August 12, 2011

Life is full of uncertainties, but abounds with blessings

"In this life ye shall have tribulations." Never has this seemed more true than now. It seems they are all around. Were it not for faith in my Maker that He holds all things in His hands and by Him all things are done, life would definitely feel full of despair. The other night I was watching a very impressive light show on my way home from an event, and was amazed at the fierce lightning. Our lives can be like that at times. Surrounded by the flashes and booms of lightning and thunder. Lightning dancing all around, and at any moment feel as though we could be struck down. Yet in the midst of all that God shields us from danger in the same way a mother hen shields her chicks under the shelter of her wings. The songwriter once wrote "Life is a tangle of toil and care; doubts and dark fears so hard to bear", and life has certainly been that way for a while. It seems there are fears all around whether it be economy, political implications, children, weather, and just plain life circumstances. When we focus on those fears, though, is when the despair comes and takes our joy. Focusing on those fears is the same as removing our focus from God. So if we just turn our heads away and seek His face, peace will reign in our souls while the winds howl and the lightning flashes. Then in the midst of the storm we can hear Him softly whisper "Peace be still". Whether it be for our spirits or the storms around us, there will be peace when those words are spoken.

March 29, 2011

Life is all about change---and having faith in the One who brings it...

So many things in this life are really uncertain each day. We are never guaranteed our next breath and every moment is precious. So why do I waste so much of my time on things that are unimportant? Life has changed so much here over the past months that I cannot begin to understand why they had to happen the way they did. One thing I know for certain is that there is a lot of change going on inside of myself. Mostly introspection (is that even a word?) I never would have thought that having cable and seeing things like Hoarders and What not to Wear (I know it's crazy) could bring about some positive personal changes and painful realizations, but nonetheless here we are. Looking around me I see so much of the way my own negativity has been very destructive to my family and to myself. A couple of months ago I would have told you that my only purpose in this life is to mother my child and be a good wife. While both of those are true, they were also discounting who I am as a person and what my capabilities really are. Just thinking in such a manner can lead to stereotypical duties and my own free spirit just wanted to strike back and rebel at those things. However, I have to accept that those are a part of who I am not a whole of who I am. I discovered that the things I buy and the the things I wear were reflecting my need to find something more in life. I love my family and will gladly and willingly lay down my life for them regardless of the situation. But I found that poorly managing my time and attitudes with little regard for God's word and constant control of my life were contributing to my feeling so very much alone in the midst of all my friends and family. God is working a big change in me and purging me from the inside. He is pushing me to limits and possibilities I never thought possible. In essence, I am growing up a little more. Next school year will bring about one of the biggest changes and uncertainties I have ever experienced. My plan to homeschool my child is something I know God requires of me, and I pray that I have the faith in Him to make it through each day one day at a time. So many battles and struggles are fought each day inside and out that I have to take life one day at a time and pray that God will see me through it. I pray that my very good friends, of whom I count my husband first and foremost, will always be there, but most of all I know that God is there and in control. He will calm that storm that rages inside of me through all these changes. Scott Krippayne said "sometimes He calms the storm. Sometimes He calms His child." Lately Casting Crowns song "That's what Faith can Do" has had a huge impact on my life as well. Here are the lyrics for you. I love them and daily sing them...

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you are stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You do have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can!

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

February 08, 2011

Favorite things...

One of my favorite movies is the Sound of Music and that song about her favorite things. When we really stop and think about it, our favorite things really aren't things at all.  Rather they are moments, sights, sounds, smells, nothing we can really put our hands on. So I got to thinking about this some.  Here are some of my favorite things...

Puppies because, well, who doesn't love them. But more specifically their curiosity and energy about life. The feel of their soft hair and the smell of their sweet breath. I could live without the destructive side of puppies, but I digress.

A child sleeping. They are so peaceful and look so innocent and calm. I just want to scoop them up and hold them while they sleep to absorb some of their peace and contentment. It must lower the blood pressure a few points to hold or watch a sleeping child.

The sound of falling snow. yes, it is a sound. It's a peaceful quiet that's like no other.

Voices raised in singing God's praise is a melody all its own. It's beautiful without other instruments.

Children singing. I love to hear a child sing. They are so honest in their song and uninhibited.

The smell of paper in a book; the feel of a rubber stamp in my hand; the uninhibited love of a child; the love of my husband who puts up with a whole lot from me; the smell of fresh cut grass. Anything about nature is amazing to me. There are just so many of my favorite things that I could go on and on.  Like the song says, when things are a little uncertain, just remember your favorite things. Even better, remember that God gave you your favorite things and thank Him for them.

February 07, 2011

A little organization

well, those who know me know how excited I am to actually have a defined craft space. It's very small, but I'll take what I can get. So I spent a lot of time working on how to fit things in.  First, I took over my husband's computer desk and gave him my old smaller desk. :D Then I went to work sorting out bins of accessories and stuff.  Whew! We stampers use a ton of stuff!!!! Well, after I got it all sorted in to some bins with drawers from Walmart, I realized it looked cluttered. So then, after having seen someone do this on HGTV, I thought it would be nice to take paper and make inserts in the fronts of the drawers to dress them up. I took some retired DSP that matches the decor I'm using and cut rectangles to fit inside the drawers. So now we see pretty DSP instead of a hodgepodge of this and that.  I think it turned out pretty and it was pretty inexpensive to do. The cute little pails you see at the top, I found at Michaels in their dollar bins. Perfect tool and pen holders. still a lot of work to do on this area, but this gave me quite a boost. Now to figure out a good system for stamps. Anyone?

Challenge! via local demo group

I love a good challenge. There is nothing that expands creativity more than to be restricted to meet certain criteria that someone else establishes. That may sound counter productive, but it's really not because it forces the mind to focus on a set of rules that you have to fit creativity within.  That can be challenging since we typically all do the same things over and over. So here are a few challenge cards that we did recently as part of a group challenge.

the first one is a Valentine card that uses "out of the box" colors melon mambo, pacific point, daffodil delight and one neutral. The challenge didn't require a Valentine card, but that was my additional restriction. So I have this wheel I made out of scrap pieces of rubber I've been wanting to use and it reminds me of bricks so I made a house with a round window and a window box of heart flowers.  It was really fun to make.

the second one was an inspiration challenge. When presented with a photo, the card was made by what inspired us in the photo.  My inspiration was color, naturals and a soft touch. So I chose to use cajun craze, pear pizazz, early espresso accents and very vanilla. The stamp set is Always, one of my personal favorites that I don't use near enough. The heart and the bird were stamped with early espresso ink and embossed with clear embossing powder. then I used markers and did a little watercoloring and emboss resist with the heart and the bird to get the flowers colored in. To make the very vanilla paper look like old parchment, I tore the edges and the sponged all over it with early espresso and soft suede inks.  Use a very light touch since a little goes a long way with this technique.

The last one is my personal favorite. It uses another of my favorites, Friends 24-7. This one was a sketch challenge. For the background I stamped in white craft ink and then embossed with white powder the image.  The rest is pretty straight forward. Not at all a very complex card, but a big pop for sure.

February 05, 2011

I'm back again!

It seems I disappear from here on a pretty regular basis for extended periods of time. Life can be like that.  Sometimes it's just random. Well, it's been a very long and exhausting couple of months. Life has changed so much here in such a short time. It has truly been mixtures of joy and sorrow.

We now have a place to call our own. It's a wonderful place. We all have our own space now and can enjoy each other. There are still boxes around and pictures to hang, but it all comes in time. Sadly, though, we had to say goodbye to a precious member of the family. Our dog got sick shortly before we moved and within a week he was bad enough we had to say goodbye to him. It was very hard and we still miss him a lot. It's amazing how much a pet can become like a person in your family. One day soon, though we will get another dog.

I was able to set up a space in our home office area to put my crafting/stamping stuff and it's so nice to have a mostly dedicated space for that stuff. I've even started stamping again. So that means more cards and things to share with you all.

Well, it's time to wrap it up, and hopefully it won't be 2 more months before I'm back again.  Stay warm and safe and enjoy your family and all the precious moments you have with each of them.

December 04, 2010

Time Marches On

Time what an empty vapor 'tis. Here today and gone tomorrow. Time marches on.  All these come to my mind as of late. Time passes so swiftly, and yet we don't even know it until we look back and see how much has gone by. Ten years ago we were told we would not have a baby, but God is perfect and good and blessed us beyond measure with a beautiful, happy child that is more blessing than we certainly deserve. Looking back, it doesn't seem as though it has been ten years.  I just can't believe that he is now school age and yet it seems not so long ago that he was a tiny baby we held in our arms in a football hold to soothe him. It's amazing to me as well how much has happened in those ten years.  The trials, the tribulations, the joys, blessings and sorrows have been abundant in this time as life is just that way. I'm ready for a new chapter in my life, and waiting to find out what will unfold in that chapter.  Now, though, I will look back and see where we've been and hopefully learn a lesson or two for the next ten years to come.  Hopefully those ten years take more than a day or two to pass by.

Happy birthday to my precious baby who is really not so much a baby anymore.

November 03, 2010

Teaching Thankfulness

Well, once again it's almost Thanksgiving.  How in the world it gets here so quick every year, I really don't know.  I love this time of year because it reminds us to focus on the things that matter in life.  while we shouldn't need to be reminded of this, it is something we all too often forget to do.  Life is just like that.  Run here. Run there.  Get through this day and that and all the tasks that come with it.  It's a tangle of toil and care as the songwriter puts it. So we come up on this season of Thanksgiving and we stop and pause and reflect on all the blessings and joys we have in our lives.  As adults it's much easier to recognize these things, but a child must be taught to look outside themselves and see what's around them and the things that are important in life.  I have been dealing with this lately--trying to teach a child to be thankful and not so gimme. The internet is a powerful tool for research and I've come across some things that came together to this fun little project for us to do.

open beak--yes, that's his tongue :D

side view

Front--he turned out really cute!
This little turkey is made from a vegetable can covered in cardstock.  He was made with paper punches and was really pretty easy to do.  His feathers will be added to the can as we each pause and write something each day we are thankful for or a blessing in our lives on a feather and put them in the can.

October 29, 2010

Halloween Treat bags

Thanks to Gayle, I got some cute little treat bags made this year for class party and the soccer team.  Gayle gave a friend of mine this adorable idea and I made into a bag topper.  Super simple and very quick.  I made 13 of these in two hours!  No stamps are involved and only punches and the Sizzix (how did I ever live without these things! :D )

Cardstock: Crumbcake, Whisper White, Basic Black, Only Orange
Accessories: Scallop circle punch, 1/2 inch circle punch, 1 1/4 inch circle punch, 5 petal flower punch, Sizzix machine and top note Sizzix Die.

More scenes from the country

the cattle--six new calves have been born while we have been here.

dew from fog on a dandelion head

Morning fog

green garden snake climbing a tree--he was about 2ft long.

baby praying mantis

dramatic sunset

October 26, 2010

scenes from the country life

today, I thought I'd share some photos with you.  these were taken this summer and fall while we are staying in the country.  My camera has never had such a workout.

 Mississippi Kite pair nested nearby.

 Wooly Worm covered in dew from morning fog.

 Morning sunlight through the trees and fog.
 Bullfrog waiting for dinner.
Terrapin enjoying his breakfast of a grasshopper.

October 25, 2010

Birthday card

Can you believe it?! I made yet another card.  I'm finally getting some time to relax and release some creative energy.  It's awesome and I've missed it so much!

Here's another card for you.

This was made using the set Cute by the Inch (or something along those lines) and an old sale a bration set.  The cardstock colors and the ink colors are blushing bride and concord crush.  Rhinestones added a little sparkle toe the flowers, and a flower from the pretties kit was added for a focal point. The main image on the front was done on Blushing Bride cardstock and was scored every 1 1/4 inch to leave a frame for the 1 inch stamped image.  Then I folded the score marks and sponged in concord crush inks to make them stand out.

October 24, 2010

New cards. Woo Hoo!

I made a couple of cards recently!  Lookee... (I'm so happy to be back to stamping again)

 This card uses the beautiful French Foliage set. I love this one, but I also love anything that is very natural looking.  I used daffodil delight, cherry cobbler, pear pizazz, and peach parfait inks and card stocks. The brad on the front is a vintage brad. I love those new brads!
This card uses Artistic Etchings and more of those vintage brads. The ribbon is some of SU's new vintage ribbons.  So pretty.  The embossing was done with an embossing folder called vintage wallpaper.  I used cherry cobbler, very vanilla, and black card stocks.  For the Eiffel tower, I stamped in black and then colored over the whole thing with a versamarker and embossed with clear powder.  I used some crumb cake ink to give it the aged look.
well, it appears I can't upload cards now for some reason.  It's probably my current internet connection.  So I'll continue to ramble for you...

 It's hard to believe how dramatically life can change in such a short time.  Last spring was a beginning on a new journey in life. When we put our house on the market, we never dreamed it would sell as fast as it did.  The whirlwind that followed felt at times like being caught up in a tornado--swirled, pushed and pulled in every direction imaginable while trying to maintain our bearings as well. This journey has been one of blind faith and complete trust in God.  Though I fear I fail the test daily, I still feel his pull, push or occasional shove down a path that lead to an unknown destination.  Fortunately for us God knows where this journey is taking us. We've had a lot of questions, doubts, fears as well as some tears and sleepless nights of wonder and worry.  Those things were a lack of faith.  So when we trusted and believed that God has a plan, we found a whole lot of peace and comfort in knowing that an all powerful and mighty God is in control of every situation of life and this one is no exception. The path we are following has taken us away from our home and comfort zone to a temporary dwelling and an unknown future.  We know, however, that the future is not ours to know, but to follow and trust that the situations of life will bring us blessings, and a closeness to God and each other. 

Living a life of limbo makes it a bit difficult when you are a person who likes to plan and predict and work towards an event.  I took a photo recently that really expresses what we are feeling right now.  It was a very foggy morning.  When I went out, I could make out a tree in the near distance, and only the tops of trees just behind it.  Everything else beyond that was in a totally blind cloud of fog.  That so describes the way I'm feeling right now.  The good news is that eventually the sun came out and burned away the fog so the distance was revealed.  Quite a lesson there.

October 19, 2010


This is a beautiful time of year for the artist in me, but I also see so much other beauty in spiritual ways as well. You know, our lives are like the changing leaves and seasons.  So many things come and go in our lives and bring beauty with them.  Some of the beauty remains like the evergreens that look so alive in the winter time.  Some of it is only here for a season and leaves behind memories of the beauty they gave to us while they were here. As an artist, I like to think of God as the artist, and the autumn trees remind me of a painter's pallette.  One day I would love to go to the New England states to see the autumn there.  Just to visit for a time in the fall, and long enough to give my camera a workout.

I'm also reminded of the cycles of life when autumn comes.  Everything only lasts for a season.  As the scripture says, "To everything there is a season...a time to be born and a time to die."  It occurs to me as I type this that the seasons of the year are very much like seasons of life.  Spring is all about new beginnings.  Like newborn babies everything is fresh and new and so full of beauty and color. As spring fades into summer, some of the newness of things wears off and we just try to endure the heat of life and all the things that come with it. For some, it's a drought, for others fires, and still more floods.  As summer comes to a close, we just try to endure the final heat and the storms that come along bringing back some of the moisture lost in the drought of summer.  We probably feel a bit like the grass at the end of summer--a bit browned and crispy and lacking enthusiasm for life.  Then comes autumn.  A time of renewed faith and enthusiasm for the beauty of life.  A time when maturity comes along and we can look back on those storms and droughts and see the beauty that was really there all along and we missed because of the suffering.  Autumn can be a time of revival and seeing things through new eyes. As the leaves begin to fall we realize we are nearing the winter where it's cold and dreary.  yet at the same time it's so very peaceful. Have you ever listened to the snow fall?  Sounds odd, but next time it snows really listen.  It's the most calm and peaceful quiet feeling I have ever know.  I love that time of winter.

Well, I'm babbling now, but those are my thoughts on the seasons.  Each one is remarkable and beautiful for what they are.  Embrace each one and enjoy the life God has given each of us.

October 18, 2010

Life is all about changes

Wow what a summer and fall it has been for us here.  Life is so unpredictable sometimes and takes corners and turns we never expect.  I haven't been stamping much at all all summer and fall because of life changes.  We took a huge step out on faith and sold our house this summer.  What's so odd about that?  We did not have another to move into right away. My ever so wonderful and gracious in-laws have given us some space in their house until we can close on a house. This whole change has been a very difficult and rewarding change in our lives.  Never before in my life have I had to rely totally and completely on faith in God to see us through. This is a first, and for someone who doesn't like change and unpredictability, well, you can imagine how it's been. We are in the process of trying to buy a house, but it's been a very frustrating and trying time to buy this particular house. So we are still unsure of the future at this point, but trusting in God to see us through and show us the way.

I believe every circumstance in life has something to learn from it.  In this one we have found a level of patience and trust in God we never knew we are capable of having.  We have had to work harder at making special times for our family and have been rewarded in doing so. And this city girl has found a newfound love for the country. The country has always been something I love--nature, animals, trees, plants, ponds, all of it.  However, it was not something I thought I could handle living in day after day.  Well, that is certainly something that has changed. I love life here in the country--the ever changing scenery, the unpredictability of what animals and things you will see. Until now, many things I have only read about or seen in zoos.  I have witnessed first hand the birth of a calf, and all I can say is completely amazing.  For those used to country living the sight of an owl or a skunk is probably old-hash, but was really awesome to me.  Until the last couple of months, the only owl I've ever seen was in a zoo, and the only skunk was a dead one on the side of the road.

Yes, I have found a truly amazing and inspiring life here.  My camera has never had so many things to take pictures of (hehe)!

I will certainly try to post more often to my blog even if it's only a blog entry and not a creative endeavor.  Stamping is something I remain passionate about, but space is very limited as well as time these days. I will post what I can when I am able, though. When I am able to do so, you will also be seeing more of my photos and thoughts inspired by them.

Who knows if anyone really reads this blog, but it's just fun and therapeutic to post these things for those who might be inspired by them.  Thanks to all who follow and read along.

May 08, 2010

Extreme Guitar Birthday

Hey!  Remember me?  I know.  It's been a long time, right?  Well, here I am with a card for you.  This one is totally out of my comfort zone, but I had a lot of fun experimenting with some new stuff and ideas.  I'm really loving all the wonderful silhouette stamps we have now from Stampin' Up! This one is called Extreme Guitar.  The background behind him was made with the sanded background and the En Francais background stamps.  Now, here's where the experimenting comes in.  I made my own template for the oval part by cutting out an oval from acetate with the die cut machine.  I kept both the oval and the negative. Using the negative, I sponged the color in the background where the guitar player would go.  (I used a dab of 2-way glue on the back of the acetate to hold it in place while I worked.)  After all the sponging was finished (and without moving the acetate), I inked up the background stamps with Soft Suede and stamped one background on top of the other. Then I stamped in the guitar guy.  After removing the negative acetate, I placed the oval cut-out on top of the oval part of the design making sure to line it up as carefully as possible. I took a night of navy stamp pad and dabbed the ink pad all over the part of the card stock that wasn't covered.  It makes a really cool texture!  You can make it as heavy or as light as you'd like.  then to get it to fill in, around the oval cut-out, I took a sponge and moved what was on the acetate onto the card stock.  Then I removed the acetate and I had this really cool image element without the added weight of cut layers for the image.  I distressed the edges a bit to match up with the image.  Then I took a piece of so saffron card stock and stamped it the background stamps I used on the guitar part.  After the ink dried I ran it through the crimper.  Then it was time to assemble.  The stars are star punches layered and off-set. The twill tape was  ravelled to keep the distressed look going, and all was assemble askew to make it more balanced and keeping the grunge kind of look going.

March 21, 2010

Inspired by Fiber arts

Fiber arts are something I truly love, and if I had the space in my house, I'd own a weaving loom. After taking a class in college I was in love with weaving. It's truly therapeutic. Since I was a child, I've been interested in different forms of fiber arts--sewing, embroidery, cross stitch, sculptural sewing, weaving, tapestry (though I've never done any tapestry). So since I now do paper arts and love doing them, I decided it was time to incorporate some of the fiber arts into the paper arts (which, by the way, is a form of fiber art). This card was made using a penny rug pattern I found on the internet. If you've never heard of them, google it. There are some amazing things done that are penny rugs. the basic concept is to use scraps of fabrics cut into circles or other shapes and made into these miniature rugs--usually no more than 15 inches across. So very little stamping took place on this card. It's made with punches and Sizzix dies.

March 16, 2010

Fun with miscellaneous stuff!

I've been a busy girl lately working on just stuff! Here is some of it. I'm thinking I need to open an Etsy shop or something for this stuff.

The big flower pins are made with the big Sizzix flower die that SU sells. It's a really cool die.

The bracelet is a hodpodge of supplies: felt fusion flowers, filligree brads, pretties kit and epoxy brads on a bracelet blank.

The cute little flower pin is made out of tie dyed felt, and I think I may rework that one a bit. you can use the table setting die to get a more accurate flower, but I don't own it so I was trying to make it work without it.

And last, but not least by far, is this glossy little pin. It's made entirely of paper and beads. Got this idea from another blog, but took it in a slightly different direction.

March 15, 2010

Holy cannolli (or however you spell that!)! has it been that long since my last post. Well, I'm still here. It's been a little crazy around here for the last month. Sick child, sick husband, sick self. Well, I'm still struggling with mine a month later, but I think it's slowly getting better and I'm back in the swing of things full force.

What have I been up to? Well, lots of things.

First of all, I've been working as team leader on a project that is near and dear to my heart. On April 10, 2010, Cards4Cancer through Spirit Jump is going to be delivering cards worldwide to cancer patients in an effort to bring a bit of sunshine to their day. That leads me to our team name--Sending Sunbeams. People have donated lots of cards to this cause, and I have a friend who has been a huge help in keeping me on time and in line with this effort. If it weren't for her we still wouldn't have a team name. This project is a very special cause for me. Recently, a family member I have loved and adored my whole life was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is currently going through chemo and let me tell you it is horrible for her. Even though things are very difficult between her and I right now, I love her very dearly and even though I can't be there for her, I hope these efforts will at least cheer someone's day who is suffering just as much or more than she. If you know someone who is in the same situation right now, then you know what I am talking about. Her whole world has been turned upside down and inside out by this monster that is hiding inside her body. The medicine feels like it is tearing her apart, but that's how vicious the monster inside her is and it takes a mean offense to kill it off. so, please take the time today to write a note of encouragement to someone that is battling cancer. They can all use it just to know they are not fighting alone or in vain.

Secondly, I've been sewing. Sewing up a storm to be precise. I have nearly finished one Silver Mist fairy costume for my niece and have to start a pirate costume for my nephew. So when I haven't been collecting cards and working on those, I've been tied to the sewing machine.

Now, as a bit of a break from the costumes, I'm going a little nutty making flower pins of all different kinds, and different sizzix accessories out of felt and/or various fabrics. It's been a blast. I've also made a little bit of jewelry with various miscellaneous SU hardwares I've had laying around here for a while.