Thursday, December 28, 2006

What I resolve to do in 2007

Has anyone started to think about New Year's resolutions? I have. This is the year of simplifying, organizing, and refocusing for me.

For scrapbooking I plan to:
  • Complete Stacy Julian's Library of Memories class to refocus my overall scrapbooking efforts.

  • Create a spending plan for scrapbooking and stick with the plan. This is a scary one indeed.

  • Finish moving and settling into my studio (Yes! ) and share photos of my space.

  • Sell, donate, or otherwise remove excess scrapbooking materials; keep this in check throughout the year. Does anyone out there have any needs? I'd love to share this wonderful, relaxing, worthwhile way to spend one's time with my friends and family.
  • Go to at least one all day crop per month, if there are some scheduled during the month.

For everything non-scrapbooking:

  • Rethinking and updating my life priorities. This is a really big one which is the basis for all of the other ones below.

  • Return to adhering to my Weight Watcher's plan.

  • Increase my daily activity (I hate the word exercise).

  • Communicate more with family and friends. I have several elderly family members who I'm afraid may join the ancestors soon.

  • Create a household spending plan and stick with it.

  • Increase streamlining and simplifying my commitments and obligations. This includes dropping as many as possible.
I'm so excited about my studio, I need to share pictures of it--even before I'm completely moved in and finished.

My scrapbooking table with enough room for four....

My wall of storage cabinets. I need even more storage....

Inside one of the cabinets. Just about everything is labeled to make it easy for me to grab and go....

My die cutting center....

My mini albums on display....

My motto....

My buttons, brads, and eyelet storage--cute and colorful....

Rows of colorful ribbons and flowers for inspiration and use ....

My altered clock showcasing my favorite people to scrapbook ....

I'm hoping to have an open house for my studio during March. I'm thinking by then I should be ready to have friends over to crop. I hope you can join me then.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What a wonderful Christmas

The children were nice enough not to wake us up before 8:00 am on Christmas day. They patiently waited while watching a Star Trek movie on TV.
We gathered around the tree and the children sorted and handed out the gifts. This year the two oldest children wanted mega expensive gifts so they were limited to the one mega gift (including accessories) and their stocking stuffers. The gift opening frenzy started.
Our son got this with insurance (a must have for him) and power adapter:

Our oldest girl got this along with a music kit, a bling'd cell phone pouch, and a memory card:

And, the youngest got these

Even China got some cat treats which our youngest placed a few on the rug for the cat to eat. Shhh, don't tell the vet. China's supposed to be on a diet.

And, I got this, a Cricut machine:

Okay, it might not look like much but I've waited for this little puppy for over a year! It's an electronic die cutting machine and I'm loving it. The price wasn't right until this month. I got to used it to make thank you cards for the Christmas gifts. Here are the cards I've made so far:

For the non-scrapbookers, I used the Cricut to create the "thanks" on these cards. Can you imagine trying to hand trace and then cut out these words with a scissors? It would take forever and would probably look jacked!

While the children played with their gifts, hubby and I resumed cooking our part of Christmas dinner (potato salad, chocolate chip cookies, and brownies) to take over grandma's and grandpa's (my in-laws) and I cooked lumpia on-site. Hubby's known for his potato salad and I'm the desserts and lumpia person. The extended family met over there for dinner.

Man, can my in-laws cook! They're originally from Louisiana and they bring the best of Southern cooking with them. I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the spread but we had loads of food which I stuffed myself with. There was lumpia, ham, fried turkey, cornbread dressing, macaroni and cheese, greens, candied yams, potato salad, okra with shrimp, gumbo with rice, cranberry sauce, rolls, a fruit tray, pineapple-coconut cake, yellow cake with chocolate frosting, chocolate chip cookies, triple chocolate brownies, cheesecake, and various store bought candies. Everything was made from scratch except for the candies. Can you believe that? Of course we have left overs for days....

All but one grandchild were at my in-laws for Christmas. We had a stand in though--a cousin--who joined the group that day.

We are very blessed to have so much love, good health, and happiness sprinkled throughout our family. Christmas is all about family, love, and sharing good cheer. I hope you had a blessed day as well.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The party's over and I got a new place

Saturday’s party was a great success. Everyone had a great time. The party theme was princesses (and princes). However, only one boy attended the party and he wasn’t interested in being a prince. He wanted to play playstation with my son. So, we had a bunch of little princesses making little tiaras with faux jewels, foam letters, and glitter glue. Really cute tiaras! Unfortunately, I didn’t get pictures of the pieces of art that they made. We decorated the house in streamers and balloons everywhere to emulate entering a festive castle. It took me hours to research ideas and sample cakes. I finally decided to do a version of this cake.

I made this amazing castle cake. It was so much fun and all of the children helped, including the birthday girl.

We had a couple of other activities that allowed the children to expend some energy including musical chairs and what we call the “balloon game”. The balloon game’s purpose is to keep the balloons in the air while the music is playing. When the music stops you either must have or not have a balloon in your hand. It’s the music director’s choice. This is lots of fun especially when you have a few people on the side lines throwing balloons into the mix.

I was totally exhausted all Sunday. I did nothing and stayed at home all day. I didn’t even go to church. Man, doing parties are so much fun but they drain the life out of me. I needed that day of rest.

The birthday girl got sick the day after the party. She came down with a virus and ran a temperature all this week up to 105 degrees. It’s really hard to see your child so sick and you can’t make it go away. She slept most of the time except when the meds took affect and lowered her temperature some. After three days of a fever I took her to the doctor for the virus diagnosis. Apparently, a virus is going around amongst the child population.

My studio is done enough for me to move in! YES! I wasn’t sure about the color I chose for the walls. But now I love it. I started moving in last night. Mike still needs to add crown molding, doors, and finish some of the base board. But, I’m so excited to have a place of my own. YES!

One of the challenges for me is whittling down my stash. I have way too much stuff than can fit into my 11’ x 15’ room. I’ll save some of the supplies for my girls to use later on, when the Scrapbooking bug gets them. I’ll sell some of the new and nearly new stuff on eBay and I’ll RAK some whenever it’s needed. Does anyone out there have a need?

Well, Christmas is just days away and I only have two gifts to buy. I know exactly what I want to get and where to get them. I just need to take time to go out and do it--maybe tomorrow or Friday night after work.

Sorry for being a blogger slacker. After my day of rest on Sunday, I had to deal with a sick little princess all week long. Today is the first day I was able to get some air.

Well, I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Preparing for the princess' party

How do you plan for a simple birthday party? You go to Chuck E. Cheese's and let them do all of the work. However, if your birthday child says she wants to have a party at home, then it's not that simple any more.

I try to make at-home birthday parties simple by having a simple menu,

  • hamburgers
  • hot dogs
  • chips
  • baked beans (optional)
  • garden salad with ranch dressing
  • kool aid
  • cake
  • vanilla ice cream

one or two activities,

  • a princess-related craft such as making your own crown/tiara
  • or, paint wooden Christmas ornaments (since I have a ton of these)
  • or, kiss the frog (a variation of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey)
  • and, hitting the pinata

and only two hours. However, our family and friends love to party and sometimes our "simple" birthday parties end up turning into grown ups card parties lasting way into the night. That's when hubby usually ends up being the host and I retreat into my bedroom or studio to recouperate from exhaustion. But, this year's party won't metamorphose because hubby has to go to work that evening. We'll end on time.

This is the graphic I used on the birthday party invitations from Evite. I love Evite because it's easy, free, and quick. However, not all of my friends and family are connected. Or, I don't have everyone's email addy. So, I also have to go with the paper invitations. I was going to make coordinating princess invitations but time ran out. So, I went with these invitations. '

I know these don't exactly represent my little princess. But, it'll do since I have no time to create something better. I also wanted to get a tiara pinata but I couldn't find one. So, I settled for this instead.

Then, what princess party would be complete without pink and white everything?

There is one thing I do like to do that's not so simple and that's make the birthday cake. I love baking. I took a Wilton cake decorating class at Michael's a couple of years ago and that's all I needed to get me making more decorative cakes. By far I no cake decorating expert but I get by with the little skills I do have. This year I'm going to try to make a variation of one of these cakes.

I got on the internet and found some great decorating ideas. I'd like to try some of them but I really don't want to spend the $. I'm trying to go frugal and simple here but my creativity bug is urging me to do something more. We'll see.

I'll post pictures of the party probably next week. I hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Twenty Holiday Questions

Here's a fun quiz to add to your Christmas scrapbook pages, compliments of Katie the Scrapbook Lady. I would love to see some of your answers as well. Here's what I said:

Eggnog or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Wrapped presents

Colored lights on tree/house or white?

Do you hang mistletoe?

When do you put up your decorations?
As soon as we can after Thanksgiving.

What is your favorite holiday dish?

Favorite holiday memory as a child?
Watching the animated Christmas stories on TV such as The Little Drummer Boy , Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer , Frosty the Snowman , and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

When and how did you learn that Santa isn’t real?
I don’t remember.

Can you ice skate?
Yes, but barely.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
We used to do this until I decide to simplify Christmas and give only two gifts to each child. I may consider allowing them to open the gifts in their Christmas stockings on Christmas Eve. I’ll need to discuss this with their dad.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
The children mostly decorate the tree. We have handmade and store bought ornaments on the tree along with white lights and ribbon bows. Some years I remember to buy wrapped candy canes to decorate the tree.

Snow! Love it or dread it?
Love it!

What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
To spend time with my family doing meaningful activities such as decorating our gingerbread houses, hand painting tree ornaments, and baking.

Do you remember your favorite gift?
I think my favorite gift, next to my youngest daughter who was born 4 days before Christmas, would be an easy bake oven in the late 1960s.

What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Hey, I’m a dessert gal. I love most anything chocolate, cherry cheesecake, and Grandma’s sweet potato pie.

What tops your tree?
A capiz shell star made in the Philippines.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I have several favorite traditions which include making Christmas ornaments, decorating gingerbread houses, watching the 1960s Christmas movie videos, and opening Christmas gifts at our home and then going to the Grandparents’ house to open gifts there later on.

Which do you prefer giving or receiving gifts?
Giving, of course!

What is your favorite Christmas song?
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus from The Jackson 5 Christmas Album . Actually, I like all of the songs on there as well as all of the songs on A Motown Christmas.

Candy canes on the tree?
Whenever I can remember to buy them.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Altered Mini Comp Books

I wanted to share with you a few mini composition books that I altered. I had so much fun doing these I'm thinking about making more to give as Christmas gifts to my co-workers. Do you think they would like something like this?

This was the first one I made.

I use this one to jot down scrapbooking project ideas.

This one will be used to capture topics and ideas for my blog.

This next one is not a mini comp book. It's a regular size one. I wanted to show it because it's the very first comp book that I altered. I use it as an inspiration book. I put sketches, magazine cut outs, and other scrapbooking ideas in here.

I added tabs along the side of the book to divide it into topical sections. I had so many ideas that I decided to alter more books to be able to place one topic per book. Now, I have a library of ideas. I'll share my library in another post.

I hope your weekend is going great. Until next time,



Friday, December 8, 2006

Tis the season to be bloggin'

It's a wonderful time of year. It's gotten really cold here (15 degrees) but there's no snow in the forecast. I love snow. I grew up in a place that *never* snowed. I always thought that Christmas was better with snow. Here's hoping for a white Christmas!

I've thought about what I'd like to get for Christmas. Here are some ideas.

A short vacation ...

Something to drive to crops in ...

A comfortable place to scrapbook...

Fuel to keep me scrapbooking ....

Something to tell me how long I've been scrapbooking ..

And, finally something to take better pictures with ...

How's that for a fantasy Christmas gift list?

Well, what's on your Christmas list?

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

DST, pie, hair, & bad princess

I have a love hate relationship with Daylight Savings Time (DST). Did you know that Benjamin Franklin originally came up with the concept of DST? Also, the proper term is Daylight Saving (no "s") Time. But, it sounds much better with the "s" at the end of "Saving" that most people use "Savings". Okay, I know--enough. Also, I thought that DST was meant to save energy. The environmentalist in me applauds that. However, the Department of Energy conducted a study which discovered that DST has no affect on energy saving. Oh well... The whole point of this discussion was my love & hate relationship with DST. I enjoy the longer "days" in the summer but I hate the shorter "days" in the winter especially when I go to work and come home in this

I was rather productive this weekend. I made this and half is already gone!

Tuesday, my daughter and I went to get our hair done. It's a fun, girl thing to do. We always get comments about how long her hair is Yep, it's long and she's tender headed and it's a pain to deal with. But, her daddy told her she can cut her hair never ever ever. What's up with Black men and long hair? Anyway, I wasn't happy with the job either stylist did on our hair. I can do it better and cheaper at home. This may be the cheapskate in me but I don't think I'll be going to the hair salon again any time soon.
Well, you remember our little princess? She's been bad at school. Not really bad such as fighting, hitting, cussing, and such but annoyingly bad such as laughing during lessons, not listening, playing, and acting like a baby. If miss princess doesn't get her act together, she'll be confined to her room in the castle and won't have her big birtday celebration. She was lectured to by her father yesterday and by me yesterday and this morning. I don't have a problem with her being silly, playing, and having fun. However, when she doesn't focus on her school work there's a BIG problem. Education is big in my family and excellence is expected. Stay tuned

Monday, December 4, 2006

Inception, birthday, & reflections

I finally decided to take the plunge! I started a blog. After months of reading other blogs and developing blog envy big time, I decided to go ahead and do it.

My baby is going to be six years old in only a few weeks. As they all say, time sure does travel fast. Can you believe it's been six years since she's been born? We've decided on having a princess party for our little girl. After all, she is the princess of the world or so you'd think after seeing her in action.

Birthdays give me a chance to reflect on life and how quickly it's going. I've noticed that after the age of 21 the years FLY by. I remember when I was in grade school, I couldn't wait until I was 16. Sixteen was such a cool age to be. I'd be in high school, I could drive, and I could have a sweet 16 party. Well, two of the three events happened. Then, I couldn't wait until I was legally an adult at 18. I could vote and I could do whatever I thought I wanted to do. Afterall, I was an adult. Well, only one of those things happened. Finally, there was the race to be 21. At 21 I could LEGALLY drink and get into clubs. Nevermind that it was so much fun to sneek into clubs and drink at the college parties. There was this mystique about being able to go to clubs with the "grown ups". Well, been there, done that. Now at middle age, I wish I had my 16 year old body, was more responsible and patient at 18, and never drank so much at 21. So much for 20/20. All in all, I'm happy where I am in life and the roads I've taken. Now I've got to take what I learned and use it to guide my little ones so they can take a higher path than I.

Does time fly by for you too?