I almost forgot.
Don't miss this story on ABC.

It's Insanity Time...

It's Croptoberfest Week at my house and that means one thing--insanity. This is the fifth year (non-consecutive) I've been to Croptoberfest (an annual scrap retreat in the mountains near Gatlinburg)'d think I'd eventually get a sense of how to prepare but I don't. Everything always gets pushed to the last minute and I spend the last few hours before leaving totally freaked out...flittering about from thing to thing making no discernable progress on anything at all. Somehow, tho, we always get there in one piece and have an amazing time.

Anita's spending the night with me tonight and she and Leigh Ann and I will leave Thursday morning for our weekend away. Scrapbooking is the premise under which we say we are going...but really it's the fun. I'm not sure I'm even taking any scrap stuff. :)

So have a good weekend everyone...Carla and Sabrina, we'll be missing you!

And Julie Parker, should you happen to be reading blogs again, not an hour will go by that we don't think of you and miss your sweet face this weekend. It won't be the same without you, my friend. Your gift of Croptoberfest goes on, even while you are around the world. But I'm glad you are where you are, making a difference in the world. We'll raise a blazing s'more in your honor on Saturday night and probably cry a few happy tears for you too. You are in our hearts and we love you. God be with you Townsend, TN and Jos, Nigeria and all points in between.


Lil Davis Photo Contest

Some of you (you know who you are) should enter your remarkable summer photos in the September Photo Contest at "Favorite summer memory" is the theme. The winning photographer gets a box of LD goodies valued at approx $100. The months almost over. Get to it.

Look what we picked up at the mall, honey!

Our Bear Scout den took a little trip today to Deep Forest, an exotic reptile store in the mall. Yes. Our mall is a bit strange.

This is my baby.
With a snake around his body.

The things we do for our children...
but he loved it!

He also loved feeding the gator, holding the scorpion, petting the turranchela (I have no idea how to spell that...maybe I should have just said big fuzzy ugly spider with claws) and harrassing the bearded dragon. Did I mention the water monitor (a big lizard looking thing that waddles and swishes his 7" tongue)? Oh and the three other snakes and two lizards??

Yes. I almost died.


Bye Bye Birds!!

The ugly birds and orange and cream tile that used to grace my kitchen behind my sink are no more!!

That's right...the birds have flown the coop!


My men spent part of Saturday hacking the tile backsplash and door surround (who puts tile around a door, really?)...sending the orange-ness and the bird-monsters to their end! Now to decide what color for the kitchen...

It was a very good day!



It was the most perfect day for picking apples at the apple orchard...


2Peas Challenge: If you could change one thing...

The 2Peas challenge for the day is to answer this question: If you could change one thing about the world today, what would you change?

Well, of course, there's all the serious options--world peace, no more war, make people more generous, safe, loving homes for all orphans, end to hunger, eradication of racism...etc. Those are well and good and worthy of changing...but since we're speaking hypothetically, I'm going with a light-hearted answer.

All printers would never run out of ink. You buy a printer--you get the lifetime printer cartiridge. I have no idea how it would be accomplished...but they simply never run out. You print and print and print...and never run out of ink.


And I might put FedEx in charge of the USPS.

And this whole spinach problem would disappear. I miss my salads.

And my mother's peanut butter cookies would suddenly be the most healthy food on the planet.

Happy Wednesday!


This is Why we Homeschool.

Once in a while, I get the breath knocked out of me by something I see that could easily be missed.

This was one of those moments.

J was working on some written spelling activities and asked to go out to the picnic table to complete them. I needed a few minutes to myself anyway, so I sent him out with paper and pencil in hand. This window is looking out onto our patio from our kitchen table. I did my work downstairs and came back up to check on him maybe 15 minutes later and this is what I saw. He hadn't moved. He was doing the assignment. Working without direct supervision--oh man. Might as well be leaping small buildings in a single bound!

He sat out there for about 40 minutes total, calmly doing his work and talking to G. G would run off to swing ordig every few minutes and then return. I can't tell you what a miracle it is for J to sit and focus for an extended period of time and actually make progress on an assignment without getting distracted! I couldn't stop watching. I so desperately wanted to go out and check on his progress but I didn't want to break in on I watched from the window.

And cried.


2Peas MEME: Food

How do you take your coffee/tea?
I don't drink coffee. I do drink southern sweet iced tea...also referred to as the nector of heaven...:)

How do you like your eggs?
Scrambled with milk and lots of salt and pepper.

Favorite breakfast foods:
cinnimon rolls or a bagel with bacon (those are my unhealthy favorites...not what I usually allow myself)

Coke or Pepsi?
We don't even say the P word in our house.

You're feeling lazy. What do you make?
Velveeta Shells and Cheese and grilled hot dogs.
Or grilled cheese sands and apple.

You're feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order?
Supreme Pan for dh and I.
Pepperoni for the boys.

You feel like cooking. What do you make?
Something good I hope. I'm a decent cook most of the time.

Do any foods bring back good memories?
Yes. Too many to list. This should really turn into a scrapbook page. I don't want to think about what it says about our families that so many of our big events revolve around the foods.

Do any foods bring back bad memories?
Not really. There's that whole Ramen noodles and college thing...but I wouldn't call that bad. Just cheap.

Do any foods remind you of someone?
Oh yeah. My mom has some special things that she makes just for me and there are some foods that I won't eat unless it's made by my mom--no one else could ever come close.

And Julie's Butterhorns.

Is there a food you refuse to eat?
Not near enough.

What was your favorite food as a child?

Is there a food you hated as a child but now love?
Not really. My mom is an amazing cook. She taught me to enjoy cooking for my family.

Is there a food you loved as a child but now hate?
I'm picky about hot dogs now. I know a little too much about hot dog making...

Favorite junk food: Little Debbie Oatmeal Cookies
Favorite dessert: Cheesecake
The perfect nightcap? Popcorn
Do you have any weird food habits? A few...but nothing really outrageous.


Money vs Art

Does money corrupt art?

If you are paid to create, is it really your art or is it influenced or corrupted by your compensation? Does compensation make your art less than pure?

I've been around the music business for long enough to know that the mark of a great recording artist is not their first album. It's their second. If an artist can manage a sophomore record, then they might stick. Why? Because they used all their best material on the first album--the stuff they wrote when they weren't getting paid to write...when they were still waiting tables or tending bar or working at UPS for money and writing songs in their down time. By the time the second album rolls around, the artist is being paid to write, no longer in search of the big break, riding the wave of the first album.

Similarly, does compensation--whether money or product--make scrapbooking less than straight from the heart? If a company is paying you to use their product, is your vision skewed by the promise of compensation? Does the fact that your heart art is being manufactured to fit into the mold of a company's product like mean anything? Does it enter into your thinking when you are creating? Does that make it less than personal soul-filled art?

When I have been employed by design teams, I felt squished. I felt pressure to do certain things, use certain things and be innovative past my own comfort level. Beyond my stylistic preferences. By crossing these lines, was I being untrue to the art of what it is I do?

I wish money wasn't part of scrapbooking. I wish there was a magazine that didn't face pressure from advertisers to select layouts that feature their newest products (and lots of them). I wish there was a purity in our art. I wish there was a way to encourage everyone to create without the influences of money and fame and pea praise. At the end of the day, if you don't love your scrapbook...what have you really gained?

I have seen many scrapbookers make a splash on-line, in magazines, in books, in classes, or whatever but I have noticed that not so many get a sophomore run. A few. But not many. It is my feeling that art created for the sake of selling leaves the soul hollow. Especially if that soul knows the joy of success with heart-filled art that was created before the influence of consumerism set in.

Do scrap magazine editors really think that we don't know that their articles that endorse products aren't bought and paid for? You know the ones--"See Becky's favorite pair of scissors! Inside!" or "See what we discovered at CHA that you can't live without!" Please. Give us some credit.

I feel like we are on the verge of a breaking of the waves in scrapbooking. I have been feeling rumblings inside myself and reading of similar feelings from others. Terms like "back to the basics" and "a return to simplicity" are becoming commonplace. I look around me and I see shelves of product, boatloads of supplies and embellishments, pounds of paper and yet, I am most content with the pages I have created recently that don't involve items from 6 different companies and the hardware store.

I think the tide is turning.
One can hope, right.

Repressed Hermit-itis

Ugh. Sometimes I think I was a hermit in another life. I have repressed hermit tendencies, that only come up once in a while--like today, for example. I would really like to go crawl into bed and hide for the rest of the week. It's just not going right.

I raised my voice to the boys when we were getting in the car this morning (they were in the wrong seats, they knew this, and we were already late) and I expressed a certain amount of frustration
laced with irritation
and most likely some anger
...only to look across my driveway to see my neighbors getting into their car. Bet they were happy to have an earful from me at 8 am.

Then I found out that there's no room for us on the fire station fieldtrip this week. Julian, my firestation-loving son is crushed. We were out of town when the original notice went out and I didn't get to respond in time. There's nothing I hate more than causing him disappointment about the things he loves.

I put on a crock pot of roast and veggies last night. This is one dish I truly enjoy making. There's something so "see me cook" about chopping potatoes and onions and carotts and onions and smelling the delicious aromas of the crock pot cooking all thru the night. It's usually all I can do not to have a taste before breakfast...but today I just don't feel it. I'm not even hungry.

I was given a $75 gift card to Target last week. Guess what? I can't find it. I have no idea where it went. I am so bummed. And annoyed. $75.

I attended a neighborhood meeting last week. I was part of a brain-storming session during which I shared an idea and had it immediately shot down by someone who had no right to do so. I didn't stand up for the idea (which I still think is one with merit) and now I'm just pissed at myself for not doing a better job of standing up for the idea and for allowing myself to be intimidated by a busy-body.

My Jenni Bowlin Studio kit came yesterday. It's a great kit (of course) but I totally don't get why the front cover of the notebook has the JBS logo on it. Seems to me, the label could have been left blank for use as part of the individual design. As much as I like Jenni's schtuff...I don't need her name on my notebook. Or perhaps a blank label could have been included in the kit for covering it. Oh well.

A friend of mine is having difficulty with an international adoption. She and her husband have been working on this particular adoption from Haiti for more than a year and a half and are really feeling the frustration right now. They thought they would be home with their childby now but they've been strung along a bit (it seems) and these matters that entertwine legal issues with heartstrings are the worst. I brace myself before opening each email. It's such an up-and-down journey. I ache for them so much.

Ugh. Anybody have some happy juice I can drink??

On a lighter note: We sold the red Jeep last night. I miss it. I liked that car. 201,000 miles worth of love.

And I have taken on a new commissioned scrapbook job--first one in three years. A special one. Joal took my 8x8 cruise book to his annual managerial meeting in Dallas last week to show some of his buddies he works with. (The cruise was a work event.) His regional manager who also serves as the COO and cruise organizer saw it and was from what Joal said "completely impressed". He wants me to do a larger version for the next cruise (Feb 07) to be displayed in the company office lobby and at regional meetings to "inspire the troops" toward earning the cruise. I've already started on the designs and paper selections. I'm thinking of perhaps getting the album imprinted with the company logo...all sorts of ways to go with this.

The 2007 cruise will be from Miami to Key West, Cozumel and back to Miami. Hemmingway's Key West. I'm happy about that.

I've begun posting the 2006 cruise album at peas--you can see it here.


A Gentle Perspective

I picked this book up at the library today...I'm such a sucker for smaller-than-normal, easy-to-read feel-good this one.

"The World According to Mister Rogers: Imporatant Things to Remember" by Fred Rogers.

This book should sit on every bookshelf in America.

One of my favorite statements from the book, so far:

"The real issue in life is not how many blessings we have, but what we do with our blessings. Some people have many blessings and hoard them. Some have few and give everything away."

Go ahead...just try to see that simple sweater and not hum that song..."It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood..."

Happy Tuesday.


My Sister

This is my sister...I spent the last few days with her and I miss her already.


Art: Cruise Album Front Page

Perhaps we should re-name this the Quickutz blog. :)

This is the front page of my cruise album. It's 8x8 and almost complete! Yay!! I've posted parts of it before but decided last night to update the title with the new Blossom Font!

Happy Tuesday!


Art: Ripped Jeans and Shopping Buddies!

Just call me stuck on Basic Grey paper. I love the dotted paper here--from the Oh Baby Boy collection! Love it!

This was my first creation using the Quickutz Studio font--it was love at first punch too!

Saturday's shopping trip was most excellent! We hit three stores, and a Hobby Lobby and had lunch!! We did some serious damage and had a great time! I can't wait to do it again!!

And, I am the proud new owner of a Lil' Davis Stitching Template that I have been searching for!!

Happy Monday!


Pink and Orange

OK so I signed up for the Jenni Bowlin kit last month. My first kit. Sweet. Last month was a selection of Hampton papers--a collection of pink and orange--from Scenic Route. I adore Scenic Route but I admit, pink and orange is a stretch for me.

I definately have to tune in to my girly side to use it.

So I have been watching the gallery at 2Peas for great pink and orange inspiration pieces. Here's what I have found:

Happy Happy Joy Joy by mguray

Poser by missmolli

Your Smiles by Rachel C

Charmed by darby5

Lazy Summer Days by bekzilla

Friends by Brenda Carpenter

I'm working on some cards. I'll try to post them tonight.

Happy Friday everyone!