Sunday, April 30, 2006

Quick update......

I just wanted to apologize for the lack of writing lately. I've been resting up after the 31 hour ordeal of Amber's labor and delivery; visits to the hospital; caring for my dd, Amber and grandchild, Alexxis.

Mom, Dad, and baby are now at home resting comfortably and Grammie's trying to rest up as well. It's been all I can do to check emails, post a few replies, and stay in touch with one message board, 2P's to post updates and check in. With a bit a luck, I should be back on track later in the week. Thank you everyone for your patience and understanding.

I've been trying to relax, got one scrapbook page created for the babe's album and a bit of journaling written for several others. I'm trying to stay caught up with the details to assist me with actual pages ......... unfortunately I can journal faster than I can scrap, LOL!

I created two small boxes for Alexxis' one labelled "Alexis's treasures" {before I realize Amber spelled it with two "x's"} and another that is labelled "Cherish" It will be exciting to see what she desires to place inside them when she's old enough to do so. I also painted a set of 3 small birdhouses today; which I desire to embellish further. I have one large one yet to work on; and purchased some miniature furniture fixtures which I intend to continue to do so, so when 'lexi's older we can decorate the big Victorian Dollhouse that has been in the attic when she's older yet able to enjoy it.

Not one day has went by without a visit from Grammie for hugs, snuggles, and kisses. She's certainly capture and captivated me and my heart! Pics coming soon, I promise!!!!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Welcome to the World, Little One!

Alexis MacKenzie entered the world today at 10:06 a.m.; weighing in at 6 lbs. 6 oz. and 19" long. Mom, Dad, and baby are all doing fine!

I don't know how many of you have experienced the miracle of birth, but I do know watching and assisting your grandchild into the world is one of life's most amazing blessings!

Alexis looks so much like Amber did when she was born 25 years ago that there was an instant bond when our eyes first met and she has all of us wrapped up in her precious little life.

I'll update more as time allows, right now, I'm simply elated and a bit exhausted! Thank you to everyone for all the prayers, well wishes and positive thoughts, you don't know how much they mean!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Amber's in Labor!

Her Dr. confirmed she is now 3 cm dialated and 90% effaced at 4 p.m. today. It is now 7:30 p.m. and she is at home resting. I talked with her a little while ago and things seem to be progressing. Her "backache" is worsening; and the baby is sleeping. I still expect to be awaken by that 2 a.m. telephone call, IF we aren't heading out to the hospital before then.

Could "Today" be "The Day?"

I'm so excited! Amber telephoned me a little after 7 a.m. this a.m. She's been up and down during the night, has a low back pain, and an increase in discharge with a bit of bloody show. Her contractions have started again, irregular, one here and there and just about an hour ago began at 7 minutes apart although mild. Her and Chris put the carseat in the Durango..... just in case! Her bags are all packed and ready to go. She called wondering if she should eat something, LOL! Yep, eat a light breakfast, I told her. She'll need that energy later if this is "the real deal". She also has a Dr.'s appointment today at 3:40, in the event that she's not already in Labor & Delivery. A telephone call to her Dr's office informed her that it appears things are well on their way, Yeah!!!!

Well, I'm off to get bathed and dressed. I need to make sure I got everything I need, as well. {*tuttles!}

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Not too much going on here...... no new art. I've spent the last several days waiting for "that" telephone call....... but Amber is still hanging in there. On her last appointment, she's still 1cm dialated and now 75% effaced. Her next appointment is tomorrow --- hopefully we'll find out that things are progressing. She told me last night she has a lot of pressure and the baby has moved its head, putting pressure on a nerve and that her left leg gets numb and tingle-y. Joy, I'm sure.

I've spent way too much on the computer lately so today, I'm cleaning house. I gotta make a trip to the P.O. to mail a few things later as well. I'll try to check back in...........{*later}

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Slide Show

Here is a link to a Slide Show I just created. Check it out. Hope you like it!

Monday, April 24, 2006

This is the finished Stationery Set --- includes monogrammed stationery, envelopes, a bookmark, a set of "Handmade by Redplaid3" gift enclosures, and a set of "Just a note" stamped cards. I created the plaid backgrounds using Stampin Up stamps. Various other stamps: Anna Griffin and PSX.

An RAK....

Since I love creating my own Stationery Set, I thought I'd create a set for another online friend who moderates one of the online groups I participate in and who has hosted a large amount of swaps. I was inspired to create this set for Linda because she is always RAK'ing so many members of our little group, always comes up with the greatest swap ideas, and is an amazing artistic friend. In my haste to scan and upload this, I didn't wait until after I set the eyelets that will hold this Stationery Set together along the sides of the torn edges. I also will be adding some red and green envies for her to enjoy.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Geesh,,,, I need a digital cam!!!! LOL!

My Felt Folk Art Bird.......

this is what my felt folk art bird currently looks like, I decided to scan it prior to stuffing and stitching up the one side of the its red underbelly. Since I desire to add this to the covered area of our rear deck, I intend to coat the sheet music wings and tail with Modge Podge. I also will need to look for something in my stash of supplies to allow me to hang it. I'm thinking on my next trip to Michael's or JoAnn's I'd like to find a faux pussy willow branch to hang it from.... just a snip from the end approx. 8" in length.

I'm not a big fan of .......

felted objects but how could I resist re-creating this little beauty using it? I found this folkart bird at and clicking on crafts. The template for this and the example is Designed by Barbara Stein of Stein’s Country Collection. Barbara's instruction call for cotton fabric but I opted to use felt instead. I also decide my folk art bird should be the robin, since it is the first birds of spring that we see sight of in Ohio, so it's underbelly is red. Barbara used pages made of parchment paper or from an old journal while I created mine from sheet music. I went to the studio and randomly tore out the last sheet in one of my books...... can you imagine my surprise when looking at the page, I discovered the following lyrics at the bottom? " wakes with delight" perfect for my folk art song bird's wings!
Yesterday while at Oakland Nursery, I saw the cutest little pillows. Approx. 4"x6" silk with a ribbon hanger to be hung on a door knob the brand was "Charming Thoughts". Well, last night I googled the company and found their website, while browsing I was inspired. I made the following list of quotations that are actually embroidered on the pillows.

Beauty is in the Soul
Delight in the Unexpected
Embrace every Oppportunity
Faith is in the Unseen
Follow your Dreams
Laughter is the Key
Let your light shine.
Think lovely thoughts.
Cherish this moment
Grasp Life's Essence
and Laugh at Life's Obstacles

And those were just the ones that spoke to me! I wrote them down so I wouldn't forget them. I can see some wooden signs painted with these quotes on them, embroidered onto pillows I want to create myself for use on our deck. Anyways, just another "little thing" that truly inspired me!
The house is powerwashed, the tarp to block the winter winds has been taken down over the covered area of the deck where our jacuzzi is.

Don & I took the 4 pc. bar set out along with patio tables and six chairs. We sat the bar along a short wall that jots out off of my kitchen and the table centered in front of it with 4 of the 6 chairs. I took out the 3 containers I planted yesterday, placed on 12" pot and the 6" pot on the bar top.

I fixed my teak wood Tea Cart and got the tray set on top along with a watering can filled with silk flowers, an octogan glass mirror with one large white pillar candle and 3 smaller ones. The bottom holds the jacuzzi chemicals. I moved some indoor plants outside and use the other 12" pot on a small table. All are placed under the covered area of the deck surrounding the jacuzzi. .

We brought out a chaise lounge and chair pad with a small table next to it over to the opposite side by the grill area.

And yes! I used black acrylic paint and Golden's gel medium and did my stamping. Right in between on the long section of railing sits two chairs and a glass topped table between them, then on each side I stamped, "Dance like no one is watching" and "Sing like no one is listening"

I fell in love with the way it looked so I had to do some stamping over by the grill area. On each side of the grill, I stamped, "Relax", "Renew" & by the chaise lounge "Rejuvinate". Before I purchase anything I else I want to dig around in the attic and the garage to see what I can add to the space ---- other than seat cushions, placemats, and some fabrics. I'm loving how it coming along so far!!!! So far, I used most of our garden decor on the deck....... but hey! now I have a reason to shop........... {*smiles}

Preparing to decorate our rear deck...

In just I bit I'll be outside powerwashing the vinyl siding on the house that is attached to our raised rear deck. Lately, decorating this space has been on my mind. I did a bit of research before I decided what theme, colors, and accents I desire and although I know it won't all be coming together at once, I need to simply dig in and begin .... somewhere.

First, I considered the nature Fung Shu of our acre of land. I discovered certain things that increase the flow of energy within ones space and am fortunate that a lot of what has already been planted allows the flow of energy. Here is a bit of what I discovered:

I can plant flowers of any color anywhere, but if I want to activate a certain area of our lives I should plant flowers of the correct color in the correct location of the garden. Who knew trees should be planted in the east and southeast for strength and protection? Fortunately for us, most of the trees in our back yard are on here with the exception of some that grace the rear {north side} fence and the west side of our property. I wouldn't change them if I could. There is always a shady spot to be found at any time of the day!

Streams are highly beneficial and symbolize wealth, while ponds symbolize success. Now, I've neither a stream nor a pond but I do have a small water garden which has a both a waterfall and a fountain feature. This one terrific waterfall adds fresh water for the birds a place to bathe, and the sound of the waterfall adds an “antique” appeal to your grassy yard. Surrounding the waterfall and water garden is already previously planted hostas and woodland ferns that grace us every year with their beauty. I've noticed a frog or two once in a while, so maybe a half buried clay pot will provide him a home.

The main pathway to the garden should be on the western side and should be meandering with few straight lines. Currently, we have "no actual pathways" just foot-trails that we walk to get into the back yard. I guess I'm lucky we've two sets of stair coming down off the deck and one of them is on the west side, the other leading out to the east. The west side is the route I take to my studio and to the middle west side of the yard where my hammock used to be. My hammock has long since deteriorated but the 4x4 posts remain. I believe I desire to create a small garden in this area and add in a chair and a small table for a meditative little place to create a pathway to.

The southern part of your plot is related to your fame, standing in the community and personal powers. The colors are red and orange. This is perfect for me, as once I come out the back door to meander onto the rear deck, our most often used door is that off the kitchen which remember I desire to paint red! Using those colors will bring the outdoors in, and the indoors out as we entertain.

The southeast is concerned with money and wealth. The colors are red, green, blue and purple. Red, oranges, a touch of yellow-greens and some soft whites, I can handle! The jacuzzi is in this area of our rear deck and is an awesome turquiose blue with a touch of the cedar showing. It is recessed in the deck so you actually step down into it.

The west is concerned with pets, children and creativity. The colors are white and silver. Hmm, interesting. My hook up for Chaos is on this side of the deck, and my studio is on the west side.

I started creating a book last night, to keep track of all these things. Although, I only got the pages cut, scored, and marked for binding.... it is a start. I'm thinking I'd like to get it bound and when making the covers either laminate or use clear contact paper, enclose it in a ziplock freezer bag and leave it outside on a table for our guests to browse through. Of course, I'll need to use waterproof inks, but I think it would be fun to add some quotes to, pictures of our progress, and fabric samples as we add to the existing decor. As for a theme, I'm really leaning towards a Tuscan Country........ wrought iron, reds, oranges, and some shades of whites with a hint of green. Our yard is huge some this will contrast beautifully with the green expanse of the yard.

I also needed to take into consideration the size or our rear yard and its shape, natural changes in elevation, dips and hills. Also, drainage patterns, I don't want to plant perrineals that won't work with that or our soil. Our climate and zoning is also a major factore. Knowing where utilities lines such as gas and electric is also important, as well as significant existing features as shrubs, bushes, and trees. I've watched our traffic patterns and seen the views from and into your yard and the amount of light in each area. This will be very important knowledge when it comes to choosing what to plant and where!

Color is certainly one aspect of the great outdoors that lends itself to limitless ideas and possibilities. I decided to pick one of the most intense colors of red, some pinks, and bring into play the lighter less prominent hues like a yellow-green {thinking leaves} and some whites. I want some visual punch and appeal spread throughout the yard as well as the deck, something that says, "Come and explore." Creating that pathway to the area where the hammock used to be will certainly provide that and a nostalgic feeling. I want to use a beautiful hand-made quilts or throw pillows with bright, lively colors that match or even contrast my flower colors and reflect our indoor space.

I believe texture will also be fun to play with. Smooth surfaces should be highlighted with baskets, trays, placemats and rough textures like those in the woven pattern of our patio furniture soften by fabrics with a pillow thrown here and there. I thought some glass-top patio tables would be cool and lends itself to a basket of fruit or flowers. Christing gave me a couple last year that would be perfect for a pair of stacked patio planters filled with sand, rocks, and yes, even a candle to provide that soft glow as evening comes to an end.

Potted plants that be used as accessories as well as ornaments and metal colors such as bronze and coppered patinas like the candlabra by the hot tub. These should suggest as rear deck is our special hideaway while we wile away the hours being captivated by the blossoming beauty that surrounding this special place.

Fun objects such as watercans, clay pots, old buckets, silk flowers, live plants, and candles can provide a a light touch to any area that is too serious or intense. I want to use my imagination here as well... I'm thinking of using my MM Foam stamps and stamping "Dance like no one is watching" and "Sing like no on is listening" to a section of the deck railing to provide our visitors with a sense of whimsy and assists to provide the impression that I labored just as hard on the amenities as on the garden itself. I want it to say, "I want to not only show off our plants and flowers, but my artistic talent!" yet, be a soft, tranquil and pleasant space to simply be.

Well, off to begin my powerwashing and move the patio furniture out!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

This is the Ranunculus potted. I just love the color and the double blooms.
Amber's Dr.'s appointment went well. She's still 1 cm dialated but is now 65% effaced. She said the baby was moving around so much that they were unable to get an actual heart rate this visit. She was surprised at how much the heart rate changed with the baby's activity. I had to chuckle about this one to myself as I don't believe at this point in her pregnancy she'd find it too amusing, LOL!

Today, Don & I visited one of my favorite places. Oakland Nurseries. Oh, La, La...... I did manage to behave myself somewhat. I purchased a 4 pk. of Dusty Miller, a 6 pk. of Vinci vine, 6 Pk. of variety of colored pansiesa &" potted pink Dahlia, and a 8" pot of a rose shade of Ranunculus --- all of which are now potted. I got 2 12" pots - one with the Ranunculus only; another with the Dahlia, vinci vine, and dusty miller and 1 - 6" pot of Pansies, vinci vine, and dusty miller. I also purchased the coolest little water fountain --- very zen style; it is resin with resin rocks where the water bubbles and spills over; approx. 5 1/2" in height and circular in shape. It very easily could be added into a glazed pot or even a square glazed tray. I also purchased a bamboo windchime! I love the sound these make, nothing too loud, just something soft and very pleasant to listen to. I also filled both of my backyard bird feeders up with song bird seed for the cardinals and blue jays. One day this week, I need to make it out to the garage and find my gold finch feeder to fill with thistle.

I looked at some amazing glazed pots, even found one I loved the patina of in a green aqua-y mix but unfortunately the coaster tray was no where to be found. I came home with a lot of ideas for our rear deck however! Imagine that, from me......... {*smiles}

Did some arting around today finishing up my ATC with a twist swap. I got the instructions to re-create adhered to the back sides, slid them into the ATC sleeves, then decided to decorate the outside up a bit. It is said "everything is in the presentation" so these tags oughta present my ATC very well. They look wonderful adhered to the outside of the ATC sleeves and the sheer gold organdy ribbon really looks pretty with the gold embossing showing through.
Don & I had a wonderful "catch up" visit with Becky & Michael last night. Short, but wonderful! Dinner was fantastic... we went to El Jalapena's and ate some Mexican food. My chicken fajita's were excellent. We didn't have too much time to actually spend together but made plans to do so real soon. Becky invited me to come and play next week while Michael's out of town on a business trip..... now if my dd, Amber would just have that grandbaby! LOL.....

Today is the 39th week of her pregnancy. She did experience some Braxton-Hicks contractions earlier this past week. I'm awaiting word about her Dr. visit went today. Anyways, maybe I can schedule some time to play, I'd love to visit Becky or have her visit with me here. Don said he'd take me over and come get me if Amber did go into labor..... hmmm, maybe that is what this baby's waiting for.... grandma to go out of town! LOL! Anyways, I think it best that I stay close to home just in case...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Yes! I write directly in my magazines. I keep a pen handy while browsing through my mags and make brackets, draw arrows or stars, and write in whatever it is that inspires me creatively about a piece of artwork. My notes may be regarding a technique, a design idea, colors used, an imaged stamped that I'd love to add to my own stamp collection, or an art supply used in certain manner.

This comes in handy for me when I find my own well of inspiration lacking during a dry spell. I can pretty much pick up any of my previously purchased stamp magazines and easily find something that caught my eye and jump start my own creativity.

I do not mean the "CASE" technique you hear scrapbookers speak of {CASE = Copy and Steal Everything} but rather use the artwork to inspire me in my own artwork. Note: I'm not against anyone who scrapbooks and CASE's ideas, layouts, and designs. I know a few scrapbooker's whose entire albums are created this way; I'm saying it simply isn't for me. I truly believe in using inspiration as simply inspiration. I am also a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due. If someone does "lift" and the idea as an exact copy of what someone else has previously created, I sincerely hope that they are providing at the very least a notation of "inspired by _____ {insert the original artist's name here} or provide a link to where the idea came from.

I do believe copying another artist's artwork is the sincerest form a flattery! It isn't an uncommon occurance, especially when one is learning to create in a certain style or attempting to learn a new technique, but please have respect for the original creator and don't claim the idea or design as your own, especially when submitting that artwork for possible publication.

All artwork should be placed under copyright of the original artist - before it is shared with another artist, designer, creator, posted online, shared in an art gallery or used for a manufacturer's display. Designers are paid, either in cash or monetary value with products to share their ideas to promote the manufacturers products, how to's and tutorials are written, time and resources are spent to create the idea and artwork and respect for the individual designer or artist is well deserved.

I truly do not feel designer's are compensated enough for all that do...... whether it a scrapbooker, a rubberstamper, paper artist, mixed media artist, a painter, a _______ despite whatever their medium of choice may be.

I have a friend who I've had many, many discussions with on this very subject with and we've came to the conclusion that in this day in age that there really are not many original ideas anymore. Name a supply or a technique and there has probably been someone somewhere who has done it before! Some artists may expand on an existing idea, carrying it a step further, and receive national recognition for the design. But the point I'd like to make is to "Give credit where credit is due!"

On my blog you will find some tutorials that I took the time to write up. Me, personally, using my own words, not those of someone else, and yes, I've added a copyright symbol "© 2006 Cathy Highland". Most are created using the Creative Commons license meaning you are free are to use them, distribute them, as long as my "copyright" info is attached. If the ideas came from somewhere else, I try to do my best and say who and where whether in print or online any additional information can be found.

More information on Copyright can be found at:

and the Creative Commoms wrote, "I'm a few posts late with this but I've been wondering what the "Feather Lite - technique" is. Could you describe it or show a sample? I surfed in here with the random "next blog" button. Being a long time paper artist myself, I was interested enough to read through some of the past posts."

First, Thank you for visiting and for your kind words. I'll try to explain... "Feather Lite" is the name of a card submitted by Ali Dufty to the Stampers Sampler Apr/May 2006 isuue. Ali used a watermark ink {VersaMark} to stamp a feather on a navy panel, then rubbed the image of the feature with Pearl Ex, brushed away the excess Pearl Ex, and sealed. This was embellished with silver wire attached to top part of the feather image and curled at the ends prior to adding to a white piece of cardstock. She set that aside and then randomly stamped using the same image using the VersaMark ink on a piece of glossy cardstock and used the Wildflowers Adirondack ink brayered over the randomly stamped feathers. This image was attached to a sheet of navy cardstock then adhered to a white card and the first image stamped was attached over a center section of it and further embellished with silver stickers.

Several things about this caught my eye. First the colors brayered on over the feathers. Soft pink, blue and aqua- the combination is gorgeous together. Next, the technique itself. It is created and reminds me of a resist technqiue - which it is - with a combination of the "spotlight" technique only with the variation of being colored using Pearl Ex vs. colored inks or pencils. I really liked the style of the card and the combination of techniques used to create it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Ramblin' Man

I saw this in the Apr/May issue of the Stamper's Sampler and thought it would be fun to recreate a few. Not having many supplies in the house, I used what I had on hand... mostly textures and mail art images, hence the name, "Ramblin' Man" {the fact that Don is great singing that song helps!}

I decided to go ahead and make a small pamphlet stitched notebook out of this. I felt adding the decorated tag distracted from my lack of skill with this Kaleidoscope technique... I definately need practice! but hey, it was my first attempt. {*smiles}

Some "non-artsy" things...

Donnie picked up the vinyl siding for our "new" garage. The guys worked into the late afternoon yesterday and finished up the east side. They'll be back today to begin on the west side and front. We have all the fashia and soffit needed to finish the house, the studio, and the garage and to cap the 3 front windows of our home. I'm happy to finally be getting most of home remodeling finished. The redecorating and occasional painting inside, I can handle.... as it isn't something we'll do every year, LOL!

Rod had his wrecker friend pick up our Jeep! It is now at his garage waiting for repair. He believes there was simply too much pressure since replacing the water pump that caused the radiator hose to blow off. Hopefully, this won't amount to a huge bill and we won't be replacing a radiator. {urgh!}

I've done little cleaning other than the everyday picking up, straightening, dusting, and vacuaming our home. So today, I plan to go room by room and clean thoroughly; luckily I've been busy stamping and cleaning up after myself so there isn't too much time-consuming things to actually be done.

I chatted with my friend, Rebecca on Yahoo the other night. We've made plans for Mike & her to come over to Marion on their new motorcycle and have dinner out on Wednesday evening. Don & I are really looking forward to that; it will provide us some much needed R&R and a chance to catch up with one another. She shared some photographs recently taken with me and I was able to save them to my hard drive so I'll have them to remember her & Michael move to Atlanta. We talked briefly about her starting a blog so that we could stay in touch with one another. And I realized that the two of us need to schedule us in a couple "play dates" to spend creating before they make all the final plans to move.

Chaos --- is making up for some lost time. Being rambunctious the last several days and so hard-headed that I often think it is him trying to train me, LOL! Hopefully, he will "be calm" today... he is definately keeping this soon-to-be grandma very active!

Today, Amber is officially 38 weeks along with the pregnancy. Hooray! She can safely deliver without any complications to the newborns lungs. She did test positive on her Strept B test, so now we know she'll be receiving an antibiotic during labor and needs to go to the hospital just as soon as her water breaks. I've everything I need packed and ready to go on a moments notice, whenever the babe is ready now --- we're waiting with open arms! {smile}

Monday, April 17, 2006

Kaleidoscope stamping

This is my first attempt at trying the Kaleidoscope Stamping technique. This was shared with me in one of the Art Idea journal participants pages. Something to definately experiment and practice further with...
This is my finished ATC! Just need to trim and adhere the technique instructions on the back side!

Stamped image from Lasting Impressions with Panache using Memories Sepia ink on colored cardstock. Image has been trimmed to fit the ATC and allow the background to shine through. Off to search for some embellishments; maybe some text to use as well.

Here is the same ATC background technique created without using the Ranger's Queen's Gold EP. Stamped Judi-kins Marble background using Brillance Gold and heat set.

Working on my ATC with a Twist {Technique Swap}.
This is the Walnut ink, Acrylic Glaze background ATC, I posted previously with Brillance Gold ink stamped on. The stamp is Judi-kins Marble background; embossed with Ranger's Queen's Gold EP.
Today, I intend to finish up the ATC Swap with a Twist. I've got some embossing to do on the already created background, an image to stamp out, trim, and adhere! My technique is typed and printed so I'll simply need to sign and prepare to be mailed!

Next, I plan to begin creating using the "Feather Lite - technique using Pearl Ex and Adirondak inks". I wonder how this will work on some glossy black cardstock? Hmmm........
I'm always picking up Stamping magazines..... Somerset Studios being my first favorite and Somerset's Stampers Sampler being the 2nd. I am always inspired by these magazines, love seeing many of my online friends being published within the pages, gathering ideas from color usage, design ideas, images of stamps I'd love to purchase and add to my own stamp collection, ideas for embellishments or collages, to project ideas to re-create. Somehow, along the way, I manage to get sidetracked and feel that I am not truly utilizing the magazines I purchase. To remedy that I posted in an online group that I would like to suggest a few things to facillitate more group participation and "being inspired by" the Stamper's Sampler is one magazine that others decided they'd like to have challenges with.

Now, I love challenges but often don't participate due to either not having a certain supply, a stamp, or the time to participate. As my obligations to many other swaps, RR's, and such begin to wind down, I decided I needed to utilize my magazine issues more. Here is a list I created of ideas to re-create --- I decided not to place any limits on what I'd create so you may see anything from ATC's, Cards, Collages, Book Arts, ect. Some items I intend to make more than one.... one to have on hand for myself, several to RAK to family and friends, and some to create a series of.... to be utilized later in a monthly Sampler exchange.

I'd suggested this to the group, creating a monthly Sampler. Beginning in the Fall, {Sept/Oct} participants will sign up to participate in each month. Every participant will create items for the number of participants signed up and once each month one participant will receive everyone's submissions to be swapped back out. I suggested we rotate who receives each month's Sampler so no one person will be bogged down monthly sorting, re-packaging, and sending each Sampler return to each of the participants. I'm planning to start working on this so I'll have some items pre-made to include. There is no limit on what one can create...... everything from ATC's, Cards, Collages, 4"x4" artwork collages, microslide slides, CD pins, dominoes.... well, I think you get the idea!

Anyways, here is my "inspired by" list from the Apr/May 2006 Stamper's Sampler:
{Note other's list may be different - create what you are inspired by!}

Pg. 12 - Feather Lite - technique using Pearl Ex and Adirondak inks.

Pg. 14 - You Did It! - using the alphabet to hide in a sentiment!

Pg. 18-21 Guest Artist - Lisa Williams - vintage cards.

Pg. 23-25 ATC's Envelopes by Audrey Hernandez

Pg. 28-32 Gentleman Paper Doll template

From a different point of view - use my A Stamp in the Hand stamp

I don't want to limit what I am inspired to re-create so some might be ATC's, Cards, Collages, ect. I think I'll make multiples of some as RAK's and some as a series of items to use in a later Sampler.

What inspires you?

I plan to upload and post my artwork created to 2P's and add links to what I created in posts to the group. If everyone in the group would be so kind as to do this we could share discoveries we made along the way! Also, I'll upload my artwork to my blog here so that if anyone desires to join in... they can! Simply post a reply and a link to where your artwork can be found! {smiles}

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday.....

Normally, I host an Easter dinner here for Don's family, my parents, dd and Chris, and a few close friends. This year I decided it was simply too much work for one person so we are having dinner at home --- only with just the two of us. I'm making scalloped potatoes and ham, green bean casserole, and rolls. And plan to make an extra pan of scalloped potatoes and ham for my parents which we'll take over later today for them to enjoy!

I'm certain next year will be a bit funner as the grandbaby will be here. This year I did no egg coloring, no candy buying, and no baskets! And, I'm still enjoying it! We have a light - garden variety rain falling and you know that old wives tale...... if it rains on Easter, it will rain the next 7 Sunday's! Every year that I've tested this it has been true, maybe not raining all day but light scattered Spring showers.
Chaos is getting better with the obedience training! A friend shot this pic for me.... although he isn't too crazy about the rabbit ears and would rather be chasing the rabbits in our back yard, LOL! Yesterday, was the first time he actually waited for me to release him from the "Stay" command with the "Come" command; it was too cute and I laughed and laughed. Have you ever seen a dog walk sideways? Well, Chaos did all while trying to bite, scratch, roll over and whatever else it may take to get those darn ears off his head! ROFLOL!!!

I'm don't think I mention that I won $100 at our Family Moose Center on Friday evening. As soon as the tickets for the second chance drawing were handed out, I matter-of-factly informed him I had it and I did! Whooo-hooo!

After Don worked yesterday, we decided to go out of town for dinner out and to do some shopping. I thought about going to Easton Town Center to visit The Container Store but we didn't make it that far. Earlier in the week the water pump had went out on our Jeep. Uhrrrggh! Rod was able to get it in and get it replaced so we didn't think a thing about getting in it and going. Well, we made it to Waldo before a hose broke spewing steam, water, and antifreeze all over the windshield. Thankfully, I had my window up 3/4 of the way. So, we pulled off the burm of the highway, found a spot to turn around in, and made it into the BP Station. Got a screwdriver reattached the hose, allowed the Jeep to cool down before adding water to it. Deciding to drive it back home to get the truck, we broke down again on St. Rt. 23N just north of Newman's Cardington Rd. Luckily, there were some people Don knew at the BP Station and they were following us so they stopped and gave us I ride back to town. We thanked them, washed off, and picked up the truck and headed to Rodney's to arrange to have it towed back to town. However, Rod wasn't home so Don will be making a visit to him today to make arrangements.

Anyways, we took to truck to go eat. We had a great dinner at A Bag of Nails - consisting of potatoe skins, a shared fish sandwich platter and a salad! Their sandwiches and salads are huge! so we always split one --- it is everything both of us can to do just to eat half of one!

Leaving there we went to SB Art on Polaris Parkway. I picked up some more Wild Asparagus paper, a few more sheets of more pastels, a couple more baby embellishments to begin on the grandbaby's album. I knew I had a card filled, entitling me to $15 off my purchases so I couldn't resist purchasing the Heidi Swapp Corner Punch tool and case! With my discount, it cost me $6.00 === gotta love that! (I normally used needle-nose plyers to adhere my book corners so I'm stooked to actually have a tool that will work a heck of a lot easier!) I'm certain since it is designed for the metal book corners that it will hold the smaller ones as well, although it may be a little tricky lining them up inside the tool. I plan to use some on the Fat, Chunky Book swap!

Next, I made a quick stop into M's to get the Mar/Apr 2006 Stamper's Sampler and a few other items and we were on our way home.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Desiring to use up some scraps left over from using my Anna Griffin stash, I came up with the idea of creating a Tussie Mussie. Cone is created from cardstock, Girl image is stamped using Colorbox French Blue, and Anna Griffin paper cut and decoupaged on. Ribbon, Prima flowers, bee charm embellishments.
After doing some light housework, working with Chaos on the Obedience training and doing his daily grooming, I headed out to the studio to attack the "piles". I managed to get my stamps put away and most of embellishments in containers {Note to self: I really need to purchase about 3 more of the larger sizes}.

Next, I decided to dig through some of my printed papers. Amber had mentioned that she didn't have much printed paper, I quickly informed her "not to purchase any!" So, yesterday I sorted through it and ended up giving her an entire Club Scrap Pizza Box filled with the stuff! I kept only the patterns I had for previous project ideas, and those that I knew I would use! Since I was on a roll, I also went through my 3 Crop in Style Paper/Sticker Binders and gave her a lot of stickers, die cuts, and premade embellies that I've received in some old scrapbook swaps from long, long ago. I'd like to one day be able to empty one of these CIS P/S/B's and fill it with assorted size page protectors to give to her. She did purchase a tote recently from JoAnne's - while it was on sale. It provides her a place to store her cardstock, stickers, pens, ect. allowing her to get it out easily enough when she's scrapbooking. It still amazes me that Chris enjoys scrapbooking their photographs as much as she does and they often work on their albums together. So, I really don't mind helping them and myself out by giving them what I know I won't use anymore.

It's funny how my style has changed over the years... my tastes in what I purchase now compared to what I purchased so many years ago. Also, I'm happy I broke down what I purchased and shared with my sis and two neices, I couldn't imagine trying to store it all! Lord knows I've more than enough to share some of it, LOL!

Anyways, the studio is beginning to come back together... I took down the majority of the Baby Shower decorations. I do want to save them..... I'm thinking Amber may desire to hang on to them. Maybe I'll create her a covered photo box for small keepsakes and include these in them.

I've done some thinking about creating my Grandma's album for the baby..... I'm sort of torn between two product lines --- Melissa Frances and the Wild Asparagus --- heck, maybe I'll simply combine the two as I love them both!

Friday, April 14, 2006

I looked through a few idea books yesterday for inspiration for using my Anna Griffin stamps more. I noticed in the Creative Cards 1 & 2, you can definately tell those who primarily scrapbook and those who are stampers, LOL! Although, there is still a lot of inspiration in both areas. I did managed to create two pages of sketch ideas to experiment with further.

I also re-discovered a book I'd purchased with a lot of good techniques that could be used in almost any style of paper arts artwork. It is "Deluxe Techniques" book by Katherine Brooks and put out by Deluxe Designs. Sort of reminds me of the Autumn Leaves Series... I think it will come in helpful for ideas of things to do and try out.

Today, I plan to figure out what's for dinner, do some light housework, and head out to the studio and begin in on the re-organization. At least get the piles sorted completely and put them away! I want to get started on finishing up the ATC with a Twist {technique swap} so I can get it in the mail early.... then beginning working in the two Art Idea journal RR once again. Hopefully, I can get these completed and only make one trip to the P.O. My next big project is to begin on an SB album for my grandchild and work on some ATC's and cards in between.

Well, I'm off of here --- time to get up outta this chair and greet the day! {*waves*}

Thursday, April 13, 2006

This is the inside of the "Small Things" Card. I love lining the inside of my cards with an additional sheet of paper. {It is centered in real life, I cut of part of the scan...} To add some additional visual interest, I use yet another Anna Griffin stamp to stamp the border along the bottom.

Small Things....

Inspired using the Anna Griffin stamps, I created this card. I love the soft quality the Colorbox Chalk inks provide with these images. The quote stamp is a PSX stamp.

Anna Griffin Stationery Set

Tonight I created this Anna Griffin Stationery Set. I've been desiring to create one of these for some time and the reality is that it turned out better than I ever imagined!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I'm planning to quickly pick up around the house today. Sweep the kitchen & bathroom, vacaum the living room and begin some laundry. I need to clean off the little table next to my computer stand where I worked on the journal RR and put those supplies on top of the hutch base so they'll be within easy reach for Theresa's and Susanne's.

I also believe I'm heading out to the studio to finish up the re-organization of the boxes of supplies Don & I took out.... I did begin sorting them and have little piles here and there, LOL!
I really need to get this done as I have tools that I need and there are not in one centralized location and that drives me nuts when I want something and have to spend more time looking for it. That is IF Don isn't too restless as it is his day off and almost always throws me off!

I really want to get out into the studio and back to creating daily..... but I know in my heart that the re-organization will assist me with being more productive.... now if only I can get to actually doing it in my schedule. Hopefully, before the new grandbaby arrives as Amber is 37 weeks along now.......

Here is the finished page for Yogi's journal. I wasn't aware that she not only loves frogs but mushrooms, too. This is created card style with the instructions and little hints and tips that I use inside. There is also another surprise inside but I won't spoil it for her, ah......... the suspense!

Feeling pleased with myself.....

after I set the goal to get to Yogi's journal ASAP and diligently began working on it immediately. While Don worked the other evening, I got the Whimsical Writing pages began... penciled the letters, created the spaces, colored the lettering in, and even got the Odorless paint thinner applied.

The next morning, I added the platinum marker, outlined with a black pen, and added the random dots for visual interest and movement. As I was working, I decided not to make my entries into Yogi's journal double-sided so that she'd be able to have the instructions and the examles side by side. She is amazing at lettering herself so I'm certain she'll enjoy something of this nature. Anyways, I was able to finish up her journal, get everything done with the sign in, page #'s, added to the package with Linda C's journal and sent out! I am so stoked! I don't think I've ever worked in a journal so fast and yet loved the results as fast I did this one, LOL!

I, also, managed to make it into WalMart and back out in... get this..... less than 5 minutes. I only needed two padded mailing envies, and while getting in the check out line, a self-check beside me was empty..... whoo-hooo! in and out! I addressed the envy on the way to the P.O. inserted all the goodies for Rebecca's RAK and sealed it shut.

Once at the P.O. I filled out the two Priority Mail labels for Vicky's packages, grabbed a couple extras, filled out the customs form for Rebecca's, and left $15 lighter but happy with my accomplishments.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Feelin' Froggie?

ROFLOL! I created this by printing off a coloring book page and using my window this a.m. as a lightbox to trace it onto a sheet of heavier cardstock. Once traced, I colored the image in with Prismacolored Pencils and used Mona Lisa Odorless Paint Thinner to blend the colors and to prevent wax bloom. This image will be added to one of the Art Idea Journal RR's as the owner of the journal loves frogs! This will accompany my Whimsical Writing pages along with a coordinating caption, "Feelin' Froggie? Leap on these instructions!"

I'm certain Yogi's gonna love it!

I'm not sure where all this energy is coming from, but I must admit I'm lovin' it! Yesterday, I managed to get my winter coats in one large storage container with room to add the few remaining one's Don & I decided not to pack up just yet, and Don took that one upstairs to be stored. Then, I tackled some of my heavier sweaters, leaving out a few lightweight ones and my sweatshirts. Gotta have my sweatshirts! I was really in no mood to be cleaning out closets so after working a bit, I moved the tote to the other side of the room and cleaned up. I will begin working on it once again when I feel inspired to do so; thinking even if it I work on it a little bit at a time, it will get done.

Next, I checked on the pulled pork that I'd been craving that I put into the crockpot on low the evening before. Decided I really wanted some potatoe salad and devilled eggs to go with the sandwiches we'd have later in the day, so I began to work making both and washing up dishes from breakfast and those I was using as I went along. I had to run out and help Don move the garage door panels as he was power washing them off and my darn potatoes boiled over, so I cleaned the entire stove top once I was finished.

After finishing that up, I went to assist Don with the power washing and figured since we had the powerwasher out, he may as well pull the Cherokee around and I began washing the outside of it as he finished the garage door panels. Donnie and his co-worker showed up around noon after finishing up another job and got started on the carport. I cannot get over how much of an improvement it is already as the got one entire wall off and replaced and some sections of the garage door hung. The parts for the garage door that we'll be replacing will be here today or tomorrow and Don is also purchasing a garage door opener. The boys should be back today, working on the opposide side and doing what they can until everything else falls into place. Donnie will also be finishing up the soffit on the house, carport, and garage and capping three windows on the front of our home and one in the back that has yet to be done. We were able to save ourselves over $600 using the pre-existing garage door taken out from the exterior wall of my studio so we are now considering siding the carport as well so it will be entirely finished!

After playing a bit with Chaos to quiet him down from all the "strangers" that are around, I made up a late lunch for us. It wasn't long thereafter that I sort of fell out on the loveseat for a couple of hours. I believe waking up at 5 a.m. caught up with me, LOL!

Upon awakening, I checked the mail and 3 of the Art Idea Journals had arrived, so I sat poured over the amazing artwork in each of them. I cannot get over the fact that even though most of us are re-creating the same techniques in each journal how different each one is! Amazing stuff in there and I cannot wait to get mine back and actually have sometime to experiment and re-create some of these for my own artwork.

Christi was able to work in one of the journals prior to sending them, so I repackaged the box I had ready to send to Vicky as she has now returned from visiting family. I decided to avoid bomboarding her with all the journals at once and to keep them safe and sound to break them down to 2 journals per Priority Mail box. I labelled them Box 1 and Box 2 and adding in a post-it note to each box for the order for them to be worked on. I'm hopeful this will help her out.

After Don arrived home, he informed me he'll be opening the store today as Shane had some personal things to be done. So, I figured I'd begin on Yogi's pages to be added to her journal, hoping I can get it finished up this a.m. since I cannot sleep. I started on her pages last night and managed to get the Whimsical Writing Alphabet done in pencil, the larger sections and loops created and filled in with colored pencil and the Odorless Mineral Spirits applied to them. Next, is the shadowing and the outlining..... which I need to determine if the supplies are in the house or were moved to the studio the other day so I can continue working on them.

I need to make a trip to WalMart later this afternoon to purchase a couple padded envelopes --- one for Rebecca's RAK --- I enclosed so much stuff the one I intended to use won't allow the items to fit, LOL! and one for the upcoming ATC with a Twist Technique Swap that I'll finish later. I'm thinking if I can finish up in Yogi's journal, I will mail both boxes today along with Rebecca's RAK. This will provide me with some time to work in the remaining two journals...... finish up the ATC swap and have them ready to go postal once again in the next week and a half.

Once I finish these 3 Art Idea Journals that are currently in my possession, I'll have 4 more to work in! So, we are in the downhill slide on seeing this large project throught to completion. This has got to be by far one of the greatest swaps I have ever participated in. The communication has been simply outstanding even if we've all encountered some delays in one way or another. I'd do a swap with any of these ladies again in the future --- just not the very near future, LOL! Lord knows I've enough to do for a while, ROFLOL!

That's my game plan anyways...... then, I should be in great shape to begin the 3 book covers and bindings. Kristy is working on her pages as an illness interferred, which is actually working out better for me providing me with some time to complete the previous obligations that I've made.

My intention after that is to get the studio back in order. I've been thinking about it and have decided to purge through some of my supplies, making up some goodies for my dd to use and getting rid of some magazines to make room for those that are more me and my style now. I've a few people in mind who may want them.

Well, off to work on the art idea journal so I can possibly avoid another trip to the P.O. later this week. I'm looking forward to working on these pages...... the coffee's brewing, the house is quiet and I can relax and create! What could be better? ....maybe a moment to enjoy the sunrise!

Monday, April 10, 2006

What a beautiful day!

The sun is shining and the skies are true blue....... I woke up early this a.m. ~ about 5-ish..... browsed online at 2P's, posting compliments on the Stamping gallery. Quickly checked in with one online group a few minutes ago after fixing Don & I some breakfast consisting of sausage & eggs. Gotta have something on my belly before the 20mg prednisone. I'm simply grateful that when I took it yesterday, I wasn't overly hungry as it can sometimes make me wanna eat everything in sight and what isn't in sight!

Ahhh, today's agenda...... to take the big tote in to the laundry/nursery and start cleaning out that closet. It is supposed to be in the 60's today so later this afternoon, I'm thinking of washing up and detailing the Jeep. Lord knows it could use it!

Don is getting antsy already.. running around doing this and that. Sometimes he amazes me with the energy he has! and other times I wish he'd slow down a bit. He's awaiting the arrive of Donnie, to get started on the carport, I believe.

Well, time to get started................

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Well, I did it! Got my living room spring cleaned as well! {big smiles}... I also took the sweeper and using the attachments tackled the hallway where Chaos's crate is at the opposite end and swept up all his dog hair! Even though brushing and using the shedding comb on him, helps keep it out of the house somewhat. I had to laugh at myself when I thought, why did I have to get a "black" lab? Why not a Golden Retriever, at least the blonde hair wouldn't be so noticable, LOL! Poor Chaos-y....

Around that time, Don came in requesting my help outside. So, I dawned my yard work gloves and raked out under the three tall evergreens outside my studio. Well, one thing lead to another, and before I knew it, I'd raked out most of the leaves about 100 ft. back along the stockade fence that graces the west side of our acre of land! Since there is poison oak along the fence, we opted to use the riding lawn mover to mulch those leaves up. While Don worked on that, after washing myself up, I was sneaky and snuck off to the studio for a bit, LOL! I managed to empty the two boxes I had Don take out. I sorted my "clean" stamps from those that require cleaning, sorted my adhesives, embellishments, and ribbons into piles to be tackled later. All my ink pads, liquid adhesives such as modge podge, PVA, paints, ect. did make it back into the stamp cabinet!

After Don was done mowing, he came in search of me, more like "checkin' up on me", LOL! He was even impressed that I managed to get as much as I did within the studio done! I continued working while he showered and got cleaned up so we could run out to Meijer's for a some l plastic totes.

Once at Meijer's I purchased 3 totes, 2 medium size and 1 large size. I choose these lilac purple ones, figuring I could use them for our grandchild's toys, ect. later on. For now, they'll be used to store some our coats, heavier winter sweaters. Sometime within the next week or so, I plan to begin working on cleaning out both closets and our dressers ---- packing away the things we won't be needing too much longer. Of course, I'm no dummy and know to leave a few of the lighter weight sweaters out and at least one winter coat out for a bit. Up until about mid-May, you just never know when you'll need one.

I, also, thought that since I was there at Meijer's, I may as well go ahead and get some groceries... getting that knocked out of the way. $70.00 lighter, we headed home! Don helped me get groceries put away, dinner consisting of hot dogs, Bush's Baked beans, some cheddar pasta veggies, potatoe chips and chip dip. Believe it or not, it was yummy! Something light and not too much.

So all in all, I'm proud of myself! and I don't feel the least bit guilty about the time I've spent on the computer, or will spend re-reading and looking at my SS Take Ten magazine again! :)
I'm not exactly sure where all this motivation came from but I'm for taking advantage it! I've been cleaning for a couple hours now.... my bathroom sparkles and smell great! {even if there is a hint of bleach and windex!}

After sweeping the kitchen & bath, I scrubbed the bathroom floor on my hands and knees, getting into all the corners where the dust bunnies and Chaos's hairballs like to hide.

While the floor dried, I decided I needed to clean my computer amoire out from all the debries that I so loving place there. I cleaned the computer amoire, my computer, dusted the top and all sides. Seeing it finished and cleaned, I got inspired next to attack the table nearby, then the hutch, wash the windows, dust the mini-blinds........ and before I knew what was actually happening, this side of my living room is Spring Cleaned!!!

Don even carried out a couple boxes of art supplies out to the studio for me, and I made yet another pile out on the breakfast bar that I intend to take out in just a bit. I figured I've made it this far, why quit now? I figure it will only take about an half hour to spring clean the opposite side! {I'm going in, wish me luck!}

While cleaning, I noticed having a clean home is one of the things that I love most. I can enjoy having all the things that I love surrounding me and I suddenly became very grateful! Grateful that I have a home that needs cleaning (esp. in light of some of the devastion we seen throughout our world lately!)

I, also, thought I'd like to sit and write down on a piece of paper some of the things I'm grateful for beginning today so that I create the pages for my gratititude journal and maybe bind them simply in some way by months to reflect back upon.

Ok, break times over........ gotta get back to work.........
Today's agenda.... hmmm.......

Don is working on cleaning up around the house and outside... he's beginning to make me feel a bit guilty; just a wee bit...... as he's been working diligently around our home. So no-one begins to think I'm entirely lazy, lol, I have managed to do a few things.

* Checked my email
* Sent a couple of replies
* Washed and am now drying a load of laundry

Chaos is outside, hopefully he'll calm down a bit and enjoy this warm, sunny day. He experiences "separation anxiety" when we initially chain him up to keep out from under our feet. I really have no idea of where to begin my day....... there is so much to be done --- inside and outside of our home. My mind says, "pick a room" but my heart says, "Escape to the Studio!" ROFLOL! I'm thinking I'll do a bit of cleaning, picking up, dusting, vacuaming ---- yep, the boring stuff! so that I can spend a couple "guilt-free" hours creating something later!

Don mentioned taking a ride back to Prism's Art Supply later so I can pick up some of the paper I desired to look at yesterday..... but I'm thinking if I'm really good and not spending $$$ and use what I have on hand maybe I'll treat myself to some "coveted" art supply or some organization items later. Logic says, wait until you re-organize before buying but my impulsive nature says buy now and figure it all out later, LOL! So, I'll wait........ dreaming about the desired goodies as I clean.......... { *be back later* }
Don arrived home as I was attempting to enclose Rebecca's RAK's into a padded envy only to get a bit discourage when they wouldn't fit, LOL!

Yesterday was such a gorgeous day, a little on the cooler side but the sun was shining and it certain beat being out from under all the recent tornado watches! I did something I've never done......... put Chaos on his lease, took him out to potty, and allowed him into my studio. He was fairly good, only chewing up one tag, LOL! He loves to chew paper so I was oh so ever watchful. His nose was going a hundred miles an hour as he checked out the studio before getting distracted by a toy I'd thought to bring along. After putting together some things for Rebecca's RAK's, I put Chaos on his lead by the tree in our yard and headed inside to finish up there.

Don was antsy when he arrived so we decided to head down to Powell, OH. The ride was nice, not too much traffic. We stopped into M's where I picked up a few things in the $1 spot, a couple sheets of printed paper, some small colored brads that were on sale, and SS Take Ten issue. Next, we drove to Prism's Art Supply... only to arrive as they were closing. Stampland was also closed so we headed to Scrapbook Art where I picked up some Wild Asparagus double sided cardstock, some ribbon, and a few diecuts. I browsed both M's & SB Art in search of baby themed items for an Album for my soon-to-arrive grandchild.... although once again, I decided to wait it out for the determined sex of the baby. We drove to Lonestar on St. Rt. 161 for a delicious steak dinner before returning home and I devoured SS Take Ten for dessert.

I recognized some of my online friends name in this issue....... Congratulations, Ladies! I think about creating some cards for the Stamper's Sampler and the Take Ten issues from time to time but life seems to somehow interfere with those intentions. Maybe one day....... Anyways, I really enjoyed this issue..... so many cool stamped images I'd love to have, design ideas, use of colors I wouldn't normally imagine to use together. Definately inspiring!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

This is the Card Set with the envelope..... how could I simply leave it blank?

In the event that anyone desires to know, the stamps are Anna Griffin's from All Night Media. The printed paper is K&Co. I used Colorbox Chalk ink and Bazill Sweetheart cardstock.

Inside of the card..... I've since handwritten a little note, "Thanking her" for "inspiring" me!

A card and enclosure I designed.

Random Act of Kindness for Rebecca.....

When I offered to RAK Rebecca {a member of one of the groups I participate in} some microscope slides and tape to experiment with, I never realized by blessing her, I was truly blessing me! I had such a fun time putting together this fun little package!

I love little "Surprises"

Who knew when I offered to RAK some microscope slides to Rebecca that I'd enjoy packaging them up so much and creating a few additional things to enclose? I am certain she'll love receiving these "little things" as much as I enjoyed creating them for her!
Since I'm on the subject of little things, my intentions today are to go get dressed, get outside to bask in a moment of feeling the sunshine upon my face as I make my way out into the studio to gather up the microscope slides and supplies for Rebecca. I've had an idea for this in mind and really want to expand it on it a bit further. I don't want to say too much more, in the event that she may happen to stumble upon this post, LOL! but I promise I'll it soon.

I've a few other ideas in mind while I'm in the studio that I've been desiring to do so I may actually get to working on one or two. My other goal is to find a stamp I've put somewhere that I desire to use on the ATC with a Twist Swap and tackle a few of the things I didn't get to yesterday and simply enjoy the moments of doing....... so until next time.......... {*waves*}

"Little Things" from a friend......

My dear friend, Patty stopped by last night for a few minutes to surprise me with a small sentiment! I love both her and the gift she gave me.... this tiny little book! She knows I love these little books and have several that I've collected. I cannot tell you what it is about them but I think they are absolutely adorable --- just one of those things that makes my heart get warm fuzzies all over. She even bookmarked a page that truly spoke to her within it so I left the bookmark there to ponder more its meaning, as it was a powerful quote.

I believe part of the attraction to these little books is that they are a constant reminder for me to truly CHERISH "the little things" in life. The sweetest songs of the birds singing in the mornings, discovering one of my hiacynths is beginning to bloom in my front yard, to cherish the kisses Chaos bestowes upon me in the morning {even when all I want is a little more sleep!}, the kindness of a stranger, a smile from a child........ It's all those "little things" that really make life so worthwhile!

One of the things on my ever-growing list of to create, is to create another gratitude journal. Patti has inspired me to do exactly that and I just discovered the perfect title, "The Little Things". Now that I'm thinking about it, I'll have to create two...... one to gift her back! Anyways, this little quote stuck out at me while reading the book......... "The wonder of living is held within the beauty of silence, the glory of sunlight.... the sweetness of the spring air, the quiet strength of earth, and the love that lies at the very root of all things." I may have to use for an intro for those gratitude journals......... {smile}
Don's mood wasn't as bad as I had expected; in fact, he actually surprised me with his calm, cool reserve re: the telephone issue! I was out in the studio beginning to gather up and package up the microscope slides to RAK to Rebecca when he appeared.

I didn't get a whole lot of what I originally planned to accomplished yesterday as I suddenly became slightly nauseated and just overall ill feeling and very tired. It just came over me very quickly and lasted most of the day. I believe it may be related to the Prednisone I'm taking since cleaning up the yard, raking and trimming a bush that was full of what I'm thinking is poison oak. By the next day, I had an red, angry looking welt that itched to high-heaven right behind my right knee and has since spread to my calf, and a spot on my left knee. Probably from the position I've been sleeping in... and not very well at all since obtaining this awful stuff. Between fighting off the overall feeling of being nauseated and very sleepy, all I want to do is sleep and eat; even on the queasy stomach. Yesterday, I finished the last of the MethylPREDNIsolone pack and still yet have the poison ivy/oak on my leg, so once our telephone service was restored I got on the telephone to call the Dr. for 20mg of Prednisone --- hopefully, only a few doses will clear this messy stuff up! I'll definately be eating a bit of something or drinking some milk to coat my stomach prior to taking this and I can just about write off the weight loss...... I know I've gained at least 5 lbs. of it back since taking this steroid. FUN! I'll definately be working out more once this is all said and done to get back on track... I was happy and pleased with myself for loosing the weight, now I'm back to square one... but at least I've got a good attitude about it! {smile} I know I can do it! Smaller meals, healthier foods, less eating out or at least smaller portions when we do!

This morning I've been lounging lazily at the computer, checking emails, sending replies, posting in a few groups, browsing online, catching up on a few blogs, following blog links..... these things are so addicting! I love getting a glimpse into the personal lives of others and the inspiration that is out there is unbelievable!!!! Like I really need more, LOL! and my lists of "to do" and "to be done" and "desire to create" isn't long enough......

Friday, April 07, 2006

OMG! Don is fit to be tied!

If you've been trying to reach us via the telephone you'll understand. On March 30th, Don took a check out to our local phone mart to be applied to our bill and discovered yesterday morning that our telephone service has been "temporarily interrupted". This is the second month in a row that this has happened to us... pay the bill, the service gets turns off anyways. Last month we even got socked with a re-connection fee of $58.00!!!! Anyways, there was a difference of $40.00 between the March 30th payment and the actual bill since they slapped us with the reconnect fee. So after talking with a service representative on another phone, he goes out to the phone mart last night with all the necessary information --- check #, date written, the amount, the receipt......... and spends an hour trying to get the mess straightened out and to give them another check for the additional $40.00. Having to be at work at 6 p.m. further complicated things as half of the hour was spent when one Verizon employee who was trying to work in our favor to resolve the issue was verbally attacked by the other Verizon employee, so the phone mart employee spends the other 1/2 hour talking with the others supervisor. Needless to say, Don wasn't happy at all!

He was able to figure out that the "payment" we made was supposedly applied to another telephone number within my studio that we had disconnected several months prior. Hello!!!!! What is the problem here? The darn telephone numbers have always been on the same bill. To add more insult to the injury, the telephone number in question is hooked to a fax machine and has never used for anything else. It is a classic case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing........ and the phone mart employee informed Don that we are not the only people being effect by it. Having to be at work, Don needed to leave before the issue was resolved and being a bit pissed off, he said, "Call me, if you need anything!" upon departing, LOL! after they tried to get him to write yet another check to clear up their mess! No way, hosea!

Well, this morning he is gone again once more to the phone mart to straighten this mess up. I cannot believe it has been over an hour already and he still isn't home nor is the phone working. Sheeeshhhhhhh........ maybe it is time to look for a new telephone provider!

After attempting to telephone my daughter to see when she's planning to come over and discovering there is still no service to the telephone, I've decided I'm heading out to the studio to begin rounding up the agenda I'd originally had planned for yesterday and hopefully, I can stay out of the line of fire as I know my man...... he isn't going to be the happiest camper!

I did manage to read my emails, post a few comments in a group and on 2P's message board this a.m. I also sat down and typed up my "Walnut, Lumiere, Acrylic Glaze Technique" for the ATC with a Twist swap and get all of those printed out to be adhered to the backsides of the ATC's. Now to create 1 ATC to finish up the other 4:4 ATC Swap {the one I'm behind on}, gather up the microscope slides for Rebecca, get both ready for the P.O., then, check out the handmade papers I have to cover the book boards for the Fat, Chunky Book swap so if I need to I can purchase some on Sunday while at the Art Supply Store. I may even cut the chipboard down to size so that will be one more thing out of the way. I'm hopeful to begin working on the Art Idea Journals tonight when Don is at work and get all these things underway.

I did check the database in the Art Idea Journal RR group and the Loose Pages Tracker to see where my journal is and the progress that has been made with it. I was surprised to see that there are 6 more participants to work in it and my baby will home! Maybe this won't take as long as I originally anticpated!

Well, I'm outta here........... going to go play and pray, I can keep my light-hearted mood going after Don arrives home... I just know it's going to be "one of those days!" Hopefully, not! Anyways, I'll try to check in after bit, possibly with some fresh artwork to share..... I'm dying to get creative!!!!! { *tootles* }

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Well, I had "Good Intentions"....

I thought I had my day all planned out, knowing what I desired to accomplish, and what happened? I completely forgot about a previous commitment I made with my DD to assist her with separating and getting the baby's clothes in the dresser. We were also going to go through what she'll desire to pack up to be used later along with making it accessible when she needs it. So, Amber shows up just about the time I'm ready to head out to the studio; so much for "good intentions", LOL! At least, I tried.

Anyways, Amber had just had her first weekly checkup --- the one that says we're getting closer! Upon her pelvic exam, she's already becoming effaced and is 1 cm dialated. Now, I'm wondering if she'll if even make it to the first date the Dr.'s set of April 22nd, let alone May 2nd. The baby's head is now fixed in the pelvic area and Mother Nature's taking her own course.

Anyways, Amber & I spent the entire day together. First, sorting, sizing, putting away baby clothes. Then, she had to show me some additional gifts she's received after the baby shower. We looked through the baby shower pictures she recently got back from the developers, chatted, laughed, and had a great lunch. She noticed she seemed to catch me off guard this a.m. and asked about my plans for the day, offering to let me go so I could do what I desired, however, I declined.

Then, we decided to go shopping! She needed to return a few things: her wet wipe warmer came packaged without something ... a moist pack? and a package of baby bottles since she's intending to breastfeed and is using the Avent system. Since she's been unable to work throughout this pregnancy, I asked her if there was anything else she needed as I know $$$ has been tight for two of them. So, we made a short list of things and headed out to actually shop!

First, we exchanged the items for a gift card then proceeded shopping. Trial size bottles of bath and beauty items for her hospital bag, film for my camera --- hey! I remembered!, a baby girl outfit ---- for the baby to come home in as she had a boy one but not one for a girl. She also needed a waterproof matress pad to go over the cover and a few waterproof pads for her crib.

Upon arriving back at my house, she put her arms around me and said, "Mom, Thank you and Baby Saunders Thanks You, too." I could feel the tears swell up in my eyes as I told her she was so "Welcomed". We chatted for a bit and she said since I'd given up my plans to help her today, she'd come over tomorrow and hang out in the studio with me for a bit. It was time well-spent! and the ATC's and microscope slides to be RAK'd, the Art Idea Journals I'd intented to begin upon will all be there when I am. {Smiles}
Don worked outside last night to get ready for the carport remodel and today will be going to get the materials to get started. I spoke with my brother, Keith, last night on giving us an estimate for the footers and concrete for the garage door to actually sit upon. Donnie is also sending a buddy over to provide us with an estimate but I didn't figure it would hurt to have my brother look at what we're planning to do and give us an idea of the costs involved so we wouldn't get ripped-off in the process of it all.

While Don worked outside, I spent some time indoors figuring out where I am at with artwork swaps and RR's. I really needed to get these things into perspective before I go and bite off more than I can chew!

Here's my completed list:
The Music of the Heart Swap - I should be receiving it within the next week or two as it is being mailed returned from Nova Scotia.

I'm working on:
* One 4:4 ATC Trade - which I have one ATC to create to finish up.

* ATC Swap with a Twist - This is a Technique Swap. I have my ATC's cut and the backgrounds created. I've several ideas for the stamping part just need to decide which to create so I'm experimenting with a two to see which I like the best.

* The Fat, Chunky Book Swap - 6 Book Covers to Create for binding 3 Books.

* An Art Idea Journal RR - began in March of 2005 with 17 participants, and we're currently approximately 3/4 of the way completed; I've 3 ready to be mailed and 3 arriving very shortly; in fact they should be mailed today!

* 1 RAK - microscope slides and foil to Rebecca

The RAK and ATC Swap will completed today and mailed by this week's end. I'm heading to the studio in just a bit so I can package these up and get to the P.O. ASAP to knock them out of the way.

I've 3 Art Idea Journals finished up and am waiting on the return of one girl's vacation to send them onto. I thought about bypassing her to the next participant on the list, however, she's some to mail out and two waiting to be worked on so I decided maybe it's best to wait. The next on the list is one the 2nd is mailing to so......... we're log-jammed once agian but I am certain with this group of ladies we can break out of this cycle!

I took a few moments this morning to look at the database for the journals I'll be receiving and made notes of the page sizes being used so that I can start on them before I actually receive them in just a few days. Two of the journals are "do-able"; (if that is a word!) and the 3rd, I'll have to wait to recieve before working on as the pages are listed in cm's and I'm not the greatest at conversions, LOL! Anyways, I decided I'll begin working and hopefully, completing one of those tonight and tomorrow and get going on the other one right after. By then, I should have actually received the Art Idea journals and can look at Suzanne's page sizes and begin with it.

The way I'm figuring it with housework, Chaos's training, an out of town trip to an art supply store on Sunday, I should be able to have all 3 journals completed by the end of next week and be able to get them postal once again.

From there, my focus is on finishing up the ATC with a Twist Technique swap since it is small and half-way completed. Since it a smaller project, I could possibly finish it up by the end of next week, if needed. I'm awaiting the Due Date for this one.

That will free me up to focus all my attention on creating the book covers and working on the bindings and provide one participant enough time to finish her pages; they should be arriving shortly thereafter. So, the timing is all beginning to come together and coincide with the grandbaby's soon-to-be-here arrival.


As far as the studio re-organization, I've decided to tackle it a little bit at a time. First, I plan to gather up all the supplies I'll need to complete all the above projects --- not too big of a task as I'm knocking out 2 of them today; and 2 are already done! I just need to get the supplies for creating the bookcovers and my bookbinding supplies accessible and all in one central location.

I am not signing up for anymore swaps for a bit, but did make some suggestions for artwork to be completed on a work at your own pace type of style. This will allow me to be creative why organizing, as long as I remember to clean up thoroughly when I work. That is something I to practice at ---- a lot!!!! LOL!

Well, I'm off of here..... time to get bathed, dressed, and head out to the studio so I can accomplish some of this. In the event that you don't hear from me, maybe send me a reminder regarding what I am supposed to be doing! Hmmm, wonder what I can throw in the crockpot?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Feeling much better now.....

after my vent and taking it out on my kitchen cabinets, LOL! My mom always said a good time to clean is when you're feeling frustrated and man, was she ever right! After I finished cleaning up a mess Chaos created, I tackled several of the kitchen cabinets. You see, he has this thing where if one of us, Don or I either one, is outside he has to either be with us or is peeking his nose out the window. Well, yesterday and again today, he decided to jump up and put his front paws on our outdoor patio bar set in front of the big window in our kitchen and in the process knocked over a huge pot containing my Philodendrin {sp.?} plant. I placed the plant there some time ago as it is poisonous to dogs, it would be up high enough he couldn't reach it, yet it would get plenty of indirect sunlight. Unfortunately, what I didn't plan on was him growing so quickly, LOL! Anyways, the mess is cleaned up, the plant has been re-potted and moved to another location.

Since I was in the kitchen anyways, I decided it was time to re-arrange and clean out some of my kitchen cabinets. I started with my baking cabinet, reorganizing it, tossing anything outdated. Next, I hit two other cabinets....... removing little bits of this and that out of the boxes, bags, ect. they were packaged in and put them into smaller baggies and ziplocks. Anything stale or outdated got pitched. Man, I certainly feel better!!!!!

Works in progress.....

Seems to be a re-occuring theme in my life. It seems like there is always something going on. So much that needs dones, only so much $$$ and time to do it in..... and just when you think you've got it all figured out... along comes something else.

On Sunday, Don and I went over to Home Depot and purchased 4 more boxes of Pergo Laminate wood flooring to finish up our living room. We get down to only 3 more boxes and the underlayment to purchase yet; hopefully before it goes off 20% off sale on May 3rd. Then, we realize that we'll also need 2 rolls of underlayment foam as well. While talking about the flooring, we noticed that we'll also need 6 - 4' x 8' subflooring sheets/boards so that the flooring is level with what is already laid in the kitchen and bath. Okay, I'm fine with this......... but.......

What does Don go and do? Why contact another contractor regarding an estimate for the carport! Now, his focus has shifted. No matter how many times I seem to repeat myself saying, "Let's focus on one project at a time." he always seems to have other ideas. I truly do not care what gets done... the flooring, the carport, or whatever but please don't bog me down with all of it at once!

While Don is figuring out how to get his carport done, my flooring project is back on hold. This will actually work out better for me...... as the weather warms up, the April rains come and go.... so that I can focus on getting some of these things that need moved out of our way... like the patio furniture being moved back outside onto the deck. Heck, I even thought about how can I slide a couple of gallons of paint into our budget so I can begin on the kitchen painting while these things are out of our way saving us from having to move them ump-teen million times, LOL! Then, I remembered that I desired to get back to the studio re-organization and to creating the art I love. I sit and wonder how long would it actually take to paint the kitchen, what supplies do I have to do it, what would I need to purchase, what other projects do I have going on, ect. and decide --- now isn't the time for me to be tackling the kitchen painting. I find myself eating my own words, "Let's focus on one thing at a time!"

Then, I begin to wonder what he'll decide to do with all the stuff that is in the carport while he re-does the outside walls and has the garage door installed. A lot of it is store fixtures that I purchased when planning to open my own rubber stamp store so they'll definately need to be moved out of the way when it dawns on me that most likely they'll end up in the studio I'm planning to re-organize.

So, instead of moving what is in my home out into the studio to be organized, I now sit and wonder what do I need inside so I can work on creating the artwork that I love. I also wonder, "Why is nothing ever as simple as you'd like it to be? "

Maybe, I should just forget the re-organization, gather up what I'll need to finish up what I've got started with the bookbinding swap- the ATC swap - the Art Idea Journal RR and hell, maybe I'd even feel better if I would go paint my kitchen red! ROFLOL!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Fat, Chuncky Book Swap.. and other Artful Adventures

I'm hosting a Coptic stitched book swap in a group with 2 other ladies and it is coming along. I've my pages contributions created and have received one package and am waiting for another as she works to finish her's up. There's no rush on this.... just the anticipation to see what each of us came up with the theme, "Secret Pathways, Doorways, and Portals". It promises to be a great swap and one I'm certain each of us will treasure. I've some ideas in mind regarding papers and techniques to be used in creating the book covers so I plan to begin working on them soon.

I am currently caught up with the Art Idea Journals and have 3 in my possession while I wait for the person I send them onto to return from Florida where she is visiting her parents, I believe. I've got them packaged up and ready to go to the P.O. The person who sends to me has two more in her possession, so receiving those is something to look forward to in the weeks ahead. This is perfectly fine with me as it will allow me some time to get some of the studio re-organization completed as time allows.

I also signed up for a smaller swap within a group of friends for an ATC Technique Swap. So far, I've my bases created.... need to add some stamped artwork or a design to them, type up the technique to be placed on the back, sign them and get them sent off before the May 15th due date. Plenty of time within the next several weeks to work on them.

Speaking of ATC's --- I have completely forgotten that I owe 4 of them to one lady who so kindly sent 4 to me recently. Thankfully, I have some created in my stash, so I need to get my butt in gear and get them ready to be mailed along with a note of apology for taking so long to get those sent back out. There was some miscommunication involved which I'm certain contributed to my forgetfulness; although, I must get this on my to do list today!

I've been thinking of inviting a few friends over to scrapbook. I haven't scrapbooked in so long.... other than the few pages I created in Amber's album for her to add pictures to. SueAnn, an old friend and neighbor I had on Greenwood St. has began scrapbooking, and her dd, Nikki, who had a baby 9 months ago is scrapbooking. Patti, Sue's other dd, wants to get one started, and I was thinking maybe Amber would like to join us. I may make some telephone calls to see if they'd be interested in starting a scrapbook group where we'd get together on a regular schedule that would work for everyone. Patti has a pack and play playpen that we could set up within the space for the kids to play/sleep ect. while we work and play for a couple hours. I have so many reusable supplies, tools, and magazines for inspiration that aren't used as often as I'd like since I've made such an investment in them it would be great to see others benefit from them as well.

I'm hoping to work on the re-organization and get to creating some of the projects I've had on my "Artful - to create list" for quite some time. I'd love to get some cards, ATC's, and various other projects created to share and RAK as I work to fill up the spinner rack. I don't believe I'll start any other swaps for a while unless they are small as I mentioned a few ideas to get me motivated and back to creating within a group I've been a long time member of.

Some of the ideas I proposed:
* a book review --- taking a book from our Art Libraries and working through it chapter by chapter.
* completing one project a month from any magazine --- Somerset Studios or Stamper's Sampler
* starting a month "Sampler" in the fall where a theme would be determined and each artist creates whatever their heart desires for each participant who signed up that month and we rotate who hosts the swap exchanges. I for one am loving this idea! as it allows us the option of participating depending upon each of our personal schedules!

We'll see how the responses go....... so far what I've been reading any and all of these are feasible and are being received well.

Oops.... I made a mistake.......

In yesterday's post I stated Amber is 37 weeks along and last night discovered she's actually 36 weeks along! Our class taken on breastfeeding last night was very informative. Deb, the RN who taught the class was a great instructor and it is nice to know that she'll be available to assist Amber in the hospital as she embarks on this new journey during this time of her life.

I had to chuckle at the end of the class when Amber asked how much longer they prefer the baby to be carried... as the baby is still growing, dropping into the pelvic area and the discomfort is truly starting to begin. She wasn't too happy to hear they prefer the mother to carry to at least 38 weeks in order to prevent some of the respiratory problems newborns often experience. Although, she'll wait it out..... trusting Mother Nature knows best. She's so cute with her large belly and getting along great!

There were 3 other ladies in the class, one due on the same date as Amber, who is a lot smaller and who's hubby is stationed in Iraq. This is her, Amber's and one other woman's first pregnancy. One other young girl had her mom with her as well; and I thought it was great that she has a reliable support system in place already; and another lady who is expecting her 3rd child but was unsuccessful breastfeeding the first two yet desiring to try again. I was the only woman in the room who had breastfeed and actually weaned my child; so it was a positive experience being able to share some of what I learned along the way.

As we were leaving, the nurses were taking a few of the babies back in to be with their families so we actually got to see a few newborns which added to our anticipation. Today, I'm planning to get everything I will need gathered up and ready to go on a moments notice although I suspect we've a week or two yet and possibly longer! At Amber's baby shower, I guessed April 24th or 25th as the babies due date..... we'll see how close I come. {smiles}

Monday, April 03, 2006

The "Waiting Game" truly begins.. and other updates.

Amber is now considered "full-term" as today makes the 37th week of pregnancy! Chris will be putting their crib together one day this week while Amber begins decorating the nursery, doing yet another load of laundry of baby items not yet washed, packing her hospital bag, ect.

Which reminds me that I too need to begin to make some preparations as well --- a list of photographs I want to take, camera, film, batteries, $$$ and change for the cafeteria and vending machines, have some comfortable shoes and clothes laid out in the event that I may yet get one of those 2 a.m. telephone calls! With babies, you just never know when..........

Tonight, we, Amber & I, are going to a free breastfeeding class at the hospital from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. This is the second class Amber has attended there; the first was to fill out of some of the paperwork for pre-admission and release....... having some of this done and out of the way is said to help speed up the process.

Amber and Chris have already picked out and met with a pediatrician, Dr. Davis and Kathy Davis, M.D. - a husband and wife team, who will be visiting the hospital after the baby is born for a complete physical exam and to schedule curcumcision, in the event that it the baby is a boy... so we're now playing the waiting game. Amber was over yesterday and I noticed she's dropped, the baby is moving its head into position although her last Dr.'s visit informed us she's not quite "fixed" yet --- but maybe this week.

Don & I have been working as much as possible on Spring cleaning our yard. The recent rains have interferred a bit so we've been focusing once agian on the house. Yesterday, we made the trip to Ontario where we purchased 4 more boxes of Pergo Red Oak laminate planks, now bringing our total up to 7 of the 10 boxes required for the 12' x 16' section of our living room flooring. We spoke with a family friend regarding installing it and he will be by with an estimate for us, either today or ASAP. It will be a few a few weeks before we purchase the remaining 3 boxes but the good news is that it is on sale for 20% off until May 3rd so we've managed to save some $$$ in the process. We've almost gotten the Jeep repairs paid off and the hospital bills from Don's knee surgery are on a monthly payment schedule which is assisting us to focus once again on our home remodeling.

I'm thinking once the flooring is laid, the room will actually begin to come together more. For once in my life, I think I've made the right decision regarding this room by treating it as two separate areas once we are done. This room has been the hardest room within our home for me to know how to decorate and has been the most challenging due to being long and narrow room, 12' x 30' and containing its 3 separate doorways featuring our front outside entrance, the kitchen/bath area, and the hallway leading to the bedrooms at the opposite end.

Once we're able to move the patio furniture back outside, I'll be able to put the small wooden table back out in the kitchen in front of the window and the base to the hutch where the patio is currently. Once the flooring is installed, I think I'd like to move the loveseat and chair with one ottomen over to this side of the room, and begin the hunt for a small area rug and 2 endtables to purchase. I haven't decided if I want a coffee table or not yet, however I'm thinking it would be a better idea to purchase a 3 pc. set vs. trying to match it all up later on down the road! I'm also considering changing the existing ceiling fan and going with another ceiling lighting fixture....... but that isn't too pressing. Hopefully, creating this space on the west side of our living room will offer us a more intimate seating arrangement with a bit more of a formal feel in comparison to the opposite side of the room which will be more of an everyday relaxed atmosphere.

Once that is completed we'll probably focus on the carport --- getting the header and garage door in and the sides redone before we begin saving for carpeting for the living room and hall. In the meantime, we'll simply be making due with the existing carpet. The recliner and remaining ottomen will go back onto the carpeted area on the opposite side of the room. I'm undecided re: purchasing another recliner or maybe a couch....... I miss having a couch to stretch out on but I am also thinking with the large screen TV and the larger recliner, having a couch may just be too much in the remaining 14' x 12' space on that side of the room. Maybe another recliner with a endstand between them and putting the focus on the TV with a custom built entertainment center surrounding it would be the best way to go. The good news is, I've plenty of time to think about it before making any permanent decisions.

Between all of this, I'm desiring to re-focus my attention to the studio re-organization. Doing what I can in smaller chunks of time vs. trying to combat it all in swoop! I'm hoping to give it some attention, at least once a week even if it is only a few hours here and there. I'm mainly thinking organize first, then consider adding in the storage options I've decided upon. One additional item I'm considering is acrylic shelving for my wood mounted stamps to add to the slatwall. I've found some websites that we can purchase as little or as much as we desire as we can afford to add to it. We did price a small air conditioner yesterday, for less than $100, we can get a 5000 BTU that would allow me be in there during the hotter, summer months.......... now if I could only discover a $$$ tree and a time machine, LOL! We'd be in there!