December 31, 2007

Daisy D's Premium Collection Paper Pack

I just finished reviewing Daisy D's Premium Collection Paper Pack. In it are 12 sheets of paper, two of each design with one regular sheet and one cut into either a round scallop or a "label" style scallop as you can see in my Lovely Tree layout.






Stay tuned...I should have my next sneak up in a few days.

Tinkering Ink Blur Collection


I just finished working with the Tinkering Ink Blur Collection I'm totally loving Tinkering Ink right now....so funky and fun!

December 28, 2007

How To's

I am setting a goal to write one how-to for ScrapFriends each month in 2008. I'd like your help with ideas....what would you like to learn more about? Leave a comment and I'll start working! :D

December 27, 2007

Pictures!

And here's some of my favorite photos from this past week, Katie opening up a necklace from Mom (now we have matching silver heart necklaces...we are so cool!) and Korbin with his Transformer looking all goofy (as usual) and Milo running outside during a snowstorm. He was running up and down the fence line with the neighbor's dogs and took a break to see if anyone was watching him when I took this photo.

These were all taken with my new Sony H9 camera.


Christmas Greetings!

I have so much to catch up on....

I made these Christmas cards this year using Tim Holtz for Stampers Anonymous cling-mount stamps, Ranger distress ink, LuminArte shimmering mist in bronze, Daisy D's and Flair patterned paper, watercolor pencils, red dye and some German glitter glass. I stamped and hand cut the fairies, colored the wings, dyed the hat and applied German glitter glass to the hat ball. I hand colored and cut a holly leaf image and then applied some Crystal Effects to round the berries, finally cut the Be Merry greeting and assembled.

I only made 19 of them and that took me several hours and several steps to finish.



December 18, 2007

Everything's Coming Up Primas!

News of the day: I have the rest of the week off from work. Using it to get some reviews done and some scrappy Christmas projects. Yeah!! I also took our dog in for his neutering this morning. Hopefully he's okay, and I will be here for a few days to make sure he's on the mend.

I've been working with the new Prima flowers: sprites, esprit, pixie and center kisses. Here's what I've gotten done with them so far. I haven't even had a chance to use all of the products yet, so I have a lot of fun ahead of me!



Tomorrow I'll be finishing up a review of Tim Holtz's new distress tools from Tonic Studios. Stay tuned!

December 14, 2007

Inspired....

Hey y'all! I hope you are having a great holiday season! I can't believe Christmas is only 11 days away. I still have a lot of Christmas shopping to do! I will be taking some time off of work next week so that should help a lot!

I've been stuck in Holtz-land again this week with Tim's "12 Tags of Christmas" that he's been posting on his blog. He makes everything look so easy! I am very inspired by his creations and can't wait to try them myself! We also had a chat with him at ScrapFriends this week. I came away from it impressed at how down to earth Tim is. You can read the transcript from our chat here.

I purchased CK's kit of the month, a fantastic foam stamp set for an unbelievable price! They're sold out now, but let me tell you these stamps are AWESOME! (I used the circle border and flower stamps in my layout pictured below.) They are totally rockin' my world right now!

I just finished up a review for Mary Mata designs. She creates beautiful collage art and ATC kits, among other things. Her photography, color and design are just incredible. I was sent a blue butterfly collage sheet and an ATC kit with similar colors and images. Here's one of my pages.

You can read the full review here.

This weekend I'll be finishing up a review on Cosmo Cricket's Biography 101 album. It is an amazing product!! Just wait till you see!

PHOTOGRAPHY CHALLENGE - December 14

I just posted my photography challenge at ScrapFriends. This week's mission is to photograph something gold. It has to be gold and it has to be shiny!

November 26, 2007

Kickin' It with Flair and Tim Holtz

This week's review team work involved Flair's Holly Jolly collection.


A few weeks ago I got my hands on Tim Holtz's new Grungeboard. Can you say YUMMY?? The first layout above uses Grungeboard swirls which I painted blue and then inked lightly with white Staz-On. The wings in the following layout were also made with Grungeboard which I inked lightly and then rubbed with metallic chalk.


My next projects involve Spellbinders Dies. You can see one of them above with my "Coffee" sign. Cute, no? Hopefully I'll get my Christmas cards started along with a few gifts this week!

November 16, 2007

November 12, 2007

OLW Favorite!

Well, I didn't win BUT my Pure Delight layout below made it to the OLW blog favorites for this week's word! 95 entries, 24 favorites, 1 winner. I'll take that. ;)

November 8, 2007

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Recovering

I was sick this past weekend--sore throat, body aches, fever, congestion and a cough. It wasn't pretty. I did as little as possible as I could, took naps both Saturday and Sunday and did some reading and movie watching.

I was too sick to join in our family outing to Aldo Leopold Nature Conservancy for "Families on the Frontier." There they gathered wood, built a bonfire and learned how to make butter by hand, and then cooked apples over the fire to make applesauce and finally biscuits. The kids had an awesome time and learned a lot too. Wish I had some pictures. They brought me back a plate with small cups of applesauce and butter and a piece of a biscuit. YUM!

I went to work on Monday though I wasn't sure I could make it. I didn't have a temperature and did feel somewhat better. I did make it all day long and in the afternoon started to feel even better. I kept it quiet for dinner and ordered a pizza and the kids and I watched Sky High and I read a little bit.

Tuesday I felt even better which is good because there was a lot to do. I've been busy at work and should be busy at home too. I had neglected laundry and dishes over the weekend so I needed to catch up. We ate, went grocery shopping, then after groceries were put away I did scrapping for an hour or so, came back upstairs where Hubby had planned to give me a massage. Here he had everything set up, the lights off, candles lit all around the room and soothing music playing. He gave me a great massage!

Last night I had planned to do some scrapping but I was so tired I fell asleep on the couch right after the kids went to bed. Guess I needed some sleep! Now tonight's the night for scrapping---I hope! I have another Prima Paintables layout just about finished.

I really, REALLY need to weed out my scrapbooking supplies. I have too much that I know I won't use. Maybe I'll list a few things here when I get organized.

I've been working on getting organized this week. Why doesn't it ever look like I've made progress? Anyway, I'm working on the dreaded Christmas gift lists for the kids too. I am not ready to think about Christmas or any other holiday at the moment for that matter! Are you?

November 3, 2007

November 1, 2007

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Inhale, now Exhale...Deep Breaths

I had a very hectic morning trying to get ready for work. I only got about one minute to style my hair. I didn't have time to make our bed or clean the cat litter. Meanwhile, the kids and Hubby left and put Milo in his cage until I was done in the bathroom, and he proceeds to bark and bark and bark some more. It is something we're trying to stop but this morning I had no time to even do that. All of the rushing within 20 minutes got my anxiety level up and I could feel my body shaking and my jaw tightening.

I have some great meds for this but I always like to try to resolve it on my own first. I did what my therapist had shown me some time ago. I inhaled deeply, held my breath for 5 seconds and then exhaled completely several times. I started feeling like I was going through birthing class again!

The breathing didn't really help but it did keep me from becoming even more anxious than I already was. My mind was racing this morning, too. I have a million thoughts, things I want to do, see, share and create. while I'm on my way to work. Not a whole lot I can do with it all when I'm walking down the street! So, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts with you today.

Halloween - It was very quiet this year, but the kids enjoyed handing out candy to the other trick-or-treaters. I bought my kids a decorated jack-o-lantern cookie to mark the occasion. My thoughts turned to my sister several times. at first I thought that this was the first Halloween since she's been gone, but no, it's already been a year and a half - damn! I know she loved this holiday and it would have been great to celebrate with her.

Scrapbooking Style - My thoughts have been about purging and consolidating my scrapping supplies and my style. I am going to focus my energies on a few specific companies that I love and would like to work with in the future. I haven't decided on which companies yet, although Scenic Route and Rusty Pickle are two of them. I'll probably choose 5 or 6 manufacturer's to devote my talent to. (This may change over time, but it is my starting off point.) Reason being, I want to create my own style. If I am trying a little of everything I'm not giving my best to any one thing. I want to incorporate stamping into my layouts. I have also decided to incorporate a symbol into each of my layouts from now on. I have been thinking about this for some time. Right now birds are hot, but I don't want to do what everyone else is doing. I thought a heart would be perfect. It's classic and meaningful to each and every page that I create with love. Look for the hearts. They won't always be easy to find.

Writer's Voice - It occurred to me that my vent yesterday might sound harsh and it got me thinking how you perceive my personality from my writing. There are a few people I keep in touch with whose writing style is so bouncy and happy and those that are great at incorporating symbolism and senses into their writing. What do you see from mine? Feel free to comment anonymously.

Artistic Vision - I've talked about this with my friend Sherry quite often over the past year. Does an artist always have highs and lows, racing thoughts, focused intensity on their craft? As you can see that my thoughts from this morning in the span of about 15 minutes can be quite overwhelming. I just want to act on all of them immediately. I feel crazy sometimes and picture Einstein with his wild hair. I feel like that right now. Wheee.....it's a brilliant ride!

October 31, 2007

PUH - LEEZE people!!!

So, my headphones are broken and I was forced to listen to the conversation on the bus this morning instead of Gwen Stefani...ugh.

Here are two ladies complaining about the new recycling bins that the city provided a few months back. They had at least a 10 minute complaint-fest about:
  • how large the bins are (they are slightly larger than a standard sized garbage can)
  • how much of an eyesore they are
  • how long it takes to fill them up
  • how difficult it is to get them into their garage due to its size
  • how they were going to file a complaint after requesting a smaller bin but were told that they are not available
It was all I could do from not butting into their conversation (and I was about 10 feet away from them). I just wanted to say:
  • obviously there's a reason the city only made one size of bin. It could be the way the truck has to pick them up or perhaps they are just trying to promote recycling, huh?
  • um, what did you expect, a pretty garbage can? OMG
  • why wait? Recycling trucks come around every other week on garbage day.
  • maybe you should clean out your garage
I wanted to tell them that if that's the issue they have to complain about, they are awfully damn lucky and should just shut up already.

So there!



October 30, 2007

Feeling Pulled in All Directions

It's been a good week at my house with a better handle on stress and tension in general. I knew Hubby's school would cause an upset in the family but lately it seems like all we do is bicker and when we only see each other two nights a week and weekends it has made me feel very sad.

I've been feeling productive which is always helpful. I've felt more like my old self the past couple of weeks, cooking new meals, baking and getting those things done around the house that no one likes to do. I have also been able to set aside some quiet me time reading a book and some scrapping time too.

I'm working on a review of a new book by Somerset called "Holidays & Celebrations." The projects in there are amazing! I'm hoping to make our Christmas presents this year so it will be a great resource for me. However, most of the projects I want to do are fairly complex and time consuming. I have only one week to work on this review so it's felt stressful for me - I don't like leaving things for the last minute and I'm pretty sure I'll be working on this right up to its due date (Friday). But, the projects are coming along very nicely!!

I feel like I could use a week of doing nothing but scrapping. I'll have to pull some late nights to get gifts done by Christmas, as well as my review team work, and the personal pages that I make just for fun. Although it's stressful, I like being busy...it makes me feel alive and puts a smile on my face.

October 26, 2007

October 25, 2007

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Fresh Air, Doughnuts and Paper Airplanes

I've been an emotional mess lately but doing okay. It feels like hubby's schooling has taken a toll on our marriage. We hardly see each other and when we do, we bicker. Not fun! I'd love for that to change, but I haven't been able to do it on my own. I know this will pass, and I'm staying strong. These emotions help my writing so I will be spending some time doing that. Trying to find the positive in it.

I was thinking about these feelings on my way into work this morning. It made me sad and close to tears. I'm reading a book where one of the characters is a "live in the moment" type and I keep wishing that were me. I'm shy, reserved, stressed, anxious and worried most of the time. I so wish that were me. I have so much good in my life, so much energy, but it's so much easier to dwell on the negatives it seems.

I kept this in mind as I walked the few blocks to my work. The air around me smelled so fresh and clean, the sky is a beautiful blue and the sun is making the buildings seem to glow. It's gorgeous. Then my thoughts turned to doughnuts...I'm heavily into comfort food right now....but have been resisting that temptation in favor of my lovely Special K red berries cereal.

I wondered what a "live in the moment" person could do at work that might break the day up, make it more fun. I decided a paper airplane would do the trick. I have a large dividing wall between me and the rest of the office. Sometime today when things are quiet I'm going to make a paper airplane and send it soaring over the wall. Why haven't I ever done this before? It's high time for a little levity in my life.

In the midst of all that I caught a strong whiff of steak in the air. Oh did it smell SO GOOD! I'm not sure who was cooking steak at 7:30 in the morning but it made me realize that this day could be an incredibly good one if I just stay "in the moment."

October 19, 2007

PHOTOGRAPHY CHALLENGE - October 19

Just posted this week's photography challenge on ScrapFriends!

Do you make anything by hand besides scrapbook-related projects? Knit a scarf, bake a pie, beading, quilting, etc.? Well this week we are going to showcase your lovely talents. Please take a picture of something you have made and tell us about it. Anything goes, as long as it is not a scrap-related item.

Join in here.

October 15, 2007

Hand-Carved Stamps?

This month I was able to review Staedtler's MasterCarve blocks and tools. I was not sure this was a project for me but once I started I didn't want to stop! You start off with a block of rubber like material, trace an image onto paper and then rub onto the carving block. From there you can begin to carve your design. I have three carving tools to work with. It only took me once to get hooked but a couple of attempts to get a great stamp image. These two layouts both use one of my hand-carved stamps, an owl and the word "she."




The Tooth Fairy Stopped By

Korbin lost his first tooth! It's been loose for about a month now and he wiggled it quite a bit and it finally fell out while he was eating dinner last night. He was so excited!! He immediately wanted to call a friend to share the good news but I told him to wait until after dinner and then we ran out of time.

Katie passed down her tooth fairy pillow to Korbin and she read him the tooth fairy booklet before bed and carefully placed the pillow on his footboard. When Korbin woke up this morning he found a $5 bill and was practically screaming he was so excited! He ran into my bedroom, where I was still sleeping, to let me know what the tooth fairy had left! And then he asked "Can I call my friend now?" It was about 5:45 AM!

Great first tooth experience!

October 10, 2007

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - My Life in 100 Pages

I accomplished a goal today - I finally printed out a hard copy of my Thursday Update (n/k/a Thursday Thoughts) emails. I began them in May 2004 and stopped their email form at the end of November 2006. A year and a half of my life printed out in nearly 100 two-sided pieces of paper. Wow!

I immediately read my first email after Pam's death and it brought back a lot of memories and emotion for me. I'm feeling okay with that, seems like memories and emotions have been a significant part of my life the past few weeks. Maybe it's the time of year with all of the holidays coming up when all of us would be getting together and it just reminds me that we are missing someone - things just don't feel quite right anymore.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of my Updates though. It's always very fun to look back on life in such detail. I see a lot of the same goals year after year and now it's almost 2008 and I realize that I've failed miserably in some of the goals that are most important to me. Number 1 is eating healthier and getting more exercise. My friend Sherry recently pointed out that this has been a consistent goal of mine, but one that keeps getting pushed aside for others. I need to make a change. I keep thinking of my brother Paul who started training for a duathalon this past spring. Having never trained for such an event he suffered through a lot of aches and pains, sweat, rain and winds, but he stuck to it and superbly met his goal by competing in two duathalons and finishing both of them. What an inspiration!

If you know me well you know that I'm a very goal oriented person. I think writing one's goals down is a crucial step in achieving them. It would be common to make some resolutions on New Year's Eve but goals change based on circumstances, not the calendar. So, today, I am rewriting my goals.
  1. Exercise and eat healthier. No more indulging in treats that have been brought into the office. No more excessive crap eating.
  2. Purchase a Nikon D80 camera ASAP and no later than April 1, 2008 (anyone care to donate to the cause? LOL!)
  3. Get on a manufacturer's design team. I am targeting Scenic Route and Rusty Pickle. I am preparing a specific method for achieving this, one of which is to use these products as much as possible. If you have any advice, please share.
  4. Continue writing my novel. My long-term goal is to have this completed within 5 years.
I am running down the course that I have set for myself determined to cross the finish line. No more excuses.

October 9, 2007

Love notes

I received this note from Katie a few weeks ago:
To: mommy
I love you it is nice to see your smile you go girl friend.
Cute! I have this hanging above my desk.

October 1, 2007

Here are a couple more layouts I finished over the weekend. I used this one for an October Ad Inspiration Challenge at ScrapFriends:
And this one was using Tinkering Ink's Botanical Bliss collection:


September 28, 2007

Um...yeah....you've gotta read this!

I've updated the blog. How do you like the new look?

Would you like to see some of my recent work? I thought so!




I haven't spent too much time scrapping lately. My body's told me to rest and I've listened. ;o) Hoping for a quiet weekend ahead and LOTS of scrapping. I'm going to be working with Tinkering Ink's Botanical Bliss collection. YUM!

I will also be working on October's ad inspiration challenge for ScrapFriends. Stay tuned!

I overheard Korbin talking to Katie last night as he was jumping into the shower and she was getting dressed after hers. It went something like this:

Korbin: You get hair down there ya know...

Katie: No you don't.

Korbin: Uh huh...I saw daddy's.

Um...OMG...I'm not ready for THIS yet. What next??

For those that are wondering, Hubby's school is going very well (hard, but well). It has been hard on me not having him home three nights out of the week too. It's been less liberating than if he just went on a vacation or something. :D Now I've got lots of obligations to deal with...like math homework and fussy end-of-day attitudes. LOL!

September 26, 2007

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Conducting Life

I was extremely touched this afternoon by a recent speech given by Dr. Pausch on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Pausch's "last lecture" is truly his last. The 46-year old father of three young children was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with a three to six month life expectancy. The way that he faces his limited future is very inspiring. Please read the article from the Wall Street Journal and if you have the time, watch the full video. Amazing.

September 13, 2007

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Scrappy Thoughts From the Buffet Line

For those who were rooting for me....no call from October Afternoon. I was disappointed when the new DT was announced but quickly felt okay with not getting a call. I sincerely want to find a company that's a great fit for me, and me for them. If they don't like my style for whatever reason that's just not going to be a fruitful relationship.

I won't let one tiny missed call stop me though. I still have my sights set high and have been pursuing them all in little ways over time. There are three big companies that I feel best fit my style: BasicGrey, Scenic Route and My Minds Eye. I've been in touch with two of them on numerous occasions over the last couple of years. Lately I'm really liking Sassafras Lass too. If a DT opening comes up you know I'll be applying!

I've been in a scrappy crunch this week after feeling sick Sunday and Monday. When I don't even feel like scrapping you know it's time to worry. I was so tired I took two naps on Sunday and slept 3 1/2 hours Monday morning after the kids were off to school. I think it's the withdrawal effects of Seroquel which I weaned and then stopped taking about two weeks ago. I'm feeling better now and am happy to kick one drug to the curb.

Now I'm playing catch up. It could just feel like a puppet show because Hubby started school this week. He's gone three nights a week. When I get home from work we have enough time to say "hi" and "bye" before he's off to class. It is an unsettling feeling, especially when we are so family oriented. I am already wishing for the next year to go quickly.

The kids are doing very good in school and seem pretty eager to go every morning. It's been really nice. I'm crossing my fingers that this will continue.

I was treated to lunch at Pizza Hut (my choice) by several coworkers today to celebrate my birthday earlier this month. Yum! I was about to fall asleep at my desk about an hour after eating though. Good stuff.

I want to thank my scrappy friends for stopping by and leaving comments. It really makes my day!

August 27, 2007

Happiness with a Bow Tied on Top

So....I got my app. in for October Afternoon on Saturday. It took longer than I expected to get everything pulled together, scanned and e-mailed that I forgot to attach my supply list to my e-mail! ARGH!!! I sent it immediately after, but I sure hope that doesn't hurt my application. I have some very good feelings about this so I hope my instincts are right and I'll soon get a call. (Selected team members will be announced Sept. 3rd -- that would be the best birthday present I could ask for!!!)

Saturday was also my wedding anniversary...17 years. I just can't believe that. I always feel like an impostor when I say that because no one expects a 34 year old to have been married that long. I think people are surprised to see how much *in love* we are with each other. I still feel like a high school kid sometimes...well, minus the nights parked in a car... ha ha! Oh, wait, there was that time a year ago...dang, maybe things haven't changed that much after all.

So, ahem, back to my weekend. We went out for a very lovely dinner at Johnny Delmonico's - an upscale steak and seafood place. We'd been there once before a few years back. We ordered a blue crab cake appetizer and ordered a bottle of wine. We had a yummy salad of field greens, candied walnuts and goat cheese, bread and Chateaubriand for our meal. This steak was the absolute best I've ever tasted! It truly melted in the mouth. We also had steamed asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes. We were overstuffed but wanted dessert too so we ordered coffee and dessert too. Hubby had an apple tart which was amazing! I ordered a slice of chocolate cake which -- I'm not kidding you -- was about the size of a hardback book and about 4" wide on the outside edge. I ate some, but took most of it home.

We were so full I thought walking would be nice so we headed to State Street to do some people watching and window shopping. It was a bit too early for the weirdo's to come out, but State Street always has a vibe of it's own and that was fun to do. I wished I had my camera to capture the near-full moon right above the capitol building at dusk--beautiful!!

On our way back we spotted a new psychic shop that opened up recently. Hubby jokingly said we should go there, and I said "yes, let's go!" I've always wanted to do that. When we got to the shop we saw the sidewalk sign which said:
Palm reading $15
Tarot reading $45
Psychic reading $55
Since I read Tarot cards we went for the psychic reading. Hubby went first and then I did. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Hubby and I will be taking a vacation near water within the next six months. If this happens I'd be in heaven since we can't afford a vacation.
  • She saw a positive investment for us that will be very successful come spring or summer. That's ironic because we're meeting with a financial adviser this week!
  • She also saw a move or remodeling for both of us. Not planning on either so we'll see.
  • There were many things she told me that dealt with more emotional issues and behavior patterns.
  • Oh, she also told me she saw me pregnant!! That was quite a surprise since hubby's shootin' blanks. She tells me she doesn't care, she sees a pregnancy. I protested enough that she said it's possible it's about someone else, but she sees it for me.
We shared our experiences with each other on the walk back to the car. I was left with a general unsettled feeling, I think because I'd wanted to do that for so long, and what I was told was not what I expected. I also wish I would have asked a few more questions.

Sunday I woke up to Kate making coffee for us and both kids wishing me a very excited happy birthday. What a lovely way to wake up!

In the afternoon we drove to Williams Bay to celebrate my birthday along with hubby's brother, grandma and cousin with a cookout. Weather was gorgeous!! We brought Milo along and he was quite spoiled with attention! We brought the cake down, ordered from Carl's Cakes. A four layer chocolate cake with a light chocolate frosting and raspberry filling. Oh my God! It was so delicious I had two pieces and could have eaten more. I got just what I'd wanted for my birthday! ;-)

All-in-all it was just a wonderful weekend!

(By the way, my birthday isn't until this coming Sunday, Sept. 2nd, and Hubby will be out of town. Anyone care to party with me? Some martinis might be in order!)




August 16, 2007

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - And the winner is...

I appreciate the advice and comments I received last week about my mental dilemma. It is true that I'd love to be on the October Afternoon design team and I have decided to go ahead with my application. I need to submit three scrapbook pages, one altered item or mini album and one card when I send in my application. The deadline to apply is August 25th.

There are still some doubts that are going through my mind - not about whether or not to apply - but whether I am "good enough" to even be in the running. My cure for this is a reminder that everyone in this world has self-doubt no matter who you are or what you've accomplished. As long as I enjoy the process that's all that matters!

I've been having a great time letting my creativity just flow uninhibited and am coming up with some ideas and pages that I love, and some that aren't turning out the way I'd envisioned them to. This week I am feeling settled and mostly organized so my Virgo world is a happy one!

Peace.

August 9, 2007

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - I've been mud wrestling

I've been mud wrestling . . . with myself that is.

It may be time to write up some new goals with time lines. I just can't seem to get a good focus on my life right now. Maybe I'm way overthinking this. Please share your thoughts/comments with me. I could really use them right now.

We have some heavyweight contenders in the ring:

Scrapping - Love my review team work with ScrapFriends, love scrapping, still have free time to just play. Have been entering monthly contests. Belong to a kit club. Fallen in love with October Afternoon and am considering applying for their design team. Have been wanting to be on a mfg. design team for a long time.

Writing - Want to do more of it, need to do it more regularly. Try to establish a daily routine of writing even if it's only for 15 minutes. Would like to finish a novel and try to get it published. Receive a lot of praise here.

Family - This is what really makes me feel unfocused. Not sure why. I spend time with my family and still have time to do my own thing, but if I join another design team how will that change? Hubby will be starting school next month so it'll be just me and the kids three nights a week. More opportunity to scrap on those nights.

What should I do, should I apply for the October Afternoon design team? It feels like too good of an opportunity to not at least try for. Should I keep my scrapping at the level it is at now and focus more on writing? Or should I do all three?

I do have to say I'm a person who works well with structure and keeping busy. I love so much, and seriously mean it when I say I wish I didn't have to sleep. Debating on how busy to be, I'm thinking "Hey, you only live once! Might as well live it to your fullest!

So, I'm thinking apply for the design team. I may not even get an offer - actually, I likely won't get an offer, but hey, I can dream! Please give me your thoughts.

(Now after reading all of this you probably think I'm over-analyzing everything. I agree, but that's just me. Totally focused and serious at some times, and playful and creative at others. Welcome to my cerebral jungle gym!)


August 2, 2007

Today's babblings and an eventual scrapbook page

"Nineteen Minutes" is a novel I've just started reading by Jodi Picoult. This story shows how with an ordinary lapse of time - nineteen minutes - your life can be changed forever. And not just you. Hundreds, thousands or even millions of lives can change.

That is one frightening reality.

This book takes us through a school shooting and its aftermath. The story is gripping and, unfortunately, realistic.

In my own state, an hour or two from where I live, a young boy is currently on trial for killing his high school principal. The thing is this boy looks like a good kid.

I mean, someone you would never look at and think of as
dangerous.

This is the reality that my children are growing up in.

I've wondered if it is the media continually seeking out stories that we will not be able to turn away from, like gawkers at a car accident.

But every day these shocking news stories become my reality. A reality that I must carefully navigate. Tiptoeing through the minefield of life, all the while hoping that I am choosing a safe path.

It is scary, and it is real, and it could all be over in just 19 minutes.


August 1, 2007

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - It's a Boy!

(Shhhh....I know I'm a day early but...I had to share!)



OMG...where does the time go? I mean, seriously, it's been
THREE weeks since I've posted. I'm so sorry I haven't kept in touch better. No time like the present, eh?

I'm a new mom to Milo, a mini Aussie we picked up on Saturday. Isn't he the cutest?

We made the long drive to Hudson, WI (near Mpls/St. Paul) last Saturday to pick him up. We didn't tell the kids what we were doing. Katie had spent the night at a friend's house so I talked to her mom about our plans for the day and asked if she could keep her until we got back so Korbin was the first one to be surprised. We left home around 7:15 AM and got back home around 4:45 PM. We had to stop a lot, every hour on the way up and nearly as often on the way back. Milo did great in the car. I was amazed.

Korbin had just fallen asleep as we pulled into Hudson so he was pretty dazed once we reached Willow River Farm. He loved petting all of the animals, but didn't "get" that we were there to bring an animal home. He was quite nonchalant about the whole thing.

Once we got home Korbin and I spent some time playing in the backyard with Milo and Kevin went to pick up Katie. When she came in the house and saw dog toys she was totally confused. Kevin told her to go look outside. I have to say her excitement totally made up for Korbin's sleepy surprise earlier in the day.

I wasn't in a rush to name him but we were tossing around a bunch of names. Kate was funny because every name she picked was food related: chocolate, smores, snickers. Hmm...and this girl isn't even a chocolate freak like Korbin and I. Anyway, the name Milo just popped into my head and we knew it was meant to be his name.

Milo is 8 weeks old and is very, very good! He's a super fast learner and has adjusted very well to our house. The cats are another story, but we'll get to them in a minute. The first night we brought him home he was up every 2 hours to go outside. He's adapted better and now I'm only getting up once a night.

He loves to be around us and will follow us all over the house. It sure makes it easy to keep track of him. Outside is the same way. We could easily train him to walk without a leash. This need to be around people has made it harder for him to adjust to being alone during the day.

He also had a very poor tummy on Sunday and was very lethargic. We were concerned but he perked up later on in the evening. We took him to the vet anyway for a health check and they found that he has a parasite and that was probably the cause of his tummy issues. He's on meds now and is doing great.

The cats absolutely freaked when he came into the house. They've done nothing but hiss - and neither of them are big hissers. Milo takes it all in stride and usually barks at them trying to get them to play with him. For now he gives the cats the dominance they want Each day they've come closer to each other and can now pass each other without hissing, but the cats are still not ready to call him a friend. I'm sure this will happen soon. Milo needs a playmate and they will enjoy him.






June 14, 2007

Chapter 5

I woke before the sunrise and dressed for travel. I was ready to move but my clothes had not come back from the dry cleaners. I impatiently called the concierge and asked him to check on my laundry. A few minutes later there was a soft knock at the door. I yanked it open just enough to allow the clothing to pass through without being seen. A $10 bill was clasped in my hand and it was accepted as we traded our offerings. With that done, I grabbed my suitcase and headed toward the stairwell.

I exited through the service area without notice. The night air was still crisp and my breath sent puffs of white to dance among the streetlights. I had a five block walk to the parking garage where my next car was waiting. At the corner of Spaight and Lake Street my associate, Bonzo, nodded as I approached. His undercover work is top notch with every detail taken care of. He looked like he’d been living on the street for years.

“Hey lady, you got any change?” he called. Even his voice fit the part

Cans and bottles were tossed here and there and I caught a whiff of sour piss as I approached. His face was dirty and weathered and his hands crippled as I handed him some money. This was our ritual when all was well. The “money” was in fact a list outlining his next assignment.

I continued toward the car and eased into the seat. The engine on this beauty purred to life as I turned the key. Satisfied that my time in this town was behind me, I pulled out of the ramp and headed west.


THURSDAY THOUGHTS - If Mother Teresa Had a Blog

Over the past week I've been thinking about my friends and family. I wonder if the life I'm living now is what I want to be remembered for, and what sort of legacy I'd leave behind.

Is what I'm doing for you enough? And what could I do better?

A few years back when the movie Pay It Forward came out I thought it portrayed an excellent life lesson. Imagine if we all did something nice for one person each day. You may not realize it at the time but you just changed their life.

The tools we have to spread happiness and support to those in need is pretty much limitless now. I wonder what kind of impact Mother Teresa would have had if she had touched millions of people through a blog?

I'm very guilty of being so focused that I miss some of the finer details and things that are occurring around me. I think it is a great day to stop and pay attention and make a difference in somone's life today.

I have this quote on my computer and I think it fits today's message:

"I may never see tomorrow,
there's no written guarantee,
and things that happened yesterday
belong in history."

Peace.

June 12, 2007

"Tag"--I'm it!

I've been tagged by the very talented Edith, a DT member at 2 Sassy Scrappers and a former DT member of The Scrapbooking Society (now iLove2Create) iLove2Create where we first met. Her creations never stop inspiring me!

These are the rules.... each player starts with 7 random fact about themselves on their Blog. People who are tagged need to blog 7 facts about themselves and post the rules as well. At the end of their blog list 7 people you are tagging. Let them know that they are tagged by leaving them a comment.

1. My favorite movie is The Cutting Edge with D.B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly. It's a love story on ice. Yep, I'm a sap for this stuff!

2. I very rarely watch TV. We ocassionally rent a movie, but ask me about any prime time show and I'm clueless. It's been about two years since I've stopped tuning in for a show. I don't miss it one bit.

3. I have a crush on Justin Timberlake. I never, EVER thought I'd even LIKE his music, but I've been bitten. Love his latest CD, FutureSexLoveSounds. It always makes me feel good.

4. I eat chocolate almost every single day. Usually in small quantities but offer me anything chocolate and I can't resist. I love chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream and mochas. Darn, I better go get some chocolate right now!

5. I've started writing two novels. I haven't been in a hurry to finish them so that I can focus on scrapping instead. I'm getting back into writing on a regular basis. I'd love to be a published author and make that my career.

6. I am very shy, part of the reason becoming an author appeals to me I suppose. I'm the person who enters a room full of people unnoticed. I hate being shy and have been working on that.

7. I lived in Frankfurt, Germany for two and a half years while hubby was stationed there (Army). I was only 19 years old and on my very first flight. I was very scared. It was the first time I lived as a wife and being so far away from home, too.

Here's who I am tagging:
1. Lynn Anne
2. Nancy
3. Wyo
4. Rachel
5. Paul
6. Cammie
7. Lisa

June 5, 2007

Altered Clipboard


I altered this clipboard over the weekend. The text reads "I do this for you". The green is a series of decorative stamps that I stamped multiple times to make my border. There is another larger stamped image underneath the word "you." YOU is made with BasicGrey monograms - I aged them with walnut ink to get this look. FUN!!

May 25, 2007

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Busy scrappin'!

This past week I got my new wide-format printer all hooked up. After months of reading reviews and talking with my brother, I decided to go with the Epson R1800. The pictures it prints are phenomenal! They look even better than some local developers I've used and the pictures I've had printed through www.kodakgallery.com.

I've been enjoying printing custom sized photos and just messing around in Photoshop to achieve some fun and funky pictures. My next step is to learn more about hybrid scrapping, digital filters and the like. I'm excited about learning new things, but I know it will take quite a bit of time, too.

I also started working with the Spellbinders watch faces die this week. It is my favorite die so far! LOVE the variety and embossed look of these. I played around with Craf-T's metallic rub ons to bring the embossing out - LOVE the look! I have finished one page and just have to assemble another and then I can share.

I've been working on CK's SOY submissions. I am excited about entering and have come up with some great ideas. I'm not stressing or pressuring myself, I'm just having fun scrapping.

Hoping to get some more difficult projects underway this weekend. I'm going to work on a layout that has a 3D element using tiny mica flakes. It will require a tweezers and a steady hand and probably about an hour's worth of patience. Have had this page percolating in my brain for weeks now, but have been putting it off because of the time involved.

I also came up with a very unique way to present my pages for SOY. I may need to purchase some more pp to finish it, but if it turns out the way I'm imagining it I think it will be fabulous and I may have to make a duplicate to keep and submit elsewhere.

I've started taking my camera with me everywhere. It's certainly made me look at life and everyday things in a different way. I'm hoping to get some more photos this weekend. Have a few images I'd like to photograph but I need to find them.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!!


May 21, 2007

Chapter 4

He moved his mouth across my neck and softly licked my skin. I had a momentary relapse as his hands clasped at my long brown hair making my breath quicken as he pulled me back under him. Then the relapse faded as my brain kicked back into gear. I quickly pushed him off of me and grabbed for my robe, as a subtle sneer played across my face. I turned back to see him wince at the sudden turn of events. I stood watching him as he pulled his clothes back on.

I withdrew $60 from my purse and pressed the cash into his hand. I grabbed for my clothes and handed them over. "Here, these are the clothes I need to have dry cleaned and I need them back by morning. Can you take care of that?" I asked before heading to the shower, not bothering to hear his response.

The shower here was lukewarm at best and the water pressure gulped and belched with annoying frequency. My time in the shower is the only place I can be the real me, but this one wasn’t worth staying long enough to enjoy it. I cranked the lever to its off position and stepped out. The robes were decent here so I slid into one and went back to the bed. The big, fluffy pillows made an inviting place to rest. Or think.

I had a few hours to prepare for tomorrow. Even though the multiple profiles I assume are familiar and well developed, I must carefully plot every move in order to remain undetected. An error in judgment could bring my world to a quick and painful end. I won’t let that happen.

I pull a bottle of vodka from the mini bar and slide back onto the pillows. The sun was setting now and the view from my window was made up of spectacular teal and rose colors. I opened the bottle and swallowed hard. The warmth spread through my chest as I planned my day ahead. Satisfied that everything was set, I burrowed deeper into the pillows. A soft smile played across my lips as I fell asleep.


I Almost Caved

I was in JC Penney's over the weekend and most everything was 50% off. They have a great petite section so I shop there often. I found a beautiful spring blouse and was looking for a skirt to match and I would have tried them on. Only I couldn't find that skirt in my size. I started hunting for other possibilities but started to feel weak for attempting to break a resolution I made only days ago. But everything was on sale and how could I pass up such great prices?! Surely this time could be an exception, couldn't it? I was still in shopping mode, but I grabbed my cell and had hubby come and pick me up. I was very close to breaking my resolution, but I stayed strong.

Now, I've discovered another side effect to this resolution. When I walked into my closet to pick out my clothes this morning I literally hated what I was looking at. Not because they aren't nice, suitable outfits, but because I had to choose something that hasn't been worn in a long time. I have a very small selection of "spring" outfits but working in air conditioning all day long in the summer there's just never been a great need for it. I have plenty to get me by, I just need to stop being spoiled and greedy and be happy for what I do have.


May 18, 2007

212 Degrees

This is a very powerful and inspiring movie. You don't want to miss it.

http://www.212movie.com/

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Renewal

My theme lately seems to be all about renewal--shedding what I no longer need or use and making the most of what I have left.

I've spent a few hours each week preparing for a garage sale. I don't have a set date for the sale, but I plan to get rid of everything. Stuff that doesn't sell will go to Goodwill or Easter Seals or the like. I am looking forward to cleaning out the "stuff" that we no longer use.

I've also been purging my scrap supplies. I already have so much stuff that I need to use. I am challenging myself to get creative with the older supplies and stop buying new supplies.

I've made two resolutions recently:
  1. I will not buy any more scrap supplies for the rest of the year! Yes I said YEAR, but let me clarify. Right now I belong to two monthly kit clubs. Between them and my review team supplies I have more than enough to get me through each month. In the meantime, I'm creating a list of things I want. The only way I will receive these things would be by winning a contest and receiving a gift certificate to that store.
  2. I will not buy any more clothes for the rest of the year! This is going to be a toughie because some of my favorite pants are starting to need replacing. I have enough clothes to get me though the rest of the year comfortably.
I will update you on my progress sticking to these resolutions.

But the biggest renewal I've felt lately has come from within. I wake up in the morning wanting to create, to be artistic, to write, to dream, to feel. If I could do this full-time I'd be one very happy woman! Instead of seeing these things as my hobby I now see them as my life. Amazing feeling! My day job is awesome but it's not what keeps me going every day.

I am embracing every aspect of my creativity--pushing myself to new levels with my scrapbooking, beginning to learn hybrid scrapping, printing my own pictures and being able to print a full scrapbook page with my new wide-format printer, a commitment to write every day, a commitment to become best friends with my camera. This is the new me. I am an artist.




May 10, 2007

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - I am Beautiful

Believe it or not I read this in Glamour magazine the other day.

Women are obsessed with making themselves look beautiful, and it goes to extremes.

Think about it. Botox, collagen injections, liposuction, hair coloring, highlights, manicures and pedicures, eyebrow waxing and tweezing, zit popping, extensive and expensive beauty regimens. I could go on and on.

I partake in a few of those beauty boosts myself.

But, the article said something very enlightening. Put yourself in a magnifying mirror and you are going to see imperfection. Even with all that we do to make ourselves look "beautiful" we still see flaws.

But, if you picked the prettiest woman in the whole wide world and gave her a magnifying mirror, she, too, will see imperfections in herself.

Wow...it really can't be said any better than that.

Looking at the way women fuss over themselves and still remain unsatisfied with their appearance, it truly is an epidemic of misguided values.

After thinking about this for awhile and (I'll be honest) comparing myself to some of the women they cited as being "obsessed" with their appearance, I started looking at this in an entirely different way. I realized that the times I feel most beautiful are not because of my appearance. It is because of the happiness I am feeling by just being me. What a great feeling.

Today I am thankful for being able to express my creative side and a big part of who I am in so many ways.

Today I am going to be happy with everything there is about me. Good and bad.

Today I am beautiful.

Today you are beautiful.

Just the way you are.




May 7, 2007

Camping

We've been talking about camping for awhile now. It's not my favorite thing to do - I much prefer warm, clean washroom facilities! - but this weekend we finally did it . . . in our backyard!

DH put up our tent in our backyard and the kids went nuts. We had decided to cook out that night. We grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, sweet corn and potatoes. I gathered up our camping supplies and headed out to "camp" shortly before dinner time. DH started a fire in our fire pit and set up the chairs around it. We sat and enjoyed the day, the fire and each other.

We ate dinner on our picnic table with paper plates and plastic utensils. Delicious! Afterward I took a few of the things back in the house and when I came out we sat around the fire and toasted marshmallows and made s'mores. It was so much fun!!

We headed into our tent as the sun went down and snuggled up in a giant sleeping bag (3 sleeping bags zipped together) big enough for the four of us to sleep in. DH and I stayed in the middle and had the kids on the outside. I slept well. It was so warm and toasty in there! I think we'll have to camp again this year!

May 4, 2007

Being Creative

I don't know if you ever feel this way but many of my days are so busy I can barely think straight. It leaves little down time and even less time to clear my thoughts and focus on creativity. I've been making an effort to focus on creativity every morning on the bus ride into work. I have a spiral bound book I carry with me. I've been surprised and amazed by the number of creative thoughts that come to mind when I just give myself time to let all of my other stuff go for awhile.

And it's also interesting that most of my ideas just pop into my thoughts. It's like "Where did that come from?" Problem is I'm on my way to work and now all I want to be doing is SCRAPPING!

May 3, 2007

THURSDAY THOUGHTS - Your Life Is Important

It has been quite awhile since I've shared my Thursday Thoughts with you and I've really missed it. I am excited to begin again.

First of all, here's my horoscope for today:
Being forgetful can sometimes be a blessing -- remember that the next time you're in a rush and you can't find your house keys or sunglasses. The same brain that makes you forget where you put something also lets you forget about hurtful episodes from your life -- eventually. The pain or sorrow you've felt recently is fading slowly, but it's fading surely. Have faith that the worst is behind you, because it is. Keep moving forward, and leave the past behind.
I felt like these words were written just for me. They couldn't explain my life and my recent feelings any better. It was quite shocking to read this today because just yesterday I mentioned to a coworker how frustrating it is to have such poor short term memory. It is a trade off for the medications I need to take to be well, but it is still frustrating.

Yesterday afternoon I was so proud of Katie as we watched her music class give a performance singing and playing on many different instruments. I was inspired by how easily they were able to play so many instruments and do them so well. Their passion and focus left an impression on my heart as I began to think about my initial choice to skip this performance because it was in the middle of my work day. But her dad and I both chose to take time away from work in order to be there. I am so glad I did. Tears were close to come as I thought about all of the other kids who didn't have a parent there to watch them. It was a giant wake up call on how I set my priorities.

Sorry about the fuzzy photo!

On my way into work this morning I thought about the things I'd like to write about and share with you. The idea of setting goals is sticking to me heavily this month, but you already know how important I believe it is to set goals for yourself, but right now my feelings are different. I am remembering how fragile life is, and how much I take for granted. When my kids kiss me goodbye in the morning I expect to see them again that afternoon. But what if I didn't? What if that was my last time to ever see them again?

These thoughts are even stronger when I read about Jen Gallacher's (www.twopeasinabucket.com) son passing away yesterday. No parent should ever go through that. I can't think of anything worse than losing a child.

My message today is YOUR LIFE IS IMPORTANT! Live each day as if it's your last. Thinking about that statement, I mean really thinking about it, brings me back to what is important in my life. What I never want to do without. What I take for granted. Today is a great day to begin.




April 30, 2007

Lovely Weekend

I had a nice weekend visiting with my family.

I spent Saturday with my parents. Mom and I and the kids visited my grandma and then ran some errands. I bought a small bouquet of reddish/cream colored roses and placed them on my sister's grave. It was the first time the kids have come with me which was probably good to keep my mind from remembering how sad this is. They asked a lot of questions and when I explained that my sister was buried beneath us Korbin said "Oh, we better dig her out so we can see her again." That just tugged at my heart. I explained what happens when someone dies. They were quite interested on where my sister's head and heart might be. Korbin then want to sing a song "You are my Valentine" sung like "You are my Sunshine" but substituting valentine for sunshine. Then we said a prayer together and said goodbye.

Later on my dad grilled out hamburgers (which I made....super yummy!), my brother and sister-in-law were visiting as well so we have a big table full of family and good food. My day doesn't get more perfect than that. By the time we got home we all went to bed. It had been a long day.

Sunday I did a little bit of scrapping in the morning along with some laundry. The kids spent almost the entire morning outside. I made a quick lunch and then the kids and I cleaned the house while hubby mowed the lawn. He also planted our seedlings in the garden. I'm excited to see the kids learn about gardening this year and having a much bigger garden to plant in. Yum! In the afternoon hubby's dad and his wife came up for a visit and we headed out to Pedro's to celebrate both of their birthdays. There was a balloon animal guy there and he was so fun! He totally engaged the kids and the rest of the table and we were quickly laughing hysterically. We got a little rowdy with the "mouse" balloon he made for the adults which sort of looked like something a little more phallic so we started giggling about that too, and ended up flinging them around the table like a slingshot. Hey, our food hadn't come yet, so we were keeping ourselves occupied! I haven't laughed so hard in a very long time. But we got a little too crazy with our balloons and irritated a lady next to us, so that was the end of our fun and games. Anyway, margaritas all around (even the kids--non-alcoholic of course!), yummy food and hubby and I split a deep fried snickers bar topped with real whipped cream and a cherry and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. OH MY GOD...it was worth every calorie!! After dinner and the kids were tucked into bed for the night we watched "The Last King of Scotland" which was really quite good.

April 25, 2007

10 Roses


A lovely surprise for me this afternoon. The most gorgeous bouquet of pink roses I've ever seen. This is a pic from my phone so it's really poor quality, but it gives you an idea. These are also the longest roses I've ever seen - nearly 3 ft. long before cutting.

April 19, 2007

Headache

I came into work this morning feeling really excited and happy. I will be spending a few hours scrapping tonight, and I can't wait! I have a few ideas that I want to try out.

I've gotten my big projects at work off of my desk. Now I can pace the rest of the work for today and tomorrow. Started a REALLY awful headache a few hours ago, and my energy and excitement is gone. I can tell this is related to stress because my neck and shoulders have been tight and painful for a couple of days now. I've been dealing with chronic muscle tension, so even something that should relax me doesn't quite get me relaxed...yet. It's so bad sometimes I wonder if I will need to start using muscle relaxants. I'm so NOT a drug person. I will try ANYthing I can think of before turning to medication. I think natural remedies are always better for you, but for this condition I've found nothing that gives me more than a few days of relief. The thought of taking another drug is something I really want to avoid. I really should start yoga. I think it might help. I've also heard that acupuncture can be very helpful, so I will probably give that a try too.

I will be doing some writing later today. Crossing my fingers that this headache goes away. Our cloudy, gray sky has turned into an almost cloudless sunny day.

:::waves to Gayle::: It's been too long since we've had a chance to talk...

April 18, 2007

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth...really!

So sorry about the long gap between posts. I haven't had a chance to write since my last post and I'm really missing it. My BFF is probably getting sick of hearing me say "tomorrow should be better..." But, seriously, tomorrow should be better. I think.

I have the best daughter in the whole wide world. This morning when she got up she tried to make coffee for hubby and me. I didn't even know she knew how to make coffee! I'm sure the flavor would have been off, but wow, what a sweetie she is! It's little things like that that make you think you are doing a pretty good job as a parent. Or am I just getting delusional again? (Gayle...are you out there?)

This coming Tuesday will be the first anniversary of my sister's death. I am actually feeling pretty ok about it right now. I took the day off of work to give myself time to remember her and try to feel the strength of God's hands and my sister's love guiding me along this path. I just can't believe it's been a year already. So sad.

When 2007 rolled around I made three goals, two of which were pretty open-ended and turned out to be going nowhere for me. I've learned that I need regularly measurable goals in order to keep me motivated. I've recently made a couple new goals, but they are going to be kept to myself for now. These new goals require spiritual strength and letting my inner artist guide my creative projects. I'd love your support and prayers as I walk along this exciting path.

I'll pick up on my story very soon, I promise! :-)

April 7, 2007

Ahoy!

Celebrated hubby's birthday today. He picked a pirate theme party after I talked him into buying a full Pirates of the Carribean costume. (Hello....Johnny Depp!) Ah, where was I now I distracted myself....

Ahhh, yes....
picture me and hubby standing side-by-side putting our makeup on this morning. He got to learn all about eyeliner! I dared him to run his errands in full costume this morning. He went to the bakery to pick up the cake and the grocery store for some jelly beans. Surprisingly people did not react too strangely. Only in Madison, I guess, can you walk around dressed as a pirate and people still think you are sane.

We put some pirate flags along our driveway, bought a small treasure chest and filled it with gold chocolate coins and jelly beans (jewels). We also had a skull mug filled with jelly beans. Brats, hamburgers, beans, potatoes, fruit salad, veggie salad, relishes, chips, dips, beer, coffee, cake and ice cream. YUM!!

I can't share what happened after that, but let's just say hubby had all the ladies giggling!

I know I look sexy.

Ahoy, me maties. Where's me bottle of rum [er...Jack Daniels]?




April 4, 2007

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

He moved his mouth across my neck and softly licked my skin. I had a momentary relapse as his hands clasped at my long brown hair making my breath quicken as he pulled me back under him. Then the relapse faded as my brain kicked back into gear. I quickly pushed him off of me and grabbed for my robe, as a subtle sneer played across my face. I turned back to see him wince at the sudden turn of events. I stood watching him as he pulled his clothes back on.

I withdrew $60 from my purse and pressed the cash into his hand. I grabbed for my clothes and handed them over. "Here, these are the clothes I need to have dry cleaned and I need them back by morning. Can you take care of that?" I asked before heading to the shower.

April 3, 2007

Chapters 2 and 3

NOTE: Parts of my writing will be sexually explicit and graphic, including Chapter 3.

Chapter 2

Crystal gestured toward the little wooden stool provided for visitors and I sat carefully. She plopped down across from me.

“Um….I’m going to be going now” said the woman who had greeted me.

“Hey, have a great night Suze.” Crystal waved.

“Yeah, you too!” she replied with a wink. She pushed the screen door shut and locked it behind her.

“What is it you’d like to know today, hmm?” she said as her stubby fingers began spreading Tarot cards on the table between us.

“Where’s the crystal ball?” I remarked, knowing that she‘d probably heard that one a million times before. With a name like Crystal you just have to see the irony there. “You know, a crystal ball for Crystal?” Yeah, it was a lame comment, but dang this place was giving me the creeps.

She did not take her eyes off of the cards as she continued moving them around the table and her expression remained neutral. I took that as my cue to shut up already. “Hmm….”

My emotions were suspended now.

“ahhh, here it is” she said as she plucked a card from the pile. She examined the card carefully, quizzically, before laying it down before me. It was the Hangman.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“Ah…the Hangman card is very unique and has a very definite meaning. It is one of the easiest cards to read….”

“Okay…”

“and it sends a very important message.”

“….what does it mean?”

“This card is the symbol of a forceful change ahead. It is the ending of one way of life for the beginning of another. The change can be either good or bad, but it will have a definite turning point.”

“Now…” she continued “let me have your hands.”

I placed my hands in hers. She massaged the palm of my hands with her thumbs. Within a few seconds she stopped and drew her hands back. “Child, you…” she faltered and I could see her expression change. “you….are not….well.” she managed to wheeze before I had her throat in my hands.

Damn, this woman must be for real. I wasn’t out looking for getting my hands dirty but I couldn’t seem to escape it. Crystal gagged as my thumbs compressed her windpipe. Her eyes bulged and I could see fear. “Now, now…” I cooed. “I know you don’t want to get hurt now, do you?” Her head twitched left to right beneath my grasp. “No, I didn’t think so.” I continued. This was where my pride sprang forth.

“I bet you didn’t see this coming.” I said smiling broadly as she continued to gag. My compassionate nature always made this part easy as I loosened my grip and stroked her neck gently. “Oh, honey, you are going to be just fine! I won’t hurt you.” I said as I shrugged my Vendi purse off of my shoulder sending it down my arm. I quickly grabbed the strap and laced it around Crystal’s neck before she could even catch her breath. My hands moved instinctively now as I pulled the strap tight leaving her breathless. The expression in her eyes was just like the others as she began to suffocate. I could see, no, I could feel condemnation in my entire body as she went limp. That had been hard for me to get used to in the beginning, but now it just made me feel stronger.

I pulled Crystal’s body into a dark corner and covered her with blankets and old clothes that were strewn around the far side of the room. I stepped closer to the only window and smoothed my suit and reapplied my lipstick. God, this place was like a cave.

I closed the door behind me as I stepped back onto the sidewalk. With a smiling face and my stilettos tapping with every step, I was comforted knowing that I would be gone before they even knew she was dead.

Chapter 3

I was only a half block away from the hotel so I went without disguise. No one would suspect that a petite little woman like me would be capable of murder anyway.

I saw my alibi standing a few feet away from the front desk, a young shaggy boy with an obvious lust for beautiful women. Oh, I couldn’t see his eyes, but I knew he was looking. I swayed my hips as I walked toward the elevator, knowing that my tight skirt accentuated every curve.

I looked back over my shoulder to make sure I had caught his attention. I had. I slowed my pace and began to turn back with a confused look on my face as if I had forgotten something.

“Excuse me” I said standing a little too closely to the shaggy boy. Oh how nervous he was, trying to find a place to stash his hands. They settled in his pockets, but did not stay still. I saw him swallow hard as I turned up my charm, placing a finger upon my deep red lips and acting coy.

This was getting fun so I decided he’d make a great distraction for a few hours and continued “…could you please come to my room? I have some clothes that need dry cleaning.”

“Sure.”

I led the way back to the elevator with my shaggy boy following behind. He reminded me of a puppy and I adore puppies. The elevator made its way up to the fifth floor and I walked toward room 512. I slipped the key card in and opened the door for shaggy boy to enter. He stood in the hall unsure if he should step inside.

“Come on in, please” I said without tipping him off. Boys, they are so easy to manipulate. As he entered the room I closed and bolted the door behind me before turning my attention back to him.

“Yeah, um, where are those clothes?” he squeaked. Man, this boy wasn’t much beyond puberty but I let my reservations slide.

“Right here” I said as I unbuttoned my suit jacket and let it slide to the floor. I took a little extra time unbuttoning my blouse. I could see his arousal grow so I went in for the prize. I kissed him hungrily and he responded with a groan. I removed his shirt running my fingers over his hard body as we kissed. His hands were all over my ass. He moved closer until I could feel him against me. His hands slid under my skirt and inside my panties. When his fingers slid into me I nearly came It has been too long since I’d had a good fuck.

He unzipped his pants and pushed inside of me as my back was pressed fully against the wall. He lifted my legs around his waist and moved toward the bed. I was aroused by his strength and came quickly. He continued on and I climaxed once more before he did.

I was out of breath and, frankly, quite pleased. I was enjoying shaggy boy more than I had expected
.

April 2, 2007

She's growing up...

When she went to get her hair cut it was down to the middle of the back and she came home with this...



The first hairstyle she's chosen all on her own. *sniff, sniff*

Here it is! - Chapter 1 (Work in Progress)

Throughout 2006 I set my sights on beginning creative writing again on 1/1/07. Scrapbooking has had the front seat for long enough. Well, I can't give up scrapping but I *want* to keep writing too. So, I am going to share with you a work in progress as it's written.

Some of it may be rough, but it will be my writing and that's a GOOD thing.

Please feel free to leave comments as we go along. I will post a continuation of the story as often as I am able to. My goal is to do a little bit of writing every day.

So, let's begin....

Chapter 1

It was near dusk when I came across Madam Rose’s Psychic Shoppe. It was not much more than a door tucked in between two other shops. I had always wondered what a psychic would have to say to me. The fact that this one was nearly hidden from public view only gave credibility to the advice I’d be given. I smiled at the thought of finally getting some long unanswered questions resolved.

I opened the creaky screen door and came upon a small set of stairs leading to the left. I took the three of four steps tentatively. They brought me to a wide open room with two small tables that were randomly placed. It took a minute for my brain to catch up with what my eyes already saw. The walls boasted large splotches of dark grey mildew spots, their edges yellowed over time.

The floor was covered with worn carpeting that must have been quite beautiful at one time. Now the pathways around the room were darkened and thin. Each table was covered with a cloth that looked like it had given up being pretty a long time ago.

“Can I help you?” I was asked.

“Oh, I didn’t see you over there,” I stated, straightening my posture and suit out of habit. “I am looking for a psychic.”

“Have you ever been to a psychic before?”

“No, this is my first time.”

“Crystal will be with you in a moment.” I wasn’t sure, but I thought I saw a sneer. I started to become uneasy and picked at my manicured nails while questioning my reasons for being there. What kind of psychic used the name Crystal anyway? I was about to turn away but it was too late.

Crystal was a scary sight, her faded red hair standing on end as if she had been electrified. Her gait was smooth as her large body moved back and forth like a pendulum with every step. A mass this large ought to have bumpers attached, I thought. I can’t help it. I feel humorous when I’m nervous. Luckily the smile that played on my lips appeared as nothing more than a friendly gesture as Crystal jiggled before me.

“Well. . .this isn’t your everyday psychic reading, I can see that! What are you doing in a place like this pretty lady?” as her arm swung around my shoulders. She was touching my $400 Baldora suit with her grubby paws. Nothing that a quick side step to the right couldn’t handle. “Now, now, don’t be nervous. . . “ she continued.

Yeah, this was definitely a mistake. But, hey, I have already switched over to being humorous so this was nothing more than a game of words to me. “I’m not nervous.” I said as I straightened my posture and my jacket. “No?” she winked back.

Okay, this woman is a psycho not a psychic. This just keeps getting better and better. I flipped open my wallet and handed a wad of bills approximating $60 toward her outstretched paws. She counted the bills backward and forward and then returned her gaze to me. I no longer felt funny. I felt scared. “Will she know my secret?” kept playing it’s scratchy tune in my mind. I am tired of hearing this broken record. Of course she won’t know my secret. That’s ridiculous.

Crystal waddled to the nearest table and I sat too.


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