For the Love of the Library

With all the driving we've done lately, I've been returned to my old habit of reading books and novels for pleasure (yet another thing the internet tends to get in the way of at times).

To say I enjoy going to the library would be akin to saying I sorta like ribbon. Scanning the shelves for something interesting to read makes my heart beat fast and my spirits lift. I love the smell of books. Old and new. Especially old. I love the thrill of running my hands along a row of books in all shapes and sizes and colors and knowing that with any luck, I'll get lucky enough to select a book that is a sensory-rich collection of experiences and adventures. The library is like a tresure chest with it's jewels of words and thoughts just waiting to be pulled from the shelf and devoured.

The splendid result of reading is that it makes me want to be a better writer. And it makes me want to write more.

On the way home from Florida I read a book that is the kind of personaliy novel I'd like to write someday. It's called "Hissy Fit" and is by Mary Kay Andrews. It's not earth-shattering or revolutionary. It's not theological or even particularly enlightening. It won't win a Pulitzer. It's just a sassy-Southern-girl-decorator-feel-good-chick-book (kinda like a chick-flick...only in book form.) :)

Mary Kay Andrews wrote this passage, and I think it nicely illustrates the value of a rambling memory and by extension, (although it's never mentioned) scrapbooking the everyday parts of life. (You knew I'd make this about scrapbooking eventually, right?):

The bookcases that flanked the fireplace were full of old Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, my red leather-bound Encyclopedia Britannica set, and some tired-looking twenty-year-old hardbacks. I pulled each one out by the spine and looked them over. Daddy’s reading mostly consisted of the Mogan County Citizen, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Car and Driver; Sports Illustrated, and the occasional paperback spy novel.

So these would be my mama’s books.
The titles seemed to run to romances—Forever Amber, The Flame and the Flower, like that.

I leafed absent-mindedly through the pages. A yellowed slip of paper fell out of the pages of The Flame and the Flower. Despite all the years that had passed, I recognized her printing instantly. She always printed my name on the brown-bag lunch I toted to school. Keeley Murdock. As thought there were another Keeley in my class. We’d had two Jennifer’s, two Stephanie’s, a Kristen and a Kelly. But I was the only Keeley.

The paper was a grocery list, written in pencil on a scrap of lined notebook paper. Nothing exciting. Nothing that gave a hint of what my mother’s daily life was like back then, or why she’d up and left.

Coffee. Sugar. Haf-‘n-haf (she was a terrible speller), Clorox, baloney, tin foil, eggs, shaving cream, aspirin, strawberry Jell-o, pineapple tidbits, cream cheese.

The baloney would have been for my lunch. I had a baloney sandwich on Sunbeam bread, with French’s mustard, every day. Mama cut my sandwich in half on the diagonal, and I
always threw the crusts away, because Daddy said eating crusts gave you curly hair—and mine was already way curlier than I wanted. The pineapple and cream cheese and Jell-o would have been for one of the congealed salads she liked to make. I never could figure out how something with Jell-o and pineapple qualified as a salad, but in Madison, Georgia, it sure did.

I smoothed the grocery list with my fingertips. She would have borrowed the paper out of my Blue Horse school notebook, I thought. Driven her red Chevy Malibu over to the Piggly Wiggly, probably while I was at school. After I got too big to ride in the shopping cart, she didn’t like to take me with her to the grocery store, because I drove her crazy begging for sugary cereals, candy, ice cream and potato chips. Maybe she’d stop off at Madison Drugs after the grocery store, for a Coke over crushed ice, and to hear the latest gossip at the soda fountain.

And then home to unpack the groceries and do whatever else she did all day. What did she do with her time? I wondered.

All that from just an old grocery list.


Listen to Journal

One of the many reasons that Simple Scrapbooks is one of the scrap magazines I enjoy is that the articles get right to the point of scrapbooking. In the current issue (Jan 2007) Rachel Gainer encourages readers in the "Write from the Heart" column by saying that "one way to become a better writer is to spend more time listening. Every conversation you participate in has the potential to inspire a great story--you just have to pay attention."

I admit, it was the fresh clean layout that drew me in, but it was the content that really got me involved.

(The layout, by the way, is by a pea, Margaret Scarbrough. If you want to see more of her fantastic work, her blog is here or check out her gallery.)

I have two examples of journaling that came from listening in the works, and I must say, it's been incredibly interesting to listen to most every conversation for potential layout ideas. (More on that later.)

My scrap night friends will recognize the photo on this layout as one that I've been struggling with for months. I knew what I wanted it to say, but I couldn't commit to a title that worked. I think I may have settled on a title several times, but it wasn't *right* so I never finished the LO. It's just been hanging around my space for a while now.

Until I started listening.

{Supplies: Patterned paper-Scenic Route and Crate Paper, Chipboard Letters-Heidi Swapp, Screwhead brads-Karen Foster Designs, Felt flowers-Prima (I think), Vellum-unknown, font-Palatino Linotype, ink-Panger Inks, Date Stamp-Jenni Bowlin}

Happy Listening Tuesday!


A Very Different Christmas

In the annuls of our family history, this Christmas will probably be remembered as the quietest and calmest ever. And let me tell you what I've discovered.

I like it
this way.

Christmases past have found us scurrying about, shopping at the last minute for more "schtuff", for food, for this and that, and traveling hundreds of miles to be with one or both families on Christmas.

I do love my family.

But traveling at Christmas is

This year we did some things differently. We are not traveling on Christmas. We saw my family at Thanksgiving. We are going to see Joal's extended family in Florida after Christmas. But for only the second time in our marriage, we will be "just us" at home on Christmas. The last time we were "just us" at home for Christmas, I was pregnant with Julian. (He's about to turn 11.) Pregnant women can get away with some shinanigans, ya know, and that year I unilatterally decided that I couldn't/wouldn't be travelling hundreds of miles for Christmas (at 7 months) the family came to me.

Smart family.
But I digress.

This year, Joal and I decided to make an effort to keep Christmas lite. We didn't do the full-blown decorations that we usually do and our tree is covered in only simple white lights. I absolutely love it. I go outside every night just so I can admire our light-covered tree thru the front window. I may never hang ornaments again.

Shopping was minimal. We asked our parents to make a donation to a certain children's ministry that we love instead of buying us gifts and they graciously agreed to do so. They also generously allowed us to do the same on their behalf. That was a more meaningful gesture to me than anything they could have given us, and we took care of 4 presents with one check.

Joal and I are exchanging love letters this year. And a small gift. It's been a while since I've been the recipent of a love letter from the man I love (or any other man over the age of ten, for that matter) and I must say, I think I'm anticipating this more than any gift in recent history.

Earlier in the month, the boys and I packed care packages for some children who wouldn't otherwise have very big Christmases this year and Julian and I had a pretty long conversation (for us, anyway) about how blessed we are and how important it is to be a generous giver to other people--even people you don't know.

I started picking up Christmas gifts for the boys back in October. I was determined not to be shopping at the last minute (when I'm most prone to impulsivity, lack of thought and overspending) and I am happy to say I managed to get it all together by mid-December. Not to brag, or anything... :) It feels good tho. The gifts are done. There's nothing outrageous under our tree...simple things that I know each of them will appreciate.

Today we will attend church in the morning--it's a special family Christmas service and I'm sure it will be a wonderful crescendo to the holiday weekend. Later in the evening, Joal will be part of the band for the evening service of Christmas Mass. Not a proper we are Presbyterian, but something similar. (Maybe you'd have to be there to understand.) Following, we'll have a quiet evening at home. I will make my annual call to my father to wish him a happy birthday.

Christmas Day will bring the usual early morning reading of the Christmas story and opening of gifts. Breakfast and then the traditional (somewhat modified) Turkey lunch.

Then some football.
Of course, there must be football.
The testosterone in the house demands a little football on holidays.

It's far from storybook perfection--I know. I've been reading the Southern Living Christmas Annuals since I was a kid and dreaming of the

gifts wrapped perfectly in paper that matches the hand-tied bows...

but I've come to understand that it's not real. Christmas is not about the images of projected perfection that I can create. It's about a Savior who came to bring us a way to everlasting perfection...not in this life, but the next.

*My* life is found in contentment and in realizing that my home is not a showplace, but it is warm and clean. My sons hate plaid and one has a black eye. The tree is beautiful, if slightly leaning to one side. I accomplished hand-made cards this year--something I have not accomplished in years past and have always regretted. The meal will not be fancy, but it will be good and there will be plenty. None of our gifts will be considered astonishing, but will be deeply appreciated as they were chosen with thought and care. There will be plenty of hugs and hot chocolate.

What more could a girl ask for?

I hope this Christmas sets a precedent for us. It's different from our normal and I like it. It seems calmer than years past.

Calmer, and more focused.
Very peaceful.

However you choose to celebrate this year, I hope it's meaningful and filled with a loving peaceful spirit and plenty of people you hold dear.

For unto us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be upon his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
--Isaiah 9:6

God bless us every one.



The 2Peas Challenge for the day is "if you could invent a new scrapbooking tool, what would it be?"

Well, I don't have the techno-know-how to invent this, but someone should.

My new tool would be a computer program that transforms layout images to sketches. So, say, I am browsing the peanut gallery and I find a LO I want to keep for inspiration. I import the image into this program and *poof*, a sketch of the LO is saved into my personal "Book of Sketches", along with a thumbnail of the original and a link to it. Handy, huh. Every once ina while, I print out the Book of Sketches for reference!

How cool would that be?

My other invention has to do with stamp storage. Big fancy department store use motorized rotating display shelves to show tons of ties in one case. There may be twenty shelves on a wheel and the wheel rotates like a ferris wheel, showing a different shelf of ties at the top every 10 seconds. Well, I propose that this would make excellent stamp storage.

Dreams...aren't they grand?

A Child after my very own heart...

It's lunchtime. Julian and Joal have gone to get haircuts so G and I are hanging out at home.

Grey: Mommy can I have pizza?
Me: Hold on. I'll heat it up for you.
Grey: I really like it cold.

Funny boy. Wonder who he got the "cold pizza" gene from?


Now *this* is my kindof Christmas Tree!

I was listening to the radio today and the announcer referred to Kenny Chesney as the "Seasonally Challenged One" because of (obviously) his penchant for songs about the beach, summer, the sea and Spring Break.
LOL! She said it like it was a bad thing...HA!
It made me think of this photo of a Christmas Tree that I took at the "Trees of Christmas" exhibit at Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in December 1999.
(Pardon the the time I was using a disposable camera and the lighting wasn't great in the display room.)
Makes me wanna make a tree out of something unique...
In other news, I think my postal carrier has been holding out on me. We got 10 Christmas cards in the mail (and we don't get very many) today...I was starting to think we weren't going to get any!
Which brings me to my question of the day. When someone sends you a Christmas card and you didn't send them one...what do you do? Send them one quickly even tho it'll probably be late? Add them to the list for next year? Send them a New Year card? What's a girl to do?
And my other question for the do you store embellishments? I have a Crop in Style PSB that is filled up with "schtuff" but I never use it because it's such a pain to lug out and find stuff in. Gotta find a new way to store stuff so I can get to it.

Fifty Four Days

It's cold and rainy here but I just checked and it's 77 degrees in Key West today! It's also sunny, with a few clouds.
Dang. Christmas in Key West...someday, we're going to do that.
Yes, it's that time of the year when I start drabble-ing endlessly about the cruise. I'll try to keep it under control...but it's hard. This is the one week I look forward to more than any other all year long. Miami, Key West, Cozumel, Miami.
I have a date with a balcony chaise in just 54 days--that's less than 2 months away.
Happy Friday!!


15 Years

Fifteen years...

Two college degrees...

Five moves...

Two states...

Five jobs (some concurrent)...

Three guitars...

Nine cars...

Two Mississippi Opera perfomances with you onstage...

Two babies...

One major haircut...for you...

Six Steven Concerts...

Two inde release recordings...

One song sold...

Three wreaks...

Two weddings...

Two funerals...

One house purchase...

Three Cub Scout camping trips...

Countless kisses...

One cruise...

One honeymoon...

So many concerts played that I've lost count...

Two rides in ambulances...

Fifty four hundred and seventy five days...

One beautiful life built together...

With the only man for me.


Scrap Resolutions

Well there are at least two threads at 2Peas re: making scrapbook-related resolutions for the coming year. Most involve learning something new (ie better use of one's camera), buying a big tool or accomplishing X number of pages.

I've been considering a different sort of change to my scrapbooking adgenda but I must tell you--I am extremely hesitant to put it out there. It's a little on the radical side--especially for me.

Isn't a resolution supposed to be some lofty goal that you hope to stretch in order to acheive? If so, I'm good...because this is going to stretch me. To the max.


This is bold.

Once all the supplies for the Feb 2007 cruise book are purchased (it's a commissioned project for the company) I'm not going to buy any other scrapbooking items, products, books, stamps, ribbon, etc.

Until Joal gets a Taylor.

My sweet honey has been yearning for a hand-made Taylor guitar for years. The Taylor guitar of choice is a *significant purchase* in our world and it always seems that he's doing more important things with our money (ie buying refrigerators, EEGs and scrap stuff). Joal doesn't indulge in luxuries easily (I usually have to drag him) so it will take some unusual forcefulness on my part to make this happen...but I am determined.

It's going to be the year of the Taylor, baby. I'm betting the scrapbook obsession on it.


Ten things...

So I've been stalking Jill Conyers Blog lately and yesterday her entry was "Ten Things I Love about the Holidays". She created a photo list (she takes really great photos) and of course, it would also make a sweet little layout, should one be so inclined.

I'm not at the moment...but I am making the list and maybe taking the photos fora future page. You should do the same. Wait! Was that a challenge?

Yep. Just make a list. Photos optional. You've been tagged.
And you know you can't resist a tagging!



How does he do that?

I have this friend with an extraordinary gift. I've known him for a few years now and every single time I spend time with him I am struck by his incredible ability to listen. He's the kind of person that when you talk to him, you know you have his complete attention. He's very detail-oriented and listens very carefully. He really listens.

In my experience, it's a rare thing to have a conversation with someone and come away from it knowing that that person cared more about what you were saying than about what he or she was about to say in response. This way of conversing takes on a whole new meaning--it's slower-paced and leaves any thought of "small talk" at the door. Most people (I think) are distracted by formulating their own response to what you are saying, even while you are talking. Most people, I think, listen so half-heartedly or maybe even so casually that their heart isn't even involved.

In someone less caring, this kind of listening would feel weird, but it totally fits his personality. It's not weird at all--it's refreshing and amazing. He's genuinely attentive and honest--a look-you-in-the-eye kinda guy.

I have come to admire that--I suppose because in certain situations, I am the shyest woman on the planet and too much eye-to-eye time sets me on edge to the point of blushing. It's more than a little unnerving for me. When I have a conversation with him, it's as if he see right past the words and looks at the heart of what I am saying. (And it's not just with me. It's the way he is with everyone.)

Choosing to make that kind of genuine connection with someone is so rare. It's something I would like to cultivate the ability to do more often (as difficult as that is for me) and something I would like to have more of in my life. (I think.)

I once heard someone else describe this kind of concern as "being more interested in the other person than they are in themselves". That's pretty darn interested.

It was really quiet in the car as we drove home from a Christmas party at the home of some new friends tonight and I was thinking about this. Do I listen to my children this way? Do I listen to my husband this way? My friends? My parents? Most of the time, I'm afraid the answer is no. Whatever the reason, I'm usually distracted and not fully enguaged. In a culture of cell-phone multi-tasking and faceless, spirit-less email, it's becoming all to easier to go thru life disenguaged in the lives of other people. I don't want that.

So, if I have a new year's goal, and if it's not too early to declare it...this is going to be it. To really listen more, even if it means speaking less.

The people in my life are too important to me for me to miss out on.

Happy Sunday!


Scenic paper love


Scenic Route

Is there anything more beautiful than the new SR Rockland? Not in my world! (I'm thinking this is the one for the 2007 cruise books!)

My new piece of jewelry came today. :) Thought this would be a good way to keep a certain soldier close to my heart.
One tag has his name, US Army, and "Be safe, brother"
The other says "Be strong and of good courage, the Lord your God is with you." Joshua 1:9

Ding! Ding! We have a winner...

If you are an 8.5 x 11 scrapper...
Who uses alot of black and white Bazzill...
And hates to pay for shipping...
And likes to shop online...
And pay by Paypal...

Look what I found!

I placed an order for a 50-pack of each on Friday (and some clear envelopes too) and had it by Tuesday!

Paper happiness abounds!!
Happy Wednesday!


Problem Solved

I've been searching for a solution to a scrapbooking problem for a while now and I finally hit upon a solution that works.

One of my favorte Quickutz dies is the tag set that makes a rimmed circle tag. I used it in my cruise album extensively and I use it on cards with some regularity. I wanted to use it onmy Christmas cards, but this problem prevented me from doing that.
The problem? It's hard--make that almost impossible--to precisely place the die against the paper image to be cut *and* get it into the handle for cutting without it slipping out of place.
As you can see in the photo, I printed out a dingbat onto cardstock and wanted to make it a tag, but getting it properly aligned was a booger.
I contacted Holle who is a designer for Quickutz to see if she knew of a trick. She made some suggestions and even passed my delimma on to her fellow QK designers to see if others could help. (Thanks Holle.) After some consideration of those suggestions, it occurred to me that if I could make the die clear, it wouldn't be a problem. While I think clear dies are a great idea, I'm not sure QK is ready to be that accomodating, so I made my own.
Here are the directions to making precisely-aligned circle rim tags:
Lay the circle tag die on a piece of thin clear plastic (I used a piece of an old craft keeper envelope).

Using a permanent marker (Sharpie), trace the outline of the die (whole thing--square with a tab) onto the piece of clear plastic.

Using scissors, cut along the outline carefully.

Apply Herma Dotto temp adhesive to the foam on the tag die and lay the clear piece on the foam side of the die, making sure that it's perfectly aligned. Trim again if needed.

Put die, with clear plastic attached, in QK handle and press as usual. This will cut the tag shape out of the plastic. You may have to press handle more than once, depending on how thick your plastic is. Remove from handle and discard inner tag shape. Keep the big piece--the square.

Now you are ready to prep the image you want to cut into a tag.

Apply Herma Dotto temp adhesive to the foam again (unless it's still sticky).

Lay clear template over paper image and adjust until you *see* what you want the tag to look like in the cut-out of the clear plastic template.

Now make a sandwich. Hold the piece to be cut against the back of the clear template, align edges of template to the edges of die and press the layers together. The paper image to be cut should now be stuck to the foam.

Set clear template aside.

Insert die into handle and cut as usual.

The clear piece allows for precise alignment. The Herma hold the paper image in place while it's inserted into the handle.

Problem Solved!! :)

Happy Tuesday!!


This is how a boy prays...

Almost every night at bedtime, G and I sing a little prayer. It goes like this:

God our father,
God our father,
Once again,
Once again,
We bow our heads to thank you,
We bow our heads to thank you,

It's an echo song...I sing a line, he sings a line.

Last night I noticed that on the last line he's saying: "Aww-mahn."

Like "Aw, man. I spilled my drink."


Happy Monday!


It's Christmas Card Day!

It's Christmas Card Day at my house today! I started making cards a few days ago...worked (with an unusual amount of diligence) at the crop Friday evening and finished up today. And I used items I had on hand, instead of buying more...that's an accomplishment in itself! I got over the need to have them be exactly alike and made 6 sets of 6 designs. I sometimes forget how much I love making cards!
I found the sentiment on the liner notes of this Christmas CD made by some musicians at church. It's called "Your King has Come!" and I love it! ( It's a little bit traditional and little bit folk...
It says:
The righteous has come for the unrighteous.
The innocent has come for the guilty.
The Son of God has come to gather a people unto Himself
From every race, tribe and tongue.
The doors of heaven are open and inside it looks like an ordinary stable with a tiny baby inside.
Oh come
Let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord.
We also got the tree up today and enjoyed decorating. It was a great day!
Happy Sunday!


It's snowing!

It's snowing!!
I awoke to shreeks of "Momma, it's snowing!" this morning...which is unusal in itself because usually the first thing out of those boys is "Momma, I'm hungry."
But yes, snow flurries are falling in Middle Tennessee!
What a great day!
No, it won't stick and yes, it will probably stop before I finish this post...but it's a good sign. It means maybe we'll get a real snow this year! We kinda didn't last year.
Such a wonderful surprise!
Can we have a "Snow Day"?
Happy snowy Thursday!
In other news...look at the amazing button creations on this blog and here. That red wreath is yummy! I think I need to go dig out my buttons.
Happy button Thursday!


Another example...

So I was eating Chinese food for lunch with the boys today, catching up on my reading of Nashville's alternative liberal rag, The Nashville Scene when this ad for Watkins College of Art and Design caught my eye:

Um, yeah. Kinda looks like a scrapbook page. Imagine that.

A few years ago, our church was located in downtown Franklin, near Watkins. We were outgrowing our building and to meet the space needs, some of the Sunday School classes met at other building downtown. We happened to be attending one of those off-site classes for a while...our class met at Merridee's Breadbasket--a Franklin legend. The bakery was closed of course on Sundays but the smells that remained in that wonderful store on Sundays after an entire week of baking breads, pies and cakes and other wonderful things was intoxocating. The owner would sometimes leave a basket of goodies for us and what a treat that was. (Since that time, I have had the pleasure of meeting Marilyn Kreider, the owner of Merridee's and teaching her sweet son in my Sunday School class.)

Anyway, when we would walk to our class a few blocks from church, we would pass one of the buildings that the students of Watkins College used as studio space (apparently, they had space issues too). I would always peek in the windows to see what kinds of unique things they were working on. The windows of their building were built for displays and were always an interesting visual feast of art and design. I told Joal on several occasions that Watkins should find a way to meld a design class with a class in scrapbooking.

From the looks of this {really cool} ad, perhaps they have begun to do just that. How Rebecca Sower can it be?

Happy Wednesday! Stay warm.


Studio 60

I don't watch much television. We have a DVR so I spend very little time actually watching tv...I fast-forward thru most everything except Blues Clues, which Greyson loves. I'm just not a fan of 99.99% of television. For me, too much television is contributory to eating mindlessly and I am stepping away from that at all costs.

But here I am, doing something I hoped to never do--blogging about television. I am smitten with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. The writing of that show is intellegent and exceptional and funny and it pierces the vail of the usual Hollywood idiocy. The characters are truly interesting and multi-dimensional. I read recently that it's the most expensive show being produced by a major network on the air because of all the major players on-screen. It really is remarkable to see actors transition so smoothly from one show to another--especially the West Wing characters. Bradley Whitford and Timothy Busfield (both formerly of West Wing) are bringing down the house in Studio 60 and I love it.
For what it's worth, the other show I watch regularly is The Unit. And 24--when I can gear up for it's intensity.

So now you know...

If you have a moment, cruise on over to Jill Conyers blog and take a gander at this beautiful mini-book she did. Isn't it wonderful? Simple, spirited and meaningful.

In another blog entry she posted this quote that I really like:

"Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are."
--Marianne Williamson

I had to scrap it.

Happy Tuesday!


An idea for my pregnant friends...

I know like 6 women (in real life) who are expecting children soon. I saw this layout done by Heather Melzer with the sweetest photo on it. I thought it was positively adorable.


Trivial Complainings

I know this is trivial and matters not-so-much in the scheme of life but I also know that my scrap-friends will understand my need to discuss.

And so I blog about the trivial matter of the price of duel-sided paper.What is the deal?

It should be said in the begining that I think I have bad karma (if I believed in Karma) when it comes to duel-sided paper. Several years ago, while shopping in Mississippi I was shocked to learn that the store charged double for a patterned paper that was printed on both sides (not even cardstock weight). When I inquired as to why...the oh-so-bright cashier had the audacity to tell me because "it's like you are getting two sheets of paper".

Um no. It's one sheet.
Same as all the other single sheets of paper on your shelves.
It can only be used one time.

Luckily, the store was in MS and I only shopped there 3-4 times a big deal. Even tho I still think that ranks among the stupidest reasons for over-pricing I've ever heard.

Fast-forward to today.

Shopping in a new local scrap store (that'll teach me to stray, huh, Tracie)...I discovered that patterned paper printed on one side was being sold for 69 cents and duel-sided was $1 a sheet.

Can you say "Ouch"?

The new Basic Grey Fruitcake paper is of course, duel-sided. (If I had a cursing smiley, I'd use it here.) Have you seen the snowmen? Did you see this card at 2Peas using the snowmen? Aren't they adorable!! But a dollar a sheet. I love paper...but that's a leap.

By discussing this with some peas, I learned that MSRP for Basic Grey Fruitcake (BG's first duel-sided line) is indeed 85 cents per sheet--a *slight* increase from BG's usual single-sided MSRP which is 70 cents.

It seems this particular LSS has gotten a wild hair and decided to sell it at an increased price of $1 per sheet. I know MSRP is just a suggestion but one would think that in a market where there are many many other scrapbook stores sticking to MSRP, one would think twice before being the most expensive place in town...especially a new store.

According to threads like this one at two-peas and this one, many scrapbookers are turned off by duel-sided paper because they don't know how to use it. So by carrying a paper that people don't understand how to use and doing so at a more expensive price point...aren't you shooting yourself in the foot? If it's commonly misunderstood, it stands to reason that most people won't know what they are paying extra for or why.

And, for those who do know how to use it...wouldn't it be advantageous to a retailer to sell more of this paper with the bonus side at a reasonable price (like say-- the MSRP of 85 cents) rather than "sticking it" to their informed consumers. Frankly, I'd rather pay 40 cents more and get a *whole other sheet* of paper than be charged 30% more for a second side with limited use.

I think duel-sided paper is a good idea for both consumers and retailers.

For consumers, it's a space saver and it offers an extra design option. Especially for those who like to save their scraps! (The downside is that perhaps I don't like the design on both sides...I'm kinds stuck with the ugly side at the inflated price.)

For retailers, it basically doubles the rack impact of their paper-buying dollars. They benefit by being able to fill two slots with a single paper (one turned each way) and it saves on shipping.

However, I am positive that as a consumer, crossing the $1 per sheet threshold is not something I feel comfortable doing and likely won't do again for a very long time. I would sooner buy two sheets for $1.40.



Making masterpieces from pixels...or trying to...

So I've been commissioned to work on a small tribute/thank you album. Normally, I enjoy these projects but this time I'm having some *issues*.

It's a 9x9 book.

When I started the project I was assured that I would have a grand supply of photos to work with. This is true, however, unfortunately the keeper of the photos did not keep the hi-res files...only the really-low-res ones, suitable for printing in very small sizes (ie in a company newsletter).

So, in order to avoid extreme amounts of blur and pixelation, I have to print the photos as wallets. I'm worried this is going to loook drastically odd on a 9x9 page.

Maybe 6x6 would be better.

Yes, these are the perplexing questions that keep me up until 2 am.

Now you know...

Do I need QK Star Mini Uppercase? For $50? It's listed on one of the scrapbook garage sale sites and I am so tempted. I like Star. Do I know anyone close by with Star mini?

Grey learned to skate today on a pair of in-line skates handed down from his brother. What a cutie! He was so proud of himself too.

And can you keep a secret? I am wearing the smallest pair of jeans in my closet...the "Skinny Jeans" I haven't worn in a very long time. And they are a little baggy. Gotta love that! :) They are a full 4--yes, four...sizes smaller than the largest pair of pants that I was wearing less than 7 weeks ago. I need to go shopping for temporary clothes and for the first time in a while, I'm not dreding it.

To what do I owe this small miracle? It's thanks mostly to the marvels of modern medicine--a new diabetic injection called Byetta. It's made from the saliva of a Gela Monster. Yeah. A lizard's spit. Grand huh. Doesn't that make you wonder how on earth scientists discovered it's medicinal qualities for diabetics? I'm sure if I was a scientist, lizard spit would be the first thing on my list of things to study... but I'm grateful to the mad scientist who decided spit was it...cause it sure has changed my life.

No more hairloss.
No more gastro-intestinal distress.
No more blurred vision.
No more gagging on horse pills 4 times a day...well, I stop there. It was bad. The previous meds were a nightmare that went on for too long without success. It feels good to be living "on the straight and narrow" with success again.

The thing about being diabetic is that success breeds success but failure breeds failure. The cycle of failure can be devastating and when you are in it, it feels impossible to break. Successfully controlling this disease is no small feat--it tends to "take over" in many areas but I am grateful that success has been acheived again. It feels really good.

I can't take all the credit. Joal has played a huge role in this lately. He's been an amazingly patient and supportive and non-judgemental and understanding husband. He has endured and he has loved the hard parts of me with grace and compassion. He has helped me to find hope again. I am so indebted to this man.

Happy "Skinny" Wednesday!


Christmas Crafts and more

Christmas brings out the repressed crafty woman in me...every year. The boys and I are doing this tomorrow, as practice for my Sunday School children (if all goes well, I'm hoping to let them do it on Sunday):

Cinnamon Ornaments
1 cup of off-brand cinnamon
4 TBSP white glue
3/4 cup water

1) mix ingredients
2) chill two hours or so
3) roll out and cut with cookie cutters
4) use a straw to put holes in each ornament so you can tie a ribbon on it
5) let dry for a few days, turning ornament over often so it dries flat.

(Thanks to a fellow BHSA mom for the recipe.)

We are also working on Grandparent gifts. This year I wanted to do something cool and personal. (I am not a fan of "just buy them a gift certificate" except for certain people that I know love to shop...but that's another post.) My children *love* to the point of exhaustion. Both of them. It's a great day when we clear the work table, cover it with kraft paper and pull the paint brush box down! We're talking shreiks of joy!!

Given this penchant for paint, I have devised a plan. The boys have each been given six 7"x9" canvas boards to paint. I'll lend a hand here and there...but for the most part, they are painting freely.

After the painted boards are dry (really dry), I am going to scan each one, resize and print the images on textured cardstock. Then I will use these images to create a set of notecards. For Christmas, each person will receive one of the art boards, signed by the artist, of course, and a set of the notecards. I can't wait to do this!

In other news, if you are short on Christmas card should definately check out the holiday gallery at Impress Rubber Stamps. I adore this site! It's polished and pretty, but yet unpretentious and all their projects are easy to duplicate!

I think Christmas cards are getting a bad rap and I hate it. Last year we got about 6. What's up with that? We used to get dozens. I guess (sadly) people just don't do cards anymore? Uhhh. I love Christmas cards...such a sweet thing to find news and wishes in the mailbox from friends and family far and wide. My favorites are the ones from people we don't see very friends, people from places far away.

So here's my soapbox/sermon for the day...don't underestimate the value of Christmas cards. Store bought or handmade doesn't matter. Take the opportunity to sincerely wish your friends and family a beautiful holiday season and share a bit of your family with others. Maybe a photo too. Doesn't have to be a formal portrait...a telling snapshot is great. Take some time...or if you have to, make some time to catch up with friends and family this holiday season with a card, a photo or a note. It's a worthy investment.

And should you be in need of a bit of Christmas music to get your spirit flowing...check out the "It's Christmas Time" CD project by the City on a Hill crew. Now this is good music! It's a couple years old but a true joy to pull out each holiday. Among the artists are The Choir, Sixpence None the Richer, Terry Scott Taylor, Jars and one of Joal's favorite songwriters--Sara Groves, with some Michael Tait thrown in for great measure!

One of my favorite lines from the disc is:

And if we lose sight of your sweet face

At the birth of grace

At the birth of grace

Light of truth

Shine like Bethlehem's star

Lead us to where you are

Sho us who you are

Happy Tuesday!

It's PINK Nike Day!

It's a PINK Nike day!!
Every little girl should have a pair of pink Nike!!
Aren't these adorable? :)
Happy! Happy! Happy!


One more use for CD cases

This may be perhaps the only stroke of creative genius that has touched me in weeks...

I'm shipping several gifts this year so I've been looking for something lightweight yet unexpected to wrap the gift cards in. A week or so ago I was unmountingsome stamps to store in CD cases and it hit me. CD cases!!



Adventures in Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving had some twists and turns this year...I don't have much time right now but I wanted to post these pics.

Obviously, the first is a hockey game! Joal's boss at NWYC let us use his season tickets to see the Dallas Stars play the Nashville Predators in Dallas on Wednesday. We were on the eighth row!! The Preds allowed the Stars one goal deep in the third period and unfortunately that's all it took for the Preds to go down, but we had a great time. It was a really good game...although I like it much better when the score goes our way. :)

It was a little disconcerting to be 2 of maybe 6 Preds fans in the house. We tried to behave so no one threw anything at us. It was harder for Joal than it was for me.

We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson (near Joal's office) and was nice. I do love a great hotel! Fountains...interesting was a really nice place. Second photo is of the neatest glass plate-like sculptures that were displayed all over the lobby of the hotel. Bright, bold, huge...very cool. (Yes, I took a picture and yes, my husband rolled his eyes.)

On Thursday, we got up too early (I really wanted to sleep longer...the boys were with Nana and that bed was really comfy!) and went to my parents. We picked up our sons and went to my grandmother's.

Thanksgiving at my grandmother's was mostly like every other year...except that my brother was missing. He text messaged me and my sister to say hi...but it wasn't the same. My grandmother (who we think is approaching 86...we're not sure) forgot to make the sweet potato casserole and decided she didn't want to make the chicken and dressing. We never do turkey...long story. Anyway, the key ingredients in Thanksgiving lunch Burnett-style is potato salad, ham, Pistachio Salad and pies. There are other things...but those are the most important to me. :)

My grandmother makes old-fashioned Chocolate Pie and Coconut Pie (with browned merainge that stands higher that a fence post) that are seriously to die for. She even makes the crust! I would kill for the Coconut! I only eat pie one time a year. Thanksgiving Day. Any other pie is an insult to my Grandmother's pie!

The green stuff is my mother's famous Pistachio Salad. It's always the hit of any family gathering and gets made far more often than pie. I took pictures of the food this year because so many of our family traditions revolve around food. Even Grandmother mentioned that she wondered who would make the pies when she was gone. Honestly, I don't think anyone would even want to try.

It just wouldn't be right.

I'm grateful for my family and our qwerky traditions. It was a good holiday. I hope yours was too.

PS While we were in Dallas, I had a chance to make a stop at Scrap Spot. (It was about 3 miles from our hotel.) It was a cool little store. Slightly crowded (as in crowded with a bunch of stuff, not people) but a fun place. I found a line of paper that I hadn't seen before...I bought several sheet of this from Creative this! It's die cut!! And this and this and this! That Karen Russel is one cool chickadee. See the whole collection here!

Happy Saturday!


Dear Mr. President...

Dear Mr. President,

I know you are a very busy man with many things on your mind, so I will try to be brief.

Since the day it began, I have been an unwavering supporter of your military response to 9/11. While I deeply hate war (as I believe every good human being should), I understand that there are times when it is a required course of action. I believe that maintaining our military readiness is a primary key to remaining a strong and powerful and, yes, a safe nation. I hope and pray that the United States will always be “the most powerful country in the world” because I believe that we have been blessed with the very best form of government—representative democracy and I believe in the power of the voice of one citizen to be heard by her President, her elected representatives and her country.

It’s with that belief in my heart that I write to you today. While I supported a military response to the attacks on America, I want to be clear with you that my continued support now comes with a very personal investment--specifically, the life of my little brother, PFC James Andrew Burnett, serving in the United States Army.

On Thanksgiving Day 2005, my 19 year old brother announced that he had decided to join the Army. By June, I was attending his graduation from boot camp and in just a few more days, on the day before Thanksgiving 2006, he will be reporting for duty with the 173rd Airborne as a medic at Camp Ederle in Vicenza, Italy.

It has been a difficult journey this past year—watching my younger brother become a soldier. At the ripe old age of 20, it seems to me that he’s a little to eager to be in harm’s way and not at all grasping the possible price that could be required of him in the name of freedom. Or maybe he does understand the possiblity, and accepts it better than I do. As an older sister and a mother to my own children, I am filled with fear for him but I am also overcome with pride in the man he is becoming. He will always be my little brother (even though he’s been looking down on me for years now) but now he is a soldier, defending my country with honor and skill and in the name of something I cherish—freedom and liberty.

Sir, I respect your office and your abilities. I pray that you are surrounded by wise and valued advisors who are worthy of the trust you place in them. I trust that you already know that every single military decision you make is felt deeply by the many concerned citizens who love someone currently serving in the military.

I hope and pray that the significance of your every military decision weighs appropriately heavy upon you every single day. Please sir, with all due respect, don’t ever for a single moment forget that our soldiers and their families are very personally invested in your decisions and your direction as Commander in Chief. Our troops may be referenced by numbers but they are far from just a number. They are brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters, and husbands and wives and I dare to assume that the great majority are loved deeply as individuals.

The attached photo is my brother. He has hair the color of a California sunset and it was once so thick with curls that I could barely run my hands thru it but of course, it’s high and tight now. He’s always been one to play hard and he has more spunk in his fingers than most people have in their whole body. As a little boy, he loved to dig in the dirt and ride the tire swing. He ran pretty much everywhere he went--nothing slowed him down. He spent a lot of time barefooted and seriously in need of a bath. He loved hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. He loved the swimming pool and the three-wheeler.

He grew up in a small town in Texas, learning early to ride horses, muck stalls and wear boots. He helped my Dad in his handcrafted furniture business and he built many toy guns with the leftover wood pieces. He worked as a stocker and bag boy for the local grocery during high school and became a volunteer firefighter just about the day he was old enough. He is now a fire academy graduate.

He loves his Ford Mustang and he sometimes drives too fast—please don’t tell my mom. He can put away a steak like nobody’s watching. He goes to church on Sundays, he loves the Lord, and he is a good son and grandson. He is an awesome brother. And if you asked my little boys, they would tell you Uncle Andy hangs the moon and flings the stars.

He looks out for our younger sister and swears no man will ever pass muster for her. He enjoys Starbucks and cold pizza and Coca Cola.

Sir, I know you’ll probably never meet my brother, Private Burnett, but I hope that just now, with just these few images and details of his life floating around in your head, you will be reminded that while the cost of protecting freedom and spreading liberty is exorbitant, it’s also very specific.

And never forget that it is, indeed, very personal.

God bless you and guide you, Mr. President.

Sarah Burnett Devendorf
Nashville, Tennessee


I'm not "Embracing Your Space".

So CK has been running this series of articles called "Embrace Your Space" for a while now. It's supposed to be an article about making a scrap space out of whatever space you might have. I like the concept but I have a few small complaints.

I think it's fluff.

The whole series--
Total fluff.

So far, it seems that the real point of the article is just "show me your collection of stuff"-- your containers and your massive heaps of scrap stuff. But wait. Before your space can be featured, it must be clean. Completely organized with *everything* stashed into cute little organizer boxes or cans or baskets.

Ab-normal-ly clean!

And you absolutely MUST have some words spelled out on your walls. Imagine. Dream. Create. Live. Art. Love.

Puh lease. Let's get creative, shall we?

I really wish they would show the artists *working* in their spaces. To me, having a nice neat organized-to-the-nines space is fine and good but kinda pointless if you can't use it that way. Most of the scrappers I know are not that neat. Creative types aren't usually neat. Some, obviously...but it's not a common thread.
I also wish there was less focus on the stuff. In this October issue there was a sizable photo of a rack of a gazillion Making Memories paint bottles. Somebody tell me the point of this? So someone owns 42 colors of overpriced scrapbook-band craft paint in cute bottles. How does that help me embrace my space?

I have extensive experience in the organizing field. I have taught classes on the topic and even been paid to help others do it. (I can organize...I just don't...for those of you who have seen my scrap space and are snickering right now.) If there's one thing I know it's that every scrapbooker has a unique set of needs for her space and a unique space in which to meet those needs. Blanket prescriptions are a waste of time and money.

I love CK but this one left me longing for something useful. I hate to think it, but I got the feeling that this article was one more way for CK to celebritize their artists. Why is there such a company focus on CK celebrity scrappers? I don't get it. Scrapbooking is not about who does it, is it? Do I care what kind of desk Donna Downey uses or where Miss NewThang shops for containers? Not a bit, actually. Maybe I'm just rebelious enough to *not* want the same words on my walls that every other scrapper on the CK planet seems to have. Aren't we supposed to be creative individuals...or do we just copy everything a celebrity scrapper does to be associated with the "in" club of scrapbooking?

Fluff. Total fluff.


The influence of scrapbooking...

The influence of scrapbooking on everyday society is growing.
Or maybe I just see it everywhere I go because I am tuned in to it.

Either are just a few examples of SB trends I have spotted in the past few days in non-scrapbook culture:

Do you watch The Food Network? I do, on occasion, and have noticed lately that all their self-promotions make use of flourishes and swirls ala Elsie and Jenni and others who made them famous in the scrapbook circles. (I couldn't figure out a way to capture this quickly, for you to see, so you'll just have to watch for yourself or trust me.)
The current issue of Publix Family Style (grocery freebie magazine) shows a beautiful stack of cookies wrapped in ribbon...American Craft ribbon, I do declare! How pretty is that!

The Martha Stewart Holiday Handmade Gifts Issue (which I drool over every year) shows not one but two examples of scrappiness...the ribbon on the stack of soaps and of course the metal-rimmed tag.
There are many other examples inside the pages...too many to list but suffice it to say that Ms Stewart
knows good crafting supplies when she sees them...but maybe that's not so much of a surprise.
See the cover of the Harry & David catalog? Right there on the front is dotted circle. BTW, does anyone know what font the "Harry & David" is in?
And finally, another dotted circle on the Staples ad. Very cool!
In other news, did you know that you can order kitchen appliances on-line? From right here at my desk, I ordered a new refrigerator today and it will be here tomorrow. How freakin' cool is that? I had no idea it was even possible.


Three of 300 isn't too bad, right?

This is the photo I wanted...

but these other two seem so much more realistic and more like a sampling of the moments of their lives.

Because we all know I had to bribe and beg to get that first photo--the one where they look all innocent and cute.


Happy Saturday!


Miracles Never Cease

Well, I guess it was bound to happen--I finally found something I really like on the DiY Scrapbooking show that I claimed to really dislike a while back. Episode 324 showed watercolor pen projects. Lacking as it is, I can't help but watch it. It makes for an OK distraction while I walk on the treadmill.

This layout is really cute, don'tcha think? It looked very easy to make. Judith or Stamps by Judith did it and watching her do it on the show was so cool. Stamp, stamp, stamp, swosh. Imagine the cards.

Simple and pretty. Flowers and stamps. Who could ask for anything more?

I ordered the stamp and pens to do this.

In other news, the new banner is in honor of my brother's visit. Andy is spending the first few days of his leave with us. He'll be here until Monday afternoon. The boys don't give him a moment of peace. They will be devastated when he leaves for Texas. He's scheduled to fly out on Nov 21 to Venice, Italy. I've started saving for a trip to Italy with my sister.

Happy Sunday!!