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