Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Goodies

Now that Christmas is over, I can finally post a pic of some of the gifts I made for my family this year. I love to make handmade gifts whenever I can and I encourage my girls to do it too, since I think it makes a person feel extra special to know that you've taken the time to craft something unique, just for them. So here's some wine-stoppers, with large decorated glass balls I made added to the top of each one...

I tried to make them in colors and styles that would fit in with each family's kitchen decor, and the golf ball one was for my mom and George, who are both avid golfers. This was my first try at wine-stoppers and I am pretty proud at how they turned out, if I do say so myself! I didn't have a marble mold, so for those of you who are into lampworking, here's a little trick I used: I discovered that my metal dapping block was a great tool to create the perfectly round shapes!

Friday, December 26, 2008

A White Christmas

Well, they say it hardly ever snows around here, but we got a doozy of a storm system that came through about a week before Christmas and this is the view I had out my bedroom window on Christmas Day! The girls were delighted because school was cancelled early, Indy was happy because he loves to play in the snow, and I loved it because I think one of the loveliest experiences is to have fresh white snow outside, while we're inside enjoying the warmth and some hot cocoa. Kraig is already drooling in anticipation of getting some skiing in this winter too. He and Ashley spent some time making a snow dinosaur together on Christmas Eve and it turned out so cute! Why bother with a traditional snowman anyway? LOL

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas!

I was happily surprised and amazed that I was able to find some time this year to make handmade Christmas cards! I thought for sure this year I was going to have to resort to store-bought cards because of everything that's going on, but the creative bug kept biting me and I just had to give in to the urge. I used a neat K&Company patterned paper, combined with some stamped and embossed swirls and a red velvet poinsettia flower that was made using one of my Sizzix dies I designed for Provo Craft a few years ago. I think it turned out pretty cute and I did a few different versions in order to stretch as much as I could out of the few sheets of paper I had on hand. So here's a virtual copy for you all to enjoy and I'm hoping you all have a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year too!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

22 Years and Counting...

Today, Kraig and I celebrated our 22nd Anniversary! The time sure has flown by and it certainly doesn't seem like we've been together so long, but I guess it's because we've had so much fun together and we didn't notice?

Seems like just yesterday, we met while in our Junior year in college when I was singing in a group for his church one Sunday. I could tell he was staring at me and I got quite irritated, but when the concert was over and I got a chance to see how cute he was up close, I quickly changed my mind!

Only trouble was, he was so shy and would barely make eye contact or talk with me, so I wondered if I had imagined the whole thing. A few weeks later, when I was getting ready to leave my dorm to go out with a friend, I heard a voice yell out my name. Imagine my delighted surprise to see it was him! Those who know Kraig, know that his yelling like that in front of about 30 strangers is something that normally NEVER happens, but he was so happy to see me again, he couldn't help himself (we went to different schools and he was visiting a friend who just happened to live in my dorm).

We made a date to go out the next day and we've been inseparable ever since. I can't imagine what my life would have been like without him and I know we're so blessed to have enjoyed such a wonderful marriage all these years!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our Furry Friends

I can't believe it! I just realized over this weekend that I've completely neglected sharing any pics of our other special family members!?! So here are some recent ones of them, just for your viewing pleasure...

This is Indiana Jones (yes, we named him after one of our favorite movie characters! LOL) and he's a 10-year-old purebred Keeshond with loads of long, soft fur, a bright and curious mind, and a tendency to lick your fingers off if you'll let him. He also uses his paws like a cat and every vet he's ever had always mistakes him for a girl because he has such a prissy manner sometimes (but we don't tell him that, so I think his self-image is still intact? ;-D) He's a wonderful companion and watch dog, and spends his mornings napping patiently at the front door or my feet when I'm working on the computer, but lately he's shown a preference for this position on my bed—waiting for the rest of the family to come home so he can play with everyone.

And this little cutie-pie is Romeo, who we adopted from a local animal shelter for a surprise birthday gift this year to our daughter, Ashley. He's about 2 years old, a cocker-spaniel mix, and is extremely sweet and quiet (a nice change from our "talkative" Indy! LOL). I think he's barked once a grand total of 4 times since we got him in June—most of which was whenever he got a chance to get up close to Katie's mini Lop bunny Snickers, which sends him into a tizzy of ecstasy (or is it his hunting instinct for dinner?!) He has a definite preference for tummy- rubs and will literally melt on the floor in a little furry puddle when you love on him.

When we first brought Romeo home, Indy wasn't quite sure what to do with him, having been an "only child" for the past 9+ years with us. But they've warmed up to each other and it's hilarious to watch them play—with little Romeo chasing down Indy or wrestling over a toy. Right now, they're both laying at either side of my feet while I type...who needs slippers with furry bodies like this nearby? LOL

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sweet Sixteen

WOW, Kraig and I can't believe our little Kaitlyn is now 16 years old! How fast the years have flown by since we first brought her home from the hospital...and it's surreal to think that in just two more years, she's be a legal adult?! If 16 years feels like such a short time, I can't imagine how two more will be for us—the blink of an eye?!? She definitely acts like a teenager these days, but still as loving, curious, smart, creative and silly as always. Happy Birthday, Katie—we love you very much!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Melting Glass

Whew! In addition to all the on-going remodeling stuff that's been going on, this past week I've been cramming in several glass bead making sessions (also known as "lampworking") for some testing I'm doing for a great company called Creation Is Messy (aka CiM). They just introduced some beautiful new glass colors and it's been so fun trying them out and learning what they can do!

I'm still a relative novice to this new hobby of mine, but I think I have a knack for it and have been improving my skills pretty quickly—whenever I get the chance to sit down and work on them, that is! I haven't had much "play" time this year, but hopefully, that will change as things start to settle down. I thought I'd share some pics of my garage studio set-up and the humongous batch of test beads I made. Most of them are just practice stuff, but some of them actually turned out pretty cool! And can you find the Snowman? It's my first ever try and I'm rather proud of him, even if his eyes look a bit like he's on drugs? LOL

Monday, November 10, 2008

Glamour Girls

Sorry for not posting in so long, but we've been battling the cold bug now that the weather has changed and still working furiously on the home remodeling stuff (along with other things I'll post about later!). But I thought I'd pop in and post some pics of Ashley and Katie, all dressed up for some recent formal affairs at school. It took my breath away to see how mature looking they both are now...can't believe my babies are almost all grown up?! eek! Of course, none of my pics turned out that great, as they are both getting a little "too cool" to comply gracefully with my picture taking requests these days...*sigh*

Here's Ashley, in her first "grown up" dress and pair of heels. She wore it to a "Three Muskateers" play her Drama class was attending the last week of October, where all the students were encouraged to wear something formal to get into the spirit of things. Boy, I tell you, it was a HUGE challenge to go shopping and agree on something together when she evidentally has a strong tendency to go for what I call "hoochy momma" clothing that is about 10 years too old for her. Of course, being at the decrepit old age I am, have hardly any credibility at all for either girl when it comes to taste in clothing either. Can you see our dilemna?? So, she was trying on clothes in a store and Katie and I were waiting outside, and she wasn't finding anything we could both agree on. I spied the dress on a display and mentioned to Katie that I thought it looked cute and she immediately disagreed with a condescending "Eeww, Mom, I don't think so!" But at this point, we're getting desperate to find something, so I grab it and shove it at Ashley through the curtain, coaxing her to please try it on for my sake. When she emerges, Katie blurts out in an amazed tone, "Wow, that actually looks really good on you!" and so that clinched the deal for Ashley. Nevermind that I'm the one with the good taste to see it's potential in the first place—all that mattered was her sister deemed it worthy! ha!

The first pics I got were with her iPod hooked up and I had to give some major encouragement to get her to put it away for just a few minutes—typical of her these days! LOL

And here's some pics of Katie, going to her first Homecoming Dance the first week of November. She'd had her eye on this dress for several weeks and was drooling so hard over it in the store, I thought she might have to be hospitalized for dehydration?! LOL Kraig drove her there and helped chaperone the dance, and she met with some of her girlfriends and they all went solo together. She did her own hair and make-up, and I thought she did a pretty darn good job. Kraig says she was one of the first ones on the dance floor and he had to practically drag her off of it to come back home, she was having so much fun!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Visit from Nana & George

It was so much fun to have Nana (my mom) and George come to visit us for a few days in October! They flew into the small airport near our home in their plane and spent some quiet time just visiting with everyone. We took them the the Fremont Market one Sunday afternoon, which is one of our favorite places we've discovered since we moved out here. It's a small, outdoor flea market, with lots of great handmade jewelry, art, food and other goodies—I love the thrill of finding "a find" like a handful of antique skeleton keys or a vintage rhinestone pendant! The girls discovered a booth with neat little caps and scarves that they fell in love with, so Nana bought them each a hat (because you know that's what Grandmothers do to spoil their grandkids! LOL) and I bought a nifty black and white patterned scarf. I was also so excited to find the little food stand that makes Thai style fried bananas—one of my fave deserts ever and so hard to find places that know how to make it. Afterwards, we headed over to a nearby gelato place that we'd heard had great flavors, and we definitely agreed, as it had the most authentic stracciatella (vanilla and chocolate flakes) gelato we'd tasted since being in Italy. Yum...I'm wanting to go back again right now!

I was sad that Mom could only stay a few days with us, but hopefully, she'll be able to come out and visit for a longer time later next year!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Warning: Construction Zone!

I know, I's been a while since my last post. But I have good reasons, I promise! LOL First of all, we're still trudging away on the kitchen remodel, trying to make up our minds on the backsplash and painting what seems like my 100th cabinet door. We're also trying to finish up the landscaping so we can reseed the backyard before it gets too cold (I am so not ready for winter!) But then we were introduced to new contractor last week and to our amazement, things just worked out and this weekend we turned our home into an even more chaotic mess because we're tearing out the loft area above our entryway!

Are we CRAZY?!? Yesterday, sawdust was flying everywhere and the girls were moaning about losing their favorite part of the house. Never mind that it could only be accessed by the master bedroom and sat smack in the middle of the entry by the stairs like Grand Central Station, collected all sorts of unsightly junk, and made you feel like you were entering a cave when you came through the front door. They just loved it for some reason. They begged us to leave in the door from our bedroom and put in a trampoline at the bottom or a fireman's pole so they could slide down, but sadly, those ideas had to be squashed due to insurance concerns. hah!

So now Kraig and I are on a frantic search for a chandelier today. We always had this project on our to-do list, but weren't planning on doing it so soon. But we're super excited to see it coming along and know that it will really make a dramatic change to our home. I'll post some before and after pics when it's done at the end of the week, k?

Oh yeah...and my mom and George are coming out to visit this weekend! aye, yi, yi!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Charming Surprise

Wow, two surprise packages in one week?! I was so excited to get the charms from the two swaps I've been participating in, and thought I'd share with you my newest little treasure trove of goodies!

First of all, here are the ones from the Think Pink swap, hosted by Amber Dawn, where proceeds from two bracelets she made with our extra charms went to the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation. The charm I sent in was a mini plastic domino that I colored with several shades of pink alcohol and gold metallic inks, gold leafing pen on the edges, then I added a rhinestone accent and covered it all with a coat of thick glaze. It's much more shimmery and jewel-like in person.

This is what it looked like when I first opened the package. I love how pretty all the unique presentations look—you can tell they were truly gifts from the heart…

And here are all the individual charms shown with credit for the wonderful artists who made them. It was such a pleasure and honor to work on this special project with everyone.

Here are the charms I received from the Black & White swap. It was hosted by Laurel Steven and she did such a great job too. Check out the fun packaging—it felt just like Christmas all over again!

A big shout out to everyone who participated in both swaps and thank you so much! You're all so incredibly creative and I can't wait to make something wonderful with these great charms!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Work in Progress…

When we moved to WA from KS last year, we ended up buying a home that was in a wonderful neighborhood, but needed a lot of cosmetic work (did you note the bright purple hexagon sink, ready for the dump run? It came with a matching "designer" toilet too!). We've been doing most of the remodel ourselves—thanks in no small part to my addiction to HGTV and the DIY channels. So it's been a long work in progress ever since we got the keys. At first we worked on all the rooms at once, but this made for a pretty crazy mess—not to mention, nothing ever seemed to get 100% finished. But we did manage to get all the *lovely* tropical themed and/or metallic wallpaper stripped and most of the walls painted (yay!). Now, our strategy is to concentrate on one room at a time until it's totally done, so the one we've been tackling these past few months is the kitchen, as well as finishing up painting all the stained wood trim and doors white. We're about 75% done and since I don't want to show it to you until it's finished for the big "Oooooh!" effect, here are just a few pics to tease you...

We had big plans for a major work push this weekend, but Kraig and I both got a touch of the flu bug and were pretty much out of it the whole time. Katie got it first earlier in the week, but was only sick one night and popped right out of bed the next morning, ready and eager to go to school, even though we told her she could stay home. I know, you're thinkin' she must have still been delirious from a fever, huh? LOL But we're all finally on the mend and the weather is gorgeous outside, so we'll probably be getting back to work today or tomorrow. So stay tuned for the next episode of our own little version of "This Old House"…!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Feeling Charming?

I originally joined a Yahoo group called The Charmsters when I attended the Art & Soul workshops last year in Portland, OR. It was formed so we could exchange our unique handmade charms at the event, but it was so fun and successful that it's continued on, with various swaps being offered throughout the year. I don't do a lot of these, but every once in a while, I'll sign up for one that has a theme that I really love. I finished one set of charms last month for a breast cancer fund-raising event, and recently sent in some with a black and white theme.

I had a neat vintage ticket rubberstamp design that fit perfectly over a bamboo tile (cut from a placemat!) that I had spray painted white. On the back, I used two different stamps to complete the ticket theme, which I envisioned as something like for a glamorous old movie-star event. I have no idea what the foreign text says on the collage stamp, but it had the right look and I just hope it's nothing really weird?! I finished the whole thing off with clear varnish, black wire, and some elegant silver and crystal beads, and then wrapped them each up in pretty little white organza bags. I can't wait to see what I get back in return!

Don't Change That Channel!

Some of you already know this, but this past June, the Bosch company invited our family to participate in a Dremel 300 tool infomercial! At first, they contacted me since they had me on file as a designer, but after interviewing me over the phone and hearing all about how we like to use this great tool, the director asked me if the rest of the family would be interested in helping out too? Ashley was too shy, but Kraig and Katie were game, so we all flew out in July 11-13 to Orange County, CA to film it with several other people.

It was really fun to work with the production crew, the Bosch company, and everyone else. Of course, I totally forgot to bring my camera to the shoot and didn't get any pics of our brush with fame. Just what kind of scrapbooker am I?!? We stayed over the weekend—managing to squeeze in a day at Disneyland—then came back home. Now the infomercial is airing, and although we haven't had a chance to see it yet, you can check out sneak previews of us here.

And here's what we were told in a recent message:
This email is just to let you know that the infomercial will begin airing on test runs starting Friday, September 5th and will continue through the 21st. After these first few weeks, it will begin airing on a wider distribution amongst the following channels and possibly others: Home & Garden TV, National Geographic Channel, Do It Yourself Network, CNBC, The Discovery Channel, TRU (previously Court TV), TV Food Network.

EEK! Judging from what I've already seen, looks like I'm going to be nationally embarrassed at how dorky I look. *sigh* So if you see it before I do, please be kind and don't laugh too hard, k? But I am really proud of how well Kraig and Katie did—those drama classes really paid off!

We were asked to bring some projects with us to show how we used the Dremel tool. Katie and I made the bracelet together—she went around the house and collected game pieces and shells from a holiday trip, and I provided some leftover charms I had made for various other projects. She drilled the holes and I cut the dominoes in half, embellished with silver Rub-n-Buff, and wired everything onto an inexpensive silver charm bracelet (I even made the green/blue round glass bead on my torch!). I also made a necklace out of Swarovski crystals and Precious Metal Clay (aka PMC) which is a special clay that fires into fine silver.

Well, that's it for today, folks! More blog news coming soon, I promise! *Ü*

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's about time!

I can't believe the day has FINALLY come when I actually got my act together to create my own blog! LOL I've been wanting to do this for years now, but never got around to it because I thought it would be too hard (and I have to admit, I was a wee bit intimidated—what if no one ever wanted to read it?!). But after getting so much enjoyment from reading all my favorite designer blogs on an almost daily-obsessive basis, I decided today was the day to take the plunge. Besides, I think I can at least count on a few family members and friends to take a peek here once in a while, if only to keep track of how my girls are growing up? ;-D

Scary thing is, I've never been great at the whole daily journal thing, so I can't promise if I'll be able to keep this constantly updated (hey, I need time to read all my other fav bloggers too, right?!) And I can *hear* six kitchen cabinets, a door, and a can of paint plaintively calling my name downstairs. But since a blog is such a great way to share photos, thoughts, news, etc., I think I have a pretty good chance of making a good go with it. Just drop me a comment now and again if you feel like it—if only to assure me that more than just the crickets are listening, okay?
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