Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to say that I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas! I know this is a little later than I had planned to post, but my computer has been suffering some kind of psychotic breakdown and I haven't been able to get online very much for over a week. *sigh* But now that I'm able to post today, I thought I'd share a few pics…

I tried to take a nice photo of the girls and dogs together, but the boys just didn't want to cooperate—Indy got too excited at the sight of the treats we had for them and kept running up to the camera, and Romeo had a panic attack when we tried to put on some reindeer antlers. I discovered that Ashley had put them on him a few days earlier and turned on their lights and music, which must have scared the poor little guy to the point where he didn't even want to come into the same room with them. Everyone was running around the room, chasing both dogs, and it just never worked out that they got a good pose all at the same time. It was hilarious though—imagine watching a "Four Stooges" scene and you might get the general idea of how it looked?! At the very end, when both dogs were at their most uncooperative, Katie threw up her hands and declared "I can't work like this!" in her best Model Diva voice that had us totally cracking up. My sides were still hurting 15 minutes later after I decided to call it quits on the photo session! LOL

The girls and I also made dozens of fabulously decorated cookies, and they worked on gingerbread houses (eating more candy than what ended up for decoration!), which is one of our favorite Christmas traditions. On Christmas Day, Kraig's mom and brother Kris came over for Christmas dinner and we all had a wonderful time visiting. Kraig's dad Ray wasn't feeling well enough to come too, but we're planning on going down to their house this weekend to bestow a little post-Christmas cheer to him then. ;-D

I hope you all were blessed with a magical Christmas as well and wishing you a very
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Yesterday was my and Kraig's 23rd wedding anniversary—whoohooo! I can't believe I've put up with this crazy guy for so long?! Just kidding!! LOL We decided not to exchange gifts this year, but he gave me some beautiful roses and some of my favorite chocolates, then took me out for dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant. *sigh* I guess I could let him stick around a little while longer? ;-D

edited to add:
Shirley made a comment asking why Kraig didn't make me something for our anniversary, and even though I know she was teasing, it made me remember something that I thought I'd add to this post. *Ü*

First of all, Kraig is probaby the least creative member of our family (and I say that with the utmost love and affection!). But a long time ago, he managed to surprise me with a homemade gift that he's never been able to top in my eyes…

It was for our very first anniversary, when we were so poor that we lived on macaroni and cheese and were lucky to have $25 in our checking account at the end of the month. We agreed then that we weren't going to spend anything on each other, but on our special day he presented me with a decorative cookie tin (I was into collecting them at the time). He told me to look inside and there I discovered little slips of paper, each one with a different sentence he had handwritten himself, describing something he loved about me. Then he told me there were a total of 365 notes and that I was to pull out and read one a day for the rest of the year. (Okay—this made me start crying again, just thinking about it!)

I still have that tin and all the notes and cherish them more than anything else he's ever given me since then, no matter how fancy or expensive now that we can finally afford them. And you know what the best thing is? He still likes to tell me things he loves about me all the time—even after all these years.

Yeah, I'm a very lucky girl and I totally know it!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Search for the Perfect Winter Coat

Last year, Ashley needed a good winter coat, but at the very first store we looked at, she immediately latched on to a pastel blue and pink one, declared that it was "The One" and was done shopping after that. I must have spent at least 15 minutes trying to get her to look at other options, but she had made her choice and wasn't budging. The thing is, Ashley has never been a light blue or pink kind of girl—in fact, that same year she wore so much black, I lived in constant fear that she was turning into what she calls an "Emo," which is uncomfortably close to "Goth." EEK! I think she ended up wearing that coat a total of eight times before she decided that light blue and pink weren't her style after all and she refused to ever wear it again, even at the risk of dying of hypothermia while waiting at the bus stop for school. *sigh*

So this week, I'm bound and determined to get her a winter coat that I know suits her and will last at least a few years. It's been bitterly cold here right now, so I'm anxious to find something soon. Last night we looked in a few stores, but couldn't find anything, so today I braved the mall by myself to see what I could bring home for her to chose from, armed with this criteria:

1) Colors: Purple, white, or black
2) Wooly Fur (okay) vs. Hairy Fur (definitely not okay)
3) No super slippery fabric on the inside (causes unwelcome static shocks)
4) No itchy fabrics
5) Needs to be very fashionable (translation: being "cool" looking is a much higher priority than keeping you warm)

I figured it would take me about two hours to look, then I would treat myself to a nice lunch and head back home. So I dressed in a cute outfit, including my favorite pair of dress shoes (aka not my most comfortable ones), and headed out on my quest. Well, eight shopping bags, five blisters, no lunch, and four hours later—I limped back to my car. LOL I had to beg one of the stores to let me use one of their shopping carts to use through the rest of the mall when I was about halfway done because the bags were getting so bulky and heavy. My luck—I managed to pick a cart that had some sort of problem with one of the wheels so that it clattered and lurched the entire time. I should have exchanged it for another one, but by the time I realized what was going on and that it wasn't just the bumpy floors, I was too tired to go back. So I bravely continued on my way, complete with sound effects to alert every store of my impending visit. *lovely*

I started to wax nostalgic for the days when I had a nice big stroller to hold all my shopping bags, complete with a neat little cup holder so I could leisurely sip Diet Coke while I strolled down the aisles. Then I remembered those days also included having to change diapers in the mall bathroom and I decided maybe the cart wasn't so bad after all…

I did manage to find some cute coat possibilities for Ashley, so I'm hoping she sees one she loves. I also squeezed in a refreshing shopping frenzy break when I discovered that the rock and mineral store I like was having a great sale too. ;-D I bought a ton of gorgeous natural stones like laboradorite, smoky quartz, moss agate, tiger's eye, and snowflake obsidian, as well as freshwater pearls and coral—I can't wait to use them in my jewelry designs. Here's a photo of everything—there was so much I had to divide them into two photos. So please feel free to drool as much as you want! Baahaahaaahhaa!


It almost made up for all the blisters and shopping cart embarrassment. Almost…until I realized that I still need to schlep all the coats she didn't choose back to the mall again! *groan*

Saturday, December 5, 2009

BeadStar Give-Away Winner!

Just got back from my BazArt show (which went pretty well!) and the first thing I did was have one of my daughters draw one of your names randomly for the Bead Star magazine prize. And....

Drum roll, please..........

The winner is KLH Designs! Congratulations! Please email me and send me your address info and I'll get it out in Monday's mail!

Thanks so much to everyone for all their wonderful comments and for having fun with my little give-away contest. I'll probably try and do some more in the future—maybe with cool art supplies or other types of goodies? You'll just have to stay tuned to fine out! ;-D

Friday, December 4, 2009

BazArt Show

I just wanted to let everyone know that I'll be selling my designs at the Maple Valley Creative Arts Council holiday show called BazArt tomorrow! It's a special event featuring about a dozen local artisans who specialize in various mediums who will have items for sale. This will be my last show of the year and after that, I'll be listing a ton of items in my Etsy shop, just in time for all you last minute Christmas shoppers! *Ü* I'm hoping to add several new items each day, so please check back often to see if there's anything that might strike your fancy. Here's some eye candy of just some of the great designs I'll have available for sale…


So if you're in the Maple Valley area this Saturday, between the hours of 10 am to 5 pm, I hope you'll stop by the BazArt show and check it out!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

You Can Be a Winner Too!

Yesterday I was thrilled to find copies of the 2009 Bead Star contest winners in my mailbox. You may remember my mentioning several months ago that I entered a jewelry design contest here, but I've had to keep mum on the results until the issue hit the stands. So now I can shout it out and do the Happy Dance because I won an Honorable Mention!! (hmmm… maybe I should qualify myself as having more of a supporting role than actually being one of the stars?! ;-D)

I'm pretty proud of myself even so, since I was told that there were at least 2,000 entries and only 45 designs made the cut. I'm also happy to see that I'm in very good company on page 22, where my "Ode to Chihuly" glass necklace is featured on the same page as one of my favorite lampworking artists, Kerry Bogert, who also won an Honorable Mention in the Glass category. A big "Congrats!" to all the other winners too! I love how there are instructions on how to re-create every winning design and there is such a great variety of styles featured.

As a special "thank you!" to everyone who voted for me and gave me their support, I would like to offer up one of my copies as a prize for my very own contest! To enter, please leave a comment here any time between now and this Friday, December 4. Even if you didn't vote at all (or—ahem!—voted for someone else? LOL), I'd love to hear from ya! I will put everyone's name into a hat and draw a random winner on Saturday (and you may even get one of my beads too!).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Katie!

It was a little belated, but we finally got together to celebrate Katie's 17th birthday this week! Her actual birth date is November 19th, but having the luck of arriving 11 days earlier means every year she has to fight for a party spot just before Thanksgiving break. We had to wait a little longer this year because she had several friends who were also having their parties before the holiday, so she ended up getting two parties of her own! LOL One was dinner out at her favorite restaurant, The Outback Steakhouse, with just our family and two of her best friends on her real birthday. Then she had several more friends come over for pizza and movie night this past weekend. Fun was had by all, but I'm a little depressed to think that we'll only have her for one more year before she leaves us for college? EEK!

The whole gang, ready to chow down on birthday cupcakes and ice cream! *Ü*

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Lighting Webinar

I know a lot of you who read my blog are fellow scrapbookers and photographers, so I thought I'd post about a new Creative Techs webinar I just heard about, called "Lighting From A to Z." These are the same people who have hosted several other webinars (online seminars) that I've taken, so I can personally assure you that they are great. Plus, you can't beat that they're free! *Ü* If you're interested, click on the title link and check it out!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Internet Insanity

This week, I think I went a little crazy…

Against my better judgement, I made a commitment to participating more on Facebook, but after a few days realized that my worst fears had come true...  

I'm hooked!! 

Combined with blogging, Etsy listings, and online forum lurking, I've been mesmerized for hours at a time—sometimes to the point where my bum has gone numb (I kid you not!). I should be working on a long list of remodeling projects, baking Thanksgiving deserts, melting glass, making Christmas gifts, mailing out cards—I could go on for at least another three paragraphs…

…instead, I'm compulsively wandering all over the internet following thread and links like Alice looking for the White Rabbit (ACK!)

Good thing my kids are old enough to fend for themselves and the hubby likes to cook dinner! Add all this to the fact that my family has also been pressuring me to join the Modern Communication Age and finally learn how to text them over the phone…oooooh, boy! I'm scared silly this just might send me right over the edge?!

There must be someone who is working on inventing the perfect "Anti-Internet" drug for people like me who are desperate to get some actual work done during the day? Surely I can't be the only one suffering from this illness?! ;-D

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wine Stoppers - Special Delivery

Last year, I gave handmade bottle stoppers to my extended family for Christmas gifts. I love to make my own gifts whenever I can, and these were great because I could create unique glass beads to coordinate them specifically to their own home decor and tastes. But sometimes I worry that the people getting the gift might have preferred something store bought instead? Turns out they were a hit with everyone—so that was a big relief! My sister-in-law, Andrea, loved hers so much, she even commissioned me to make her 11 more stoppers so that she could give them as gifts to her own friends and family! Here's the photos that I sent her recently to make sure she liked all of them:

(please ignore the black rubber gasket that slipped off on the stopper on the far right—I fixed it after I took the photos!)

I used some of her favorite colors and tried to show a variety of designs. I'm especially proud of the golf ball design, which I first made for my Mom's gift last year. I've never seen one done in soft glass before, so maybe I'm the first to try it? I think they all turned out rather well, don't you? I'll be sending these off to Andrea soon and I really hope the people she gives them to will enjoy using them.

Now I just have to figure out what to make for everyone this Christmas?! *Ü*

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Beads of a Different Kind

Last weekend, my friend Lara and I took at class at Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle to learn how to make mini sculptures in glass. Boy, was it a blast! Rachel Rader was our instructor and she was really fun and taught us how to make several different shapes on the glass rod itself. It was so strange working without a trusty steel mandrel like I'm used to, but it didn't take long to relax and have fun just playing around and seeing I could come up with...

(from left to right)

1) These fried eggs were the first thing Rachel taught us how to make because they're fairly simple and it was easy to learn how to "punty" them off the glass rod they were made on (a process of transferring the shape to another glass rod temporarily), before putting them into the kiln to cool down.

2) Next, we moved on to berries, which was a little harder than you might think. The technique of adding all those tiny dots next to each other requires a lot of attention and patience. I went for a raspberry and a blackberry and they look yummy enough to eat!

3) Then we learned the most complicated technique, which was how to create faces. Rachel showed us how to make a life-like human head with nothing but a butter knife and poker tool. When it was our turn to play, we all took different tangents and created other fun designs using the same techniques. Lara made a funny little alien that had us cracking up. I started out making the panda head, but halfway through, I realized that I wasn't quite sure exactly how their faces really looked. But I muddled through, laughing the whole time because of his funny expression that he ended up having. Doesn't he look like he's wondering where the rest of his body is? LOL

4) Next, I tried a more human looking face and made a little Flower Fairy. I love her little button nose and dimpled smile, but unfortunately one eye started melting down the side her face, which gives her bit of a distracted expression. I already have several other fairies that I know I'd like to make soon. Next time, I'll try to get those eyes better! ;-D

5) And finally, we learned how to make 3-D flowers by creating individual petals and leaves, then adding them to the center one by one. We only had 10 to 15 minutes to make them at the end of class, so mine is a little wonky because I was slapping them on so fast. But I loved this technique and it surprisingly turned out kinda nice in the end. I'm thinking these would make awesome Christmas gifts this year too!

Overall, this was a great experience and I'm so glad I tried it! This was actually my very first formal class I've taken in lampworking, besides the 2 hour quickie workshop I took about 3 years ago when I was first introduced to this art form. Back then, I learned how to make a simple donut shaped bead, and how to make and apply basic stringer to it. After that, everything I've learned has been self-taught by reading books, exploring internet message boards and tutorials, and watching videos and live demonstrations whenever I can. And of course, lots of play time on the torch! *Ü*

Thursday, November 5, 2009

CiM Testing - Round 5

I've been a busy girl these past few weeks, testing out the newest Creation Is Messy (CiM) colors and putting them through their paces. I love the testing phase—playing around with each one and seeing what makes them unique from existing hues and brands. The only down side is that I end up with a ton of weird looking beads because I like to put an emphasis on experimentation and seeing how they react on their own and with each other in various situations. But I did end up with some winning combinations and am still in the process of creating some more finished designs now that I'm better acquainted with these new colors. They're all gorgeous, and I'll be posting more about them over the next few weeks, especially the ones that fit in with the Pantone Winter/Spring fashion forecast! ;-D

Friday, October 23, 2009

Open for Business!

Yippeeeee!! I'm so excited to announce that I've finally listed some of my handcrafted designs in my new Etsy shop tonight! At first, it was a bit of confusing and time-consuming to pull everything together over the past few weeks (macro jewelry photography is a bugger!), but I think I'm actually starting to get the hang of it now. And in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, I'm going to be donating 10% of my proceeds from anything I sell over the next two weeks that is colored pink to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

You can check out my store by clicking my shop logo or on the Etsy link on the right. So if you'd like to go over and take a peek, I'd love to get any input on my photography, descriptions, shipping, or anything else you see I might need to work on. (And it might be nice to hear if there's anything you like too? ;-D)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Farmer's Market Update

Whew! It's been crazy around here this week, because I've been busy making new beads and jewelry to sell at the Maple Valley Farmer's Market tomorrow. This week's theme is Breast Cancer Awareness, so I'll have pretty pink goodies at my table and there will be some great other booths to visit for all you ladies too. This will be my last time there with my good friend, Lara Lutrick, and I would love to have you stop by if you get a chance!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bling Bling Time!

I missed out on reminding everyone that I was going to be at the Farmer's Market again this past Saturday, but thought I'd share some of the pretty things I had there anyway! ;-D I did really well and am so thankful for all the nice people who stopped by the booth to visit with Lara and I and admire our work. I've been busy over the past few days, photographing many of my designs to list on Etsy soon and for some magazine submissions (fingers crossed!). Then Kraig and I are off to enjoy a Newsboys concert at the Puyallup Fair tonight (whoohooo—date night lives!!).

Monday, August 31, 2009

Gearing Up for Fall

I can't believe it—the girls are going back to school in just two days! It's amazing how quickly the summer has flown by, but I'm looking forward to the Fall season, which is one of my favorite times of the year. I love wearing a cozy sweater on a bright day when all the leaves are changing colors! So what do I do to prepare myself for the upcoming season? I check out the Pantone color trend forecast, of course! I started using Pantone forecasts waaaaay back when I first started out as a graphic designer, and have continued to use them for my home remodeling projects and hobbies like scrapbooking and jewelry design. It's a wonderful resource for planning color combinations and to jumpstart your creative juices if you're feeling stumped (and I like looking at all the yummy colors anyway! ;-D).

You can download the PDF version of their report for this Fall by clicking here. Another great resource I've recently discovered is a website called Fashion Trendsetter, which has several other color trend forecasts you might want to check out. After looking at all the gorgeous color swatches, I'm excited to start working on some new glass bead combinations this week. I hope they inspire you to work on something new and colorful too!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm in Bead Trends Magazine!

Woooohoooo! I just got my complimentary copy of the latest issue of Bead Trends, where I am fortunate to have a bracelet made with my "faux jade" glass beads featured! This is the first time I've been published in this magazine and I really love the way they photograph and present all the projects—it's more like a beautiful little coffee table book than a magazine. All the projects are so yummy and my brain is already brimming with ideas for Fall. So if you haven't had a chance to check it out before, I hope you do soon (and don't forget to take a gander at my project in pages 82-83! ;-D).

Monday, August 10, 2009

Free Digital Classes!

During my graphic designer days, I admit I was considered a bit of a computer geek, because I used a lot of fancy design programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Quark Express on my beloved Mac computer. Now that I'm involved with other things, I haven't been able to keep up with all the upgrades and features as much as I'd like to, even though I still use them in my work. And I don't learn very well by reading computer books or manuals—they put me in sleep mode almost immediately! LOL So imagine my excitement when I discovered a local Seattle company called Creative Techs that has tons of great online tips and has begun offering special webinars for all sorts of programs relating to digital creativity. And best of all, they're FREE!!

I've already taken several of their webinars and have loved each and every one of them. Their instructors are awesome and you can opt to pay a small fee and download PDF files and video sessions so you can review them later as much as you want (or in case you miss any of them). Believe me, it's well worth the price and you will learn so much! And how fun it's been to learn in the comfort of my own studio, sipping a Frapacchino Lite in my jammies! ;-D

I wanted to help spread the word, since they're hoping to get 1,000 people enrolled in each class and that way they can continue to offer more free webinars in the future. So if this sounds interesting to you too, I highly encourage you to click on the icon above and check them out to see if there's something coming up that you might like to try yourself!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

To Market, To Market...

This year, our town of Maple Vally decided to have a Farmer's Market (Saturdays only) and see how well it does through the summer. My friend Lara Lutrick and I took the plunge and signed up for four dates to sell our lampwork glass beads and jewelry together at the Maple Valley Creative Arts Council booth. The weekend I got back from my family vacation was our first day and boy, was I a nervous wreck! It's the first time I've put myself into a merchandising mode to sell to the general public, vs. making things for my clients or published work. I didn't have nearly the inventory I had hoped for, but I know I'll eventually get there (assuming my stuff sells well?! ack!) I was scrambling like a crazy person to create more beads and finished jewelry up to the night before—to the point where I even seriously considered tapping into the Rock Star energy drinks I bought "just in case." But I was too scared to see how skitzo they might make me, so I prevailed on my own (and a little help from Starbuck's Mocha Frappacchinos! ;-D)

Here's a quick shot of my table set-up, just before the Market opened up for business. Lara and I had separate tables, and it was really nice to share the booth and have company during the day. Over time, I've collected several sterling plated dishes from our local Goodwill to use around my studio and hold some of my projects while I work. I decided to use them for some of my display pieces on the table and I think they really class up my presentation. Still a few kinks to work out and I need a nicer earring display, but overall, I was pretty happy with how it all turned out in the end!

These are all the earrings I made, using my glass beads and fine silver charms created with Precious Metal Clay (PMC). I also used sterling silver, Swarovski crystals, and pearls in my designs. My faves are the stamped PMC circles and black crystal dangles in the lower row—I think I might have to keep these for myself?! I also made pendants, bracelets, necklaces, wine stoppers, and stationary sets and I tried to offer a variety that would appeal to a wide range of budgets as well. I didn't get a chance to photograph each piece at home, so I'll have to do that later on.

I did better than I had hoped for and we both had a great time talking with people and seeing them admire our work. Naturally, (ooh, I think I just made a pun?! LOL) I had to snag some fresh-baked goodies, Rainier cherries and a bouquet of flowers while I was there too, right? And my head is brimming with tons of new design ideas to offer the next times I'll be there again. (BTW, can you find how I used some of my Groovy Flower beads? ;-D)

Here is my upcoming schedule (from 9 am to 1 pm): August 15, September 12, and October 3.

If you live in the area, I'd love to have you stop by to check out the Market and say "Hi!" to me and Lara. And I'm also going to be listing several things on my Etsy store soon, now that I finally have an inventory building up (yeah!). So stay tuned, folks!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A New Article!

I can't believe it, but I just now realized that I totally forgot to post that my very first glass-related article is featured in the current issue of The Flow Magazine! (I guess with all the craziness of getting ready for our vacation to Gold Beach, OR and my first Farmer's Market, it slipped my mind? LOL) I wrote a tutorial on how to create custom glass knobs and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, if I do say so myself. ;-D

Here's some pics of the samples I did for it:

I'm hoping to someday make a bunch for my studio cabinets in all sorts of beautiful color combinations and shapes like these little ones—wouldn't that be fun?!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Oregon or Bust!

This year, my mom turned 70 years old, so all of her kids (that would be me, and my brother Rob and little sister Kim) and our families decided to get together for a mini family reunion to celebrate her special day. Since they all live in California and we live in Washington, we thought Gold Beach, OR would be a nice place in between to stay for a few days. My SIL, Andrea, found us an awesome home to rent and we had such a great time visiting together—it was actually the first time Katie and Ashley had gotten a chance to meet some of their newest cousins.

On our drive out there, we stopped by a place called Wildlife Safari in Winston, OR that I had heard of about a year ago. It's a huge compound where you drive your car through a 4.5 mile trek and see all sorts of wildlife walking around freely, as if you were on a real safari in Africa or Asia. When they first heard about my plans for this first stage of our trip, the girls thought it sounded like a "lame idea", but they ended up loving the experience—especially when they got to see things like wild rhinos and giraffes walking literally within 3 feet of our car, and participated in a special activity where we met elephants up close and personal. I was bummed we didn't have time to do the one with the tigers too, but next time it's definitely on our agenda!

These play-fighting bears were Kraig's favorites, but one of mine were these hairy beasts (yaks?), placidly crossing the road in front of us. The pic doesn't show them well, but I swear, they look like some kind of mutant pairing between a long-horn and a cocker spaniel?! LOL

Late that afternoon, we made it to our family vacation home and got a warm welcome from everyone. The youngest cousins, Emmet and Jackson, were a little shy at first since they didn't know any of us, but they quickly warmed up and were soon running around and playing together like the best of friends. Jag and Brey were much taller than last time we saw them, but still just as sweet as ever. The beach was gorgeous and very peaceful—when the kids weren't running around dripping wet from "accidentally" falling into the water, chasing us with creepy dead things, or yelling with laughter, that is! ;-D

Some of the highlights over the next three days included a nighttime bonfire (with the requisite roasting of marshmallows on sticks to make s'mores), a beach horseback trail ride (where Kraig's horse kept pushing into my horse's "personal space" and a few scary times I thought he was going to get into a smack-down match with him? ack! There must be a reason Kraig always gets the onery ones? LOL), and a very wet boat ride down the river. The final night, we celebrated Mom's birthday and it just so happened that we all ended up giving her something we'd made ourselves. I made her a necklace design created with beautiful CIM Peacock Green hollows and 14K gold leaf and accents that she had admired in one of my books. Kim made her an awesome dimensional painting and Rob gave her one of his cool ioSafe hard drives.

Man, I sure hope I look this good at 70?! And she looks even better in person!! You rock, Mom!

On our way back home, we drove up the scenic coastline and spent the night in a popular town called Seaside, OR. The beach was too windy and cold to play on, but we had a ball exploring all the little shops and the giant arcade on the main drag.

This is a virtual reality "shoot 'em up" game that Kraig started playing, thinking it would be over in 2 minutes like the rest of the games in the arcade. Well, about 40 minutes later, he was still at it and gave it over to Katie to try when he got too tired to continue (it was actually a pretty physically active game since you had to spin around all the time to gun down your opponents who were flying at you in all directions). About 15 minutes later and 26 levels completed, the darn thing still wasn't over, so Katie decided to throw in the towel too and they gave it to a nearby young man to take over. For all we know, the poor guy is still there, in the Twilight Zone of arcade games?!

I made the mistake of introducing Ashley to "Deal or No Deal" and she quickly became addicted to the point where I had a physically pull her off the stool to quit so we could head home. Now we're on a mission to find a version of it for our Wii and I think I also may have to look into Gamblers Anonymous (just as a precaution?! eek!)

The candy shops were a big hit too, of course! All in all, we had a wonderful vacation—spending time together with our extended family and also a much needed break with just us together. I really hope we can do this more often—maybe make this an annual event over Mom's birthday?! Keeping my fingers crossed! *Ü*

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Beads of Courage

Yeah! Remember when posted a while ago that I was working on a goal of 50 beads to send to the Beads of Courage organization? Well, I finally made my goal, and then some! *Ü* I ended up with 45 regular beads and 10 purple hearts and I'm so happy at how they all turned out. I really hope the kids will love the happy colors and that they will help brighten their day after experiencing a hospital procedure. I'm hoping to send more beads out in the future, and I would love to encourage all you beadmakers and jewelry makers out there to send in some of your own too!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ashley!

My baby turned 14 years old this year and it's hitting me like a ton of bricks that she's no longer my "little girl," but is now a "young woman" with a strong mind and heart of her own. She celebrated first by inviting a few friends to watch the new Transformers movie on her actual birthday date, then we threw a fun party with more of her friends at our lake that weekend. Her big gift this year was to finally get texting capabilities and a new cell phone (well, it was actually mine, but I traded with her since mine has all sorts of fancy features I never used). She is over the moon with joy and has been texting her friends what seems to be at least 1,000 messages a day (yikes!). Hopefully, the texting honeymoon will ease off by the time school starts, or else we may have a few problems?! LOL

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