October 30, 2009


paste.com... wonderful collage pieces made from vintage book paper. You have to check these out!! (found via Mary Ann Moss, from Dispatch from LA, one of my bookmarked blogs.) I especially love the terrier, and the french bulldog-- they have such great expressions!

I accept!!!

I accept your challenge, WI Sister!! lol!!!

Exercise of some sort (for, say, at least 30 minutes??) at least three times a week, counted Sun-Sat.

(unfortunately, that means I have to go to the health club tomorrow, since I've only gone twice so far this week...)

...and what do we get if we stick with it?? I say something crafty!!

October 26, 2009

different strokes...

so there could be so many titles for this post-- WTF, or OMG, or why me?!?, or numbers:

40: my age, as of the end of May

5: the number of medical appointments I've had in the last couple weeks

22: the total number of vials of blood I had drawn earlier today (it really wasn't as bad as it sounds; most of them were pretty small!)

2: the number of CT scans I've had in the last two weeks

1: the number of strokes I've had (yes, I said stroke!) that caused all these other numbers

0: number of chances I thought I was actually having a stroke, while it was occurring

24: percent of women who will have a repeat stroke within the next 5 years

so, what happened, do you ask?? Well, it's like this: While we were at the art opening a couple weeks ago, I started to not feel well... the classic (I've come to find out) symptoms-- sudden numbness in my arm and hand (I couldn't pick up the glass I wanted to get), slurred speech, loss of coordination (I felt like I was walking crooked), and a bit of nausea. And what did I do when this happened?? I NEVER thought I was having a stroke, that's for sure... I hadn't eaten much that day, and it had been about 8 hours since lunch, so I figured it was because I needed something to eat. So, we came home, I made myself a bowl of soup, and laid down on the couch. The numbness and slurred speech went away after an hour or two, and it took a couple days to really start feeling myself again.

I WAS SO LUCKY!!! (and stupid--yes, I was extremely stupid not to think it could have been anything really serious.) My symptoms went away, but if they hadn't, I would only have had a couple hours to get the clot-busting drugs that could have reversed the damage...

3: the minimum number of times per week I want to go to the health club or do some sort of exercise (more is better)-- I'm keeping track, and I think I'll bribe myself by buying something if I can stick to it for a couple months.

50-60: the number of pounds I really need to lose to get back to a healthy weight

below 200: the number my cholesterol level should be-- I don't know what it is now, but I know it's too high, and the good/bad cholesterol is all messed up

never: times I thought my unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle would actually cause me real, physical harm... distress when trying on clothes, perhaps, but that's all... talk about learning the hard way!

NEVER: the chance that I want this to happen again, so I will do whatever I can to prevent it... it will be hard, I know, but I like my brain working just the way it is!! (So, as a public service announcement: don't be as stupid as me; if you have any of those symptoms, no matter what your age, please go to the ER, just in case!)

October 24, 2009

Christmas already?? more scrapbooking

No, I haven't started scrapping Christmas (and if I had, it would be from a few years ago!)... Last month I put together a pre-made Christmas photo album for donation to a charity auction, and thought I would show you those pages (since I don't have anything new and crafty of my own yet). I used an 8 x 8 album from SEI, with a heavy cardboard cover and 10 page protectors... just the right size for someone to showcase a few special photos, and it was actually pretty cheap compared to some albums out there- only $4.99 at my (somewhat) local Hobby Lobby. I made every 2-page layout with space for a photo, and space for journaling and writing memories on the opposite page. The top 2 pics are a 2-page spread using Basic Grey paper- the triangle paper was just perfect for making the little pennant border on the left. The right-hand page is spaces for journaling, with inking around the edges for a bit of distressing. The bottom two pics were both decorated using dimensional adhesive (I think I used Ranger Glossy Accents) for some extra shine. The swirl on the left was cut from chipboard (using the SB store's huge collection of die-cuts!), and painted with a crackle finish. I stuck it down- just on the edges- with glue dots , so the tags can be slipped out for writing. The button designs on the right-hand page were cut from Graphic 45 paper... this company has some wonderful vintage-style patterns (all double-sided for twice the fun)!!
Nothing too spectacular about the top 2 pages-- not exactly a traditional Christmas color palette, but I didn't want the entire album to be red and green. The bottom left page (for journaling) is more Graphic 45 paper (the green holly pattern) with rickrack trim, and the paper on the right-hand (photo) page has a hand-doodled pattern of leaves and berries on it.
The top left pic is the album cover-- the album started out as plain red, but I couldn't leave it that way!! The "Holly Jolly Christmas" is a large sticker that I embellished with glitter... the ornaments are chipboard- one covered with gold glitter, the other covered with patterned paper and a sparkle glaze. They hang from a pine bough made from punched paper. The right-hand pic is the first page; another sticker, a journaling space, and some decorative buttons. The bottom pics, again, aren't exactly traditional colors... more red rickrack, a lime green and turquoise cardstock set off a large Tim Holtz Christmas stamp on the journaling page.
Again, not exactly traditional-- the top 2 pics are using some ultra-cute Christmas paper I found at the SB store... the Merry & Bright line, chock-full of retro 1950s colors and great patterns. The journaling space on the left is actually a library card and pocket-- I just covered the pocket with the polka-dotted paper, and added a chipboard bracked painted with an acrylic pink crackled finish. And don't you just love the pom-pom fringe on the right-hand side?!? (I do!! that's the first time I've used it, and it definitely won't be the last.) The lower 2 pics use another non-traditional color palette, adding the bright pink in with the red and green die-cut paper. The right-hand page is a pocket to save Christmas cards, set of by glittered letter stickers, and some hand stitching around the edge.
These pages all use a very elegant embossed Bazzill cardstock-- both layouts use the cardstock to make pockets for journaling spots, and all the pages use ribbon in some way. The entire album was a lot of fun to make; I hope whoever won the auction likes it, and uses it to record some of their current (or past) holiday memories!!

October 19, 2009

is it really?? can it be?? yes, I think... it's... a scrapbook layout!

a month or two ago, I got a number of pictures printed at scrapbookpictures.com (a pretty nice photo processing website with helpful customer service, low prices, and a variety of photo sizes to choose from)-- since then, those pics have just been hanging out, waiting for inspiration to strike. It's been quite a while since I scrapped anything, so I started simple, with just one photo: I love this picture of Butters and Pandora-- they don't snuggle together nearly as often as Cleo and Phoebe used to, so when I found them like this on the office chair, I had to take a couple pictures; this one was printed 5 x 7, for extra cuteness. It really shows off their pink noses and ears, so I went with pink, girly colors for the page... in reality, except for the pink cardstock, it's all from a Making Memories page kit I found at a local closeout store, so the colors all match- bonus!! I used a page sketch (I love page layout sketches for inspiration!!) from the Pencil Lines website-- they post new scrapbook page sketches and challenges every week, and just celebrated their third anniversary.
a closeup of the upper left corner, showing the adhesive rhinestones and buttons I used for embellishments-- I mean, really, when else am I ever going to use glittery rhinestones on any of my layouts?? (plus, they came in the kit-- this way I'm being practical, using all the supplies-- LOL!!)
another closeup, of the bottom right-- I love the soft buttery yellow velvet ribbon- too bad there was only enough to use on this layout!! This pic also shows the inking I did to the edges of the polka-dot paper to add another touch of pink...
snuggling in that chair looked a little more comfortable than sleeping on this one, don't you think?? Butters hangs out in some of the strangest places!! (maybe she's wishing she could turn on the stereo or the drum set... thank goodness she can't-- cats cause enough trouble without opposable thumbs!)

October 09, 2009

think pink thoughts!!

for my sister Jackie, who is 10 years breast-cancer free this year (yay!!), and for our dear friend Mike, who recently found out he has breast cancer, and is undergoing a mastectomy today... yes, breast cancer affects men, too. Both of them found the lumps themselves, so do a regular self-exam, and tell your loved ones (female and male) to do one, too!!

October 08, 2009

photos of my Women for Women project

here are a few more photo of my recently finished big project to follow up on the sneak peek I showed you in my last post. (They're not the best pics, but I was in a hurry when I took them- sorry!) The challenge was for all of us to use the same starting material, a color, and the biography of a specific person from the Women for Women website, and make any kind of art that we wanted. My color was Blue; my Women for Women survivor was Gloria, who lives in the country of Colombia. And this is the starting material: This is the "Before," and it frankly scared me a bit-- it's a department store torso, black plastic. (right here, she's enjoying some sunshine in our backyard- haha!!) So, the big question: what to do with her?!? Being a stamper, scrapper, and art journaler, I don't do much 3-dimensional work; I'm more comfortable with working on a much smaller scale, and working on flat surfaces. So, I decided to treat it like a 3-D journal page! I know I took in-process pics, but I can't find them on my computer, so you'll just have to imagine the process of layering on the paper, gesso, multiple colors of paint, stencils, and stamping-- when I got to the blue color (my color for the challenge), I kinda went a little overboard, so you can't see much of the underlying colors and textures unless you're up close.
I don't really know much about the country of Colombia, so I did some research at the library, which led me to the realization that I am really grateful to live in this country-- Colombia has been subjected to so much violence-- over 100 years of ongoing political unrest, killings, massacres... I can't imagine living under those conditions, let alone losing my husband to the violence and raising 4 children on my own, which is what Gloria has been through. This pic is the completed torso-- there is a lot of symbolism in the piece which no one might understand but me, but that's the way it is with journal pages, right?? The tree represents the country with its roots at the base, growing up towards the future. Since I use a lot of nature images, I decided on the bird/tree theme, and I love this particular quote from Emily Dickinson, so it had to go onto the piece. "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all."
This is a closeup of the base-- the black painted design is my interpretation of an early Colombian textile pattern, and the blue/yellow flowers are from a traditional Colombian pottery design... the city with flames represents the changes and the violence that the country-- and Gloria-- have been thru in its/her life.
Here is a closeup of the top portion of the torso-- the top of the tree is the ongoing growth of the country, and Gloria's growth thru the Women for Women programs. The leaves (which are cut from a vintage atlas map of Colombia) have words on that represent the future- hope, believe, family, peace, etc. The "nest" is made from shredded cardstock, and the chipboard bird and hearts represent Gloria protecting and raising her four children. And, since it's a "journal page" I had to do some writing-- my feelings about Colombia, Gloria's struggles, and the good things that the Women for Women organization is doing all over the world... I can't wait to see it, and all the other torsos, on display at the gallery!!