Saturday, February 21, 2015

An Old Bunny and A Birthday Outing

 Submitted by Linda
So it turns out that we ended up planning my Dad's memorial service on my mom's actual birthday. Not our first choice, but it seemed like the best day for all the folks we were hoping to include in the service. My mom was very flexible about it, and we agreed to spend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday together to celebrate her birthday (which was just two days prior).

In recent months, my dad had become more of a homebody, and didn't like to be away from home for long, or have Mom away from him for long, so we never planned full-day outings. Knowing that she know had a little more flexibility, I checked in with my friend Sandy, who has her wholesale license, about getting me and my mom into Shinoda, which is the Disneyland of decorating and floral supply.

She was eager to join in, so we trekked down to the OC, and here is what we found: rows and rows of ribbon.
Beautiful spring florals (like, an entire row of hydrangeas!)
 Inspiring displays!
What I've learned from coming here before, is that it is wise to have some sort of a plan in mind for shopping, or you can get completely overwhelmed and buy too much or buy nothing.  My plan was to  make an arrangement using this old wooden bunny. I love how rustic and worn he looks!
I had been storing him for years, because my Grandpa Roll had made him. I remember seeing bunnies like these at their Nebraska home, and I can't really even remember how I got one.  Here's my grandpa with his '63 Econoline Ford van. My grandpa passed in '77, so I feel even luckier to have something that he handcrafted.
So, I found a container, and some fake kale, an artichoke and ended up going to Michael's for some carrots and lavender.  I think it's done....
 Yep, done. And all ready for spring!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015 Part II

Submitted by Linda
As promised, here is the final installation of our valentine's projects for this year. For our kindergarten (and Michelle's first grade) friends, we used Stampin' Up's skinny bags, filled with Jelly Bellys (purchased in bulk from WinnCo.) The topper is from a set called "Hey Valentine" which is currently available from the Spring Occasions Mini catalog.
Here is a close up of the topper. We couldn't stop ourselves from adding the glossy 'Crystal Effects' to that tiny pink heart. We mass produced these, for our two classes, and even enlisted my mom, JoAnn, to help (which is OK, because she's definitely part of my front row, whether she likes it or not!)
From that same set, we used the stamp pictured below. The bags were on the Stampin' Up online Clearance Rack (you really need to check it out now and again - we have found some really good buys there). This bag topper was a quite a bit more labor intensive, so we only made these for our office ladies and grade level teammates. Again we pulled out the Crystal Effects for the fishy's eyeglasses and another tiny heart.
I made regular homemade peanut butter cookies to tuck into my bags (because my own valentine Craig was having a craving), but Michelle made theses beautiful linzer cookies for her bags.
Love in your heart wasn't put there to stay- love isn't love 'til you give it away! Song Lyrics byDon Roth and Timmy Tappan

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day and My 'New Normal'

Submitted by Linda
Many of you know that my dad passed away in early January, thus the hiatus on blogging. I didn't have a ton of experience with loss prior to this, so I'm learning things every day. My biggest wish, in this process, is that life would slow down, and the calendar could be put on hold while we mourn, and while we go about the business of 'new normal' without Dad. 

I have found that I often feel depleted, like every day is a hard day's work, despite how much rest I get. I'm sure it doesn't help that my exercise routine became disrupted and I was eating amazing comfort food brought in by loving friends. Who knew there was a 'tater tot casserole?' 

Through this process, I also have learned so much about how to love others in times of need. So many dear folks reached out to us, with food, and help and Facebook messages and snail mail. I am very inspired to do better for others.

Over Christmas break, when we had hospice care at my folks' house, I was a veritable dishtowel factory.  Our hospice experience was full of lovely people, who were such a blessing to us at such a difficult time. And while much of our time was spent with Dad (and doctors and nurses and social workers and visitors), the rest of my time was spent stitching and stitching. I think I may have gone stir crazy had I not had something to keep my hands busy. Knowing that Valentine's Day was the next upcoming holiday, I found this image on pinterest and completed it in redwork. It was a happy coincidence that the Moda "Grandmother's crochet trim" was a perfect match.
This sweet bird pattern was purchased on Etsy for a dollar, to be downloaded and used. Don't we love technology? (Except when I can't download it and I have to email the whole deal to Michelle and ask her to figure it out for me). Nevertheless, it came out cute.
Usually, we are 'power' paper crafters, but it's been hard to get my mojo going in respect to stamping. But my  mom now has time on her hands, so we were able to make a few valentines last weekend. For this one, I copied Heather Klump at Downstairs Designs, using the Rain or Shine set and adding some Crystal Effects on the umbrella.
I'm not sure my boys yet appreciate a handmade valentine (they were probably more excited about the Groupon gift card inside), but I was eager to use my new Sweet Stuff set with the beehive embossing folder. I didn't have the perfect phrase, so I combined letters with my Rough Edges alphabet and Voila! I love that bee with the glitter on its wings.
And last, but not least, I needed a card for Craig. How do you create a card that says every single thing you love about someone, every reason you're thankful for them, every emotion from sharing 27 years? It's really an impossible task, so I just kept it light and pulled out a vintage Disney valentine that I had picked up in one of my antiquing adventures.
I added a big dot embossing folder, and a strip of chevron embossing in yellow, and a ribbon. I cut out the heart and popped it up with dimensionals, and added some glitter on Dopey's daisy. I think it does the job.  

I have other stitching to share, and the Valentine's treat that Michelle and I made for our little friends, so hopefully "I'm back" and will be able to keep posting. In the meantime, happy love and friendship day!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Grateful For You

Submitted by Linda
On my recent visit to LaQuinta, the to-do list included creating a few Thanksgiving cards, as well as some tags. We ended up using the new "For All Things" set to make the beauty shown below.
In the spirit of full disclosure, here is the inspiration from Iguana Stamp.
 I felt like our card needed a little bling, so we added the gold glimmer paper and the gold cord.
That weekend we also made Michelle's Cousin Kathy's famous granola. Our idea is to put some in a small cello bag for Thanksgiving treats for our co-workers. Thus the tag. This time we used the Merry Everything set (which has the coordinating tag punch). Again in full disclosure, Michelle actually made the granola while I crafted away on the tags.
For the granola recipe, click HERE. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lollipop Moments and Gingerbread Men

Submitted by Linda
So I was simply perusing Facebook one day when I commented on my friend Gina's amazing wreaths on her FB page Creative Spaces by Gina.  
The wreath under discussion was this beauty, smothered in red and white deco mesh, burlap ribbon, candy picks and the cutest gingerbread man ever. I commented that it was my favorite that she had made so far. She replied that she had been thinking of me while she was making it :).

Well, a mutual church friend, Vikki,  was observing our conversation and chimed in with, "Gift it to Linda and I'll pay you later!" I was so surprised. What a cute and lovely thing to do! When I chatted with her later, she told me that it was a 'lollipop moment', when you do something to make someone else smile. (Smile? Heck, I was doing the happy song and felt like a room without a roof!)

When Gina's daughter (former kindergarten student Sophia) delivered it to my classroom, I immediately hung it up with our gingerbread men from the second week of school.
Isn't that wreath a giant upgrade to my classroom decor?

Now the wreath is at home and is already getting me into the Christmas spirit.

Anyway, one 'lollipop moment' deserves another, so I made up some monogrammed cards to give to Vikki. This pretty sherbety paper looks so cute with the (retired) whimsical alphabet "V". 

This sweet gesture inspired my to try to implement the lollipop philosophy into my daily life. And if you want to see more of Gina's fantastic wreaths and garlands, click here:  Etsy Shop.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Birthday to my man-boy Nick!

Submitted by Linda
So I've tried to stop calling him "Nicky", but I've noticed that his close friends still call him that, so I guess that means I can too, right? I know am a biased mom, but the little boy Nick was such a cutie pie (with such sweet kissable baby skin).
It's hard to believe that he is now twenty two. He's still a cutie pie but it's different now to smooch on him, now that he has, well, whiskers.  

Here he is with his big brother, Tommy and his girlfriend Chandler, at his birthday dinner at Union on Yale in Claremont. We had a fun (and delicious) night with two of his and Tommy's childhood friends serving us. 
 And here is his birthday card, using the woodgrain embossing folder and the Memorable Moments stamp set.
Here's to a happy and healthy 22nd year!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween 2014: The Cat's Away......

 Submitted by Linda
Craig seems to do a lot of traveling in the fall, partially because it's football season and the APU cougars do a lot of traveling as well. Coincidence? I think not.  I don't love it when he's gone, but as they say, 'When the cat's away, the mice will play!' 

Well, my 'playing' is pretty mild. No 'girls gone wild' here. I usually just gather my FRFs (front row friends) for some paper crafting. In September we used the Fancy Favor die to create these cute halloween treat bags (I know that I keep using this die - but it's too cute not to). I delivered these today to my Kindergarten teammates and the office ladies.
Then Craig was gone recently, to South Dakota. He was there for a football game, but ended up also having a meeting with the four presidents at Mt. Rushmore. So I took off for Michelle's neck of the woods in LaQuinta. It was a beautiful day for a drive.
There we decided to make Halloween treats for our students. I had been wanting to make these candy corn treats using the Pennant Punch.
We used the skinny cello bags and filled them with tangerine and buttered popcorn Jelly Bellys. This involved my first ever outing to Winnco. If you haven't been to Winnco, you are in for a fun outing. It's kind of like a grocery store, Costco and Sprouts all wrapped into one big store. The bulk section is amazing. This pic shows only a tiny portion of just the bulk candies.
These are all wrapped and ready for my kindergarten friends.
As for my cloche, here's my October version. I found this sweet giant decorated tag at Barbara Cheatley's in the C-Mont village.

It's hard to believe that soon we turn the calendar page and November will be here.