Monday, December 28, 2009


I almost loved playing "Clue" as much as "Guess Who?" when I was a child.

Okay, maybe I could easily play either now and be perfectly happy.

There's just something about the process of elimination that I love.

I love making lists and crossing things off.

I love setting imaginary deadlines for myself and meeting them.

Hey, I even love timing myself unloading the dishwasher to see how fast I can do it.
(yes, I'm serious.) As a child I could unload the silverware tray in 30 seconds flat. Just ask my mom. I set the timer on the microwave to prove it.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand..."Clue"
I always wanted to be Miss Scarlett, but so did my twin sister, so we'd take turns being the lady in red. And, when I wasn't Miss Scarlet (didn't she just look so bootylicious on the cover of that clue box...I mean, who wouldn't want to be her?), I was either Ms. White or Mrs. Peacock, but they were much more pudgy and less desirable in my 10-year-old opinion.

It was fun moving that sleek red game piece from room to room and eliminating suspects and weapons. I think I guessed "revolver" first every time just because I liked calling it that rather than a "gun." Seemed much more proper and less like you were born and raised in Texas.

I was proud when I had my gumshoe paper all filled up and I just knew the answer and the race to the correct room to make the final guess was on. Not unlike the race to checkout on reveal night at Studio Calico. It was fraught with suspense and errors, too (sorry about our wild check out...we're still working on getting that fixed after our site updates went heinously wrong....)

But, in the end, it was Colonel Mustard, In the Billiard Room, With the Candlestick (which is the only add-on left by the way).

Below are the layouts I created with this month's kit. I have to admit, it's been one of my favorite kits to work with so far.

I loved the time-line across this paper and decided to play off of that for photos I've taken throughout the year. I used my favorite punch to create the circles (but this one would work, too). Then, I just journaled around them or on them, whatever seemed "right."

This was made using the same circle punch. I first masked the 3 circles and sprayed a couple sprays of charcoal mist (the silver would be pretty as well). Then, I unmasked them and used some sunflower mist over the whole layout. I also used quite a few of the 20% extra flashy label stickers (love that camera!!!) on this layout.

For this layout, I used the threading water punch by Fiskars to create the white border. I used the royal butterfly punch on the yellow paper, and adhered them only in the center (the body of the butterfly) with a glue pen. The alphabet in yellow was made by punching out the letters in the wood sheet in the BILLIARD ROOM add-on. I used it as a mask with the Sunflower mist.

If you have any questions feel free to ask...but I'd love to know who your favorite "Clue" character is.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

j & j

My cousins, Joseph and Joshua came to visit on Christmas day along with their parents. The plan was for the guys (minus my dad) to stay at the barn and the gals to stay at the apartment.

You see, holidays present a problem when you're living in a 2-bedroom apartment with your parents.

Holidays also present a problem when you're living out of boxes and don't know where your Christmas tree is.

Holidays present a problem when you're cooking for more than 2 people and using more than 2 pots or pans simultaneously.

Holidays also present a problem to your morning routine of getting a Diet Vanilla Dr. Pepper with extra ice from Sonic....(more on this later).

But one thing about holidays is that they're WAY more fun with kiddos around.


You get to teach them tricks like this.

(rolling a quarter down his nose)

(watching where it falls)

(realizing you've just been had)

Kids get so excited when they open gifts. Like when they opened their gift cards to Toys-R-Us and were more excited by the picture of the gorilla and turtle on the card than the amount on the card.

Or, when you hide cash inside a book or transformer box, they go nuts!

But mostly, the holidays are special not because of what you eat or what you get, but for who you spend them with.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 25, 2009

definitely by Christmas....

I was wrong when I said, "We'll probably be in by Thanksgiving, but if not then, definitely by Christmas."

I wasn't just a little bit wrong.

I think I missed it by a long shot.

These countertops were supposed to be the last thing to go in.

Aren't they gorgeous?

Polished to perfection.

Uh, oh.....Looks like the countertops are done, but there's some things missing here.....
  • Floors not stained or sanded.
  • Trim not finished around windows (or doors considering there are no doors.....)
  • Paint not done, hence the lack of outlet covers.

Yikes! it's even worse in this picture. Appliances aren't even near ready to go in. (A stove will go here and a vent hood)

Oh, my! And the wood beams aren't in the ceiling yet.

But, at least my countertops are in.

And gorgeous.

Wanna take a stab at the material we chose?

I love it. I love it. I love it.

Upstairs, there's still work being done as well.

At least the floors here are finished. We chose Early American stain for our reclaimed beech barnwood planks (cut 7, 8, 9. 10, 11" and laid in a variegated pattern).

Oh my that floor gave us trouble.

See, nothing in this house is square....not even the floors. That concrete-like stuff on the floor is called "floor-leveler" and it's actually some type of vinyl that's poured.

Oh, just wait till you see the floors in my guest bath.

If you're a guest at our house, you get to use the bathroom with the nicest, prettiest floors.

And, most expensive.

Well, it was the bath with the smallest square footage, so it was a smart choice to put the most expensive tile here.

That, and we want to impress the guests. :)

We had a budget for tile (otherwise I could spend all my future earning potential on this stuff). No matter what, I wanted this tile, so every things else in the house was budgeted around it.

This tile makes me happy.

Happier than any other tile.

I just love it.

And, you can only be my friend if you love it, too.

(slightly kidding....)

They call these "pennies", but I call them "quarters."

There's no grout yet, but aren't they just the prettiest, shiniest tiles?

Want a closer look?

I think I could spend the rest of my life on this floor.

Notice the variation in the subtle, yet oh so pretty.

Oh my.

I think this was my Christmas present.....tile.

Merry Christmas to you and I can now confidently say, "We'll definitely be in by Christmas."

2010, that is...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

typical greg moment #348 - 7 years bad luck

The first thing I noticed about this photo was not the gingham apron.

Nor was it the fact that Greg's doing dishes.

It was the first time I noticed the bulge in the waist area.

When I showed it to Greg, he immediately noticed the same thing.

His reaction was to first blame it on the shirt he was wearing and the big Thanksgiving dinner. After about 15 minutes of discussing that the camera doesn't lie, he donned his gym shorts and headed to work out.

He was prepared.

He had already added the Men's Health app to his phone and was eager to try this exercise:

He did it in the exercise room surrounded by 8 foot mirrors:

Oh yes, my husband did this.

He decided the medicine ball would be too much for the drywall to bear.

The mirrors were the best option.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


There's lots to be excited about with January's Studio Calico kit.
  • The stamp set in the main kit are one of my favorite ever! Very versatile and I must say they'll probably be my most used ones yet.
  • A new Studio Calico sticker sheet just for has me swooning.
  • The colors of the kit. I'm loving them. Lots of new items from Basic Grey, American Crafts, My Mind's Eye....mmmmmmmmmm plus the yellow and light gray from the SC exclusives. yummy. I could gobble this kit right up!
  • The SC papers in the main kit, I could marry. I'm picturing me and them sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G. The herringbone was a request by Lisa, but the gray/white was purely inspiration from Creature Comforts, one of my favorite design blogs.
Okay, now to the sneaks so you can decide which add-ons you want:

This is from the COLONEL MUSTARD add-on. I used almost the entire pack of the doily Hambly rub-ons on this page. They're so much prettier in person than on this photo. Trust me on that.

Oh and there's a sneak of the stamp set in this add-on.....I can see this one being used quite a bit.

All the items from this photo are from the main kit, WHODUNIT. This is one of my favorite layouts of all time. I'm so proud of myself using those straight pins.....oh, and do you see one of the stickers that I've been swooning over? A camera!!!!

Another photo from the same layout, shows off my favorite piece of paper in this kit. I have a feeling that it's a favorite amongst the design team, too because when I solicited sneak photos, all but one used this piece of paper. Definitely plan on getting the SC patterned paper add-on in January. Definitely.

All items below are from IN THE BILLIARD ROOM. I used the alphabet sheet as a mask. Punched out all those pesky wooden letters (pesky but beautiful). I also used variegated thread from Kimberly. I never would have been brave enough to buy it on my's kind of risky for my practical self, but I love the look of it on this layout!

And a peek at some wooden letters that were so difficult to get my hands on. Better snag this add-on if you want them, because they likely won't appear ever again in a kit.

I'm off for now, but will be back tomorrow with a Typical Greg Moment you won't want to miss. It's a doozie.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

meeting ree

My big Christmas surprise for Greg this year was meeting Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. He's been a follower of her's since Davinie introduced him, and ever since, he's been bugging me to take photos like she does, and cook like she does, and I strongly believe the reason we now own 80 acres and 19 cows is in large part due to Ree.

Basically, if something were to ever happen to Marlboro Man, he would be able to step up to the plate...literally and figuratively.

Anyway, back to the story.

A few weeks ago it struck me to check her blog to see her upcoming book signings, never dreaming there would be one as close as Nashville. When I saw that it was on Dec 8, I asked Greg to take off work so we could travel the hour to Nashville to Christmas shop. Luckily, the signing was at a bookstore at the mall we most often frequent, so it was a plausible excuse. That and the fact that Greg is as easy to fool as a 3 year old....

We get to the mall and I ask him if he wants to go to the bookstore to look for a gift for his dad, and he agrees....the compliant shopper that he is. I thought for sure there would be a huge sign giving away my plan and I could catch the look of surprise on his face.


So, even more obvious, I tell him to head over to the cookbooks and look for his dad.

Still nothing, so I went to the counter and asked if I had the right day.

The lady said, "No, it's not today....(pause)'s tonight."



About that time, I motioned Greg to the counter and asked if he'd like to get his dad the Pioneer Woman Cooks. He was excited at that notion.

Then, I asked if he'd like her to sign it tonight and this is the look I got along with a "NO WAY!!!!"

(I should mention that look was reenacted because had I brought my camera in initially, there was no way I could have kept this a secret.)

Then, I said, "I KNOW!!!! What are the chances we'd be here the same day????"

He fell for that for about 30 seconds. Thirty glorious seconds.

Then, he went on to tell me what a wonderful wife I am.

Later that evening, he told Ree about his farm and cows, and not a mention about me being a good wife. Oh well.....

(I really should pay attention to my mom when she tells me not to slump.)

You only get one chance at a shot like this, and I'm glad this was a good one.

Too bad this one wasn't for all parties involved. (Hyacinth & Betsy)

They were giving out Ree's tees, very nice ones by the way from alternative apparel. And, if you know anything about them, they run VERY small. As in, I normally wear a size XS or S and I definitely need the M in these. So, I ask if both Greg and I can have one (Greg to give to a friend), and Betsy said, "Yeah, I'd love to see you wear that!"

Which caused Hyacinth to erupt in laughter....followed by Betsy when she realized what she had inferred. Too bad, Betsy, Greg's heart is with Ree. :)

But it did make his night. The whole way home he talked about how he "still has it."

Fun night and definitely worth the wait.

Met a new friend from Murray, KY, who teaches high school English and is a digi-scrapper while waiting in line.

Also ran into some old friends from Shelbyville, TN, when I lived there from 1988-1993.

Some tips for the day, if you're planning to attend one of Ree's last book signings:
  • Wear comfortable shoes because you're going to be standing on a hard floor for a long time
  • Plan on waiting between 1-4 hours
  • If the signing is at a Davis-Kidd Booksellers, they give out Group numbers, 25 per group a week in advance. (wish someone would have given me the heads up on that)
  • Chances are the location has no idea that Ree will draw such a huge crowd....they'll be underprepared.....but the good news is that the crowd is nice, friendly, and you'll have a great time!
  • You're going to see way more redheads per capita than at any location....EVER, but don't feel left out. Ree didn't show partiality as far as I could tell

Monday, December 7, 2009

more from the home front

I had a good time throwing this layout together with the Home Front collection by Studio Calico, which you can purchase here, here, or here (maybe more places that I don't know of yet)

Funny story....I finally figured out how to zigzag stitch, so now a world of possibilities are open for me. I had my bobbin upside down and it only took me + Kimberly about 2 hours to figure it out.......

Love that binding edge punch, too. It's so versatile.

Speaking of punches, I used the Fiskars scalloped circle punch to punch through my fabrips and it worked beautifully!!!! Just another option for the fabrips besides ripping them.

Studio Calico will soon stock that punch along with several other "staple" punches, like circles and squares. More on that soon.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

a simple layout to share

I was asked to do a sketch for a challenge blog last month, and I was supposed to be the one posing the challenge, but instead, I was challenged myself.

First, in creating the sketch.

I have basically no photoshop skills.

But, my previous career taught me a thing or two about powerpoint, so that's what I relied upon for this whopper of a sketch.

Then, to make matters worse, I don't typically scrap from a sketch.

So, once I created it, I was stumped again! What photos to use, how to arrange the products so that my sketch doesn't look totally defunked.

Then, all of a sudden, I came up with this.

So happy with the outcome.

Supplies: Studio Calico October Kit Yearbook - Raja Gold Flower Centers (Prima), Patterned Paper (Sassafras), Paper Whimsies (Sassafras), Ribbon (American Crafts), Frames (Kitschy Digitals), Stamps (Studio Calico)

These photos were taken at a recent trip to Jackson's orchard before Halloween. It was a perfect cloudy day, so there wasn't harsh, direct sunlight. And, since I'm new at shooting in manual, it was nice because once i metered in one spot, I didn't have to meter again and again and again.

To doctor the photos, I ran Maggie's Simple Color Boost action at 100%. It's the easiest action for me to run when I don't have time to think about it or spend all day editing photos. Usually it looks good at 100% on all the photos I take. Thanks Maggie!!!

The most difficult part of the layout was typing on the angle. I tore my paper slightly in the process, but it was nothing a carefully-placed-ribbon couldn't fix.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

typical greg moment #584 - Lost Rolls of Stamps

I asked Greg to get a roll of stamps at the post office.

He came back with FOUR rolls around his fingers as rings.

Greg: I've got stamps!!!!

Me: FOUR ROLLS?!?! I only asked for one!!!

Greg: It's not like we won't use them.

At this point, I had done the math and figured out it was $176 in stamps. It goes against the very core of my being to spend more money on something than is necessary at the time. And, it goes against the core of my core to give more money to a government organization than is necessary at any time.

The next day, I had a few things to mail and I walked over to the stamp drawer to find this:

No stamps.

Not only were there no stamps, there was not even one roll of the four.

I immediately called Greg and asked him where the stamps were.

Greg: They're in the stamp drawer.

Me: No they're not.

Greg: Yes they are.

Me: Do you want me to send you a picture? Where did you put them?

Greg: Check your desk drawer

Me: Nope.

Greg: Check the container on my desk.

(no judging here. he absolutely loves his barn-door-on-sawhorses-rigged-desk.)

(but you can judge the Ironmind egg-shaped hand-exerciser thingie. I judge him constantly for that and it doesn't seem to bother him.)

Me: Nope not there either. I'll look around.

The following 23 minutes were spent turning the place upside down looking for the stamps.
I know it doesn't seem like a long time, but if you've ever fervently searched for something, you know 23 minutes is a long time.

Still there were no stamps to be found.

My envelopes would have to wait. I was not about to go buy another roll of stamps when I knew there were 4 somewhere.

That night, I pestered Greg until he went through all his pants pockets, and all his jacket pockets, and his backpack, and even his carhart vest pocket (his new favorite outerwear....he even tried to wear it to the movies the other night and I strongly prohibited it. Just because we have a farm doesn't mean we have to dress like it.)

Still no stamps.

The next day, I searched again. I searched high and low and even commissioned some help from Lorie.

Still no stamps.

I asked Greg to retrace his steps.

Me: Greg, you walked in and said, "I have stamps!!!!" Then I said, "FOUR ROLLS?!?!?! I only asked for one!!!" Then, what did you do next?

Greg: With me, there's no telling. (the understatement of the year)

Me: Greg, it's $200 in stamps (okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but not far off). Think please.

Greg: I can't.

Me: What do you mean you can't? You can't remember what you do each day? Just forget it.

Time passes that day and still no stamps.

Then, I walk upstairs and see this:

It may look like two baskets in a chair to you, but to me a beacon from heaven was shining upon it.

At that moment, I remembered the same day Greg bought the stamps, he went up to the house to get the baskets out so they wouldn't become dusty when the wood floors were sanded.

And they promptly went back to where they belonged.

And, the world was restored to order.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

thanksgiving can be fun and scary

When I first arrived in Paducah for Thanksgiving at Greg's grandparents, I saw this on the table.

And, I felt like I was here:

I was a little worried.....

But, it turned out just fine. A few minutes later, the squash casserole, turkey, potatoes, and dressing emerged from the oven and we ate at this table.

No, wait.

Greg and I didn't eat at that table. That was the grown-up table.

We ate at the kid table, then we had to work off our dinner:

Yes, that's Greg in an apron and it took him exactly an hour to do all the dishes.

His grandparents have a dishwasher, but they never have used it.

Such strange people they are.

But, it gave me the opportunity to show what a wonderful husband I have.

Ladies, I have proof. So, you may say you have the best husband, but my picture says it all.

While we cleaned, the grown-ups visited in the living room (sorry for all the wonky angles of my photos, it was a tiny dark room so I had to use my 50mm 1.4 to get good light)

Then, we opened gifts. Well, not us. Greg's grandparents, but Greg found this book particularly amusing.

He already wants me to be the Pioneer Woman, so I'm getting a little worried.....

And Ted Turner showed us his wood-burning skillz. (Don't you think it's funny when a real person has the name of a celebrity?)

He has mad skillz :)

We were all impressed because in all the years we've know him, we thought all he did was pheasant-hunt. Who knew?

And of course everyone (but me) had photos to show. So we oooohed and ahhhhed at them.

And, the only photo taken of me the whole day was this one. Just to prove I was there.

And to prove that although Greg is a wonderful husband, I am a wonderful wife, albeit not the Pioneer Woman.