Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What is gratitude?

I know everyone is being affected by the state of our world of late. The people who risk their lives each day to provide a safe and free land for all of us in the US are ever present in my mind. For these people and their selfless acts of patriotism, I give thanks.

I don't know a single person who has not, in some way, been affected by the current economy. I have to honestly tell you that I had never, in my 50 years on this planet, been personally affected by a weak economy...until this past year. My husband spent a few months laid-off from his job for the first time in his 35+ working years. It's so easy to say you understand what it's like to have to cut back and do without, but you reach a whole new level of understanding when your income is cut to nothing. This Thanksgiving my husband is working. For his career and his dedication to our family and maintaining our life and lifestyle by working as hard as he does every day, I give thanks.

I have several friends who are going through a lay-off this very day. I can only say that I understand and that I send you prayers for better days and for an improvement in your situation VERY SOON!!! For all my friends and their support and care, I give thanks.

I can't write this post without mentioning those who are ill. It seems it is everywhere, and I have no doubt that the stress we feel as a world is at least in part, reason for these ills. I have wonderfully healthy children. My husband and I are healthy. And though I constantly take our good health for granted, I feel deeply that we are so fortunate to be well. For all of this, I give thanks.

In times such as these it is easy to forget that we all have much for which we should be grateful. For every ill or problem or adversity I face in my life, there are many others who struggle every day for the things that I so quickly forget about and lament. In my mind, true gratitude is that which we feel when times are tough. It is what we feel when it would be easier to feel sorry for ourselves or to give into the general concensus that all is bad in the world today. Gratitude is something we carry in our hearts in anticipation of things getting better and remembrance of things being worse.

Today I will work to stay in a state of gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Stuff It!

I am forever amazed and excited at the fun things I come across out in blogland. Today, as I was surfing my regular haunts, I decided to take some time to see what was up with their favorites. Look what I found!!!

The International League of Championship Matchbox Stuffers . I had to go see what this was all about and now the creative brain juices are flowing. I have never seen so much fun packed into such a small place. It seems these crafty people take ordinary matchboxes, add their own special touch by decorating them, and cleverly stuff them with...STUFF!!! Lots of stuff! What a fun idea. Anyone who loves tiny bits and bobs will love these photos.
Here are a couple I whipped up this morning to give you an idea of what I'm talking about-one with a Christmas theme, and one Asian. Quick & easy, but I haven't stuffed them yet.

This got me thinking-are there a few of you out there who would be interested in doing a stuffed matchbox swap? I think it would be a blast and I would love to host the swap if there is enough interest. I think 10 would be a great number, so if you are interested, leave me a comment and tell your friends-let's have some fun!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Charmed I'm Sure

A few months back I was invited to join my first-ever charm swap. I have to tell you that it was a bit intimidating, as the wonderful chick who runs it is very particular. The list of rules and requirements was were scary at first, but after seeing the outcome from the group, it was obvious that they were doing top-notch work. The theme was "Circus" and we were to do whatever felt right within that definition. My charms started out at a sheet of nickel silver. From that, I cut a "+" shape (hard to describe) and with some hammering and coaxing, I formed them into the little metal boxes. The next step was to solder all the edges. Soldering is one of my great new loves and I would have been thrilled if they had all gone as easily as my prototype. Did I mention that I always make a prototype? Even in making ATCs, I start with one-work it all the way from start to finish and then proceed if it turns out well. So, after forming the boxes, I used a clipart image for the background and made the little Seal, stand and ball from Fimo clay. The clay required some gluing, so I got the chance to play with 2-part epoxy. After placing Mr. Seal in the box, it was finished off with glass and soldered, including a bail fashioned from wire. I LOVED the way this project turned out, and Amber Dawn

who hosted the swap, was very kind and encouraging. Her encouragement really gave me the push to do more and stretch artistically regarding charm-making. Thanks, Amber!!!

One of the requirements of the group is that you display the charm well, so I used a popcoen bag, folded and embellished with a Circus ticket and ribbon.

Pretty seals, all in a row. Pre-glass cover.

Here it is all finished and ready to send to Amber Dawn.

Since this swap, I have participated a 3 other charm swaps. I love the work I receive in return and I am always blown away by the creativity of people in our community. What a fun way to not only get your creativity on, but to have goodies coming in the mail!!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Sweet Memory

Mom's Little Guy

I was perusing blogs this morning, when I ran across one wherein a Mom was telling about her 7 year old son. Seems this lad had quite a day yesterday-tantrums and all. The blogger went on to tell about sending him to bed with the promise of NO activities tomorrow since he had misbehaved so. After she put the little bug to bed, she finds a note from him on the couch and he has drawn a little face with tears on the cheeks, and written "Momma, I love you. Do you still love me?" He even had a YES and NO for her circle and a line where he had written "Sine here".OH my gosh! Could you just cry? I just wanted to get ahold of him and hug the little guy. Then I was reminded of a story about my son, Robert.

I need to start by saying that Rob was one of those kids who made me work for the title of "Mom". He was a little spark from the day he was born (six weeks preemie) and he contnued to put me through my paces until he was a teen. So, anyway, he moved into the room that had been shared by his older brothers, Jeremy and Ryan, when the time came that they had both moved out of the house. The room he moved into was WAYYYYY oversized for one kid and it was more like an apartment on the top floor of our home. It was decided that the room he had previously occupied would become a guest room, so we set about painting and re-decorating. I am down on my knees, painting baseboards, when one of my older boys says "mom, you have to see this". Down at the lowest point on the wall, cleverly hidden behind the door when open, written in pencil, was "Mom is a poophead". We laughed so hard,thinking of this little bird, angry at Mom, mustering all his energy and getting his revenge. Rob was 15 or so when we found it, and we decided he must have been around 7 or 8 when he wrote it. It makes me laugh every time I think of it.

OK...maybe this story wasn't quite as sweet and touching as that of the blogger I started with, but it was worth telling. Don't you think?

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I love Halloween! So many of my artsy friends feel the same and we all get very excited when it's time to pull out our black and orange supplies and make Halloween art. This year I mentioned that I was involved in FOUR, count 'em, swaps. I just received my package of charms from the Yahoo group swap yesterday. This is what I made...

I also made the little box for the charm out of some fun flocked paper. You may have already realized that this charm started out as a Monopoly Hotel. I used polyclay to make little, tiny individual shake shingles for each house (13 of 'em), as well as for the little ghost who haunts the front porch. I used aubergine colored wire to make the tree and attached it with epoxy, and then painted the details-some well-worn shutters, purple drips coming from the roof and such. I was pleased with the end result and I will put together a necklace incorporating all the charms I received in this great swap.

I belong to another Yahoo group where they have a Rolodex card swap. This has become one of my favorite swaps to participate in. The cards are small enough that they go fairly quickly when you're making lots, and I love that I can place them in a rolodex file and look at them anytime. No fuss, no muss.
Debbie Bick of Frenzy Stamper hosted a chunky book swap. If you haven't been to Frenzy, or if it's been awhile, you need to see Debbie's Halloween merchandise. She loves Halloween every bit as much as those of us who frequent her store and she orders TONS of fun Halloween stuff.

My page started with a picture of Marie Antoinette and evolved into a headless Marie. I have used this Hero Arts birdcage stamp many, many times and found another use for it. My Marie pic came from a fabulous clip art CD I purchased months ago from Lisa Kettel. This piece is titled "Poor Marie, she lost her head"

I have one more swap to end the month and now all I need to do is get ready for the Trick-Or-Treaters! What are you creating this month?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Raise your hand if you're here...

OK. I confess that I have been absent for such a long time that I thought I might never find my way back to this blog. I went and did something silly...I WENT TO WORK! What was I thinking? I very recently decided that I should be a supportive partner and get out and earn some cash. I have some strange thoughts at times. Anyway-I am selling Real Estate in Sedona, Az.. Not a place with any more beauty than this, and I know I have seen nearly every square inch of it in the past couple of months.

With all the changes in my life, I really planned on slowing my participation in art swaps. So, I ONLY participated in FOUR for the upcoming Halloween season. Since I am at my desk I don't have my pics here, but I promise to put them up as soon as I get home. I did a chunky book swap, an ATC swap, a Halloween charm swap and a Rolodex card swap. So much for cutting back!

Since I don't have any art pics, I will share a recent picture of Miss Patsy Cline. She always brings a smile to my face. I hope she does the same for you.

Friday, September 4, 2009

One Good Reason To Live In this Heat

Have I complained on this blog about the horrendous Arizona heat? Well, if I haven't, consider this a LOUD complaint! I have lived here for 31 years. Most who know me hear this statement followed by "and I've spent 32 years trying to leave." Don't get me wrong-this state offers a beauty of the desert type unparalleled by any other. The problem is that in order to make all those cool looking plants grow, the climate must be unfit for humans. Even my dog complains from time to time and she spends almost no time outside in the summer. One great benefit of all this wonderful sunshine is the plethora of garden veggies. We have only tomatoes, onions and herbs this year, as the heat in early July fried our squash, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers and other plants. The remaining fruits of our labor are simply delicious. Even after 3 months of having fresh vine-ripened tomatoes every day, I just have to utter "m-m-m-m-m-m, these are sooooo good" every time I take the first bite. These 'maters are so sweet they could give berries and peaches a run for their money. So, as I sit and lament the length of our summer, I am reminded that as the days become shorter our fresh garden eats will go away for another winter. I just thought of one other reason to live here-we continue to get tomatoes on the vine until November. I doubt there are many places in this country where this is true, so today I am thankful for the (choke) long, (sob) hot, (howl in agony) summers of Arizona. Our garden window becomes the Tomato Ripening Center for those little suckers who fall off the vine a bit too soon. It's fun to see how quickly they go from green to bright red. And just for the record, we have noticed no difference in flavor from the vine-ripened to the window-ripened.

Friday, August 28, 2009

How do I affect you?

I was watching Oprah recently and the topic of her show was, basically, Manners. I was raised in the era of manners. My parents were convinced that elbows on the dinner table would send one directly into the fiery depths. At the time I was learning these little things I felt they were terribly strict, not to mention ridiculous. With the wisdom of age came the realization that I was fortunate to have been taught how to behave, even if it was a bit over the top at times. I can't imagine anyone being offended at someone singing (God forbid) at the dinner table at home, but that was one of the misdeeds that would send us directly from the table to our room to think about how poorly we had behaved. When I had my family it was just a natural part of my parenting to teach the same manners (sans the singing thing) and as my kids get older they voice the fact that so many of their friends have no clue of how to behave in social situations. I have mentioned that I have all boys and I can tell you for sure that they initially react differently to a girl who doesn't use her napkin or talks with her mouth full of food. Maybe more important these days is the way that we are so rude to and inconsiderate of each other. Everyone is in such a hurry. You can be certain that "they" are going somewhere much more important than where you are headed. Don't even get me started on the change in manners since we all became armed with our trusty cell phone. I want to be sure and point out that I include myself in these issues. I guess there are times when I feel positive that I am in a bigger hurry than you are. Here's what I gleaned from Oprah's show:

We never touch people so lightly
That we do not leave a mark.

If we thought about that each time we went out about our daily activities it might change the way we do things. It also made me think about the fact that offensive is offensive. If I smile at you as I step in front of you in line, I have still stepped in front of you in line.

Have a G-R-E-A-T weekend and be nice out there!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


The latest in my ATCs. This was done for a swap through Paula's Kit Club. I have been a member since the inception of the club, which is owned by Paula Montgomery of Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers fame. She has an eye for putting together to-die-for kits and each month is like Christmas when the package arrives. A wonderful club member named Zoe has started hosting monthly swaps for members and the cards are fabuloso. This month's theme was "butterflies".

A thought...

What does it mean to be truly kind? To be truly giving? To be truly integritous in our actions and behaviors? I liked this:

True integrity is what we possess and how we behave when no one is looking.
It's not too difficult to do something nice or come from the highest place when there is a kudo or pat on the back on the otherside. I think it all comes back to personal accountability. Do you agree?

Monday, August 24, 2009

A New Idea!

I have spent so much time enjoying the blogs of people I admire, and each time I visit one of them I feel remiss in doing my own blogging. So, I think I have an idea-I will try to write just a snippet each day. I guess I had it in my head that I needed something major or interesting to blog about. But no more, my Friends! To heck with major! Interesting be darned! I read something today that reminded me that "The only way to get to the other side is to walk through the middle. No skipping around the edges" So simple, yet so profound. And why wouldn't we want to skip the middle-the gooey, thick, hard to move middle? Oh, but the sweetness of getting ...THERE!!! And knowing you did it completely. Appreciate the beauty of the journey.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Got the Sweetest Hangover

Here I am, having lived through the first week of my 50s. And they said I wouldn't handle it. HAH! I scoff at that!!! I have to say that this birthday was fabulous. (One quick thing-I promise to stop yammering about my birthday after this post.) If I had to explain why, I would say I just felt so very blessed and loved. I have been married to Mr. Man for almost 13 years and he has always been great at gifting. He is more like a woman in that department-he loves to find the perfect present and he always makes sure they are beautifully wrapped. He also still buys me mushy cards quite often and I am one of only a handful of women I know who still receives flowers. He can rarely go to the grocery or any other store and come home without a bouquet or at least a single posy. I am lucky, I know. He gifted me with many lovelies for this birthday and most importantly, he was here. He had been working out of town and flew in just for the day to be with me. My family took me out for a wonderful dinner and did all the fun birthday things. I had my breath taken away a couple of times and was brought to tears, so I would say they all did their job well.

My oldest son, Jeremy and daughter-in-law, Steph are two of the most thoughtful people ever. Hands down, they always put so much time and thought into anything they do for anyone. They had a cake made for me, the likes of which I have never seen. It was in the form of a desk/craft table that was made of red velvet cake covered in fondant made to look like wood grain. On the top of it was an Ott Lite, a soldering iron, pair of scissors and a couple of items that took the breath away-the artist had re-created on of my recent ATCs in fondant. My son emailed her a copy of my Marie Antoinette card and she "copied" it. There was also a filigree heart locket hanging from a pearl bracelet, every one of these made completely of fondant! What an amazing gift! I kept all the 3D items from the top and I will attempt to preserve at least some of it. I was most touched by the way they know me and know what I love. I mean, a craft table!!! As if that wasn't enough to blow me away, my son learned to do glass etching (with an electric tool, not sandblasting) so that he could make me a commemorative framed piece for the wall. It had 3 pictures of me at different ages, some very loving words, and he had inscribed the glass with HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I can't believe how professional it looks. I asked how long he practiced and he said "just a couple of times". So cool! I am now encouraging him to consider making custom engraved glass pieces as a side business. He did such a great job. I can't describe the feeling in knowing all the effort they both went to to show me their love.

My middle son, Robert, gifted me with a very precious commodity-his time! He is in college, works and has a pretty important social life, so when he said he would be coming home the night before and spending the whole day with me, I was psyched, not to mention honored! He didn't stop there-his gift to me is studio time. No, not tim ein an art studio, but time in a recording studio. He and I have always liked to sing together and every Christmas we joke about making Cd of duets as a gift to our family. We-e-e-e-l-l-l-l-l...he and I are going into the studio! We are in the process of picking out songs and then we will practice and schedule our time. I was shocked!!! I am so looking forward to doing it, but I have to admit to being a little timid now that it will be a reality. I can't help but think about what a treasure the CD will be in the years to come and I will also get the opportunity to spend alot of time with him as we get ready.

All of the wonderful things my family did and that wasn't all. I had cards, gifts and phone calls from so many of my friends and family. It ends up that all the people I went to school with are also turning 50 this year, so many of them took the time to write or call. I have to tell you that after all of this I really did feel like I had a hangover of sorts. I don't drink alcohol most of the time, so I really didn't overindulge, but I surely was full. For those of you in the art world, Art Unraveled was the Saturday after my birthday. I drove to Phoenix to partake of the shopping day and have a drink and visit with my sweet friend Dawn. Earlier in the week I received a package from her via FedEx. It was a box of brownies. NOT!!! It was a box of the best brownies I have ever tasted. Ever!!! And I am FIFTY!! They came from a company called Fairytale Brownies out of Phoenix. I had never heard of them, but you can be sure I will be sending them in the future. TO-DIE-FOR!!! And the attention to detail is unmatched-beautiful packaging and presentation. When I saw Dawn on Saturday she had a bag of goodies-also for my birthday. She is so great a gift-giving, but I have to admit that my favorite thing was getting to spend a little time with her.
So....after all the anxiety about feeling old, all the anticipation of the big day, it went perfectly. And I will CHARGE into the next part of my life with a new enthusiasm, a new passion, a new...but first, a couple of Tylenol. My joints ache.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

49 Down...And counting?

I made myself a promise about a month ago to keep this darn blog more up to date. Well...ya know how life just sorta decides things for you? So, here I am again, making the same promise. I decided today was a momentous one and deserved, at the very least, a blog post. Today I turn FIFTY!!!!! Am I brave to tell the world or what? I think it's so funny when women try to pretend they are younger than they are. I have always felt it is better to have someone think I am younger, rather than say I am 38 and have them do one of those sideways glances and say "Ohhhhhh." So, I say again, I AM FIFTY DAMN YEARS OLD TODAY!!!! And so far, I am just fine. It's funny how in my little brain I still feel like I am, say, 25. Once in awhile I get a little reminder that I am not clicking like a 25 year old. Case in point-I was shopping with my youngest yesterday when he found a pair of shoes he loved and he said "These are sick". Never being one to know when to just nod, I said "they're the shizzle". . .

I know. I shoulda known.

But he's a good kid and only smiled as I asked if that phrase was passe'. You know it made for a few laughs back at his apartment later. I seriously cannot keep up with the language changes. I remember when we went from "cool" to "awesome" Wasn't there a few decades between the two? During this same shopping trip I pointed to a belt and said "is that what an emu kid would wear?" He laughed out loud on that one and said "Emo, mom. But that was cute."

Cute. Honest to God.

I think maybe I'm getting to that age where I am just so far out of it I need to SHUT UP!!! Ha!

SO...in my next 50 years I am going to do a few things:

This isn't original, but I am going to worry less about appearances. I can't imagine going to the mall in curlers, but I certainly think I could worry less about the dust on my baseboards.

I am going to make sure that I tell people just how fabulous I think they are. I have tried to do this for some time, but can you ever really do too much of it?

I am going to pray daily for acceptance. Acceptance of what is, of what will be and mostly, of myself and my failings.

I am going to break a few rules. I am a rule follower. Sometimes that's not so much fun. Don't think I'll rob any banks, but maybe I'll be a daredevil and leave my cellphone on in the Drs. office.

I solemnly vow to DE-CLUTTER my life!!!!! I started the process very recently and although I have attempted it before, I am serious this time. After all, I am FIFTY. How much more time do I have? And could there be anything worse than to leave this planet with so much clutter that those mourning my departure would be left to say "Boy, she had alot of stuff!"

I will let more of the little petty annoyances roll off my back. I have noticed that this seems to be a natural happening over the past few years, but I could still use some work in this department. After all, when someone else is having a hard day or the dude at Home Depot just can't be pleasant, chances are it's not about me.

Most importantly, I will try my best to remember each day that this is MY LIFE. I don't get to do it again. I am the only person who can live it and it is precious and the single greatest gift I have been given. I liked living so much that I decided to bring life to three more humans!!! I will act accordingly.

Well, I've been Fifty for five minutes now and it's not so bad...
so far.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Every year for the past few, I have found myself thinking about what it really means to be a Father. We have all heard "Anyone can be a father, it takes someone special to be a Daddy". I think that in some ways, it is even more rare for a man to truly be a good Dad than it is for a woman to be a good Mom. After all, we carry a baby inside our bodies. We spend most of our lives, from birth, realizing that we will most likely have a child at some point. It is a rare male, indeed, who was pondering his future offspring as a young lad. I am so fortunate to have met and married my hubby. As a husband, he would be impossible to beat, but as the Dad to my boys....There are no words. He is their Stepdad in legality, but in reality he is their Dad. This is the man who taught every one of my sons to drive. He is the one who has been there when life's difficulties arise and they need not only advice, but a loving place to "be". He makes it looks easy. They love him and he loves them. Not because they were born of him, but because of who he has been to them. He provides a wonderful lifestyle for our family and still manages to be the go-to guy, no matter the time or the issue. I can only wonder at the number of life crises he has handled when one of them calls for help without my ever being the wiser. That's the kind of Dad he is. That's the kind of Man he is. An once again I count my blessings. Happy Father's Day, Honey!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

For the Love Of Marie

I think I am a bit behind in getting to art involving the most glorious and, dare I say, elaborate Marie Antoinette. As with so many of the things I create these days, she is the subject of an ATC swap for members of Paula's Kit Club. Paula had one of the coolest "All things French" kit a few months back, which was the inspiration for this swap. If you have never looked at her website, you should-she even included goodies she had scored at the flea market in Paris on a trip. Anywho-this card was fun because it was assembled using many different techniques and supplies. I started with a metallic background paper that I ran through my Sizzix machine using a Cuttlebug embossing folder. The paper came out looking like damask-extremely cool. I had purchased a CD from Lisa Kettell which is just packed with images of Marie and things from that era. After sizing the image to fit an ATC I enhanced some of the color with colored pencils and applied her with pop dots. As you can see, she is embellished with a felt tiara, some gathered chiffon, pearls and rhinestones. I can't wait to see the cards I receive from the swap, as our hostess says they are wonderful.

This is the final card with the backing finished.

And here is the batch ready to send. I wrapped them in vellum and a tulle ribbon, finally sewing a tiny Eiffel Tower charm to each one.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Taking Flight...

.. by Kelly Rae Roberts just happens to the title of one of my new fave art books, so thought I 'd get a little plug in for it while I do an update on our baby birds. I have to say that this experience has really been so full of learning opportunities-especially for one who knows so little about birds. As you may remember, we have 4 brand-new baby birds (we have yet to figure out exactly what type they are) on our patio. They are 9 days old today and it is my understanding that it is likely they will take flight by the 2 week mark. Now, if you know us at all , you know that we wouldn't just end up with a normal nest experience. A few days ago we noticed that there were 2 pairs of adult birds messing with the nest. A little research revealed to me that birds actually work as a couple to rear their young and in fact the daddy bird will sometimes continue the care and feeding of the wee ones while mom goes forth and builds another nest for the next batch. We realized that another couple had built another nest right next to the first. Hubby referred to it as "nest condos" as they are built as 2 separate, but attached units. I was concerned that the new couple might interfere with the babies, but these little guys were not to be outsmarted. When we got up this morning they had moved into the new nest! I totally get their thought process on this one-can you imagine how gross that first nest is after 9 days of 4 babies living, breathing, eating, etc.? I have no idea what will happen next, though I do see the daddy chasing the new male away whenever he appears. I have updated pictures and the change in these birds (now called fledglings) is amazing.
My Hubby has affectionately named this one "Bartholowew". Just today he is showing signs of wanting to get out of the nest. I read that they are rarely successful in flight on first attempt, which means the DOG will have to be closely watched during this time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Binding Challenge

I was fortunate to have been involved in another book swap recently. This one had the theme "Altered Card Book" and was made up of 18 different types of cards (chosen by the participant), that were altered and swapped. This has made for a bit of a pickle when it comes to binding. These cards, now pages, vary in size from the size of a credit card to that of a Cabinet card, which happened to be my selection. I received my pages a couple of weeks ago and they are WONDERFUL! Every time I think this group can't top itself...

My Cabinet cards were great fun to compose. I made each one different and tried to do things I haven't done before. My Dear Friend Dawn gave me my very first altered Cabinet card and it was love at first sight. She made them for an altered Halloween book way back in October. She has since given me another and I love it just as much. As with all things, some of the altered Cab cards appeal to me more than others and Dawn's are always breath-taking. I would say she gave me my push to try these and I have yet to stop making them. For this swap I was allowed to make good copies to alter, given the price of each card -anywhere from $3 to $10 and even more. I decided to copy 5 different cards and make it a challenge to myself to alter each one differently.

I think I have mentioned that we are to do something with the backsides of these pages rather than just leaving them white, so I wrote a little mini-bio to go with each person pictured. That was nearly as fun as the altering.

I altered 5 of these.

Just had to put a paper hat on this serious dude..Big Top children
Adding the animals to this photo really seemed to change his personality. In my mind, he is having tons more fun with his new cohorts.

This guy again! This was one of my favorites, if only for the stamped bottom which read-"It's a dog-eat-dog world and I'm wearing Milk-Bone underwear. Ever felt that way???

As much as I enjoyed this swap, I am now pondering my binding method. Any ideas? I may just make a cool box to place them in and look at now and then.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Life...x4!!

As the perfect entry into Spring, we have had the excitement of a mama bird making her nest on our patio. I started noticing her about a month ago-flying back and forth all day long to this same spot. In this first photo you can see her little head peering out of the nest. I know very little about birds, but I knew better than to mess with the nest, so I got a long-view lens, stood on a chair, and peeked in to see 4 little blue eggs.
After a bit of research (what did we do before the internet?) I realized that it was likely she would hatch the eggs before the end of 4 weeks. It was moving to see how fervently she worked at nesting and how, each evening, she would roost upon the eggs with very little having the ability to disturb her enough to make her leave. During the day any small noise or movement would send her flying, but night time was different-she stayed on those eggs! As it happened, 2 days before Mother's Day my hubby noticed that the eggs had hatched. Due to the need to stay back from the nest, it took a couple of days to see that there were FOUR babies! Mama did a great job it seems. It has been so fun to watch them grow-they have at least doubled in size in the 5 days they have been on this earth. The pictures aren't great, but it is the best we were able to do without disturbing this young family.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Heart

Mother's Day is such a special day for me each year. I know this is the day when my children are expected to do for me and show their love. I am so blessed in having 3 wonderful sons who express their love and devotion frequently-and always show me how they feel on Mother's Day. I just wanted to take a minute today to say that I am even more aware of how fortunate I am TODAY. My sons are the most important people in my life. I have said many times, to many people, that having my boys really was the beginning of my life. I don't mean that in a sappy way, or to minimize what had happened up until that day in January, 1980 when I first held Jeremy, my first born, in my arms. I mean only that they have been the impetus for most of the important change and growth in my life. I know that in this world today we are told to be self-sufficient, self-interested and absolutely-self-motivated. I truly believe so many of the things I have accomplished in my life and most of the growth and evolution has come from my desire to be a better person for my boys-to be someone they know has their back, thinks they are perfection and will be there for all things, good or bad. Even now when my youngest is 21, I feel a special pride in being their Mom-first and foremost. If this makes me unevolved and too enmeshed, so be it. Jeremy, Ryan and Robert-THANK YOU! Thank you for allowing me to participate in your journey. Thank you for allowing me to be there when you, in all your beauty, took your first breath on this earth. Thank you for making it obvious everyday that, even though I made many mistakes as I learned my job, you think I did OK. Thank you for giving me my most treasured identity. I love being your Mom.

This is a photo of my sons and my beautiful Daughter-In-Law, Steph. She is the daughter I didn't have when I was raising my boys. She is truly the one I would have chosen, had it been my choice to make.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Some New ATCs

I was so excited to participate in an ATC swap that ended just today. The swap was initiated through a Facebook group of people who are members of Paula's Kit Club and the theme was "Birds", which is just perfect for me right now. The gal who hosted the swap lives in Florida, so it may be a few days before I see the work of the other participants, but I really enjoyed doing this card. There were 15 participants in this one and though I have done some where there were as few as 3, I really enjoy the larger ones. Maybe I'm just greedy, but I love having all that artwork in my hands at one time. Every time I have done a swap I have been amazed at the way so many people can take the same theme and do such different things with it. I have really missed the monthly ATC swap I used to attend at Frenzy Stamper, so this is one way to get my fix. The downside to doing the swaps by mail is that you don't get the chance to hear about the process of the artist. Oh...and I don't get to see my friend Debbie Bick, who owns Frenzy and is one cool chick!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Did We Really Need 5 Minute Chocolate Cake??

I received an email this morning from one of my High School classmates and thought instantly that is would make for a fun post. I have to mention that this classmate is a guy. If that isn't cool enough, he just married for the first time at age 51!!! He is as happy as anyone I have ever known and I guess he decided now that he's married he can let his figure go! Just kidding, Randy. Anyway, here ya go-

5 Minute Chocolate Cake for One
4 tbsp. Flour
4 tbsp. Sugar
2 tbsp. Cocoa
1 Egg
3 tbsp. Milk
3 tbsp. Oil
2 tbsp. Choco Chips (opt.)
Small splash of Vanilla
1 Lg. Microwave safe Coffee Mug

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add egg and mix thoroughly.

Add milk and oil and mix again.

Place mug in microwave and cook on high for 3 minutes.

The cake will rise over edge of cup-don't be alarmed.


You can tip it out onto a plate if you like.

Eat and enjoy!

If you are feeling generous, you can share with a loved one.

My personal addition would be a little whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

And I ask one more time...DID WE REALLY NEED THIS!!?? sigh.....