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.