Perfection Achieved

So in my duel roles as the resident wedding-know-it-all in my family and the sister of the groom-to-be, I've been reading wedding blogs like a mad woman lately. I can't imagine how much more complicated my own wedding would likely have been had I had such unfettered access to fantastic ideas and inspiration as the Internet holds these days. Seriously, Joal got off lucky on that account, as he married me when I was young and had a far less developed sense of style and wedding decorum. :)

I've been reading and collecting photos, proposing ideas, comparing colors and combinations of colors, kicking around menu ideas, ripping up magazines to create the inspiration binder that will carry me through this wedding, shopping for ribbons and glasses, designing invitations and dreaming of tulle and ivy. I was born to assemble wedding experiences.

So, when this simple photo (below) loaded up on my screen today, it quite literally took my breath away. The beauty, the simplicity, the bold color and the contrast, the sweetness of the extraordinary found in just a handful of little non-traditional flowers.

{Borrowed from the "Every Last Detail" blog...}

For all the work, for all the research, for all the study to make every detail exquisite...sometimes it's the most simple little thing that really hits the mark.

So now you know...Happy Monday, and if you happen to be in the throes of wedding planning, may the perfect idea light upon your shoulder like a butterfly in the springtime.




I'm on a kraft paper background kick...this year. Kraft paper for me is like white for many's just so easy. Kraft and it.

The boy is my sister's child...and he's adorable. The clouds and stars are from a Martha Stewart Bubble Quote sticker pack purchased at twopeas...the letters are very old vintage rub ons from Reminisce that I picked up at the scrapbook outlet store in Atlanta last year. White letters are just so cool.

This is one of those occasional layouts that I didn't think too much about and did not journal...sometimes the photo says all there is to say. :) 

Happy Thursday.



This is the storage shed/fort that graces my backyard. It came with the house and was a major selling point for some members of our family. :) Since the last time we (and by we, I mean Joal and some of his buddies) painted it, Uncle Daniel built and installed the new (dependable) ladder. As you might imagine, going up the ladder and hanging out in the fort, is not something I do very often, or ever. This is truly boy-land. Moma does not go there. 

Both boys spend considerable amounts of time up there. Things fly off the deck of the fort with some homeschoolers, we refer to that as "studying the effects of gravity". :) In the summer, people have been known to hang a water hose from the deck of the fort and call it an outdoor shower. The fort is a very popular attraction. My boys get along pretty good as far as brothers go, but there's never any more peace to be had than when they are swinging side-by-side on the fort's swings--one tall, one short, of course.

Lest you think I'm raising angels (snort), there have been a few altercations that were fort-related and a few crimes committed in the fort, for which a hefty dose of mom-law was promptly administered. We will not speak of the child who thought it would be funny to um, perform a certain bodily function off the deck of the fort, sprinkling the earth below, while exposing himself to our unsuspecting and supremely tolerant neighbor...we will not speak of the child who hid in the fort and did not respond when called, for the most frightening 20 minutes of my, we will let those things remain quiet.

The's the stuff boy adventures are made of.

So, a few weeks ago, Joal was in the Carolinas on the third week of a five-week travel cycle. I was appropriately spent, as I often am when he's on the road, especially near the end of the week. It was a glorious day, weather-wise, so I sent to guys outside for a few minutes of peace inside, before it was time to start the homework/bath/dinner transitions.

All was good for 15 or 20 minutes. Just as I sat down at the computer, I heard the call.

I know that tone. It's laced with "I'm sacrificing my man-pride to yell out to you that I need your help and try as I might to get out of this situation without admitting that I need your help, I need your help. Now!!" or more appropriately, as I soon discovered, "I'm stuck."

See that picture at the top of this story? Well, those 2x4 posts across the front of the fort, that make up the railing, can, apparently, accommodate a 14-year-old's head in between them. The problem is not getting the head in between the posts...the problem, as said boy quickly found out, was that his ears made getting his head back out of the railing...wait for

So, what else could he do but use the tone and call out for me?


I head out the door with a certain fear and healthy dread for whatever I'm about to encounter. That tone and call has summoned me many times, and usually brings me to the scene of someone with a bleeding gash or a smashed up body part. There are usually plenty of band-aids to be administered. I pray quickly that no one will require professional medical help or the use of emergency responders. I start to wonder if I ever replaced the old, worn out bag of peas in the freezer after the last event--all in the space of the few seconds it takes me to get from the library to the back door of our house.

"What's up?" I ask, noticing that he's in a mighty awkward position. "My head is stuck." he says. I can, from the ground, see that his head does indeed look stuck between the posts of the railing.

And then it occurs to me that if I have to help him get his head unstuck, I'm going to have to climb the ladder. Oh crap.

So, as any mother would do, up I go. Gracefully or not, one step at the time. Have I mentioned how much I hate ladders? Heights don't bother me. Ladders...I don't do.

Unless my baby's head is stuck in between the posts of a rail and his ears are seemingly at stake. :)

So, we try a few maneuvers, moving the ears flat, sucking in the cheeks, twisting, no immediate avail. Oh dear. Did I mention that Joal is in the Carolinas...for another day?

So I send Grey for the hammer. He returns quickly and scampers up the ladder to bring it to me. I bang away at the top of the post for about 30 swings before I concede that this idea really isn't working. And I'm out of breath.

At this point, Julian's getting a little distraught. His face is turning red. He's worried. Oh ye of little faith in your mother.

It occurs to me that, somehow, I'm going to have to cut the post away. I'm the daughter of a serious furniture maker--I can use a saw--a point that I have taken great pride in at certain points in the past. But do we even have a saw that is appropriate for this task? Do we have a saw that can be located quickly?

Down the ladder, I go, into the house to retrieve the key to the shed. Into the shed to (hopefully) find the saw. A handsaw that looks like it may have cut some iron pipe a few years back and then been stored in the dirt for a week or two hangs on the wall. To call it a saw was being generous...a plastic butter knife may have given me more hope.

But, it's what I had, and Julian's voice was getting shaky. He was starting to grasp the seriousness of having his head stuck between the posts of a rail, 14 million feet in the air.

Back up the ladder, saw in hand, I prepared him for the rain of sawdust that is about to start tickling the back of his neck. "Don't cut my head off." he said and I promised not to. It's kinda funny now but at the time, I was getting a little worried about him. Serious physical stress can and has brought on seizure activity...

So I went to work cutting. And I cut. And cut. And cut. It took about 6 minutes to cut through the 2x4 with the butter knife saw. When he was finally free, his eyes were wet but I didn't see fit in mentioning it. The man-pride of the fourteen year old was already being challenged by having to be rescued by his mother. And, I was too busy trying to catch my breath and not fall off the deck of the fort. He hauled himself down the ladder and I followed after. At the foot of the ladder, he said "Thanks for saving me, Mom." I hugged him...something he doesn't participate in but tolerates, just this once.

I head towards the back door and I hear Greyson say "Dude, I thought we were gonna have to call 911 to get you out."

And Julian's response... "Yep, that would'a been so cool." I could hear the smile in his voice.

After hearing of our adventure, when Joal got home and looked over the now-removed post, he paid me the most awesome compliment. "I was impressed with the straightness of that cut you made." he said. It made me laugh. And the next Saturday, I noticed that he had acquired a shiny, new handsaw with full-grown teeth, and he'd hung it in the shed...where it will be easy to locate in the event of another adventure. :) 


So Seldom Pure

My dad says life is seldom pure and I agree. The thought gives me pause and I seek out the memory of the last time I felt one of those moments of rare purity. I can think of two. Nothing recent comes to mind, which bothers me.

Last May, Joal and I took a real vacation, alone, to Bar Harbor, Maine. Four days. No sons in sight. No work in sight. Nothing. Just Joal and Sarah. Two people who have been married almost half their lives, but who actually share precious little time face to face alone. Quiet. I love to travel, with and without the boys. I love to go to new places and experience all those places have to offer. I embraced fully everything about Bar Harbor. We ate crabcakes, lobster rolls, and other seafood delectables. We stayed at a small, privately owned, non-chain hotel right on Main Street in Bar Harbor. We walked the Shore Path. I shopped at Window Panes, Fabricate, and all the other little shops in Bar Harbor. We drove through Acadia National Park. We put our feet in the frigid water at Sand Beach. We ate ice cream from at least twice a day. We dined on blueberry pancakes 3 mornings in a row. We took a voyage out across Frenchman's Bay on board the lovely Margaret Todd.

On the last day of our stay, we made our second trek to Acadia, because we hadn't gotten enough of it the first time around. To say that the views of Acadia are breath-taking is the understatment of the decade. We stood atop Cadillac Mountain, agahst at the yawn of all of creation--the blue Bay with the little islands that dot it, the mountain, the little town of Bar Harbor by the water's edge that I had already come to love, the utterly perfect cloudless sky. I've spent the last year trying to adequatly describe how it felt to stand in the spot that is the first in America to catch the new rays of dawn every's that for getting a jump on the day? I wanted to inhale it deep. I wanted to capture it on film. I wanted to draw it in and bring it home with me. I felt so small standing on the cleft of such a monumental place and yet, the God of all Creation seemed to be saying "I do this for you. Stop and take it in."

It stopped me.
I am so rarely still.
Life was quiet.
It was a pure moment.

We stayed as long as we could and on the drive down the mountain, I cried. It was a deep ugly cry, without explanation. Tears of declaration and relief. My life has been better since that day. The views have vanished, except what I did manage to put into pixels, but that moment of sheer clarity, of knowing that the God of Creation lives inside me, shifted the axis of my heart. It was wordless and pure, and I something from which I will never recover.


Sophia (again) and Take Ten

This is the facing page (with the journaling) for the previously posted Sophia page. Do you know how long it's been since I completed a two-page spread? Long long time. very easy to use and so much overlooked these days. :)

And one more card...

In other news, back in October, my friend Leigh Ann and I made a little trek down to EMI Scrapbooking to take a couple of card-making classes with Copic/A Muse Instructor Michelle Clark. We had a great time with Michelle and the girls at EMI. Anyway, last weekend I picked up the newest edition of Stampington's Take Ten magazine...and was thrilled to see that Michelle's work is quite prominantly featured all thru it. How cool is that?!

The premise of Take Ten, which comes out quarterly, is that all the cards inside take less than ten minutes to create. Take Ten is available at Michaels and other craft chains, as well as online from Stampington.

Happy Monday!


Sophia and Let's Scrap

Sophia the Cat came to live with us at Christams. We have never had a pet before but Sophia has quickly become part of our family. She's a beautiful cat--very regal and appropriately stoic. She sleeps alot during the day but at night, she plays. Since I'm a nightowl as well, I get to enjoy her playfulness more than the guys. We roll the ball, toss the socks around and she talks to me. It's pretty cool.

Sophia has given me something new to scrapbook...and I'm pretty sure I've taken more pictures of her in the past three months than of the boys. :)

Here is my first official pet layout...forgive the lack of journaling. There's a facing page in the works and the journaling will be included on it.

Layout was made using the 4-7-2010 sketch from Let's Scrap. Here's the sketch:

I also used the leftovers to create a quick card.

Let's Scrap
Happy Sunday!



So, I have recently been admiring the blog of Paper Crafts Magazine girl Kim Kesti, but oddly enough, mostly for the saga of her quilting. She's doing these quilts with circles...which I have found fascinating. Mixing patterns randomly challenges me, but I like the circles...

Kim Kesti's Blog.