Saturday, August 30, 2008


Today we noticed that my daughter's bike was gone from our yard. This leaves me feeling blue and bummed and annoyed and a bit incredulous.

Let me paint the picture for you. We live at the end of a street that's at the end of another street. None of these areas are high-traffic areas. If you are driving down our street, you are either delivering mail or have a specific purpose for your visit. Strange cars in the area are noticed because they are out of the ordinary. The bike was about 9 years old--I think it was a no-name brand, 21 speed mountain bike that was originally about $100 at Fred Meyer. It wasn't nice, pretty, or even desirable. It had slightly rusty handlebars. I doubt it has resale value intact or in parts. It was transportation and a little independence for my oldest daughter. She could take herself to babysitting jobs in the area, to visit her friends, and so on. It had a locked Krypton bike lock held high on the frame with zip ties (we lost the keys for it about 6 years ago). It's been outside our house now for 5 years. Only recently had my daughter cleaned it up, lubricated the stiff parts, and started using it. Our yard is littered with kid stuff. The majority of our neighbors (and the entire neighborhood) is retirees.

Her helmet was with the bike. It's gone too. I'm just disgusted about it.

One of my neighbors has his girls visit on the weekends. They like to come over and play with my kids. My kids like them because there simply aren't any other kids in the neighborhood to play with. It helps that they are nice and polite and generally a lot of fun to hang out with. That's why we noticed it was gone--everyone came over to ride bikes and play together. One of the girls went up and down the street asking about the bike--no one had seen it. Not surprising, really. Most retired people don't need a girl's bike.

I'm just feeling mad! While it wasn't worth much, it is something that won't necessarily be easy to replace. I did just start another job (more on that later!) but since I haven't worked all summer, our budget is pretty tight right now (as is most of America). I hadn't planned on buying another bike. In fact, I was glad she had it because it cut down on my gas usage for her small trips around to friends, etc. She even rode to play practice a few times.

What a crappy thing to happen. Hopefully, we'll go out sometime this week and find it in the yard again. We heard rumors that some other children of divorce that sometimes spend time at their grandparents house (conveniently located next door to me) have been riding our kids' bikes when we are gone. Maybe they "borrowed" it and just haven't returned it yet. We'll see.

Still, it makes for a lousy end to our summer vacation.

Yesterday he ordered off the regular menu

and I'm not sure I'm ready for him to leave the kids menu behind...

More Newsies pictures coming.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Backyard Plays

For the last two weeks my kids have been involved in another Mom's backyard play. It's something she's done for the last four years. She organizes, produces, directs, etc. an abridged version of a musical. This is the first year we've participated. They are doing "Newsies." This show is based on the newspaper boys strike of the late 1800's. It's been fun for my kids so far. I should mention that this friend of mine was also the Cub Camp Director for our Boy Scout District, and is in charge of the children's worship organization at church. She is always doing something, and usually does it beautifully! I'm glad my kids could have this opportunity. I love theater, and this is a good way to pass that bug on to them. All I've had to do is help gather their costumes, sew a few newsie bags, and make their hats! (well, and get them to rehearsal from 1-4 each day the past few weeks). Today is their first performance. Of course I will take pictures. I'm really looking forward to it!

I'll share some more later this week!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Go-See! Home Decor Canvas Project

Heather Nichols, of the PaperTrey Ink Design Team (among other talents) has the sweetest project on her blog right now! I want to rush out to buy a canvas and make one myself! Go check it out--you'll want to make one too!

Canvas Home Decor Wall Art

Go spend some time looking around her blog---I've long been impressed by her creativity and her work.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Playlist!

I figured out how to add my playlist to the bottom of my blog. It's not on autostart, so you'll have to scroll down and click play. I was able to find the majority of my 18 song playlist I have to my MFT friends. The playlist has 48 songs in it, so just know that the disc I gave out ends after the song "Broken" by Antigone Rising.


My Favorite Things--Simple Shopper Tote

So! My gifts for the annual My Favorite Things Party consited of four things: a framed picture I took of a pretty bluff in Yellowstone Park this summer--I called it your "Find a Happy Place Happy Place" for those times when you need a happy place, a mix cd

with some of my favorite female musicians on it (I called it my "Salute to Strong Women" mix, a pocket hand lotion---I am almost never without hand lotion! And, lastly, to hold it all together, a simple shopping tote made from fat quarter pieces of fabric I'd been collecting. I used this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew for the basics of the bag (but instead left off the outside pocket, used ribbon for the handles, and the fat quarters decided the size of my bag) and did either a 6" gusset or a 5" gusset, depending on the final dimensions of the bag. Nearly all the bags had contrasting sides (since I almost never bought two of the same fat quarter). It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed myself immensely! I'll post my playlist later....I'm hoping I can get one of those playlist thingys I've seen on other blogs.

I will leave you with this--the first song in my mix!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Who Supports You?

I'm very excited for tonight's "My Favorite Things" party with a group of my girlfriends. It's a small group (on purpose) and we each bring the girls in the group something that represents our favorite thing for the year. We've been meeting now for--well this is the fourth year. Usually we meet around Christmastime, but our founder and hostess wanted to do it earlier this year. I really love this group of women, and love picking things out for them. I try to personalize my favorite things for each of them. One year I made Swarovski crystal bracelets, one year I gave candles and my favorite lip balm; I'd tell and show you what I'm giving this year, but I want it to be a surprise. I'll take pictures before I wrap it up and show you tomorrow.

I'm very lucky to have a wonderful group of girlfriends here in Albany. There's the MFT group, as well as my Project Friday group, my coast retreat group, among others. It's such a blessing to me to have women friends who love and support me, where I am safe to express my ideas, thoughts and opinions. Where I can be loved and supported even if I am disagreed with. And half of my enjoyment comes from getting to love and support them back. It's definitely a two-way sharing relationship.

Who supports you? Who do you support? Is it an online community or is it a local group. Is it your sisters (or your brothers) or your husband? I know I have my husband's unquestioning love and support, but it's different to have your girlfriend's love and support. I cherish those differences. I joke that a good part of our Project Friday group meetings revolves around girlfriend talk therapy.

It comes down to this: we all need to love and be loved in return. We need a safe place to share ideas equally. And I think, that we as women, need a greater circle that just our husbands to love us so we can grow and thrive. Here's to women friends!

And that's the other side.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tomorrow at Stampin'Cat Studio

Well, it's the third Saturday of the month, and that usually means you can find me teaching back-to-back classes at Stampin'Cat Studio. Tomorrow's gems are "I Carry You In My Heart"--an accordion "art book" to put on display featuring the famous e.e. cummings poem, lots of different adhesives, coasters, Distress Inks, stamps, Making Memories Travel papers (an "oldie" but one of my favorites), ribbon bits and my favorite "faux-handwriting" technique. More on that later.
After that, I'm doing a Heidi Swapp Clock class. I used the Tim Holtz inking tool to make my background, as well as a couple of sets of Technique Tuesday stamps and some Heidi Swapp bling. I also forgot to take the protective film off the front of the clock overlay before I put my goodies on it. I didn't even know it was there. I don't feel so bad, 'cause Lisa (the store owner) did the same thing when she made hers.

That would be my hubby holding the clock for me.
If you live near Salem, Oregon, you should really check out the store---it's a papercrafting wonderland!
I'm also hoping I can connect with Amber. I have some vintage baby patterns (meaning things I wore as a child) for her and she has some ribbon for me! Lovely!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Scrapbook Quickie and a Prize!

Jill, one of my loyal readers, nominated my blog for a "Brilliante" Award. I'm touched an honored! Thanks Jill!

Jill is a wonderful scrapbooker, a "busy mom" like me, and an inspiring runner. She was recently chosen for the Chatterbox design team. Go read her blog and get inspired! I know I am on a regular basis.

The rules for the "Brilliante Weblog" award are:
The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
Link to the person you received your award from.
Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
Put links to those blogs on yours.
Leave a message on the blogs of the people you have nominated.

So, who to nominate....Well, I'm often inspired and uplifted by Amber (just click on her wedding post tag to see some of her wonderful craftiness!) so she's my first one. Then I have to go for my comrades-in-blogging--Allanna and Satina. It's nice to have friends IRL (in real life) that enjoy blogging as much as I do--or like Satina--willing to come along for the ride! That leaves four more...I'm going to have to pull the family card and nominate some of Joel's blogging cousins...and some friends who's blogs I've been stalking, (but they don't know I found 'em--yep, that's me, internet blog stalker...) Anyway, here's my complete list

  1. Amber Lee, of the Ribbon Jar
  2. Allanna
  3. Satina
  4. Sara (man she inspires me!)
  5. Lisa
  6. Anna Really, I wanted to choose all the Rampton cousins 'cause they are all so wonderful, so follow her links to the rest of 'em!
  7. and finally, 'cause he's a bit quirky, and probably my only blogging relative, my cousin Brent.

And now for the Scrapbook Quickie!

One of the things I want to do on a regular basis is inspire you with quick, easy-to-do pages. Here goes my first idea! First step: clear some space on your desk. Don't worry about what's on it--just push stuff aside so you can dive in!

Next--grab 3 pictures, one sheet of cardstock, some alpha stickers, and some scraps. I pulled colors from the colors in my picture. The blue of the cardstock from the walls of the Bubble Room, the green from H's shirt, red & yellow (going with the color wheel here--red, yellow and blue are primary colors so are destined to look good together) with splashes of white just for fun. Orange is the opposite of blue on the color wheel (meaning complementary colors) so might also work as a splash of color.

We are going to be arranging our pictures linearly across the page. I only need bits and pieces of the other colors to make this work. I cropped two of my pics just a little bit, so they were smaller than the picture I chose for my focal point--it's going on the big piece of yellow, to help set it off and make it more important. I decided against the orange and just went with red/yellow/blue with the green and white. I overlapped everything just a bit to keep the eye moving across the layout.
Add the pictures, the letter stickers (for the title) and some journaling and you are done! Voila! This took about twenty minutes to put together, tops. Some things to think about--I used my own handwriting because it was faster than typing or stamping or anything else, I made sure to get the date in there, as well as labeling the pictures (the "who" of the layout). I continued to overlap things by making sure my letter stickers touched a bit of everything on the bottom of the layout.

That's all for now! Stay tuned for more quick pages. My goal is to have at least one a week.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Teddy Roosevelt and Yellowstone

picture is blurry--it was basically dark when I took it

I was corrected in yesterday's post about Roosevelt and Yellowstone. Yellowstone National Park was created by an Act of Congress in 1872. Roosevelt dedicated the North entrance in 1903 (now knows as the "Roosevelt Arch"); he also laid the cornerstone of the Arch. Here's a link for you: LINK. This tells a little bit more about President Roosevelt's involvement with the park.

So there you go.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Yellowstone Travertine

One of my favorite things about Yellowstone Park was the section in the north of the park, near Mammoth Hot Springs where these wonderful stair-steppy travertines formed. Kind of like the stalagmites in caves, but on the outside of things. The water and the minerals just kind of trickle out and down. I loved that no human controls the making of these; nature just does what she wants, where she wants.

I was often struck by the forethought of President Teddy Roosevelt and grateful for his actions in making this our first National Park. I was also grateful for all of the men and women who worked in the past to save it--like when the Army National Guard lived on the park to protect the herd animals from poaching, or the work of naturalists and ecologists to bring back the gray wolves, or the heroic efforts of all of those involved in fighting the big fires twenty years ago. You can help but feel small when surrounded by all of that wonderful wildness. I mean feel small in a good way.

Let's just say that if Nature is your religion, there's not many better places to worship than Yellowstone Park.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Stay Tuned...

Random picture of my family at Yellowstone, specifically the Fountain Geyser area. Because everyone knows blog posts are more interesting when there are pictures in them.

I'm doing a lot of thinking and catching up right now. One of my mother figures lost her batter with cancer this week, so she's been on my mind a lot. I want to write up something about her, as well as some other thoughts.

I interviewed for a job this week, and they wanted some writing samples. So naturally, I went back through my old blog to find some. I realized that I used to write a whole lot more; it was one of my main purposes for blogging in the first place.

So stay tuned...who knows what will turn up?