Monday, August 31, 2009

What I did on the first day after summer vacation . . .

A faint chorus of HALLELUJAHS was heard all over Boise today as school started again. All of the mothers heaved a sigh of relief and treated themselves to pedicures and coffee with girlfriends.

Here are some pics of my boys, who I love so much it hurts, but who I was so glad to see go back to school.
They were super mopey this morning as they got ready for school. When we got to school several people even said to Mason, "It's okay. It won't be that bad." he he he But they were all smiles when they got home with lots of fun stories to tell about their first day.
When I took this picture I realized Dawson didn't have his glasses on (he hasn't worn them all summer but needs them for school) so I took another one after we hunted them down.

They're so sweet, but they've been such stinkers the last week or two. Jordan starts preschool tomorrow. Here's little Mr. Left Behind sporting his "Armor of God."

So, what did I do today? Well, we repainted the den (our home office) and got new furniture a while back (that's another blog post in and of itself, but I won't get into that today.) The walls have been bare since the new paint went up, but I've had a giant stack of frames all ready to go up. I wanted a collage wall of frames, but was afraid to try it for fear of filling the newly painted walls with holes. I just couldn't visualize how to get them all straight and evenly spaced. But all of a sudden I had an epiphany about how to make it work and so today I did it and it worked just like I'd hoped.

Here are the frames all laid out how I want them to go on the wall.

I didn't take a full "before" photo of the blank wall, but in the picture below I've hung the first 3 frames.

Here's an "after" picture of the wall with all of the frames. (Pay no attention to the pictures - I was more interested in getting the frames up. The next step is filling them all with pictures that go the right way!! Oh and pictures that are of MY family!!)

Here's a peek at the room with all of the pictures up.
That's it for today. Tomorrow I may even get some stamping done. Or better yet, clean my craft lab so I CAN get some stamping done.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Convention Highlights

I'll be the first to admit that it seems like I've been home from convention for a year, and that you've probably already all seen all of the most important highlights on other blogs. Be that as it may, I'm still going to share some of my personal highlights, just for fun.

Finally, after 4 conventions, I was able to take a tour of the Riverton, UT, headquarters of Stampin' Up! It's an amazing facility and I was so glad to check it all out.

Here's a picture of me in the spectacular atrium. What a wonderful place to work.

The next few pictures are from the Legacy Area which is where they tell about the history of the company and they have beautiful areas decorated with Stampin' Up! products.

I love this valance and the ric-rac at the top of the wall. Both are made of DSP. I'm going to try to copy that valance in my craft lab!

This wall is stamped with the small image from Baroque Motif. I loved how simple it was. Again, another idea I might try to copy somewhere in my house.

I thought this frame collage of images from the Decor Stencils and Decor Elements was such a unique and fun idea. Stunning.
And here's a shot of the area where they fill our orders. What an operation.

This year is my 5 year anniversary with Stampin' Up! so I got to walk across the stage to celebrate. Here's a picture of me on stage.
I think I'd been at convention for two days before I realized they had a board listing all of the display stampers' names. I was so surprised when I finally saw it. Here's a picture of me pointing to my name on the board. What an honor to have been chosen along with all of those amazing stampers!!
Here's a picture of me with the group of ladies who are in my Stampin' Up! family. It is always so fun to see them all and spend a few days together.
Here's a picture of me with my bff, Carrie. We met at convention two years ago. She's a precious friend and sister in Christ.
I had warned Carrie all week that if I saw JanTink I was going to make a scene. I love love love her blog! Well, when I saw her I was able to keep it under control, but I did get my picture taken with her. She was such a sweetheart about it. I'm sure she was mobbed all week. She's a fantastic stamper and so hilarious. Thanks, Jan! I was honored to meet you!!

I haven't included any projects or stamping in my highlights. If I come across anything I think you can't live without I'll be sure to post it later. Most of the biggest highlights for me included the people and the experiences, although the stamping is such a nice little bonus.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Redfish Lake

In June, just a week after school got out, we loaded up the kids and the new puppy and headed up to Redfish Lake, just outside of Stanley, Idaho. Here are a few pictures from our trip. We spend a week there every year and the kids always have a blast. The past few years, Mike's parents and his sister and her husband have gone with us. The kids love spending a week camping with Grandma & Grandpa.

Mike's dad has a blow up raft. They had fun paddling around the lake.

Here's a beautiful shot of the lake at sunset.

There's a fish hatchery (or a fish catchery, as Jordan likes to call it) just down the road. They stock the fishing pond there and the boys love to go there and catch fish. This year we had good luck.

We had 3 fish on our stringer and an Osprey swooped down and tried to snatch it out of the pond! Can you believe it!!?? What a nervy bird! Luckily Mike had staked it to the ground so he didn't actually steal our fish, but he sure gave it his best effort.

Here's a picture from Stanley Lake which is just down the road.
This is one of my favorite places in the world. It's so beautiful.

Baxter was such a good puppy, but he was sure dirty!

On another front, we had a super fun experience a few weeks ago when Jordan knocked the lamp off the table and broke the compact fluorescent bulb in it. It was nothing short of a HAZMAT emergency (they contain mercury, apparently.) We had to evacuate the house for 15 minutes and then I had to clean it up using a "special procedure" my husband found on the internet. I don't know how much of it was an absolute requirement, but I wasn't too fond of the idea of trying to deal with mercury poisoning either. Here's a picture of the carnage.

I'm all about reducing my carbon footprint, but I'm now questioning how safe these light bulbs are in my house, where my KIDS live!! And am I the only one or do they really burn out in half the time of incandescent bulbs. I can't even tell you how many of these we've replaced and we still have some incandescent bulbs that have NEVER been changed in the nearly 12 years we've lived in our house!! How can that be??!!! I'd love to hear your experiences. Anyone break one of these and live to tell about it (besides me, I mean.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oh Dear Where Has The Summer Gone!

The summer is rapidly screeching to a close and I've still got so so so much to share with you!!! eeeks! At this rate I'll never catch up!! First, let me share a few more of my convention display samples with you.

Another set we had to work with is called Sweet Season. It's on page 29 of the Idea Book & Catalog.

For this first card I used the scalloped snowflake image for the background. I stamped it in whisper white on Bashful Blue card stock and then traced around the outside with a 2-way glue pen and added Dazzling Diamonds glitter. I loved the way it turned out! I stamped the sentiment onto shimmery white card stock. The Bashful Blue mat has Dazzling Diamonds around it as well. A touch of white taffeta ribbon added a little more elegance. I love how glittery this card turned out.

This card has some similarities to the one above, with a few changes. First, I stamped the scalloped snowflake image with versamark on whisper white card stock and embossed it with iridescent ice embossing powder. I layered this image onto another piece of whisper white and finished off the card with some white satin ribbon and a beautiful Christmas sentiment stamped in Going Grey ink and punched out with the 1 3/4" circle punch. I rolled the piece on the versamark pad and embossed the edges with iridescent ice embossing powder to match the rest of the card. It's simple and beautiful.

After doing both of the cards above, I think I prefer the look of the glitter on the blue card to the look of the embossing powder on the white card. It's just, well, glittery-er. It's also a little more work, for whatever that's worth. If you didn't have a gazillion of these to make, you could use the glitter, but the embossing powder speeds up the process and is less messy.

The next sample wasn't on the display boards at convention. I'm not sure if it got crushed in transit or if they just didn't like it (which is okay with me because it wasn't my favorite project either!), but the first thing I thought of when I saw the stamp set was how fun it would be to use with a bag of homemade cookies as a gift. I couldn't really send cookies, so I found a picture on the internet and put it inside the bag. The window sheet lets you see the yummy cookies!

In keeping with the cookie theme, the same stamp worked perfectly on this scrapbook page of my kids making Christmas cookies.

I also made this cute little origami box out of the Bella Bleu paper. The luscious Not Quite Navy ribbon from the Elementary Ribbon Originals looked so beautiful with this paper. You may even see another project with similar supplies! *wink* *wink* The little tag stamp from this set is perfect for any type of little gift box or container.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hello Again - Again

Here are two more of the projects I made for convention using the Hello Again stamp set. I saw the template for this little bird house online just as I was finishing up my samples. It went together so easily and turned out so adorable.

I love how the flowers look with the buttons in the center.
This little purse uses the Bella Bleu DSP. For the center I used a chocolate felt flower from the Flower Fusion flowers. I put a large vanilla brad in the center and then attached a red button with a glue dot. The pattern for this is on the demonstrator web site. Just one more reason why YOU should sign up to be a demonstrator!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

You must watch this

Every year Stampin' Up! holds a commercial contest. This is the winner from the year. So so so funny.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hello Again

Hey There! I'm back with a couple more convention display samples. These projects also use the Hello Again stamp set. I love the little flower image and used that on almost all of my projects.

This one is another scrapbook page with a picture of my adorable niece, Amelia. I cut out the flowers and a bunch of the centers and then layered them in coordinating colors. I used the little asterisk stamp to make a fun background behind the picture.
This card uses two of the fun sizzlit dies for the Big shot and the new in-color papers. Althought he colors look a little funky on this picture, I used the Melon Mambo, Crushed Curry, Rich Razzleberry, and Bermuda Bay along with some Garden Green for the swirls. For the flower centers I took the rhinestones out of the rhinestone brads. The colors matched the paper colors so well. The white background on this card is textured card stock. I love that stuff. The sentiment is framed by a piece of the styled silver hodgepodge hardware.

I love how these projects turned out and it was so fun to see them on the display boards at convention! Thanks for stopping by. I'll be back soon with a few more samples.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I'm HOME!!

Convention ended yesterday at about 4:30 and I jumped in the car and blasted home. I was home by about 9:30 last night. It was so nice to sleep in my own bed. Convention was amazing, as always. I met a number of my online stamping friends, which was fun. I got to meet Cindy, Vera, Kay, and Angie from the Great Swaps Girls group. Hey, girls! They're all just as sweet and amazing in person as they are online. Cindy and I had a great time oogling over each other's convention display projects. This year I resisted the urge to stand next to the displays and point out my projects to everyone. he he he

Although I enjoyed everything, there were two presentations that really stood out for me this year. One was by Brian Pilling and the other was the keynote speaker, Belinda Ellsworth. Those two presentations more than made the convention experience worthwhile. I came away inspired and excited.

Okay, I promised to share some of my display samples and some backpacking pictures while I was gone, but the convention center charged $15 a day for wifi, so I was hoping you could wait until I got home. I'll share just a couple of pictures at a time so I can stretch out the crafty goodness over a week or two. Here are a couple to get started.

These two cards were probably two of the simplest projects I made. For the top one I used the mitered corner frame and on the bottom card I used masking for the background. Both of these use the Hello Again stamp set from the new catalog.

And, as promised, here are a few pictures from our backpacking trip.

This is all of us just as we were getting ready to hike out.
This is Langer Lake, which is where we camped.
On a quick day hike Jordan fell in the lake (not the lake where we stayed - another lake - Island Lake)
Here he is in my shirt while his clothes dried out. Much more cheerful here. :O)
Mike and Mason actually swam in the lake.
Here are my boys on the hike out. If you're interested in a long and possibly boring story about the trip, read on . . .

The morning of the trip Mason woke up with a tummy bug and was throwing up. We tried to get on the road and he threw up again in the car, so he and I decided we would just stay home. We were meeting some friends up there and they were driving up later in the day. Mason started feeling better and so he and I drove up with them. When we got there the mosquitoes were terrible, but Mason and I started off. Our friends have a 2 year old who wanted to do most of his own walking, so Mason and I ended up getting quite a way in front of them. Mason's heels started hurting and I didn't have a first-aid kit (Mike had that and most of our other supplies in his pack.) I tried to put some moleskin on his blisters, but I didn't have any scissors and couldn't cut a piece off. We hiked and hiked and hiked to the point I thought we might be lost. And here we were - just me and my 7 year old son - in the wilderness - without adequate supplies - mosquitoes eating us alive - well, you get the picture. I kept thinking to myself - this is the type of story you hear on the news! Mason's pack was heavy for him (mine was about 35 lbs.) so he would carry it for a while and then I'd carry it in my hands for a while. By the time we FINALLY got to the lake we were both exhausted, Mason had gigantic blisters on his heels, we were covered in mosquito bites, and we hadn't eaten anything at all on the hike in, so we were famished.

So I recount the story of "our harrowing experience" to Mike and he says, "Good thing I switched the sleeping bags. I put the lightest one on Mason's pack. See?" and we both turn and look and THERE IS NO SLEEPING BAG ON MASON'S PACK. Now, if you haven't backpacked or camped much, that might not immediately register as a major issue, but that meant we had 5 people and 4 sleeping bags. We were hoping our friends might find on the trail and bring it with them, but when they finally arrived, they didn't have the bag and said they had passed someone who was hiking out who was carrying a sleeping bag. GRRRRRR!! It took Mason and me almost 2 hours to hike into the camp. Mike took off and RAN out all the way to the trail head in 20 minutes in the hopes he could catch the guy or that he would at least have left our sleeping bag at the trailhead. Well, he didn't catch the guy and the guy didn't leave our sleeping bag. Our friends were able to come to our rescue by allowing us to use the sleeping bag they had brought for their 2 year old. Whew! Our backup plan was to unzip one of the large sleeping bags we had and lay it over two of us like a blanket and try to make due.

Well, here's my favorite part of the story . . . when we got back down to the trailhead, I wrote down the names of the people on the registry (you're supposed to sign in before you hike the trail.) When we got home I googled the names on the list we thought were most likely the guy our friend saw with the sleeping bag. Lo and behold! The guy's facebook page came up and he works at the same place my husband works!! HA! Oh, did I mention that the bag I lost was our best, lightest, and most expensive bag? Yeah. It was. So Monday morning Mike calls the guy and asks him if he was at Langer Lake over the weekend. He says he was. Then Mike asks him if he found a sleeping bag. ( I think the guy was a little surprised to hear from us.) He says YES! Crazy times. To wrap up this too long story, the guy has the bag and brings it to my husband at work the next day. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES!!!???? So we got back the expensive sleeping bag AND we had a great time on our trip. If you've read this far, you should get some kind of award. Thanks for sticking with me. I'll be back with more convention pictures and display sample pictures soon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Off to Convention!!!

Today's the day! I leave this afternoon for a nice quiet 6-hour drive to Salt Lake City. Any SAHM can appreciate that, right? As promised, here's a picture of my new tricked out laptop. I've seen lots of pictures of newly decorated convention-bound laptops, so mine should fit right in.

My hubs thought it was a little "girly", but I told him it's mine, so that's my prerogative, right? I have lots of pictures from our backpacking trip and almost all of my convention display samples saved on a tiny zip drive to take with me. I'm hoping to have some down time and can post some of those for you while I'm there. Until then . . .

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