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 StampinTreasures.com 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