Monday, July 29, 2013

Turning 50

I thought when I got back from West Virginia I would quickly get back into my daily routine.  That has not happened.  I turned 50 this week and it ended up being a whirlwind of a week.

First I subbed for 4 days - Monday through Thursday.  It was an unusual assignment.  I will not even get into details but I was glad the week went quickly in that perspective. 

My son was working a few nights this week so in order for us all to get together for my birthday we went out to lunch on Tuesday.  I was thrilled to have everyone together for my birthday but on top of just lunch they surprised me with a new camera.  I had a beautiful Canon Rebel that was stolen about a year ago.  I did not have the money to replace it so tried to just do the best I could with the camera on my phone but whenever a big event came up, like the kids' Proms, I was very sad to not have a good camera. So I cried when I opened the Box and found a Nikon D3200.

I thought this was the best birthday ever!  But it kept on going.  My darling hubby took me out for dinner the next night, just the 2 of us.  Then on my actually day, Thursday, we went out again.  I insisted on this one only because I eat free at my favorite night spot on my birthday.  So we went out again.

Friday I was burnt out and was thrilled when no one bothered me for the whole day.  I got to play in my scraproom and tidy it up.  I didn't get any projects done but I got my room back to the nice clean place it was months ago.  I was so thrilled I even posted some photos on my Pinterest.    This was like another present just for me.  Time alone in my scraproom.

Saturday, my daughter asked me to take her shopping.  Senior pictures were on Monday and she wanted to find a nice outfit.  It went from a leisurely day to "Oh, Mom, I am not feeling well.  Can we head home right away?!" so after a quick rush through the last store we headed home to be surprised by lots of family and friends for a Surprise party for me! 

Sunday, my darling hubby wanted a Date Night with just the two of us, again.  Boy, the surprises just keep coming.  So we went to a local arcade and played some video games, then stopped for some margaritas and appetizers.

This has been an awesome week. Today I told my hubby, No More.  I am pooped and can not handle another night of going out or any more surprises.

But we still have a busy week.  We are running an event on Thursday evening and have to get all the supplies, food, make all the signs and flyers, line up the staff and what their jobs will be. etc...

Maybe by Monday I will get back into my leisurely summer routine and be able to start posting challenges again.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

West Virginia Mission Trip

I have been away for a while.  My daughter and I just got back from a church mission trip to West Virginia.  Honestly, I was not looking forward to this trip at all.  I have medical issues that had my husband very worried about me the whole time I was gone and I was a little concerned myself that I would not be able to handle the heat, the hard work, the long days, the 13 and 1/2 hours of driving to get there and 14 1/2 hours to get back home.
This was my co-driver.  Good thing we had a GPS with us. he he he  Only kidding. He only slept when he wasn't driving.

I have never met anyone that truly lives off the land. The family we were helping this week does just this.    They eat what they can hunt whether it be deer, rabbit, or even squirrels.  They can and preserve their own vegetables that they have grown in their garden.  They raise chickens for the fresh eggs. 

And they appreciate everything they have.  Unlike my teens, they do not cast anything to the side.  Everything is well taken care of, cared for even, nothing goes to the trash if another use can be found for it.

What we did for this family seems so small in comparison to some of the other crews that were working for the same organization.  On the last day we drove around and saw some of the jobs being done at other locations.  The Community Center was being expanded and updated,

a couple of homes were getting decks built, a new house was being totally built from the ground up. 

What we did was finish an addition that was started 2 years ago until the family ran out of funds to buy anymore stock.  We simply went in and finished what they had started to give the parents their own bedroom and their daughter a bedroom, as well.  This is the first time the daughter has EVER had her own room. 

When I say we simply finished what they had already started.  It was not that simple.  There were 3 adult volunteers and 9 students ranging in age from 11 to 17.  Out of the 11 of us, my daughter and I probably had the most building experience only because my husband has had his own construction business for the past 25 years.  So some of that knowledge wore off on us.  They others did not even know how to hammer a nail, let alone installing OSB, insulating or cutting wood. The photo below is where we were working all week.

We had no one assigned to us to give us guidance because the home owner was expected to be there.  He was called to work, so Dani, the coordinator for the program, stayed with us and assigned us all jobs and got us going.  She is one tough cookie.  Or as my daughter called her, a slave driver.  I truly admired her, though.  She knew she only had us for 4 days and she wanted to get as much as she could from us while we were there.  So she did not take kindly to water breaks or any complaining at all from any of us.

The first day I was to run the painting crew.  Three of us primed all the OSB that was on hand and laid it out everywhere and anywhere we could find space to dry.  In the 95 degree weather, that did not take long at all.

While we were outside, there were two crews working inside.  One crew was putting up insulation in the ceiling.  The older, fiberglass, ITCHY, kind of insulation.  These guys were scratching themselves for the rest of the week.  The third crew was cutting OSB board to put on the ceiling and the walls.  I do not understand why the home owner wanted to use OSB (partical board)  It is very heavy, not water-resistant, has a very textured effect to it because of how it is made.  It was also 5/8" thick while the screws we were using looked to be only 11/4 inch so there is not much holding these boards into the ceiling or walls.  But this is what the home owner wanted, so this is what we worked with.  It is difficult enough putting sheetrock or drywall on ceilings just because it is awkward to try holding these board up over your head while someone screws it in.  OSB is even more difficult just because of the weight of it.  We had 6 people holding these boards while two people screwed it in  place.
Then there are seams that are left exposed with OSB board that you would not have with drywall.  But anyway.  We insulated the walls next.  This was the newer soft insulation that does not get itchy, so it was much easier to work with.  Once this was done we put up the walls and were able to start painting.  Kayla's room is painted in two shades of purple.  It looked great and she was so happy to see her room all painted in the colors she asked for.  Mom and Dad got a soft rose color on their walls with white ceilings in both rooms.
I would have liked to have gotten to the point of helping them move their furniture in and have the rooms completely done but we ran out of time.  I think all that was left was to let the paint on the walls dry,  hook up the ceiling lights, and add any trim work.  Plus to add doors but we did not have any doors to install otherwise these might have gotten done, as well.
This is a photo of the front of the house with Karen, my new friend, and Pastor John from the church we went with.
And this is the crew that did all the work along with Karen and Kayla in the front and center of the photo.  I am so thankful for meeting them and helping them with their project. 

It was so hot while we were there.  The living conditions for us were not the best. We had a shower trailer with 7 stalls, but only 5 working showers.  The students got timed, 7 minutes to enter, get undressed, shower, dry off and dress again.

Here the boys waiting for their turn in the showers,  The next photo is the outside of the shower trailer and then the inside.
 Our meals were provided 45 minutes away from where we were sleeping.  And there was no drinking water where we ate so we had to bring coolers full of water from the church we were staying at.

The girls in our group were all together in a bunk room.  8 girls with all their stuff.  The room was so warm when they closed the door.  We kept trying to tell them to keep it open to get air but they wanted their privacy.  The left is a photo from about the 2nd or 3rd day and the next one is once they packed up to head home.
We were officially woken up at 6 every morning.  Myself and Jennifer shared a room that was the storage room from the overflow of luggage from other groups so I woke every morning starting around 4 am while people came in with flashlights looking for things.  We never got a minute of free time.  Worship took place every evening from 8:30 until 10:30 then we had our own Church worship time for another half hour and lights out was exactly at 11:00 every night.  I was over-tired the whole week, my legs were in pain every night to the point I was in tears by Thursday night.
We are home now and back into our regular routines.  With time to reflect on the whole week.  I have no regrets!!  We met and became friends with a wonderful woman and her daughter.  We learned to appreciate all the little things we take for granted every day after hearing how tough some of these families have it in the area we were in.

And here are our new friends, Karen and her daughter, Kayla.  They are what made this whole trip worth it.  They were so welcoming, friendly, giving, caring people that welcomed us into their homes and their hearts right from the first day we met. 

It was exhausting, hot, long hours spent in a van everyday, thirsty all week long, not much sleep each night,  but yes I would do it all over again if asked.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 10 Challenge - Digital scrapping

I am totally out of my comfort zone where digital scrapping is concerned.  I have bought Adobe Elements so many times in the past.  I think I have versions 4 - 8 thinking the next one will be easier to use and I have not been able to get the hang of it so I kept giving up.

Well, this morning I went onto Studio-J  and was blown away at to how easy this was.  I spent more time just looking around at the different paper kits and layout options but once I selected the paper I wanted to use and uploaded some photos from my computer I had 4 2 page layouts done in a matter of minutes!  It was so easy and so much fun.  I could change the size of my photos, change the color of the papers, even change the look of the embellishments.  I highly recommend you give this a try if you have thought about digital scrapping but have been too intimidated like I always was.  You sign up an account to get started and then get to play for free.  It doesn't cost anything unless you decide to keep your layouts and buy the finished products.  The price works out to be about $6.95 for a 2 page 12x12 layout.  I have a 12x12 printer at home so instead of buying the printed layouts and have them shipped to me.  I simply purchased the .jpg files for only $2.95 each and can print them at home.

I know I have used these photos in another challenge but to play with digital I wanted to use what I had on my computer already and I have tons of garden photos.

So here is my sample for digital scrapping.  They are shown here one page at a time but you will see each two pages goes together.

Happy Scrapping.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 9 Challenge - Stamping and Coloring

Today's challenge is to stamp an image and color it in.  Then use it on a card or scrapbook layout. 

My sample is
The stamp set is called Under The Sea and the paper is Later Sk8r from Close to My Heart.  While I was stamping, I did bunch of images so I can put together a quick card when  need it.  The coloring was done with CTMH's new alcohol ink markers, the colors I used are Lagoon, Twilight and Pear.

Here are some more cards I made while sitting by the pool.
Happy Scrapping!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Today's Big Event Challenge

Here is my sample for today's challenge.  Scrap a big Event.
As mentioned in my earlier post.  I was going to scrap my son's graduation but I only had a few photos from before he actually graduated, so I decided to a layout dedicated to his Senior Year.  I was able to get 17 photos onto this layout. From his first day of school until Graduation night.

Happy Scrapping

July 8 Challenge - A big event

Today's challenge is proving challenging to me.  The challenge is to scrap about a big event.  I was back and forth about my son's graduation from High School.  Which is really what I was planning on doing today.  Until I remembered that my camera's memory was full just as he was being called up to receive his Diploma and Plumbing Certificate.  So, I have no actually photo of his graduating.  I do have photos of him in his Cap and Gown. So I decided to expand it to a memory of his High School Senior Year.  Still quite an accomplishment.  So I have been spending the morning sorting through photos.  I got it down to 17 but still a lot for a 2 page spread.  So I am still working on my Challenge for today.

I had my layout together and ready for the photos but now with so many photos I want to include, I may have to start from scratch again and make a new layout.

I will share my results once I get it figured out.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 7 Challenge

Today's challenge is to use a black and white photo in your layout or project.   Even better, make this your focus photo. 
This layout was made using Chantilly paper, stamps and embellishments from CTMH.
The photos are my granddaughter .  She was here visiting last month.  It had been a whole year since I had last seen here.  Way too long!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Challenge for July 6

Sorry for the late posting.  I new what I wanted to do for today's challenge but it involved taking some new photos of my garden and then I saw some green beans growing and decided to weed a little and then decided the flowers in the front yard needed some weeded then I noticed the weeds growing up between the bricks in our front walkway, etc  
I got side tracked.

Today's Challenge is to make a layout about a garden.  Vegetable garden, flower garden, public gardens, any kind of garden.  I had my layout done minus the photos and wanted new photos as of this morning so when I finally remembered that was my prupose for going outside I finally did get some photos printed.

Here is my layout for today. This is actually for first scrapbook layout since starting the challenge.  Maybe I will get pumped up to get more pages done.
 Sorry for the fuzzy photo.  I didn't have my glasses handy, but you get the idea. 
Happy Scrapping!

To be 18 Again

I have teenagers.  Anyone out there with teens will know exactly where I am going with this... 

When you give birth you give up on getting a good night's sleep for at least the first few months.  For some people it may last the first year before your little one sleeps through the night and you are able to finally get a full night's sleep yourself.  That is after those first few nights that you can't believe your little one hasn't woken up, yet, so then you can't sleep because you have to go in every couple of hours and make sure they are still breathing. 

In our case, our son didn't sleep through the night until he was 3.  To this day I am surprised our marriage survived through all that.  We argued every night as to who's turn it was to go to him, how we should handle him, what gimmick are we going to try that night to get him back to sleep.  His schedule was to sleep 2 hours than he wanted to be up for the next 2 hours then we may get another hour or two before he was up again.  This was night after night after night until he was a little over 3 years old.  We tried letting him just cry it out - he cried for hours, we would take him for drives in the car at 2 in the morning only to have him wake back up when we shut the car off.  The one that worked the best was putting his car seat on top of the washing machine and doing our laundry at 2, 3 or 4 in the morning.  We were so sleep deprived I do not know how we functioned during the day.

Then you may get a few years of restful nights.  Until your young child reaches school age and they start to learn the world is a much bigger place then they ever knew and nightmares, or in my son's case sleep-walking, starts taking over your nights.  My son would get up out of bed come into our room, stand next to the bed and have a whole conversation about gibberish then decide he was going for a walk outside.  We had to put a deadbolt lock on the top of the door so he could not get it open on his own.  We did this after we found him halfway to the swimming pool one night when he as about 6. It took about 2 years before the sleep-walking stopped.  Luckily this was not an every night occurrence.  It happened maybe once every 2 or 3 weeks.

While all this was going on with our son we did squeak out time to have a 2nd child.  A daughter 20 months after our son was born.  Thank goodness she loved her sleep.  She started sleeping through the night within her first 3 months but she had a whole set of other issues going on during the day.  She was a high risk pregnancy and for the 1st year and 1/2 of her life she was not a happy baby when she was awake.  She was sick a lot and took a trip to Boston's Children's Hospital every couple of weeks.  Daycare was calling me so much to come pick her up because she was running another fever that my husband gave up his job to take care of her for about a year.  When she was not sick, she just was not a happy child.  She was grouchy, cranky, didn't like being held.  I think the first full sentence our son spoke was "STAND CLEAR OF THE BABY!!"  He knew enough to not bother her or he would pay the price with her moodiness.

What I am getting at was that we really did not get much rest as parents for the first 6 years.  Our kids survived elementary school and made it into middle school.  Some scrimmages between their friends and others not considered friends.  But life got a little easier.

High School - Girl friends and boy friends are now added to the equation.  Who are you with?  Who is driving?  Where are you going?  Answer your phone when I call you!  I feel this is when the battle lines are drawn between being the "Parents" or the "Enemy Lines"

Then you hear other parents compliment how well mannered you child is and you own child will tell you stories of what the "other kids" are doing and will honestly tell you what they have done, tried, and have not done, etc.  And you start to realize you have done a good job raising young adults. 

Then one turns 18...  He actually turned 18 about 6 months ago.

My son called Dad last night and told him not to wait up.  He was going to a party and will stay there for the night. He didn't call Mom because he knows what Mom would have said.

Anyway, my restful nights are OVER again for a while.  Why does he need to stay over?  He can call me.  I don't care what time it is.  I will drive and pick him up.  Why can't he sleep in his own bed?

My son arrived safely home this morning.  Had a good time.  Said it was a quiet night but he enjoyed himself. 

I do remember being 18.  I drove to Florida when I was 18.  Why did 18 seems so much OLDER when it was me?  My son being 18 still seems so young to me.  My daughter will be there in another 13 months.  Can I handle it?  I survived the first 6 years without sleep.  Hopefully I will survive the next 6.


Friday, July 5, 2013

July 5 Challenge - Organization

I was very nervous this morning because I had to go to court.  I do not handle authority very well. 

The last time I was in a courtroom was about 22 years ago and as soon as the judge called my name I cried.  It was a minor thing.  I had a speeding ticket because I was driving to see my father who was dying of cancer.  He called the priest in, this man who I had never seen in a church so I thought "This was it,  I need to get to him before I am too late!"  The hospital was about an hour's drive and I was just cruising along with no other thoughts in my head other than getting there to see my dad in time.

All of a sudden the car in front of me hit his brakes hard and moved over to the right hand lane.  I slowed down but before I did I looked at my speedometer.  I was cruising along with him at 90 MPH!  He ended p being a State trooper and pulled me over.  I was too concerned to get to my father to say anything.  I just let him write up the ticket and let me go.

Then I went to court to try to fight the ticket for entrapment.  It was the only time in my life I ever got a ticket.  The judge threw it out when he heard my story but I was still a wreck.  I never speed, steal, do anything bad, just so I never have to go in front of a judge again.

Then comes today.  I have been in a financial bind for the past 4 years.  Just seem to be sinking deeper and deeper with no end in sight.  So today I had to explain why I defaulted on a credit card.  I was nearly in tears just walking into the court room.  The judge seemed friendly enough with a few jokes to put everyone at ease.  I got called to talk to the attorney, again I feel my eyes watering.  He was so nice.  I am out of work and have no income.  He said we can't get money from someone that doesn't have any.  Call us when you are back to work and can get on a payment arrangement.

45 minutes I was there.  So much easier than I expected.  But back to that feeling of... I need to do whatever I can to never have to walk into a court room again.  I am such a baby when these things happen.

Anyway, after my long drawn out story that no one really wanted to hear.  I am not feeling too creative today so instead of a "Project -  Making Challenge"...  My challenge today is ORGANIZATION.

How do you organize your supplies.  I have posted some of my homemade systems in the past.  You can look up my Scraprack, ink pad storage, or Cricut cartridge storage but I will show you photos here of how I store supplies on my scrap room.  I actually need to make a new storage rack for my ink pads and markers.  So I will try to work on this today but in the meantime...

Here are some photos of my storage systems.

                     Marker Storage
Stampin' Up!, Close To My Heart, and Zig (these Zig markers are 15 years old and still work as well as I first got them.  I have always stored them on their sides to keep the ink even inside the markers.)
 Hand made Copic Marker Storage - made from foam board.   Copics do not need to be on their side but this is how I store all my markers so why change now.
 Handmade Ink pad Storage - made from foam board.  I did a tutorial on how to make this last year. I want to make a new one to add space for my markers to stay along with the ink pads.
How I keep track of what inks I have when shopping. I don't keep the paper with me.  I have a photo of it on my phone so it is always with me.
 This is just some of my paper.  I found these racks at a old run down building that used to be some kind of shop. I also got a lot of pegs and peg board, too.

  This is where I do my hand die cutting.  These are only my more popular dies.  I have another shelf of dies along the hallway.


This is a little snippet of my new handmade Scraprack.  It is made out of wood with industrial strength Velcro on it.  I love this system to organize my Themes.

 This is part of my color section.  I only store a little of whatever I have in the color section just because I have way too much to put it all in here.  But if I am away at a day crop I can always find something I can use in this system.
 This is my Summer Section.  All my page kits, paper, stickers, embellishments, etc  that have to do with summer are all right here on this spinder.  I do not have to go looking anywhere else.

 Another photo.  This is my Scouting section.  Both children were in scouts.  I still have not finished all their scouting photos so I can find what I need in this section when I ever get around to doing those pages.

And here is a photo of the my handmade rack filled.  I can not imagine scrapping without this system now that I have it all organized.  Mind you, it took about 2 months to get everything sorted into categories, but so worth the time now that it is done.

These are the drawer units I have in my Jetmax cubes.  They are now called Recollection Storage cubes, but same thing.  The plastic drawers did not come with them even though they fit perfectly.  The drawers are from Target and by Itso.  For the photo above I made dividers for my Cricut cartridges.

These are just 2 drawers showing how I sort all my embellishments by color.  I used to sort all the buttons by colors, all the brads by color, etc. but I was pulling items from all these cute little jars and it took too long to get what I needed.  Now I just throw anything I have that is pink into the "pink drawer"  anything green in the "Green Drawer" so if I know I want to add something extra to my layout and my main color is purple, I just dig through the purple drawer until I find what works.  Easy!! I have a small sampling of colors in my Color Theme of my Scraprack but the majority is in these drawers.

 These plastic shoe boxes have ribbon, fibers, fabrics, etc  sorted my color.  I don't use these that much on scrapbook pages but I do go through these when making cards or other craft projects.

This is a close up of my ink storage.  They are not perfectly straight but I made them myself and they make it easy to find the ink pads I need.  The numbering system is so it is easy putting them back in order by color.

These drawers store the booklets for the Cricut Cartridges.  It is on the floor right next to my Cricut Expression that is on a shoe shelf.

 More drawers, again with handmade dividers.  Here I have my stickles and Alcohol inks.  I color coded the bottom of the Stickles bottles for 2 reasons, to see the colors and they are upside down so they are ready do use with out any air bubbles in the way.

 This drawer has sentiment stamps is it.  Again numbered, like my ink pads,  so they are easy to find.  I take the sentiments out of their designated stamp sets because I may not always want to use just "Happy Birthday" with that particular stamp set it came with.  I have a folder with the sentiments stamped on paper with their # so I can easily find the right sentiment I want to use quickly.
And this is a photo of one of my storage cubes with the plastic drawers in it.  I have these cubes all over my scrap room.
This is my new way of storing my punches. One of the photos above show them up on my shelves on the wall.  Now I have my rolls of ribbon up on the shelves and my punches are in the little cabinet.  I bought this from IKEA a few years ago.  I loved it for my ribbon storage.  But then we got a puppy and his favorite thing to do was grab the end of a ribbon spool and run all over my room until the ribbon stopped spinning, then he would grab another and so on and so on.  So time to change things up.  This cabinet has storage on all four side. It also has wheels so I can roll it closer to me when I need it.  It also fits perfectly under my work desk.  This is the from view.
 The left side view. 
And I store my large trimmer on top.  When I need to cut things I just roll the cabinet out next to me and have my trimmer right there at a perfect height.  I didn't take photos of the other two sides, the back has hangers to hang rulers or Cricut mats or whatever and the other side had three drawers for storage and a shelf where I hide some of my less used idea books.
So I apologize for the super long post but this is how I keep things organized in my scrap room.  I hope you found some ideas to help you get better organized.  If I get my new ink storage rack completed I will post photos of that later.