Diesel and the Love of Writing

My Quickutz class on Saturday was - apparently - a hit. (I don't say this lightly. I've been out of teaching for a while and felt quite rusty in the face of 12 class participants.)


They--each and every one--signed up for something must have been OK.

Big deep sigh of relief here.

My successful class also yielded my purchase of the new Quickutz Grand Diesel. Man. Those babies are big. The card shown here is a 6x6 card and these are the lower case letters...

I've done a whole series of these red-on-black cards, just because I love these letters. I think the series is up to 7 now. I would share them all but my camera is having a temper fit and I hate scanning. So this taste will have to suffice.

The camera - It won't register the card...and of course, I can't find the right USB cord, which, come to think of it, kindof goes against the term "universal service" doesn't it. I have a USB cord, but not the right USB cord.

Go figure.

My camera is only saving photos to it's very minute internal memory chip and is refusing to save to the very sizable card that I have been using for years. Just suddenly. Won't read. The card reads on the computer fine.

I'm not feeling the love right now. I can not do a cruise in one month without a dependable camera. Can not. Rarely does a day go by that I don't use my camera. I really need it to be healthy again. Today would be nice.

In other news, the laundry closet that caught on fire is all put back together now, thanks to my handy husband and his electrician friend. I'm still grateful that it wasn't any worse.

If I could just get by without any sleep, I think I'd be a more productive person. Yes, it's 2 am and yes, I'm blogging and scrapbooking and catching up on the laundry...I need to go to bed because tomorrow is going to come really early and I have much to do...but I would just rather enjoy the quiet.

A few days ago, Rebecca blogged about keeping a diary and I really related to what she wrote. I started back to journaling (the grown up word for keeping a diary) a few days after Christmas and I must say, it's like coming back to an old friend after years of neglect. Yes, blogging is a form of journaling, but there is something so much more life-giving and sensual about the feel of a pen in your hand and a page of a book that is filled with your private, unadulterated thoughts and feelings. I thrive on written words - hand-written words, pressed with thought into paper, scrawled in ink so there can be no after-thought editing. What is written, stays written. There is no editing. Not now. Not ever.

A diary isn't very technical, in fact, it's very un-technical. It's a pen on paper. Slow and sweet. Scratchy or smooth, depending on the kind of pen and the kind of paper. It is also very emotional. Words and thoughts flowing freely--being taken out and played with, as if they were toys. Being examined deeply and thoroughly, turned over and over, looked at from every angle and explored from every facet. It's freeing. It's also self-discovery. Sometimes that's not pretty, but it is honest and mostly worthwhile, I think. I hope.

Writing is a slow task for me--significantly slower than typing (and I am not a very good typist), but it seems that the forced slow-down gives me a chance to think slower too. When I'm writing with a pen, I tend to choose words with more care and even a little more creativity. Somewhere I read that for his first few novels, John Grisham wrote on yellow legal pads. I can see how that would work for him. Can you imagine what those papers are worth?

The act of writing is slowly slipping away from our culture--it's becoming a secondary skill and I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with that. There's something very personal about handwriting. A person's valuable, even sometimes collectible. Does anyone really write letters anymore? When Joal and I were dating, we traded handwritten love letters on a daily basis. Sixteen years later we trade sweet notes written on the insides of cards a few times a year. His sweet letters from those early days of our love are some of my most treasured possessions.

My mom is (and always has been) an extraordinary letter-writer, although even she has resorted to email lately. Her penmanship has always been impeccable and her letters so filled up with who she is and how things are. I have every letter she's ever written me and again, I treasure them.

Let's write some letters, shall we?


She Said it First

So, since July of last year, I've been "on the wagon" nutritionally and medicinally as a diabetic person making changes from her bad habits and adopting better ones. As a result of the diet changes, the excercise and some fairly powerful medication, I've been seeing some pretty significant weight-loss, and while I don't mention it often here, because I'm still a little uncomfortable talking about it, I'm summoning the courage to make an exception today. You can thank Hollye. She wrote this in her blog:
As for my weight...I still have no idea how much
I have lost. I know that I can now take my favorite pants off without
unbuttoning them.
I do not go back to the doctor until the 23rd, so I will find
out then if all this has paid off. I'm stuggling with the food and counting
calories right now. I think I am so worried that I am going to go over my 1400
calories that I am not eating enough. I really need to work on that.

Hey. I've wanted to write about that...the ability to slide ones favorite, formerly snug jeans off without unbuttoning and unzipping is a powerful accomplishment! I know. The last time it happened to me, (a few weeks ago) I wore the same pair of jeans several times in one week, just for the priviledge of prefoming this meneuver. :) Now of course, they are really too big and it's dangerous to wear them, as they might hit the floor of their own accord. Can't have that.

Weight and weight reduction are such personal issues for me. A lifetime of bad habits and poorly handled emotions got me in this jam, and getting out and up has not been an easy road. It's much easier now because, in a weird way, success breeds success. Of course, the flip side for me is that failure breeds failure. Breaking the cycle of failure, when it happens is that hardest thing I do.

But boy, the accompishments are sweet. Accomplishments, like the new-found ability to shop at a variety of stores. Back in September, I purchased a pair of pants at Old Navy. From the Misses section, as opposed to the *Womens*. Most people wouldn't know what an awesome feeling it is to be able to shop at a normal store and in a normal-sized section. It's something I haven't done for too many years.

Another accomplishment: not hating pictures of myself. In Novemeber, my mom sent me a package of photos of our last trip to see her. In it, was one picture of Grey, with me in the background. I saw it and it honestly stunned me. For the first time in a very long time, I didn't wince at my own reflection. I looked happy.

I seriously doubt if the term "skinnieminnie" will ever be directed at me, although I wouldn't complain if it was. I'm 5' 6". I'll never be petite. I'll always wear a size 9 shoe. LOL! But being healthier, slimmer and feeling better about the way I look has changed me inside too. It's making me a better person and knowing that I do have the power to control food intake is success breeding success. Eating to live, instead of living to eat...that's me.

So, thank you Hollye, for being honest and sharing your journey and in a way, giving me permission to do the same.

Happy Friday all.



So I'm really into stitching on paper these days, in a number of different ways--rub-ons, hand stitching, machine stitching, pen stitching...but somehow I had managed to overlook this method of heat-embossed stamped stitching that is shown on this Belgian stamper's blog. Isn't that cool? I love the shine of it. :)

I'm thinking about ordering this book: Sewing on Paper. Have you seen it in person? {I'm not a huge fan of order books sight unseen...}

Happy Thursday!


Hello Hello Anyone Home?

Life has been yanking my chain for a few days...I know you've been waiting with baited breath, right? (LOL)

So let's re-cap quickly.

1-We had a fire last Friday night. Small fire, but stinky nonetheless. Grey's been walking around saying "the dryer wire cought fire". Joal was doing laundry and sitting at the computer when a faulty wire in the plug sparked and ignited the wall behind the dryer. He was able to get it put out with the fire extinguisher but we called the fire department anyway, to be sure. They came (2 engines, full sirens), looked things over, tore out a major section of the wall and suggested we call an electrician. (Of course, Julian was thrilled to see the firemen in action, even if it was in our house.)

On a separate note, firemen amaze me. I think I'm maybe almost as awed as my son. What they do is extra-ordinary. To walk in when others are running away. To assess and react in such a short amount of time, with so much on the line. To walk in to any situation like you own the place with confidence and command. Not to mention actually walking around in 40 pounds of bulky gear.

2-My Quickutz class at Scrap'n Memories is filling out nicely. I'm excited to be teching again.

3-We took a drive on Saturday up to a new scrapboook store in Clarksville TN. It was bitterly cold and the boys had major cabin fever, so rather than leave Joal with them cooped up in the house, they all came with. (Clarksville is about an hour away.) Due to some bad info, we had a little trouble finding the place, but finally called and got directions. The store is very small. I'm writing a new blog at so I'll post my full reveiw there.

Here's the store:

And just for the fun of it, I love this picture! Happy Wednesday!


Is it too early to start packing?

It's a lovely 44 degrees in Middle TN today...and the weather-people are taunting the children with "snow maybes" and boosting Kroger's daily sales, I'm sure. Southerner's deal with any threat of snow by buying groceries--something I've always found amusing, even though I am genetically required to participate in the "it-might-snow-three-flakes-we-must-stock-up" run to the grocery. Honestly, I would love to see some snow...I'm in desperate need of something new to photograph and snow is always so fun but if it could hold off for one more day, I'd be grateful.

All in all, I am wishing for the time to pass just a bit more quickly. Our cruise to Jamaica/Grand Cayman leaves from Fort Lauderdale on March 1. We are flying down a day early. That's 44 days.

I'm so ready.

In other news, the information about the Quickutz Club has been posted on the Scrap'n Memories blog, along with the 2 pages we'll be doing in the introductory class. I'm so excited about this! Did you see the new release yesterday...that huge Diesel. Lovin' that.

Speaking of Quickutz, a few weeks ago, my honey was training a colleague in central Utah. They were seeing old clients and calling on potential ones all over Orem. At one point during the day, they stopped to see a client and as they were entering the building, Joal stopped short. He was looking at a sign for a different office and he said to his partner, "Dude, do you know how much of my money goes to that company?" Sure enough, he was standing smack dab in front of the Quickutz home office! (I would kill for a picture.) :)

Lucky boy.

Anyway, I must be in a mood or something (or something) because little things seem to be annoying me to no end lately. For example, why can't my mail carrier close my mailbox door all the way? Is wet mail a requirement for customer satisfaction these days? And why do 11-year-old boys refuse to close cabinet doors and refrigerator doors? Is this really so hard? And why does Lisa Bearnson (maven of scrapbooking) have to call her latest kit of the month "The Greatest Love Story Ever Told"? Come on. I get that every love story is great but let's not go overboard. Even the greatest love story is not *the greatest love story ever told*...seems to me that title should belong to something a little more divine and a little less about paper hearts and stickers.

And why did Publix stop stocking my favorite cups of yogurt?

It's a nasty, winter mood, I tell you and there's only one cure...a beach in the Caribbean. :) In 44 days.


Something Funny

Odd things make me laugh.

It's evening. I'm sitting downstairs at my computer, scrapbooking.
The boys are upstairs watching a tv show about how things are made called "Some Assembly Required" on the Discovery Channel.

It's a good show...very interesting. Never problematic for the over-active tv monitor that lives in my head but of course, I'm half listening anyway.

This segment is about how Jelly Belly Jelly Beans are made.

This statement makes me laugh out loud:

"Every day, approximately 1000 pounds of mishapen, broken or otherwise imperfect Jelly Bellys don't make the cut. Rest assured they are not thrown away. They are re-packaged and sold as...of course..."Belly Flops".

Someone has a fantastic sense of funny.


Button Tree again

My little button tree creation is done.
Click here to see.

Happy Tuesday.



There's something to be said for consistency, no?

One of my favorite "standbys" is a well-designed set of black letter stickers. Like a little black dress, you can never go wrong with a black alphabet sticker title. I have a few that I use regularly, including this one from Making Memories and this one from Scenic Route. Notice that both sets offer *all* letters of the alphabet, including X. :)

Does anyone need or want any clear buttons? I have too many and need to share. Let me know.

Happy Tuesday!


Button Love

I just love the button trees that have been so outrageously popular lately. Quite a few have been posted at peas, like:

--this yummy pink creation from Jennifer Stewart

--this one from another pea "blondie 11721"

--this one from Gretchen Owens is really beautiful

--and this one from another Sarah (she said it took 8 hours...mine didn't take nearly that long.)

--and this one from Tia Bennett - if you want instructions (very detailed instructions) go to this one

--and yeah, if you wanna see "button tree". There a tons.

Since I missed doing one for Christmas, I thought it would be cool to do a Valentines one. At least, that was the original plan but I'm pretty sure it's going to stay around for many moons. I really like it. I was thinking that by pulling out some of the darker reds and putting in some pale greens and pale blues, it could easily become an Easter button tree!

So far, I've pinned 200 buttons and yes, as one might guess, it's a little tedious, so I enlisted Julian's help. I held the buttons on and he crammed in the pins. At one point, I selected a white button and he said "Mom, you need a dark pink there." ((snort)) Crafty boy.

I found the grab bag of Bubblegum buttons (isn't that an appropriate name?) at (very affordable). One bag will be plenty...with leftovers. My tree, which is on a 9" cone form ($3.69) isn't quite complete yet because I ran out of pins. I used pearl-head pins from Michaels (100 pins for $2.49) and so far I have used 2 packs. I think it will probably take at least 1.5 more packs of pins to finish. I think Walmart carries less expensive pins. I noticed that some people used the pins with smaller heads but I couldn't find those at Micheals so I went with the larger ones. I bet the smaller ones are less expensive.

I used a white form because I didn't want to paint it. White styro has a slight glitter to it that adds a nice touch--not that much of the cone is showing. :)

If I were super indulgent, I would have covered the cone in a pretty pink satin ribbon and spaced the buttons out a little more.

Happy Buttoning!


Pure Eye Candy for the Textile Lover

Don't get drool on your monitor...when you check out this amazing eye candy for those of us who enjoy dreamy textiles! Those pillows...oh man.


Snowmen and Quickutz

Isn't this just sweet? It's from the Quickutz site demonstrating the Snowday Alpha Set. Here are the other ideas offered for that set. I love those little snowmen. In fact, I'm making a snowflake chain tonight.

Speaking of Quickutz, my favorite local scrapbook store is starting a Quickutz club and as the coordinator of said club, I would like to invite each of you to join us. This coming Saturday (Jan 12) is the Class Preview Day at Scrap'n Memories from 10 am to 2 pm. Drop by the store for a quickie make-and-take featuring the Quickutz Revolution and these adorable snowmen and learn all the details of the newly-forming club, called *Quickutz Konnections*.

We are also offering an introductory class on Saturday, Jan 26 at 2pm that will feature a fetching Christmas Ornament layout, perfect for those Christmas photos that you are no-doubt ready to print. :)

Quickutz is the punch art of the future! If you are local to Nashville and surrounding parts, please consider stopping by on Saturday or joining us for the class on 1.26. If you can't make it, but are interested, email me and I will mail you the brochure about the club.

Finally, our *Quickutz Konnections* club is open to those who are new to QK and those who already love the QK tools. Newbies will learn all the basics and those with advanced knowledge will enjoy extreme amounts of inspiration and extensive techniques.

PS A closed-circuit note for you read Chris Cutler's blog? Don't miss this, my Mayberry-loving friend. (The rest of you can peek too. It's sweet.)


Too many ideas?

I've always had a microscopically short attention span and it seems to be getting smaller as I get older. I get bored easily and repetitive tasks make me absolutely nuts. (This would be the main reason I was a horrible secretary.) Too much repetition makes me jumpy, grumpy and anxious. I have a physical reaction to watching factory workers on television do the same thing thousands of times a day. That's my personal idea of hel*.
If we are talking character flaws, mine is definately not following thru with things--especially repetitive tasks.

I've had a really really hard time focusing lately. I know that forgetfulness/lack of attention to details is one of the common symptoms of diabetes--one of the most annoying for sure. (Just one more reason to hate this disease.)

I tell you this because I need ways to overcome this or at least ways to maintain a higher degree of sanity. I write things down. My lists have lists. I set my phone alarm to remind me of things. I have Joal, who has never forgotten anything. I take pictures of things. All this, and still, things are slipping thru the cracks.

I can't focus on one scrapbook page at the time, so I have a heaping stack of half-finished pages. I lose things. Lots of things. I have, in the past three weeks, purchased the same bottle of silver glitter glue 3 times, because I have forgotten that I bought it already and where I put it. (Anyone need some silver glitter glue?)

I feel like I'm flapping in the wind creatively. I have lots of good ideas...inspiration abounds. I look at books and find things I want to do...then I forget what it was I wanted to do.
Focus. I just want to be able focus.

To make matters worse, I haven't had pictures printed in months and now I am completely overwhelmed by all the pictures on my hard drive that need to be printed. It seems like such a huge repetitve task...I can't even start.

This is how I feel today:


Worms - pronounced "Woms"

It's unusually warm here today...high of 72, can you believe it? My sons are enjoying a break from the grips of cabin fever. G discovered a "wom" while digging and of course, he had to show it off.


Paper Tearing Lives

Paper tearing is one of my favorite techniques of all time. It was hot for a while and then, as techniques do, it's popularity seemed to wain a bit. OK alot. Personally, I still enjoy it and hate that it gets overlooked so much. I get a little thrill whenever I see a good case of paper tearing in a magazine and when I saw this LO by Gretchen McElveen in the Feb CK I couldn't help but smile.


Valentines Day Goodies!

Look at the yummy Valentines goodies I discovered at Michaels today (thanks to a sweet little gift card from a friend)! The stamps are from the $1 bin - can you believe it? And I gave in to the Martha's ribbon and bling. And I used my half-off coupon on a new pair of scissors! Fiskars spring-loaded 8" beauties. Ah, joy.

People keep using my scissors inappropriately and it drives me insane! I've been thinking - Captain Hunt, the main character on Andromeda, used a force lance as his main weapon and he wore it in a holster strapped to his leg. Force lance technology used an instant DNA-recognition system to identify the user as the owner. If a foe (or anyone besides the Captain) tried to use the Captain's weapon, the weapon e-x-p-l-o-d-e-d. Ha! I think I may need that kind of set-up for my good scissors.

In other news, I'm a genius. Or at the very least, a good mommy today. :) While we were running some errands I passed one of the local adult beverage retailers, and noticed that their porch was covered in empty boxes. Now usually, we only gather boxes when we're moving or needing to ship something but it occurred to me that boxes make great toys. I turned around and went back and loaded all the empty boxes that would fit, into our Jeep! The boys have been making box towers for a solid hour! Build 'em up, knock 'em down. Grey keeps standing behind his tower of boxes and saying "Momma can you see me?" Good fun for those of us stuck indoors, hiding from the cold. Cheap too. :)

Happy Friday friends! And happy birthday Army Andy!!

PS Don't give in to the reduced-price seasonal chocolates at Target. There's a reason they didn't sell. :) Lowering the price does not make them taste any better. Trust. me.


Wanna Work together?

2Peas is offering a blog challenge from the GGs. Identify the papers shown here.

1. KI Memories
3. Basic Grey

9. Chatterbox

11. Me and My Big Ideas


21. Jenni Bowlin
22. Christina Cole
25. Daisy D's

Not very good at this, am I. Oh well.

Travels and Shopping!

We knew Army Andy would be home sometime in it turns out he arrived on Saturday, December 29. (For once the Army pace was faster than expected. Bless them.) I made a flying trip to see him over the New Year's holiday. I left Saturday morning and came home New Year's Day, driving more than 1400 miles in all. It was worth every. single. mile. I drove to put my arms around that boy again. He's taller and bulkier than I remember, and he walks differently. And yes, he's a little cocky. Would we have it any other way? LOL! It was just good to be near him for a bit.

It was also very nice to see the rest of my family and spend some time away from home alone. During Christmas I missed my family so much...I was so glad to see them. I almost never get to spend time with my parents without my was a nice change and an added bonus. Driving alone is a very relaxing thing to me. I can turn up the radio and sing like an idiot without caring about who may be listening. I can stop or not stop, depending not on who needs to "go", other than myself. I can shop in peace along the way.

Speaking of shopping...

On Saturday, I stopped in Jackson, TN at Memory Boutique and at both of the scrapbook stores in Memphis--Archiver's and Eclectica, the new chain store and the inde store, respectively. Unfortunately, Memory Boutique was going out of business. What they had was half price, although there wasn't much left. That stop only took about ten minutes. It's sad that they are closing...but the owner I spoke to said that they are hoping to find a place with less expensive rent and re-open. I hope that works out for them.

This was my first adventure into an Archiver's (this Memphis location has been open since September I think) and I have to say, it wasn't bad. I confess--I didn't really want to like it--my heart is always with inde stores, and Archiver's is a chain--but, dang. They had everything! And then some. I did some damage and even found several things I've been searching for locally without success. (Mostly things I think Scrap It would have offered if they were still hoo.) It was not a personalized experience like visiting an inde store usually is, but it was hugely stocked. There were a ton of people there and a serious crop going on in the crop area.

My greatest discovery was an iridescent white glitter paper from the new Smitten line by K&Co. Even at a whopping $2 a sheet, (insert the super-big-eyed "oh my goodness" emoticon here) it's awesome because it is thin enough to be used with the QK Revolution die for Snowflakes! Love that! (Other glitter papers I have tried have been too thick.) I've already started making glittery snowflakes with the Revolution flake die and they are positively yummy. I tried taking a picture but I can't capture the "glittery-ness" so you'll just have to use some imagination. :)

I also picked up the giga-sized scalloped circle punch from Marvy-Uchida. Talk about a freakin' big punch! The scalloped circle punch is just a hair shy of three inches across! I've been eyeing it for a while but didn't want to have to pay the outrageous shipping costs to order it online. (Cheapness...sorry.) I do love it tho. I'm using it right now for my cards for the Valentines Swap at Scrap'n Memories. Punches have always made me giddy and this one--even tho it probably weighs more than my actual heart--is no different.

Archiver's was (until Saturday) well-stocked on buttons, but not so much anymore...I indulged in those pretty packages of buttons like there was going to be a shortage. LOL!

In my time as a scrap shopper, I've been to all kinds of stores. Little stores, big stores, in-between stores, well-stocked stores, poorly-arranged stores, stores with Bazzill and stores without (don't bother)...but I rarely (like never) get overwhelmed. It just doesn't happen...but I must say that visiting Archivers in Memphis was almost overwhelming. I got to the half-way point and seriously considered sitting down for a rest. It's a very full place and while most of the product was familiar, I didn't want to miss anything! As I noted earlier, it was a very busy place too. The aisles are one person wide and getting around was a little uncomfortable. A few people were trying to maneuver strollers around and that didn't work out very well at all.

The staff was friendly and the bathroom clean and well-stocked. I'm not a fan of stores that are arranged by theme (boys, girls, Christmas, beach, etc) usually...and this case was no different. The lovely bag of pink buttons was in the "baby girls" section...why wasn't it in the Valentines section and the snow section as well? And the buttons section too? Anyway, it's a "thing" with me...but it obviously doesn't stop me from shopping. LOL!

One thing that did strike me as really weird and lacking in fore-thought--right in the front door was a large display of Christmas stuff that was being reduced for quick sale (since Christmas was over). Unfortunately, much of this product was in baskets on the floor, under the edge of the table, so in order to shop this merchandise, a deal-seeker had to bend over or squat down. Ummm, I like a good deal as much as the next girl but I don't really want my backside to be the first thing someone sees when they walk into the store. (blushing emoticon here.) LOL!

Samples on the walls were a little sparse. Signage was ok. Prices seemed a little higher than normal. I noticed that cat eye ink pads were $2.29 there when most everyone else sells them for $1.99. Stickles was $2.25. Other places sell Stickles for $1.99. No Bazzill. I did appreciate a larger than usual selection of 8.5x11 cardstock, tho. The $1.99 bins were fun but the clearance section was a pain to shop. The discounted paper is basically impossible to shop unless you sat in the floor. Aisles were very narrow.

Eclectica is always awesomeness! I enjoy going there so much.

(I'll finish this in a bit.)