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!!


Art: from junk mail

We got this brochure in the mail a few days ago. I thought it would be cool to scraplift the design of the title and perhaps the color scheme.
Happy Friday!


LO on Canvas

You must see this canvas layout by Maxine Hazebroek!! It's positively yummy!
I found it while looking for ideas on using mini-canvases. There's an idea floating around in my head for a string of mini-canvases for our mantle...
Have you done a canvas piece? What should I know before starting?
Happy Thursday.


Dream Date

The 2Peas writing challenge is "describe your dream date".

My first thought was April 21. LOL! Remember, in the movie, Miss Congeniality when the ditzy, blonde contestant was asked "What's your idea of the perfect date?" and she responded "April 21...because it's not too cold and not too hot". Love that movie.

But seriously...

I think I've had my dream date. Joal and I had some pretty perfect moments on the cruise earlier this year. Completely relaxed, good food, good friends, each other, the sea, good music, a walk on the deck by moonlight...I couldn't really ask for anything more. It was magical and romantic and fun. I wouldn't trade those days for anything.

And on a day like today (rainy, cold, November) it's easy to remember and even easier to look forward to going back!

If you want an added challenge, write about your first date. Or maybe more safely, your first date with the one who would become your spouse. I love those stories!

PS The picture is not from the's from our trip to the pumpkin farm a few weeks ago. It's a little "artistically off center" because Julian's photography skills are still emerging. :)

Happy Thursday!