Friday, December 30, 2005


i really hate resolutions - new years and other kinds i spose but its that time of year and i've neglected this blog for way too long. So i'm resolving to post more often in the new year. the last few months have been filled with not-so-fun stuff. I guess that's an excuse - certainly a rationalization but also true. Things are calmer at the moment. I'm starting to feel a bit like my old self. The craziness of the holidays is almost over (although we venture out of town to do the husbin's family christmas and if that ain't crazy - nothing is... more on that in a second). My kids and husbin are home. My mom is visiting my sister. I have new music and books to listen to and read. Life's feelin good at the moment. I'm a little chubbier -thanks to my own baking skills :-) - but i think even that's surmountable in due time.
Tomorrow we leave for the husbin's family christmas - i guess about a 3 hour drive to Delaware where all his siblings will descend upon the main family home (as opposed to the beach house which will house some overniters - we however are staying in a local motel). This event makes me cringe every year - its all very nice - all friendly happy faces - its just the sheer numbers that get to me i guess - and my feelings of claustrophobia :-) Approximately 30 family members will attend this years event. And there is no escape. There are people every where. For me this is difficult. Some people who know me think I am an outgoing personality - I am certainly "on" at work - but for those who truly know the real me - I am a shy girl at heart. I am most content in a quiet environment - listening to music, reading a book, watching an old movie. Drawing in my sketchbook - making things. Being in my own little world. I like quiet. I enjoy being alone. I will however be there and try my best not to freak out. I could send my cookies and meatballs (both requested items) and stay at home. But the husbin would not be very happy about that. My participation is important to him - he knows it is very hard for me but he really doesnt ask much - so i will suck it up and go. I will report back later - perhaps with photos of the insanity. I am always armed with my camera and the pics of the gift exchange alone are amusing (a literal sea of people watching a particular giftee open their present)
Our gifts are wrapped (courtesy of the husbin) and my gift tags are adorning them (courtesy of my quickutz - i love it and my dies lord help me - its an addiction). I've packed up the cookies (which i painted with edible gold dust and vegetable coloring - i've painted cookies as long as i can remember - its not Christmas if I don't paint my sugar cookies). I need to pack some clothes but i'll do that in the morning along along with a new book and my sketchbook and my rapidograph. maybe the new issue of CK i haven't had much time to look at and we'll off. We'll be back on Saturday early afternoon, in time to ring in the new year from the burg. Oh and we will be taking a sidetrip to Ikea on the way back. Lookin forward to that.
so... resolved to writing and posting more.
My other 2 resolutions: draw and scrap more. Drawing is number 1 however. always has been and always will be.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

okay... so i've been busy

and not posting. there are only so many hours in the day and i like to use a few to sleep.
In the last two weeks we've been to the beach, my sister and her family from Arizona have been here to visit; as well as my sister and nephew from NJ also came to VA for a few days; my mom has been in the hospital (9 days and counting); we've taken our son back to college and done a picnic to meet other families from my daughters high school (its not in the area so this was a good opp for her to meet a few kids and us to carpool network). And to top it all off I'm on call for federal jury duty. Haven't been called in yet (which is good cos the courthouse is over an hour away - yuk... Northern VA traffic not included) and i've got one week left to go after this one.
Hopefully i'll be back again soon to post some stuff.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

chain chain chain

referring to that wonderful tune "chain of fools" - great song huh? well i was just reading my email and that song popped up in my head cos i just got one of those "chain letters".
You know the ones you get from people (you thought were your friends) that say something like this

pass this on to your true friends. Something good will happen to you today at 11:11 in the evening. something that you have been waiting to hear. this is not a joke, someone will call you by phone or will speak to you about something that you were waiting to hear. DO NOT BREAK THIS CHAIN. Send it to a minimum of 7 people.

I hate these things. I love my friends who send them but i hate when they send these emails to me. I never send them on. I don't want to inflict this on anyone else. Why oh why would anyone send this to a friend? i ask you.....

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


well since she's now out on the purple onion site i feel free to talk about her - lizziebelle the alpha. (not Lizziebelle the daughter.. heck i'll talk about her - and do- any old time)

lizziebelle - with a small L - is my newest child. I have my 2 kids - my joseph and my elizabeth- and of course my furry children - Holly and Frankie my cats - but lizziebelle (small L) has been in the works for a while - and she's like a child to me.
I've been drawing those letters for - gee i don't know how long - suffice it to say - a long time. I drew them when working on a circle journal with a great group of friends - and my friend Michele, saw them. Long story short here - she liked them and asked if i'd be interested in making them into rubber stamps for her company, Purple Onion Designs.

Deciding to allow Michele to create rubber stamps of lizziebelle - well believe it or not - it was very hard for me. sending her out into the world is like giving away a piece of me. she wouldnt be just mine any longer. i would be sharing my child with others... sometimes thats hard to do. when you create something - it is part of you. And sharing parts of yourself - well for me - that's really hard to do. sharing my creations - cards, pages, drawings etc. always has been hard for me. Part of why i started this blog was to get better at sharing what i do. Whether posting pictures or just talking about it.

After many months of thinking about it, and much encouragement from Michele, i decided to go ahead and be brave and send lizziebelle out there. it may be difficult at first to see her being used by others. but i decided i can always draw lizziebelle myself whenever i want - whatever size i want -whatever changes i want... still keep her my own in a way. and for me - thats cool.

If you would like to see lizziebelle - check out
she's there in the alpha section. tell her i say hi

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

the rest of the story

so... where did i leave off? (its only been like a week.... busy busy busy).
ah yes. i was cackling evilly.

So my husband and I went to the 8th grade awards assembly last Friday. Braving the driving rain here in Leesburg. Totally miserable day - soon to be better. We find a seat and look over the program. There was a whole host of awards. Whodathunkit? As Eliz is a bright kid, and the counselor had told us she was getting a special award, we knew she'd be going home with something. A nice feeling for the parental units.
The chorus began singing and the kids started entering the auditorium and well - i guess i just got overwhelmed a little - i'm such a mush. Fortunately i'd brought a decent handful of tissues. (Lord only knows how i'll make it through the high school graduation.) I think its a mix of realizing my baby is not quite a baby anymore and seeing another one of those defining moments being marked off (this time its going from middle school to high school) in the list of her life. How did we get this far so fast?
Anyway, the usual speakers went up and down. On to the awards. She received several awards - this kid probably has more certificates in her scrapbook than any kid could - for doing all kinds of mathematical feats and having a certain gpa for the three years . We're sitting there thinking well this is very nice. But i suspected there was something else coming her way. And indeed there was an award.
I believe it was four years ago, a boy who attended the school (and who lived in the next neighborhood over from us) was killed in an accident (i believe by a drunk driver). Eliz remembered him. This boys parents set up 3 awards, in his name, to be given to 8th graders. And Elizabeth received one of the awards - the Spectrum award. Spectrum is a (for lack of a better description) talented and gifted program. This boy was in Spectrum as a 6th grader. Eliz told me later they were in Futura together when they were both in grammar school. Futura is the grammar school equivalent of Spectrum. This boy was a year older than our Eliz.
The award was presented by the Spectrum teacher, who talked about our daughter in such a way - well it was funny and sweet and I would love to contact him to get a copy of his little speech to put in her scrapbook. It just made me grin from ear to ear - while my eyes were tearing up. Eliz was caught completely off guard. She went up to the stage very composed and shook the hand of the teacher as well as the father of the boy. And I was even prouder of her than i already am - if that's possible.
The part that stunned both my husband, me and Elizabeth is that this award was a monetary one.... scholarship money. We had no idea such a thing was done in middle school but there you go.
After we watched a few other kids we know receive awards - always so very nice to see good kids being rewarded - the ceremony concluded. We all headed to the cafeteria for a little celebration - you'd think these kids never saw a cookie or cake before. Well maybe not at 10am?

Anyway now we're on the countdown to the end of school for the year. A field trip on friday to a very fun place for her then just next week and then she's free.
Well, except for the three books she's got for summer reading :-) (and one of those books - WE have to read too!!!!!! can you believe it?)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

This message brought to you by

Simple Scrapbooks - well sorta.
I pull up to the house on Tuesday afternoon (see what am i telling you about Tuesday?) after work and i see a box on my front steps. It says "Primedia" - i can see that from the driveway so you know its a decent sized box. I'm thinking "what thaaaaaa?!?!"
I get Simple Scrapbooks magazine (as well as CK and Papercrafts.. yes i know... but i love my magazines) and i check their website out on a fairly regular basis. And stupid as it seemed, i always entered the contests on their website and the CK one. I figure i have nuthin to lose and everything to gain. Maybe 2 months ago i received a package in the mail - with free chatterbox paper and rubons in it - i believe that was in response to an entry on the CK website - although no note inside the envelope to tell me so.
Well this package was indeed the prize for the Polka Dot sweepstakes Simple Scrapbooks had on their website. Me, being a polka dot lover - of course i signed up for that one - but, as I always do - i forgot i even entered. You can't think you are going to win anything. Considering the number of people filling out the online form - well it would be silly to even think you'd win.
And darn if i didn't! The box had a ton of stuff in it. You can see it above in the picture - a 12x12 album, a K&Co tag album, tons of polka dotted embellishments, STAMPS (omigosh) and even Dots candies. My favorite thing had to be an accordion file by Lasting Impressions - its green and polka dotted and just what i've been looking for - too bizarre. Elizabeth and i had been to Michael's on Monday looking for paint for a project for school and i told her i was trying to find something to put my finished cards in - a file. I've pondered all kinds of ideas for a card file and nothing seems to be the right size for my cards. When i showed Eliz this accordion file she said - well now that's just spooky.
So - thank you Simple Scrapbooks Magazine - for all the magazine inspiration AND the polka dotted prize.
We shall return to our regular programming (i'll finish my story about the phone call from school... maybe later :-).. insert more wicked laughing here)

my polka dotted prize Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Good News Tuesdays

If you knew me that title might suggest something remotely religious huh? Nope. Not that kind of good news. (now that those who know me have gotten up off of the floor and have stopped laughing i will resume my babbling.)
But it occurred to me that last Tuesday i heard good news and yesterday i also got some very nice news. Tuesday is turning into a cool day for me. Tuesday has never been one of those kinda days right? i mean its a regular kind of day. Friday is the best day. Wednesday is often referred to as ... hump day... a term i never cared for, but i digress. Thursday is the day before the best day...Saturday and Sunday - well heck - they're the weekend! Mondays normally stink out loud (unless its a holiday then Tuesday pretty much is given that honor) so Tuesday... nothing special normally.
When i was living away from home for the first time i would talk to my parents routinely on the weekend - giving them the scoop on what i was doing. My Dad would get on the phone and say, what's new? And if nothing much was going on I'd say - nothing. He would inevitably reply - nothing new is ok. Having just a regular day is nice. Sometimes something new isn't always good (meaning that it might be a bad thing that was new). In short- your basic, boring day could be a very good thing. So i guess, in retrospect, Tuesday being an everyday boring day would be quite fine. Daddy was right.
However - Daddy would be thrilled to have gotten the call I received yesterday... a Tuesday. I was at work and my boss answered the phone and she told the person on the other end that, "yes, she's here...." and "just a moment"... she looked at me and indicated it sounded like a "mom" call.. they were calling me by my "mrs. p" name...
Now anyone who has a child in school dreads a phone call from school. Usually this means: a. Your child is sick, come pick them up
b. your child is in trouble/did something not so great. We need to talk - can you get over here right now?
I've received both those calls.
I'd take a over b anyday
I was delighted to hear neither of those reasons coming out of the mouth of the 8th grade counselor. She wanted to remind me of the 8th grade awards assembly on Friday. I told her i was planning on attending. (they don't have a "graduation" so i figured i should at least go to this right?) She was happy to hear that because....
well darn. I have to go to work now (she cackled evil-y). I'll have to finish my story later

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

ok i've done that

i was busy this weekend working on a some scrapbook pages about our little baseball excursion (see may 15th's entry) and was happily working away. after the initial ideas came and i started arranging the photos, figuring out where to put the tickets and memorabilia, stitching down the ticking (which had that baseball pinstipe look i was going for) it was really the mechanics of getting it all tacked down... and my mind started wandering to the next thing. I wasn't finished with this layout - i had the journaling going on my computer - and i had such a time staying focused on what i was doing - because thoughts of another project started filtering into my brain. I was wondering this morning if anyone else has this problem. Actually it worked for me this time- as it gave me the impetus i needed to get these pages finished so i could get to the next thing... But this happens to me a lot. My brain says ... ok.. you've done that... now what about this! And those thoughts - the new thing - whatever it might be -- haunt me. It just won't go away until i have done something with it. It helps the congestion in my brain to jot down the idea - maybe do a little drawing in my sketchbook - then the idea isn't everpresent til i do something real with it... but that idea still floats around in my head until i've used it.

So now you know.. i'm certifiable - right?

Monday, May 30, 2005


is evil... and never-ending.
i wish i could come up with something positive about laundry. Yes i need clean clothes. I like fluffy just washed and dried towels (but i'm not doing towels today LOL).
It is one of those necessary evils. The kind of chore you tell yourself "if i do this, i can then do this fun thing"... thats what i do often to make it tolerable. I play "Let's Make a Deal"
Do you make deals with yourself too? Well, I play Monty and i'm also the contestant.
Right now Monty is saying, if you fold another load, put on the next one, you can run on over to Michaels to look around. See what's behind door #1,2 and 3. Maybe the new Legacy magazine. Maybe some other fun goody. Maybe something to inspire me as not much has lately.
Hey.....I'll take that deal!
See you later!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A happy monday?

well it was. now its tuesday and i'm lookin for more of where that came from.
Usually days that start out with everyone running around like lunatics trying to get out on time - well those are the stressed out mornings i detest. i like to start the day kind of quiet. Get my thoughts together. And by the time i am at work i'm ready to go. Yesterday was Joseph's first day at his summer job and we had to leave early to get him there. Well this Northern Virginia traffic wasn't having any of that - and he was actually 15 minutes late... it was raining and the location is right in a very congested area (near a very large telecommunications company which shall remain nameless but pays our bills.. ahem) . We finally got there but learned our lesson - leaving before 8 will be required. Groan....
Anyway it was a nice day at work. I heard some nice news about a friend. Then i got home and heard the nicest message ever on our answering machine. Joe's Aunt calling me to say how she received Eliz's thank you note and she just went on about how beautiful the card was - I made it- natch- but it was just that she thought to call me and say so. I can't say how much i admire her - she's just this amazing woman - but that she toook the time to give me a call to be my cheerleader. Isn't it funny how when one special person says they like what you do - well you can just feel so great?
And then to have a group of special people say it? That was my next happy monday thing. A group of very special friends (i know you're out there :-)) told me they liked a project I've been working on - and finally was revealed to them yesterday. I'll show it here soon but thank you p2p'ers. YOu have no idea how much your support means to me.... little miss lacking confidence here.
And finally i got some very great news about my good friend Jen Duncan. Cover of the new issue of Legacy magazine features Jen's artwork and her name is right there on the cover too... you can see it here:
yeah it was a happy monday... now i'm shooting for 2 in a row... happy tuesday all.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I knew I shoulda

worked on cleaning out my closet yesterday. I've got an organization coming to pick up used clothing tomorrow.i keep putting off going through my things. It's such a hateful task. I've been looking at this mess of a closet for months saying i'd get to it. So when the organization called a few weeks ago, as they do periodocally, i said - Yes, I've got some things - and put it on my calendar. Well one thing or another sidetracked me - along with my usual procrastination. Now when i return from work this afternoon I'll have no choice but to attack that closet. Yeah yeah. I'll be so happy tomorrow that i've done it. But this morning its just a bummer to think i've got to do this later.
There is also that pack rat thing i've got. I know i'll stand in the closet and have big issues with throwing away some things. I probably should just throw away those t-shirts my brother gave me - he had a little collection of fun ones - there is a lot of sentimental value there. Maybe i should take pictures of them? perhaps that'll make it easier to let them go. I certainly wouldn't wear them. I know this already. But its that they were his that makes me hold on to them. I know that's what it is. It would feel like i'm giving him away. Forgetting him. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's all so illogical - how could giving away a bunch of shirts make me feel so sad? Yeah i think i'll take the pictures and quickly stuff them into a bag and give them away to someone who needs a shirt.
I have my memories and i really don't need a t-shirt to remind me of those, now do I?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Frosted Flake

ok so now i'm posting all kinds o'crap and not saying a whole lot. But things have been a wee bit busy. Bear with me....
Taught a class last nite at work - which would have gone a whole lot better if i'd arrived at my usual time. Normally i like to get there an hour before, set things up, have a little time to think about what i'm teaching. Go over my notes - that kinda thing.
Last nite however my 20 minute ride to work turned into an hour ride to work. While i was sitting in my car i thought maybe this is just evil Northern Virginia traffic.... which we do indeed have. But even though this is one of the fastest growing counties in the country - the EVIL traffic is in the county next door (slowly making its way here but i digress). No it was an accident or two or three. I stopped counting. I felt very sorry for these poor people - who the heck wants an accident (certainly not on the way home - it was about 6:45pm). I definitely felt for the woman who pulled over on the side of the road - as i passed her i realized why she'd pulled over. she went to the rear passenger side and took a little girl out - maybe 3 or 4 - used both doors to shield her from the traffic - and assisted her in pulling down her pants - i presumed a potty was much too far away.
I finally arrived at work - with 15 minutes before the class started. Not good. I hurried around and got everything set up but.... no time for thinking, contemplating WHATEVER it is i need. I guess some might call it meditation? ANYWHO... it took me about 15-20 minutes into my class to get into my groove... poor students. I'm sure they thought for that first part of the class - what a flake. And a frosted (hair) flake at that.
Really it went ok. One of my friends - June- who also teaches at the store - took the class. She wanted to make the project - a really nice Graduation tag book - lovely design. Anyway June told me today - godluvver- that it was a great class. I guess she likes frosted flakes.
And speaking of flakes....
I'm mentioning to my husband the other day that i hadn't received something i ordered - a book - and i was disappointed it hadn't arrived. He said you didn't get the book? She didnt give it to you? I said I think we're not talking about the same thing here. He started to laugh and said-- did our daughter give you a book for Mother's Day or not? I looked at him -then replied "what book?" He smiled and said we got you a book and apparently she never gave it to you.

The flake, apparently, doesn't fall far from the tree.

So on Sunday we're getting ready to leave for the metro station (about an hour drive) to go to the baseball game. Elizabeth is asking if she should bring a book (not knowing how long of an adventure we had) - I said definitely. Then i said, while smiling at my husband, GEEE I wish I had a book to read! Then i left the room (within earshot of course). I hear my husband talking to Eliz, saying i guess you didnt give her the book. She says something like - didn't we? i thought we did. Then off she goes in search of where she'd left my gift.

My sweet little flake of a daughter. She found my book. There are times when this flakiness is exasperating. But she's like the nutty professor - seemingly ditsy but quite brilliant. Her mind is on loftier things i suppose. Plenty of time to get serious as she gets older I think. And hey - i still got my book. Sort of an extended Mother's Day.

The book is wonderful by the way. I love Rita Mae Brown and the book is her latest, co-authored by her cat - Sneaky Pie Brown - the title "Cat's Eyewitness - A Mrs. Murphy Mystery". These little mysteries are just so fun - characters are a hoot and have Rita Mae's usual wit. If you're not familiar with Rita Mae or Sneaky Pie - do yourself a favor and read one. Very fun - not serious at all. Rita Mae's got plenty of those under her own title (sans Sneaky Pie) - also great reading.
And now.. i've blabbered enough for one day

Sunday, May 15, 2005

RFK Stadium: Washington Nationals vs Chicago Cubs Posted by Hello

Take me out to the ballgame

well here's what we did today - took in a ball game! Drove out to the metro station and had a fun ride into DC right to the ballpark. We met Joe's family there: Joe's Aunt Dot came from the Baltimore area with a friend; Joe's Dad drove from Delaware to Maryland to meet up with Joe's brother and the triplets; and Joe's sister and husband came from Rhode Island and one of their sons came in from Michigan. Quite a many-state-d event but that's how it is with this family. We had a great time too. The weather, while overcast, was really nice - cool but not cold. We had seats in the box area and then way up at the top. After an initial venture by the men to the box area - they decided to join us up in the seats way at the top - i guess they missed us :-) It worked out nicely that there were enough empty seats at the top to work it all out. It was nice catching up with everyone and being at a game for the 1st season of this new team. Everyone was up for it. There were quite a lot of Cubs fans at that game too! But, in the end, the Nationals won. The trip back on the metro was a little crazy - so many trains running and one had a problem. We went back and forth a little but eventually we got back to Virginia. A really nice relaxing day.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

and here's the right side of the layout Posted by Hello

Here's the left side of a layout of the confirmation Posted by Hello

and here's the other side Posted by Hello

Faces i love album - one side Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Catching up after Mother's Day

I will try and recap my dee-lite-full Mother's Day weekend - over the next day or so - but first
BREAKING NEWS....apparently Samantha Stevens will have her statue in Salem, Mass. What you say? You haven't heard about the town of Salem getting a statue of everyone's (at least of my vintage) favorite TV witch? I shall link you up to the online article in the Washington Post I read the other day (not online) about this important news story.

i loved Bewitched.

Monday, May 02, 2005

if you're PMS'ing OR you've got company coming

either way... run, do not walk, to your kitchen and make this recipe for Chocolate zucchini cake

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe
1/2 cup soft margarine 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup cocoa
2 eggs 1/2 cup sour milk
1 tsp vanilla 2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt 1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 cups shredded zucchini
Mix all ingredients together. Pour into 9 X 13 baking pan.
Top with 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup sugar.
Bake 40 minutes at 325 degrees

(I tried posting a link to 2Peas to their weblog which gives this recipe but its not cooperating so i cut and pasted it above- so credit Kristina at 2peas - her mom's recipe)

you and your hips will thank me for the tip.
I made this yesterday - had my mom over for Sunday dinner, my son was home from college for the summer and well heck - the rest of us deserved something yummy too.

Ricky would call it "delish". I say "More please!" It is incredibly delicious. Make some.
Thats an order

Saturday, April 30, 2005

an atc of me and daddy Posted by Hello

flowers and chocolate

so it's a rainy crummy day here in VA but i was determined not to let this day get me down. Today's the 15th anniversary of my father's death and 3 yrs and 11 days ago the anniversary of my brothers death. Gee this seems like its gonna be a maudlin entry - but hang with me.
I miss them both very much and while I have my teary moments i think i have many moments that are just lovely thinking about them - knowing they'd be amused at a joke I'd heard or a television show we watched ... whatever.
But I like to make sure my Mom is not dwelling on their being gone - especially today. So I went over to the grocery store and picked up a few things we needed - and decided on two bunches of flowers i thought she'd like and a container of these gourmet chocolate cookies i knew we'd both like and drove on by her place. She was in a fine mood as it happened - not all sad as i feared she might be and we had a nice time. Just chatting away and munching on those cookies. Neither of us could eat more than two - and believe me - for two chocoholics to say enough at two - well you know they had to be decadent and rich.
Anyhow it was a good way to spend some time - eating chocolate and enjoying the pretty flowers. Talking with my Mom. Daddy and Ricky would approve I'm sure.
And when i arrived home, there was my son - back from college. His freshman year completed. I got a back breaking hug from him.
Not a bad day at all.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

so i've been busy

hopefully i'll post more again soon.

Friday, April 15, 2005

the little album i made

here's the cover. i just love my quickutz and this sweetwater pp
Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Go with the flow

Sometimes when it rains it pours.
And the sun is shining outside. so we're not talkin "mother nature" weather.
I'm just busy. Busy is a good thing for me but i just wish sometimes things didn't pour so often lately.
Last nite my sister, nephew and mom came by with pizza. My mom lives in town and my sister and nephew are visiting from out of state. I was so excited they were coming for a long overdue visit but then I realized I'd also be working while they were here. They're leaving town on Friday - when of course it would fit in so much better to have a nice dinner for them. But you gotta go with these things when they happen (not my long suit) and enjoy.

Forget about the class you're teaching tonite you still need to create some more samples for. Forget about the two other classes you have to make samples for by Friday.

And we did enjoy the short, pepperoni topped, visit. We caught up quick. Did a lot of laughing and eating pizza. It was nice and too short.

Today i'm home from work and created a little album (as an additional sample for the class) called "the faces i love". The faces that were sitting around the table last nite are most of the ones in the album. (notable missing faces are my son and the other sister and her two sons.) I'll post pics later but now i think i need to take a wee nap and shower. Then on to the next class samples which should be fun.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

productive day

at least i can say its been a productive day. i got a good bit of the upstairs cleaned -thats two bathrooms and 4 bedrooms - well 3 bedrooms and one scrapbook room :-) .

I should be honest and say Eliz tidied her room (you can now walk thru the room to open the window - an accomplishment). I only vacuumed J's room.

My bedroom - a bit of tidying done but no where near cleaned up. The bedroom area isn't in such awful shape but the sitting room area is still a mess (I shall enlist the husbands help as its mostly his mess). But the two bathrooms up here - you can eat off the floors and not fear any skeery germs. Whilst i cleaned i should note i ran a lot of laundry - tons of towels not to mention one large load of whites. (isn't it ridiculous how i need to justify my time? oy!)

And of course my sparkly clean kitchen floor (and off the kitchen area powder room - lest i forget to mention it). Now all this cleaning is good for what ails me - i dont know about anyone else but when things get too messy around here - i feel slightly crazy. I'm not a neat and tidy person (if you could only see my drawing table - its piled yet again with half finished projects - you'd see i dont mind a bit of mess). But when the dirt and piles get to a certain level i feel a little nuts. I cannot have too much clutter.

And my craziness comes at a good time - we will be having guests on the 20th for Eliz's Confirmation - so the cleaning must commence now. That's only 11 days away. Between everyday work and home nonsense (cooking, laundry - you get the idea) and a class at work to teach - well 11 days might not be enough time to get this place ready for company. Oh and i need to shop for something to wear for the aforementioned Confirmation. ugh... shopping. well thats a discussion for another day.

i am off to finish a belated card or two. nitey nite.

more cleaning

taking another break... now i'm cleaning the chamber of horrors.

translation: teenager bathroom

you're thinking "why aren't the teenagers cleaning it?"

good point. interesting point. however its that vision problem again. they just don't see dirt the way mothers see dirt. its a scientific fact.

it is E's job to clean her bathroom. and J's job to share when he's in residence (not away at college.. there he's got a nightmare bathroom of his own - one he shares with three other men. he has gained a new appreciation for my cleaning skills. )

so i admit i've been a little lax reminding her of her bathroom cleaning job. I either plain forget or, when i do remember, she's got a load of homework to do all weekend. And she doesn't remember hateful jobs on her own. Why should she be different than others right?

Well, I'm almost done cleaning in there. I'm having trouble getting the smell of all the cleaning products out of my nose. My fingers are fairly pruney and i've used almost an entire roll of paper towels. Thank God for the paper towel.

Next stop: my bathroom

it is a conspiracy

I had to break down and wash the kitchen floor this morning. I put it off and off again until i can stand it no more.

First I must take the blame for choosing a white floor. A moment of insanity to be sure - but gosh it looks so purty when it sparkles. But I digress.

I'm convinced there is a conspiracy between my cats and my daughter involving that floor. Eliz, for all her amazing and wonderful qualities, is not the tidiest kid in the world. She is a tad sloppy. I often think that her being a very intelligent child - well her mind is on loftier planes... thinking deep thoughts. Not to be cluttered more by thoughts of cleanliness. That sounds like a rationalization doesn't it? Well it is. She just doesn't notice dirt. Thats more being a teenager than having rocket science thoughts. Again - digression. She isn't the tidiest and she is often in a hurry which means spilled juice (orange soda, milk... any liquid). Now, to give her credit, she does clean up the spills she notices - you know- when they spill half the gallon bottle of juice? Okay - she doesn't notice the small splash of juice here and there.
The juice dries. Even the cleaned up juice spills dry but remain slightly sticky.
Enter ... kitties.
My cats have to be the hairiest American Short Haired cats in the U.S. Frankie is my black cat and he has a sleek physique and the most beauteous sleek coat. It shines. He's beautiful and he knows it. And Holly. My mostly companion. She's a fur ball. When we adopted her at 7 months old she had this downy fur I was sure she would lose as she got older. Well she hasn't. She is soft and sweet and that down-y stuff gets everywhere.
Mix fruit punch and fur and you get a nasty kitchen floor.
I'm sitting here typing as the floor dries. Then i will revel in the beauty of my white sparkly floor

................ for maybe an hour if i'm lucky.
.................then the cycle will begin again.

I tell you its a conspiracy

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

singing and pictures

well the birthday was nice. quiet but nice... after all the phone calls of course.
In my family, when its your birthday, you are called by anyone who has access to a telephone - singing happy birthday to the birthday person is required. If a group sing is possible, all family members are gathered round the phone to sing, at the top of their lungs, and quite often off key, the birthday standard. It wouldn't be a birthday without the singing you see.
So Eliz got her phone calls, opened gifts, had cake and ice cream. All which were documented by moi with my trusty camera. One must have singing and photos taken on one's birthday.
Since the birthday i've been working on work things - creating sample cards for the card class i teach at the store. Cute, fun, cards. I'm just about done and look forward to doing something non-card. i really am.

Monday, April 04, 2005

comique pour ma fille Posted by Hello

mento years perhaps? Posted by Hello

birthday comic

we're big into comics in this house. we love the funnies. at one point i'd even drawn a comic and sent it into a syndicate. i got the nicest reject letter probably there ever was. the guy told me i should write a book instead. i think cos the way my comics were written - well they were funny - but they were little stories - funny little stories.
anyhow elizabeth loves the comics. she reads them, without fail, everyday when she arrives home from school. she is an artist herself, my daughter. the kid can draw. she also has a sense of humor that is sharp. she's a funny kid this daughter of mine. This now 14 year old daughter of mine. When its time to give birthday cards, Eliz will often draw hers. She's made some great birthday card comics for us all.
So, today its my turn to make one for her. Here's the one she's getting tonite -with her gifts, cake, candles and Cold Stone Creamery ice cream

Saturday, April 02, 2005

birthday prep

ok so Eliz will be 14 on Monday which means this Mommy needed to get her butt in birthday mode this week. I got a call earlier in the week from Joseph- my college boy. He called to ask me what Eliz would like for her birthday. Choke. There are these moments when that boy of mine just gets me all Mommy-misty. He's there at school but he thinks to remember his sisters birthday. Maybe this doesn't seem like such a big deal to some - but hey this is an 18 - soontobe 19- year old kid. They can often be a tad self-centered at this age. Anyway I give him the run down off her birthday list - short as it is (she's not a greedy child - she basically asked for 4 cd's and 2 graphic novels).
Later in the week I'm shopping and realize i should just purchase his gift for him (we'll settle up later) and text message him just that. He texts me back (we love to text - he and me) he'd appreciate it as he's a little busy with school - exams around the corner - little time for trips into town. So i find 3 out of 4 cd's and feel somewhat successful. I hit the Borders today in search of the graphic novels. The website says they have one in stock - they did not - but strangely enough they have the final cd she's wanting.
I hate it when they ask for very little and you have trouble producing an item for their birthday (or for that matter, Christmas. We don't gift our kids a lot - but birthdays and Christmas - we try to make those wishes come true). I'll be reduced to ordering it and it won't be here on her birthday. She, being the child she is, will be excited to get a note wrapped in a box, saying the books are on their way.
On the way home from Borders, i stopped at the grocery store to pick up the necessities to bake her cake. This is the first time in many years we are not making the traditional Ice Cream Pie. The aforementioned dessert came into existence years ago for Joseph's birthday. He and his Dad share birthdays one day apart. That's a lot of cake in one household as I believe everyone should have their own birthday cake made to order. So one year we came up with Ice Cream Pie - a decadent concoction of ice cream, oreo cookie crust and additions of the birthday kids choice (examples being hot fudge, m&m's, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips.. i think you get the idea). Nauseatingly good. Not for the fainthearted. But i guess my baby is growing up. She said she thought she'd like just a regular birthday cake - butter cake with chocolate frosting. And as birthday girls are queen (or birthday boys are king) - her wish is my command. I just finished frosting that cake. Tomorrow we'll go out for dinner - her choice of restaurant ( i can bet it will serve crab legs - her favorite birthday fare) and we'll return home and we'll have some cake. And then we'll do the cake & candles all over again on Monday nite.
As each year goes by I seem to get more and more sentimental about these birthdays of theirs. You cannot help but think back to theeee birth day. Their arrival into the world. (The two most amazing days of my life.) And all thats happened since. How you are handed this little creature and look into their face and wonder who they will be, what they'll be like. And it seems so long ago yet just like yesterday all at the same time. And each year goes along and another birthday is celebrated and i know they're thinking "now i'm 14" - or "now i'm 19" i'm pretty grown up. But me- the mom- i see it so differently. I think how did they get so grown up? I was here all the time and they did it like a magic trick right in front of my eyes.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

oeuf avec le crayon Posted by Hello

What's your canvas?

so we were all sitting around the table on Easter after brunch and my Mom reminded me that i'd said we were dyeing eggs after we ate. Normally our tradition is to dye eggs on Saturday afternoon of Easter weekend. This year, we had things to do on Saturday (to insure we had plenty of lazy time on Sunday). I realized there was no need to cram one of my favorite activities into that busy Saturday afternoon just to satisfy tradition. (everyone's older in this household so no egg hunt was required. We knew the Easter B would appreciate this). So, on Sunday we brought out the Paas, the vinegar, and probably 30 years of saved egg dippers (those wire things) and got to work.
Did I say this is one of my favorite activities? Dyeing eggs. I have loved dyeing eggs since I can remember. I guess there are a couple of reasons for this: first, everyone joined in and second, everyone was making beautiful things.
Every Easter we'd gather round the kitchen table and set about creating our little masterpieces. We always used the PAAS kit. Every once in a while someone would find a fun or silly addition to the Paas kit - one year it was a make your egg an animal kit -feathers and pipecleaners included; another year we dipped a lot of eggs into those plastic melt on sleeves. But the PAAS kit was the basis for all that is and was wonderful in egg decorating. One year i tracked down tools and dyes to do pysansky. (note to self: find that stuff and give it another go). Everyone decorated as i said. Each person had to make an egg with their name on it (someone always made an egg with the current pets name on it) and then it was a free for all. Meanwhile, back in NYC my grandmother would dye her own eggs and bring them with her on Easter Sunday. We always wondered how Mom-Mom (my paternal grandmother) made such amazingly creative eggs with just food coloring. But she did. Her eggs were beautiful.
I could never get enough of egg decorating. I'd love to decorate dozens and dozens but the reality of that would be a lot of egg salad or sliced egg sandwiches, right? I came up with a solution to the problem one year. when we were living in Bowie and the kids were little i went to the local community center and asked if they needed eggs dyed for the annual Easter egg hunt. Strangely enough they said yes! I don't even remember how many eggs I dyed(close to 100) but it was a dream come true. Dozens of little canvases for me to create on.
This year it was just the two kids, husband and my mom. As much as I'd liked to have dyed a hundred eggs we decided on just a dozen this year. Here's a picture of one of my eggs.

Which brings me to the question - what's your canvas? i love eggs but i've tried many a canvas in my lifetime. I've painted on many surfaces, sewn paper and fabric, painted my heart out with oils, acrylics and watercolor. I probably have tried it all. When i was in school i did a lot of printmaking (silk screening and etching) and that process will always be close to my heart. (probably why i adore rubber stamping.. it has many similarities to serigraphy in my mind). But i always return to paper and pencil (an HB will do; my prismacolors when i'm likin some color) or pen (ink jars and nibbed pens are most wonderous but i also enjoy my Kohinoor or my Pitt pen). throw in a crayon or marker for good measure. Yes i love to draw. And maybe i'll share some drawings here soon.
So what's your canvas?

oh really Posted by Hello

Oh really

yes oh really.
we got busy over the easter weekend - what with the usual weekend errands and important things like brunch and egg dyeing. well you have little time for blogs. Holly here agrees.

Holly is my mostly companion. a phrase right out of Eloise. She's not quite Nanny but she is always with me. She's more like Weenie or Skipperdee. If you are totally lost about Eloise and friends i guess I would suggest you read the book. (please don't see the movie. I know i haven't and the book should not be missed!)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

this is my favorite Posted by Hello

Cards Aplenty - Cards Galore

i've been working on some Easter cards for family members. I try to send cards for occasions - my brother was a huge card sender. He NEVER missed a holiday, birthday or anniversary. He should have had stock in Hallmark. Me - i like to make cards. And while i often have good intentions i often miss an occasion (this year these recipients did not receive Valentines for instance). I never miss their birthdays but a holiday here and there - well - they understand. Last year i managed St. Patrick's Day cards. This year it's Easter. If only i could just MAKE the silly cards without obsessing about them. But its a character flaw - i understand this. I'm workin on it! There is a favorite customer who comes into the store where i work and she is a mad cardmaker. The woman not only has a fabulous personality (Mary simply rocks) she is organized and makes cardsaplenty - cardsgalore. She sees an idea and she makes it - she makes multiples of the same card. A great idea right? She has a card file where she keeps the initial card and then duplicates of the card - with envelopes - all ready to go when she needs it. It is such a fabulous idea. I want to do this as well i just have to get over my obsession with the idea that i have to make the card for the individual. I know recipients of my cards appreciate and actually notice i have made the card with them in mind. (they notice i incorporate their favorite color for example). But making cards like this can make you a bit mento.
So while making my Easter cards (you knew i was getting back there didn't you?) i said to myself - Tracy - you can make the same card. It's ok. I had an inner battle with myself but i did fairly well (insert insane smile here) If you look below the card with the easter eggs in blue - i made that same card with lavender eggs and coral colored eggs. The basket card with hidden eggs - well that one i made specially for my young nephews. But my favorite is the basket card with the blue polka dot/green background.
All the cards were made using Quickutz
more on that later....

cute but fun Posted by Hello

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

An Umbrella Opportunity

i'm not complaining. not really. we've had some amazingly beautiful weather here in Northern Virginia- beautiful hope-filled- spring-is-coming weather. it's making my bulbs pop up everywhere and i know that means daffodils, tulips, hyacinths and irises blooming everywhere can't be long off. But all this beauteous weather has been something i've witnessed mostly from a window - looking out at it from work.
So today i have a day off. It's spring break here so i took today and Friday off to spend some time with my daughter. We plan to hit the mall today to look for an outfit for her Confirmation and Easter. I get up this morning to find it is on & off pouring rain. Good for the bulbs - yes. Good for me - not really. I'm one of those people who seems genuinely effected by sun- shining days and by dark, rainy days. I can take a day of dark & crummy but day after day - no. It really has an effect on my overall well-being. Sunny days - ah. Totally different story. I'm a happy girl (no allusion to that Martina McBride song). I really feel deep down happy - like I can do most anything on a sunny day.
Oh well - we're just gonna make the best of it. I have a friend who ALWAYS finds the bright side of a situation. She's an amazing person - i aspire to adapting her sunny attitude about life. She would say today is an opportunity to use my umbrella. i love that.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Ketchup... I mean catch up

Okay okay. I promised to add the recipe for the Irish Soda Bread so here it is:

4 cups sifted flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
1-2 tblsp caraway seeds
1- 1½ cups raisins
½ cup margarine
1½ cups buttermilk
1 unbeaten egg
Beaten egg for egg wash

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done
Sift flour, salt, cream of tartar, sugar and stir in seeds.
Cut in margarine until mixture is coarse.
Stir in raisins.
Break egg into buttermilk
Add baking soda to milk
Stir milk/egg into flour mixture until moist
Place dough on well floured board
Knead at least 12 times.
Grease and flour pyrex dish. Form dough into 2 balls and place in pyrex dish OR form 2 balls of dough and place on greased flour on cookie sheet.
Run sharp knife across the top of dough. Brush beaten egg over dough. The egg wash will give the baked bread a beautiful golden brown color.
If baking in pyrex dish cool in pan 10 minutes then turn out onto wire rack.
If baking on cookie sheet cool on wire rack.

If you want to get the full experience, take a slice and add some butter (or buther as my grandmother would have said). You will be in heaven.

Now go bake some!

Monday, March 21, 2005

ok so i should be committed

i thought i'd get back here over the weekend but then i thought again.
i taught a card class where i work, then the rest of the weekend just flew by. I love teaching the classes but the saturday ones kinda blow what is left of my time off.
So now its Monday, Monday. Practically Tuesday. I worked, took Eliz to the dentist for a checkup (hey mom, no cavities) then she and I ran a quick errand and we were back home. One nap, one dinner later, I'm back here trying to finish one project, so i can begin 2 others.
I'll be back with something more substantial soon

Friday, March 18, 2005

and speaking of committment

a friend (i know you're reading this) told me now it seems i'm committed to make entries in this blog. I'm not sure if that's the case - perhaps i should just be committed.
i'd been thinking of doing a blog for a long time. and, indeed i believe it was making a committment to do it that prevented me from getting started in the first place. You know how it is: you already have a lot of stuff on your plate and deciding to add one more thing might just give you indigestion. But i think, as Martha would say (and we know I love Martha) "it's a good thing". It is one of the things I want to do - putting things here: thoughts, creations, soda bread recipes (i need to put that recipe on here - can't let that picture be such a tease).
I'm off now to finish a little birthday gift for a friend then to work.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

this just in..........

it tastes as good as it looks HA!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

tasty smackerel Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Scratch and sniff

Too bad you can't smell this Irish Soda Bread. The smell is absolutely incredible. I make this bread every year for St. Patrick's Day. The recipe is my mother's and was her mother's and that makes it authentic (insert Irish smile here). My mom is first generation Irish-American. Her parents came over from Ireland, through Ellis Island, in the early 1900's. After having done some research on the website a few years back I was able to find the documentation showing my grandfather's entry into the U.S. I still haven't been able to find the records on my grandmother but I haven't given up quite yet. Why bother? Well, it matters to me. Family history interests me.
A few years back I made a scrapbook for my mother for her birthday. Part of the book included a family tree. The scrapbook was to be a surprise for my mother so I had enlisted her sisters to help me with the family tree part of the book. I was very surprisd to learn they could not provide me with a lot of the information. I had asked my aunts to give me what I thought was basic information: dates of their parents arrival into the U.S. One of my aunts told me that my grandparents didn't talk much about the "getting here" part of their lives. She said they were just so happy to be here they spoke little about how, or exactly when, they got here. They were proud of their heritage but were happy to be Americans.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Somewhere on this great world the sun is always shining and it will sometimes shine on you Posted by Hello

Monday, January 10, 2005

January 10th, 2005

I've been thinking about creating a blog for a while so here goes. I hope to post my daily goings on as well as all my creative adventures. Drawing, stamping, scrapbooking. I like to make things. Any things. And I plan to show what I'm making right here.
More soon.