Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chi Town

Sniffle sniffle. Yep, its started again. But what can you expect when you take your body from 5 degrees to 70 degrees in one day. Our Chicago trip turned out GREAT on both sides. Our sailor looks amazing and is loving the Navy and getting all kinds of awards. Yes, I will brag. She won a marksmanship ribbon and she's an E2. She leaves for Pensacola to become an ABF - aviation boatswain fuels - she'll be pumping gas into jets. How exciting (yes, and dangerous but we're ignoring that part right now). She will see the world and for a talented mechanical girl, this will be great for her. We had a nice day and a fun visit and even made a little video for my hubby and the rest of the family. It was fun to hear all about her day and the people in her division and what she's liked so far. (firefighting school). And then the REAL fun started...

On Friday FIVE of the best peeps in Chicago braved the elements to go to Hannah's and Paper Source and partake in a yummy meal at the Lake House. Total fun with Cathy, Nan, Shelley, Jeanne (my roomie) and Kathleen (soon to be mama). Hannah's is a great craft store in Antioch, not fancy and lots of good stuff to choose from - sewing, beading, general crafts and of course, our fav - scrapbooking. Good Tim Holtz selection. And who doesn't love a good Paper Source. Expensive yes, but great envelopes and its interesting to see what they have going on as far as colors and styles. It was such a fun time to compare notes and jabber about what we made for Christmas or Silver Bella. I told Jeanne she is so lucky to have a great group of people around her and that they get together often. Note to self - make better effort to get together with my local peeps. The weather was so interesting and amazing. I spent an hour at 4 am watching a pick up truck try to get out of a snow drift (from my hotel window). The snow is gorgeous, especially out in the burbs where we were. It wasn't really cold to me at all - I found it refreshing. Of course, I only went from hotel to taxi so its not like I was out in it. But we did walk through the Navy RTC to pick up Rachel and it really wasn't that bad, with coat, scarf and gloves.
But like everyone else, I'm happy to close the chapter on Christmas and look ahead to 2009. 2008 was a great year with alot of good things happening. My hubby is home and life is going back to normal - a new good normal and I can't complain. Nope. Not for one minute. Bring it on.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas

I should be packing (lots of heavy layered clothing) for Chicago right now but instead I'm rambling down the Super Highway, playing here and there. Google Reader. Ebay. Facebook. It hasn't been all play - there's been some hard work. I found a library card catalog. For someone else. Dammit. No, not really - it was an excellent score in Omaha and Ms. Foofala herself picked it up. It was such a find... $65! There's another one in Portland and Stockton, CA. I'll keep googling "craigslist library card catalog" and hopefully one will show up in Texas somewhere. This photo isn't Theresa's cabinet, I found it while searching - don't you just love it. It belongs to this lady. What a great display!
I finished reading The Shack and it was such a great book. I loved it - mostly because of where I am in my life right now. It is such a great spiritual reminder. I want to read the second half again. I'm sure we'll have alot of time in the airport tomorrow - I plan on bringing lots of reading material. Nancy and I are going to Great Lakes to see Rachel. She's finishing up basic training for the Navy and it is also her birthday - she's a Christmas baby. I sure wouldn't do it for many people... I'd love to stay home. I finally ditched the idea that I was going to drive in that snowy, icy weather so we're taking taxis - what a relief. Until Friday, when my roomie, Jeanne and some of the CE gang are meeting me at their LSS, Hannahs. We're also going into Highland Park to see Paper Source. Love that store - have only been to the one in Beverly Hills - so this will be good fun. If I don't freeze my buns off. Unfortunately, the weather is suppose to turn nasty on Friday - icy sleet but we're hoping no. I can hope. I wouldn't blame them one bit if they wanted to stay in for the day... I would - to scrapbook.
One thing I have to say about Christmas this year. My husband loves Christmas time and all the gift buying - that man enjoys every moment of it. He's taught me alot about generosity and gift giving. I'm very lucky. It has been nice this year though doing it alot simpler and I think most everyone is doing that. Buying one or two meaningful gifts. My present was the Cricut Expression. I can't wait to use it and make this. I had plans to make some of my gifts - I hope next year I'll be better with that. It feels good though knowing that we'll start 2009 without a pile of credit card debt from Christmas. I also put the kabash on scrapbook buying. My motto is - if I'm not going to use it in the next two weeks, I don't buy it. No more rambling trips to HL or Mikes picking up $35 worth of stuff.
In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with lots of time to enjoy family and presents and some time to sit still and be in His presence. Good Night.

Friday, December 05, 2008

You're In the Navy Now

Lots of random stuff swarming around in my mind. I am almost well from the cold crud - gosh its taken a long time to leave! What's that saying - fish and family stink after three days??? Well, we can add flu to that... ~ Have you seen the new version of Picasa 3? It is Google's free software for photo editing and storage? I swear by it, especially for uploading photos after an event to share. I've played with the new choices for collage - lots of fun! ~
Rachel's graduation from Navy basic training is January 2nd in freezing Chicago! I am so INCREDIBLY proud of her beyond words. She sounds so happy and focused - it is the best possible choice for her. We will definitely be there to see her graduate. This is a pic of her at her last graduation 2 years ago. The good news about Chicago is that a whole slew of my peeps live there: Jeanne, Cathy, Nan, Melissa and Kathleen! I am hoping to get together with them and maybe even see their LSS, Hannahs!
The next picture is a beautiful journal made by Carol Wingert that I picked up at the Silver Bella Vendor Faire for my friend, Laurel. Laurel, Cindy and I LOVE Carol Wingert projects, especially her white books. Right now Laurel is the high bidder on Karen Russell's blog for a spot in her online photography class - lucky lucky girl! (We all learned so much in Karen's one day photography class - I can't recommend it enough!) Karen is donating the money to a charity of Laurel's choice. A great win/win situation for everyone. We all missed Laurel's birthday party last month because we were sick so we need to plan a makeup session soon.
I'm late for work... Here's to a great Friday and weekend!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

In a Van Down by the River*

*This is no motivational speech, just a private joke. It's Sunday and I am sick as a dog with the flu. Okay, it might just be a cold with a sore throat but that doesn't sound as dramatic as the pain I feel, so let's just call it flu, please. And I'm hot. I saw this train coming all week and there was nothing much to do so I jumped on board today. Oh well.
I can't possibly catch up all that has happened in the past week, but here is a short recap. Silver Bella was fun and inspiring and interesting. I learned some new stuff and I totally loved the opening dinner when we all stitched a small bird on a pillow ornament. It was a brilliant classic idea and the sight of 200 women stitching was magical. Honestly. I took interesting classes and met really neat people and came home with a suitcase that still is loaded and laying on the floor. I want to play with all my stuff but I think I'll just go get back in bed. Maybe tomorrow. I promise to post photos soon. This is one of Charlotte Lyons' Prada Schmada bags - oooooh so cute, I fell in love with it. And I got a kit at vendor night! Yipee. This is Second Chance, the antique store near the hotel. Really fun and amazing and stuffed with junk. My kind of place - good prices too. I loved Omaha - the downtown area is really nice.

Madonna was great - she really put on a great show and danced like a maniac but also showed a softer side. I am glad I went. She did a routine with jump ropes - double dutch and individual and you know, you can't fake that kind of stuff - she was non-stop amazing. I noticed in some of the photos the next day she had a bandage on her knee.
I want to make a shout out to the coolest birthday girl ever, Laurel, who celebrated her birthday this weekend. I am sorry to miss the show but I know we'll get together soon and party like rockstars.
I got a postcard from my niece, Rachel who is in Navy basic training in Great Lakes, IL where it is freezing ass cold. I am sooooo proud of her and she is doing great. I think of her every morning and can't wait to go to her graduation in December.
And finally, I found Jacki's great blog in South Africa a while back when I saw this post. This week she posted about a local HOUSTON project - too crazy, huh. The Holocaust Museum Houston is collecting 1.5 million handmade butterflies to represent the lives of innocent children taken in the Holocaust. The exhibition will be shown in Spring 2012 - I think I can make that deadline. So now I'm searching for just the right die for my Cuttlebug so I can get started. I hope you will consider supporting the project also.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Photography 101 ala Karen Russell

Here is anover rave post. I spent Friday and Saturday taking classes from Karen Russell and all I can do is say OH WOW. Super amazing. My photography has taken a 180 degree turn and what I learned was off the charts. I am so thrilled because I never understood all that stuff - aperture, f-stop, shutter speed, light. She walks you through it and I GOT IT! I'm not saying my photos aren't blurry but I now have the tools to practice practice practice so that I can have clean photos. I was like a giddy child inside during the entire class - it just made a world of difference. If you get a chance to take the class- do what you have to get there and and DO IT! It was my first KR experience and there is something so down-to-earth and real about her. Probably what I love the most is that she genuinely wants to share and has no qualms about it - if that makes you a better photographer or scrapbooker. She's not one of these copyright fools. You know the kind - that post all kinds of warnings on their blogs about written permission and copyright. Please. You didn't invent this. Okay, sorry, off soapbox - back to class. Her online class has a 200 person waiting list and once I've practiced more I may sign up for it but I picked up way more information to work with now... Anyway, I played around a little bit yesterday and took some photos of the dogs (Junior in photo). They really aren't keen on getting their photos taken (I don't know if its the beep or the shutter noise). This one is close to right but not quite there. I'm just so happy that I learned how to use the lens that I bought (and she recommended). It was a great class and a great day because all kinds of friends were there. Ronda & Penny (pictured - without permission!), Sandy and Karen, Laurel and Cindy and Josiane and Cari. On Friday I got to hang out with Sandy and take Karen's scrapbooking classes. The first class was an album of 10 Reasons. I hadn't prepared my list so it was mostly walking through the pages. The second class really rocked - interactive pages - with lots of add ons to a scrapbook page - a great way to add a ton of photos to an album or page. Really great ideas and ways to add pics - loved that class. Lots of great product given. It was great fun to spend two days with a great scrapbooker and photographer. So unassuming and enjoyable to be around. We did make it over to By Design and Novel Approach. I went nuts at By Design over all the Webster's Pages product - a new (to me) design that I am crazy about. Up close they are just gorgeous. Novel Approach is putting itself back together and looks good - they had a little more of WP to add. Now, it's back to work... and a plane ride on Thursday for Silver Bella! Yikes.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Fixing to - it's a Texas Thang

Life is fixing to get crazy, but that’s okay, it’s a good kind of crazy. We have our customer appreciation party tonight at work which is a very nice cocktail party. I’ve always enjoyed a good party – the meeting and greeting part and this has a long tradition that most people look forward to and it kicks off the holiday party season. So I say, bring it on.

Urban Market was last Sunday and the new location was a hit. Buyers swooped in early and by noon the crowd had thinned out quite a bit. I found several goodies: a tiny red footstool (for display), a beautiful gold hand mirror that I’m thinking of using as the base for an accordion album and a large wooden – well, all I can think of calling it was a spatula, but its like 15 x 25” with a handle. I love it. Oh and trims – lots of trims, five for a dollar, most of them about a foot. They will be great for projects. Ronda found a gym basket for $15 and Sandy Hoho found a nice round end table. Along with the popularity, pricing has gone up but I guess that is to be expected. Ronda has made me promise that I’ll go to Marburger in the spring… it starts March 31. It's so much fun to roam a market with scrapbook friends who love to junk and collaborate with great ideas.
I'm totally enjoying making Janet Hopkins junk binders. The real thrill is searching for books to use at resale shops and Half Price Books. I love the challenge of finding great titles, at cheap prices and made a great score yesterday. Its a book called The Expected One and has beautiful Madonna and angels on the cover and (get this) fleur de lis pattern on the inside. I don't even think I'm going to cover it with paper - just use gel medium. Just like any project, its best to run through it once and make all your mistakes... I sliced through too hard on my first book, but no worries, it had a crappy title! I've only started on the basics and haven't assembled the inside yet but found a few goodies at the office supply store to add. I'm going to use it for Ali Edward's Dec Daily album. I hope to get it put together on Sunday.
Why Sunday? Because Friday and Saturday I'll be at the Junkie taking Karen Russell classes including her famed 9 hour Photography class. Yippeee. I am sooo siked. Since I've gotten my Canon 30D I have only played with it so I'm looking forward to learning it inside and out. I will also have time to stop by By Design and Novel Approach while I'm on the south side. AND a day off of work, what's not to love! After reading the posts on All Things Tim Yahoo board, I'm looking forward to getting the Grungeboard tabbed album and Basic Grey's eclectic album. I'm thinking the dark chocolate will be yummy too.
I've been totally enjoying my Cuttlebug. I've never owned a die cut machine and used it so this is novel for me. I've been cutting felt circles like this for Christmas and I about flipped when Jeanne turned me on to Spellbinder's Nestabilities. OMW, and in scallops too. They're on sale 30% at HL this week. I also picked up Ali E's latest book this week (yes, I used a coupon) and one of my favorite ideas was a mini album about the books you read. Too cool. One day (somewhere in the far far future) I will make one of those...
A year ago I lost my sister to cancer and so its been grim the past few weeks. But I'm coming out of it and the creativity has been flying. But its a little bit like how I do my house organizing. I'm here there and everywhere and its never done in a straight line but rather from room to room. At the end it all gets done but in the middle its chaos. Organized chaos but still chaos.
Next week will be my first Silver Bella - I'm getting so excited to learn new things, meet new people and see Omaha and experience some cold weather (yes, we're paying Reliant for a/c right now). In the meantime, I need to get to that job that supports this passion. Oh and I almost forgot, I scored Carol Wingert's white album - I didn't make the same mistake twice and wait too long to order. It's beautiful! Can't wait to assemble it later this month.
Like I mentioned earlier, what I'm grateful for the most this week is getting some time either in person or on the phone to visit with scrapbook friends and sharing new projects, supplies or ideas. I don't take it for granted for a second. It is good to be back in the light.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

End of the Weekend

I am still loving Google Reader... such a time saver plus its nice to get the notices when an update has been posted. I finished my second light box as a gift... There is no photo inside just yet and we may swap out the grass for sand/beach. I've ordered 6 more boxes from K & Co. This project was designed by Tracey Niehues and taught at Scrap St. Louis this year. Sue K has a great version for Christmas.

At a resale shop last week, I lucked out and found two wooden boxes for $5 that I'm now using for storing my stamp pads. They fit perfectly on the bottom shelf and there's plenty of slots still open. There's room at the inn!
Here are the gift bags that I found at Bath & Body Works at the Galleria - I think they will make perfect Christmas mini albums - just like Debby Schuh's Anthropologie album. I also snagged Anthropologie bags while I picked up a few gifts and cabinet knobs - one is a beautiful little bird called tweet knob. Somehow I see using it on the cover of a book -but don't hold me to it!
We had a terrific time Saturday night with a Pumpkin Carving Party at our house - great turn out and lots of unusual pumpkins. This year we invited friends and neighbors in addition to family - lots of great food and laughs. Since Ike we really have bonded with several neighbors around us - 13 days without power wasn't all bad! I served Tortilla Soup - a recipe that was served at Rotissiere for Beef & Bird - one that I've made for the past 20 years. (Note my change to the recipe - I use slightly less than 1/4 c oil). It was a big hit!
There is still alot happening before Silver Bella...I'm getting so excited and need to start focusing on what I'm going to bring. Tomorrow night we're going to see Tina Turner and next Sunday is Urban Market. Good times.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This and That

Just a quickie... perhaps I'm the only person on the planet who didn't know about this... but in case I'm not, I just found Google Reader and I am a-loving it. It keeps a list of your blogs and it lets you know when a new post has been added. It really simplifies the process and you can share your list with friends. I've found a couple of new blogs that I'm enjoying: Creative Chaos and Pam Garrison. All in preparation for Silver Bella which is on the horizon. And its COLD in Omaha these days - 40s and 50s. I can't wait!

I've made two light boxes from Tracey Niehues' class at Scrap St. Louis 2008 - oh so cute. Sue K from St. Louis made a Christmas box that is just adorable. If you get a chance to take her class - do it! I love how she used cotton and wrapped the top like a present! I have to order more cubes from K & Co since I think a couple of Christmas gift will need to be made. I wish Tracey kept up a blog because she does such fun projects - I would love to see what she's doing now.
I think I made a major SCORE yesterday at Bath & Body Works... after I checked out I saw a plethera of gift bags that would make beautiful mini albums ala Debby Schuh's Anthropologie album. OH SO CUTE, people. I promise to make and take photos very soon (by Sunday). I think this could be another great Christmas gift.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Canton Goodies

Good evening. After assembling my goodies on the kitchen table, I've laid them out quickly for a snap here and there so I can share. Wish I was better with staging but this was a quick down and dirty so forgive the lack of artistic display. The first pic I actually found at a local estate sale last weekend. Since I work for a Dutch company, I couldn't pass up this hand stitched hankerchief for $1 and a serving spoon and cookie cutter.

One of my favorite vendors is a lady in the back junk section, usually in front of the Civic Center. She has the best vintage cards and photographs and they're almost always $1 or less. The cards were 6 for $1. It really spoils you because others charge much more and I just can't pay any more when she always has great selection. She usually has a little bit of vintage buttons and trim too. She's so kind and fair.

There is a trim and wrapping paper booth at Canton that has several locations. The tulle is 3 for $12 and the yellow trim is just too yummy. I liked the white trim also. Just ignore the initial R magnet - that's a surprise for somebody!

Isn't that multi colored trim yummy!

I went basket and wire crazy on this trip - I didn't include the gym basket, which was $15. I like these off-white farm baskets the best. When we were at Mystic Paper last month they had this garden gate type card holder - I got the smaller version then. I also got a pretty 9 pane window. This lady, Linda makes beautiful green houses out of vintage windows and sells them at Canton - they were just to die for - really. I found lots of other neat projects here. I'm probably going to make a collage project with my window - similar to what Cindy, Adrian and Laurel made at a crop at By Design earlier this year.

We got the checkers board for $1 and the books for $2. A lady in Plano sold her entire collection of books - they were so amazing I wanted to buy tons of them. The top book will be for a journal like Janet Hopkins made at CE, the Boticelli has some great photographs and theres also a children thesaurus with great definitions. I thought the wooden paddle would make a great plaque for an announcement and the potato cutter would be a cute book handle with some velvet trim.

The quilt hearts were a $1 for 6 or 10 - how can you pass that up. I just got a Cuttlebug so it was nice to pick up some embossing plates and these two vintage Halloween stamps.

The two tiered platter was $3 and the blocks and printers blocks were $1 each. I found tons of great hardware and wooden pieces for real cheap. I'm going to paint the platter white.

One of our favorite places at Canton is the Quilting Barn. We've bought quilts for all the girls there and we have one near the couch for TV and snuggling. I loved the fabric for this bag and I thought the quilted placemats would be a nice change. They had a pretty chenille and quilt bed cover... but I just couldn't commit.

There's a booth where they sell fabric for $10 and oilcloth for $8. I bought my black toile there for my chair and ottoman. I can't remember what the project was for oil cloth because I've been looking for it for a very long time... I think it was a Martha Stewart project. In any case, I'll at least make a couple of splat mats!

This guy had a trim shop in downtown Canton and had some product left over so he sold these huge cards for $5. I felt guilty taking them. The fleur de lis are heavy and were $2 each.

These are cute little santa and reindeer pouches for small gifts. $2 - they were our first purchase.

The weather was just perfect in Canton this weekend and as I mentioned, we stayed on the main acreage for all three days. If you've never been, you really should experience "First Monday". It happens every month on the weekend before the first monday. It's about 4 hours north of Houston, east of Dallas. There is nothing better than finding a real treasure in the midst of all the junk. It was a great weekend and now I have a few goodies for Silver Bella!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Weekend Update

Well, kids, it was an absolutely pristine and wonderful weekend in Canton - great weather and great shopping and I had a great time. I have to give some kudos to my hubby - the guy follows along from pillar to post and carries the packages and offers up his wallet. Now, how can you beat that? Plus he asks what I'm looking for (in the junk section) and keeps his eyes peeled. We found TONS of stuff - I can't wait to take a pic tomorrow. Baskets galore, including gym baskets, wooden bingo tokens, oilcloth, wooden paddle, a 9 pane window, a large wire display door (we saw them at Mystic Paper but I didn't want to carry it home), lots of knobs and pulls, lots of books including a great childrens dictionary, two 12 x 12 checker boards - alot of this stuff was $1. The ribbon was $5 for an entire card (guy had closed his store). Oh and a beautiful quilt fabric bag and 4 quilt place mats (I'm so tired I could barely remember the word...)
We went to a local football game for true Friday Night Lights- Homecoming for a senior - DeWayne's cousin son. What fun that was - watching all the kids - small and large. It was a nice cool nite plus it brought back lots of memories for my hubby who played local ball.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday we went to Canton and shopped. Normally we'll go to Old Mill or Dogtown but this time we spent the entire time at Canton proper and still didn't see everything. We spent most of our time in the back with all the junk - I loved it! We had dinner at our favorite restaurant in Lindale, Petty's. It was such beautiful weather and a great time but my tootsies are killing me.
And finally, a last hurrah to my baby sister, who after tonight will no longer be in her forties... Happy Birthday, Little Sister!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Good Guys

I had an EXCELLENT weekend, thanks to these selfless guys. They left their comfortable homes in South Carolina just so that they could work 12 to 16 hour days in the heat of Texas with our ginormous mosquitos. And they did it with a lot of humor. They sleep at our convention center, using disposable towels, sleeping on cots where they keep the lights on all night (for security?). I'm hoping they got a hotel room and that they get to go back home soon. The neighbors of Afton Village are ever so grateful. We had cool and pleasant autumn weather this weekend. We still have things that need to get fixed around the house but the tree debris has been picked up and it still feels odd to look out and see lights at night. Crazy, huh. I took it easy - got Oprah's new book club selection, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle I'm looking forward to diving in! Enjoyed some steaks on the grill and played with a couple of projects. I will be getting ready to go to Silver Bella soon! And I'm thinking about signing up for Debby Schuh's Mediterranean cruise. It sounds absolutely magnificent plus hearing that Carolyn Cavanagh went on a similar cruise makes it all seem possible. I have a work trip next July in Rome... is that too much? Since CE is in August, at least it won't be two trips in one month! I can justify anything!

Friday, September 26, 2008


This is the status of most of the equipment in our casa today! Last night at 7 pm was Christmas in our house, folks - we got POWAAAH! It was so amazing and glorious and beautiful. I will quit with the exclamation points - how annoying... What a wonderful way to start the weekend - I am so looking forward to it.
I have a Happy Birthday Shoutout to my friend, Ronda. Today is her birthday and she treated me to such a great meal at Grotto - I can't wait to return the favor. I tried a great house red there, Red Diamond -I will definitely be visiting Specs for a purchase soon.
I hope you all have a great weekend - I am looking forward to just being in my home. and maybe a little scrapbooking too. Pike Electric from South Carolina restrung the missing power line and I got a chance to visit with those guys yesterday afternoon. I got some great photos too - I will post on Flickr when I get a chance. Power guys are such decent people and funny too. We're ever so grateful to the Pike guys for energizing us. They're working under some really difficult living conditions at the convention center - I'm hoping they find a hotel soon for them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Manifesto of the Powerless

sorry, kids, i'm cranky and have lost my pleasantries... I don't really think its CP's fault but I gotta be mad at somebody today...
- from R Connelly of the Houston Press
Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 09:12:06 AM
We, the people of Houston still without power 11 days after Ike; we, the CenterPoint customers who are seeing friggin' Entergy restore power more quickly (this, for the uninitiated, is the equivalent of your four-year-old making LeBron his bitch on the court); we, the neglected one-third who have yet to see a utility truck near our homes, have this to say to the rest of you:
We hate you.
We hate your ability to bask in a/c, do laundry, watch college football or the Emmys or Mad Men or whatever it is you watch (or work on your CE projects or new Carol Wingert kit!) We hate your ability to choose not to watch TV and instead read a book, without balancing a flashlight on your shoulder.
We hate your easy access to cold beer/wine.
We hate the fact that your dinner menu doesn't include something char-broiled on the backyard grill for the 11th day in a row.
We hate that your kids or 85 year old mother aren't asking every 10 minutes when the power might come back on.
We hate the fact that ice, for you, isn't something you need to go to the store each night to get, sitting through the shitty traffic because the red lights aren't working.
Don't take it personally -- as soon as we get power, we'll lord it over the rest of the un-electrified too.
And we really shouldn't take it out on you guys. It's CenterPoint that should be taking the brunt of it. So far, they've proven good only at coming up with excuses for why every other company in the area is restoring power much quicker than they are.
CenterPoint, you suck. The rest of you people, not so much, we guess. We apologize for the outburst.
But not to CenterPoint.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

IKE Update

Okay, I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is we have water, the bad news is we DON'T have power. and it totally sucks. I'm a stressed-out wimp and the only reason I can joke about it tonight is because I am staying at my sister's house in Fairfield and SHE HAS POWER! If you want to see some really incredible photos of Galveston and southeast Texas, take a look at these. They are amazing. We're now able to buy gas without waiting in line, and a hot meal and I hear the grocery stores have some groceries but I haven't been in one yet. The mosquitos are bigger 'n Dallas right now and I actually kissed a lineman from Chicago who drove down our street today. Okay, maybe not kissed, but you know, I showed the proper respect (for a scrapbooker) - I took his picture. His normal territory is Crystal Lake - imagine that, Jeanne! We're oh so fortunate not to have major damage but right now, I just want my life to go back to normal.
One of my favorite local photographers on Flickr is OneEighteen and his house in Seabrook area was seriously damaged. Along with making beautiful pictures, the guy has an amazing attitude. The guy is a pilot on the Houston Ship Channel and captures some awesome views. I became acquainted with his photography when I saw a picture of Peggy's Lake. The fact that it included a power plant was a bonus for me! He captures great portaits also of crews from the ships he chauffers into the channel. It's just stuff and inconvenience but man, this stuff is kicking my butt!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hurricane Ike

As a kid in New Orleans, hurricanes were a fun time visiting with the neighbors and no worries. As an adult, it was frightening - the sound of the wind and trees bending in half. We are fine - no major damages just trees and fence. On Day 7 we don't have any power but we do have water. For the past few months I've been traveling and wishing I could lay in bed and snooze with the pups and I got that wish granted this week. The weather (up until today) has been that wonderful kind of fall weather - cool breeze and sunny - makes you happy to be alive. We are very blessed and we think of that every morning. It is still a struggle - gasoline is scarce and groceries too. Some restaurants are open. Alot of traffic lights are out so getting around takes alot of patience. We've become closer to our neighbors, getting help and giving help. Thanks for the emails. I'm back at work today and we hope to get power within a week. We know we are so so so fortunate.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Back Track

I need to back up a little and talk about London and let you see what I found at Portobello Market and Camden Market and Spitalfields. Its a short 45 minute flight from Amsterdam and the Paddington express train is alot easier to manuever since its in English. And the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow is downright amazing - first class shopping and huge video screens. I know - who blogs about airport terminals? The store, Paul Smith had some great displays, including a vintage looking girls dress made from maps. Way cool. And of course, I thought, I can do that...

As soon as I could, I dumped my luggage and headed for Portobello market, which was about 10 blocks away. It was full of life, interesting antiques and food. It went on for blocks. I found four terracotta soldiers that I had to have - having seen similar at my colleague's house in Driehues. One is sitting in my office at work. And two small beautiful wooden printers tray, about 10 x12 with Fleet St. London on top. I had a great time looking in all the booths and call me naive, but shocked to see Nazi stuff. Too weird. As I walked back to the hotel, I saw signs that Notting Hill Carnival was that weekend and in my same neighborhood. For a girl from New Orleans, carnival is nothing new. I stood on our street corner and took about 100 photos of the crowds as they made their way by - London is definitely global, so worldly. The following days I made my way to Camden Lock/Market and my favorite, Covent Garden and also Spitalfields. It was cold at Spitalfields but I scored 14 vintage cabinet cards and photos (mostly brides) for roughly GBP 2 each. I had a wonderful time looking through that stash and visited with several ladies who also enjoyed the hunt. I love that there are others that I don't have to explain it to. At Camden I found playing cards that were so much fun - mostly royalty or Beatles or limericks - I shared them with my s/b friends for collage. I also slipped into Harrods and Fortnum and Mason. Both were yummy, in theor displays and the goodies I brought home. I used the excuse "oh, it's my birthday" as often as possible! At Covent Garden I got a beautiful juniper trivet (the aroma is intoxicating) and she gave me a beautifully carved giraffe pen. I said it was for my niece but I don't know if I can part with it! The shopping was oh, so much fun but the city is very hard on a girl. How? Moving around via tube is fantastic but so different when you're used to the comfort of a vehicle. I lost a package somewhere - just not used to keeping track! And the worldliness of the city gets right in your face and you'd better pay attention to it. I was gone one day too much and was ready to come home. But it was a great shopping trip and a wonderful birthday. I love the English and I love London.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Oh, Canada!

I so tired. I can't event speak in full sentences. But I thought I should dedicate this post to our North American friends. And so I will just leave you with this money shot. This is (one of) My Favorite Canadian(s), Charlene. She is so full of life and happy and SO MUCH fun to be around. We had an exceptional time at Creative Escape this year - all of us agreed it was the best one yet.

And here's my Favorite Canadian, Heather - (taken at the bar last night, that's why the lighting is so bad!) She is so kind and sweet and a talented artist. I hate it that they all live so far away and we only see each other once or twice a year.

And last but never least is Robin. She's been a great addition to our group. Always smiling. Easy to be around. I am missing you guys already! Hope you are home safe in Nova Scotia. I will come for a visit in 2009, I promise!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Welkom to Rotterdam

I got home last night from a week in Rotterdam (Netherlands) and London and at 4 am, now awake still a bit on London time. It was a wonderful trip - the business part went swimmingly. I met my colleagues (some for the first time) in Rotterdam and along with my boss, spent two days reviewing our work. It was in a great format - we met at someone's home and discussed various issues in an open format. There is nothing like visiting a colleague's home to really experience the country. I had dinner once at a colleague's home in Sydney and it was such a privileged experience. I lucked out on getting a row on BA by myself - so I read and relaxed and had a great flight.
I had a little difficulty figuring out the train system from the airport to Rotterdam but made it eventually and had dinner with my colleague, Rene. The scene was picturesque: a canal from where the pilgrim fathers departed around 1620 called Delftshaven, here's a photo. See the windmill in the background?We had a barbque (grilled) meal that was spectacular - pate, cheese and bread with wine. Grilled veal with grape tomatoes and chocolate souffle. The tomatoes were so sweet and savory, the waiter gave me extras to take home (and I ate them with eggs in the morning). Actually, all three meals in NL were AMAZING. Our group dinner on Thursday night was in a small hotel/inn near Ijmuiden called Augusta. Everyone was jovial and bantering and the food was delicious with a 4 course meal lasting 4 hours. One thing I will remember about Netherlands is their bread - I've tasted some of the most fresh and delectable bread in Holland. Just yum. And most people think of simple meals in Hollands - quite the contrary this time.

My camera battery is recharging - I will download photos tonight and post sometime in the next few days. The first leg of the trip was well worth it and enjoyable. I feel fortunate to be able to say that about my work. My best shopping score in London - 14 vintage photos!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Open a Door

Nothing is ever lost by courtesy.
It is the cheapest of the pleasures;
costs nothing and conveys much.
It pleases him who gives
and him who receives,
and thus, like mercy,
it is twice blessed.

-Erastus Wiman

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Well, it looks like the weekend is coming to a close and I did manage to get to IKEA for Expedit shelves and Liatorp buffet. In and out in 30 minutes, folks... can you believe it! I've gotten 5 of the 6 pieces into the house and that's about it. That stuff is HEAVY! Saturday night we had a family dinner for my Mother's 85th birthday. It was really nice. I love watching my niece and nephew growing up. It still amazes me to hear them talk - they're 9 and 11. Sunday I took a ride over to Brenham with Karen to see Leftovers Antiques. Very cool store that I saw in Country Living - they have an incredible display of purple glass (all recovered from a landfill!) Lots of great vinettes and some wonderful nesting boxes that should have gone home with me. We both managed to snag a gift for ourselves. I found a vintage pink cake stand (that is VERY heavy) and Karen found a four tiered silver stand that had some beautiful detail on the edge. I also managed to pick up a little giftie for a girl that lives in Laurel, MD... Whoooooooo could it beeeeeeeeeeeeeeee???? And a birthday present for my sister (in October). I'm getting my ducks in a row for London - shopping, theater (Phantom of the Opera, let's hope!) and Kensington Palace (thanks, Boo). I am working on a Shutterfly photo book - my first. I just think it is going to be the best way to keep my memories for certain scrapbook trips. Let's face it, I'm not going to get a scrapbook done this year - so this is a good compromise. I can't wait to finish it! I'm working on the ARTistry Vancouver March 2007 trip right now.
This display is from Kuhl + Linscomb in Houston. I had to take one of the petite green vases home with me.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Summer Saturday

Back home again and I'm possibly the only Houstonian enjoying the heat. I heard all about our humidity while in Canada... but frankly, I am enjoying the beautiful sunshine. There wasn't alot of it in Montreal or Quebec and definitely not at the wattage we get. Just awesome today. Okay, it helps to have the a/c chugging but still....

I took the train from Montreal to Quebec, which was fun and relaxing. Definitely, the way to go. Quebec was awesome - we stayed at the Hotel Frontenac which was just amazing. We visited some falls at Mont Morency and the beautiful Joan of Arc gardens at the Plains of Abraham. We walked our legs off - the shopping wasn't that great but the scenery was fabulous. Quebec is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year. This other photo is of a Catholic church that is next to the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in Montreal, and it is absolutely stunning inside. As beautiful as any European church, even Notre Dame. I didn't see much else of Montreal, just stayed overnight. One things for sure, I saw plenty of fleur de lis everywhere... this was my favorite, next to the train station.

Oh, I almost forgot... major score in Canada - Cuban cigar boxes! YES! I found 3 very nice ones.

Found two cute sites - one is a zoo word site. It makes an animal out of the letters... my niece, Kate will just love this site. Take a look-see.

The second site that I thought was so cool is called Wordle which are word clouds. I definitely will be playing with it! Great for scrapbooking! This one came from my blog... good fun.
I signed up for Donna Downey's Inspired this week- it's in May of next year. The diverse list of classes and teachers is what attracted me to it, I definitely hope we play with canvas and paints. Plus Jeanne and our CE peeps will be going... good times! I took a class from DD in Vancouver in 2007 and it was fun and I learned new things... We used Bazzill chipboard for childhood photographs - simple project but the true test is that it was totally useful - I made one for my brother for Christmas. So cool - to get the photos out of the drawer and available for reminiscing.
I worked on Photoshopping old photographs today. I'm tired. I realized at the end that I was getting sloppy so I quit. The new sofa arrived this morning and when I tried to hook up the TV across the room, the cable wasn't engaged. I don't know why I am so mechanically challenged, but I am. It is exhausting. It rarely goes smoothly. Replaced the batteries, but still no doorbell. That's it, I just need to call Angie's List and get somebody over for a to-do list. That's for tomorrow... plus an IKEA visit!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday at last!

Okay, so I'm still loving the Wii, like in - every evening we fight over it and I rushed home from work when Nanie called to say she was at Target, just so I COULD BE FIRST! It really is amazing how they trick you into doing all these little games and you DON'T EVEN REALIZE you're exercising your body. I am telling you - it is phenomenal. It was hilarious today when my 10 year old nephew came over and played tennis. I had been playing this civilized old lady in skirts version and he was making those guys ATTACK. Crazy. And just too much fun. I can't say it enough.
The good news is that I don't sit at the computer every night and do nothing... I also haven't worked on any of my Photoshop projects or my last CJ (sorry, Megan). I am leaving in the morning for Quebec City for 6 days and I need to pack tonight, along with get some money and pay bills blah blah blah. It's alot cooler in Montreal (70s) than here, which will be wonderful. I'm going to a conference where I know no one... except my boss. But they're my kind of people (insurance) so I'm sure we'll get along famously.

My newest BFF, Cindy found some amazing ideas on scrap rooms with my all time favorite being, Vicki Boutin. Oh man, it is exactly what I want. I have been eyeing the Liatorp cabinet and she has it outfitted beautifully.

I also found an ingenious clip it type storage here. Stop for just a moment and take a look see at how simple and inexpensive the solution she created. Amazing. It only cost her roughly $10.

Okay, I'm just about out of time but have to show you some amazing canvas' that I purchase a few weeks ago. Fell in love with them... Found them on etsy while searching for local, her name is Lori Young. Love her work. I purchased 6 of them - look at 33 sales to see the last 2 Texas canvas, that I bought. What do you think?

Okay, so I'm out of time. Have an early flight so need to get packing. Hope its a great weekend for you. Au revoir!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mii loves Wii

I think it is important to remember when life becomes as easy as a cake walk. Sunday morning was one of those times. I have been researching Nintendo's Wii for about a month. On Sunday I was reading the Chronicle and looking at the Target ad when I saw Wii and Wii Fit on friggin SALE, people! So I call and the Memorial City store says they have both in stock and I am there in 4 minutes flat. I did brush my teeth and I TOTALLY SCORED a Wii. Well, two actually. My 10 year old nephew wanted one so I woke up his Mom to see if it was okay to get one. It is very easy to put together and I have to say, I am now one of those goofballs that is hooked on it. The tennis brings me back to high school days. And no, I won't share my rated age (at this time). Maybe later. When I lose 20 pounds... We love the golf too and I love doing hula hoops. Nancy has a full workout routine going but for the past two nights we've started at 9 pm and then I can't get her off the damn thing. I just have to say, it is one of the best inventions of the decade, for sure. Come on over and play with us.
I've torn my scrap room apart and trashed the living room and sunroom. My new BFF, Ronda gave me some great ideas on using Ikea's Expedit and Liatorp together (hanging the E horizontally on the wall). I also have a cool PB engraved pencil thats 6' tall that I need to get on the wall. I won't do either until I get back from Quebec City (I leave Saturday). I did get another Elfa cart from Container Store - I have one that is crammed full and I love the large open trays. I still need to assemble it - maybe tomorrow night. I've had trouble sleeping 3 nights in a row so hopefully I can crash for the nite. Oh, wait. We need a requisite photo - let me look in my stash... This is one of the rooms at Lake Austin Spa, one of my favorite places to visit. They serve healthy cuisine and teach tai chi, along with all those fabulous spa services. I haven't been in years but it is on my vision board now. The rooms are so comfy and inviting. It is my goal to get back there in the next two years. Its a great way to kick off healthy living - you don't want to veer off the path once you get started. In my dreams I'd like to be invited as a speaker or teacher one day. I should probably have a clear idea of what I could teach or write but that's for another day. Yep, when the stars align and things come easily it is confirmation that I can relax and remember I'm not running the show. Good night.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


WOW! What fun... I went to an all day crop at By Design yesterday to support Laurel's walk for breast cancer. You can read about it here. It's called, "Save the Tatas" - 3 day walk, 60 miles. Anyway, we all donated and cropped together yesterday. It was an awesome day. If I sound like I am gushing, I am - I think we all did because we all connected and had such an amazing time, sharing projects, information, websites... I have learned to appreciate those days of pure bliss. Laurel arranged for some great Lebanese food and I'm not into that kind of stuff, but it was good and there was plenty. I got to sit with my CE buds, Sandy and Karen and I met several new girls, Ronda and Cari. Laurel, Cindy and Adriana all are into Carol Wingert kits, so it was fun to see those and Cindy's LP album (made from a record). I definitely want to try that out! Went searching for my LPs... and finally found them. I was so inspired today, I finished a layout, etched on a vase and almost finished a surprise board book for someone(s) special. I was talking trash yesterday... I did NOT make it to Ikea for the bookcase. I still have to decide which ones to get!
I know everyone complains about the heat but I am just loving the sunshine days we are having. (random).
My niece, Megan is 15 today! It's also my Gracie girl's birthday today, she's 7. I've had her since she was 4 months old and it really doesn't seem that long ago. She is such a sweet little pup. (Killer's on the left - he's a good guy too).
Last week went off the rails slightly. I took my brother to the emergency room Wed nite because of stomach pains. I thought it was something he ate, turned out to be pancreatitis. He got out Friday and I'm glad he's feeling better. It was a little scary for a while.
I'm not sleeping well and not really sure why (not). (another random)
I'm home for another two weeks and then to Montreal and Quebec City for a business conference. Should be fun and interesting. I'm taking the train from Montreal to Quebec - it's 3 hours. Wish I could go further east and see my friend, Charleen but not this time. Oh, Canada!

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Guess I can't make it a month without blogging... Ah, me. Guess what? I finished the message board for my sister - wanna see it? This is from Heidi Swapp's Creative Escape class last year - it is two canvas attached with brackets. I masked a bird and butterflies using Distress Ink and decoupaged (mod podge) some old book pages and added tons of details (that are hard to see). I love details. The devil is in the details... Here's a second photo - perhaps you can see more of the details there. Anyway, I'm pretty proud of it - it's only taken me 10 months to finish it... but its done! I hope she likes it. I collaged photos of her family on Picasa and added it to a library pocket, good holder for tickets and such.
I signed up this week for Silver Bella! Yikes! I know its expensive but I really wanted to go last year and regretted not jumping in and doing it. I hope it is as great as it was last year - the raving was deafening!
I have to thank my brother for a great reference - actually two! I am looking for a hotel in London for next month and he recommended skoosh. They provide "tried and tested" hotels - I feel really good about the one they recommended - I don't think I can go wrong with that.
I've been lamenting about all the chores that need to be done around the house (now that the man person is gone) and was thinking about hiring a handiman once a month, to clean the a/c filters, clean the gutters, fix the door bell - all those little odd jobs that need to get done. Brother recommended Angie's List. I joined for a year and I am thrilled! They provide detailed reviews about the company/person, with a rating and how much was paid. And it's not limted to handimen, it's for everything: calligraphy, dog walkers, cake decorators, painters, etc. I am amazed! For $63 a year, how can you go wrong? I am going to finish my list and call someone this week. Love it.
Monday is a historical day for me 7-7-75 I started my career in marine insurance... 33 years. I always think of my Dad since he got me started.
Last month when I went to For Keeps Sake's Scrap St. Louis, this was my favorite project: it's a small box with a light and a little boy sitting on a stack of hay. Tracy Niehues of K&Company was the designer and I think she's just AMAZING. Her project for Creative Escape 2007 was ingenious and my favorite - a clear envelope folded and embellished. Anyway, she created another masterpiece - she is terrific and talented. The box is coming out from K & Company soon - I would love to make Christmas boxes, Valentine boxes... you name it. I bought a large pack of the lights at Mike's when I got back. Also have been searching for the boxes (guess it will be after CHA Summer).
So happy for the girls at Scrap-A-Ganza Expo that they had such a great turn out. I went on Saturday morning and the parking lot was full! I was amazed that the various stores all had different product, very little overlap. How do they do that? Nice mix and I found a few goodies that had to come home with me.
I'm sure as soon as I hit Publish I'll remember something else. I guess that's what edit is for. I'm going to go out and enjoy the sunshine at the pool. Aren't 3 day weekends the best!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Stationery it is

While in New Orleans recently, on my way to Destin we stopped in a couple of shops near Lakeside. EarthSavers is one of my all time favorite stores anywhere - I just like the lotions and potions. It's a NOLA area exclusive store - my favorite is over in Mandeville. I also found these beautiful black and white embossed cards. Each one is flocked and absolutely perfect. They were at Lazybug but I found some here, finally!
I found the fleur de lis ribbon at Scriptura which is right next to EarthSavers. Very cool stationery store - unusual stuff. We finished off the trip with cafe au lait and beignets at Morning Call - who cares if it was 4 o'clock and almost time for dinner! It's New Orleans!
The prayer card I made, St. Theresa's Prayer is my favorite prayer and I need to be reminded often of the second line... I cut a page from a board book as the base and I keep it in my calendar.
Hey - did you know that Anna Griffin now has a blog? I enjoyed reading her entry about the NY Stationery show. I'm wild about those extreme die cuts - they look yummy. There's a website Oakleaf Acre that features alot of AG products but I haven't been able to locate the large blue diecuts. Hopefully they will be available soon.
In the meantime I'm enjoying several new and a few olds blogs. Definitely Ali Edwards - I'm following every link. And Karen Russell is a must. If you look at Elsita's blog - May 7th entry - I am soooo loving her puppy picture. I am asking for one of my own with my favorite furry babies. I found Elsa while looking at Creature Comforts. Love how her May 27th post refers to the Ann Carrington canvas in Gwyenth Paltrow's house - I fell in love with the photos of her Hampton house. I didn't realize that the canvas was made of buttons! I would love to have that canvas!
I'm off to unpack from St. Louis. I had an absolutely AMAZING time that couldn't have been any better, I don't think. I will post about it in the next day or so - I'm still sorting my photos. What a great time - was had by all!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Disney Paint

While the weather was nice and cool today (what is UP with that, anyway?) it was overcast and cloudy and c'mon, just give us a big ol thunderstorm, already, allright? Geesh. There's nothing like scrapping and watching the droplets fall outside my window. Even a gusher would be okay (provided I'm home and nowhere to go...). But no. not today anyway. Over the past 24 hours I've spent HOURS plugging and unplugging electronic devices in my home and talking to India and Shreveport. I think having problems with my internet service is right up there with root canal or car accident. Just grates on my nerves. My DVR player fried during our last storm (weeks ago) and I've been meaning to take it to Comcast but before I left today, I thought, why not try the old pluggerooo? Never has the word ~boot! looked so lovely. Divine. Another hour or two of the day belonged to me and not standing in that line with gnarly people who haven't paid their bill and want to get home to see Springer.
I did several mundane tasks and finally set out for Chipolte and Home Depot and as a scrapbooker, let me just tell you, that I totally SCORED! This was so amazing. I was pricing a cabinet for my scraproom (it finally dawned on me to get this crap put behind closed doors and add a table to the living room. I think moving away from the computer will free up HOURS of scrap essential time. Smack. Back to the subject. While cruising past the paint section, I saw these. Look right between the lady and the little girl... see all those Paint Samples. Yes, that's what they are - Paint Samples in the shape of Mickey Ears - too cute! and hmmmmm, wouldn't they be just IDEAL for my pages for our Disney trip at Christmas. So cute - they about 2.5 x 3" and I can't decide whether to use them on a single page or as page dividers. Not sure if I'll cut them out or leave them as samples. Just too cute. Total Score! Now as a scrapbooker, can't you just feel the love!
I'm working on making these cute photo wallets. Jen Walker of Creative Stamps and Stickers created it and up close, it is just the cutest. I've been showing it to everyone and once I worked on wrapping the belt around (the perfectionist in me wasn't satisfied), I really like how they turned out. (I switched the belts to make them contrast). I'll make more tomorrow and take a photo - cute little brag books to put in your purse. CSS has several cute projects - I'm going to make the debit card holder tomorrow too. Don't you think we should have this cuteness to show the world, it's our duty as scrapbookers. I made mine out of brown Bazzill bling with a pink bling belt, a flower and a button. There are several variations at Splitcoast Stampers also and a gallery with tons of examples. Instead of a belt, some girls did a slider, which is cute. And lots of variations on the enclosure. So fun. Let's hope it rains tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's just a Tuesday

Ugh. I'm having re-entry issues. Getting back to normal living after an idyllic weekend in the country with scrapping and peeps and the breeze. Here's another photo to smooth out the bumpy ride back onto my earth. This is the outdoor fireplace which is next to the hot tub. We had lunch out here on Saturday. We ate every meal outside this weekend - so enjoyable. Notice the carving? Yeah. Way cool.
Speaking of Earth, I'm missing the end of the Eckard Tolle classes on Oprah.com on Monday night - it's so nice that they are recorded and we can view them whenver we want. I'm glad Oprah isn't a money whore and tried to sell it - she's giving it away. Very kind. It's funny because the same mantra that is discussed in A New Earth - I keep hearing it other places too. Like the Max Lucado quote.
I saw on Jeanette's blog that Anna Griffin has a blog, which is nice to read. I love her paper and her rub ons are some of the best (Jenni Bowlins are #1 in my book). Too bad her designer doesn't follow her class act.
I really liked the mini-album that Donna Downey has on her blog last week (on the 7th). I love how she calls it "alligatoring" - when a mini album is fatter than its spine. What a great term and we've all made those kind of books. The book in the video looks really cute. I know some people are not fond of Donna and I do get put off with her selling but I will say, she has some very cute ideas and I like her creativity. Okay, I'm getting loosey goosey so I'm going to try to sleep. Good night.