Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's a Cub Scout Christmas!

     Wesley became a Cub Scout this year, which meant weekly meetings 3 times per month, including a 'pack' meeting. 

      During the 'Pack' meeting in December, not only did Wesley receive FOUR, yes four, badges but we also took part in several Christmas oriented projects.  They made their own bird feeders, but they also made two ornaments as well as decorated sugar cookies!

     When I had to stop sneaking around with my camera in order to help scouts complete the ornament project I brought, Michael was able to get some great action shots that I would have otherwise missed.
     I can't believe that most of them managed to complete all their projects in the time left following the badge ceremony.
     Using my Cricut and (Christmas) Noel cartridge, I was able to cut out the layers necessary for them to make their own Santa Claus, and I brought pipe cleaners for them to use as hangers.  I also suggested that if they wanted, they could use fishing line as hangers when they got home.  I LOVE using fishing line to hang our snowflakes, angels, etc. from our ceiling as part of our Christmas decorating at home.
     Guess who seems to be in a goofy-face response mode this year???  Unfortunately, he also did this several times on Christmas day.  Oh well, I think they all had fun and I heard the cookies were good too!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Some of my favorite photos from this year's Christmas at home...

My Red & Silver tree... I can't believe I only used 2 colors this year!

May the smiles begin... hopefully!

Wesley has been asking for a double ended light saber for several months and apparently Santa was paying attention.  Santa also knew of his increased obsession with drawing this past year, frequently done in the evening in his lofted bed, so he brought him 2 sketch tablets, along with nice pencils and artist's erasers.

Squirrel has been sitting on top of this Cub Scout popcorn box whenever it was out in the open...she found it AGAIN.  She wouldn't get down off the top, even while Michael & Wesley were unwrapping it.

What did that large box contain?  Snowshoes for Michael and Wesley.  Running out of money, my guys' gifts came first.  I will have to go to Dunham's and find some for myself.

Wesley's first girly-poster lol, a Star Wars calendar that I suggested he use as posters in his Star Wars themed room.
My guys gave me jewelry.  An amethyst bracelet from Michael and "MOM" necklace with coordinated earrings from Wesley.  MCC moms set up a shopping day for the kids in the Upper Elementary again this year.

OK... I think he likes it!  He's been asking for a Surface Pro 3 each time the commercial came on.  I found an RCA version that we could afford.  Ever increasing school projects no longer need to be done utilizing my laptop or the slow family pc for some of the work.  Now he can also play another version of Minecraft on it rather than on my laptop.

Wesley's tablet was in a red glittered box, so guess what was in Michael's silver glitter box....

Knowing my obsession with decorating for Christmas, Wesley gave me this gorgeous 3D silver and gemmed snowflake.
Bacon flavored treat, Denta bone, and rawhide bone... Dakota is a happy girl!  My what big feet you have!

Some of the aftermath.  Apparently they're both happy with them because whenever I walked into the living room over the next few days, they were looking down into their tablets.  Dakota is resting after snacking on a bacon treat, dental treat and chewing on her rawhide bone that she received from Annie, canine companion of niece Kendra.

Another ugly shirt from Michael's stocking.... we let him open the first one last night, hence the horrid combination of clothing today lol.

The two big items on my wishlist were a treadmill (because Dakota and I missed a lot of walking the past 2 winters due to thick layers of snow with multiple layers of ice between them.) & railings for my studio stairwell.  I recieved ONE piece of my rails today lol.  Now I'll soon be able to have my SCRAPPY girl friends over for crafting days. I haven't had any of my local crafting friends over because of fear of them falling off the stairs.  We carry BIG bags of crafting supplies!

I scored!  I also received a treadmill!  Now Squirrel is 'supervising' its construction.

Really, mom????  Some assembly required.  TWO people at times lol  Have you noticed the HUGE TV hanging on our wall with all the wires dangling beneath it?  Wesley & I found this 'special purchase' at Wal-Mart on the evening of Black Friday.  We've been watching HD movies every since.  AVATAR is even MORE amazing on a true HD tv!

Supervising again.... if there is ANYTHING sitting on top of a countertop, the island, the furniture, or the floor, she finds it and decides she needs to sit there.  Of course, they always think we need their help with projects as well.

I finally get to try it out myself... ok, how do you start this thing? Get out the instructions!

I can't believe that we sent Wesley to bed last night without our traditional egg nog toast on Christmas Eve.  We'll make up for it now, ugly shirt and all.

My Christmas table. Dinner consisted of Lobster tails & shrimp for Wesley & I, and rather than a steak as I suggested for Michael, he made himself Lasagna! Do you think he made enough???  Completed with our traditional drinks of egg nog and alcohol-free St. Julian's wine.

MERRY CHRISTMAS... everyone!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Six Christmas celebrations and counting.

     Yesterday's Christmas celebration with my side of the family means that I have formally celebrated Christmas SIX, yes 6, times so far this month!  Nothing measures up to our quiet but not always calm celebration with our immediate family, but they were all fun in their own ways.
     My niece hosted this year's Gleason Christmas, far out 'into the sticks' as many would say, with 16 of us non-fur-family members in her home.  Good food was only the beginning of the festivities, as she had chosen our white-elephant gift exchange to be of 'resale' items, ie items we found at Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Pawn Shops, yard sales, etc.
     She and I immediately thought this would make our shopping SO EASY this year, but in fact, it made it surprisingly difficult.
     When I asked her for gift suggestions for the gift exchange between our sons (independent of the adult white elephant gifts), she remembered that her son needs black ties for his band concerts now.  So of course, I could not find a solid black tie to save my life, even without following the resale purchase rules.  I guess I waited too long and didn't think of going up town to a typical men's clothing store.  Our local Meijer no longer even sells them (yes, I asked an employee and she said they do not stock them anymore!) and Wal-Mart had none to be found.  Therefore, he received several ties, many of which were quite colorful and tacky, but no solid black ones, along with "New Tree" scented potpourri hangers for his first vehicle.
     I was immediately in tears when I realized that the hatchet that our son received was originally MY FATHER'S (who passed away just 10 months after walking me down the aisle)!  Wesley had put a hatchet on his Christmas wish list, after reading a book named "Hatchet" in class, a story about a young boy who gets lost and the only item he has with him that can help him survive is his trusty hatchet.
     I have SO many wonderful memories to document here, with so many wonderful photos, that I will be sharing them in several posts this week, while preparing to host my sister-in-law and niece for a day of scrapbooking on Friday.
     I hope you all have had a VERY MERRY & SAFE Christmas, with so many precious memories to document in your scrapbooks, altered projects, home decor, etc. and that crafting projects based upon your winter experiences keeps your HEART WARM & MEMORIES SAFELY DOCUMENTED. 
     Gentle Christmas hugs (as well as those for Hannukah, Kwanza and whatever celebrations you may share with your family and friends) and to all warm winter wishes.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Oh, Christmas Tree" mini album displays both physical and intellectual growth...

I was quite pregnant over Christmas 2003, as Wesley was due in the middle of January.
Wesley's milestones were linked to holidays!  He rolled over on Mother's Day, walking on his own CHRISTMAS EVE! Christmas 2005 was extra special, since it was our first Christmas in our new home & with a HUGE tree.

I began rotating what colors &/or themes I decorated in each year, while Thomas the Train was Wesley's obsession from the ages of 3 to 9 years old.

He is no longer looking like a little boy.... and he is also helping more each year.

Look how tall he is now!  His facial expressions are also evolving.

I cannot believe how tall he is getting.  Facial expressions as well as total body language have continued to grow into those of an adolescent, quickly approaching the 'tween' age years.  Uh-oh.  New attitudes are also appearing.  He finally departed years of Thomas, now infatuated with Star Wars series, both old and new.
  I cannot wait to take the annual photos in front of our tree this Christmas, with decorations of red and silver.  I already have several scrapbook supplies chosen for this year's pages.

Friday, August 29, 2014

NEW PRODUCTS from 3 Birds Design!

     Two new products are available at HSN.COM and will be on air on Tuesday, September 2nd (just 4 days away)!
     Perfect for traditional or POCKET scrapbooking, the Seasons Themed Card Kit

     Perfect for year-round scrapbooking and paper crafting, another GOODIE BOX YEY!!!
     As many of you already know, the color ways of all 3 Birds products coordinate back to their awesome kits, so get out your stash and create something new, and PROGRAM YOUR VCR/DVR for 10 am and 4 pm on Tuesday!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Following a sketch, learning Lightroom 5, and more...

     Recently, 3 Birds Design posted an August sketch and asked for their followers to post their 'takes' on it.  My first project that I had in mind did not work well with the diagonal portions of their sketch, but two of the following 4 pages that I created (each a part of a 2 page spread), worked rather well.

     Love...through the lens.  I often take photos of Dakota interacting with the plants, floral arrangements, bugs, and critters that we see during our walks.  I love to make pages using black and white to highlight her gorgeous, fluffy coat.  Since this layout didn't work as well with the sketch as I had hoped, I tried again.

     Reach for the sky....Up, up & away.  The first page above works fairly well with the sketch, but since I had other shots that I knew I wanted to use, I turned this into a two page spread.  I worked in some older 3 Birds products, specifically the chipboard "Up, up & away" and hot air balloon, from an older Sticky Sparkly kit or two.  I have been 'collecting' 3 Birds scrapbooking and paper crafting products for at least 5 years.
     Just saying hello...  These next pages are reflections of our experiences during the local fair this year.  We all enjoy the 4H animals as well as any time that a wildlife/petting zoo exhibit attends.

       I used the diagonal item in the beginning of the first page, but that's the only aspect I really used here.  I felt the urge to distress the matting below the 2nd photo, and raise it slightly, along with several other items throughout the two pages.  I knew I could use parts of the Farmhouse Collection for these interaction photos.  You can't go wrong with photos of kids and/or animals!
    On another topic, I've been learning Lightroom, specifically Lightroom 5, after learning that we can RENT Photoshop & Lightroom TOGETHER for only $9.99 per month.  That means that I can be using the latest version with all current upgrades of both programs for about HALF the cost of buying it.  The cost of purchasing Photoshop is why I have only upgraded every few years in the past.  Lightroom is SO much faster than Photoshop and allows us to BATCH PROCESS several photos at the same time!  What a time saver for me.

     The other day I told my husband that I can't believe that our son will be back in school in less than two weeks.  His response was 'the summer that never happened'... very appropriate.  School ran an extra 10 days into summer this year because we had 13 snow days this past winter.  Add to that the fact that our summer has been much colder than normal, approximately 10 degrees colder in fact. PLUS because of Labor Day falling on a Monday, Wesley goes back to school on Tuesday, September 2nd this year... wow!
        I am hopeful that I can manage to continue blogging here, once again working out the kinks of our computers' versions of Windows and Java, and working with Blogger.  Keep your fingers crossed for me. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

More studio progress.... Documenting it with 3 Birds Graceful Seasons collection, &....I have HEAT!!!

     Wesley helped Michael install the venting for my stove recently.  Michael and Wesley built the stove pedestal frame, Michael and I tiled it, then we were finally able to place the stove on the pedestal (photo 1). Wesley always enjoys some good bubble wrap, and after adding the doors and lid to the stove, I knew he'd want to play with it, but I didn't expect him to WEAR it like a cape or robe! LOL. 
    The 2nd photo is of Wesley and Dakota's 1st cuddling opportunity in front of the stove after Michael and Wesley installed the venting and I was able to FIRE IT UP WOO HOO!
    Now I am able to walk down to my studio, turn the stove on, and within a few minutes the room is warming up, with myself enjoying the cozy warmth of wood heat in the upper 70s within an hour!  I could heat it more quickly, but we are still burning off the new paint and ceramic log smell, which increases greatly when it's run at the higher heat outputs, so I run it on the lower 2 settings most of the time, otherwise the odor gives me a headache and makes me nautious.  I just turn on the furnace fan or open my door and the odor dissipates quickly.
  AHHH warmth!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Christmas 2013... documentation in progress.

    Normally I created a LOT of 12x12 layouts for Christmas, but this year I was inspired by some online videos involving Christmas mini albums, aka minis.
     I've been making minis for several years, but never one for Christmas.  All my Christmas pages have been going into a 12x12 leather album by CTMH.  That has been overflowing for some time, and with this new inspiration, I decided to start a mini.
  I did create a 12x12 layout before starting the mini, and although the two pages are created as one layout, and utilize the colors from our decorating scheme this year, the fact that the teal page on our left is more of a pastel version, and perhaps because I didn't create the entire layout as one unit, it does not feel cohesive to me.  I MUCH prefer the pages viewed separately.

I started with a 4x6 photo album.... it was already purple, one of my Christmas decor colors this year.  Each page has a photo window, therefore providing a built-in pocket for journaling and any other items I want to include.

     Oreo, our tuxedo kitty, and also our newest addition to our family, is TOTALLY living up to the typical get-into-mischief and crawl into every box or container feline personality traits.

This is actually the first inside page I created.... an early memorial tribute to our beloved Smoke, aka Smoky Kitty.  Just 2 days before Christmas, Wesley and I took her in for her thyroid blood work, and 2 hours later, came home in tears, after being told that she may only live for a few hours, or days.  She passed away on January 19th, the day after Wesley's 10th birthday, and the day before my 50th.......  She will NOT be forgotten!

Now for some of the humorous portions of this Christmas's memories........ Wesley dressed Dakota in his husky hat when he and dad went out to blow snow ROFL (Rolling On the Floor Laughing)!  Also, when Wesley opened the package containing his dirt bike's new batteries, he yelled "I got BUBBLEWRAP!"  Even though the photo is blurry, it's priceless!

Wesley's interests changed greatly in the past year.  He literally put aside Thomas the train, packing up all of his trains, stations and specialty pieces and putting them in the guest room as possible yard sale items.  This was greatly influenced by the fact that Star Wars was playing this summer, and we thought he might be interested in the movie series.  That was the beginning of a new obsession!

Quality time was spent with dad, learning how to assemble his first Star Wars models.

     Video games have also been a big interest of Wesley's, to a fault.... as with many kids,  we have to limit the amount of time he spends playing them.

Wesley has also gotten really busy making things via Origami, going through a LOT of the tape in my studio as well as the household supply.  Michael suggested buying him a huge roll of tape for Christmas.  Instead of one huge roll, I found a multi-pack.  The right hand box contains his dirt bike batteries and the infamous bubble wrap.

Wesley made me a tea light at school, as well as purchasing me a beautiful ornament and liquid potpourri diffuser, both in our Christmas colors.  Michael gave me 2 wolf-image sun catchers from a local shop. 

Need I say more?????

Wesley bought Michael a specialty screwdriver set from the school's Christmas shop.  Some of the moms purchased items locally and set up a store for the students to shop from.  GREAT idea!  Wesley also bought both Grandmas a gift there.

Wesley and I picked out a new surround sound system, which Michael had actually asked for this year (the volume knob on the other one has been warn out for over a year and is very touchy.  Michael is going to use the old one in his shop).  Wesley managed to strong-arm it in from the kitchen, and I set it up while Michael slept (he didn't feel good Christmas day).

On Christmas Eve, after Wesley had placed his note to Santa under the tree, Oreo curled up next to it!!!  Rusty and Squirrel wouldn't say so, but he looked like a sweet little gift under the tree..... After all the gifts had been open, I noticed these two lounging next to each other, with Wesley's Star Wars wall quotations nearby.  I couldn't help taking advantage of the situation!

         This is not quite the entire album, but I will post the final pages soon.  Scrap on!