to create the colorful and shimmery effect on the leaf. Let me know if you're not familiar with this method, and I can explain it in detail in a future post. The three distress inks I used are Vintage Photo, Peeled Paint (my favorite green!) and Spiced Marmalade. Papers and ribbon were from my stash.

So, do you love Thanksgiving and Fall as much as I do? I adore it, could you tell? It's exhilarating and it lightens my soul. Ahhhhhhh. Heavenly.

"Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolor, Summer an oil painting, and Autumn a mosaic of them all." —Stanley Horowitz

"Everyone should take time to sit and watch the leaves turn." —Elizabeth Lawrence