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 Shutterfly.com. 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 Shimelle.com 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
404.437.7845
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Changes....

October 10, 2011

Trevor took a self-portrait in our bathroom mirror on the morning of October 10 because it was the last time he would wear his silver stripes and wings on his blazer for Atlantic Southeast Airlines. That morning, he had to turn his blazer in for re-striping. As part of the process of merging the recently-purchased ExpressJet into the company, they chose to go to gold stripes and wings. Later that week, we learned that ASA has also chosen, via company-wide vote, to name the combined company ExpressJet as a nod to the fact that the combined company will certainly not be a southeast-exclusive airline. So, effective January 1, 2012, Trevor will be wearing ExpressJet wings and flying for ExpressJet. 

Though we knew this would be the likely outcome, it's still a bit disappointing. It's frustrating that I'll have to explain to my family and friends that Trevor doesn't have a new job, his company didn't get bought out, but it's just a name change. The whole situation with flying for a connection carrier is often pretty difficult for people outside of the industry to understand. Simply put, what Trevor does is fly the "commuter jets" for a company that has been contracted to do so by both Delta and United. So, he gets paid one paycheck, by the company he works for (you'd be surprised how often I get asked if he gets a paycheck from Delta and from United).

Amid all this, my job situation is also different. The long-term substitute teaching position I started the school year with ended unexpectedly in mid-September. I left on a Friday thinking I'd be back on Monday, and instead learned over the weekend that my time there was done. It was a really frustrating experience because I didn't feel like I got the chance to say goodbye to my students, and there was no sense of closure. It was just over. It hit me harder than I expected it would. 

However, it turned out to be a major blessing. About two weeks later, I took a substitute job at a local middle school. It happened to be in Language Arts, which is my subject area.The teacher came back at noon, and she was so happy with how the day had gone that she requested me for a day the following week! On the day following that sub job, the principal of the school called and asked if I could come visit with her that afternoon. I was offered another long-term substitute position! This will be 6-7 weeks from late February through mid-April, and I'll be teaching 8th grade Literature. It is my favorite subject, and my favorite grade. We have already begun tentative planning. We're on the same page as far as classroom management and class time flow. I have a good idea of what to expect, and I've already gotten to discuss discipline systems with the principal. I have so much confidence in this going well because I feel like I have an excellent support system built into this school. 

In the meantime, I'm going to be continuing with my day-to-day subbing. I'm working about three days a week, which is actually what I was doing with the long-term sub job I had in August and September. I've had some rough days in kindergarten classes and some wonderful days in middle school classes. Today, I'm supervising a high school student's in-school suspension. Tomorrow, I'll be filling in for a learning specialist at a high school in town. I'm enjoying the chance to check out some other areas, and I'm letting myself be open to the possibility that I might get another degree if I find something else that I really enjoy teaching. 


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Monday, October 17, 2011

The Good Life, part 1


Over this past month, I've been taking Amy Tangerine's "The Good Life" online class at Big Picture Classes. I have never taken any sort of scrapbook class before. When I was a beginner scrapbooker, I didn't have anything available locally, and online classes just weren't there yet. I found myself looking to magazines and scrapbooking websites for most of my techniques. I did a great job of learning from those. I actually taught a couple classes at a store in Grand Forks, even though I'd never taken a class -- how crazy is that?

However, Amy's reverse applique technique was just too cute for me to resist taking her class this fall. I really feel like it will be the most worthwhile thing I've done, even if I never use anything else from the class -- but the class was full of great things I'm sure I'll use down the road!

The bodysuit* above is the first project I made for Amy's class. I was inspired by the star-spangled bodysuit I saw at Wal-Mart to do an airplane in matching colors. I bought a quarter yard of matching flannel at Wal-Mart. I used my Slice to cut out the template for my airplane out of cardstock I didn't plan on using (it was an absurd color included in a multi-pack I bought years ago). Since I already had everything else I needed, my total cost for this project was about $4 after taxes!

It was such a quick and easy project that I'm already plotting a lot more bodysuits for my friends -- we currently have six pregnant friends! Since a few of them are pilots or pilot wives, I'm thinking there will be bodysuits with airplanes for quite a few of these babies. We've got no plans to join them right now, but I'm certainly enjoying browsing for cute baby outfits!

*Did you know that Gerber Childrenswear had a trademark on the term "Onesie" and aggressively defends their exclusive right to use the name? Crazy!
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shimelle's Scrapbook Starting Points


{Supplies: Studio Calico February Kit, Candy Shoppe; American Crafts precision pen; American Crafts Thickers, and Cosmo Cricket Tiny Type}

Journaling reads: "Memorial Day 2010 was the first time we met Tyler's girlfriend, Jennifer Costidck. Since they'd been together 6 months, Diane wanted a family photo for the Christmas cards. It didn't quite turn out, but it's still our first family photo!"

This layout is based on a Scrapbook Starting Point from Shimelle Laine. My first thought when I saw it was that it would be a cute card, but I don't like making square cards, so I started thinking of A2 cards, which led me to think of 8.5x11 layouts, and here you have it! It was page that came together fairly quickly once I got started on it.

And can I just say that I am LOVING Shimelle's Scrapbook Starting Points? I haven't played along with all of them, but the ones I have done (okay, the two I have done) have been a really fun challenge for me. If you'd like to play along, head over to Shimelle.com on Saturday afternoons -- she'll have the starting point for the week posted then. I can't wait to see what she inspires us with next!



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Michael's 29th Birthday

{Supplies: Paper: Studio Calico, My Mind's Eye (ephemera); Stamps: Paper Trey Ink; Twine: My Mind's Eye Lime Twist; Ink: Stampabilities; Embossing Powder: Zing by American Crafts}


Our friend Michael turned 29 on Friday. Since I had to work a lot last week, I had to whip up a really quick card the night before the party. As I was putting away my goodies from this month's Studio Calico box on Thursday night, I realized that the map paper from the July kit would make a cute card. So, I simply folded the leftover sheet I had in half, stamped an airplane on it, and embossed it. I added the strip for the sentiment, and I trimmed the banner from a piece of a Studio Calico bag. I used extra Thicker numbers (I got a bad batch in my July kit, but SC was nice enough to replace them ASAP!) and a piece of twine to finish it off.




{Trevor, me, Michael, Brittany, and Todd}

We had a great evening celebrating with Michael at his house. Even though it was just the five of us, we had a blast visiting, playing Rock Band, and of course, eating amazing burgers Mike grilled and yummy cupcakes Brittany baked! 
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