Have You Been a Good American Lately?

Do you know that it only takes about two minutes--the time it takes to post on a message board-- to write your congessional representatives an email? Two minutes (or less) to let your elected representatives know how you feel on a certain issue that concerns you. When was the last time you wrote your congress-person?

I confess I don't do it enough. Things happen every day that I feel congress should address but I don't speak up that often. Congress acts every day (well, every day they are in session) and the things they do in Washington definately impact our makes me wonder why more people aren't involved?

If you are not voicing your concerns and opinions on the social, political, educational, economic, and world issues that you care about, you are preventing your representatives from doing what they were elected to do--represent you.

So, why the political diatribe from my scrappy little blog-brain?

A bill that is important to me--HR 1790 aka the Child M Safety Act recently was recently approved by the House of Representatives after gaining overwhelming bi-partisan support. It has now been sent to the Senate for consideration. Given that my state is represented by a medical doctor (The Honorable Senator Bill Frist), I would hope that he would be the first on the wagon to support this bill in the Senate. In under two minutes I emailed a request towards this end to his office. Short, polite, concise...state the case and that it's important to me. Press send. Click to Sentor Lamar Alexander's website and repeat the process for him. That's all it takes to be a participant in our government.

Now go forth and write your congressional representatives like good Americans!


My List

The 2Peas Meme assignment...

1- going to movies alone
2- trying out a new recipe (yesterday)
3- shopping at Target (today)
4- visiting scrapbook stores (Friday)
5- sharing a laugh with my sister in person (now)
6- going to the library (last week)
7- going to the mailbox (daily)
8- jamming out to my favorite music turned up loud (not often enough because I don’t like to be a bad example to the boys)
9- scrapbooking with friends (October)
10- teaching the two year old Sunday School class at church (Sunday)
11- writing blog entries (lol!)
12- taking photos of my children (tomorrow)
13- sleeping next to my husband (as soon as possible)
14- answering Grey’s little “hug meee” requests as often as humanly possible (approximately 3million times a day)
15- going to the Nashville Symphony (sigh…it’s been way too long)
16- flying—especially take-offs (last time was in April)
17- having appropriate blood-glucose numbers (today)
18- playing basketball with Julianeven tho I completely stink at it (it’s been too cold lately)
19- buying gifts for family and friends that I *know* they will enjoy (last Monday)
20- organizing the ribbon collection (obviously too long ago, from the looks of things)

Well, Here's Another Irony For Ya!

Two issues of CK ago...was my last. In an effort to ward off some of the endless clutter that seems to prevail upon my life, I let my CK subscription lapse without intending to renew. The thinking was if there was an issue I just had to have...I could pick it up at the grocery.

I have tons of magazines and 2Peas...I am in no way hurting for ideas or inspiration.

The irony of this moment. Now that my subscription has lapsed, I had no idea that one of my letters to the editor is published in the Jan issue. A friend from the LSS Teachers list just sent me a note that said "I saw your letter in CK..." OMGoodness! I had no idea they were going to publish it! How cool is that?

OK, so it's not a LO. I'm OK with that.

Still...CK. How's that for making my Monday?!!!

I suddenly feel the need to run to the store and pick up a CK!!

Life's Little Ironies

I love ironic things.
I love noticing ironies.
Irony fascinates me.

To me, irony is God's chuckle. It's the footnotes of life that sometimes go unnoticed but in the end are proof that God is in the details. Those little twists--spins put in our lives to show us that God says "Yep. That was me. Glad you took the time to notice."

Tonight's irony worthy of noting:

How ironic is it that one of the most masterful guitarists of the modern age has only 9.25 fingers?

Phil Keaggy.
Distinguished Guitar master--
Second to none--
Man of the Strings--
One who makes a single guitar produce the melodies others only dream about--
Classical rocker-- missing 3/4 of the middle finger of his right hand.


Digital Decisions

This thread at 2Peas brought on by an article in Jan CK has me wondering about digital storage as well. Does anyone have the article handy? What else did it say? What do you digital users do for backing up? Enlighten me before I jump into the deep end of the digital pool, please.

Happy Monday!


Changes Swirling About Me

I've been away for a few days and I'm not sure what to write about right now. Usually topics just come to me and words flow from my fingers but today I just feel kinda dull and word-less. We had a wonderful holiday with my family but so many things are changing around me, that I'm a little overwhelmed by it all. The people I care most about are all facing and/or making changes--big changes--in their lives, most for the good I think (which is good) but some make me feel things I don't want to feel. I don't want to be all cryptic but I don't have much choice. (Sorry about that.)

Thanksgiving was really good. Going to my grandmother's house is like stepping back in time because almost nothing ever changes there. The same photos have hung on her walls for decades. (I refer to it as the wall of shame and indiginity because some of those photos from my pre-teen years should really really goooo!) The same pillows and croched blankets cover her bed as they have for as long as I can remember. The carpet and the furniture have remained the same since I was about 16. We had almost the exact same meal as those of the past 30 Thanksgivings...that I know of. Many of the plates and dishes used this year, I have seen used for decades. The men watched the Cowboys on tv after lunch. The Cowboys lost...the men napped. There was laughter and joking, the children showed out and were indulged a little too much. She's lived in the same house my entire life...and most of my father's. My grandmother is 76 (I think) and as qwirky as they come. Come to think of it, she hasn't really changed much in the past 20 years either. If ever there was a stallwort against the changing situations of life, it's a trip to my grandmother's house.

Only the children have gotten older. My dad's once-flaming-red-hair is now more salt than pepper. My mom is my mom. She's beautiful and that never changes. I had one of those surreal moments tho. It wasn't so long ago that *I* was the oldest child, running around my grandmothers in a frilly pink Carebear nightgown, playing with my cousin...avoiding my siblings...sneaking bites of pie and sips of red creame soda. The adults sat casually around the table in the kitchen thru the evening, snacking, laughing, telling stories on each other, catching up and being a family. This time however, the adults around that table were me and my siblings. The children running around were mine. Geesh. When did that happen? My grandmother's house may remain the same but the people inside it are forever changing. Siblings are added. People move from town to town. Spouses get grafted in. We are all growing up. We go to college. We get jobs and build families. Who knows what we'll be doing next solemn prayer is that it will be another Thanksgiving Day like the one just past.


Christmas Music

When it turns off cold, I get the Christmas music out. Here's my list of favored Christmas CDs:

Harry Connick Jr - When My Heart Finds Christmas
Steven Curtis Chapman - Christmas is All in the Heart
Wayne Watson - One Christmas Eve
Russ Taff - A Christmas Song
Handel Messiah - performed by the Atlanta Symphany Orchestra and Chamber Chorus
Midnight Clear - an all acoustic guitar collection, produced by John Darnall
Your King Has Come - a collection produced by Matt Smith of Detuned Records
Christmas Carols of the Young Messiah - produced by Norman Miller and Peter York
Vince Gill - Breath of Heaven
George Canyon - Home for Christmas

My favorite songs:
Contemporary - This Baby by Steven Curtis Chapman and Mary Did You Know sung by Michael English
Traditional - O Holy Night (especially when sung by my husband)
Non-Religious - The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)


Stepping into the Ring...with Trepidation

There's a long long thread over at 2Peas NSBR regarding the CDC's release of 2004 statistics for women who gave birth via C-Section. The magic number is 29.1 percent. In 2004, 29.1 percent of live American births were surgical.

I think of 2Peas as a microcosm of America in many respects, with some international influences as well. If you are looking for something to get you thinking, it's a good place to hang out on ocassion. With that in mind, the thread has spanned on for several days and three full pages at last count. I confess I didn't read past the first page--it just got too bogged down. I knew better than to bother posting because I bring my own baggage to the table on this topic--it's very personal for me.

I was surprised at how many peas found it disturbing and bothersome that this number is so high. I was surprised that so many peas feel it's OK to question and in some cases even doubt a woman's right to choose what's best for her body in her own birthing situation...when on the same board, a woman's right to choose abortion "because it's her body" is heralded as a basic human right by so many. Seems a little backwards to me. If we are giving a woman a right to choose abortion because she should be in control of her own body then shouldn't she also be in charge of deciding how to give birth? Where's the difference?

Whenever abortion comes up on 2Peas things always turn ugly. Always. I have never participated in a thread about abortion there and I've certainly never blogged about it. I have very strong feelings about it but those personal feelings are counterbalanced with the knowledge that it is a very personal thing. I hate that abortion and the c-section rate have become political fodder for those with an adgenda. In both cases (abortion and c-section), there are women behind those numbers. Real live women making real-life choices. Abortion is something I have never faced and seems so intensely personal that I wouldn't presume to write about it casually. I have faced (and come thru) 2 c-sections and still find it difficult to write about.

29.1 percent is just a number. There are so many things we don't know about that number. How many mothers and babies were saved because a surgeon was able to get a baby delivered inside four minutes? Suppose that surgeon had taken a minute to consider whether or not one more c-section was going to negitively impact his natural birth/c-section ratio? Yes, it sounds rediculous now...but if people are going to start looking critically at these numbers, isn't that where we will be heading?

Many peas also seemed concerned that c-sections were occurring for "convenience". Convenience of the mother or the doctor...and other non-medically necessary reasons. I've never actually known anyone who chose to have a c-section for her own convenience or that of her doctor. I have my doubts that it really happens that often, but again, do you really think we should be more closely monitoring "acceptable" reasons for choosing a c-section? I know for a fact that I don't want my life-and-death health decisions being impacted by what some government official in a cubicle in Atlanta deems "appropriate" and "permissable". Mother, father, doctor. The rest can wait outside.

Having a c-section saved my life almost ten years ago. That is not an exageration. There was no alternative to stopping my climbing blood pressure and saving my life without immediate delivery. My son was born in an emergency situation...less than one hour after I arrived at the emergency room with Eclampsia (preganancy induced hypertension and multiple seizures). My sweet husband could not sign that consent form fast enough. My son has a mother because God's grace was near and this option was available. I have no memory of the situation but I can tell you that it changed my family forever. It was not ideal but it saved my life. Forgive me if I just don't have a problem with a family and a doctor being able to make their own decisions together in the light of the scenario at hand.

I have read the medical report that accounted for everything I faced that night. From first cut to baby out was seven minutes. Seven very long minutes for my husband. I do not remember much of the first week of my child's life but I am grateful. It could have turned out very differently.

There are so many scenarios surrounding birth choices. We (peas) don't generally question a woman who wants to give birth at home, in a pool or with a midwife or in another alternative situation. Who are we to collectively question a nameless, faceless number?


Just Call Me Martha

Is it just me or is the best part of getting ready for Christmas wrapping the presents? Joal and I did some shopping for family Christmas presents today and I can't wait to get started wrapping them! Ribbons and papers, adhesive...hmmm, it's no wonder I enjoy wrapping presents.

Red and silver are the theme for the year...pretty pretty pretty.

I went to Hecht's today (department store) and drooled over their Christmas decorations. They had the coolest red tinsel pencil trees...they are very glitzy and different. I love them.

I wanted to be a department store merchandiser when I was in college. How fun would that be?!!

No scrapbooking today...still loading up the MP3.

Happy Sunday!


Hither and Yon

All sorts of things to discuss today...

First the good news!! I spent most of the day basking in my own excitement...I conquered the aforementioned computer challenges and found a wonderful MP3 player that works gloriously with my computer system (such that it is)! No expensive upgrades necessary! My honey is a happy happy camper...walking around here with a Sandisk Digital Audio Player in his pocket, pumping his favorite tunes strait to his brain. I am seriously's about the size of a large pack of gum and it holds a gigabyte of digital audio. In normal people language that a *bunch* of songs. About 400. Can I just say Wow!

And to top it off, I saved more than $100 by not buying an equal-sized iPod (not including the required software upgrades). I'm gussing someone has to pay for all that name brand recognition floating around out there. :)

I was thinking perhaps I should mention this *savings* before my next paper-buying excursion.
Oh yeah.

On a side note: Joal wrote a tune a few years back called Far and Away, inspired by the movie by the same name...I'm not biased or anything but it's a rocking song and it's one of my personal faves. I now have it in digital format. If you'd like to hear it, I can *email* it to you. It can be played with the free Windows Media Player. How cool is that? I'm going to try to find a way to host it here later on. Love technology. Love it!!

In other news, I must say I am totally hooked on Paper Crafts Magazines, especially the Holiday Cards and Wrap Vol 2 issue. Oh. my. Christmas. Goodies! Total insiration! The best use of my M's coupon ever!! I'm totally lovin' it!

One of my friends is zooming her way across the oceans to celebrate Thanksgiving in France with her family. I'm praying for her safety and for her to have a wonderful time and for her to bring back fab photos! How cool would it be to celebrate Thanksgiving on the French Riviera??

Me. I'm trekking to Arkansas. Whoo. But I am most definately looking forward to being with my family for the day and then bringing my sister back with us for a while. My brothers are adjusting (I think) to life in their own place without Mom and Dad. I have the coolest brothers. I can't wait to see them.

That's all for now. Happy Saturday! :)


Card Inspiration aka "Why Didn't I Think of This?"

I w-i-s-h I could say I made this card but I didn't. I just happen to think it's perfection on paper! It's actually one of the card-making kits that's available at The Card Company. If you like clean design, check it out. They have some very unique things going on there.

Happy Thursday!


I Wish I Was Computer Literate

I am a brave woman.
I've given birth, not once but twice.
I've been married to the same man for almost 14 years.
I'm the mother of boys.
I've wrangled musicians and camp counselors.
I've worked at Krogers as a cashier.
I was a secretary.
I've faced down intimidating people, including officers and prinpals.
I've taught classes and given presentations.

With this in mind, why why why do computer stores and computer sales people intimidate me so much? Why does it feel like an insurmountable task to set foot in a computer store and actually make a decision as to what I need to purchase? It never fails. I come away feeling overwhelmed by the numbers and the 4 billion options and completely confused by everything I don't know.

Joal wants an iPod. Joal is not one to embrace technology but this is music. He has an email account that he has me check about once a week. He subscribes to three band-related e-newsletters and makes hotel reservations on-line. That's it. While I process about 500 emails a week, he probably hasn't received 50 this year. It's just not his thing.

Until someone (I forget who) turns him on to the wonders of the iPod.

Suddenly, this is the greatest gizmo since Starbucks and it has about 3 gazillion excellent uses.

He been patiently waiting for a few months now. Looking. Learning. Deciding between black and silver. :) Realizing that he could carry a large portion of his CD closet in his pocket on a plane.

You could say "he's sold"!

So, not so long ago I (this family's techno geek--heaven help up) cruise on over to the iPod site and the iTunes site to venture into that dreaded world of computer geek babble called SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS. Sure enough. Before the beloved iPod can enter our lives I have to upgrade my Windows software. I think. It's 2005--almost 2006 and I'm still operating on the millinium software.

Hey. It serves me well.

The problem is...all those numbers and initials in the SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS sections mean absolutely nothing to me. Nada.

Giga...Mega...Bits...Bytes...256...DDR...RAM...pulling out my hair now!


It seems like a simple question. "What do you have?" the way-too-young-salesguy says at my computer store.

"Ummm." I hem and haw. I have no clue. I want to cry. I want to stomp my foot and wrinkle my nose and have a new computer system magically appear in my workspace...booted and saying "Goodmorning Sarah." just like my old one.

Is he speaking a different laguage. Yes. That must be it. He's not speaking English. He speaks computer. I don't understand computer. Aparently.

I come home completely exhausted.

I can surf the web. I can edit photos. I can write letters. I can find addresses and maps. I can design web pages. I can do it all on my trusty HP from 2000. Do we really *need* an iPod?

In other news: I scrapbooked a little this weekend. A new layout is here.


Frequent Shopper Indeed

Good News: All my Frequent Shopper Reward cards for scrapbook stores are now in one place.

Bad News: Who knew I was such a frequent shopper at so many places? That can't be a good sign.

Yes, that's 8 cards from 6 different places. The mark-off squares for the card from Eclectica in Memphis and the 2 cards from Scrapbook Warehouse in Cookville are on the back.

Did I also mention that 2 of my other favorite stores track FSR internally so I don't have to lose their cards. :)

Did I mention that I have 3 other cards (partially used) from stores that are no longer in existance?

This is really looking bad, isn't it.

While I was doing this I also cleaned out my business card stash. I was surprised at how many stores I have visted or taught in that are no longer in business. From the business card collection, I have visited 42 scrapbook stores across 8 states. That's pretty cool, I think. It's one of my favorite vacation activities. (I guess that's obvious.)

In other news: I'm living with a 2.5 year old exhibitionist. Seriously. I had to make them both stay in this afternoon because not once but twice G removed all (and I do mean all) his clothing while outside and ran gleefully across the yard. The first time J was trying to convince him to put his clothes back on while laughing hysterically. The second time J didn't even try to convince him...he just came and got me. For joy!

The tree decorating is progressing.
Small tree--check.
String of white lights--check.
Silver balls--check.
Blue balls--check.
Silver glittered stars--check.
Blue and silver ribbon bows--being made.
Silver lame' fabric for skirting--need to find/buy.

Happy Weekend!


The Stamps in the Mail

The photo is grainy (sorry) but you get the idea. My stamps from Hot Potatoes arrived to this potato bag!! How Wow! is that!! Marketing, baby. It's all about the marketing!

Love the I always do. Bold and chunky and very hefty red rubber. I love the way red rubber that too weird?

Can't wait to use them!

For my local friends...Chris at the Paper Moon usually carries HP but her selection has been low lately (which is why I ordered straight from HP.) But check with Paper Moon if you want to see before you buy. Or come see me. :)

In other news, the pressure is on tonight. I have to make a thank you card to send to my husbands boss in Dallas. Thanks to Sabrina I have the perfect stamp...but it's a little stressful. I want to be unique but not too *crafty*. I'm also tackling my FIL's birthday card tonight. Less pressure but still.

Under the heading of "while the cat's away..." I'm putting up my small snowflake Christmas Tree tomorrow. The boys are thrilled! One can never have too many Christmas Trees!!

Happy Friday.

Erin Lincoln - Thoughtful Genius

I came across something today that made me want to stand up and cheer. I think it is valuable enough to repeat—I hope you don’t mind.

But first, the background.

Nancy Nally is the writer of the Inside Scrapbooking blog. Nancy is a long-time scrapbooker pursuing a career in the industry. She writes about her pursuits and the ups and downs of wanting to be an insider on her blog. Recently, in this entry, she lamented the difficulties of creating publishable pages without having access to a local scrapbook retailer and without an unlimited supply budget. Here are her comments:

Do you ever get the feeling that you can’t afford to be a professional scrapbook designer? It is starting to seem to me that trying to build a career in this industry requires making a rather large and risky financial investment, and that the only people who can afford to build a career are the people who don’t need the money to survive in the first place!

Scrapbooking as a hobby has become increasingly costly as the price of embellishments goes up and more techniques are incorporated, which often require the purchase of expensive tools. Scrapbooking as a business (or trying to) is even more expensive because you have to consider the shelf life of products when you use them, keep up with changing styles of design trends, and also use a particular company’s products if you are applying for a design team or entering manufacturer contests. (I know that there are designers who say that it is possible to get published using older products. While I do believe that is true to a certain extent, it is nearly impossible to follow a trend towards retro/graphic design when all the supplies you have on hand are shabby chic floral designs!)

All of this product turnover for trends and purchases for specific projects results in needing more budget to work with, especially if you are in a situation like me and don’t have a local scrapbook store to be able to purchase just what you need as you work. Because I have to do my shopping online and at occasional events like conventions, I have to guess at my future needs and load up on supplies for the foreseeable future when I have the chance. This results in my later having to make additional special purchases if something is then announced that requires the use of specific products, and it results in waste if trends change before all of my purchases are used.

And that is just the actual cost of the scrapbooking itself. The price tag gets even higher when you add in the non-scrapbooking costs of trying to make it as a designer.
While some of these things may be “optional” expenses, they can definitely help to market the designer and build their career. Such items as an online presence like a resume and blog, travel to trade shows and industry events, and materials such as business cards, portfolios and marketing handouts to use at those events, all are part of the price of doing serious business as a designer.

With all these start-up expenses, I believe only those with some money to invest can make a full-fledged effort to start a design career. Is it possible to make money, to earn a return on that investment financially? For a select few, I believe it is possible…but only for a select few. A designer can increase their income possibilities by diversifying into teaching or writing. If they become a “name” designer, land a lucrative manufacturer design position or become a product designer, the income can be lucrative. Beyond that though, profits are hard to earn.

After what I’ve seen and experienced in my time around this industry, my advice to other aspiring designers is this: Do it for the love of it, dream that you will someday get something for it, but don’t do it for the money. That’s a bad investment.

I think Nancy asks some honest questions and expresses some concerns that many would-be career artists face. Is it all about the product??

There were assorted replies to her post. For the sake of brevity (snort) I’m not going to copy them all here--just the one that really got my attention. It’s from Erin Lincoln. If you’ve been under a rock or otherwise somehow miraculously missed out, Erin Lincoln is an amazingly talented and hard-working scrapbooking professional. She’s currently a regular contributor to Creating Keepsakes magazines and books…and as if that’s not enough to keep her busy, she has a new book coming out ASAP called *Supply Savvy Scrapbooking* Oh yeah, and she’s a member of the Fontwerks Design Team.

Here’s her response:
Sigh. Would you like some real advice from somebody who has some experience in this situation? I can tell you the numbero uno secret when it comes to getting published. Sure fire. Absolutely 100% guaranteed.

You ready for it?
Here it is....

You sit down and scrap and improve your scrapping.

Simple as that. You filter out all the crap on the message boards (better yet, stay off them...waste of good scrapping time), ignore the trends (including new product), scrap what you want, and develop your own style. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that spiel. Creative vacuums work the best. Is it easy? cutting out chocolate a good way to lose weight? Sure...but it requires discipline. It's much easier to sit and speculate and concoct conspiracy theories about what the magazines want versus how you measure up. Practices that really aren't good for self esteems. Wasn't for mine. Like everything in life, a little bit of hard work and elbow grease goes a long way.
Sitting and thinking about it, unfortunately does not.

Why am I posting this? Honestly and truly not to be mean. It's a bit of tough love. And it could have gone on any one of your blog posts, as it is universal. I've seen a lot of people spend a lot of time just spinning their wheels and getting frustrated and wonder why things aren't working. Missing the forest for the trees, I think. Perhaps a change of focus and perspective would freshen things up a bit. And good news...such items are 100% free. :) Just takes a little bit of hard work. Good luck to you.

How’s that for a good smack on the backside? To paraphrase: “Stop trying to anticipate the next trend and get in front of it…and start making your own." We are a creative bunch. Why do we spend so much time watching what everyone else is doing??

I think Erin’s comments are dead on too! (I’m sure you were waiting with baited breath to know if I agreed, right.)

Sure magazines like pages that feature products. Product usage keeps their advertisers giddy. However, I think style really will carry one much farther than product usage. Personal. Identifiable. Consistent. Style.

Get your own.

Thanks Erin! We needed that!!

PS Here's Erin's blog if you want to drop in on her.


It's a Dirty Job for Mike Rowe

It's been said that working in television is glamourous but somehow I think Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel's show Dirty Jobs might have a different perspective. What a guy Mike is! He takes on all these super non-glamourous, dirty jobs...really unsexy, unwanted by most people and with a wicked sense of humor creates one of the best shows on tv...and certainly the best reality show around. Coming from the one woman who hates reality tv, that should mean something.

Dirty Jobs, as you might have already guessed, is one of two shows that my boys really enjoy. Really enjoy. (You didn't really thinkt his was something *I* would watch without them, did you?) Cute as Mike Rowe is...that's some disgusting stuff.

The second show of choice these days is Firehouse USA: Boston. I actually ran across an article about this show in a newspaper and knew that the junior firefighter in our house would love it. Sure enough...the guys of Huntington Ave (the busiest fire house in Boston) have become household names in our house. I recorded the episodes on the DVD (for editing and previewing before the boys watch them) and it's nice to have this extra measure of control over the tv. Firehouse is cool.

Good Americans


Where is the line...

Where is the line between being consistant and just being bogged down in a rut?

I've been considering this question for a while.

Sometimes I fear that my style consistancy is a fancy way of saying I am in a rut. I don't really like to try new things. I like the dependable techniques and tools. I don't like adventure when it comes to scrapbooking. I know what I like and I stick to it. I would be perfectly happy if every layout could incorporate a song lyric or a song title. Would that be a consistant element or a lazy scrappers rut?

*Can* I do different/bold/innovative/original things?
Of course.

*Do* I?
Rarely. Because I like what I have.

Consistancy...yes. Rut...could be. Maybe I am OK with that.

There was a time when certain scrapbookers had distinguishable personal styles. There was a time when I could spot a Rebecca Sower layout from a mile away. The same for other prominant stylists such as Brenda Cosgrove, Joy Uzrraga, Carrie O'Donnell, Jennifer Ditz (now McGuire) and others. Now, it's not so easy.

Is it because others have duplicated what was once "their look" to the point of disassociating the look from the person - or - is consistancy in style no longer admired the way it once was? Has consistancy been replaced by versitility? Has personal style been relagated to the back seat?

Since changing from 12x12 back to 8.5x11 pages, I have reaffirmed my love for crisp and clean, well journaled layouts in what I think of as a sortof humble CZ/RS combination. My overstuffed drawers of stuff sit almost untouched. I'm drawn to ribbons, brads, the occasional tag and my trusty letter stamps and computer. I love textured Bazzill and small pieces of patterned paper. Dymo. Oversized photos. So why do I have a room full of stuff when each and every one of my favorite layouts consists of the above mentioned *basics*?

Sometimes I forget that I'm a very simple girl.
It doesn't take much to impress me.
It doesn't take much to make me happy.
I love simple, unassuming, unpretentious, uncomplicated things...especially in scrapbooking.

Apparently, sometimes standing in the midst of the local scrapbook stores (and stamp store and hardware store and craft store and office supply store and certain online stores) I get overwhelmed with choices and give in to the princess of acquisitions.

The Princess of Acquisition.
Someone should really smack her.


The Stamps are Coming...the stamps are coming...(Acquisitions)

Stamping. It's creeping slowly into my space and my life. A few at the time, my little collection of rubber is gently expanding. Over the past few days, I have come to realize that I am a sucker for leaves, snowflakes/snowmen and snappy alphabets.

I found a right cute little snowman stamp at M's for $1. He jumped right into my cart.

Also a "joy" stamp and a fall leaf stamp. For a buck, you can't go wrong, right.

At Scrappuccino's last night I finally purchased the upper and lower of the Image Tree "Swanky". Leigh Ann instigated the need of these...and I've already begun putting them to good use. I have a feeling they will get plenty of use on my holiday cards.

One last stamp purchase to really enhance the collection...five stamps from Hot Potatoes! I can't wait till they arrive. Hot Potatoes stamps are chunky and bold and I find them extreamely easy to use. Somebody really needs to tell Miss "Mary Hot Potatoes" O'Neal, as she is affectionately known in these parts, to get on the scrapbooking boat...because she already has the perfect stamps for scrapbooking. It makes me feel good to support local companies and HP is located right here in Nashville! Gotta love that!

Nothing like red rubber to make one feel creative!!


Silly...on many levels.

This has to be one of the simplest layouts ever...and I am totally taken with it (if I do say so myself). No humble scrapping allowed in these parts. I love the photo. Anita took it from the ground as he (obviously) leaned out the window of his tree fort. The hand gestures were learned recently from...well, nevermind...suffice it to say his father is a rocker from the 80's. Anyway.

I wrote down the quote when I heard Mike Myers say this on Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton last year. I'm not a fan of the alleged film genius that is Mr. fact, I really don't like his work as a category...but I love this statement. I think it's brilliant. (The show, Inside the Actors Studio is so cool. It's like the modern day version of This Is Your Life.)

Of course, the patterned paper is Basic of the most delicious papers on the planet. I found the fiber/ribbon/trim at Hobby Lobby. It is an absolute perfect match to the paper. How awesome is that?

I'm trying to focus on good things today because I am absolutely sick over the 9th Circuit Court desicion that came down this week regarding parental rights. A distinguished legal mind I do not claim to have. However, I do have an innate sense of family and a keenly developed sense of government overload. Flares went off today as I read of this decision. The big question: If we start down this road of government responsibility for our children, where does it end? There was a very strong and frightening statement sent this week from the court to the parents of America's children. It was very short and simple. It read:

"Sorry. The government has a larger right to parent your children than you do."

Thankfully, the 9th Circuit is famous for getting overturned. It seems they have the highest number of overturnings every year. Isn't that a handy piece of information? The Ninth Circuit Court knows it can make certain political and social statements from the bench, even if they are incorrect or biased in some way, because other courts can and do regularly overturn their decisions. What a waste of time.

Nevertheless, it still bugs me that so many people seem to agree that parents don't have the final say in the education of their children. Ladies and gentlemen, Hillary is wrong. It does not take a village and it certainly does not take a government to raise a child. It takes a home. It takes a family. It takes parents. There is no one more qualified to raise their own children than parents.

The idea that because *some* parents aren't doing their jobs, the court has the right to revoke the rights and responsibilities of all parents (thus punishing those of us who are doing our job well) and award these rights to the government is preposterous. It's completely un-American.

Of course parental rights are not noted in the constitution but then neither was the right to vote for certain segments of the population. We seem to have overcome that. The crafters of the Constitution of the United States did not frame a perfect, all-encompassing document. A government that ran too much of it's citizens lives was exactly what they had fled other countries to get away from--in pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuits of happiness...and inside that, perhaps, parenthood.


Yes, I'll have the Chicken Ceasar Salad...hold the lettuce"

So, in this the post-candy-induced-haze holiday, I'm desperately trying to hold steadfast to my highly distasteful regiment of not enjoying food. In the past few months (with some help) I have come to understand much about food and it's relationship to me. Being Diabetic and loving food kinda don't go hand in hand. Especially not long term.

It's taken me a while to come to terms with this but here it is. Food is to me what alcohol is to a drunk. A habit. A comfort. Sometimes a need. Most of the time, not. I've spent a long time off the wagon. Now I am firmly seated on the wagon but I am not enjoying the ride.

Following the "one day at a time, one change at a time" plan, today's assignment was to figure a way to get more leafy green veggies into my body. Since puree by IV is not an option (would that it were), I've been carefully examining salad options. I discovered one thing.

I like salads...

...without the lettuce.

Brilliant. I know.

Grilled chicken, shredded cheese, croutons, tomato, bacon bits, slivered almonds, grapes, a hint of green onion and a generous portion of Caesar Salad dressing makes me a happy camper. Lettuce. Who needs lettuce? Lettuce is just filler.

Even the pretty baby exotics that are way overpriced. They don't taste any better than the plain old dark green stuff. I just don't need lettuce to enjoy a good salad.

Lucky me.

I'm guessing this is probably not going to be the way to lower all the bad numbers in my life.

On the other hand, there's this candy infested holiday called "Halloween". For many years, cynical people have been decrying Valentines as being nothing more than a marketing ploy of Hallmark and flower companies. Where are those same people in October? Is it not obvious that dentists and Hersheys are in cahoots to exponentially raise their profit margins during the last quarter of the year by pushing this "holiday" and it's sugar-laden traditions??

Do little children really need the advantage of sugar-induced hyperactivity on the week post Halloween? Don't they already run their parents ragged? Where's the logic in giving them candy? Sedatives, maybe. But candy? Come on.

What are we as parents thinking?

So. I'm no closer to loving green leafy vegetables today than I was last week. Toleration. Yes. When Hersheys starts making lettuce. Then we'll talk.

Happy Friday!!


2 Days...2 Layouts

It's a miracle.
Well, maybe that's a little strong.
It's an amazing accomplishment.

2 layouts
completed in
2 days

This is a lamentation layout.
I'm lamenting the poorly focused photo.

Had it been in focus, it would have been perfect. These are my favorite types of shots...personal, unplanned, impulsive...just little moments captured forever on film.

I was walking out the door to leave.
G was upset.
Dad scooped him up to comfort him.
I was holding my camera and had one shot left on the roll.
It's badly blurred.
I don't know why.

It's the one that got away.

On the other hand, I am loving Christina Cole. Her awesome papers from the slab (thanks to the M's coupon) soothes some of the ache of the blurred photo.

It's nice to do layouts again that aren't assigments. I can just play until I get what I like. That's a loved feeling.