Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lost in a Book for Another Freaking Scrappy Challenge

oh SNEAKY November is almost over. I know better than to wait on some of these fun challenges! Another Freaking Scrappy Challenge is having a challenge that involves scrapping your favorite book. I LOVED this idea. I hoard books. In fact when we moved, I decided I needed less books and it was rather painful. Now, I have all my most favorite ones saved away in a glass cabinet. This one is top of my list of favorites.

I can't even tell you how many times I have read this book.

A little bit of Glitz Design paper called Beautiful Dreamer, some crinkly ribbon, and those birds! Let me tell you about those birds. The other day we were driving through a small town and my parents wanted to stop at a bulk foods Amish store. WELL, they had these books of "German Stickers" that had these glossy embossed images of roses, butterflies, and birds. They were adorable. Although, I must admit I haven't used any until now. Love them!

And, Heather has asked about the rest of my story regarding the Christmas Tree stand that ended up in my front lawn.....

Tomorrow. It will have to be tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Owl House Rehab and free advice

So, I am one of those people who has to do Christmas in bits and pieces. Any more and my brain explodes and the Christmas tree stand ends up in the front lawn. THAT is a story for another day though.

Anyhow, I had an article to share with you that I thought was very useful in taming holiday stress. Since Better Homes and Gardens sent me their magazine even though I opted out electronically when they asked if I minded a free subscription, I feel like I can share it with you and not even feel bad! Yes, I ripped out the pages to scan them. It was free!

Hopefully you can see the article better by clicking on it.

Anyhow, I direct your attention specifically to the Take a Break from Facebook highlighted section. I just want to take a minute here and assure you that I believe in truth in blogging and Facebook. Nobody's life is perfect. In fact, I am struggling with what to wear to the Christmas Party I'm going to this weekend. The dress I got from Victoria Secret makes me look like a blue velvet sausage. At least my husband did not actually laugh out loud when I modeled it. He choked and said it wasn't my style. And, why did I let him see it? Just in case I needed help escaping it without ripping it. Ever get trapped in a dress in a small little fitting room? See my point?

Anyhow on to something crafty!

So, the other day my friend Lisa and I hit the stalls. That is our code word for North Country Neighbors which is basically an indoor flea market type place that sells antiques and other things. You never know when you will leave with something super cool or nothing at all. That is half the charm. The other half is seeing things you had when you were a kid that are now "antiques" and you can snort. 

That day I found this very sad little house with a metal roof. I am horrified to report I paid $4 for it!! I know, seriously! But, it was so ugly I had to fix it. Here is my new version! Anything can be repainted with gesso! Add a wee bit of glimmermist, ink, and flowers, you are golden! 

My daughter suggested the owl. The person this gift is going to for Christmas is rather fond of owls and is also an Art major so I really had to give it some fun stuff. I used up my hot pink cheese cloth and placed my little owl in a nest. I am not sure if owls nest or not, but I am very sure owls don't have pink flowery eyes either, so we're going to run with this a bit. 

And, stop back this week for more truth in blogging. My husband challenged me to a hobby swap. I shoot his gun in trade for him scrapbooking. I have pictures. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Technology Addict: Scrapfit & The Color Room Challenge Page

I admit I might have it a wee bit bad. The other day I was looking for space around my craft room/office and complained to the willing listener who was sitting on my couch. I said:  WHERE can I store more scrapbooks? And, being the most perfect of husbands he said, well, you find what you want, get it. Actually what he said (once he yanked open the door of the huge cupboard I have) was that I have too much stuff and should consider maybe throwing a bit of it away. But, I like my version better.

See, here is the trouble. Regardless of what is stored IN my huge cupboard, I really can't buy anything too different because of what is on TOP of my cupboard. It's the perfect resting spot for various printers, scanners, and my Silhouette. That isn't even taking into account the desk next to it that has a laptop and desktop pc and the little side table that has at least three cameras in it. So, the hubby that works in the Information Technology field (which is a big fancy name for taking care of people's computers) calls ME a nerd. I know, the nerve.

Some people collect shoes. Not me. I like my gadgets and blinky lights. So, when they came up with their latest challenge at ScrapFit about picking your favorite I was a bit amazed. PICK one? What if the laptop gets upset that I like my printer better?

So, I decided to keep on loving all of them equally.

I also decided I wanted to pair up this photo my daughter took of me with the latest color challenge at The Color Room. It is a lovely challenge. I am in LOVE with that Sunflower color lately. And how can you go wrong with Raspberry. My only regret is the bit of blue in the photo. I was playing around with my photo and wanted just a bit of color so it didn't take away from the color challenge. BUT, then, I also feel like it draws your eye into that photo a bit too, so I guess I'm good with it.

I also made a bit of gauze into a wasn't hard, just gathered it together with a needle and added some little flower stamens to it. I think I'll be making more flowers in the future with gauze.  And, loved tying a bit on my page! That was super simple. I just wanted something more in that corner and had already put the hot glue gun away.

Big thanks to Shirley for that eye lash ribbon. I am in LOVE with that!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Story on Sunday: Tongue Tied by Bruce Mero (aka, my Dad)

Tongue Tied

It had snowed during the night, copiously, and as I ate breakfast, I could hear the sounds of Grandpa Curt and his Willies Jeep, plowing snow out of the driveway. 

Before my Cheerios were finished, Grandpa came through the back door, stamped snow from his overshoes and took off his coat.  “There’s a lot of snow on the ground,” he said.  “The City plows have not been here yet and the street is still full.  I’d be surprised if school wasn’t cancelled.”

My sister and I looked at each other, wide-eyed, and then at my mom.

"I hate to give you the bad news,” she said, “But there is nothing on the radio about school being cancelled, so you’d better get ready to go.”

Minutes later, we were out the door.  Seneca Street School was about one half mile from our house.  We walked there and back every day, sister Caryl to the fourth grade and me to the sixth.  As soon as we had left the part of the driveway Grandpa Curt had plowed, we plunged into knee deep snow and some waist-deep drifts.  Neither street or sidewalk plow had made it to our street.  We had only reached the second house from ours when Mrs. Woodhouse stuck her head out of her front door and told us that she had just heard that school was closed. 

We ran back home and burst into the kitchen with the news.  Grandpa was still eating his breakfast. 

He looked over his coffee cup and said, “You can help me this morning, boy.  It might help keep you out of your mother’s hair.” 

I quickly changed out of my school clothes and got ready to go with Grandpa Curt, when the telephone rang.  It was my classmate and closest friend, Ramsey.  He wanted to know if I’d heard the news about school being cancelled and did I want to go sledding?  With an air of importance, I told him that I had to help my Grandpa this morning, but when I was finished work, I could go sledding with him.  I said that I’d come to his house later.

Helping Grandpa Curt mainly consisted of riding shotgun in the Jeep while he plowed out all of the neighbors. All the neighbors, that is, except Mr. Mazzullo.  Grandpa Curt was mad at Mr. Mazzullo because his dog had barked late into the night and kept Grandpa awake.  He had called Mr. Mazzullo at two-thirty in the morning to tell him that his dog was barking and keeping him awake and that Mr. Mazzullo might as well be awake too. Mr. Mazzullo had said something nasty to Grandpa that Grandpa didn’t like and then he hung up.  The dog had barked until morning.  Mr. Mazzullo's driveway didn’t get cleared.

Riding in the Jeep was fun at first, but soon I was bored.  Grandpa Curt let me run the controls for the plow once in a while, but that got old, also. Sensing this, Grandpa finished his last driveway in the neighborhood, then headed the Jeep for downtown.  Sayles Street was clogged with snow, but the Jeep had no trouble busting through the drifts.  Lenox Avenue had been plowed, as had the main streets downtown.  We stopped at a diner Grandpa called Trigger’s.  Coffee at Trigger’s was part of Grandpa’s morning routine. He had introduced me as his assistant to the people in Trigger's when we arrived. I drank hot cocoa and ate a sugar donut while he chatted with several of his friends.  From Trigger’s we went to Mr. Boucher’s cigar store on Madison Street, where Grandpa bought a couple of fat cigars and a box of White Owls.  He gave me two nickels to buy penny candy.

“Get something for your sister also,” he instructed.

After plowing out the parking lot at the Presbyterian Church, we headed back home.  He drove into the yard and backed the Jeep in its usual spot. He thanked me for all of my help and then he went into his shop.  I knew that I was done helping Grandpa and that I had been dismissed, however I followed him inside and asked if I could get my sled out of his cellar. 

"You know where it is," he said.

Grandpa Curt’s cellar was a spooky place, a labyrinth of chambers under his shop. There he stored stacks of lumber, all kinds of steel pieces, barrels of nails and bolts and nuts and washers, spools of wire, hardware, tools, welding tanks, boxes of stuff and a whole lot more.  Single light bulbs barely lit each room and shadows darkened the corners.  I hurried and found my sled and dragged it up the stairs into the shop.  Grandpa Curt was talking on the telephone at the top of the stairs and wouldn’t let me pass until he was finished talking.  He then took my sled and looked it over.

 “The runners are rusty, boy,” he noted.  “Let me clean some of that stuff off.” 

He took the sled to a grinder before I could say anything and sparks started flying.  He was done in two minutes, and handed me back the sled. All of the old paint and rust had been removed from the two runners. They were shiny and the edges were sharp. 

“Be careful with this,” he said. “Now go.” He pointed to the door.  “Remember, don’t put your tongue on cold steel, you’ll stick to it.”  I smiled at this last warning.  I knew what he meant.  He had taught me that lesson previously.

I learned early in life that Grandpa Curt had a short attention span with kids.  His second dismissal of me signaled he had other things to do that morning and he wanted to get on with it.  I left the shop after thanking him for the Jeep ride and the hot cocoa and the donut and the candy, and headed up the street toward Ramsey’s house.

The City plow still had not been on Sayles Street, so the walk up the hill was slow.  My sled was heavy.  It really didn’t work well in deep snow.  Runner sleds were best on packed snow and ice.  With the deep snow and the burden of the sled, it took longer than it should have to reach the State Highway at the top of Sayles Street.  Once there, the walk was quick.  Route 5 had been plowed.  The walking was easy now with the sled almost weightless as the shiny runners glided upon on the hard snow on the shoulder of the road.

Ramsey was ready to go as soon as I arrived.  His plan was to go to the Oneida Country Club and sled on the hills.  He thought that the snow was probably too deep for runner sleds, so we each took aluminum saucers to use also.  The golf course was down hill from Ramsey’s house, so we rode our sleds along the shoulder of the road, saucers clattering behind.  My sled was fast, really fast.  I was a quarter mile in front of Ramsey when I reached the entrance road to the Country Club, a point noted by my friend when he finally caught up with me. 

The golf course was swarming with kids sliding on the hills.  Last night’s snowfall may have caused the cancellation of school, but it was no deterrence to the hundred or so who had come here to enjoy the day off.  I pushed off with my sled and sped down, then up the newly plowed entrance road to the main parking lot. My sled carried me to the top on the momentum I’d made coming off the highway.  Ramsey had to walk and drag his sled the last little way to the top.

Our runner sleds were of little use in the snow, so we slid on the saucers and, later, on a borrowed toboggan until we were exhausted.  By mid-afternoon the clouds had cleared, the air was chilled with a stiff wind from the north.  We were wet and cold and about to quit sledding and go back to Ramsey’s place when we noticed kids coming up a service road from the back side of the golf course dragging runner sleds.  We met the group and asked where they had been sledding.  We were told that the service road we were on was plowed up to the edge of a ravine.  At the edge of the ravine, the service road then dropped into the valley, very steeply, through the woods.  In the summer, golf carts and mowers used the road to access the back part of the golf course, but it was unused in the winter.  These kids had walked down into the ravine and used the lower part of the service road to runner sled.  According to them, the road was glare ice and only a little snow had fallen on the ice because of the trees overhead.  This sounded perfect, and we rode our sleds down the service road to a great mound of snow where the snowplow had stopped.

“Holy cow,” said Ramsey.  He was looking down the road into the ravine in amazement.  “No way I’m sledding down that, we’ll get killed.”

The road plunged precipitously from where we were standing.  Straight down, or so it seemed, for a couple of hundred yards of straightaway, then it disappeared with a sharp right hand turn.  The side of the ravine climbed sharply upwards on the right and dropped perilously on the left.  Tall evergreens hugged the road.  There was very little new snow, only white ice and a slight powder.  Prudence dictated we check things out, so we walked our sleds down the very edge of the road to the right curve.  Here the road straightened for another several hundred yards, just as steep, then turned left.  Through the trees we could see the end of the road where it crossed the creek at the bottom of the ravine.  We walked down further, toward the left curve.  About half way through the last curve we started to see runner sled tracks on the ice.  This is where the kids we had talked to had started to sled.  We did the same.  It was fantastic.  It was fast.  My sled flew on the ice, grabbed the curve, skidded sideways slightly, then shot down the straightaway to the bridge like a rocket.  The opposite side of the creek was deep with snow and I raced into the fresh snow and disappeared with a poof.  I looked back to see Ramsey slide around the curve, cross the bridge and disappear into the snow.  He had gone about as far as the other sledders had gone, judging by the tracks.  I’d slid a whole lot further.  Slick runners, I thought.  Energized, we did the slide another half-dozen times, each time gaining confidence and each time sliding farther into the new snow. 

Our next run down the hill was from mid-way up the middle straightaway and it was lightning fast.  I plunged a hundred feet deeper into the new snow at the bottom than before and jumped up with a shriek of exhilaration, just in time to see Ramsey spin out on the curve and slide off his sled.  He and the sled parted and Ramsey slid on his backside almost to the bridge. He also jumped up with a yell and watched his sled crash into the creek.    

“Let’s try it from the top,” Ramsey yelled.  “Yeah!” was my enthusiastic response.

We climbed to the place at the top where Ramsey had first said that we’d be killed if we tried to sled down the road, the place the snowplow had stopped. 

“I'm first,” exclaimed Ramsey.  He ran a couple of paces, slammed his sled on the ice and lay down on his sled.  In a flash he was speeding along the ice.  His old sled bounced along, skidding side to side toward the first turn.  In a second he was out of sight around the turn.  I could still hear the clattering of his sled runners on the ice.  Several more seconds passed, then a scream and the sound of his sled hitting something, then silence.  Several more seconds passed then the sounds of laughing from beyond the curve.  Ramsey had crashed, but he was all right.

“Get out of the way,” I yelped and I ran fast and jumped onto my sled.  Instantly I was rocketing down the road, trees were a blur out of the corners of my eyes.  I angled my sled for the inside of the first curve and hit it perfectly.  The sharpened runners of my sled grabbed the ice as though they were ice skates and I skidded only a little around the turn.   I accelerated and exited the curve in the center of the road.  I picked up more speed as I bounced along the middle straightaway. I looked down at the front of my sled fondly, as though it were a part of me. It was beautiful.  My hands fit the steering handle as though they were custom designed. This was wonderful.  I’d never felt such a feeling.  Never before had I been moving so fast on a sled. Skittering across the ice, time seemed to stand still.  I looked to the next turn and thought that I was steering toward a perfect entry into the turn.  This was great.  What a ride! What a fine job Grandpa Curt had done with my sled.  Then, inexplicably, I put my face close to the sled and I put my tongue on the large metal rivet in the center of the steering handle.  Instantly, of course, it stuck.  My tongue was frozen solidly to my sled.  I pulled, it hurt.  It stayed stuck.  I looked up with my eyes and saw Ramsey standing along the side of the road looking at me in astonishment, knowing what I’d done.  Whoosh, Ramsey was gone in a flash.  I looked forward again and saw that the next curve was only seconds away.  I tried to slow the sled by dragging my feet behind the sled but this just made me wobble and miss my entry into the curve.  I hit the turn in the middle, not the left side as planned and the sled started skidding to the right.  I dragged my feet again to help steer and at the same moment hit a bump.  My body left the sled.  Most of it anyway.  My tongue stayed attached.  I came back down but only a part of me was still on the sled.  My hands were still on the steering handle and my chest was partly on the sled.  The rest of me was sliding on the ice. My body was pivoting by my stuck tongue.  Another bounce and the sled hit the dirt on the side of the road.  Sparks flew as the runners slid over rocks in the dirt. With another bounce, I again left the sled, except for my frozen tongue.  I crashed back onto the sled almost perfectly and seemed to gain some control of the speeding missile.  I looked up to see that my exit from the curve placed me on a course that would miss the bridge over the creek entirely, but this I could not change in the few seconds I had before I hit the creek bank in a blizzard of snow.  The sled and I went airborne and parted company.  Each cleared the creek, crashing in a great avalanche of fresh snow on the opposite side.  Neither was hurt.  Well, the sled was fine. I, however, lost a huge chunk off the tip of my tongue when the sled and I parted.  I was bleeding profusely.

Ramsey came running over and said that that was the greatest sled ride he’d ever seen. He had seen the whole thing and was so excited he’d forgotten the large gash he put in his left ear when he flew off the road and his sled and a pine tree collided.  The sled was broken onto bits and he'd left it at the base of the tree he'd hit.  Ramsey had fallen off before the collision and was mostly unhurt, except for his ear. He gave me a piece of ice from the creek to suck on to stop the bleeding in my mouth.  He held a piece on his ear.

Triumphantly, we ascended the hill and headed for home.  I dragged my sled. Ramsey dragged the saucers.  We were bloody, cold, wet and tired, but we were pleased.  We had conquered the hill.

What better way to spend a snow day?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Halloween Party Pages for Marilyn

I really wasn't going to post anything today.

Got a note last night in my inbox from Marilyn who has been making daily trips to visit her hubby who is in the hospital. He is battling cancer and I guess he needs some help from the docs to get past this round of chemo. I know you don't know Marilyn (she is posing for me eating cotton candy above), but rest assured that if you did, your life would be richer. Joe, her hubby is the same. Just a great person all around.

In a strange world of how things just work out when we need a boost, she had gotten these two pages I sent to her yesterday. What she doesn't know, is that the day before I was at the post office at noon struggling to get it mailed. The lady at the register got my packages weighed and rang up, swiped my card, and immediately got this horrible look on her face. I think she would have said a few bad words if I hadn't been right there.

Post Office Lady:  It's doing it, AGAIN.
Me: It's doing what? What is wrong?
Post Office Lady: The machine! It's got the HOUR GLASS again!
Me: Um. Do you want me to write a check? I can write one? No big deal.
Post Office Lady: Well, I don't know if this transaction will go through.

Meanwhile the angry line behind me is building up. I say angry because my story is WAY MORE INTERESTING that way. They weren't. For the most part, mean people don't live in the North County. Oh we have a few. Just not too many. People are typically way nice here.

I am begging her at this point to accept my apologies. I have been here a year and being nice has settled in with me. Not to mention that I am only AT the post office since one of the packages is going international. Typically I leave my post dude a little pile on my steps with a check made out to Post Master and the next day I have a receipt. I know. It's amazing. I love it. The country that is. Post dude isn't bad either. He is super nice, brings my packages to the door, and has a standing invitation to pick apples off our trees in the front.

So, finally she gives up in disgust since now both registers have gone all hour glassy and they are not able to take any money. She takes my check and I leave past the 10 or so people who have collected. I do maybe just feel a wee bit guilty since everyone else is out of luck until they reboot or do whatever it is to get things fixed. I feel like announcing to the mass that I didn't break the machines and I'm sorry, but instead I just hurry out with my head down. And, yesterday I got my receipt mailed to me. Incidentally, did you know if the post office mails YOU something, they don't have to pay postage?

My point here is that somehow she got that package overnight. I mean, I did send it priority, but I never expected her to get it yesterday. I also sent it because I felt like I should. You know, like an urge. I was supposed to see her over our holiday here, but now, it appears she will be at the hospital. I am glad I could send something to her to make her day a bit brighter.

AND, I noticed now I am posting this, that I used the same photo twice in my rush! No matter, I can easily swap out out the full sheet of photos. But, again, it's weird to me how much Joe is in my thoughts.

So, can you do me a favor today and keep my friend Marilyn and her hubby in your thoughts and prayers? I am sure that Thanksgiving is one of the holidays that Marilyn likes best as she is an amazing cook and gathers her family together to celebrate. I wish her strength to get through this. And, I also am praying she drives safely today. It is snowing/icing out. It's our first real winter weather. Kiss your hubby while you are at it and give him a hug. I know I take good health for granted and also the people I love most.

God Bless.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thank You Cards & a Vote

 Just a few Thankgiving type themed cards for today. I'm gearing up for some major crafting towards the end of the week after my belly digests all that turkey! But, I will probably not post for a few days since I'll be hanging with the family. Plus, tomorrow I go in to bake mode. I have committed to an apple pie with apples off our trees, a banana pudding which is a staple at the Pratt feasts, AND, some kind of cupcakes.

And I was wondering if I could get you guys following my blog to do me a BIG favor. I got an e-mail the other day from my friend Teri asking me to vote for Woman of Worth, in particular a friend of theirs, Gretchen who raises money for Pediatric Cancer after losing their son to the horrible disease. Please see below where I have posted her e-mail and the links. Please hurry, the voting closes tomorrow. Thanks!

I come to you asking a favor.

Recently I found out I've been named one of L'Oreal's 2011 Women of Worth for the work Cookies for Kids' Cancer does on behalf of fighting pediatric cancer. There are 10 winners who were chosen from more than 2,100 nominated women. As a winner, Cookies for Kids' Cancer ( will receive $10,000.

But there's a second part of the contest. There is a $25,000 pot available to one of the 10 winners who receives the most votes in an online competition. The voting, which is super easy and literally takes a few seconds, started on Monday, November 7th and continues until next Wednesday, November 23rd. To vote, click here and enter your email address. Each email address can only vote one time, so we are trying to spread the word far and wide.The winner is announced on 12/8 at an awards ceremony.

In the world of pediatric cancer, $25,000 goes a long way and we can put that money to very good use. In addition to voting, would you be willing to share this link with your friends, co-workers, and family to help us win $25,000 to continue going after the disease that took our precious son Liam as well as too many other beloved sons and daughters?

Larry, Ella and I miss him so, so much. Every day without him is a day of profound loss. I can't even express in words the heartache we shoulder as we try to carry on without him. It's something that certainly hasn't gotten any easier in the nine months since he left us. But we continue the fight against the disease that takes the lives of more children than any other every year because it's what Liam would want. He'd want us all to work together to make it better for others.

Many Humble Thanks and Love Like Liam.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Helen at Scrap Addict

is experiencing Bloggerism in the worst sort of way! They have taken away her Google Account! She is working on determining the scoop, but 'til she gets it straight, we will be Helen less. I can only imagine what she is going through!

Rolled Flower Tutorial & Pumpkins for Lisa

So a while back my friend Lisa sends her crew over to help my hubby install a boiler. She is a small business owner and does these kinds of things. Anyhow, the end result is now a fully heated garage which I for good reasons covet for spray paint projects. Yeah, the chances of me winning on this front are not likely. I hinted that a wee bit of work space might be nice and got the LOOK. 

So, life being life, we finally got Lisa and her hubby over for an evening and decided to hang in the garage a bit. Well, it is heated and away from the kids, so we could be adults for a few minutes! Not to mention he has the comforts of home out there so we could stream Pandora without getting the face we get from the 11 year old when we listen to classic rock. 

Plus, Lisa brought over her collection of foam pumpkins and we got the bright idea of spraying them various colors and using glitter. The first part wasn't the problem. The second part was that we added wine coolers to the mix. I am bad spray painter on a good day. And glitter? It was a bad scene. In fact, so bad I didn't even take before photos. The garage looked pretty bad too and you know how guys are about glitter. Mine endures the occasional sparkle he ends up wearing from close contact with my projects. It is so difficult to take him seriously when he is sparkling!

So, the only before picture you will be getting is the innocent orange pumpkin at the end that was spared spray paint, modge podge, tissue paper, glitter, and also cheese cloth. My finished product make me so much happier! But the before looked like poor little pumpkin zombies. 

After spray painting them both white with an added bit of glimmermist and burgundy alcohol ink I was pleased with the clean slate but still a wee bit nervous..I love the texture that the cheese cloth gave it, but was unsure how it was all going to work out for me.

BUT, flowers always help out with more bits of cheese cloth, berries, and burlap! Not to mention black sparkly letters! My rolled flower made me super happy. Lisa had cut off the stem on one and I was trying to cover that up. And a huge rolled flower did just the trick!

I also wanted to do a brief tutorial on these rolled flowers. I got my book print one from The Mad Recycler. In fact, I got six from her and still totally respect the fact that these take a bit to do! So much so, I'd totally buy more and probably will when I see her at the next craft fair.  Hers is more dainty than mine and I guess I'd suggest using a paper that is thinner for easier rolling. However, paper with two different patters IS really nice.

So, you will need two sets of squares to make a flower. Mine were 2 inches on the bottom and 1.5 inches on the top layer. I made 11 rolled up cones for the bottom and 9 of the smaller sized squares for the top. I simply adhered mine using a standard tape runner in the cone shape.

Now comes the hard part where you wish you had an extra hand. I arranged mine in a circle in a puddle of hot glue on a cut scallop. As you can see, mine isn't perfectly symmetrical. 

Once that cools, arrange the second layer and hot glue on a flower or circle that will cover any overlaps. I also added some glue to mine on the edges and glitter. 

For a first time flower, I was pretty pleased. I can see how you could alter this flower for a hanging Christmas ornament and have it be quite lovely! I would just downsize the size of the squares. I also like how the book paper flattened out so the middle of the flower was depressed. I'd suggest maybe smooshing that section of the tube before the hot glue step!

Anyhow, as always, let me know if you have any questions!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Stories

I ran across a blog this weekend that was telling a story about a teddy bear that her brother owned and I was captivated. It was a normal scrappy blog during the rest of the month, but one Sunday a month it turned into a story telling time.

I thought it was a lovely idea and maybe it would inspire me to get some of the amazing stories my Dad has written into cyber space! Someday I'd like to take each story and load them into a publishing program and get a whole book made. Perhaps, by blogging these 2012 will be that year. If I think I can swing the time, perhaps I'll get little Grandma in the mix and see if she can provide photos that will aid with illustrating. Or perhaps they will be just recorded here for me!

Anyhow, here is the story for today. It's one I specially requested that corresponds with something that my son was exploring the other day with his Dad. They made a home made potato gun and had raided my spuds. They have further plans though and I can only be glad they are doing these projects together.

Rocket Man

By Bruce H. Mero

It was in Mr. Leland’s seventh grade science class that my adolescent interest in space exploration and particularly in rockets became obsessive.  It was the time of the first American Astronauts, the first orbital missions and a growing space race between America and the Soviet Union.  Each time a manned-rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, the PA system in our school carried the live radio broadcasts and we school kids listened and I always imagined I was going along for the ride.  I paid rapt attention to everything Mr. Leland had to say about these first trips into space, especially when he detailed in color chalk on the blackboard how rocket ships were constructed and how solid and liquid fuels burned.

At the same time, four of my friends and I founded an after-school Astronaut club and collected newspaper and magazine clippings of everything to do with the planets, the moon and space ships.  We plastered the walls of an attic room in Craig Denning’s house with these clippings and talked endlessly about space travel and we all made plans to become Astronauts some day.  Billy Marks found an ad in a comic book and talked his mother into buying a package of rocket motors and an ignition kit, and complete directions for making and launching cardboard-tube rockets.  We occupied hours making these rockets and talked Mr. Leland into launching them on the school grounds, during school hours with all three classes in the middle school allowed to attend each launch.  We of the Astronaut club took turns setting the rockets on their launch pads and running the wire ignition cord to the ignition switch.  With each rocket launch, one of us was selected as mission controller and directed the set-up operation.  Once the rocket was readied, we waved to the crowd of gathered kids and swaggered back to the launch control center and took up our positions.  The school principal, a special teacher or a special girlfriend then stepped forward and accompanied by a chorus of kids loudly chanting the countdown: ten...nine...eight............three, flipped the switch and sent nine volts of electricity surging through ignition wires, to the rocket motor which, most times, ignited and sent our cardboard rockets skyward in a whoosh and cloud of smoke and wild clapping from our schoolmates.  We repeated this exercise several times each Thursday in May, with Fridays available in case of a rain delay, until the package of a dozen rocket motors was gone.  The five of us were school heroes that spring, and we each vowed that we would get our parents to buy more rocket motors and continue our launches after school let out for the summer in mid-June.

Summer vacation started with daily gatherings of our club, but our enthusiasm begin to wane as none of us was successful in talking our parents into buying more rocket motors.  Family vacations began to take club members away for weeks at a time and by mid-July we had disbanded, by default, for the summer.  

My enthusiasm for rockets remained high, however.  I had pestered my dad to buy rocket motors so much that his responses to my solicitations were becoming dangerous and I decided to take another approach to slake my appetite.  I had taken meticulous notes during Mr. Leland’s descriptions of rocket motors and decided to construct my own.  I had heard that solid rocket fuel was similar to the stuff that matches were made from and had determined that a rocket motor made from match heads would perform the same as the store bought ones I didn’t dare talk to my father about any longer.  Coincidentally, I learned a bit about making black powder from a friend, and had purchased a small can of saltpeter and mixed it with ground charcoal, and carefully ground match heads and made a substance which burned with enough vigor to set my tree house on fire.... but that is another story.  I now had rocket fuel.  I needed a good missile to put it in.

I had started spending my free time hanging around my grandfather’s machine shop, which was located adjacent to the house, we were living in.  Grandpa Curt was a self- employed machinist, an inventor and innovator.  I told of my idea to make a rocket from scratch, and after listening to the research I had done on the subject, he agreed to let me use his shop to build my rocket, provided I stayed out of his way.  He found a piece of aluminum pipe, about a foot long and an inch in diameter and set me up at an anvil, pounding one end of the pipe into a point to make the rocket’s nose cone.  Several times he looked at my project and offered advice.  After a couple of hours, I had pounded the end of the pipe into a perfect nose cone.  He helped me cut the nose cone off the pipe on his band saw, and I set to work pounding on it again to make the cone fit into the pipe, so it could be removed to fill the missile with fuel, then reattached.  This took another couple of hours, but the resulting fit was perfect.  Half of my rocket was finished.  Grandpa Curt had limited patience with kids and at this point he had had enough of me. My work in his shop was terminated for a couple of days.  I used the time to prepare the solid fuel for my rocket, carefully scraping match heads off the wooden parts of kitchen matches and filling a mustard jar with the red and white powder.  I burned sticks in the old cobblestone fireplace next to Grandpa’s shop and ground the charcoal which resulted into powder that I saved in a coffee can.  I had most of the saltpeter left, also.

A couple of days passed.  I had the ingredients for my rocket motor ready and it was time to approach Grandpa again about finishing my missile.  He agreed to let me work in his shop with the same conditions as before, to stay out of his way.  However, it wasn’t long before he had the aluminum tube in his hands and had inserted and brazed a steel washer in the bottom of the tube for the rocket motor’s exhaust gasses to exit the pipe. I was ready, almost, to fuel the rocket, but I had to figure out a way to ignite the motor.  The ignition set-up we had used to launch the rockets in school belonged to Billy Marks and he was away on vacation until August.  This was a dilemma.  I had no way to launch my rocket until Billy got back from vacation and then I remembered a package of firecrackers I had been given by my cousin Mike.  I could use one of the fuses from a firecracker to light my rocket.  While grandpa was occupied in the bathroom, I drilled a small hole near the base of the missile for a fuse and I was in business.

Rocket fueling operations were conducted in my tree house.  Carefully, I mixed the components together, the match-head powder, the charcoal powder and the saltpeter, and I poured the concoction into the missile tube.  When all of my ingredients had been used up, I had only filled the aluminum tube about one-half full.  I had more space in my tube and could make a more powerful rocket, I thought, and decided to fill the rest of the tube with match heads and the black powder from the firecrackers cousin Mike had given me.  The fuel mixture for the second stage of my rocket filled the next three inches in my tube.  There was still space.  I was out of materials for more fuel, and getting impatient to launch.  I had been working on this project for long enough.  Frustrated, I stuffed Kleenex tissue into the remaining space in the tube and then soaked the stuffing with cigarette lighter fluid, and connected the nose cone.  I now had a three-stage rocket, much bigger and more powerful than anything we had launched in seventh grade.  I inserted a firecracker fuse into the little hole at the base of the tube and I was ready for launch.

I had decided earlier to use the cobblestone fireplace as my launch pad, and had everything set to go, when I heard my Grandpa shuffle up behind me and ask, “What are you doing, boy?”  “I’m going to launch my rocket, Grandpa. Do you want to watch?”  Grandpa Curt looked over my rocket and launch set-up.  He asked me where I got my fuse when I told him about the firecrackers my cousin Mike had given me.  He suggested that the fuse needed to be a little longer.  I scrambled up the ladder to my tree house and returned with a couple more, inch-long firecracker fuses.  This was all that I had left from the package of firecrackers I had emptied into the second stage of my rocket.  The rest of the fuses had been stuffed in the missile tube between the stage two match heads and black powder mix and the stage three lighter fluid-soaked Kleenex wadding.  Grandpa carefully twisted the fuses together, forming a single strand about three inches long.  He stepped back and looked things over, then readjusted the rocket on the stand.  He was ready and took the pack of matches out of my hand.  He had taken over my rocket launch, but I was afraid to say anything to him, so I stepped back a few yards and watched him light a match.  I ceremoniously started a countdown: ten...nine...he lit the fuse before I hit eight.  It fizzled, smoked and then the sparks ran quickly down the fuse.  Grandpa took a few steps back.

The aluminum tube shook and fell off of the launch platform. There was a brilliant flash. The explosion that followed rocked the neighborhood. Leaves from a nearby apple tree fluttered into the air and hundreds of green apples fell to the ground.  Parts of my tree house thumped on the dirt at the base of its tree. Some of the windows in Grandpa’s shop nearest to the fireplace shattered. My rocket launcher had disappeared. The top third of the cobblestone fireplace lay on the ground in a cloud of cement dust and ashes.

Every dog within a quarter mile was barking.  My rocket was gone, and all around us shreds of flaming Kleenex and smoking firecracker fuses rained down.  Neither of us was hurt, fortunately.  Grandpa Curt was still standing up but rocking back and forth a little, smiling and shaking his head.  I was on my back on the lawn. Some of the chimney stones and cement dust had landed on me. 

Grandpa Curt teetered over to where I had fallen and handed me back my matches. He straightened his cap and said,
 “It didn’t work, boy,” he said as he shuffled away. We’ll work on a second version next week. See if you can get any more of those firecrackers from your cousin Mike.”

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Reusable Placecards

First, I'd like to thank Maggie at Passionately Artistic for letting me be featured on her blog!

I have a fun project to share with you today! These are so simple and also reusable year to year. And, the same idea could be applied to other holidays with matching paper or a big dinner party.

I started with some heavier cardstock in kraft brown and cut out three of these scallops on my Big Shot using the Top Note die from Stampin' Up. If you don't have a die cutter, you can probably free hand a shape you like. I then carefully sprayed them with Krylon Chalk Board paint which is carried at our local Walmart.

Let them dry and spray on a second coat. Then, after they are completely dry, cut them in half. I made 6 placecards total, so this gave me the correct amount.

I also cut out heavier double sided cardstock in 4" by 5" that I folded in half. I then cut out a very small leaf shape so the color of the paper under would show through. I could then use the leaf I punched as a second on my placecard!

Attach the scallop to the folder paper, add some twin and voila! You have some cute little cards!

I plan on using mine in front of our dishes!

Also, I found this lovely little box I could store them in year to year. Some matching paper, hot glue, and some flowers trimmed it out so it could also be a decoration during Thanksgiving Dinner.

I also wanted to tell you about these awesome chalk board pens I found on Amazon. I have tried them and love them! See how "big" the word apple is on the first photo? This is a nice substitute for traditional chalk as   these chisel tip markers give you a nice even line, plus, you miss out on all that chalk dust! They can be wiped off easily with a wet cloth.

Thanks and have a Happy Turkey Day!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Half of a Whole

So, the first inspiration for this page was from The Color Room's Challenge #84. I loved the colors, but wasn't sure what page I wanted to make. So, I paired it up with the latest challenge out on Once Upon A....Sketch that requires that your page use their sketch and also the following:

Journaling criteria: This time the journaling criteria focuses on YOU as a woman OR ANY female in your life. What is the best thing about being a woman? Motherhood? Shopping? Make Up? Girls nights? Gossip? Your journalling can be as long as you wish and in any language, but you must journal at least 2 sentences on the best part of being a woman.

So, with a color challenge the intent is obviously to match the colors up. I can say, feel like I succeeded getting the right "tones" but failed miserably when I added my splashes of red. So, I am going to admit right here for you all to read that it was deliberate. My friend Kristy sent me the glittery sparkle scroll pieces, my page had that lovely red bodied dragon fly, and I wanted to incorporate a heart into the layout. I do LOVE how it turned out and I'm claiming that the splash of color in the flowers on the table made me do it! 

I also hope I accomplished my goal with my journaling. I must admit I showed this page to THE MAN and he wrinkled up his nose. 

Pratt: What exactly does Half of a whole mean? 
Me:  Did you read the journaling?
Pratt: I read the story, if THAT is what you mean.
Me:  Well on a scrapbook page, it's called journaling. 
Pratt:  Well, in my world it would be the STORY
Me:  Well, I was going for the whole ying/yang thing, you know where two people who are married make a whole.....

His eye balls were crossed so I gave up. I left with the knowledge that my Woman Brain had caused his inferior man brain to stop working, retreating in a huff to Woman's World upstairs with my glitter and paper. Glue may have been a more appropriate title. Women are typically the one person who holds all the parts of a household together. Or at least, that is how it works here. I came home recently from a week long business trip and everyone was grouchy. I thought they would have been excited to see me. Nope, they were holding a grudge that I had gone at all. Evidently it had been a rough week. 

Well, back to the page. I flipped the sketch and moved a few things around to get it to work. I really liked the Bo Bunny Back to Basics paper I used for my letters (yes, put the Silhouette to work) and Pink Paislee Dragonflies sheet was VERY awesome, perfect indeed. I'm fond of dragonflies. The flowers I made from a pattern I picked up a garage sale. They are super simple and always turn out happy crumpled. 

The photo was one Marilyn took of Nate and I during our Halloween Party. I was getting picked on for something. I may have started it though. I have seen the technique lately that the photo gets recessed behind a pop dotted page and I am loving the idea. And I wanted it to look imperfect to match all my crinkled up cheese cloth that was dyed ages ago for Christmas cards that are still not finished. Guess I should get on those and stop playing around with challenges!!! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Friendship's Road

A lovely package arrived just the other day from Marilyn. And interestingly enough, it was a 12 by 12 size. Oh, one of the best sizes!!

This is the little lovely that it contained! I love it!! From the beautiful resin rose to the hand dyed yarn loops to the very lovely leaves hanging down.....

I wanted to thank each and every one of you that follow my blog! And those bloggers out there that I have had the good fortune to stumble across and gain inspiration, a huge thank you from the bottom of my toes!

Thanks Marilyn for the great page! I will be finding a frame to I can hang this in my crafting room/office.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Got Luck? 2011 School Photo Page

So, I scraplifted this page blatantly from Helen. I really liked her page (oreo cookie aside which I LOVE) where she framed out all the items in the middle. I also liked the fact she didn't use "Adore" which is the new Bird is the Word Challenge as a title but rather as an element. Do you see her little Tim Holtz Adore tag sticking out? And yes. There is the cute oreo too. Makes me hungry just looking at it. 

My frame was cut out of a piece of Christmas paper I got the other day and is made by Bo Bunny (Tis the Season Chorus Die Cut). I used it as a frame and cut out the very obvious pretty snow flakes from the middle. There is still one peeping out on the bottom, did you see it the first time round? Haven't figured out if I will cover that or not. Maybe I won't. It  IS getting ready to snow here! I also liked her middle portion of measuring tape and fancy frilly yellow paper. So, copied that too, down to a ribbon measuring tape I had. 

Then, I had to deviate since I just wanted to use these two school photos. Plus, I WAS playing along with another challenge that wanted one of those cool rosettes, but now I can't remember where I read that. If anyone reading my blog knows, I'll link it up. 

Oh and Tink if you are reading this, thanks again for those little butterflies! Used another!

I am blaming my recent memory loss on being a Mom. Some days are easier than others. Yesterday I just about lost it several times. 

My apologies to both Lisas who have heard this story electronically and also Shirley who heard it via the phone!!

So, Sunday was Luke's Birthday. The closest school day to Sunday being Monday, that was when we decided the school treats would make their appearance. 

Luke requested a cookie cake as he likes those best. So, since we have to bring store items, I preorder two cakes at Walmart as he is in a double classroom with 48 kids. I grab two cans of whip cream, plates and the cakes from the bakery. I am already late since I wanted to get them to the school around 10, but the work know. I am checking out and pause to admire the pretty scrolly blue script on the first cake. It says Happy Birthday Luck. OH crap. No way. The darn frosting is frozen, they would have to PRY it off. There is no way both cakes are spelled wrong. Nope, they are both Happy Birthday Luck

So, my son is really easy going and I'm really late. They do offer money off, but unless it is free, getting a refund will turn my hour lunch into two. So, I don't get ugly, I use my manners, and say, he'll be OK. Meanwhile the cashier is sobbing about how much she loved being in elementary school when it was her birthday and how special this all is and I am begging her to hurry.

So, then, I go to the school to drop off the cookie cakes. A mean troll works at the office at the elementary school and lucky me, she is the one there covering lunch for the nice one. I explain to her the name issue looking for solace, but she just hands me a tiny sheet of paper and a pen so I can write Luke a note explaining to him that I'm LUCKY to have him....yeah, I didn't think for one minute he would be fooled. 

I hope that Luke's cool teacher used this as a teaching opportunity to remind the 3rd Graders how important spelling is. He was happy when he came in the door from school clutching the remnants of two cookie cakes right until I said, HI LUCK, glad you are home! I then got the EYE BALLS. 

Who here is voting Bird is the Word has the word LUCK as their next challenge?