Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS...

As a Chocolatier over at Crop Chocolate, I earn a credit each quarter and in return create/submit one project with the items I purchased. This quarter, I was thrilled to see brand new Echo Park Christmas - the "Everybody Loves Christmas" paper pack.

The paper pack includes 12 double-sided sheets of patterned paper, a 12x12 sheet of embellishment stickers, and a 12x12 sheet with FOUR different alphabets and 12" border strips.

The first layout I made was to document Blake's role in the school Christmas play last year. We all cracked up when we heard that he was Tom the elf and that the elf had a personality like Tom!I had fun layering different patterns on this layout and grouping the stickers from the elements sticker sheet. With some pop dots, they became instant dimensional accents. I had a ton of shots of Blake and the cast and decided to make a 2-page spread with these shots. After I had the layout finished, I realized I should have added the program which includes the list of characters/actors.I cut a slit in the upper right hand corner of the layout a little wider than the program. Then I flipped the page over and adhered a piece of kraft paper to the back of the layout to keep the program from slipping around. I also added a tab labeled with "program" to identify what is peeking out. The elements stickers provided me with supplies for another embellishment grouping in the lower left corner of the layout.
I added a mixed title using two different fonts from the sticker sheet and some Thickers I had. I added a bird sticker from the elements sheet and raised it up with pop dots. (I think I'm addicted to pop dots!)
Even though I printed my "live action" shots of the play in 4-up collages, I probably still had too many to include in one 2-page spread. Needless to say, this layout isn't my favorite, but it's a completed layout.

I am getting a lot of use out of the elements stickers (big tree & snowman). I cut additional trees out of one of the patterned papers to use as the background of my grouping.My title is a mix of stickers and letters from the patterned paper. I felt that it was really "flat" so I used Stampin' Up's Crystal Effects over the letters to add some dimension.

Blake's program photos are scrapped, but I have enough Christmas photos from years past to scrap for months! But, I may put these papers away to scrap with something new today...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Scrapping Reese...

With an adorable niece like Reese, I can now splurge on girly scrapbook items when the urge strikes. Earlier this month while visiting a local scrapbook store in Evansville, I came across the new My Mind's Eye "Alphabet Soup" lines. I loved the boy line and knew it would work well with photos of our boys. But, the little girl line really caught my attention.

It was the first time I have bought a whole line of something "girly" with Reese in mind. But if you saw the growing supply of photos I have of this kid, you'd understand!

With new photos from her first birthday in hand, I set to work on a layout using two photos of her walking. It's a simple layout using a mix of patterns and diecuts from the kit. For the title I used Thickers that I found in the same store for half-price.
When I scrap Reese layouts that aren't for the boys' albums, I scrap 8-1/2"x11". For this next layout, I had too many photos for a single page, so I made a 2-page layout. I cropped all five of my 4x6 photos. The die cut circle border down the center and the doll and flower die cuts are adhered with pop dots to add dimension.
To add a bit more dimension, I used my old bottle of Stampin' Up's Crystal Effects to accent my flowers, the circle in the border strip, and the dots on the doll's dress. I love this effect. I'm going to be using this little bottle a lot more!

As I am recovering from my surgery, I am feeling better for the most part. Since I'm not able to lift anything or strain my neck, I have been rotating my time between napping/resting, editing photos (it's a loooooooong process!), and scrapping. However, I feel as though I am doing everything in slow motion right now.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Recovering from my surgery (warning - photos included)...

Friday morning, I arrived at the hospital bright and early for my surgery. In the parking garage, I asked Tom to take a photo of my neck pre-surgery.
Tom and I were taken back so I could be prepped for surgery. My mom was able to join us a little while later. The surgeon came in to draw the incision line on my neck. I was beyond nervous, but very confident that in the end everything would be ok. Some "happy drugs" were administered before I was taken into the operating room. I remember being moved to another bed and having a mask put over my face.
Then I remember waking up. And feeling terrible. When my surgeon came in to check on me, I honestly told him I felt like crap. Actually, I think I felt worse than that! A while later I was moved to my room where Tom and Mom were waiting for me. (I was so thankful to have been put in a private room!)
The surgery went well and the preliminary pathology report came back negative.
Not long after going into my room, flowers were delivered. I have a wonderful husband.Here's the first post-op photo just hours after my surgery. (I had to have a drainage tube.)
I had some really rough spells throughout the day on Friday, but by Friday evening was feeling ok. I was able to get up and move around (pulling the IV behind me).
By Saturday morning, my incision was already looking better. The drainage tube was removed and I was released from the hospital by 1:00 on Saturday afternoon. Feeling was starting to come back though and my neck was feeling really tight. It is very uncomfortable to swallow and talk.
This morning, I could see even more improvement. It's so nice not having anything attached to me!Thank you to everyone for all of your prayers and thoughts during this time. I really appreciate it!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book 'em...

I never thought I'd see the day when one of my sons would be fingerprinted and put in a holding cell. But then again, I was the oldest of six girls. We weren't involved with Cub Scouts who tour police departments!

Kevin loved it!
Good times...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reese is 1!!!!!!

Little Miss Thang turned one yesterday.
I can't believe it's been a whole year since I spent the day at the hospital with Lindsey and Brandon waiting for her to arrive.
Since I'll have my surgery this weekend, I'll miss her first birthday party. :(

Last night in between homework and running the boys to Scouts, we ran over for a quick visit. I wanted to see her open her presents. I think she liked the new clothes I got her. She's going to look so cute in them!I love this kid!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I {heart} Allison Davis sketches...

I have been a big fan of Allison Davis' work for ages. LOVE her 2-pagers. I also just LOVE when she has "sketch week" over on her blog.

The other night while scrapping with a friend, I was stumped with how to proceed with photos for a 2-page layout. I knew what products I wanted to use - Bo Bunny's "Block Party" line from Scrappin' {Sports} Stuff. I just wasn't sure how to place them. They sat on my table for a couple of days until I was inspired by Ali's "...Drew" layout from the August Sketch Week.
I am very pleased with how this one turned out. Thanks Ali for the inspiration!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Scrap happens...

Scrapbooking has always been a great outlet for me. With my surgery date approaching, I've needed a happy distraction.

The other night I finished another layout for Kevin's First Communion. I am still using the Noel Mignon "Sweet Sue" kit for these photos. Last night my scrapping buddy came over to visit. We hadn't scrapped together since we went to a crop in March! I really wish we could get together more often. We had dinner, visited a lot and still managed to scrap some. I finished three layouts before she left and then had an idea to finish a 4th right after she left.

I used the new Crate Paper school line for a couple of layouts. I had just received these products in my Scrappin' {Sports} Stuff design team order that arrived yesterday. The first layout I scrapped used my new school portrait. Staff members receive a free photo package. It was weird once I realized it had been 18 years since my last school photo!!!I also scrapped Kevin's "student interest inventory" that his teacher mailed to us over the summer. We had to turn it in at Open House just before school started. I loved his answers so much that I copied it so I could scrap it. I still had some Bo Bunny "Block Party" supplies from Scrappin' {Sports} Stuff and had photos from a birthday party Kevin attended at a minor league baseball game paired up with them. I pulled the photos of Kevin with his foam finger. I actually wanted to call this layout "give 'em the finger" but Debbie advised against it!I did another layout of Kevin's school work. He had to write about his summer vacation. I thought this map paper from the new Basic Grey "Wander" line worked well as a background. The page is pretty similar to the other school work page, but I wanted to keep it simple.

I have a 2-pager started on my scrap table. The photos are from the party where Kevin got the foam finger. I plan to use more of the Block Party papers. Hopefully I'll get it finished before my surgery. I have a lot of things to mark off on my to-do list between now and Friday morning though.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Communion with Sweet Sue

I still have my Sweet Sue kit from Noel Mignon out on my scrap table. I am loving this kit so much! I think the embellishments really make the kit because a lot of them are things I probably would have been hesitant to buy on my own.

I thought some of the patterns in the kit would work well with Kevin's First Communion photos (from May), so I've had a stack of photos waiting to be scrapped all week!

There was a sheet of Hambly rub-ons in this kit and I decided to use the whole sheet on one layout. I just cut the sheet in half and positioned them in the top and bottom right corners on white cardstock.
This layout of the family before Kevin's First Communion is really simple, but I like it. I drew in lines for my journaling.

My next layout is a 2-pager for Blake's album. He started serving at Church last year. It was extra special having him serve the day of Kevin's First Communion. I love the shot that show them both exiting the church.
Although this is a church layout, it's a little bright. I worked with brighter colors that are in the stained glass and artwork in the photos. I think we have a beautiful church.Just last night I was able to finish up this 2-pager for Kevin's album. I made 2-up 4x6 prints of everyone who came to his First Communion. Lucky me I had another sheet of the green American Crafts cardstock that was in my kit so I make this a double page layout. I cut some circles out of the patterned paper to soften the layout a bit. I also used the Prima tag from the kit for my title. I didn't like the "be" that was on it and the flower on it was too bright for my papers, so I covered it over with a brown Prima flower (also from the kit).
I would like nothing more than to sit at my scrap table and scrap the rest of the day and night away, but we have Scouts on the agenda tonight. Blake has worked really hard and we are looking forward to the award presentation tonight at his Court of Honor.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Countdown: 10 days, 9 hours...

After 3-1/2 years of bloodwork, ultrasounds and biopsies, it's finally time for my thyroid (or part of it) to come out. I've known for a couple weeks that it was time to have it removed. Today I found out that insurance has me approved and everything is ready to go for Friday the 24th. It's really going to happen. Soon.

To say I'm terrified is probably an understatement. Just having blood drawn sends me into a panic. I know this is going to be so much more than needles and the sight of blood.

I'm trying to concentrate on the positives. I'll be able to swallow normally. That's a good thing. I shouldn't get choked as often. The knot in my neck will go away (although it will be replaced with a scar). Hopefully the surgery and pathology reports to ease my mind, too.

I'm taking notice of the important things and enjoying them as much as I can until my surgery. I'm also counting my blessings.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I still love Sweet Sue...

After a busy week at work, it was nice to work in a bit of scrap time here and there over the long holiday weekend. I still had my "Sweet Sue" kit from Noel Mignon strung out across my desk, so I kept working with it.

When I first opened my kit and saw the "Four" and "FEB" cards from Sassafrass Lass, I started counting out to see when my niece was four months old. I had pics from her in early February wearing an outfit I purchased right after my sister had her (incorrect) first ultrasound that said she was having a boy. It was the perfect opportunity to scrap this story. I cut down the backside of one of the Sassafrass Lass papers, but at the last minute decided to turn the layout on it's side (turning the lines, too!). Still, I am really happy with how it turned out.

Two of the other Sassafrass Lass cards were "eight" and "Mar." Since Kevin is 8, I pulled out photos of him in March. I loved these shots I took of him trying on his suit for his First Communion at Kohls. The ruled paper I used for this layout was on the backside of my least favorite sheet of paper in the kit. I love the ruled side though.
The kit also came with Stickles. I don't use them very often (mainly on Chirstmas decorations!), but I wanted to put them to use. I decided to accent the shapes in the corner of the layout and also on some of my flower centers. I also dotted the centers of the blue oval sticker strip under my photos with Stickles.
I have photos of Kevin's First Communion pulled to go with this kit, too. (I have a TON of it left! Stay tuned for more layouts!) I will scrap parts of the day in order, but also wanted to pull out a few shots that really made the day special. This layout is also on a "backside" of Sassafrass Lass paper. I love how it looks like it had hand-stitching on it. I think Kevin's First Communion was extra special because 1) Blake served at Mass, 2) Tom and I were involved in part of the prep (lighting Kevin's stained glass candle) before Mass, and 3) Kevin's teacher Ms. Margaret.
These layouts just make me smile. Good times...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weekend Concert (a.k.a. Nathan Followill if I were single...part 2)

Thanks to my sister Kaitlin (number 5 of 6), Tom and I headed off to Cincinnati for the Kings of Leon concert on Saturday. That's Kaitlin in the navy plaid on the right next to my sister Ashley (#3) in the pit at the concert. And that's my foot showing the distance from me in ROW 5 (!!!!) to the stage.
And we can't forget my youngest sister Molly and her boyfriend Jacob who sat at the end of the row behind us. (Isn't she cute?) Jacob is a KoL fan. I never knew he had such great taste in music!
And we are. Tom doesn't like the Kings of Leon. Tom really doesn't like most of the music I listen to. But he likes me. So when Kate asked him to take me the concert, he said he would. :)The Whigs (from Athens, GA) were the opening act. I only knew one of their songs before the concert. They didn't sing that song! I liked them though. The lead singer was quite entertaining. The guy on the left had the prettiest hair I've ever seen on a man. The drummer was amazing, but reminded me of Shawn White the snowboarder. (My sister Ashley went home with one of his drumsticks!)I recently fell in love with the music of The Black Keys. LOVE them! I danced and sang (much to Tom's delight, I'm sure!) through their WHOLE set. It was pure entertainment. Did I mention that I LOVE them? I especially loved that they sang my favorite song, "Howlin' for You."
And "Next Girl" that I enjoy singing to Blake. And "Tighten Up" that I enjoy singing with Kevin.
Finally it was time for KoL to take the stage. Even though I saw them last September in Noblesville, IN, I had never seen them TAKE THE STAGE. (We got there late last time!)
Song number ten was my favorite KoL song, "Charmer." Poor Tom was probably wishing I'd lost my voice by then!Two more of my favorites were back to back, "Sex on Fire" and "On Call."
And FINALLY I captured a shot (although blurry) of Nathan blowing a bubble!
Sigh.And then I caught him singing that he could "Use Somebody." Like me? hahahaBetween every song, it looked like Nathan was putting an ice pack on his right shoulder. But from the sound of the music, you never would have thought anything was wrong. The show was great. The encore amazing. It was a good exit, too.
And then I left with my husband who was sweet enough to take me and listen to me for 3-1/2 hours.