Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pardon my tears...

This summer (at least towards the end), was the worst summer of my life. So much... and it seems so long ago. People often ask me questions. And it's really hard for me to answer them.

Sometimes, I do... and sometimes I morph into this cold person. Emotionless. Spewing out facts and things that actually happened. It's the only way I can seem to not do the other thing I do.

Sometimes I do... and sometimes I shed waterfalls of tears and can't get through a complete sentence without heaving. I know nobody can understand me when I do this.

So I try really hard to do the first one. I don't care what anybody thinks (about this)... what anybody says... or how anybody might see me. I know who I am. I know I am a loving, caring person. I know that I still love. and I still care.

Everyday, life changes. We often don't see it. It's subtle... like a soft erosion of the water to the earth. It laps and laps... and we think it's soft and cute. And then we notice a itty bitty difference. Where did that patch of grass go? Wasn't it greener last year? No matter how much we want it to stop, it just keeps going. Before we know it, there are more changes.

And that is life. And I cry...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

MamaKat's Losin' It - Writing Prompt: 4.) Share your top favorite photo you took in June. Give us the back story.

I took so many photos in June, both on the phone and the camera. It was really hard to determine my favorite. Wonderful moments are forever imprinted in the digital realm and bring me emotion... joy... wonder... fun... I cannot believe half my summer is gone already. Seems like yesterday we were out of school...

And since I've mentioned "school"... Marissa continues to thrive at school. Having just finished 3rd grade, she works extremely hard for her end-of-the-year reward. Her favorite place in the world (and where she'd like to spend the rest of her life working...) is Sea World San Diego. For Perfect Attendance and Straight A's... she gets the privilege of swimming with the dolphins.

This year, after getting a little bit smarter... We reserved a weekday. Yes. The weekday is much less "busy" than the Saturday we normally reserve. The pools aren't so crowded, and the groupings (people assigned to a trainer and dolphin) are much smaller. Definitely more bang for the buck.

Frequenting Sea World as we do, relationships are formed and bonds are made with the dolphins and trainers. If only she could do this every time. Unfortunately, my wallet can't afford it.

Without further ado (and because my mind can't seem to focus and it's bouncing all over the place)...

Following the writing prompt at MamaKat's Losin' It, my "favorite" photo is (can I get a drum roll please...)
It may not be the best photo... it was a quickie shot that I saw my daughter totally delighted and partnered up with this dancing dolphin. (I'm sure my husband got a pretty good shot from the other side...) I love the blue (happens to be my fave color!). And the vastness of the water itself (representative of our massive ocean!). My daughter has her hair up (which is a rarity in itself, as she a "hair-down" kind of girl. She didn't want it up... but after a brief little battle, explaining her hair would be all over her face, and she would miss out on a lot of her treasured time (it is only an hour...) moving it from her face, she finally acquiesced. To say that she had the time of her life (even better than last year!) is the least that could be said. This brief glimpse into the face and play of a child makes me feel happy, just looking at it.
So far... her dream for next year's reward is the same. Swimming with the dolphins again. It's sure to be even better than these past two years!
Since I'm coming from MamaKat's, please leave some comment love... and visit her site to see the many many writer's! And thanks!
*** just a note... the links aren't open yet, so once they are, I will change the links!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Summer's Soon to Be... And Life's Lessons Part I

Of course. As it happens every year. The time has flown by. It seems we just started the school year last August (yes... we do start THAT early, here...). And it's already almost the last week of 2014's school year. Wow.

I feel "all over the place". Thoughts aren't together. Easily distracted. So much has happened. So much going on. No time for anything.

My peaches have come and gone... it really was a quick season.

I'm working in a high school this year. It's bittersweet. I get to know so many kids that I may never see again. They say they'll come back to visit, but we shall see. I'll miss 'em. I certainly hope they succeed in life, no matter what they choose to do, knowing I tried to help them. It's sad...

Squirrel!!!!! It reminds me of when all of my older kids graduated. They grow up way too fast for words. With them now at the ages of 25, 22, 21 and 20 and all having jobs and lives of their own, I breathe happily, knowing they are (for the most part) adults on their way to success. But... I still miss having them around. I see their huge mistakes and I cringe inside. Often, I do tell them about it. They may not like what I have to say, but one day... hopefully they'll put the pieces together and figure it all out.

My mom disagrees with this strategy. She feels I shouldn't say anything. And just let them learn. She pointed out to me just the other day that she didn't say a word when I was having problems in my first marriage (I was being abused physically and mentally...) and lots of signs were there. I firmly believe I would have left that situation a lot sooner and been happier because of it. She may not have said anything to me (not even when I left... the first time), but others did.

They may not have said what you are thinking they probably said. Not one person told me to leave.

Many suggested counseling (which we'd already been through...).

All told me to stay. That it would be bad for the kids if I left him. Marriage is forever... they told me.

I was miserable. I was beaten regularly. My head was put through a wall. I was told that I was fat and ugly. I was told nobody would ever want me. I was told I was nobody without him...

I've come a long way. I am somebody. (I'll finish that tale another day...)

In the meantime, summer break begins for us next week. And I have a nine-year-old and some older kids. I will continue to share my experiences with them, so they may learn from my mistakes, as well. They may or may not get it. They may continue to go down a rocky path or climb the smoother scenic one. Who knows. No matter what, I'll continue to parent. And that's ok.

Our plans for summer this year are quite crazy. We only have 2 months. It's not okay. But there's nothing we can do about it.

So... the hubster has the first week off. I'll let him schedule most of that, as he takes issue if I make plans (tee hee!). Then... swim meets here and there, Marissa will swim with the dolphins.

We'll go to Sea World several times, I'm sure (thank goodness for passes!). I believe the Queen Mary is on our to-do list (twice... once with the hubster and once with my mom), as we've never "been there, done that". And I've lived in So Cal most of my life! Swim lessons (at least 2 sessions) and art lessons are on the list for Marissa, as well as joining the Summer Reading Program at our local library.

As for personal goals for me? Um... start writing again... re-vamp the blog... re-organize the craftroom... make things... read... garden... and maybe... paint a room (I think the hallway bath is my target.) We shall see... There's really not much time to do it all in, and I really truly do feel a tad overwhelmed at just seeing it all in print. (and just between you and me... I'd really really REALLY like to re-organize all my file cabinet. it drives me cuckoo...)

More life lessons to come... a review of Malificent (we just saw it today! Squeee!)... and much much more. I really do intend to write more this summer. Priorities will be restored! So... be sure to come back often this summer. We'll share each other's adventures. Please feel free to do just that!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Crazy About Cricut Bday Blogaversary Bash!

Hi Everybody!
Welcome to the Crazy About Cricut Bday Blogaversary Bash!  Today we are helping celebrate the 5 year anniversary of this crazy crafting blog, and also Jenny's 37th birthday!  Hopefully you just came from Alicia.  If not, please head on over to see Jenny, so you can start this hop from the beginning.  And now onto my project!

Hmm... First of all... let me apologize for the crappy pics. In all the dust of spring cleaning (that turned into painting and semi-renovating...), my camera is nowhere to be found.

Now here we go. Jenny (CAC) l.o.v.e.s. monsters... So I brought up the Grim Reaper on Mini Monsters and made her a little card at 4.25". Super simple. My Gypsy died and I'm trying to "link" or do whatever to it, so I can use Cricut Craft Room, but alas... I did this the old-school way. SUPER SIMPLE!

A little chalk and glitter finish him up... and there we go!


I hope you enjoyed my project!  Now head on over to see

Check out these amazing prizes up for grabs!

Prize #8
Prize #9

Prize #1 - Celebrate With Flourish Cricut Lite cartridge
Prize #2 - Life's a Party Cricut cartridge
Prize #3 - Jaded Blossom Birthday Candies stamp set
Prize #4 - Close to My Heart B Size stamp set
Prize #5 - Jaded Blossom Love Bites stamp
Prize #6 - Trendy Twine Twisted Lime Mini
Prize #7 - The Royal Castle Shoppe: The Scrapbooking Queen Royal Prize Pack
Prize #8 - Cricut Chick (Simply Silhouette) - Cricut Prize Pack
Prize #9 - Cricut Chick (Simply Silhouette) - Mini Cricut Prize Pack

To enter:

1. Follow ALL blogs on this hop.  

2. Leave a comment on ALL blogs.

We will check that you did both things, but it this hop will be open 
through Monday night so you have plenty of time!

Here is the entire line up in case you get lost, or need to stop along the way:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

MamaKat's Losin' It Writing Prompt: 1.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: pajamas

Wow. That was the easiest writing prompt that ever came to mind... at least to this family's mind. If you haven't seen this viral video, you really do need to take a minute and do just that. It will definitely bring the fun back into this hectic time of year.

I am completely awed by the creativity this family has shown. They are all over YouTube, all over the national news, all over Facebook, and... just ALL OVER THE PLACE. And I never tire of it. In fact... I find myself singing that song over and over. And then... I go put on my own... Christmas Jammies! That's right... uh, huh... you got it now... get it on...

When I saw that writing prompt, I just knew I had to share. I've been so overwhelmed and pre-occupied Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Words With Friends, Blogger have all taken a ton of time from me... oh! And don't forget Instagram and texting, the majority of my cards are going out... um... when I get to them. But. I did check out Mama Kat's Losin' It (Writers' Worskshop...) and you can too! Please leave a comment and pass the love on to other's blogs, as well.

Have a Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Happy New Year hopefully I'll get on here before then... , and any other holiday you may celebrate religiously, or not religiously. For anyone that may not celebrate anything... Have a great day, every day! But whoever you are and whatever you do... PEACE!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

This Christmas, So Far...

First off... Wow. Do not leave a bottle of wine in the freezer. I mean... um... wine-slush sounds wonderful, but not when it's all over your precious frozen foods. Ick. It is rather sticky and definitely messy. (I didn't know someone had even put it in there. Wonder who that could be???? Hmmm???

So... the morning I found the popped bottle of wine... I drove to the Los Angeles area (City of Commerce) to work a swim meet. I am a swim official/referee (in addition to many other things). This wonderfully packaged building was my view from outside the swim center.

To many of you fabulous architectural history buffs out there, this building used to be the Good Year Tire Factory... way back when. It was left empty for YEARS. I used to go to the area surrounding it to get reduced-price fabric from the textile manufacturers. Then I didn't go for a while... After a couple of years, I went back. Um... Where did they go? And what the heck? This gorgeous building (it had lots of almost Egyptian-looking detailing) was now foaming at the entrances. Alright, so they took away my beloved great-pricing, but they creating a mecca of an outlet center. The Citadel now stands proud (and is always busy!) and is "present"-ed every Christmas season. Isn't it a grand sight to behold?

Christmas is here... Spread the CHEER! Open a Coca-Cola. Anyone who knows me super duper well, knows I love Coke. The Real Thing. Not diet. Not cherry-flavored. And I love the Coca-Cola merchandise, too! Not the neon-colored stuff. Just the classic. The Real Thing... similar to the beverage itself. Santa and Polar Bear Coca-Cola stuff comes out in my house at Christmastime, though... And my friend had me open a gift early. She wanted me to enjoy it for the full season. Now... if only our weather would get out of the 80's and go back to December! Ugh...
I made some Christmas cards. Like you couldn't tell, right? They are the same angel from Cricut Christmas that I made the ornaments with, only I left all the scrolling, and didn't block any out. I also made them a little bigger, spread embossing ink, and sprinkled Ranger's Queens Gold all over before heating. I love it.
Inside, I stamped with a brilliant green...
And I just had to show off the "cloud" Corner Chomper, which I inked the edges of...
Wow. This picture's sure blurry... Oh shoot! Almost all of them are... Ugh! I embossed the "Peace on Earth" (what else should an angel be saying?) with the same Queen's Gold, just in the corner.
Then the following weekend... I went to Palm Springs. for another? What? You guessed it. Swim meet. This is my shaky view on the way at 6am and I wasn't even the one driving. Go figure! But the colors were phenomenal, so I kept the pic anyway. Deal.
In Palm Springs, when we have this HUGE meet (swimmers come from ALL over!), they feed us like a 5-Star restaurant. (Yes... that IS lobster...) Thank you, Piranhas Swim Team for always treating us the best!
Funny story... I got a parka (after almost 8 years of freezing and getting drenched in the rain and the cold and the hail and the... you get it...) for a combo of my birthday and Christmas (shout out to my Mom and John... THANK YOU!!!). This was the first meet I wore it. (Yes... it can get cold in Palm Springs. There is snow on the mountain just above, and when the sun goes over that mountain... BRRRRR!!!!) The arms are a tad long. I was cold. And so, I tucked my hands inside the sleeves. Now the joke is... can I flap and fly? So... someone brought a Foghorn Leghorn (Looney Tunes, ya'll... REMEMBER?) hat, put it on me and asked me to flap. Meh... I'm a good sport.
Me and one of my buddies. I am so proud of him. Cancer did not do him in. His spirit is exceptional and shines through in everything he does. Last round of chemo is done. I heart him!
And this is only part of our crew. We are very much like a family. Hugs to all of them. They come from everywhere for this meet. And for those that think we just "time". No. We are all over the deck, ensuring the kids will learn from their errors and advance further in swimming (a nice way of saying, "we disqualify kids").

I haven't had much time for crafting and shopping. I did get a whole bunch of cards done (just haven't gotten them out yet... or even addressed... And thank goodness for the internet and local shops, otherwise, nothing would be done just yet. Christmas is almost here, and the days are packed until then, too. Hugs to you all! Ho, ho, ho! No matter what... Be Merry. It's all in how you look at it.

** small note ** Blogger isn't letting me adjust sizes of pics or locations, so please bear with it. Hopefully it's just a minor bug and will get fixed soon.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Imagine/Tsukineko Ornament Exchange!

Just a little while ago, someone posted something on Facebook. As you probably know... people do that all. the. time. But, th is time, I really really REALLY liked it. And I wanted to do it. And... um... it was the deadline date to sign up to do it. And... apparently, I was past the deadline time (curse those wickedly different time zones...), but I applied to "do it" anyway.

I got a response the week before Thanksgiving. "What?" you might ask... I signed up to create an ornament through Imagine Crafts/Tsukineko and exchange it with someone else! I worked hard on this ornament. I had a total of four (count them... 1... 2... 3... 4...!) failures. And in the end, I was VERY happy with my success... so much so that my "other" ornament (that was to be sent to Imagine Crafts/Tsukineko) ended up being a duplicate. Loved it!

So... I'll take you on my journey through my flaws and my perfections, well... as perfect as handmade can be...

Failure #1:  Using VersaColor and VersaFine (both by Imagine Crafts) and Walnut Stain (by Tsukineko), this die-cut angel (done using the ol' Cricut Expression... "Christmas" cartridge, with the laces "hidden", except for the bottom edge) was loaded with color... bronze, green, gold... And then... I added Diamond Glaze. It worked really well. Felt dry and all... I flipped it. It was still good. And so... I Diamond-Glazed the back side (which was also inked up). Let it dry... or so I thought. When I went to peel it up. EEk! It peeled, alrighty!

Failure #2:  Same beginning scenario as Failure #1, only I let it dry longer.  A lot longer. Then, it decided to peel and crack on me. Ugh!

Failure #3: Changed to Glossy Accents. Went through pretty much the same thing as Failure #1, only without quite as much sticking and peeling. (Trust me... this stuff really did feel dry. No "tacky" feeling when I touched it!)

Failure #4: Is really Failure #2, revisited, just in the Glossy Accents version. I assumed since the Glossy Accents in Failure #3 didn't stick or peel quite as much, that if I gave it more "drying" time, it would be perfectly wonderful. Wrong. The moisture in the air does a drying/curing job wonders. It sort of reverses it... almost.

And so... I gave up on the glazes. I chose instead to use Imagine Crafts/Tsukineko Embossing Ink and clear embossing powder. I also created two angels, instead of one... inked them (on one side each this time [kind of thinking the excessive moisture from inking both sides just may have been a contributing factor in Failures #1-4]), clear-embossed them on
the inked side, heating the underside up again, to "bend" them back flat, as they seemed to be curling up from the embossing, then "glued" them together with my favorite of favorites... (drumroll please!)

Clear Silicone Gel from Home Depot. (Yes! I really do love that stuff!) This gave it a dimensional texture and still made it light enough after it dried to not weigh down a tree limb. I used a Q-Tip to take off the excess Gel and let her dry.

Taking the absolute smallest Fiskars hole punch I had, I punched between the shoulder and the wing, to avoid looking like this beautiful angel had a hole in her head. And HELLO Fishing Line... right through, with a large enough length that she now floats from a branch.

I was so thrilled with her, that my second one is almost exactly the same, because... I did it again!!!! (I know... I already told you that up above, but... I really did love her!)

Now... I received an ornament from someone else in the program...
And it's proudly displayed on my tree. A big shout out to Candy in Grants Pass in Oregon. Hope you're staying warm...

Thank you for my wonderful ornament!