Thursday, May 30, 2013

Friday Fragments - First Timer

I'm kind of digging the whole Blog Meme thing. Because...well...I'm lazy. I like not having to think about what to post. I can just blindly follow the blog fad of the day. Easy Peasy.

Plus, I find new blogs to follow to get behind on reading. On which to get behind. Or something like that.

ANYwho. Thought I'd try this Friday Fragments bloghop where you gather little bits and frags of things that happened during the week and throw them all in one post. A sort of stew of life's little moments.

So let's's a few fun moments from the week:

1.  Over last weekend, our whole household did yardwork. I wanted to hire this awesome yard guy who had just done our front yard (which looked great) to do it, but our backyard was so overgrown it would have cost $300. So hubby said no, he would do it.

One thing I should tell you about my hubby is he is not known for getting chores done in manner. (I've mentioned that before here. And here. And...hold on...I have to go through my posts and find another one on the topic of honey-do procrastinations...Huh. coulda swore I had another post about that. Guess I'll have to write one.) But, we were having his sister and her grandkids over for a barbeque on Memorial Day and I really wanted the weeds gone so we wouldn't lose any children in the brambles, brush, and dog poop.

So I nagged prodded hubby a bit more than I normally do when it comes to chores and he got a bit grumpy. My brother helped out and got grumpy too, and I was grumpy because they were grumpy, so yeah. We were all just the epitome of joyful teamwork.

But long story short, they called me names like The Red Menace and I threatened to snip their privates with the branch clippers and a good time was had by all. And the yard looks fabulous.

By the way, we saved $300 by not hiring the awesome yard guy, but will spend at least $600 on massages, chiropractic care, and allergy medicine.

2.  My sister and I decided where we are going for our annual camping trip and booked our camping sites. And this started a week long online search of tents, camp kitchens, camp tables to go with the camp kitchen, and other probably not necessary, but oh-so-cool camping gear.

We texted back and forth all week about the pros and cons of the Coleman Easy-Up tent and what the reviews said and how it leaked when it rained and let bugs in, but how easy it was to put up and take down, and on and on. I know. Fascinating stuff.

But it was a highlight of the week that we booked our spots and are ready to roll for our annual family camping trip. I know - your going, Really?? Yes, we get excited about our annual camping trip.

3.  Wednesday, I wrote a poem for my 21 year old daughter, Sis, who just moved out 4 weeks ago. Four. weeks. ago. I'm repeating that so that you remember how long it's been since she moved out, after you read my poem:

There was a young girl who moved out from her home
To spread her wings and live on her own
She loved her new life that was so unrestrictive
But her neighbors complained and now she's evicted
She asked to come back to her old room and closet
Her parents said, "Yes, but we'll need a deposit."

So, yeah. I won't say anything more about that so as not to embarrass the innocent. Well, not so innocent, actually. But moving on....

4.  And that brings us to Thursday, when I paid a visit to the health food store in search of an appetite suppressant to keep me from stuffing my face like there's no tomorrow give my weight-loss battle a little ammunition.

Here's how the conversation with the thin, 20-something, know-it-all-looking clerk went:

Clerk: Can I help you find something? Like menopause vitamins?
Me:     Yes, I'm looking for an appetite suppressant which you would know nothing about because you're a thin, know-it-all-looking health freak.
Clerk:  These fat burners over here all have appetite suppressants in them, you fat old lady with no willpower
but I recommend these vitamins and nutrients for women over here because if you have good nutrition, then you won't have cravings.
Me:  But do they have appetite suppressants in them? What, do you have wax in your ears - I said APPETITE SUPPRESSANT!!
Clerk:  Actually, they do have fat burners in them Geez, lady, I'm trying to help here, how about you show a little willpower?
Me:     But is the appetite suppressant just a side effect of the vitamins or do they really control your appetite? I'm on a mission, dude. Don't F with me.
Clerk:  They do suppress your appetite OMG, I'm so quitting this job.
Me (putting down the vitamins and walking back over to the fat burners/appetite suppressants): Well, if I got one of these, which one do you recommend? LIKE I SAID, I'M LOOKING FOR A FREAKING APPETITE SUPPRESSANT!!
Clerk:  Probably (insert name of product here that I don't remember). It has the least amount of caffeine. Fine, OD on caffeine and give yourself heart problems, fatty
Me:     Well, I don't want to get all hyped up on caffeine...damn it, he's right Maybe I'll try the vitamins. How soon will I feel the effects from them? When can I expect to NOT want to eat every piece of junkfood in my cupboards?
Clerk:   Oh, right away I'm just gonna say what you wanna hear right now, so you leave and I can go to lunch and eat my tofu.
Me:       Ok, I'll get the vitamins and if they don't do what I want then I'll come back and get an appetite suppressant. Cause, like I said, I just want a freaking APPETITE SUPPRESSANT!!

Yeah. So that's how that went.

Well, this was fun! If you want to link up with a Friday Fragments post too, go to Half-Past Kissin Time (isn't that the cutest name?) and link up!

Mommy's Idea

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A little Post-It-Note chat with my bod.

So, it's Tuesday.

And Tuesday is Post-It-Note blog post day.

At least for me it is.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

An Evening with Gracie Lou

I've always wanted to participate in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, but was always too lazy busy to fit it in. But thought I'd give it a try today. The topic:
(drum roll please.....)
Introduce a Pet
Oh! Hello! I guess I'm supposed to tell you about myself. Was that today? Well, I really don't have time for this nonsense, but since you're here, let's get on with it. I'm Gracie Lou.

For starters, I don't get a moment to myself around here, because I live in some sort of freakin dog commune.

I've got my humans trained pretty well. If I stand up on two legs (like we never walk around on two legs or something!) they get excited and give me  treats. They never seem to notice the bored look in my eyes. They don't know me.

This is my boyfriend Scooter. He may not be much to look at, but that pooch has a heart a gold. Pure gold, I tell ya.

Really? You just had to bring up that Playboy shoot, didn't you? Well you know what? I'm proud of  my doginess and I'm not afraid to show it!

Seems like we're always lining up for something around here.  For walks, for treats, for licks at the cat, for humans to get home and scratch our bellies...always something.

This is my best friend Lucy. Here we are in the car on the way home from the spa. I don't mind the bathing, but can do without the squeezing...if you know what I mean.

Well, it's time to wrap it up now. As you can see, I have a very busy schedule. Basically, I'm just a misunderstood beauty trying to sniff my way through this crazy world. I'm amazing, yes, but I'm fragile, and I need loving, just like everybody else.

Aaaaaand Cut.

If you'd like to participate in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, go to her website, read the fun topic choices, and link up!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Scrapbooking/Craftmaking Extravaganza of 2013

I had big plans for Mother's Day. I told my girls earlier in the week that all I wanted was to stay home and scrapbook. I still had tons of pictures to put in scrapbooks and Mother's Day was the perfect time to do some of it. I could relive memories of when the kids were little, and get something accomplished at the same time. 

My youngest girl (The Girl) said she wanted to scrapbook too, and my older one (Sis) said "I'm down!" (which actually means she's up for it). Sis just moved into her own apartment and wanted to make something she could hang on her wall.

So we made plans for the big Mother's Day Scrapbooking/Craftmaking Extravaganza of 2013.

On Mother's Day, I set up all the scrapbook supplies on our kitchen table and got to work. I finished a couple pages and was sorting through pictures for the next few pages when Sis arrived.

The first thing she does (the first thing any kid that just moved out on their own does when they come over) is announce she's hungry. She starts raiding the fridge and complaining that she doesn't grocery shop very well.

Then she tells me she doesn't know what she's going to make for our Scrapbooking/Craftmaking Extravaganza.

Sis: I didn't bring anything to make.
Me: That's ok, I bought you a scrapbook and I have some pictures here of you when you were little. Do you want to start a scrapbook?
Sis: Nah, I don't want to do a scrapbook.
Me: Ok, well look online for craft ideas and see if you can find any ideas you like.

5 minutes later, while I'm trying to figure out how many of the 72 pictures of The Girl's pre-school graduation I should include in her scrapbook, the conversation starts again.

Sis: (Makes a noise of exasperation that I couldn't even begin to spell) Moooommmmm, I don't know what to maaaaaaake! What should I maaaaaaaaake?
Me: Did you find any ideas online?
Sis: Well... I could do a band collage.
Me: Great! Do you have stuff from your favorite bands?
Sis: No, it was all in (names her ex-boyfriend) car. (This car was towed a year ago).
Me: Okaaaaay. Then how can you make a band collage?
Sis: I don't knooooowwwwwwAAA. I don't know what to maaaaaaake!

I decided to include 17 pre-school graduation photos in the scrapbook and give the rest to the kid's dad, who's been bugging me for years to give him some pictures of the kids when they were little, despite the fact that said pictures weren't important enough to him to take with him when he left 15 years ago for his internet girlfriend. 

But I digress...

Me: How about you just make a collage of something else? We can go to Michael's real quick and get some stuff. (I cringe when I say this because a trip to Michael's is never "quick" and I really just wanted to stay home and get some dang scrapbook pages done!)

Me again: Your sister will be off work in 20 minutes. We'll go pick her up, then we'll go to Michael's.
Sis: Will you help me pick out some stuff? Because I don't know what to maaaaaaake!

Before I can answer, Sis's phone rings. I can tell it's The Girl. Here's the conversation:

Sis: Hi. (Pause) Yeah. (Pause), mom is going with me to pick you up and then we're going to Michael's. (Pause) Because I have to get some stuff to make a collage. (Pause) Because I didn't know what to maaaaaake and I didn't bring anything to maaaaake! (Pause) No, it's ok, mom won't care. (Long pause) No, don't worry, it's ok, mom won't care.

So here's the translation: The Girl wanted her sister to stop somewhere after she picked her up, so that The Girl could get me a card, or flowers, or something for Mother's Day. Which was very sweet, but really, I just wanted to have our Mother's Day Scrapbooking/Craftmaking Extravaganza.

We leave to pick up The Girl and go to Michael's. The Girl gets in the car and immediately starts talking.

The Girl: Hi mommy, (she still calls me mommy) Happy Mother's Day! I wanted Siss to take me to Albertson's so I could get you flowers and some tea, but  I thought it would be tacky to stop and buy you your Mother's Day present while you're waiting in the car, so I don't have anything for you for Mother's Day...Sis, why did you make mom come? 

Me: So I could help her pick out some stuff so she can make a collage and I can be NOT scrapbooking on my Mother's Day Scrapbooking/Craft Making Extravaganza.

The Girl and Sis immediately start arguing about how selfish each other is.

I make a mental note to devote my next holiday off work to Scrapbooking. And to NOT. TELL. ANYBODY.

We get to Michael's and any differences we had in the car were immediately forgotten as we browse embellishments, shadow boxes, papers, miniatures, feathers, flowers, and stickers.

We get home with our treasures and I settle in to laying out the 17 pictures of The Girl's pre-school graduation. While I'm contemplating giving a few more pictures to my ex, just so I don't have to put them in a book, Sis starts asking how to put the background paper on her shadow box and The Girl starts asking which pictures she should put on a scrapbook page, which background she should use, and where are all the embellishments.


I was beginning to think my Scrapbook Extravaganza Day was just not going to happen.

But once I solved the two crises (no really, that's how you spell it - I looked it up), we all settled into our projects and I'm happy to say, we made some progress. Although I didn't finish all 17 pre-school graduation pictures (yeah, that's right, 7 hours of planned scrapbook time, and I couldn't manage to place 17 pictures), the pages I did finish looked pretty cute.

The Girl completed 2 pages, and Sis finished her shadow box and both projects came out pretty darn good.

Here's a picture of a couple pages I had finished before the girls came over:

Not fancy, but not bad for a Scrapbook Rookie

Yes, both pages took me like, 2 1/2 hours

And here's a picture of Sis's shadow box she made:

So, all in all, I sort of had my Mother's Day Scrapbooking/Craftmaking Extravaganza. But the best part was spending time with my girls and doing something creative together. We hadn't done that in a very long time and it felt really good. I didn't even mind the bickering. Much.

Oh, and my brother made awesome barbequed ribs so I didn't have to cook!

Hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day. At the very least, a peaceful one.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. I would be remiss (and my girls would point it out to me when they read this) if I didn't say that each of my girls bought me a $25 Michael's gift card so I can continue feeding my scrapbook addiction. Thanks, my darling girls!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Moms Shape the World.

Just a quick Mother's Day post tonight. When I was in Spain (more on that later), there was this little cafe that had family pictures and quotes on their menu. It was the most whimsical thing and I took pictures of them. This one is my favorite:

"Traditions define the laws, women define traditions and hence, women define the laws."

A powerful statement, isn't it?

Moms are powerful. We help shape the world.


Friday, May 10, 2013

To my Hubby on our Anniversary

This post is dedicated to my husband. Today is our 10th wedding anniversary.

Honey, I didn't fall in love with you because you were handsome (although you were, and still are).

I didn't fall in love with you because you were in a rock band in the 80's.

That good looking guy seated in the center is my hubby

I didn't fall in love with you because you were a pilot.

I fell in love with you because you see me for who I am, with all my faults, and all my good parts. And you love me, not despite them all, but because of them all. You've never tried to change me, even when sometimes, I wish I could change myself.

I fell in love with you because you accepted and loved my brood...

...And my village.

And they loved and accepted you immediately.

I fell in love with you because I admire your faith in God. No one taught it to you, you just feel it.

I fell in love with you because you ponder things. You have ideas and perspectives that I find fascinating. You enlighten me.

I fell in love with you because you make me laugh and I love laughing with you.

I fell in love with you because you're not afraid of introspection.

I fell in love with you because you tell great stories. And I know our kids have given you some doozies to tell.

I fell in love with you because you don't care about money.

I fell in love with you because your favorite movie is Anne of Green Gables and the scene where Matthew gives Anne the dress makes you teary-eyed.

I fell in love with you because you're chivalrous, giving, and loving, with a rocker spirit, and a cowboy heart.

I'm still in love you and looking forward to growing old with you...

in our RV.

(Which is another reason I love you - even though I know you're not crazy about it, you're willing to move into an RV and travel around the country with me someday.)

Happy 10th Anniversary, my Honabaloo!

My tribute to you:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

I can't find anybody with a Wordless Wednesday link up. Do they not do that anymore in bloggy world? First, no more Post-it-Note Tuesday, and now no Wordless Wednesday?? The two easiest posts of the week, gone??

Well, hells bells.

Whatever, I'm doing a wordless Wednesday post anyway. Only it's not so wordless, I suppose.

Do you know who this is?

My hubby is the king of Draw Something. Which balances out, because I suck at it. This is how he drew Oprah. And here is his rendition of Moses:

It's darn good, right?
That's all I got today. 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Crappy Scrapping...But I'm Getting Better.

I have gazillions of photographs. They started accumulating from the time my first child was born all the way up until, oh, about 2004, when we finally bought a digital camera.

That's about 14 years worth of printed pictures. ALOT of pictures! I was good with the baby pictures and actually put those into baby books for my three kids. Nothing fancy, just a few as scribbled notes and some glued pictures, but hey, it was something.

I tried keeping up with the oodles of pictures after that - put some into photo albums and even tried scrapbooking years ago when it first became popular. But I just didn't have the time to finish the scrapbooks I started or keep up with it.

Several years back, I actually separated them by date and event and filed them in these accordian style folders, with the intent (again) of putting them into scrapbooks. And there they sat.

Then, about 3 years ago I bought a scrapbook for my youngest daughter and promised we would add pictures to it and work on it together. We did 2 pages and it became another unfinished project.

 I recently decided that its time to get these pictures into books and I'm practicing on starting with my daughter's unfinished scrapbook. I thought it would be a nice project we could do together since we both like creative challenges.

So where's the first place you go when undertaking a crafty endeavor? The nearest grocery store for a bottle of wine to dull the disappointment when it doesn't turn out the way you hoped. Yup, Michael's craft store..

Although I haven't scrapbooked in a really long time, I was well aware of the scrapbook section of the store. I've meandered through there many times, looking for this or that doodad for some craft or school project over the years.

This time I browsed slowly through the section, looking at all the papers, embellishments, flowers, brads, punchers, cutters, scissors, books, and stickers...Oh, the stickers! Tons and tons of stickers. I just wanted a few embellishments that I could mix and match so each page could look a little bit different, but still have a consistent feel, and not look like a pre-schooler's art project.

It was a bit overwhelming and very hard to leave the store without spending a small fortune. Here's what I ended up with:
See the little tiny pink buttons right in the center? Are those too cute or what?!
So I had my supplies, and I had the pictures I wanted to work with...what comes next? A nap. A smarter person probably would have googled a few scrapbooking tips and layout ideas before crazily gluing pictures down. But I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, so my daughter and I (IQ is genetic, don't ya know) just sort of dove in and started putting pictures on pages. I started with some playtime themed pictures, and she started with some beach themed ones, and we finished a few pages. They weren't bad, but they were definately done by rookies.

I wanted to do better, so I got on the internet that night and googled "Scrapbook tips for beginners" and found all kinds of information that I should have read before we started. So I thought I'd share a few do's and don'ts that I either learned from really botching it experience, or read, and then went, "DUH".

1.  That thin, white, plain piece of paper that they put inside each page protector of the album, isn't meant to have pictures glued to it. And they definitely aren't meant to have pictures glued to both sides of it. I'm pretty sure this tip is from Scrapbooking 101, and I should have known that, having seen the rows and rows of scrapbook paper on display at Michael's. This one was a HUGE DUH moment. We ended up going back and peeling the pictures up from the paper and re-doing them on the thicker cardstock type paper. Oh well, live and learn. Which brings me to the next tip.

2. Don't use the liquid glue. Yes, it's in the scrapbook section of Michael's, and yes, it's acid free and all that...but it's just plain a pain in the arse! It's drippy, sticky, and just makes your pictures buckle. Use photo tape, dots, corner sticky things, or even a glue stick. Just don't use the liquid glue.

3.  If you ignore number 2 above, and insist on using the liquid glue, or like me, already bought it and now are stuck with it until it runs out, only use a tiny bit. You only need a dot on each corner and one in the center to make the picture stick. I was layering the shit on like I was frosting a cake! Baaad idea!

4.  Don't go crazy with all the cute shape template things and start cutting your pictures into weird shapes. Pictures really look better with straight edges, I think. At least I think I think far. I'm pretty sure I failed the straight cutting lesson in kindergarten because none of my circles were actually round. If you happen to cut very neat, nice, circles then just ignore this tip. I bought a circle puncher tool for little circles that I can use as embellishments, and absolutely LOVE IT! (OMG, I sound like a scrapbook freak now!)

Even the scalloped edged scissors are best used on mats for your pictures and not so much on the pictures. Really, for the pictures - straight edges, and maybe just rounded corners. Ok, moving on...

5.  Layout your stickers on the page, before actually removing them from the paper, so you can see where they would look best. Those suckers are impossible to move once they're down. For that matter, lay out your page before gluing anything down, to make sure there's room for everything and it looks good. I know, scrapbooking 101 again, but what can I say, I'm still a rookie!

6.  Don't write directly on your page. If it's a title, or journaling (yeah, that's what scrapbookers call the writing on the page - journaling. It's an industry term. Highly technical.), write it on a separate tag (another industry term) or another paper, and glue it onto your page. Of course, if you have great handwriting, and don't make mistakes, then ignore this tip too.

7.  Finally, when searching for scrapbook layout ideas, because you're stuck on stupid and can't think of anything, don't google "Beautiful scrapbook layout ideas" because this is what you'll come up with:

Gorgeous? Hell yes! Could I actually do this? Hell no! I don't even know what half of this stuff is!

Whimsical and beautiful, yes. Doable in reasonable time for a rookie, no.
I changed my google search to "EASY scrapbook layout ideas". I got this:

Ahh, that's better!
Now, this, I can do!
After looking at some layouts and reading some tips, the next day I made a trip to Wal-mart and picked up a few more supplies:

Somebody should really stop me.
I made a few more pages with my newfound knowledge and supplies, and they turned out much better. I realize I should have put plain colored mats behind my pictures, which sat on patterned pages, to show off the pictures more, but that's ok. There's plenty more pages left  to practice on.

Scrapbooking is a fun and creative way to show off your pictures, but I don't see myself taking this on as a lifetime hobby or anything. Really, I just want to show my pictures in a creative way and leave something behind for my kids and grandkids to enjoy. Once I'm done with all my printed pictures, I'm going to make online scrapbooks with Smilebox or slideshows with Smugmug for the digital pictures. And that's a whole lot easier than this scrapbooking stuff.

As I was reading the websites and blogs of scrapbookers (are they scrappers?), I realized how fanatical some women are over this hobby (says the girl who spent over $100 on supplies in 2 days!). One lady had a list of 50 scrapbook theme ideas in case you happen to "run out of ideas". She didn't have pictures on hand that she needed to put in a book either. She would come up with an idea, then print out pictures that were already on digital, just to make a scrapbook page. 

Now, that's just plain crazy. Once all my pictures are in books, then I'm DONE and I'll be thrilled! You won't find me dreaming up ideas and making more work for myself. No way.

At least I don't think so. But then again...who knows. All I do know is that my daughter and I are having fun with this little project, and I'm very happy with that. Actually, that makes it all worth it, no matter how much work it is. Here, she is, being goofy:

The creative process at work
If you want to see how our pages look so far, just google "Scrapbook layouts for lazy, stupid people". You'll see them. Just kidding. Actually, they are getting better and I think by the time this book is done, our pages will be freaking masterpieces. I'll post pictures of them then. about you guys? Anybody into scrapbooking? Hate it? Love it? Any tips? Do tell!

Thanks for reading.