Friday, July 28, 2006

Doodle on!

My apologies to my regular readers...It has been too long since I checked in. I tried yesterday, but blogger was not responding properly.

I finished a circle jounal recently. It was a "brag book" and we supposed to brag about something we are good at other than scrapbooking. I chose math. Here's the journaling page I made:



This is a picture of all the math books we have in the house. I included this on the opposing page.


Now, the base of this circle journal is a "Fairies" book that the owner of the journal found in a sale bin. On each page is a fairy drawing with some text on the opposite page. Everyone has just been covering up the fairies. After I finished my pages, I looked at the next two fairies and decided they fit with my theme. One looked like a very scared Fairy. The next fairy looked breezy and confident. I decided to incorporate those fairies by saying that the scared fairy was how MOST people looked at Math. The second fairy was how I looked at Math.

Then I decided to doodle around the fairies.

Here's some close-ups of the work so far. I will doodle some more before I hand it in...but this gives you a good idea of the start.

So...I added that I am good at doodling. Maybe not great, but certainly good. And it's fun!

Be sure to doodle some today..and if you are at work, remember that it's cool to include those doodle scraps on your pages now. Take them home and put them on a "Book of Me" page! I know I will.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

More Schtuff

I went through all the nooks and crannies in my scrap room. I went through all my stamps. I found lots of schtuff (that stuff combined with...well..you know) to take to the garage sale in 2 weeks. Whew!

It is a relief to just have it out of my office, knowing that I am going to sell it. It's like a cancer was removed.

I also went through my patterned paper and found about 5 or 6 INCHES of it to go. And that was just the bins I have sorted by color. I still have some manufactures I have to purge. Like...I don't really need Karen Neuberger AND K&Co AND Liz King AND Anna Griffin paper. Like..lots of each. Like...it kind of looks all the same after you page through thousands of sheets of paper. And I don't need 2 packs of SEI sporty and 2 packs of SEI savory and...you get the hint.

I have rearranged some bins and drawers and gotten rid of some of the plastic storage in my office (one goal for cutting back).

I also went through albums and page protectors.

One thing left...the bins with the embellishments. Sorted by theme. An overflowing bin of "floral and garden" just isn't needed. I need to get all the stuff into the staging area...pricing is going to be fun! Leave me your suggestions on pricing. If it's new in the package, it's going to be 40% of retail or less. Patterned paper will be 10 cents (need that cents key again, drat!), 12 for a dollar. I'm going to surf eBay a bit to get some ideas on the Stamin'Up! stamps.

Two weeks to go! And in-between we have Swimming lesson, Vacation Bible school, ValleyFair, USA v. Japan men's volleyball, 2 doctor's appointments for Amelia. Afterwards it's the Scrapped! Premier and then hubby gone for a week.

Whew! Again. Maybe the start of school will slow things down a bit? NOT!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Back to School?

Target has school supplies out. We went ahead and bought supplies for the girls last night because I had a 10% off card. Plus picking out backpacks early is a good thing.

Here's the loot we ended up with...


Here's the groovy backpack Amelia picked out. She liked the single strap. I love the color.



And I especially like Margaret's backpack choice:
It has hair you can brush and comb (and of course it came with a brush. Yet another "My Little Pony" grooming utensil. We have 25 of these, at least!)

This "My Little Pony" backpack will be going to school on the back of a Kindergartener. My Kindergartener. My baby. She is so excited and so ready. I am too. Mostly. Some tears will be shed, no doubt. But that is many weeks away.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program. Summer. Ahhhhh.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I Miss Strawberries

I recently read a book and have had training on "Crucial Conversations". This has been very eye opening to me, as it spells out a method to "talk to anyone about anything". And in a good way.

Anyway, I get a weekly newsletter from them. This was the story in this week's newsletter. It is kind of long, but it really touched me. I wanted to share it with my readers. (All 3 or 4 of you!). Enjoy!



I Miss Strawberries, by Kerry Patterson (Co-Author of Crucial Conversations)

I miss strawberries. Despite the fact that my acquaintance with them started quite by accident, I still miss them. Here’s how it all started. One day when my best friend Bobby Kaiser and I were playing in the woods behind my house, we stumbled onto a small patch of wild strawberries. They didn’t appear all that promising. We had already gobbled down huckleberries and salmon berries and blackberries that day and figured that this modest offering wouldn’t amount to much. We were wrong. The berries were sweet and firm and juicy and delicious beyond description. As we gorged ourselves on the meat of this wild wonder, all other berries hung their heads in shame.

Change in direction, but not topic—Last night I tuned into a TV “make over” program quite by mistake. I thought it was the show where they bawl like babies while making over a deserving family’s home—all the while pitching a full line of Sears appliances. Instead, they made over a human being—a woman to be more precise. I tuned into the part of the program where the plastic surgeon bragged about the results. As he eagerly promoted his work, the show cut to “before” pictures—one of a fairly normal looking woman. The surgeon chided her for having had the nerve to have looked so plain. Then he bragged about the miraculous transformation he and a team of health-care professionals, trainers, silicone experts, and cosmetologists had performed. Apparently they held the belief that looking like Barbie should be the goal of all caring people. They couldn’t have been more pleased with their creation.

The woman they had transformed was an elementary school teacher. When they showed the obligatory segment where her students saw “the new her” for the first time, I was surprised by their reaction. I figured the kids would be startled and maybe even miss their old teacher just a little, but they liked the new one. One small boy said she was “hot.” The word made me flinch. Indoctrinated by dozens of Madison Avenue messages a day, the kids had already learned that only certain faces and bodies were beautiful—and their teacher now had the right ones. How lovely.

I thought my first-grade teacher was beautiful as well. I can remember the day I was most struck by her beauty. Tammy Ray Black had just completed an assignment for the very first time. She was the kid nobody liked. Learning came hard to her and, as is often the case with children who struggle, she was constantly misbehaving and whining and causing her classmates grief. Finishing anything was a breakthrough for her and our teacher, Miss McDonald, didn’t miss this chance to reward her efforts
At first I couldn’t believe that Miss McDonald was praising Tammy Ray for something as common as completing a coloring assignment. And then I got it. She was trying to help my classmate, a child who sorely needed help. It was a lovely thing to do. At that moment I thought that Miss McDonald was as beautiful a person I had ever seen. Curiously enough, she didn’t look a bit like Barbie. Of course, Barbie hadn’t been invented yet, so how was I to know what was beautiful and what wasn’t?

Back to the wild strawberries—“So you liked the strawberries,” my grandfather remarked as I told him about the ones we had eaten. “They aren’t just tasty,” he went on to explain, they’re also honest.” I didn’t catch his drift, so he quickly clarified his point. “You see, most fruits and berries employ trickery. They hide their seeds. You bite into a luscious cherry and learn that it has a rock-hard pit inside. Peaches are genuine liars—certain varieties possess a pit that is almost impossible to remove. And avocadoes, well you’ve seen them. They’re the biggest liars of all. The strawberry, in contrast, wears its seeds on the outside. I like that. It’s straight-forward and honest.

As the make-over show continued its love affair with plastic, it finally broke for a series of commercials. The first one proclaimed that love is a beautiful thing and if you really love someone you’ll buy her a large, glittery and expensive diamond. Truth be known, if you don’t go into debt up to your eyebrows purchasing a diamond, how could you ever profess your love? Okay, the ad didn’t actually say this last part, but it was clearly implied.

Tiring of the TV ads I thumbed through a weekly news magazine where I learned that the only way to really get to know somebody is by the watch they wear. The writers of this particular promotional piece made this unabashed claim in a glossy, full-page spread. It seemed so sincere. Ah yes, it was all becoming clear to me. Expensive watches and diamonds are the true measure of deep feelings and lasting character. How could I have been so blind?

Leap to a still different time and place—The summer before I started junior high school, I entered the workforce for the first time. Each morning I would wait on the corner just north of my home where a berry bus would pick me up at seven a.m. sharp. It would then haul me and my twelve-year-old buddies into the country where we picked—you guessed it—strawberries. The honest fruit.

As it turns out, strawberries are also the user-unfriendly fruit. They offer no relief from the blazing sun as they lay low to the dirt, demanding that you either stoop or crawl if you want to harvest them. Now, these commercial strawberries weren’t anything like the wild ones Bobby and I had discovered. They had been transformed through the miracle of horticulture into larger and prettier berries. But at a cost. One bite and I learned that they weren’t nearly as sweet or flavorful as their wild ancestors. But that was okay with me because I was getting paid by the flat—twelve full boxes earned fifty cents. Bigger berries filled the boxes faster.

“Just look at her!” the plastic surgeon exclaimed as the make-over program continued. Everyone appeared so happy. Her family and friends cheered. Her team of experts cheered. They had completely eradicated the plain person and replaced her with a genuine beauty—a firmer and “rounder-in-the-right-places” beauty. Behold Barbie. The crowd roared. I doubt that when DNA was first discovered the celebration was as boisterous and heart-felt as this one.

Back to the farm—In my fifth summer of picking strawberries I was selected along with two other kids to harvest a new, experimental field. The small patch sported the latest variety of strawberry. The new breed was huge and deep red and beautiful. Horticulture experts had outdone themselves. And here was the really good news. Because they were so large, I could fill a box in half the time.

For a dream-like two hours in 1962 I filled each flat in fifteen minutes, not the half hour the other smaller berries took. I loved those new berries. Of course, as I bit into one I discovered the rest of the story. It was neither firm nor juicy. It was pithy. And not only wasn’t it sweet, it was actually bitter. Worst of all, gone was the taste of strawberry. Imagine that—a strawberry that didn’t taste like a strawberry. Of course, those berries that I picked that summer day over forty years ago are the same huge, deep red, tasteless berries you can buy at the grocery store today.

Putting it all together—It’s the beginning of a new year and if you’re like many of us, you’ve vowed to exercise more. I know I have. So far I’m doing pretty well. But let me be clear about one thing. I’m exercising and, yes, trying to lose weight, for my health. I want more energy. I don’t want to drop dead from a heart attack. With me, thinning down is not so much a looks thing as a health thing. That’s because I pretty much like who I am and I’m glad that my wife and children seem perfectly satisfied as well. Like a strawberry, I mostly wear my seeds on the outside. I know I look like a cross between Tom Cruise and Danny DeVito—only without the Tom Cruise part. And you know what? I don’t give a hoot.

I don’t believe it when ads and TV programs tell me I need to transform myself into someone else’s view of how I need to appear. I never want my wife or children to feel that they too are somehow unfinished until someone makes them over into the word’s view of the perfect prototype. I love them just the way they are. I love them for who they are. And like the wild strawberry, I love them for what’s inside. I know this sounds corny. It is corny. I don’t care. Maybe I’m not thinking clearly because, when I look out the window of my office and see big-lipped, silicon enhanced, be-diamonded, sculpted, and curiously look-alike “beauties” jog by, I have an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. I miss strawberries.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Safe Landing

The space shuttle Discovery landed safely this morning. I saw some of the post landing coverage, but missed seeing the actual landing.

Watching the coverage brought back memories. From my freshman year in college. When the FIRST space shuttle Columbia landed. Anyway, my professor cancelled class so we could all watch it. I went to Georgia Tech...a lot of Georgia Tech alums were involved in the design, launch and yes, even the piloting of that shuttle. John Young, who landed that baby, was a Georgia Tech graduate. The school was tense and proud. I watched on the TV in the dorm. A girls dorm. Can you imagine 20 young ladies...geeks one and all...watching tensely as the shuttle appears on the cameras. And the all out cheers when the landing was successful. It was a cool moment and one I will remember always.

It was quite the paradigm shift to those of us who rememberd the moon launches. One of my earliest memories ever was sitting in my dad's lap, late at night, watchin Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. Anyone else remember the re-enactments with models on sticks? I remember wanting to go to sleep...and my father saying...stay up! You'll be glad you did. I am glad I did. I suspect I dozed off and he woke me up when the moment was about to occur. "That's one small step for man. static..pause...static.. One giant leap for mankind." What an awesome quote. I guess he had plenty of time to think it up...lots of down time during the flight to the moon.

But to see the reusable craft land like and airplane. That was soooo cool. Engineers were cool again. Maybe never again, but for that moment in the dorm we were darn proud to be engineer hopefuls!

Hence the flashback today.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I scraplift Kelli Crowe...

Here's the original


Here's my scraplift
My picture is perhaps a bit too "loud" for the paper, but I like the way it turned out.


Here's another page I made last night from the July Jenni Bowlin kit.
Kinda' fun. The hand on the top picture is pointing to our cabin. Hence, U R Here. I should have maybe separated the U and the R a bit, but I like the page the way it is. (And I got to use some new QuicKutz I hand't used yet)

That thumb has gotta' go!

My baby has a little problem with her thumb. It seems to be attached to her mouth. It happens more when she is tired, but sometimes it just seems to be there for no apparent reason. She will lose teeth in about a year and a half (if she follows her sister's trend) so we have a little time to help her kick this habit.


And man, has it been HOT!!!. Here's two of my favorite pool photos from Thursday.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Scrapping Idea...Round Robin....

Would any of my scrapping friends out there like to try an experiment?

I want to do a round robin sort of scrap club.

Here's what would happen. You would start by creating a sketch based on a favorite layout (your own or one from a book) out to the next person on the list. That person would make a page inspired by the sketch. That person would send the page to the next person. Who would then make a sketch from that page (without seeing the original sketch). They would send it along to a person who would then create a page from the new sketch (without seeing the page it was made from).

At the end, you would keep the pages and sketches made from the original page you sent out.

To work I think we would need at least 5 people, more like 7 or 8 would be best. Any takers?

That's what I'm thinking. I had a good productive work morning, I am going to poke around on some blogs and websites and then back to work.


Also for my scrapping friends...Kelli Crowe is the guest artist for Jenni Bowlin's kit. Here the link to her layouts (Click on "monthly inspiration" and then "guest gallery"). Here's my fav. I love the parts of circles put together and overlapped to make a bigger circle around the photo. Add the round journaling and, well, I'll have to lift this one...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

These boots were made for walkin'

Here's Amelia with her new fashion boots. She wanted these SOOOO badly. She looks awesome in them, eh?

Idea books

So, to review and address one portion of my addiction and collection at a time, I start with idea books. This was an easy area to clean up, as I don't think my collection is overly large.

My most used book? Faye Morrow Bell's. Her style really speaks to me. I also really like Ali's first book, and Cathy Z's first book. I haven't bought Cathy's second. I have both of Rebecca Sower's books and really enjoy them. Her first was the first idea book I bought, I believe.

The best all around books. The "Designing with" series. I own "Designing with...paper, stamps, photos, words, and fabric". These book are so well done and overall the best books.

I also am keeping a few other novelties; The simple scrapbooks book on color, the Making Memories books "Beyond Metal, Beyond Attachments, Ribbonrie, and Paper Cachet". I'll also keep the Donna Downey books. Jenni Bowlin's idea book for Lil' Davis and the 7Gypsies Paris book are also keepers. (I still love the shabby chic /collage /junked up look, even though it is out of style right now) Two chatterbox books. The KI Memories idea book.

Going in the Garage sale? Lisa Berenson's book (1st one), all the Pine Cone Press book club books (except the Heritage one), and three doubles I had...(Only one was a major oops. The other two..one I bought at a garage sale for $3, and the other I won at a crop). And some other bad ones just not worth mentioning. Also, all the creative memories idea sheets in the binder.

On the fence? The Making Memories books on Dye, Fabric, and Paint. A three part series in a box. They are nice, but I don't use. And the SEI idea books. These aren't great, but I have lots of SEI paper, and these may be useful in my need to use the up (Or I could sell the idea books AND the paper. hmmmm.)


One oddity in my series? No Becky Higgin's sketches. I already got rid of these. I just don't do sketches, for some reason. I am inspired by more than the placement of pictures on idea books. Sometimes it's the paper used, sometimes it's a title or embellishment. Looking at sketches is not the kind of inspiration that does it for me. I may be unusual in this respect. Not sure.


So...what area of the collection to tackle for the garage sale after idea books?

I'll leave you with this picture...
My latest idea book purchase. I really like Ali's work and her attitude. Plus I certainly have enough patterned paper around that more ideas and hints about how to use it could never hurt!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Too much stuff!

Two events coalesce to get me to do something about my having too much scrapbooking stuff.

One is the fact that I signed up for the garage sale at Scrapbooks Too to be held August 5th or 6th (whatever that Saturday is).

The other is the fact that FIVE boxes of scrapbooking/stamping stuff arrived today or will arrive very soon. I have never had an issue with on-line ordering, and then a few months ago for some reason I signed up for TWO scrapbook clubs. And then I bought the Zoe QuicKutz on line. And then ordered some retiring stamps from Stampin up! And placed a Close to My Heart stamp order. They are all arriving together. Kind of made me sick to my stomach seeing those three boxes piled up today (and the new Ali Edwards book in my purse that I had purchased on the way home from work).


I have talked and talked about cutting back on spending. Now it's time to really do something about it.

I thought about giving myself a budget. $5 a week? $10 a week? Even $20 a week would be down from my recent spending pattern.

Then a more appropriate plan hit my mind. Dollars for pages!

You see, my disgust at myself is less about the dollars I spend, and more about the fact that all the product I buy is sitting on shelves. And I organize it, and fondle it and admire it, but I don't make as many pages as my spending might indicate.

So...I need to come up with a spending schedule. First I will decorate a tin. Or cigar box. Or some other cool, cute box I have saved or purchased "cause it would make a cute project". Then I get to start putting in the coins and dollars. And I can only spend out of the money box. Cash. No more online (except one of the clubs I joined that has two months left...the other is done with).

I need your thoughts on my "fee schedule".

I was thinking a flat $1 per page, but I'm thinking about adding on 50 cents (hey, where did that cents key go on the keyboard?) if I use a QuicKutz or non-Foam Stamp Set on the page. And 25 cents for each card I make using non-foam stamps. This would cover my major spending addictions. I could also add 5 cents for other embellishments (i.e. ribbon...I have tons of that, chipboard, metal, buttons and plastic). Stickers wouldn't count. Maybe another quarter if I use an idea book (luckily not a huge addiction of mine, but I do have a nice pile of these). If I were to consistantly get $10 per week on this fee schedule, that would mean I was cranking out stuff at a new high level for me! (If I went more than 4-5 weeks at that clip)

The money I make at the garage sale is going straight to the on-line out of control purchases this month. Should be more, and I'll just put it straight to the house budget, NOT into my tin can. Well...maybe I will allow myself one restock of adhesives with the garage sale money.

I need to "count the cost" on this one before a final commit. Could I really do it? And does the fact that I doubt I could do this mean I need to do it even more?

I'll leave you with a shot of my idea book pile. Ali's new book is not in the pile. Also not pictured are my collection of Creating Keepsakes and Simple Scrapbooks magazines (I have every issue of Simple Scrapbooks!)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Another week of vacation!

Our odyssey over the past five days was about two things. Going to Beloit to help my mom move. Going to the family reunion (aka Weberfest).

First to Beloit. Here are the former denizens of the house on Nakoma Court. Sans my brother from Maine, Steve. Also missing...my father and step-brother, Jon, both deceased. We had to help my step-mom go through a few last items and get them to her new house in Milton. We had to take a photo in front of the for sale sign...just in case we don't all get there again.
Here's a shot that adds in the spouses and grandkids.



After two days in Beloit, we went up north of Wausau, Wisconsin, for Weberfest. The family that is re-unioning is the Weber family. One year we had a German theme and called it Weberfest. The name just stuck, and now the Weber family reunion is called this every year. A full day of boating and other northern Wisconsin lake activity was in order. Food. Fireworks. Photos. Campfire. More food.
Amelia in the motorboat.
Margaret in the motorboat.

This photo pretty much sums up the day on Saturday. Lots of water fun.


Here's the family (minus me!) in front of a goofy concrete beast that is part of a small Wisconsin town's folklore. This is the town where we spent the night on Saturday. Anyone know where it is?


All-in-all we had four nights in three different hotels, about 11 hours in the car, and ~ 250 pictures taken. (I let the kids take pictures at a few places. Always fun to see what they come up with!)

Just like last vacation, I missed my blog and would have had plenty to write each night. Now I'm just tired and dried out (being by the lake always does that to me) and the stories and deep thoughts I was thinking just aren't there.

We just reviewed our calendar for the week and it is empty except for standing items: house group on Wednesday night, golf and volleyball on Tuesday. And no plans for the coming weekend. It will be time to find that mole/vole that came to see me in the Bathroom upon our arrival home. I sure screeched at that. And my hubby knew the screech. It was my mouse screech. (We have had them in the house before). After descibing this mouse, however, we determined it was not a mouse. It was much too large and it was brown. I saw a vole/mole thing in the window well in my scraproom last week. I figured I didn't need to worry 'cause he was just outside. Oh well, now I do have to worry. Yuk. I didn't think I should have to worry about this in the big city. Now, if we had just built our house in a cornfield I would expect it.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Just another picture of my girls

Nothing exciting today. Paid bills, sorted some pictures, watered the lawn, took picture of the girls.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday

The day started like most Saturdays...with pancakes.

After that we played some Phase 10 (a card game) and played Junior Scrabble with Amelia. We have owned it for some time, and have played around with it, but this was our first time playing it by the "rules" and it was quite enjoyable. I had to make a few substitute tiles (thank goodness for chipboard and scanners...I made them to match the others!) Amelia won. I think it the first time she has sat down and played a game with us. All other games had numbers. This one is just letters. Maybe that was the trick?

This afternoon we went to the beach with friends. The girls hadn't wanted to go. I dare say they enjoyed it after all! Margaret got very brave jupming off the little docks they have in the water, and not freaking out when her face went under once!

Then we played some card games. Here's Margaret with one card left, ready to win at Crazy Eights. (The card in her hand is an Eight, and she played it with great relish and arms flung up in victory at her next turn. In this picture she knows she is going to win on her next turn. See the look on her face?)

Then, this evening I went for a walk. Here's my count on various object I saw during my jaunt:

20 sprinklers. 12 of them actively working.
8 dogs.
1 cat.
3 Kiddie Pools.
7 different colors of lillies. (My favorite? This yellow one)

1 tire swing in a big cottonwood tree.

13 houses with "For Sale" signs.
3 of those with "sold" signs.