Saturday, November 29, 2008

i'm not a scrooge, but "bah humbug!" anyway

Usually I look forward to the day after Thanksgiving when I put up the Christmas tree, but this year, I was very resistant to it. Just the thought of dragging out the tree, figuring out the lights and decorating it made me ill. So, I worked out a bargain with Greg that I would go shopping the day after Thanksgiving and the tree would be assembled and lit when I arrived home, so all I had to do was throw on the ornaments. This deal was certainly in my favor, as most deals are...

So, I came home to a tree that was assembled and half-lit. I was half-happy.

On Saturday, thankfully, Greg fixed the lights, which ended up requiring a defective strand to be taken off, so one part of my tree is a bit dimmer than the rest. I was simply not going to re-work the entire tree for a couple of branches.

So, I spent a couple hours decorating the tree. When I got the boxes of ornaments out, I immediately realized that I had meant to buy new garland this year. The garland I had used in years past definitely needed to go after last year, but since I was in my pajamas and feeling scrooge-like, I decided to avoid the garland altogether and just do the ornaments.

Here's one shot of the tree and I'll work to take better pictures in the daylight.

Tonight, I practiced taking photos in low-light using the tutorial Kelly posted here. In the past, I had always just set my camera on auto-everything and let it do the work, but adjusting the shutter speed to 1/50 and the ISO to 1600 really did the trick. I shot these using my Canon 50mm lens at f/1.4.
My pretty girl did the posing while this lazy one slept:
Yes, he sleeps with his tongue out. At least his mouth is closed.

On my last post, Stephanie P asked where we went antiquing. This is a photo of the front of the place in downtown, Paducah, KY. I'm not sure of the name or address, but if you're in Paducah, just ask anyone where the old hardware store is and they'll point you here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


How fitting that my 100th post is on Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for and I'm tempted to list 100 things, but here's a list of just a few things:
  • My wonderful family, including my handsome husband
  • My cantankerous dog, Addy
  • My humble dog, Jett
  • My health
  • My friends
  • My church family
  • Studio Calico and the amazing community there
  • My trip to Paducah this week. Such fun!

About the trip to Paducah...Stephen and his wife, Hannah, came along with us to dig. We had made a trip to this shop earlier this year and knew it was a gold mine for good finds. They have 3 floors open to the public and 2 more packed with junk. Ray, the owner invited us to come and peruse the 4th and 5th floors this week. They opened the store just for us (I felt like Oprah at Nordstrom's) and we got to dig to our hearts' content. Notice all the junky clothes and headlamps we were wearing. This was at the beginning of the night and boy were we dirty (and hungry) by the time we were done digging.

Stephen found a Mammoth Cave pennant, where he loves to go biking.
Greg (from above) looking at vintage Bible story cards.
Stephen with a heap of stamps from a printing press.
Hannah with a card that states: "Will you pay your account promptly or must we fight for it?"

More stamps that Stephen loves.
This is the elevator that still works in the building. Scary enough for me to take the stairs several times. Greg hopped on with our bottle cap (see it behind his legs) and some other goodies from the 5th floor.

All in all, we walked away getting some good deals and having a great time. Thanks to Ray and his sweet wife for opening up for us and for all the counting they did!

a little something to be excited about

Some fun exclusive items in this month's kit, I'm so excited to share with you! So, give yourself an early Christmas gift!
Kits and add-ons post tonight at 12:00am EST!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

another little something i've been wanting to do

Late last night, I decided to do some more scrapping. Originally, I wanted to do a single photo layout with my favorite picture from Jackson's Orchard:

But, then I opened my freshly organized drawer (I'll show pictures of my more organized scrap room, soon), and a mini chipboard album by Maya Road popped out at me.

I remembered this mini that Tina had created with the Looking Glass kit from Studio Calico.

So, I used some of her ideas and created this:

Supplies: Patterned Paper (Sassafras); Chipboard Album and Girl (Maya Road); Bling (KaiserCraft); Stickers (Jenni Bowlin, Scenic Route); Stamps (Ali Edwards, Studio Calico); Paint (Making Memories Buttercup, unknown); Glossy Accents; Pen (American Crafts); Stamping Ink (Stampin Up! Night of Navy and Creamy Caramel)
Just a couple notes: To get the smooth edges on the chipboard, I used the Basic Grey File Set. Also, if you're still interested in the Ali Edwards' Today You stamps, there a few left in the add-on section at Studio Calico. We will be happy to ship them with your December kit if you'd like to secure them, just email us for details at

Friday, November 21, 2008

just because

It's been over a year since I scrapbooked a layout just because.

I was inspired to do so by this post.

In the past year, I've only done layouts for challenges (which I love), layouts for contests and layouts for design team work, but last night, I just wanted to scrapbook a picture that was laying on my desk. I had set it aside to use it with December's Studio Calico kit, but for some reason it never made the cut. I have loved this photo since I took it last year, and last night was the perfect opportunity to scrap it.

Supplies: Cardstock (Bazzill); Patterned Paper (Fontwerks, Jenni Bowlin, Making Memories, KI Memories, vintage); Stamp (Studio Calico); Trim (Maya Road)

I wrote the journaling off the cuff and if my sister is reading, I hope she reads this knowing I had the best of intentions. It reads:

Amber, I am thankful for the memory of this moment last year at Christmastime. You were at my house with Scarlet, Noah, and Nadiya exchanging gifts. You had gotten an easel for Noah and Nadiya to keep at the office. Do you remember watching them tear into that huge box and the way Nadiya's face lit up in excitement when the contents were revealed? That was a moment I remember you being you. Just you, no pretense of a beautiful, successful woman. Not that you aren't just that: beautiful and successful, you are. But you are so much more than that. You are giving and kind and thoughtful. You are witty and funny. You are carefree and at your best when your guard is down and when you're just the kind, compassionate person that you are. It seems as we've gotten older and made different life changing decisions that I have to look harder and harder to uncover the true you. When it's there, you are radiant...we are radiant: full of laughter, wit, and one comment after another that has us giggling like we did at 16. I love those moments. I live for those moments. I cherish them, long for them, and will treasure them forever. Please try to be patient with me and understanding and know that it's me who can understand what you are going throught. I love you and care for you and want to stick by your side in thick and thin, but I can't be there for you if I don't know you or know who you've become. I want to be a good sister, someone you can confide in, laugh with and cry with. Let me, please let me try to be that sister again, so we can have more moments like these: moments in which you are funny and witty and we're just waiting to see what you will say next. Merry Christmas!

I created the star with a Fiskars punch, then outlined with a pen. The vintage dictionary pages were cut free-hand into four inch strips then layered on the page. I used Colorbox cat's eye chalk inks to change the color to red/green.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

bumming around

and loving it!

Actually, my routine is the same just about every night now.

I never thought I'd say that.

After only 2 weeks, I'm fully immersed in the comfort of routine....and the comfort of these PJ's. I add a fleece jacket and some cozy socks to the mix and then I'm ready for the evening.

Poor Greg. This is as "out there" as my after-hours clothing gets, but then again, he knew I was cold-natured when I married him.

Tonight, the routine became even better because on my drive home from the office, there were snow flurries. This is the first time it has snowed in November in a long time. It's so exciting to think of winter being here already!

The snow coupled with my cozy attire put me in the scrapping mood. I chose to scrap a photo from last Christmas. I'll have the layout to post tomorrow, so I hope you can wait till then!

to answer your questions

A couple of you asked about the items in the sneaks a couple posts ago
  • What kit is the calendar rub-on in? It is in the main kit, so lucky you if you like it!
  • How did you make the ring of circles? Is it a stamp? Well, sort of. I glued a button on the end of a cheap pen, then pressed it in the ink and stamped away.
If you have any more questions from the sneaks, let me know.

Until tomorrow, I'll leave you with this for my friend KP:
crowdSPRING, hire kelly purkey for your new community marketing manager

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

happy hour is my favorite hour

Is it bad for me to live for a half-price Diet Vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic?

That's my current addiction, and apparently there's someone else who loves Happy Hour, too.

Onto another topic: The last 2/3 of my Gap order has arrived. Of all the items, I only have to take back one tee that I bought for Greg. I'm getting very accurate at online shopping, so I may never go to the mall again (yeah, right!).

The day ended pretty poorly for Greg. This was the headline this morning on ESPN:
UNC rolls Kentucky, 77-58

I couldn't watch after they never had the lead the entire first half. They couldn't shoot anything, it was pitiful. Instead of watching the second half, I decided to scrap for this blog that I'm guesting for in Dec. I'm really happy with the outcome of my layout and I can't wait to share it. I ended up dragging the bits and pieces out that were left from my November kit + the alphabet from the October kit, and working with them. I really like the result --- oops I mentioned that already.

i came home to this

Addy, Greg, and Jett, my 3 chestnuts roasting by the open fire.

If you look closely, you can see Greg's ear-bud from his iPod laying there, so you can guess why he didn't hear me when I walked in the door. Usually if I'm doing something lazy when I hear Greg coming in the door, I jump up real quick and act as if I was busy doing something the whole time he was gone.

There's no such pretense with him.

I also promised sneaks today, and with the day wasting away, I thought I'd post some before it was too dark to take photos.

I love that "Weather Outside" stamp. One of my all-time faves, I tell ya!

At first, I thought the December kit was difficult to work with, but after I got the first layout out of the way, it's been so easy. In a few of the layouts, I added some additional colors to the mix with ink/paint and I really like the result. It's an easy kit to add some orange or teal to. Yum!

Usually, I post one sneak at a time, but I had so much to share, I couldn't do that. So, let me know if you want to know what kits certain items are in. Just post a comment and I'll answer them tomorrow.

Happy sneaking!

Monday, November 17, 2008

i got it all

Everything in my Gap shopping cart from the previous post, I bought it. Thanks to my generous blog readers, I got 30% off instead of 20%. Who says it doesn't pay to blog? Well, I guess it didn't pay, it just helped me to save more money :)

The past week has been hectic. On Wednesday, Greg had surgery on his thumb. I don't know all the details because he didn't ask his surgeon, but a bone was loose that needed to be anchored and a ligament had to be put back in place. He goes to the doctor tomorrow for a follow-up visit and at that time, I will learn all the technical mumbo-jumbo.

How did he break his thumb you ask?

Well, in February, we went here after CHA:

And, he rode this:

Greg v. Bull

You might guess who won.

I'll leave you with that good laugh and post some sneaks tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

too much in my shopping cart

I have 19 more items in the cart. HELP!!!
I'm waiting until the stroke of midnight to use my coupon code for an extra 20% off.
I should mention that 10 of the items are for Greg.
I also should mention that I'll take back anything that doesn't fit.
This is sad, really sad.

It really doesn't help for me to shop when I'm cold because all I want to do is buy big sweaters to bundle up with.

happy veteran's day

The journaling reads:
In 1944, my grandfather served in World War II as a chief petty officer aboard the USS Alden. Perhaps the most noteworthy event of his service was on D-day when he was responsible for escorting fighter ships to the Normandy Coast.

I regard Veteran's Day as one of the most important holidays, not because my grandfather served, but because I value each serviceman or woman for the sacrifices they have made. Please take today to remember those who have served to preserve our freedom and freedom's cause around the world.

And, if you're in the service or a veteran and are reading this, THANK YOU!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

a good few days

My backyard on Saturday morning:
Jett and Addy chasing each other like wild banshees.

Fallen leaves + my Kenneth Cole shoes from last season.

A view of one of the trees. Man, we had the prettiest fall this year. I've never seen my backyard so brilliant. It was so yellow (still is, but it's fading fast). Greg and I were just saying it'd be perfect if there was a red tree in there somewhere, but alas, we have these pretty yellow trees to greet us each morning.

Today (Monday) was my final day as District Manager with Sciele Pharma Sales. It's so sad to think about closing that chapter in my life, but my regional manager couldn't have made the transition any better for me. When I first started working for her, we had our share of bumpy moments (but, who doesn't when adjusting to a new boss?). Over the past year, I've come to understand her much better, and she the same. If you had asked me a year ago whether I would be sad to tell her good-bye, I would have said, "Absolutely not!" Fast forward a year, many talks, a lot of maturing (on my part) and the answer is the exact opposite: "Definitely YES!" She has become my friend, advocate, and confidante, and I'm truly going to miss reporting to her. But, I won't miss her friendship because I fully intend on staying in touch. The one thing I learned from her is that we are remarkably similar, and it's difficult to find someone as honest and hardworking as she is, so I know she'll always give me good advice.

Upon leaving, she was kind enough to write me a note and give me a notebook. Even though it's harder for her with me gone (at least for the short term), I do think she's happy for me and the decision I made. What a blessing to have had such a good company and good manager to work for!!!

In other news, Greg was kind enough to take pictures with me (and of me) on Saturday afternoon. I was running out of things to scrap, so I thought it would be a good idea to take the camera for a spin :)

We though it would be fun to do some jumping pics and Greg majorly out-hopped me.

Finally, Addy chasing her frisbee. We later lost the frisbee, so hopefully we'll go back and find it in the winter when there's not so much foliage.

After that, we went to Cincinnati to visit Greg's old college roommate...and I do mean "old." We went there to participate in his surprise 30th birthday party. We had a good time, played some Wii, pool, and had a lively political discussion, so what could be better? The only bad thing was the drive home until 2:00am.....Don't worry about me, I took a 3 hour nap on Sunday to compensate.

Anyway, the reason we drove back so late is that Greg and I both teach (separate) bible classes on Sunday morning and I didn't want to miss that, even though we had subs lined up just in case we didn't make it. I teach Natalee and Carter's class (6-24 mos) and they are a hoot!!! We're on the Moses lesson. The lesson uses a flip chart as the basic outline for the lesson, and each page of the chart has a song + activity to go with it. For instance, the first page is about baby Moses in a basket. We give them baby "Moses's" to rock and to put in a basket.

One of my favorite part's of the lesson is discussing the manna and quail the Israelites ate while wandering in the wilderness. I have a box with a cloud on it, and I drop little styrofoam pieces out of it and sing about the manna falling from the sky and God taking care of His people. The kids LOVE it! Everytime we do that activity, Carter tries to figure out where the manna is coming from. Natalee, on the other hand, surprised me and clearly identified the manna before I stated what it was. I suppose it's an easy word to say, but what 18-month-0ld do you know that can identify manna? Seriously proud of that girl!

I get to take pictures of her tomorrow morning so hopefully I'll have more things to post about this week!

Friday, November 7, 2008

atc swap = good fun

I'm so happy Jenn organized the ATC swap at Studio Calico. I had never made ATC's before, so it was a challenge for me. On the flip side, my swap partners had obviously had experience because their cards were sooooooo cool!!! I got 2 in the mail the same day (I'm still waiting on a 3rd) and it was such a fun mail day. This is what I got:

I think Jenn paired me with the best on purpose ;)

In other news.....if you haven't heard already, the fabulous Claudine Hellmuth is going to be guest designing with December's kit at Studio Calico. Several of you have surmised that perhaps her new products might find their way into a kit. You might be right. Another several have predicted that her new products might find their way to our new supply store. You might be right.

Scarlet and I fell in love with Claudine's products at CHA Summer. Here we are (including the DT) playing with her sticky-back canvas, paint, and paintbrushes.

If you don't already own a good set of brushes....please wait until November 28th. That's all I'm lips are sealed. (Claudine's are amazing and they're so cost-effective!!!!)

My sister also fell in love with Claudine and her artwork. This is the only "celebrity" Amber took a picture with at the whole show. She plans to commission Claudine to create a work of art with she and her dog, Holly.
Just to give you a visual, this is Holly. Remember last post, I told you about my lazy eye? Well, Holly has a lazy ear.
Thanks for reading my blog today!