Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

Wow, can you believe it? This is my second Christmas Day post. I have truly grown attached to my blog. It also encourages me to create and share my art and thoughts with you. My mom is hosting our Christmas festivities, that's why I had the whole day yesterday to play hooky with my hubby and kids. It was still kind of a dreary day so we went to our favorite Vietnamese restaurant and had Pho for lunch. Then we went to the movies to see The Hobbit. The theater was almost empty, I guess the crowd was at the mall or out of town. It was so wonderful to spend time with my family. It was the best Christmas present for me to have us all relaxed, laughing and just "hanging out". With my son off to college, I realize times like this will become more and more infrequent. My daughter is also growing faster than I can keep up. Although, I am sad to see her change from this sweet little girl to a tall and sassy teenager, I am also looking forward to see her as an adult. I look forward to seeing her outgrow this awkward stage (and out of basketball shorts) and see her blossom into a beautiful butterfly.

We opened presents last night and since the kids are bigger and they both asked for money, I really didn't shop much for them. However, I am a mom and I must wrap something...just anything. A couple of weeks ago, my daughter walked away from a sweat shirt hoodie she really liked at Zumiez because it was $50.00 and she'd rather have the money. So, she was very happy and excited to open her present to find the same sweat shirt (plus the money). I captured that look on her face and put it in my memory vault. She was surprised and grateful at the same time as she told me, "But mommy, I didn't get you anything." I assured her that she has. My son got a scarf, a really nice grown-up eel skin wallet with gift cards for food. They were both happy with their gifts and I received the best present of all, my family. I just sat there and absorbed all the blessings I couldn't wrap in fancy paper. I have so much and I am so very thankful.

I really like this Wondrous Wishes stamp set from the Holiday catalog. I find water coloring or coloring with markers or colored pencils very relaxing and therapeutic. And this time of the year, I really need to find time to take deep breaths and relax. That's why I just had to have this set - to color.

I used Aqua Painters with the Watercolor Wonder Crayons

Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): Teeny Tiny Wishes (Wood 115370 Clear 127802), Wondrous Wishes (Wood 126295 Clear 126297)
Paper: Be of Good Cheer DSP (126896), Card stocks in Gumball Green, Cherry Cobbler and Whisper White and Watercolor Paper (122959)
Ink: Classic Stampin' Pads in Basic Black (126980) and Cherry Cobbler (126966)
Accessories & Tools: Watercolor Wonder Crayons, Aqua Painters (103954), 1/2" Scallop Dots Ribbon in Cherry Cobbler (124138), Designer Ribbon Slides (127834), Punches in Modern Label (119849) and Word Window (119857) and Stampin' Dimensionals (104430)

Well, that's all for now. Merry Christmas to everyone!
Friday, December 21, 2012

Retired BNF Friday #18

It has been a very busy and full week for me. I am so thankful it's Friday. I am even more thankful that the world did not end today. I would like to share a card I made with a very old stamp set called Happiest of Holidays. This was the very first Christmas stamp set I purchased from Stampin' Up! October of 2005. I have been stamping ever since. Sometimes, I wonder what I'd do if I didn't read or do paper crafts to save me from completely having a nervous breakdown.

Oh well, it's definitely a rainy and blustery day. I have places to go, but I feel like staying in bed. I think I will, I so deserve a lazy day.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): Happiest of Holidays, Stampin' Around Jumbo Poinsettia, Holidays & Wishes
Paper: Card stocks in Chery Cobbler, Gumball Green and Whisper White
Ink: Classic Stampin' pads in Cherry Cobbler and Gumball Green
Accessories & tools: Border Lace and Extra Large Oval (119859), 3/16" Corner punches, Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), 3/16" Metallic Brads (119741).

Well, have a great weekend, everyone! Last three days before Christmas. I am ready!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Forty-Two Random Things

I used to not make a big deal out of birthdays, especially mine. But each year, as I have been going up in age, I realize the importance of celebrating my birthday and is a BIG deal! It is forty-two years ago today since I came into this world. I have too much to be thankful for and a day's post will not be enough to name them all. I also learned so many lessons and the one thing I have proven to be true time and time again is this: "This too, shall pass." Often, I get too wrapped-up in the moment and I allow myself to be completely consumed by a crisis, be it at work, at home, current events, health issues, worries about my family's future, or whatever it may be that I forget how every single thing is temporary. When I look back at the past forty-two years of my life...I have endured so many things and have had my heart broken too many times. Many people have disappointed me, hurt me and betrayed me. I have lost many jobs, moved too many times. I have had many ideas and thoughts. I have worried myself to death and have laughed myself to tears. I have been sad, lonely, angry, jealous, kind, and happy. I have lost many people I love through death, distance or simply moving on. I have said hello and goodbye many times. I have known sorrow and known what it's like to grieve. I have made many mistakes and broken many promises. I have suffered pain that I thought my heart would bust. I have also been so happy that I felt I could fly. I have been sick and healthy. And I can go on and on, the point of it all is that...I am still here, still kicking and enduring, laughing and crying, most of all - still living. I am still thinking and coming up with new thoughts while also remembering old ones. So, I put together 42 things about me or lessons I have learned. They are in no particular order, just whatever comes to mind.
  1. My children are my life.
  2. I find it hard to dislike someone who can make me laugh. I think funny is sexy.
  3. My husband makes me laugh.
  4. I work to live, not live to work. (need to work on this more)
  5. My mom is the most giving and kindest person I know. 
  6. I don't have best friends because I have my mom and sisters. 
  7. I don't like scary movies. 
  8. Everything in moderation is my rule when it comes to shopping, junk food, chocolates, alcohol and exercise.
  9. I must do something creative each weekend, that is my reward. 
  10. It took me a very long time to recognize how amazing I am. I wish I knew this in high school.
  11. Sometimes I'd catch myself missing my dad.
  12. A sincere "thank you" is always nice.
  13. I miss my grandparents. Not a day goes by that I don't think of them.
  14. I always find ways to improve myself. I am my best asset.
  15. You reap what you sow.
  16. Revenge is not necessary, same with blame.
  17. I don't own a house, but I have a home.
  18. I am not a religious person, but I do pray to Someone Up there. 
  19. I also talk to my dead grandparents.
  20. I must remember that life is a journey...and to enjoy the ride.
  21. I believe in savings. 
  22. I don't believe in decaf coffee. What's the point?
  23. Bacon is the number one reason why I don't understand vegetarians.
  24. I am homesick for my cousins.
  25. I still fall-in-love with my husband after two decades. 
  26. I can't dance. 
  27. My son is a very talented and awesome dancer. 
  28. My daughter has my twisted sense of humor. 
  29. I find my days too short for all the things I want to do and all the books I want to read. 
  30. I sometimes read the dictionary for fun. 
  31. I find it so hard to resist a good sale. 
  32. I dream of traveling more than I dream of owning a fancy home or cars.
  33. Being yelled at or disrespected by your kids hurt like hell.
  34. Being well dressed is a beautiful form of politeness.
  35. My clothes should be tight enough to show I am a woman and loose enough to show I'm a lady. 
  36. I want to be the kind of person I'd want to be friends with.
  37. How do people make it through life without a sister?
  38. Sometimes I have to cry and sob uncontrollably to explain how broken my heart is.
  39. I don't mind getting old(er). 
  40. I hate paying for something I can do myself.
  41. My favorite vegetable is eggplant.
  42. I am grateful for the people who broke my heart and even more grateful for my husband who made me whole again.

Well, that is it for now. Sorry, I got a little carried away in today's post. The stamps on this birthday card are not from Stampin' Up! I have been wanting to use them and thought what better time to than today, right? Have a wonderful week, everyone. Chores and errands await this birthday girl. 
Friday, December 14, 2012

Retired BNF Friday #17

I have been secretly struggling with something for a few weeks. It was literally stressing me out to the point that I was getting sick. Today, I finally decided to let it go. I believe that I have done everything I can think of to try to fix things. Now, the smartest thing to do for myself is move on and learn from it. One of my favorite books of all time is The Art of War by Sun Tzu. It has been my reference of strength since I was in my mid-twenties. A great warrior knows when to surrender, and I am doing just that. So, last night I managed to put together this card to cheer me up. As you can see, I used the retired stamp set Serene Snowflakes with the brand new In Colors and card stocks.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): Serene Snowflakes, Perfect Punches
Paper: Card stocks in Midnight Muse, Raspberry Ripple and Shimmery White (101910)
Ink: Classic Stampin pads in Midnight Muse and Raspberry Ripple
Accessories and Tools: Punches in Decorative Label (120907), Extra Large Oval (119859), Pinking Hearts Border (retired), 3/16" Corner Rounder (119871), Rhinestones Basic Jewels (119246), Stampin Dimensionals (104430)

Well, Happy Friday everyone! Not to cause panic or anything for those of you running a little behind, but there's only ten days left before Christmas Day. Chop, chop! See you on Sunday!
Sunday, December 9, 2012

Feeling the Blues

I apologize that I have been absent. I have been feeling down and discouraged lately, so I decided to stay away to protect the very few followers that I have from my ranting. Have you ever felt like had it been for your responsibilities you wouldn't think twice about running for the hills? Sometimes I wish I were irresponsible. I would like to blame the recent storms here in Northern California for the cause of my gloom, but I know better.

Oh well, this weekend my daughter went to her very first sleepover party at a friend's house. She was so excited and in a way, her excitement cheered me up. You see, I had my daughter when I was thirty years old. I was working for the Dept. of Revenue in Alaska at that time. I loved my job and I really liked the people I worked with. I have always been very driven and ambitious, so it was my goal to one day be promoted to a supervisory position. However, after my daughter was born my priorities shifted. I no longer crave for the hustle and bustle in the office. I lost my competitive edge without my knowledge. It only took me four months of dropping her off to daycare on my way to work before I made the decision to resign to be able to stay home with my baby. When I told my boss about this, she offered me a part-time position, which was very kind of her...but I respectfully declined. I knew that my heart was no longer in my job and that it would be dishonest of me to receive compensation when all I could think of was stay home with my daughter. Not to mention it would be unfair to the people I worked with who'd be picking-up the slack just to accommodate my schedule. It was easy once I recognized what was most important to me at that time. After all, I waited almost seven years and two surgeries for my daughter. Even so, my resignation was unplanned and my husband and I had to really sit down and do the math on how we could financially manage. In the end we worked it out and I raised my daughter for 3 1/2 years; until at such time when she was ready to go to pre-school and I was more than ready to return to work. Fast forward almost twelve years, I have not the slightest regret. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I would not even classify that as giving-up a career when I gained the most by being present in my daughter's world every single day during her early years. I will always have the memories until the end of my days.

I am writing about this because life indeed is a series of never-ending choices. My personal opinion is that, choices are there to constantly remind us that we cannot have everything. For me, it was very humbling to realize that I couldn't be both a kick-ass Tax Collector and be full-time stay-at-home mom. Something had to give. Some choices are so mundane and trivial and then there are some that are fundamental for us to get to where we are destined to be. It's unnerving at first because we don't know what's next. It's unfamiliar and scary to not know what to expect. But change is sometimes good, it stimulates our otherwise hibernating need for self-preservation. It's only frightening when we are in the midst of change. Eventually, everything will fall into place and then the new will once again become old.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): Scentsational Season (Wood 121026 Clear 121190), Word Play (Wood 120308 Clear 120651)
Paper: Card stocks in Raspberry Ripple, Soft Suede, Gumball Green, Midnight Muse and Whisper White
Ink: Classic Stampin pads in Gumball Green (126861) and Raspberry Ripple (126859), Stampin Write marker in Gumball Green
Accessories & tools: Big Shot Die Cutting Machine (113439), Holiday Collection Framelits Dies (127814), Argyle Embossing folder (127750), Decorative Label Punch (120907), Extra Large Oval Punch (119859), 3/16" Corner Rounder (119871), Cherry Cobbler Baker's Twine (123125), Heat Tool (129053), Scented Stampin' Emboss Powder in Peppermint Sticks (127830), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430)

Well, that is all for now. Have a wonderful week, everyone. Thank you for stopping by.
Sunday, November 25, 2012

Come to Bethlehem

The Online Extravaganza is still going on and will end this Wednesday, November 28, 2012. You can place your order online 24/7 via My Online Store to take advantage of the savings. A few of my favorite stamp sets are included in the sale. So, I am sharing with you a Christmas card from one of them called, Come to Bethlehem.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set: Come to Bethlehem (Wood 118732 Clear 120591)
Paper: Card stocks in Cherry Cobbler, Early Espresso and Whisper White
Ink: Classic Stampin' pads in Early Espresso (126974) and Daffodil Delight (126944), Basic Black Craft pad (102192)
Accessories and Tools: Big Shot Die Cutting Machine (113439), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Woodgrain Embossing Folder (127821), Labels Collection Framelits (125598), 1/2" Seam Binding Ribbon in Cherry Cobbler (120992), Glue Dots (103683), Sponge Daubers (102892), Heat Tool (129053), Irisdescent Ice Embossing Powder (101930).

Well, that's all for now. I am going to not do much today, just relax and try my best to stay in my pajamas. Have a wonderful week and thank you for stopping by.
Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone! I am so happy that my mom is hosting the festivities today. I am only bringing my famous 7-Layer salad, so I was able to sleep-in a little bit and relax this morning. My aunt is visiting us this week from Canada. It feels like Christmas came in a month early because she brought us many presents. She has always been such a generous person. I have happy memories of her sending us chocolates, dolls, clothes and toys when we were kids in the Philippines. It's sort of a strange and good feeling to have her sitting next to me and feel my dear grandmother's presence. It made me miss my grandma a little less.

There are so many things in my life that I am very thankful for. My son is home from college and although, we have not seen much of him because he's been out with his friends; I am still very happy that both my kids are home this Thanksgiving Day.

The earth has yielded its fruits; and God has blessed us. --- Psalms 67:6
Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): French Foliage (Wood 120845 Clear 121166), Harvest Blessings (Wood 126450 Clear 126452)
Paper: Card stocks in Crumb Cake, Cajun Craze and Very Vanilla
Ink: Classic Stampin' pads in Crumb Cake, Cajun Craze and Early Espresso

Hershey Kisses Pumpkin Spice treats
Well, that's all I have for today, folks! I just saw the ads for tomorrow's Black Friday sales and since both my kids asked for cash this year, I think I am going to stay in my pajamas at home tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving Day! Let us all take a moment and express our gratitude and appreciation to God and one another most especially today.
Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Lesson in Letting Go

This past week I turned over a few of my accounting duties to someone we recently hired in the office. I had to show this new employee my process, my short-cuts and my cheat sheets. I sat there and watched as my worksheets got renamed and moved around. I explained patiently as my system was questioned. There was a little discussion on how to apply a refund and this new person drawing a diagram of the debits and credits so I would understand. I felt insulted that I had to excuse myself in order to keep my cool. To make the story short, my boss confirmed that I was correct. I had no doubt. It was one dispute I didn't care to pursue because I just knew. For the past eight years those were my duties, month-in and month-out, year after year. I have created many of the worksheets from scratch and improved on the others. When I couldn't balance, I figured out why or how to fix it. I knew them by heart. I guess I can say I have taken ownership of them. I realized that I didn't care so much that someone doubted me, it's the letting go that unexpectedly bothered me. It's that lingering question in my head, "What's next?" In this unstable economy and high rate of unemployment, it worries me how secure my position is with the company. As someone new comes along, "Am I being replaced?" my paranoia whispers. I think I know better, so I just have to focus my attention and energy now on remembering that I have more things to learn in other areas of my job. I am looking forward to being able to do more HR duties and to finally work on projects in my list that I didn't have the time to do before. I look forward to change and growth. However, the truth still remains that as I close this chapter of my job and relinquish the duties to someone else...that I have become attached to the routine. I was not fully aware of it before that they were important to me. I have learned the lessons of patience, persistence and organization from them. Solving and finding the discrepancies have challenged me and have provided me small victories that made me happy. So, yes I am sad to let go, but I also know I must move forward to remain (if that even makes sense).

Card Recipe

Stamp Set: Serene Silhouettes (Wood 127322 Clear 127324)
Paper: Card stocks in Old Olive, Cajun Craze and Shimmery White Paper (101910)
Ink: Classic Stampin' pads in More Mustard (126964), Cajun Craze (126965) and Old Olive (126953), Black StazOn Ink Pad (101406)
Accessories and Tools: Big Shot Die Cutting Machine (113439), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Argyle Embossing Folder (127750), Aqua Painters (103954), 1/2" Striped Satin Ribbon (127837), Glue Dots (103683

Well, that's all for now. We are off to my mom's for breakfast. Thanksgiving is next week and I am very excited because my son is coming home tomorrow. Have great week, everyone.
Monday, November 12, 2012

Autumn Birthdays

It has been pretty chilly here in Northern California the past few days. I have been sick for almost a week now caused by change of weather. Nothing serious, just sore throat, colds and cough. A couple of weeks ago, it still felt like summer. Oh well, I have been glued to the TV watching previous episodes of the Parenthood. I have not been this hooked on a TV series since Friends. I swear I almost feel like I am a part of the Braverman family.

I thought I would take a break from the holiday cards/projects and make birthday cards for a couple of friends who are celebrating their special days this month. I decided to use autumn colors. I hope they didn't turn out too dark.

I love everything about fall. Fall takes me back to the very first time we came to United States. Each and every time fall comes around I visit that time in my life down south when I first saw leaves change colors and my first experience of Halloween and Thanksgiving. It has been over two decades since my very first autumn, but I still fall in-love with it every year.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set: Elementary Elegance (SAB 2012 - retired)
Paper: Card stocks in Cajun Craze and Very Vanilla, Comfort Cafe DSP (126898)
Ink: Classic Stampin' pad in Soft Suede (126978)
Accessories and tools: Punches in Lace Border Punch (retired),1 3/4" Scallop Circle (119854), 1 3/8" Circle (119860), Elegant Butterfly (127526), 3/8" Stitched Ribbon in Summer Starfruit (126846), Pearl Basic Jewels (119247), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Paper Piercing Tool (126189), Paper Piercing Mat (126199)

Card Recipe

Stamp Set: Fabulous Florets (Wood 123025 Clear 123027), Itty Bitty Banners (Wood 126255 Clear 126257)
Paper: Card stocks in Cajun Craze, Lucky Limeade, Not Quite Navy and Whisper White
Ink: Classic Stampin' pads in Not Quite Navy, Cajun Craze and Lucky Limeade
Accessories and tools: Big Shot Die Cutting Machine (113439), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Paper Piercing Tool (126189), Paper Piercing Mat (126199), Paper Piercing Pack (127857), Embossing Folder in Elegant Lines (119277), Labels Collections Framelits (125598), Itty Banners Framelits (129267), Paper Snips (103579)

Well, that's all for now. Have a wonderful week, everyone and thank you for stopping by.
Sunday, November 4, 2012

Life is like Coffee

With the onset of my recent horrible migraine attacks, I have gotten more caffeinated than usual. I have been functioning fueled by coffee and caffeinated medication. So, I thought that I would share a perky and sassy card today. I apologize that the sentiment stamp on this one is non-SU. I saw it at a local craft store and I just had to have it. I got a little carried away with coloring, but I think in the end the colors all worked out.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set: Take a Sip Stampin' Round (120323) - standard handle (102971)
Paper: Card stocks in Midnight Muse, Cherry Cobbler, Bashful Blue and Whisper White
Ink: Basic Black  (126980) and Cherry Cobbler (126966) Classic Stampin' pads, Stampin' Write markers
Accessories & Tools: Big Shot Shot Die Cutting Machine (113439), Labels Collection Framelits (125598), Sponge Daubers (102892), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), 3/8" Stitched Satin Ribbon in Midnight Muse (126847).

Well that is all for today's post, folks! I would like to share this short inspirational movie from flickspire about life and coffee. Please click it and enjoy. Thank you for stopping by.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Retired BNF Friday #16

I had a really scary experience a couple of days ago. I had the worst headache that I was practically blind. I couldn't see straight, just white flashes and shadows. No medication worked and I literally crawled out of bed to wake-up my daughter for school. I was in tears. Walking hurt too much, any slight movement felt like my entire skull was being crushed. I have had horrible headaches before, but this one was so paralyzing that it really frightened me. I went to my doctor and she thinks it's migraine. She gave me a shot of Toradol on my bum and that was the only thing that helped. I am much better now, but that incident made me realize my own mortality. I really thought, "Is this it? Am I having a stroke and on my way to meet my Maker?" Haha, now I am being overly dramatic.

Oh well, I want to share with you a really cute card I made for today's Retired BNF (But Not Forgotten) Friday post. The stamp set is called Fall for All from the early 2000 I think. I just love this set and have found a way to use if every once in a while. It's definitely a nice set for coloring and shading.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): Fall for All
Paper: Card stocks in Really Rust, More Mustard, Concord Crush and Whisper White, DSP
Ink: Classic Stampin' pad in Basic Black and Stampin' Write markers
Accessories: Punches in Extra Large Oval (119859), Large Oval (119855), Scallop Oval (119856), Labels Collection Framelits (125598)Paper Piercing Pack in Festive (127857), Stampin' Pierce Mat (126199), Paper Piercing Tool (126189), Sponge Daubers (102892) and Concord Crush Ribbon, Stampin' Dimensionals (104430)

Oh well, that's all for now, folks. Have a wonderful weekend. Thank you for stopping by.
Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wicked Halloween

I've had such a busy weekend full of to-do list and chores. Mom and I went to the farmers' market this morning and ran some errands. It was nice to spend time with her. I was able to steal a little bit of time late last night to put together this Halloween card to share with you.

I want to let everyone know that Stampin' Up! is having a one day Stamps Sale tomorrow, October 29th, 2012. All the stamp sets are 15% off - tomorrow only. You can order them by going to My Store. All the prices of the eligible stamp sets are going to be adjusted tomorrow only to reflect 15% discount. Look at your wish list...this is a great time to place an order.

I used Black Craft ink on the boots and hat and heat tool.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set: Wicked Cool (Wood 118738 Clear 120600)
Paper: Basic Black, More Mustard, Perfect Plum and Whisper White card stocks
Ink: Basic Black and Perfect Plum Stampin' pads and Black Craft Ink, Stampin' Write markets
Accessories: Clear Stampin' Emboss Powder (109130), Spider Web Embossing Folder, Perfect Plum Grosgrain ribbon (retired), Large Oval punch (119855), 1 3/8" Circle (119860) and 1 3/4" Circle (119850) punches, 3/16" Corner punch, Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Glue Dots (103683), Heat tool (129053)

Well, that's all I have for today. Have a safe and fun Halloween 2012. Thank you for stopping by.
Sunday, October 21, 2012

Holiday Stocking Stuffers

It's kind of a dreary day, which is making me move a little slower than usual. Even my coffee didn't seem to help me much. I am in a lazy Sunday mood and plan not to get out of my pajamas. I want to share with you a couple of Holiday Stocking Stuffers we made in class a week ago. I have made Halloween versions of these two projects and they turned out just as cute.

Christmas Tree embossed with the Sugar & Spice Scented Embossing Powder

Peppermint Tea and Ghirardelli Peppermint Chocolate Bar

Hershey Nuggets Goodies

Well, since I just declared today to be a Lazy Sunday, I will make it a really short post and go back to the couch to watch my recorded Survivors Philippines. Happy Lazy Sunday, everyone!
Friday, October 19, 2012

Retired BNF Friday #15

It seems like it has been ages since I posted a Retired BNF (But Not Forgotten) Friday entry. My Fridays have been pretty insane as of late, but I managed to put together some Hershey Nuggets Halloween treats to give away and I thought I'd share them with you. They all turned out really cute.

A Batty Boo from Me to You!
I love making projects like these because I am able to use my stash of retired scraps. I just hate throwing those pretty DSP (Designer Series Papers). The stamp set I used is called Tricky Treats from early 2000. They are one of my favorite Halloween stamps and know will never part with. I love how I can color on the images. I was able to play with my Copic markers. I experimented with different shades of yellows, oranges and grays.

It's going to be a hectic weekend. My mom and her dog Bama have completely and finally moved here in town with us. A big hug of gratitude to my younger sister for flying to Alabama in order to drive mom and Bama back to California. That's all for now, have a great weekend, everybody!
Sunday, October 14, 2012

Christmas Around the Corner

I had such an amazing Christmas Cards class yesterday. It was a lot of work preparing everything and sometimes even torture to come up with fresh layouts and ideas, but it always pays off. It brings me such joy. I am so thankful that part of my perks as a Stampin' Up! demonstrator includes full access to Stampin' Connection Site. It helps me to be able to draw inspiration from my fellow demonstrators. I am happiest when I am creating and sharing my passion for Stampin' Up! with others. Having just typed all that, I would like to share with you the cards we made in class yesterday. Please note that the products with asterisk (*) next to it means that they are in the Holiday Catalog and very limited, only available until the end of 2012.

You can always order 24/7 via My Online Store. Your order will be directly shipped to you. You cannot pass up the very adorable Make a Mitten and Mitten Builder punch. They are so cute and timeless, just like the Stitched Stockings Stamp Set and Punch from last year's Holiday Catalog.

Make a Mitten Stamp Set and Mitten Builder Punch, GOTTA HAVE THEM!
 Stamp Set(s): Make a Mitten* (Wood 127940 Clear 127943), More Merry Messages (Wood 126400 Clear 126402), Snow Swirled (Wood 111690 Clear 127799)
Paper: Midnight Muse (126843) and Summer Starfruit (126839) card stocks, Be of Good Cheer DSP (126896)
Ink: Midnight Muse (126860), Summer Starfruit (126991), Cherry Cobbler (126966)
Accessories & Tools: Mitten Builder Punch* (127824), Big Shot Die Cutting Machine (113439), Northern Flurry Embossing Folder (120902), Labels Collection Framelits (125598), Midnight Muse 3/8" Stitched Satin Ribbon (126847), Bakers Twine in Cherry Cobbler (123125), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Snail Adhesives (104332)

Stamp Set(s): Snow Much Fun (Wood 122560 Clear 122562)
Paper: Gumball Green (126840) and Cherry Cobbler (119685) card stocks, Be of Good Cheer DSP (126896)
Ink: Basic Black (126980), Stampin' Write markers
Accessories & Tools: Raspberry Ripple 3/8" Stitched Satin Ribbon (126845), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Snail Adhesives (104332), Dazzling Diamonds Stampin' Glitter (102023), 2-Way Glue Pen (100425).

Cased from Stampin' Up! 2012-2013 Catalog (Page 14)
Stamp Set(s): Greeting Cards Kids (Wood 119887 Clear 120633), More Merry Messages (Wood 126400 Clear 126402)
Paper: Real Red (102482), Pool Party (122924) and Lucky Limeade (122926) card stocks, Shimmery White Paper (101910)
Ink: Basic Black (126980), Stampin' Write markers
Accessories & Tools: Big Shot Die Cutting Machine (113439), Northern Flurry Embossing Folder (120902), Scallop Trim Border Punch (118402), Itty Bitty Shapes Punch Pack (118309), Rhinestone Basic Jewels (119246), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Snail Adhesives (104332)

Stamp Set(s): Delightful Decorations (Wood 116517 Clear 127787), More Merry Messages (Wood 126400 Clear 126402)
Paper: Shimmery White Paper (101910), Candlelight Christmas Specialty DSP* (126901)
Ink: Basic Black (126980), Stampin' Write markers
Accessories & Tools: Big Shot Die Cutting Machine (113439), Labels Collection Framelits (125598), Sponge Daubers (102892), Rhinestone Basic Jewels (119246), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Snail Adhesives (104332), Old Olive Taffeta Ribbon (retired)
The Ribbons Slides are a must have from the Holiday Catalog.
Stamp Set(s): Beautiful Season (Wood 122680 Clear 122682)
Paper: Candlelight Christmas Specialty DSP* (126901), Old Olive card stock (100702), Watercolor paper
Ink: Early Espresso (126974)
Accessories & Tools: Extra Large Oval Punch (119859), Designer Ribbon Slides* (127834), Watercolor Wonder Crayons, Big Shot Die Cutting Machine (113439), Top Note Bigz Die (113463), Seam Binding Ribbon in Cherry Cobbler (120992), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Snail Adhesives (104332)

Well, that's it for now. I am sure loving the cool weather, but there's a forecast of warmer days in the week to come. I hope it doesn't get too hot. Thank you for stopping by!
Sunday, October 7, 2012

Celebrating Mom

I've had such a hectic few weeks, I apologize that I have been away. We celebrated mom's 60th birthday two weekends ago. It was Christmas last year when we were all reunited as a family and it was a very nice treat to be with everybody again. I took mom to my hair stylist as a birthday gift. My mother is the most generous woman I know, and yet refuses to spend anything on herself. So, I introduced her to my hair colorist, so she knew that they don't come in boxes from the drug store. Hahaha. I watched my mom sitting on the other side of the salon when I suddenly remembered sort of a similar event twenty-six years ago when she brought me to the beauty parlor to get my makeup and hair done for the prom. I remember how it made me feel like a grown-up sitting there with older women, getting pampered. It made me feel good that I can now return the love.

I will always remember my mother as a beautiful (still is), very classy and stylish woman in her much younger years. It made me a little bit sad to realize that she and I seem to have gotten older in a flash. Seems to me like only a few days ago I was this very difficult teenager fighting with her every chance I got. And now I am a mom with a son in college and my very own daughter who fights with me "every chance she gets", and she is a grandmother five times. We are both entering the next stage of our lives...I am heading to my mid years and my mom on to the afternoon of her life.

Since my step dad passed away in July, I have been my mom's bookkeeper and adviser. Our reversal of roles tug at my heart with fear that if time follows the natural order of life, my sisters and I will one day face the painful reality of burying our mother. It breaks my heart to even picture a world without her. To not hear her voice or her's agony. Oh well, the best remedy is to celebrate each and every day and cherish our moments together now.

I want to share with you the birthday card I made for my mom. I just love the new In Colors. I am also learning to love the new stamp pads. The new embossing folders are so beautiful.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): Bordering Romance (Wood 125480, Clear 125482), Loved Ones (retired)
Paper: Card stocks in Summer Starfruit, Midnight Muse, Raspberry Ripple, Gumball Green and Whisper White.
Ink: Basic Black Classic Stampin' pad (126980), Midnight Muse Classic Stampin' pad (126860), Stampin' Write markers
Accessories: Embossing Folders in Framed Tulips (121809) and Fancy Fan (127751), Labels Collection Framelits (125598), Scallop Oval punch (119855), Pearl Basic Jewels (119247), Blender Pens (102845), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), 3/8" Stitched Satin ribbon in Summer Starfruit (126846).

Have a wonderful week, everyone. Fall is definitely in the air...and it brings me joy to wake-up every morning and feel the crisp cool air in my bones.
Sunday, September 16, 2012

State of Being Obsessed

Do you ever go into an insane phase when your thoughts and feelings are dominated by this persistent desire to obtain something? And you know that you will not have another good night sleep until you have whatever that is in your hands or have the entire set in your shelf? I have an aunt who can answer yes to this question as I have witnessed her go through many obsessions such as: beanie babies, furbies, Precious Moments figurines, Starbucks mugs from different cities and Dooney and Coach purses. The beanie babies craze was by far the biggest of hers I've seen. She would travel to different states to obtain "limited edition" beanie babies. She had a case for each beanie baby and tag protectors, because without them they will not be worth much. I remember how they were all proudly displayed all over their house. Fast forward 15 years, I don't know what happened to them or if they are still projected to be worth a lot. 

I remember my son as a little boy completely absorbed into the whole Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards claiming that they will appreciate in value someday. After he left for college I found all those "collectible" cards in a shoe box and boy, I cannot part with them. They remind me of those many times when I would catch my son with his cards spread out on his bed room floor just admiring them, being a child. He would tell me how powerful each card was and what it could do. My daughter is the princess of obsessions. I remember the Iwako erasers phase...ah the joys of collecting.

I have been known to have a few obsessions of my own such as: makeup, paper crafting tools, pretty papers and pens. My current selection to obsess over are Copic markers. I have heard of Copic markers for many years, but I have not really focused on learning to use them in my card making and other paper crafting projects until recently. I must confess that for the past couple of months or so I have been just completely gung-ho over obtaining enough (however much that is) Copic markers that during my lunch time I would go to all three local craft stores and purchase one marker from each store using my 50% off coupon. They are not your regular Crayola markers mind you, they are $7.99 each. I will (fingers crossed) stop at 160 because there are almost 400 in its color chart. I have also been watching youtube a lot and learning from people who are so generous in sharing their knowledge and expertise with copics. I am still learning, but I truly love how these markers blend and how smoothly they apply on the images. I love that you can control how intense or subtle you want your colors to mix. I used them on the two greeting cards below. The photos do not do them justice, but they truly are more distinct up close and personal.

My Copic markers collection

Greetings Cards Kids stamp set (Wood 119887 Clear 120633)

Well, that's all for now. I have been very busy because my mom moved in town and we have been spending a lot of time in her house. She drove her Toyota Prius 2,900 miles from Alabama all by herself. She is exhausted but very happy in her new house. Isn't it wonderful that in spite of life's unavoidable challenges and tribulations, we cannot ignore the fact that life is always full of new beginnings?
Sunday, September 9, 2012

Petite Purses

People who interact with me on a daily basis know me as someone who's transparent, frank (often misconstrued as crude), highly-spirited, loud and unafraid to voice out my opinions. I love to laugh and I CAN always find the humor in anything. Those people who knew me a few decades ago and at some point unfortunate enough to witness my unpredictable "basket case" syndrome can attest that I came with plenty of ghosts. Many of them still find their way to haunt me even in my most beautiful days and peaceful slumber. Sometimes it will be just an ordinary day, then a song on the radio or a certain smell will trigger it and I'd be halfway back down the black hole once again...raw and bleeding. A week ago a casual conversation at work made me accidentally revisit an event in my previous life. Something I thought I had been so successful to outrun after all these many years. Unbeknown to the people who see me five days a week that I was having a nervous breakdown inside, I simply walked back to my desk, took five deep breaths and focused on the task at hand. As I went on with my day, my mind would somehow wander off and think about the validity of my affliction. How accurate is my memory? My life has surely changed in so many ways over the years, but sadly my past will always be the same and it's mine to live with for the rest of my days. I am utterly powerless when it comes to the past. Then again, if given the chance to go back in time...would I want to change it? You will have to forgive me, September is sort of a dark month for me and I suffer from September-ism without fail every year.

In my personal experience, a pretty purse can always cheer any girl up. So, I want to share a few of them. They turned out really cute. I used my Big Shot Die Cutting Machine (113439), Petite Purse Bigz L die (125606), Boho Blossoms Punch (119858), Textured Embossing Folders in Perfect Polka Dots (117335), Chevron (127749) and Fancy Fan (127751). I also used the Designer Series Paper in Twitterpated (125406), Card stocks in Pretty in Pink, Basic Gray, Cherry Cobbler and Marina Mist, 3/16" Regal Brads (119737), Pleated Satin Ribbons (retired) and be prepared to use plenty of the Sticky Strip (104294).

That's it for now, I have to go to the Farmers Market. Have a wonderful week, everyone and thank you for stopping by. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Retired BNF Friday #14

I apologize that I wasn't able to post last Sunday. We went on a short vacation for Labor Day weekend and I have not had the chance to sit down and think about my blog since. It was our first vacation without my son and we missed him. I am sure that it will take some time to get used to. Then in about six years my daughter will leave for college and it will be just hubby and me. Perhaps there will be more time for us to travel as a couple and more time for me to read, write and create.

My daughter really loves the beach. As I was sitting there watching her play in the sand and screaming at the waves, I thought about our childhood and tried to recall a time such as that. It sort of made me sad that for the life of me I couldn't dig anything in my memory vault of a family vacation. Sure, we went on day trips to Antipolo, Luneta and Manila Zoo; but always with aunts and uncles and cousins in a rented jeepney or in my uncle's Ford Fierra. There were times when we tagged along with my dad to Manila cramped in his brown pick-up truck whenever he had to deliver furniture to customers. We also went to watch the Christmas shows outside of COD Department Store in Cubao usually around my birthday when I could pick two toys and my younger sister could pick one (since she wasn't the celebrant). We would then eat at this Chinese Restaurant called Hong Ning, which had the most delicious Pancit Canton and Ampalaya Con Carne I've ever had. I could still taste it to this day. Oh, the simple pleasures of being a child.

In the midst of all those people in the beach, I realized that I could not remember a single present I ever received as a child, but I remember events and places. I remember emotions and tragedies, simple joys and feelings of loss. I remember that we never went on family vacations, but I also know now that as young and broke as our parents were back then...they tried their best. Becoming a parent made me understand. Parenthood made me more forgiving of my parents' shortcomings. They did the best they could with the knowledge and resources they had. It's all good. I must bear this in mind when buying my children "stuff" versus creating happy memories together that will last them a lifetime. We should go on family trips more often, even just weekend getaways...and make deposits to their memory bank.

Oh well, before I get completely sidetracked from the purpose of this post, allow me to share with you a really cute Halloween card. For someone who did not grow-up celebrating Halloween, I sure love this holiday.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): Teeny Tiny Wishes, Sweeter Treaters
Paper: Card stocks in Concord Crush, Dusty Durango, Basic Black, Pear Pizzaz and Whisper White
Ink: Classic Stampin' pad in Basic Black and Stampin' Write markers
Accessories: Punches in Modern Label (119849) and Pinking Hearts Border, Embossing Folder in Spider Web (120889), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430)

Well, that's all for now. I have a very busy weekend ahead of me. Thank you for stopping by.
Friday, August 31, 2012

Retired BNF Friday #13

I cannot believe another month is over. Once the months end in "ber" it's a very clear indication that Christmas is just around the corner. I am definitely not in the least ready, but then again I say that every year and somehow I manage to get it all together. Oh well, on to the Retired BNF (But Not Forgotten) Friday card that I am sharing with you today. I noticed that I have been making really simple and easy cards lately. I apologize, please don't think I am becoming lazy. I must admit that I have been in such a funk recently that I can't seem to get my creative juices flowing. Ordinarily, I would quickly put the blame on being busy, but I know it's not that. I have just been feeling sort of dreary. I am sure it will pass.

BTW, I would like to share with you my sister's friend's blog The Accidental Chef. She is amazing and I love reading her stories. I am sure that you will, too.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): Vintage Vogue, Happiest Birthday Wishes (Hostess Set)
Paper: Real Red Textured card stock, Old Olive and Whisper White card stocks
Ink: Old Olive and Real Red Classic Stampin' pads.
Accessories: Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Paper Snips (103579) and Rhinestone Brads.

Well, that's about it for is a three day weekend. Thank goodness for holidays! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby Prints

I has been a long time since I made and shared Baby cards, so here they are. They are both fairly easy and simple to make. Gotta love those kind of cards! I've had this stamp set for about a year now, but this was the first time I used them. I really like the details of the stamped hand and foot prints. I am sure this set will be amazing for Baby Shower invitations and Birth Announcements or for scrapbooking pages. You can order this set and more via My Online Store 24/7. You can shop even in your pajamas. Smile.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): Baby Prints (Wood 125470 Clear 125472), Circle Circus (Wood 115778 Clear 127784)
Paper: Card stocks in Pretty in Pink, Bashful Blue, So Saffron, Certainly Celery and Whisper White.
Ink: Classic Stampin' pads in Pretty in Pink and Bashful Blue
Accessories: Perfect Polka Dots Embossing Folder (117335), Modern Label Punch (119849), Large Designer Label (retired), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430) and ribbons.

That's about it for today. I need to get started with the Halloween treats/goodies for my daughter's class. I remember when I used to make 20 treats for 20 students for my son's class. There are 34 kids in my daughter's 6th grade class this year, which means I have to start early. This might be the last time I will get to do this, because she will be in Junior High/Middle School next year. I don't know if it will be considered uncool then to pass around handmade paper crafts of your mother. Ha! Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Retired BNF Friday #12

Thank goodness, it's FRIDAY! I will admit just this once that Fridays are a tad sweeter because I've had such a busy couple of weeks back in the office. It somehow feels well-deserved compared to when I was on medical leave at home and every single day felt the same. My daughter went back to school this past Wednesday. She's a 6th grader and had such a growth spurt this summer. I am now officially the shortest person in our family. And I am shrinking and expanding by the minute...hahaha! We took pictures in front of our house the first day of school like we always do for my scrapbook. It made me really miss my son who's now a college student in Los Angeles. Sigh. Raising children is such a double-edged sword, at least for me. I am a proud mom because my son without hesitation went off on his own working and going to school away from us and saddened that I no longer see him every day. When I see my nieces and nephew, I am always transported to those days when my own kids were small and sweet. Oh, how I miss the days. Truthfully though, it makes me feel tired just thinking of my children being little again. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

I bought this stamp set Crayon Kids years ago when my children were little. I used it for greeting cards, party invitations and even decorating plain brown lunch bags. As I was sorting out my stash of retired stamp sets a few days ago...trying to decide what to sell and which ones to keep, I found myself in a spell of nostalgia remembering how I once fell-in-love with this stamp set because I had little kids back then. Now that they have grown, I feel it is probably time to let it go. We'll see. It made me realize that sending my son off to college is a rite of passage for me and my husband as well. We are entering into the next phase of our lives. Sadly, aging is a part of the process but in it comes natural wisdom, too that can only be obtained from both small and large lessons we learned over the years.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set: Crayon Kids
Paper: Card stocks in Lucky Limeade, Real Red and Whisper White
Ink: Classic Stampin' pads in Brilliant Blue (retired), Real Red, Lucky Limeade, Daffodil Delight and Garden Green.

Well, that's it for today. Have a fun week, everyone. See you Sunday!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Framelits Saved the Day

I have been busy all weekend. I expected it because it was my first weekend since I returned to the office and the last weekend before the school year begins. I did all my regular household chores such as laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, paid bills and cleaned some that I did not have time to do any paper crafting. Last night while enjoying a bottle of Smirnoff Ice Mango, I managed to quickly put together this card. I do like creating challenging cards every so often, but it's also very nice to make easy and simple ones without compromising beauty. I have fallen in-love with the Big Shot Framelits, Edgelits and Sizzlits. I appreciate how it takes away the cutting and gives such a precise and clean cut each time. I hope to one day own all of them. Grin. Take this card for instance, just a couple of card stocks, DSP, Stampin' Write markers and some pearls and it's done.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set: Apothecary Art (Wood 125525 Clear 125527)
Paper: Card stocks in Soft Suede, Pool Party and Very Vanilla, Attic Boutique DSP from 2012 Occasions Mini catalog
Ink: Basic Black and Daffodil Delight Classic Stampin' pads, Stampin' Write makers in Lucky Limeade and Daffodil Delight
Accessories: Paper Doily Sizzlits (125592), Labels Collection Framelits (125598), Pearl Basic Jewels (119247), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Stamping Sponges (101610), 3/8" Ruffled Ribbon in Pool Party (122975)

Well, that's about it for this Sunday's post. It has been cooler the past couple of days here in Northern California, and when I say cooler I meant mid 90's instead of the triple digit heat of the past week. I am already looking forward to fall. That's it for now...more chores await. Have a fantastic week, everyone. Thank you for stopping by.
Friday, August 17, 2012

Retired BNF Friday #11

I survived my first week back in the office! Every single day definitely felt like a Monday, but I was so glad to see my peeps and to slowly get back in to my daily routine. I came back to a really messy office, because while I was away I got a brand new desk. It's actually made out of wood, unlike the heavy cardboard one I had before. Smile. I still don't know where most things are. Oh well. I really like my new desk, it has lots of drawers, a hutch and cupboard like cabinets for storage and lots of space to spread out all my paper work. Thank you Frank for putting my desk together. You rock!

Well, as promised I managed to steal a little bit of time to put together this really cute pink card for today's Retired BNF (But Not Forgotten) Friday post. I want to dedicate this card to two of my good friends who are having their special days this week. Happy birthday, Annalyse and Angela!

I really love this Crazy for Cupcakes stamp set and I know I am going to hang on to it. It's such a versatile set and also awesome for invitations and Cheer-Up cards. I hope Stampin' Up! comes up with another cupcakes set in the future.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): Crazy for Cupcakes and Sweet Little Sentiments
Paper: Textured Melon Mambo and Whisper White card stocks, DSP Flirtatious Specialty
Ink: Basic Black and Melon Mambo Classic Stampin' pads
Accessories: Stampin' Write markers, Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Pinking Hearts Border and Corner Rounder punch, Melon Mambo Polka Dot ribbon, 2-Way Glue Pen (100425), Dazzling Diamonds Stampin' Glitter (102023)

It has been a very hot week here in Northern California, triple digits the past seven days. It's supposed to cool down some beginning this weekend. My A/C has been working non-stop and in need of a break. It's the last weekend before school starts, it will be busy with last minute shopping and errands. Have a nice weekend, y'all. Thank you for stopping by.
Sunday, August 12, 2012

Keep Calm...Create

Well, I cannot believe I just completed eight weeks of my medical leave. I had a long list of things I was hoping to accomplish during that time, but sadly none of them got done. I did not anticipate it would take the entire eight weeks to recover. Oh well, time surely flies and although I am sure it will be hectic in the office the next few months trying to catch-up and stuff, I must be brave and face it. I shall put on my big girl panties and conquer the work, the emails, the phone calls, the meetings and everything else. While typing this, I am doing an inventory in my head of my organs...hmmm, which one can I live without? Which ones are the genuine VITAL organs? Do women get hernias? Smile.

Hobby Lobby opened here in town last Friday. I was so excited that I was one of the first customers there. However, for some odd reason, I liked it so much better when I was in Alabama. Now...well, not so much. Not a lot of sales at all for a grand opening and get this, they DO NOT accept competitor's coupon! Perhaps I liked it when I thought I couldn't have it, but now that it's here I have lost all interest. Oh well...c'est la vie!

I made this card to remind myself to "Keep Calm and Carry On". I must admit that one of the reasons why I have not been productive lately is because of Pinterest. Yes, I have a feeling I might need to check myself into rehab soon. I am clearly addicted to pinning that I have not been to the Stampin' Connection Site. It's bad, really bad. Hopefully, work and going back to my old hectic schedule will distract me from it. Should I slowly withdraw myself from pinning or just go cold turkey? Aughh, my life just reached the lowest point of pathetic. Hahaha!

Card Recipe

Stamp Set: Carry On - Hostess Set (Wood 126645 Clear 126647)
Paper: Twitterpatted DSP (125406), Card stocks in Lucky Limeade, Basic Gray and Whisper White
Ink: Craft Pad Basic Black (102192)
Accessories: Heat Tool (129053), Clear Embossing Powder (109133), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), 3/8" Ruffled Ribbons Lucky Limeade (122977)

I made a bunch of this for swaps at Convention

Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): Postage Due (Wood 126395 Clear 126397), Creative Elements (Wood 122645 Clear 122647)
Paper: Twitterpatted DSP (125406), Card stocks in Riding Hood Red, Island Indigo and Whisper White
Ink: Classic Stampin' pads in Island Indigo (126986) and Riding Hood Red (126968)
Accessories: Big Shot Die Cutting Machine (113439), Labels Collection Framelits (125598), Stamping Sponges (101610), Stampin' Dimensionals (104430), Modern Label punch (119849) and Rhinestone Basic Jewels (119246)

Well, that's all I got today. Have a great week, everyone. Thanks for stopping by. Hopefully, I'll be able to post a Retired But Not Forgotten card on Friday...provided that I survive this week. Smile.
Sunday, August 5, 2012

Papaya Collage

I just noticed that it's been over a year ago since I started my blog. I've been so distracted lately that I completely forgot my First Anniversary was on July 22nd (I was in Alabama then). I apologize that my entries the past couple of months have been sort of sporadic due to recuperating from major surgery and the recent death of my stepdad. I am doing my best to ease back into my old schedule since I am returning to work in a week. Augghh! I can already imagine how hectic and crazy it will be in the office. Oh well, I am actually ready to go back and dress-up again every morning for work. I actually miss having a purpose. It was a nice break only because it was necessary for me to recover. However, once I was able to walk around without wincing in pain...a small (just a small - haha) part of me actually miss my job. Smile. Note to Self: Remind myself this when things get too insane in the office.

I was finally able to play with my new stamps. It's like Christmas! I am so in-love with the Papaya Collage (Wood 126610 Clear 126612) stamp set. I am completely enamored with the brand new Elegant Butterfly punch (127526). It has more character than the old style butterfly punch. It's perfect for anything vintage-y and classy.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set: Papaya Collage (Wood 126610 Clear 126612), Oval All (retired)
Paper: Card stocks in Calypso Coral, Lucky Limeade, Island Indigo and Whisper White
Ink:  Calypso Coral Classic Stampin' Pad
Accessories: Fancy Fun Embossing Folder (127751), Large Oval(119855) and Scallop Oval (119856) Punches, Elegant Butterfly Punch (127526), 3/8" Ruffled Ribbon in Island Indigo (122974), Stampin Dimensionals (104430) and Pearl Basic Jewels (119247).

Well, that's it for today's post. Have a wonderful week, everyone. I will savor every single day of my last week before I return to work. Hopefully will do some back to school shopping with my daughter and birthday cards for a couple of my friends. Come again soon!
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Heart Never Forgets

It was so hard to leave my mom in Alabama, knowing Russell is gone. Thank goodness for Bama, she's a dependable and loyal dog. Under the circumstances, it was very nice to return to the south after two decades. It seemed like nothing much has changed since we were there last, yet I know that I have changed. It was a very heavy and very sad feeling not finding Russell around in that big house, asking me if I wanted a drink or teasing me about not being a dog person. I regret that we didn't come to visit sooner. Oh well.

I want to share a few photos of my ten days in Alabama and a card that I made for my mom. I will begin with the food we ate. I completely forgot to take a photo of Milo's Sweet Tea. My sister and I drank that by the gallons. The stamp I used for the card is not from Stampin' Up! It's from Verses Rubber Stamps. They have really nice sentiment stamps. However, everything else from paper to ribbon are from Stampin' Up!

Sweet Corn Bread (even my executive chef of a sister said it was great)
BBQ Pulled Pork, Fried Green Tomatoes and Fried Okra
My parents'  home in Alabama
My parent's dog, Alabama aka "BAMA"

Each time we embrace a memory, we meet again with those we love...for the heart never forgets.  --- Flavia

Well, that's it for now. I hope to be able to create some thank you cards in the next few days. I can't believe another month has gone by. They had Christmas stuff in Hobby Lobby and it hit me that the holidays are fast approaching. Yikes! Thank you for stopping by. Come again soon!
Friday, July 27, 2012

Sweet Home Alabama

I recently lost one of my "Stars in the Sky". Cancer took our stepdad away from us six days ago. His name was Russell R. Johnson, he was only 68 years young. He was married to our mom for almost 25 years and he's been involved in our lives in all that time. He was around in almost all of our milestones and cheered us on all accomplishments, no matter how small. He walked my sister down the aisle when she got married. He was there when I graduated college and for the birth of my daughter. He was with us in many special occasions and always happy to share each and every one of them. We made him a proud dad and we were his family.

As we were going through the stacks of old photos a few nights ago, I was so touched to find so many pictures of my children with him; most especially my son's. He gave my son priceless childhood memories only a devoted grandfather could give him. He took my son fishing, camping, bowling and spent countless of hours hanging-out with him. They sincerely enjoyed each other's company. I must confess that I didn't fully appreciate his presence in my life until I witnessed how much he adored my son. I was already 18 when he came into my life, so I felt he was more my mother's husband than my dad. Having such teenage parents to begin with, my grandparents raised me and not having them in my life any longer is a void that at times cause me ache I cannot explain. So, I've always hoped for my children to grow up knowing what it's like to have grandparents who will love them and will want to spend time with them. I got that wish through my mom and Russell and since then I loved Russell more and more. My son is now 18 and will be starting college in a month. He was a well-rounded boy growing-up and evidently turning out to be a wonderful young man. I know in my heart that his grandpa had something to do with it and for that, I am eternally grateful.

I did not only lose a parent last July 22, children lost a wonderful grandfather and I grieve more for them than for myself. Family does not mean being blood-related at all. Looking back now, perhaps the "step" in stepdad meant he stepped-in to our lives by choice which made it more of a gift than an obligation. Often, the people who stay in your life are the ones you least expect to. We've all heard it before that, "the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." Russell loved our mom, they were partners in life and his absence will be felt by all of us immensely. As I cried with my mom while we said goodbye to our stepdad, I couldn't help imagine the pain and agony it must feel to lose someone you've been married to for 25 years... to lose a confidante and the friendship. Was it selfish of me that in the midst of my grief and sadness, I felt an overwhelming feeling of longing for my husband who's in California? I cannot wait to come home to his arms.

While I have been helping my mom sort out all the paperwork and important financial documents my stepdad left behind, I understood that no one can ever really be prepared for death. He knew he was ill for months and he did his best to put everything in order...he still ran out of time. Knowing him, I am sure he would have given anything for a little bit more time. He left behind many wonderful memories and friendships that will last. I am honored to say that my two younger sisters and I are his legacy and isn't that what life really is all about? In the end...the family one leaves behind and the difference one makes in other people's lives are the things that truly matter. He made a difference in our lives and we promise to always make him proud. Rest in Peace, dear Daddy Russell. I hope you knew how much you meant to me. Our hearts are broken because you are no longer here with us, but remembering all the good times and knowing you are no longer in pain give us strength and comfort. We will someday have a drink up in heaven.

BTW, I am typing this post in Alabama. It has been twenty years since we were last here. It's too bad that it has taken that long since we last visited. I have completely forgotten the hospitality and good-fellowship that can only be found in the south. Here, my sister and I, though in our early 40's...we are still referred to as girls, and it's not offensive at all. I find it sweet and endearing. We have not cooked for almost a week. Neighbors and friends came by nonstop to bring us food and to offer their condolences and to ask if there was anything they could do to help. Hugs are not optional. I have forgotten how much I loved the sweet tea here and I'm also surprised I don't have fried chicken coming out of my ears yet. Smile. It's such a beautiful town and the lands are abundant and green. It is so peaceful. I have not heard a fire truck, police car or ambulance drive by since Sunday. Oh well, I am sorry I don't have a card to share with you today. As soon as I get back to California I will have to make special thank you cards for everybody who supported our family during this difficult time. Tomorrow, we are going to Hobby Lobby and I am looking forward to it.

That's all for sweet iced tea awaits.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Convention Blues

This time last year I was on my way to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend my first Stampin' Up! Convention. After having been a hobby demonstrator since 2005, I felt it was time to experience and find out for myself what this annual convention was all about. It was so much fun and so much more than I imagined. Just think, thousands of people with the same passion as mine. I am bummed that I am not able to go this year...due to being on medical leave. Fortunately, I was able to make some card fronts that my Upline was kind enough to take and swap for me. I want to share one of them with you. Putting this together cheered me up and distracted me from thoughts of death and dying.

Card Recipe

Stamp Set(s): Pursuit of Happiness (Wood 121907 Clear 121970), Forever Young (Wood 122570 Clear 122572)
Paper: Wisteria Wonder, Basic Black, Island Indigo and Whisper White card stocks
Ink: Craft Stampin' pad in Basic Black (102192), Daffodil Delight (126944) and Lucky Limeade (126984) Classic Stampin pads
Accessories: Sponge Daubers (102892), Brayer (102395), Heat Tool (129053), Stampin' Emboss Powders in Clear (109130) and White (109132), Embossing Folder in Framed Tulips (121809).

Today is also my baby sister's 28th birthday. Happy birthday, Melissa! May you grow-up to be like your big sisters! Hahaha. That's it for now, thanks for stopping by!