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Friday, January 30, 2015

My first shabby chic mirror....

     Over the years my design preferences have evolved into something rather eclectic: from rustic to shabby chic/victorian.
     After seeing some beautiful altered mirrors online, I was inspired to scour my little town for something to work on.  I found the mirror at Wal-Mart, and also bought some more lace, flowers, & other goodies in shades of white and cream to add to my stash of products I already planned to use.
     This is my first attempt at using a fair amount of Mod Podge on a project.  Several layers of white/cream paints, ribbons, straight pins with beads added, a Prima flourish, flowers and lace, and this is what I created.

     Several of the flowers are made from paper, either from my 3 Birds kits, or on my own after practicing with the 3 Birds flower kits.
      It hangs in my scrap 'studio', on an unfinished wall, but wow, does it look nice.  Thanks for reading!

Blast from the past: projects utilizing kits from 3 Birds

Utilizing kits by 3 Birds makes my project designing quick & easy......

    NOTE:  This is post from last year which never posted.
     I was able to complete a TON of projects recently thanks to the fact that 3 Birds kits are color & theme coordinated for me.  From Wesley's 9th birthday, to our Christmas celebrations at home & school, I had everything I needed here at home and didn't need to run out to the local craft store, Wal-Mart, Meijer or our lss in the wee hours of the morning.

   It has been a YEAR since I started this post.... now I revisit my drafts from over the past year, which I was unable to complete due to a posting problem, until using Mozilla today.  Let's start again.

      Dakota and I celebrated my birthday without the planned company of Sarah and Deb.  Sarah's classes and other obligations caused us to not celebrate until March.  Again this year, due to winter storms, I spent my birthday crop weekend without them, planning to celebrate later.  The layouts above were completed easily by using a duplicate set of the winter page kit
      Our Christmas Eve traditions include eggnog, a note to Santa, and again this year, the reading of " 'Twas the night before Christmas..."    Note: nearly all of these papers and embellishments are made by 3 Birds.

      Christmas morning joy was evident as Wesley discovered a lot of gifts beneath the tree, particularly those which were Thomas oriented!

       The Foil Paperie kit enabled me to complete all of the above Christmas pages so easily and beautifully.

Completing lots of layouts by utilizing Inspired Inc Top Page Layout Kits: Part 1

     It will take several postings in order for me to catch up on posting my many projects which I have attempted to post since last year's struggles with my blog, but please be patient with me.
     One of the topics that I have been trying to cover were the MANY pages that I was able to complete by utilizing the TOP PAGE LAYOUT kits, presented on HSN by Lisa Bearnson, who has created this line by working with several different product companies/manufacturers, and offering them under the name of Inspired Inc.
     I have been using kits for YEARS, especially after discovering 3 Birds on HSN.  They are one of the many companies that Lisa Bearnson (cofounder of Creating Keepsakes Magazine) has partnered with in order to create and offer some great products for us.
     Wesley's 10th birthday party last winter was one of the events/topics that I was able to document utilizing the many kits available through Inspired Inc., either through single shipments or autoship.  I opted for the Autoship program, thus I received 3 more deliveries of 10-12 two-page layout kits every few months.  The original kit was offered in the spring/summer of 2014, with the other shipments coming in June or July, September and November.
     Each follow up shipment was organized by a theme, such as Holiday Happenings which was shipped out in November.
     Some or all of these images may have appeared in earlier postings (actually begun months ago but unable to post them until later dates due to blog problems), but I want to cover the fact that I was able to complete so many projects by taking advantage of these kits    
     I don't usually go sledding with the guys, but not only did Dakota get to go (meaning additional opportunities to document her joy in participating in a snowy play date), but it was Wesley's birthday party, which I ALWAYS document.


     I was also able to scrap some of the activities that Dakota and I did with Wesley, either school related, Spring Break entertainment and treats, or how we spent some of our lazy, summer days together.

  Wesley's 'spring break' saw unusually cold, snowy weather, but there's ALWAYS justification for ice cream! When I saw the mint and black in this kit, I knew it would work for my photos, being the colors of my mint chocolate chip ice cream, but the other colors in the photos didn't work so well, so I simply turned my photos to b/w and wow... what a great improvement!  I used some of the stickers from another Inspired Inc kit to record the "Who, What, Where & When" in the upper right hand corner. 

     Wesley is outgrowing his battery powered dirt bike, but it still provides the occasional fun adventure!  When Wesley accompanies Dakota and I on our walks in the neighboring cemetery, I often ask him if he wants to practice his soccer dribbling and other skills, or ride his bike or dirt bike rather than just walking with us.  He often entertains himself in a manner common among kids or particularly boys, by finding a 'walking stick' or other natural items to distract himself from the fact that we are getting some fresh air and exercise.
      The 'All Hallows Eve' kit was all I needed for this year's family Halloween portraits!

Our family dressed up as Star Wars characters this year; I didn't get to go trick or treating because I had to set up for the Crop For A Cure the following day.

 For the layout below , I used the "Thankful" kit plus I added the "autumn" & leaf borders and a few individual pieces from the 3 Birds Best of Fall kit seen below.

     Rather than using this kit for a traditional Thanksgiving event, I used it to document how thankful we were to be able to borrow a neighbor's GOLF CART to pull our leaf rake, since our lawn mower is on the fritz.  Again, my photos are not all the same size, orientations or numbers, but it worked really well!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.... again. Squirrel's "Seal/t of Approval" layout.

     Yes, I know that it's a typical cat thing, but Squirrel has been EXTRA cat-like lately.  Not only did she sit on a clean plate that sat at the table before a meal, like she did last year by sitting on the plate that I had in Leon's spot before the Gleason Christmas we hosted, but she has been nearly EVERYWHERE she could possibly be in relation to a current project we were working on this Christmas season!  She even sat on top of the box which contained Michael and Wesley's snow shoes I gave them this year, not even moving while they were unwrapping it (see photo in the upper left hand corner of the page)!  They had to physically move her, as our requests went unanswered each time we asked her to move.  Table settings, freshly washed and ironed table cloths & gift wrapping paper are just a few of the other items she decided to 'bless' with her presence.

     I fell behind on my usual Christmas decorating schedule, and after living with the decorations as they were for a couple of weeks, I finally found more of the large ornaments on sale, along with a spray sealer that I wanted to add in order to extend their finish.  Christmas Eve found Wesley helping me complete the task by holding them for me as I applied the finish outdoors (to save our lungs and nostrils), but it didn't always completely solve the problem (see upper left photo on the right hand page lol).
    BTW, the Mr. Huey's 'Shine' spray mist that I used STILL has not dried, despite repeat attempts to speed the process with my heat gun and laying it out to dry for weeks now.  I posted a question about it on's forums, as well as sent a note to the manufacturer's website.  No one else who responded had the same problem for an extended amount of time, and the manufacturer asked if I had mixed the medium (yes) and then suggested that I contact another part of their company's website if I was still unsuccessful.  DEFINATELY. 
     I have a LOT of other photos I would like to scrap to commemorate this Christmas, so be prepared for more red, silver & blingy projects.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Birthday fun... VIDEO GAMES anyone?

     It's that time of year again. Our son will be 11 years old, and is definitely at that 'tween' stage of his life.  He made a major leap of his main interest a year and a half ago, going from Thomas the Train to Star Wars, is becoming more independent (he made Jiffy Pop popcorn completely on his own the other night) and is totally obsessed with electronic games.
     We invited 3 of his classroom friends (Jonny, Deakon & Carter) over for his birthday party on Saturday, one day before his birthday.  Michael suggested going to the pool for an hour or so before hand, or going sledding, but all the boys invited immediately turned down the pool activity.  At the time that we were planning his party, we didn't even have any snow, then it warmed up after we did get some.  We have snow once again, but I don't expect them to spend even a few minutes outdoors during the actual party, let alone going to the state park or the water tower hill to go sledding, as they are all big into gaming.  Perhaps in the late afternoon, or tomorrow morning, anyone who stays overnight might be more interested in going outdoors.  Carter wasn't able to stay overnight because of wrestling, but he stayed a few hours longer, only leaving when he had too lol.
     Wesley's main gift is still in transit, as I ordered it earlier this week.  I had hoped it would be delivered by tomorrow (FedEx delivers on Saturdays here, but UPS does not, unless it's a 'special delivery'), but it has only traveled from it's origin of Texas to Tennessee as of this afternoon.  Michael had told me that he didn't care if it was a couple of days late for his birthday, and not to ask if the seller was willing to change the delivery method in order for us to get it sooner.  I totally understand that outlook, as this item was a splurge, considering that I had already picked him up a few smaller and less expensive gifts.
    On a related note, as a birthday gift to myself, I ordered a canine DNA tester for Dakota this week as well.  It was listed as being on the FedEx truck for delivery today, but it turns out that they took it to the post office for delivery instead.  Oh well, another couple of days doesn't really matter, but it would have been nice to get it today as it was listed.
     UPDATES:  The party was a hit, with two of the boys asking to come back over for another sleepover this weekend, but I had told Wesley not so soon... I need a weekend off lol SO TRUE!
     Surprisingly, the boys DID go outside, wandering out while Dakota and I had gone for our walk.  As we got 2/3 of the way home, I could hear the boys yelling.  Soon I realized that it was so loud that they must have opened the slider for some fresh, they were actually OUTSIDE!   Normally, when I let Dakota off her lead as we approach our property line, she merely trots ahead of me, usually getting a bite or two of some fresh, cold snow, before heading in with me for a big drink of water.  This time, she ran ahead and straight to the back yard to play with the boys,  assuming her self-assigned roll as the 'referee' which her fur coat resembles.  If people or other pets get loud, she assumes they are getting too rough and therefore steps in to break things up.

      Wesley & I bought this HDTV in the evening of Black Friday... LOVE it!  We also set up the old HD large screen that my brother Leon gave us when they moved home.

It just so happened that there were FOUR boys, and when Wesley ran upstairs before we sat down to have cake (cowboy brownies) and icecream, he came back with the FOUR Star Wars character masks he had collected so far.  Perfection....

   While looking for cake decorations, I saw these tiny mustaches, remembered what Roberta Davis's family (Jonny's mom) had done a previous summer, and added into account the boys' ages...hmmm!

I misspoke earlier... there were actually FIVE BOYS attending!  Michael had to show the boys his record high score!

Wesley received some great cards, cash gifts and a GameStop gift card, all of which are perfect for his current interests as well as the locally limited variety of gaming or Star Wars items.  Now he can combine his money to pick out something larger/more expensive which he has wanted for a while, or even order something online.

      The tv we replaced, Leon's pass-me-down.  I think the boys used 3 different game systems: Our Wii and PS2, plus one of the boys' game cube, seen on the floor in the above photo.

    We ordered 2 Hungry Howie's (Wesley's favorite) pizzas for lunch.  Dinner was a high-class kids' favorite: Mac and Cheese plus hot dogs.  Dad even gave Dakota a hotdog bun (some were stale).

        NOW I see why they have the wrestling game out!

     The boys were still pretty loud at midnight, but around 1 am they were talking quietly.  I laid in bed, worried that one of the boys would soon be walking into our room to tell me that they wanted to go home because they missed their family, which has happened in the past.  Nope... Michael said they were probably talking about GIRLS!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

4-Wheelin' For Our Health...

    After a frustrating day yesterday, dealing with Fibro fog and the resultant mistakes on my part, as well as the dishwasher not dispensing the cleanser AGAIN, today started out on a better track.
    Until..... I decided that I needed to buck up against the negative wind chill temperatures today (it was already 9 degrees warmer this morning than yesterday morning) to take Dakota for a much needed walk.
     We had trudged through the 6-10 inches of fresh snow nearly all the way back to the furthest corner of the cemetary before I remembered that I had planned to drive over with my truck each time we got a fair amount of snow, thus keeping a walking path cleared for the two of us.  The past 2 winters we lost a lot of walking days, especially last winter, with over 110 inches of snowfall here in Ludington!
      So off we went, 4-wheelin' together again!  I would LOVE to know what Dakota was thinking each time we do this..."But mom, we were just here... walking!  Why are we driving around and around again?"
    After I had made 3 or 4 passes through the cemetary, taking alternate routes so we would have a few different paths to walk, the county plow came down the road.  I made sure each time I approached the road that there was NO traffic coming, so I would not get stuck attempting to get out onto the road after stopping for traffic.  I lucked out and the plow did not bury the driveways more than my truck would handle.

     It has now been a few days since I originally began this post.  Problems with the 2 pellet stoves, a few days apart, are now past, and we are REALLY blessed to have them, as we have had our first BLIZZARD conditions of this winter, and the new year. 
     Three days off from school, LOTS of wind, blowing snow, and MULTIPLE MULTI-CAR (30-100+) PILE UPS on US-131 as well as I-94, have created a lot of concern, worry, and headlines this week.
     Perhaps this weekend I will take the time to post some of the photos we've taken both at home and while driving home from the store in a white-out, which came up while Wesley & I were at Meijer to pick up a few things BEFORE the storm hit.

   The photos above do NOT do it justice.  Even at speeds of 30 mph we were driving beyond our visibility, so it was a headlights on, even lower speeds, white knuckle drive home.  I would NOT have gone out if I knew it was going to get this bad so quickly!

     The photo above was taken after we had received 10-12+ inches of fresh snow.  Wesley is shoveling a path for the cats so that they can jump from the deck to their cat door which comes into the living room.  As usual, Dakota was enjoying the snow storm tremendously, and I had to call her in and dry her off with the blow drier.  If she wasn't black on top, we'd never find her during the snow storms.
     The biggest snow days were Jan 8-10th so far, and with the warm weather (36+ degrees) today, Dakota and I finally ventured back to the cemetary with the truck.  What a greasy, slippery mess it was when you'd try to turn.  I was able to make a few laps though so we have more paths, and wider ones at that for our walking....until the weather changes AGAIN.