Friday, December 9, 2011

Reflections 2011: Belief

9. Which beliefs did you re-examine this year? How did your beliefs stand up against this re-examining?

I stumbled upon an article about fair trade via the internet. I didn't save the link, unfortunately. However, the main point of the article was this: fair trade creates an artificial shortage in the local supply of some agricultural products, making it extremely difficult for the poor to purchase these products. The example from the article was quinoa -- it has become a "fad food" in America, which means Americans are buying substantial amounts from Bolivian (I think) farmers who used to sell it cheaply to their neighbors. Since Americans are willing to pay more, farmers are selling almost none of their crop locally. Another issue stems from the fact that whenever a particular crop sells for a high price, overproduction usually comes after it, lowering the prices once again. Few crops can continue to sell at a high price unless they are extremely specialized -- for example, Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee always sells at a high rate because it is only grown on Jamaica's Blue Mountain, but crops that have multiple growing areas, like citrus fruits, will fluctuate if one growing region has a bad growing season.

I feel like I need to do more research into this subject matter before I declare "fair trade" a total failure. I also have to wonder if enough research has been done in general into this side of the fair trade issue. I did find it pretty shocking that fair trade could possibly be hurting the very people it is intended to help, though. I've done a bit of searching, and there is an article from The Economist, written in 2006, that delves into the criticisms of fair trade. However, I can't access it without purchasing an online access pass or becoming a subscriber. I may have to look into using an online database through a public library, or combing their physical magazine collection to read this article.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Reflections 2011: Goodbye

8. Who or what did you say goodbye to this year? How did this separation affect you? What did you learn from it?

MSG. Monosodium glutamate. I've made a point not to buy anything with MSG in it. I learned this past year that it is a neurotoxin, known to cause headaches in some individuals. I learned from a nurse that it is a cheap additive that will make anything taste good - even dirt. Because of this, MSG can be linked to obesity rates because it makes unhealthy food seem extremely palatable to the consumer.

Because I am prone to headaches, I felt that cutting MSG from my diet would be a positive change. It definitely has been. Saying goodbye to MSG has meant the purchase of less junk food, less processed frozen food, and less impulsive food purchases. It does mean that I'm more likely to buy name-brand products, too - Lay's Potato Chips don't contain MSG, while our store brand's comparable flavors do contain MSG. I know there is still a lot of junk in my diet (processed sugars and diet sodas, for example), but I feel like eliminating MSG has been good for me.

Over the past year, my headaches have been few and far between. There are fewer "random" headaches -- the majority can now be traced to seasonal or hormonal changes (or a missed can of caffeinated soda). I don't want to let anyone think that I was completely cured by eliminating MSG - I still get a couple headaches a month, but it's far better than the 4-10 a month I had before. I also visited urgent care twice last fall because of these headaches. The second visit sent me home with prescriptions for 10 days of amoxicillin followed by a five day azithromyacin course, and I noticed a marked decrease in my headaches after that. Honestly, though, it wasn't until the MSG was cut from my diet that I really, truly felt better.

Of course, it isn't completely gone. I'm sure MSG is in a lot of the food I eat when we go out. I know it is in Hidden Valley Ranch dressing, which is one of my favorites. I don't think it's in the organic version, so we might start eating that in our house instead. However, the important lesson I learned this year is that saying goodbye to junk in my diet can yield some major results. I'm thinking 2012 will see another "bad for me" item phased out of my diet, but I'm not quite sure what. Given the recent concerns about BPA in canned soups and tomatoes, I think canned foods might be next.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reflections 2011: Prompts 8-14

8. Who or what did you say goodbye to this year? How did this separation affect you? What did you learn from it?

9. Which beliefs did you re-examine this year? How did your beliefs stand up against this re-examining?

10. Traditions are established through repetition. What did you do this year that you hope to repeat until it becomes a tradition? What made this experience worthy of becoming a tradition?

11. What traditions in your life might need re-examining? Why?

12. List the roles you currently play in the lives of others. Elaborate on these roles if you wish.

13. Review the list of roles you created yesterday. How might this list change in 2012? Will you be adding or subtracting any roles to this list? Explain.

14. Describe someone who has played a significant role in your life in 2011.

Reflections 2011: Goals & Obligations

7. What are your goals for 2012? What are your obligations in 2012? How can you mesh the two of these together?

My goals for 2012 are these: 1) Run a 5K. 2) Paint the inside of my house. 3) Hang up decorations in my house. 4) Purchase furniture to finish off the house. 5) Pay off another student loan ahead of schedule. 6) Complete my final class for Georgia teaching certification.

My obligations for 2012 are these: 1) Make monthly student loan payments. 2) Serve as matron-of-honor in my sister's wedding. 3) Teach for seven weeks while I cover a maternity leave. 4) Serve at church. 5) Keep up the exterior areas of our home to meet the HOA covenants and restrictions.

When considering how to mesh these two groups of things together, I think about a forwarded email I received in college. It was a long, drawn out unrealistic scenario about how a person was asked to fit golf balls, pebbles, and sand into a jar. They began in reverse order, and couldn't do it. The person requesting the task's completion then showed the proper way to do it: the biggest things go first, the medium-sized things come next, and the sand falls into place around them. This short scenario was meant to illustrate that if we place the most important things first in our lives, everything else will just fall into place around them. This is my plan for the coming year. I will put the important things first, and everything else should fall into place.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reflections 2011: What held you back?

6. What held you back from achieving your goals in 2011? How can you make sure it doesn’t stop you in 2012?

Procrastination. Feeling sick. Time. Money.

I feel like these four things together stopped me from doing everything I wanted to do this year. I have a poor concept of how much time things will take to be completed. I tend to procrastinate by doing things online - Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, reading blogs. When I combine those two things, I find myself with too little time. And then there's the whole sickness thing. Three times this year, I got so sick I was pretty much worthless for awhile. Two of the three turned out to be allergies, which is frustrating because there isn't much I can do about those allergies, short of moving away.

In 2012, I'm not going to play time wasting Facebook games. I'll probably still do the other stuff I do online, but I'm going to scale back on it. I think I might utilize a timer to help me stay on task. I also think using a to-do list and keeping my work spaces clear would help me be more productive. Organization is key, I'm learning.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reflections 2011: GO

5. Where do you want to go in 2012? Is it a vacation spot, a new direction in your work or hobby, a new restaurant, or something else? Describe where you want to go. Tell us why you want to go there. How could you - or your creative life - benefit from going somewhere new?

I want to go through the finish line.

Yes, there are so many other places I choose to say I want to go to in 2011. I want to go back to Jamaica. I want to go to Europe. I want to go anywhere. But for 2012, the finish line is the goal.

I want to run a 5K next year. I've neglected exercising for years. YEARS. I don't do well with sweating or being out of breath or feeling uncomfortable at all (unless it's being uncomfortable in pretty shoes - that's something I'm great at). Two weeks ago, I bought running shoes. I have a few 5K races in mind right now, and my goal is run one sometime next year. I just can't imagine how great it will feel to complete the race, to cross the finish line for the first time.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reflections 2011: New Place

4. Did you go anywhere new in 2011? Where was it - a new grocery store, a vacation spot, a new class, a new website? Describe this new place.

There were several new places I visited this year. I took my first trip to Trader Joe's. I I took my first class at Big Picture Scrapbooking, entering the digital classroom for the first time. I visited for the first time. I also visited two new states for the first time - New Hampshire and Ohio.

New Hampshire left the biggest impression on me. I'd been watching the TV series The West Wing with Trevor for over a year via Netflix discs. President Josiah Bartlett was a native of New Hampshire, and the character often spoke about the beauty and wonder of New Hampshire on the show. It was everything I'd hoped it would be.

We stayed at the cabin Russ inherited from his grandparents on Sand Pond Lake. It is a pristine lake, home to loons and trout and red newts. Mountains surround the clear water. The granite mountain tops are covered in wild blueberry bushes. We picked several quarts of the berries while we were there, and I still have about two cups in my freezer.

The cabin is a huge old house. It has been in Russ' family for about 100 years. His great-grandparents honeymooned there and loved it so much that they bought it. His grandfather lovingly cared for it for many years before leaving it to Russ when he passed away in 2009. Russ' grandmother passed away the following year. A granite bench bearing their names faces the water outside the cabin -- their ashes have been spread over the mountains and the lake.

What struck me about the cabin was the overwhelming sense of peacefulness there. No television, no air conditioning, no internet, no computers, and sometimes, no cellphone signal. While I was raised in the country without those things for many years, the cabin was on a whole different level. Perhaps it was because I've become acclimated to the metropolitan life, where I always have a cellphone signal. It was just so amazing to be living without those distractions for the three days we were there. It felt like a week, but it was simply three glorious days.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Reflections 2011: Accomplishment

3. Which 2011 accomplishment are you most proud of? Why are you proud of that accomplishment? Can you build upon that accomplishment in 2012? If so, how will you do so?

Buying our house is definitely the accomplishment I'm most proud of. I'm proud because we did it on a single income, and we made significant sacrifices to do so. We haven't had cable since the end of February, when we decided that was an expense we didn't need to worry about while we were in the process of purchasing and moving into a home. We don't eat out as much, and we only went to one movie this year. We've also decreased our shopping.

There are so many ways we can build on this accomplishment in 2012. First of all, we have an empty dining room. There are still a few places where we need to put some furniture. We certainly need to hang some decorations on the walls. Speaking of walls, we need to paint. Every room is still the same almond color it was when the house was built in 2010. I think it's time for some color. :)

Reflections 2011: The Next Word

2. At the end of 2012, which word would you like to be able to say represented the year for you? Why do you want that word to represent your year? What actions can you take to make that happen?

Good. I just want to be able to say at the end of 2012 that I've had a good year, that I am in good health, that I have a good marriage, that I was a good friend, and that I did good things.

The actions I can take towards making that happen seem so simple: just do it. Do the right things, the good things, and everything else will fall into place. I think what it comes down to is being mindful of my choices, and probably even more importantly, mindful of the consequences. For example, keeping a quart of ice cream in the freezer and two gallons of root beer in the fridge probably isn't a choice that contributes to good health because the consequences are a) me consuming lots of floats and b) me gaining weight.

Good probably isn't my One Little Word for 2012, just so you know. I don't think I can commit to using something so abstract for OLW. Also, I tend to choose verbs, and I'm not sure I want to break that pattern, either.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Reflections 2011: One Word

1. What word best represents the year 2011? Is it a word you chose in advance, like the “One Little Word” project, or did the word “find” you during this past year? Why does this word represent this past year, and what did you learn in relationship to the word during 2011?

I chose a One Little Word last December. It was move. I chose the word because it represented a number of things that I wanted to do this year. I wanted to move out of the apartment we were living in. I wanted to exercise, to move more. I wanted to move through the unread books on our shelves, and move through the books of the Bible. I wanted to move towards getting my Georgia teaching certificate. I wanted to be on the move, as in travel.

I really didn't meet many of my goals. I haven't officially started exercising, but I did visit my doctor because I'm a good little girl who follows the cautionary "consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program." Also, I bought a really pretty pair of silver and pink running shoes. I also read a lot more this year, but by no means did I clear our bookshelves of unread books. That might have something to do with how many are still in boxes, though. I definitely didn't read the entire Bible, either.

But what did I do? I did move out of that crappy apartment into a beautiful new house. I took a big step towards my Georgia teaching certificate -- I actually called a college and found out what I'd need to do to enroll in the class I need to take (but circumstances prevent me from enrolling right now). I also did some traveling, too. I didn't go anywhere super exciting, but I did go to Kennedy Space Center on Endeavor's launch morning. I went to New Hampshire and saw the most incredible views along Sand Pond Lake. I also went to Ohio to support a friend whose mother passed away.

What I learned about the word "move" this year is simply this: "move" simply means to be in motion. It doesn't mean to finish. It doesn't mean anything about reaching a destination or completing a task. It simply means to be in motion. When I look at my goals for 2011 in that context, I feel very good about what I've accomplished. I am simply in motion.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reflections 2011: The Prompts 1-7

These are the journaling prompts I'll be using on my blog in the first week of December 2011. I'll post the next seven prompts on December 7. Each set will continue to be posted on Wednesday nights until December 21, when I'll post the last set of prompts.

1. What word best represents the year 2011? Is it a word you chose in advance, like the “One Little Word” project, or did the word “find” you during this past year? Why does this word represent this past year, and what did you learn in relationship to the word during 2011?

2. At the end of 2012, which word would you like to be able to say represented the year for you? Why do you want that word to represent your year? What actions can you take to make that happen?

3. Which 2011 accomplishment are you most proud of? Why are you proud of that accomplishment? Can you build upon that accomplishment in 2012? If so, how will you do so?

4. Did you go anywhere new in 2011? Where was it - a new grocery store, a vacation spot, a new class, a new website? Describe this new place.

5. Where do you want to go in 2012? Is it a vacation spot, a new direction in your work or hobby, a new restaurant, or something else? Describe where you want to go. Tell us why you want to go there. How could you - or your creative life - benefit from going somewhere new?

6. What held you back from achieving your goals in 2011? How can you make sure it doesn’t stop you in 2012?

7. What are your goals for 2012? What are your obligations in 2012? How can you mesh the two of these together?

No Reverb 11 :(

I received an email last night saying that there would be no Reverb this year. I'm bit heartbroken about this. I loved the prompts last year! I was really looking forward to the prompts as a way of reflecting on this past year. Gwen Bell suggested in her email that we choose our own prompts and post them to our blogs. I feel like I am up for this challenge. I'm going to work on a list of prompts for my personal use over the next few days. I'm hoping to post the prompts here in segments so that if others choose to play along, they may join me without having to wait for a daily prompt to be posted or emailed to them.

I'm going to try to post the first seven prompts later this evening. I hope you'll join along!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Thanksgiving - 11.24.11

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

This week, I'm thankful for:

  • Nyquil & Dayquil & Claritin & hot apple cider: Monday night I ended up with a fever that turned into a bit of a chest cold. I called in sick for the first time as a sub on Tuesday. I'm feeling much better today, but Trevor and I scaled back our Thanksgiving plans significantly.
  • Goodwill: I found a dress in my favorite color today. It was my size. And the previous owner wrote her initials inside -- LV!!! For just under $6, I now have a wonderful new dress that I KNOW was meant for me. :)
  • Publix: We picked up our Thanksgiving ingredients today, and I LOVED how efficient the trip was!
  • Trevor: For taking care of me this week while I was miserable.
Trevor and I will be spending the day alone, as we have for the past two years. We had planned to visit my family this year, but when I fell ill, the idea of traveling as non-revenue standbys became out of the question. My family totally understands, and I'm really okay with this decision. We have really enjoyed taking the day for ourselves, sharing a bottle of wine, and a simple dinner each year that we've lived in Georgia. Two years ago, we bought a precooked turkey breast from BJ's Wholesale and made dinner at our apartment. Last year, we had turkey taco salad at a hotel room in Columbus, Georgia during Trevor's long overnight. This year, we bought a package of turkey cutlets, and we've got stuffing, salad, pumpkin muffin mix, and a bottle of mead. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

A lesson in economical card making

{Supplies: My scrap stash, a sheet of Wausau printer cardstock, Studio 18 gems from the Michael's dollar section, rub-ons from a Making Memories pack, Colorbox Ink, Stamps from Studio Calico, and twine from Crate & Barrel}

This card was inspired by one from Britta Swiderski. Please check her out if you haven't already done so!

This summer, my friend Becca asked me to become her cardmaker. You see, she said she had probably used every single dollar card at the grocery store/Wal-Mart/Target, and our Hallmark just closed. There's one in Peachtree City, but it isn't worth the trip over there just for one or two cards, you know? So she asked me what I could make for a dollar. This card is the result of that. I dove into my scrap pile and pulled out a few coordinating scraps. I knew I wanted to go with the red, black, and white color scheme because I have something like a thousand yards (no kidding) of this baker's twine I bought at Crate and Barrel for $8 last year at Christmas time. 

Whenever I'm stuck for a card design, I go to Britta is a student at the University of Minnesota and a brilliant, prolific paper crafter. I'm always amazed at how often she has new and unique cards to post on her blog. So, when I needed an idea for what to do with these leftover pieces, I turned to Britta, and she did not disappoint me! Her post inspired me to pullout the stamp set that came in my January 2011 Studio Calico Add-on Kit, Mary Jane (and let's be honest here, this particular stamp set is what put me over the edge to become a subscriber). I used my Martha Stewart Score Board to score the lines on the black piece, which was done to help me place the rub-on AND to add some interest to a card that is otherwise void of patterns. I skipped inking the edges because I didn't have a good color to mix into this, and I switched out Britta's pearls for some blue gems to add a little color. 

Have you ever made a card based on a design someone else created? Or have you ever had to do a card on a budget? Let me know in the comments section!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Kyndra's birthday

{Supplies: PP by Making Memories, Butterfly die by ProvoCraft/Cuttlebug, Cardstock by DCWV, Ink by Stampabilities, Gems by Studio 18, and Stamp by Studio G}

Another quick card share. I've been trying to use up paper pads to make room for new stuff, so when I realized the old DCWV stack that I had bought in college matched this Making Memories stack so well, I combined the two make a couple sets of birthday cards. I made several of these, but this one went to my friend Kyndra on her 40th birthday in August. This card is proof that you really don't need a lot to make a quick and simple card that turns out lovely. 

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

{Supplies: Scraps, Stamp by Studio Calico, Gems by Studio 18, Chipboard Letter by Making Memories, Rub-on by American Crafts, Ink by Stampabilities, Embossing Folder by ProvoCraft/Cuttlebug and die by QuicKutz}

Just a quick share of a card I made this summer for our friends Ryan and Katherine Wermes' third wedding anniversary. The W actually fell off prior to me putting this card in the mail, so I need to figure out a better way to attach it, since the Tombox Mono Adhesive (wet, dual tip model) didn't do the trick. This was a really quick card that stemmed out of me just playing with the stamp and the scraps I had around from some other projects. I really love the cathedral circle row that came in the July Studio Calico kit. I have always loved that design, and I hope someday I might be able to convince my mom to do a baby quilt using some bright tangerine, aqua, yellow, and white fabrics when we decide to have or adopt a baby. 

Today is the day my little sister arrives to visit for the first time! She has only previously been to Atlanta for layovers while traveling to Dothan, Alabama to see her friend Katie, who now lives in Savannah. She and her friend Erica were able to spend one night with us at our apartment about nine months after we moved to Newnan, but on the way back, we didn't get to see her. This time, though, we're going to have a busy six days seeing the sights, getting crafty, and just spending time together for the first time in quite awhile. 

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday - 11.10.11 Edition

{Image courtesy of Elle's Studio}
1. Air travel
2. Shutterfly
3. Sunshine
4. Cookies
5. Vegetables
6. Fruit
7. All of our wonderful couple friends
8. Our community group
9. My discipleship group
10. All of our other wonderful friends

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All Things Grow with Love

{Supplies: Stamps: Autumn Leaves, Patterned Paper, Cardstock, and Button: American Crafts, Thread: Aunt Lydia's Crochet Thread, Ink: Stampabilities}

This is another one of those cards that came out of the tremendous joy of hearing great news. Our friends Dave and Erin found out in August that they are expecting their first child in April! When Trevor called to tell me the news, tears started streaming down my face. I knew I wanted to send them a congratulatory card, but I wasn't sure what to do until I started picking through my stamps. I found the little baby feet that were part of a value box I bought at Ross last year, and I knew they were perfect. A little more searching and I saw "all things grow with love," and I realized it was a perfect sentiment for a "congratulations on your pregnancy" card. I used scraps from an American Crafts page kit that I bought at Hobby Lobby almost two years ago now. I couldn't believe how quickly and beautifully this card came together. 

Last night, we found out that Dave and Erin's baby will be a girl. I can't wait to start working on projects for their Little Miss! I told Dave he would be in all kinds of trouble, and he said, "I'm not in trouble. She just can't date until she's 35!" And yep, there were tears streaming down my face again when Dave told me the news on the phone last night. Since Trevor's brother and my sister aren't married yet, it will be awhile before they and their fiances give us nieces or nephews, so this baby girl is sort of our practice run at being an aunt and uncle! :)
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Welcome Home Card

{Supplies: Making Memories Dilly Dally line stamps, stickers, paper, and diecut paper; ink by Colorbox, 5x7 card blank from Hobby Lobby}

When we got married, a number of really kind people took tons of pictures of our wedding and mailed them to us shortly after the ceremony. I was so touched by this, and many of those photos are my favorites from our wedding day. Since then, I've done the same for nearly every wedding I've been to. I do my best to find out the honeymoon plans and time the photo files to arrive when the newlyweds return home. People are always thrilled to get the photos, and they love going through them. I made this card to go with the photos I took at Mike and Brittany Whiddon's wedding on April 2, 2011. I made it to match their wedding colors: pink and green, just like Trevor's and my wedding!
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PS: If you live in the US and are eligible to do so, GO VOTE! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Country Living Fair 2011

Trevor and I went to the opening day of the 2011 Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain. It was fabulous! We took care of birthday gifts for our moms, got some fun ideas for decorating our house, and made some fabulous finds at this booth:

If you don't recognize her, that would be Jenni Bowlin, with me, in front of her booth. She and her husband were so nice! Trevor and I both picked up goodies at her booth -- I found some good stuff for scrapping and Trevor got a set of three vintage space shuttle prints for his LEGO room. We learned from talking to Jenni that she'd purchased a huge set and gave some to her nephew before reselling the rest. It's kind of fun to think that the stuff in Trevor's LEGO room/airplane room is part of a set that is inspiring a sense of wonder in some little boy's room right now! :)

We also got a cute picture, courtesy of a random couple, in front of this year's rendition of the pile of squash.  An edited version, missing the hipster with the stroller, appears on our 2011 Holiday cards -- I made Thanksgiving cards this year. I posted a preview here a couple days ago. :)

I love, love the Country Living Fair! If you missed it this year, check it out next year, or take a trip to Austin for their fair in April!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Shimelle's Scrapbook Starting Points: The Original One :)

{Supplies: Patterned paper: October Afternoon, Cardstock: Paper Studio (kraft) and Bazzill, Letters: Basic Grey (red) and Sassafras, Buttons: My Mind's Eye Lost & Found, Canvas: Punky Sprouts, Journaling pen: American Crafts}

The origin of this page is from Shimelle's first Scrapbook Starting Point, posted in August. I wanted to try to finish up my January Studio Calico kit, which didn't work -- I ended up pulling out other papers from the OA line I loved so much in the kit. I did use the letters, embellishments, and scraps from the kit, though. I chose my photos by pulling out a few photo sets and choosing the ones that went best with this. Trevor made the final call for me -- it was between this set and a set of photos from our trip to New Hampshire in July.

Have a happy Sunday!

PS: Trevor is wearing the same shirt as in this photo today. It's a "Bovine University" shirt, in reference to an episode of the "The Simpsons." :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

30 Blows!

Cheesy. Funny. Cheap.

These are the adjectives I'd use to describe this project, in that order. Just after we got the invite to Justin's 30th Birthday Party, I stumbled upon some projects like this on Pinterest. I knew I wanted to do something like this, but I was instructed by Jennifer, Justin's wife, to keep it at or under $5.

So we started at Dollar Tree, where I found a foam ring and crepe paper in our university's colors. We picked up the blow pops at Wal-Mart for $5, but since we only used half the bag, we counted that at $2.50. The skewers and white cardstock were already at home, and I can't count the 97 cent bottle of paint because that will be used on other projects, too. Since I only used half of each package of crepe paper, I'm going to say this project cost us $4.50 to make.

If you're interested in making one of your own, it's pretty simple. I wrapped the whole green floral foam ring with one full roll of white crepe paper. Then, I did a candy cane wrap of green over it. I took one of the unpainted skewers and poked 33 holes around the ring, as the suckers aren't strong enough to go through all the crepe and foam by themselves. I then stuck in the suckers. I painted the three skewers by jabbing them through the bottom of an upside down styrofoam bowl, and let dry. I used MS Office Word 2010 to type the sentiments and punched it out with a 2 inch circle punch. I also punched two plain circles from the scraps of that sheet. I used a pair of Glubers for the frills of crepe paper, finger pleating as I wrapped around. I pressed the skewers into the back side of the Glubers, and stuck down the plain circles. On the front side of the crepe, I used American Crafts This to That dot roller to attach the sentiments. The flag at the back was done simply by sticking some adhesive to the crepe paper, rolling the skewer into it, and trimming the ends to look pretty.

Cheesy. Funny. Cheap.

I can't wait to give this to Justin tonight! :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stationery card

Falling For Fall Fall Greeting
Click here and see Shutterfly's one-of-a-kind selection of announcements.
View the entire collection of cards.

YCU! Masculine Cards Blog Hop!

Welcome to the "Young Crafters Unite! Masculine Cards Blog Hop!" You should be arriving here from Kristy's blog. If you're just stumbling upon the blog hop, I'd encourage you to check out Young Crafters Unite and start from the beginning. There are some fabulous prizes to be won from the hop sponsors, Simon Says Stamp and Paper Smooches!

{Supplies: June 2011 Studio Calico kit (Paper Moon), EK Success airplane punch, Heidi Swapp for Advantus chipboard star, American Crafts Thickers}

This card is based on the latest card sketch from Sketch Support. I modified it by switching out the flowers with the circle, airplane, and star, and I skipped the stitching. Also, I trimmed my papers to a single point instead of the double-point on the sketch.

I chose my papers and embellishments because they were masculine but still fun. I immediately turned to the Paper Moon kit from Studio Calico because it was my favorite kit this year for masculine pages. It's literally in pieces -- there are no full sheets left in the kit. It's always sad to see the end of a kit, but I'm happy because it means I've got the challenge of turning the remaining bits into cards!

The card is intended for our friend Justin, who turns 30 this weekend. He's a pilot, hence the little airplane! He and his wife went to college with Trevor, and Justin ended up being hired at Trevor's airline a month after Trevor. Justin and Jennifer ended up living in the same little Atlanta suburb as us, so we've grown to be good friends with the two of them over the past year. I've got one more little project planned for Justin's birthday, but since it isn't ready yet, I'll probably be sharing that tomorrow. Be sure to check back then -- I promise it will blow you away! ;)

Here's links to a few more masculine cards I've done:

The next stop on the blog is Jessica Yoder-Jones. Happy hopping!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful Thursdays - 11.3.11

{Image Courtesy of Elle's Studio}

Last year, Elle's Studio ran a feature on their blog during November called "Thankful Thursdays." I decided I want to continue it this year throughout November because gratitude is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. I'm huge on showing gratitude, and yet, I'm still extremely touched when people show me gratitude for what I've done. I'd like to use this space each week to show gratitude for the people, places, and things I'd be lost without. My plan had been to write down one thing each day in November and blog it on Thursdays, but I realized that would mean only three things today, and seven things every other week this month, with a few things after Thanksgiving that wouldn't get blogged at all. So, it's going to be a random list each week influenced by what I'm writing down daily on my notepad.

Here's this week's list:

1. Antibiotics - Trevor has an ear blockage, which meant a trip to the doctor, a course of antibiotics, and a sick call to work this week. I'm grateful that the antibiotics work so quickly to make him feel better when this happens. Due to his job as a pilot and all the altitude changes, this happens about three or four times a year.

2. My family - My mom, my dad, and my sister are some of the funniest people I've ever met. Maybe I just think that because our senses of humor are obviously derived from one another, but they are awesome. My sister will be visiting me in Georgia in just over a week. It will be her first real visit here -- she was here for about 12 hours nearly two years ago on her way to Alabama for spring break with a friend whose husband was stationed there in the Army. It's been almost 6 months since I've seen my family, so I'm extremely excited to have her here.

3. Publix - Fresh produce, delicious bread, lots of $5 off coupons, a generous coupon policy for customers, and good customer service in general. It's my favorite place to shop. I'd be lying if I didn't say that the proximity to Publix was also a factor in choosing our house. We're less than five minutes away from the closest Publix, which is great for the nights when we forget one little thing that we need for the meal we've already started cooking!

4. Papercrafting - I love that I have this creative outlet. Comparatively speaking, it's a cheap hobby. Yes, the fancy tools and huge stamp packs can be pricey, but all you need is about $20 to get the basic tools and you can create beautiful stuff rather inexpensively.

5. Elle's Studio - The beautiful tags, the quick shipping, and all the lovely freebies that end up in my order each time I place one -- I'm grateful for having such a great company to purchase craft supplies from.

6. Teachers who request me on SubFinder - It's a huge vote of confidence in my abilities, it guarantees me a day of pay, and it takes off the pressure to find a sub job for that day. I'm so grateful for these people!

7. Mrs. Harkey -- a sub coordinator at one of my schools who has never hesitated to call me, tell me how great I am, and suggest me for long-term sub positions. What an awesome lady!

December Daily 2011: Possible Albums

Left to Right: Martha Stewart Crafts binder kit, We R Memory Keepers 8.5x11 Leather Binder, We R Memory Keepers 8x8 postbound linen album, American Crafts 12x12 linen binder, Chatterbox Inc. suede postbound 8x8 album, American Crafts 6x12 corduroy album

I've decided to do a December Daily for 2011. I did one in 2009, and this year feels like the right time to try it again. We've got a new house, we might actually get to see both families for the holidays this year, we've got church activities related to the holidays, and I've got lots of plans for decorating and making handmade gifts. This just seems like the right year to do my second December Daily album.

My previous DD was in an 8x8 American Crafts red linen binder. I did more of a traditional layout each day, using almost exclusively Elle's Studio products with Bazzill Cardstock I purchased specifically to match Elle's 4x4 Christmas papers. I'm not sure that's what I want to do this year, though, so I'm looking for more flexibility than I had before. I'd like to experiment with different sizes of prints and page protectors.

Money is tight for us this year, so I vowed to use almost exclusively things from my stash. Over the past few years, I've gotten quite the stash of mini albums and larger albums. I've pulled a few to consider for my DD this year. I think I know which one I want to use, but I'm still not sure, so that's why I'm blogging about these today.

The pros of the Martha Stewart Crafts binder are that is is alterable, it is a small size, meaning I could do full page photos easily, and it comes with some stickers and embellishments that could work with the DD. The cons are the bright red, which doesn't really match my Christmas products, and that it is a very narrow binder, limiting how much I could include.

The pros of the remaining binders are that they are easy to open and add to out of sequence, and offer larger canvases for telling my stories. I know that I can add a variety of page protectors to this style of album, giving me a lot of freedom in how I tell my stories. The problem is that they might be too large for this project. Also, the bright red binder doesn't quite match up with the other products I'll be using.

The green linen postbound album has been in my stash for a long time. It has a wide binding, leaving me plenty of room for telling these stories, and it has reinforced corners, making it durable. However, it is still a postbound album, making adding things difficult. I also worry that this might have too much space for me to add to as well. Meanwhile, the small red postbound album might be too thin, restricting how much I can add to it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

OLW: 2 months to go!


That was my One Little Word for 2011. Trevor and I agreed on  that one at this time last year. We wanted out of that apartment so badly, and we knew we needed to move into a place of our own. We made sacrifices (like the cable television services and the twice a month trips to Panera Bread Co.). We scaled back on celebrations. We found ourselves in our dream house. The house definitely didn't make life perfect, and it certainly has brought with it a whole new set of problems. We love our house, but there are definitely some challenges we weren't ready for, like a tree falling down six months after we moved in!

There's still so much that I didn't accomplish related to this year's word, but I'm hoping to change that over these next two months. Now is a perfect time to start exercising, reading the books I've got piled up, and moving towards getting my Georgia teaching certificate. I know I can read easily, as I've got plenty of time when I substitute teach. It's the working out and getting the teaching certificate that are the problem. It's hard for me to spend the money on those things right now, especially because getting my certificate means taking a class 45 minutes away from where we live -- that means investing a lot of my time and money, both of which are short right now.

How are you doing on your One Little Word goals?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sending Love Your Way

{Supplies: Stamp: Hero Arts, Ink: Stampabilities, Paper: Basic Gray, Die: QuicKutz}

Over the past couple months, a lot of people close to me have suffered some extraordinary losses. My best friend lost her mother suddenly and unexpectedly. A pair of our friends who are cousins lost their grandmother a few days before that. A couple weeks later, a couple we are friends with learned the baby they were expecting was no longer living. On the heels of that, another friend of ours lost her grandmother, an extraordinary woman who spent her life in service to others.

As I looked through my patterned papers, trying to figure out what to do for the cards that always the hardest for me to make, I realized that I could do this rather simply by cutting up some of the large patterned papers I had. I cut five sheets of paper from the same Basic Grey line into three 4x12 strips and folded them to create 4x6 cards. I used a sixth sheet to cut the 2x4 inch belly bands, and I used some of the coordinating solid sheets to cut the hearts out. I stamped the hearts, adhered them to the cards, and rounded the corners of each. I ended up with 15 cards, and I've already mailed two of them. I really like that this design is versatile enough to be sent for sympathy, get well, or any other time when you simply want someone dealing with a tough time to know that you are thinking about them. 

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Decorations

This is our first year with a house to decorate for any holidays, and Halloween is our first real holiday in our house. We had just barely moved in at Easter, and we weren't there for much of the time before Easter. My Halloween decorations are fairly modest, as they are primarily contained to two pieces on the mantle in our living room. However, I still wanted to share a peek at how I decorated this year!

Here's a close up of the mantle, mostly as a point of reference for the close ups you'll see below featuring more of the decorations we have out in our house. There isn't a close up of the printer tray because I only got one blurry photo of it, but it's the same one I bought at the Country Living Fair last year. I used a bit of painter's tape to hang a loop of ribbon holding an autumn colored wreath. There's just a couple strips stuck to the back of the tray. I know they aren't visible in this photo, but in the middle of the wreath, there are letter press blocks that form "LVT 7 25 09," our initials and wedding date. I bought the blocks in Savannah a couple days before Easter 2011 while Trevor was flying a trip completely out of Savannah. I went along for it, and it turned out that Trevor got a nearly 48 hour layover because bad weather prevented his plane from landing in Savannah. The store was called The Paris Market, and it was definitely worth the trip by itself.

I found this sign last fall, not too long before Thanksgiving, for something like a dollar at Hobby Lobby. They are really quick to drastic slash prices after a holiday, so I've always made a point to budget a little bit for the  post-holiday finds! The little pumpkin is from Target, and the hurricane is from IKEA. The filling is from the Better Homes and Gardens collection at Wal-Mart, with some extra acorns tossed in.

These pumpkins are from Hobby Lobby and Target, respectively. I fell in love with the metal leaves and little bits of glass intertwined in them. Last year, all three of my pumpkins made a trio at our apartment, but it was tougher to do this year.

I bought this frame at Hobby Lobby for $6 last week! I used the free printable from Eighteen25 and printed it at They have Subway art for every occasion, so while I was at it, I also printed one for Christmas.I have a couple other holidays sitting in my Shutterfly account, waiting for them to roll around.

Trevor gave me a Girls Paperie Halloween kit for part of my birthday present this year. We found it at Tuesday Morning in Peachtree City, so I got him to tuck it away for me. I turned into a Happy Halloween banner by adding in a couple yards of ribbon and about two sheets of cardstock.

Finally, we have the little rock heart. There's a beautiful story related to this one. Trevor's mom gave it to us at Easter. The church Trevor's grandfather belongs to has a special relationship with a Catholic church in Haiti. The church was basically destroyed by the earthquake last winter. But out the rubble came these beautiful hearts. The Haitian church members have been carving the stones that once made up their church into these hearts, which they are sending to the US to sell as a fundraiser for their rebuilding efforts. It's a wonderful reminder that when life gives you something ugly, you have the power to turn it into something beautiful!
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Turning 27

9.15. 2011

Since I decorated brownies for Trevor's birthday in August, he decided to surprise me with a strawberry cake (Okay, more like give into my demand that one time, just one time in our marriage, I'd like a birthday cake, and it better be this year). He baked it from scratch, but ran into a few difficulties. He didn't realize he needed two pans for a layer cake and didn't realize there was a difference between a springform pan and a regular cake pan, so his two layers didn't come out exactly the same...or even round. And then he didn't realize that cake pretty much has to be cold before you frost it, or else it will melt the frosting entirely. See all the gooey frosting on the cake plate? That's the middle layer that oozed out!

Before we dug into our delicious cake, though, I had let Trevor spoil me with presents: a Bath & Body Works Summer VIP bag, a set of Girls Paperie Halloween scrapbook supplies, and a Hobby Lobby giftcard. He knows me too well! We also went to Kobe in Peachtree City for dinner that night, too, where we managed to hit their "Happy Hour" and eat very well for about $15!
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trevor's 29th Birthday

Trevor turned 29 on August 19. It was my first attempt at really decorating a "cake" for him. If it looks a little flat, that's because Trevor hates cake, so I baked him brownies instead. I slathered them with teal cream cheese frosting that I made from scratch and used some Betty Crocker decorator frosting tubes for the rest. I didn't really let it set before we cut into it, so it actually all swirled together a couple minutes after we took this picture on the night before Trevor's birthday. 

What does a 29-year-old man ask for on his birthday wish list? Candy and LEGOs, of course! :)
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Engagement Card for a Mechanic

{Supplies: Ink: Stampabilities, Stamps: PTI, Car die: PTI, Heart die: QuicKutz, Paper: The Paper Studio, and Cardstock: American Crafts}

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but my only sister, my darling little sister, Nicole, is getting married next June. Her fiance, Mario, has been a part of our family for nearly 6 years. They met at one of his high school's dances, where Nicole was visiting her friend, Carrie, who had just started going to school there. Nicole and Mario both started college at UND, though he was a year behind her. He realized he didn't want to be doing Mechanical Engineering in an office all day, so he switched schools and majors to become a Diesel Mechanic. Because of this, he and Nicole both graduated in 2010 and took jobs in Jamestown, North Dakota. He moved to Jamestown in November of that year, and he proposed in early April of this year (the day after Mike and Brittany's wedding, in fact). I couldn't be happier to be getting a brother-in-law like Mario!

So, I of course made an engagement card for them. I loved this combination because it has the bling for Nicole and the car for Mario. I really love this paper pad from Hobby Lobby. I normally don't go for their store-branded papers because they are usually thin, and look like knock-offs of other manufacturers, which I find to be extremely tacky. However, this pack was different -- thick papers, unique designs, and wedding patterns in more than just the usual colors and styles. I've actually made a few bridal shower cards with these papers, too, but I haven't had a chance to use them yet. I think I'm going to hang onto at least one to use for Nicole, though!

Edited to add: Just after I posted this, I found out their photographer, the amazing Mandi Carroll, added their photos to her Facebook page here. The pictures are fabulous and I can't wait to see what Mandi does with with wedding next summer!

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Engagement Cards for Pilots :)

{Supplies: Patterned paper: KI Memories, Stamps: Paper Trey Ink and Studio Calico (clouds), twine: Crate & Barrel, Ink: Colorbox (black) and Stampabilities (white), Sew Easy stitching tool and Loop wheel}

Over one weekend in July, two of our pilot friends got engaged -- Luke proposed to his lovely long-time girlfriend, Katie, and James proposed to his girlfriend-who-sounds-amazing, Traci (we haven't met Traci yet but we've heard rave reviews from everyone who has!). Trevor and I were ecstatic about both engagements. I try to keep the "married life is great" talk to a minimum because single life is great too -- but there is something spectacular about two people choosing to be a permanent part of each other's lives. 

So of course, once I saw the news on Facebook, I did what I always do when I hear joyous news: I went to the craft room. This has always happens, but the project produced isn't consistent. Sometimes, what ends up happening is a baby afghan, but more often, it's a card. In this case, it was a pair of nearly identical cards for each couple. I knew immediately what I wanted to make because I wanted it to appeal to the guys as well as the girls, so of course, I had to have airplanes. "Enjoy the Ride" is the perfect sentiment for an engagement card. I'm big on telling people to enjoy the ride -- don't waste your last period of singleness throwing yourself into your wedding, wishing the time away, or focusing on things that don't matter right now. Just focus on the moment. 

Tonight, we'll be at an engagement party for Luke and Katie at their house on the north side of Atlanta. I'm thrilled to see them -- it's been about six months. In a few days I'll (hopefully) be able to share some photos from the party and the card I've made to go along with their engagement gift. 

Have a wonderful weekend!
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Friday, October 21, 2011

The Country Living Fair 2010

Last year in October, my parents and grandmother came to visit Atlanta for the first time. It just so happened that their trip coincided with the first ever Atlanta Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain. My mom thought it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for her to go to something really neat that she just wouldn't see in North Dakota -- or even the next time she came to Atlanta. I'm so glad we went.

My mom bought the printer tray I'm holding the photo above as part of my Christmas gift last year. It was from an antique shop in Maryland (I think? I lost the receipt) that brought scads of old chairs, printer trays, and sugar loaf molds, the kind you now see in a lot of places as candle holders. My favorite part, though, was the Jenni Bowlin Studio booth. It wasn't until I read her blog a few days later that I realized I'd purchased my goodies from her husband!

This stack of pumpkins and gourds was sort of the centerpiece between the food vendors and the exhibitors. It was probably close to 7 feet tall, and it was certainly one of the neatest things I saw that day.

But it definitely wasn't as cool as the squirrel we caught with a gummy worm! :)

Trevor and I will be visiting the Country Living Fair's 2011 edition today. If you're in the Atlanta area this weekend and looking for something fun to do, I highly suggest making the trip to Stone Mountain. Tickets are $16 at the gate, after you've paid $10 in park entry fees to Stone Mountain Park. Adventure passes for the park cost extra, but you don't need to pay if you'd just like to walk up the mountain, view the carving, or hang around on the green for the laser light show that evening. 
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Shimelle's Scrapbook Starting Points: Part 2

{Supplies: Studio Calico September 2011 kit, Travel Smash Pad from the June 2011 Studio Calico kit, Making Memories mini brads, American Crafts Precision Pen}

This is my take on Shimelle's Scrapbook Starting Point from September 17, 2011. This is just the second one I've done, but there were more than two before this one, and there have been more than two since then, so I'm clearly behind on playing with this challenge, but I am hoping to get a good day of crafting in again soon so I can play with these challenges. The bonus challenge to this Starting Point was use a striped piece as the background, which immediately had me reaching for my September Studio Calico kit -- the airplane patterned paper meant I had to order more SC paper, so I had three sheets of the striped paper to work with, and three sheets of the airplane paper. The geometric paper behind the photo is the reverse side of the striped paper, so I really didn't use a lot of different products on this layout, though it looks more complex than that. I loved that I used a lot of yellow on this page, as I rarely use yellow in my scrapbooking. 

Have you tried the Scrapbook Starting Point challenges at yet? Check it out on Saturday if you haven't!

PS: Happy birthday, Mom! I don't think you read my blog, but just in case, happy birthday, and I love you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yeah! Burger -- Virginia Highlands

On October 1, our dear friend Jared had an Atlanta overnight. He's another ASA (soon-to-be-ExpressJet) employee, based in Detroit. While trying to think of a place to take him for dinner, I decided to browse my UrbanSpoon wishlist. Yeah! Burger and Farm Burger have long been on my list for one reason, and one reason only: they both serve grassfed beef, the very sort of beef my dad my raises and that I grew up eating.

Oh my word. That's what Jared said repeatedly as we were eating our burgers. All three of us thought they were incredible. Trevor and I went for the traditional grassfed burgers, while Jared went with a bison burger. My burger was incredible. It was the only burger I've eaten at a restaurant that tasted like the burgers off my parents' grill on the farm.

Trevor's fries were so delicious he skipped the sauces completely. Jared had a cup of Cowboy Caviar, which was unfamiliar to both Trevor and me, but garnished with some adorable microgreens. I probably took the most boring approach, which was kettle chips and a side of housemade ranch dressing. I totally did not realize the chips were bagged and flavored. If I had realized this, I probably would have done fries or fried pickles. I was pretty much bound and determined to try their ranch dressing, though. It was completely amazing. Creamy, delicious, and tangy -- just as it should be.

The service was also excellent. The bussers stopped by our table several times to take things away when we were done, and the cashier was extremely knowledgeable about everything on the menu. Jared mentioned that the guy revealed he was part of the "Well, it's all organic, so it's all good" camp when Jared asked questions. The meal was also a lot more reasonably priced than I expected -- Trevor and I spent about $20, which is what we end up spending at Chik-fil-a or Shane's Rib Shack, and this was a far better dining experience than either of those two restaurants!

Yeah! Burger - Virginia Highlands
1017 N. Highland Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30306
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