December 31, 2005

Lion, or LOTR??? Happy New Year!!!

We did see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe this afternoon... the movie theater was packed!!! (The parking lot and lobby, not necessarily our particular theater.) The movie was good; I'd give it 3 out of 4 stars... but boy, did it seem eerily similar to the Lord of the Rings movies theme- good vs. evil, and all that, but a couple of the scenes and how they played out reminded me SO much of battle scenes from the LOTR movies.

Now, Tom and I want to read the book again to find out if those scenes were actually in the book. And, I do NOT understand why people bring very small children to the movies... there were some people behind us with a little kid who couldn't have been older than 3 yrs old- it was distracting, and I certainly don't think they got anything out of the story. (How could anyone, when they got up to go to the potty at least three times in 2 hours?! -rant over-

Happy (almost) New Year, and best wishes to everyone for a prosperous, healthy, and happy 2006!!!

Time really does fly! and a resolution or two...

How is it possible that it is New Year's Eve already??? The time seems to be going by so quickly... Tom got home last night (well, technically this morning- it was about 2 am!) from Northbrook, IL- it was snowing in Chicago, so his takeoff was delayed about 15 minutes, but they landed on time- it was just a really late flight! Today, we have a lot of errands to run (the frig' is kind of empty, we're almost out of cat litter, stuff like that), and we may try to sneak in the movie The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Oh, and of course, we'll try to stay up till midnight tonight, but I don't know if I'll make it. I haven't scrapped in months, but I am going to make that one of my New Year's Resolutions... more about that later- so, I saved LOTS of pictures from the computer to a CD, and just need to get them printed (one of the many errands to do today!)... I spent over an hour at Scrapbooks, etc. in Mesa yesterday looking at paper- I picked out some Christmas paper, some that will work for the Desert Botanic Gardens trip, and some that will go with our road trip out here. I figure maybe if I start with the most recent pictures, that will get me back in the scrappin' frame of mind. (?? I hope so... I miss doing it; I just can't figure out what exactly will get me back into it again.) One of the Yahoo groups I belong to (Scrap from Your Stash- ideas for scrapping with the supplies you have, rather than just being a collector) is going to have a challenge based on a new book out in February, Supply SAvvy Scrapbooking by Erin Lincoln ( The back cover says she challenged herself to do all the layouts for the book with supplies and tools she already had, which totaled about 100, so the group challenge is to do 100 layouts (or individual pages, I'm not sure which) only with stuff from your stash. That would be easy for me, I think, if I could just sit down and do it. There are people out there who somehow manage to do >500 layouts a year- I think I did less than 20 last year! Granted, we had lots of stuff going on, with Tom being out of work, getting the dog, our decision to sell the house and move, then doing it, but really... twenty layouts in an entire year is pathetic! I don't usually do resolutions, but in 2006 I'm going to try to scrapbook at least 8 hours per month- that's not much, but I need to make the time to do it a priority. And, I am going to take up the 100 layout challenge, to work on using the supplies and tools that I have. Before Tom and I moved, my sister Judy and I did at least one all-day crop a year together, the Crop for a Cure in Fort Atkinson, WI, which raised money for breast cancer research. It was always a really fun day- spending the day together, giving each other ideas, seeing what projects other people were working on, doing some craft store shopping, and eating lots of chocolate and other scrapping snacks, along with all the games and swaps that the event planners ran throughout the day. I won't be able to go this year, obviously, but maybe we could do some sort of a long-distance cyber-crop through our e-mail, or something... I'll have to think about that some more!

December 28, 2005

some of my favorite crafty blogs (not a blog, but she makes some amazing things!) I'm not sure how I ever found these blogs; just surfing and clicking, I guess. These women are all crafty in one way or another, and it's a lot of fun to see what they're working on. And, of course, they all have links to their favorite blogs and websites, so it can be quite addictive! Quite a few of them also have crafty businesses, too, which is also an inspiration to me!

December 27, 2005

30-second update

Tom left this afternoon for Northbrook, IL. He will get back on a flight late Friday night. They told him that it won't always be like this, but right now, there's lots of backlog to catch up on- and, after all, it is people's safety and well-being that's at stake... the job he's on involves battery backups for the equipment that aren''t working correctly. We crammed a lot of stuff into the three days he was home- we had Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, and opened our presents. Then, we spent Christmas Day at Mike and Billie Nejedly's, in east Mesa. Their son Ron is Tom's best friend from high school in Illinois; Mike and Billie moved out here about 10 years ago. Ron and his family were visiting Mike and Billie for Christmas, and they invited us to be part of their Christmas celebration- it was a lot of fun, but a late night playing Trivial Pursuit (the 90s edition- you'd think I slept through the entire decade- the questions were hard!!). Monday, we drove up to Scottsdale to make sure my boots were the right size... I thought they might be a little big, and they were, so I got a half size smaller- now I can start to break them in. We also did some other errands, and had lunch at a Chicago-style Vienna Beef hot dog stand- they were pretty good, but not quite like the real thing! Hopefully next weekend we'll have a little more time to relax!

craft corner

Here is the Christmas present I made my sister Judy... my first cigar box purse. I decoupaged the sides with tissue paper, then decorated them. Both sides are decorated with vintage postcards, glass marble words, vintage pearl buttons, and seed beads. Both sides also have ivory and gold trim around the edges- this helped to hide the raw edges of the tissue paper. The purple side also has two vintage playing cards, as well as a small stamped/heat embossed bird. The pink side has two stamped, embossed, and colored butterflies that match the postcard. The closure is a stretchy hair elastic (!) that fits around a wooden bead thing I found at the craft store. The handle is glass beads bought at a local bead store- they are from India and China, I think. It took me more than two hours to find beads that I liked, that also fit onto the handle! The inside is lined with fabric; the lid is also decoupaged tissue paper with a vintage postcard cutout and a couple roses from scrapbooking paper. It was a project that got made in stages; first I gessoed, then painted the entire box, then I started gluing on the tissue paper. (mental note- tissue paper isn't the best thing to use for decoupage!) Then I designed the arrangement, and glued on the decorations in short sessions, waiting for the glue to dry inbetween. I used decoupage glue as well as E6000 adhesive (I hope the glue smell is finally gone!) to hold everything on... then, at the end, I coated the painted surfaces with water-based varnish. I may try another one sometime... if not a purse, then a decorated keepsake box or a small shrine. There is a really nice cigar store that Tom frequents (The Cigar Warehouse- there's one in Phoenix, and one in Scottsdale)... the whole store is a humidor- it smells great when you walk into it! They sell empty boxes for $1-$2, and some of them are pretty neat shapes. I sure won't work on as short of a deadline again, though!

December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas 2005

We decided to have our own Christmas on Christmas Eve, since we're spending Christmas Day with some friends. We relaxed on the patio in the afternoon (in shorts and t-shirts!) and watched the hummingbirds; then I fixed us Christmas dinner- ham (thanks to Tom's dad- it was wonderful!) with all the trimmings. We really surprised each other with our gifts... Tom gave me a Garth Brooks 6-CD set and a pair of very high quality cowboy boots, and I gave him a cigar ashtray and a gift certificate for a tandem skydive! These gifts were things we've wanted, but we had NO idea we were getting them for each other. The pets made out pretty good, too- catnip and a laser pointer for the cats, and new chew bones and a floppy kitty toy for the dog.

These are the supplies for this year's Christmas craft project. That's sort of a tradition we have in my family, since we're all pretty crafty- on Christmas day after opening all the presents, someone breaks out the supplies for a craft project- something seen in a magazine, or just a project one of us is working on. Even though I will not be at Mom and Dad's house for Christmas this year, I will be working on a Christmas craft sometime during the day- you'll just have to wait to find out what it is!

December 21, 2005

a couple cards

I got a couple really nice comments on the Thanksgiving card- they took a while, since I watercolored it using markers and a blender pen. Tom's dad thought it was really nice (I think he thought I drew it, which I feel kind of bad about, since it was a rubber stamp), and his grandma said it looked like I cut the picture off of a card and pasted it onto mine, which means it looks professional, I think! LOL! The Christmas card was a lot simpler, which is good, since I made 30 of them- but, I think it turned out nice. It was stamped and heat embossed (using a stamp I got from an internet swap), with textured cardstock and scraps of Christmas wrap (paper traded from my friend Liz). I made them assembly-line style, working on them one step at a time, so it didn't seem like quite so much work at any one time.

I've found most of the scrapbooking stores in the area (in the east valley, anyway), and I'm working my way to the stamping ones... I joined the January ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap at The Pampered Stamper (a stamp store in Mesa), and I've already started thinking up ideas for my ATC for the trade.

first day of winter

Okay, so today is 12/21... the first day of winter, and the high temperature today in Phoenix was 76 degrees... a far cry from the single digits and inches of snow that we'd have in the Chicago suburbs! As far as the temperature goes, it's great, but it doesn't really feel quite like the Christmas I'm used to without any snow (I don't miss the wind chill one bit, though!) Tom is STILL gone- he started his job with Guardian Systems (a personal safety company that installs safety networks in retirement communities) on Friday the 9th, left for his first installation trip (to Milwaukee- how ironic is that!?!) on Tuesday the 13th, and hasn't made it home yet! He was supposed to be home last Friday, it was switched to today, and now it's not till Friday the 23rd. I sure hope he doesn't have a lot of trips like this- it's going to take a lot of getting used to, having him gone so often, for him as well as for me. I got all the presents wrapped and shipped off to Illinois- they did arrive in time, thank goodness- as for "in one piece," that's still to be seen. We did get the decorations up before Tom headed to Milwaukee; the feather tree and garland are holding all our ornaments, and the cards are being hung up as they come in. Judy sent me a really pretty flower arrangement, too- a snowman with red carnations, holly, and pine boughs. If I can figure out how to post pictures, I'll do it. (I figured it out- yay!) I have been doing a little crafting here and there, since I am still jobless (the staffing agencies are working on it, but it's the end of the year, and budgets are tight, etc. etc.)... I made our change-of-address cards, our Thanksgiving cards and the Christmas cards. I haven't done any SB'ing in months, though- I think maybe I'm so far behind that it's too intimidating to figure out where to start?? I don't know... I did make my Christmas present for Judy, though... after the holidays, and whenever I figure out how to attach pictures, I'll add them, too- I thought they turned out really cool- hopefully she will, too!

first post

Okay, I've finally decided I'm going to try blogging. This will (hopefully) be a way to keep track of what's going on here in AZ, and what I've been working on craftwise. Now to get it set up... okay, apparently I did NOT select a template, and was getting really frustrated at why I couldn't view anything, but I figured it out- without yelling, or throwing anything at the computer!