The little things that make me happy here on Bliss Road~~Emily Keaton

Friday, December 31, 2010


So, you may have read previously on my blog that I swap elementary school student escorting services with my neighbor. She has a fourth-grade daughter P and a second-grade daughter K. My own son is also in second grade. (In fact K and my son have been in the same classroom together for three years running now!) I walk or drive the three kids to school on Monday and Wednesday mornings, and my neighbor takes them all on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. We've had some kind of delivery arrangement for several years now, and we've gotten to know one another's kids pretty well.

One day back in September, my neighbor mentioned that K had a question she wanted to ask me. A few mornings later, K finally worked up the courage to ask me her question. She explained that she had a very favorite pair of PJs that she had outgrown but couldn't bear to see handed down to her younger sister L (now 4 YO). She knows that I sew (I've made her and her sisters and mom fabric tote bags and backpacks in the past), so she asked me if I could make her pajamas into a blanket for her so she could keep her favorite PJs "alive," so to speak.

Well, I was a bit taken aback. A little size 5 pair of PJs doesn't go very far, so I knew that they would have to be cut up for some kind of patchwork. And, in my opinion, there's a reason "patchwork" is called just that--there is a lot of work involved: cutting all that fabric up into perfect squares, aligning everything perfectly, endless pinning, stitching, pressing, etc. Plus, while, yes, I do sew (and for six years I operated a homegrown business making and selling fabric handbags and totes), I am not a quilter. I have made a few patchwork-type items in my time, but they would never pass as quilts. The whole quilt-making process just doesn't interest me; it's too complicated and time-consuming for me. And I have to admit that after sewing for so long for my business, I'm burned out and haven't had much interest at all in sewing in the past year since I closed up shop. I was also thinking of all the work I had going on--I was in the middle of two long-term freelance projects and had just started terms on two different stamping design teams. How would I ever find time to squeeze in the making of a patchwork blanket??

Well, I started by asking a lot of qualifying questions. There wouldn't be a lot of fabric from her jammies, so I'd have to cut them up into squares. Would that be OK? Yep. I'd have to add in squares of other fabrics so there would be enough to sew into a decent quilt top. Would that be OK? Sure. Because of fabric and time restrictions, it would be on the smaller size (I had "crib" size in mind), big enough to wrap up in but not big enough to cover your twin bed. Is that OK? I don't mind. I have a lot going in the next few months, so I wouldn't be able to get to it right away. How about if I make it for your birthday (Dec. 27)? That's fine.

And in the end, I couldn't say no to this sweet little seven-year-old who got up the courage to ask me to do her a favor.

The following week I packed up all of the fabrics I had in my stash that might match or coordinate with the treasured PJs. After school one afternoon, K and I sat on the big rocks ringing the school playground so she could pick out three fabrics for the other patches of her blanket. She took this job very seriously and picked her fabrics with pride. And then that's all I had time for. All during the rest of September and all of October and November, K's blanket project hung over my head. I was too busy with my own family, with my work, with my cardmaking, with life in general to start on her blanket, but it was there in the background, and I was worried sick that I wouldn't be able to come through for her like I'd promised.

Finally, in December--my busiest time of year, both because of holiday preparations and January work deadlines--I had to start scheduling time for making progress on K's blanket. I delegated gift-wrapping chores to my own kids (who were happy to do it!). I gave up making and delivering gifts to our neighbors (no one even bothered thanking us last year, so I figured no one would miss it). I pared down my Christmas card list. I virtually stopped making cards (horrors!!) for a few weeks. And slowly the blanket started taking shape. But it came down to the wire. I was pressing open patchwork seams on Christmas afternoon while my kids and hubby were busy with their new Christmas toys. On the 26th, as we neared the starting time of a blizzard warning, I pushed everything else aside to finish the rest of the sewing--I was terrified that we would lose power in the storm and that I wouldn't be able to finish K's blanket in time for her birthday the next day. I spent some cozy time under the blanket tying quilt knots that afternoon while the snow swirled around outside. And then it was done. Done! It's not perfect--far from it--but I finished it, just in time.
(The purple leopard print squares are from K's favorite PJs.)

On the morning of K's birthday, I wrapped up her new patchwork blanket in birthday paper and made a quick birthday card to go with it. It's nothing at all fancy, but I tried to make it match her new blanket.

After my family had dug out our driveway and sidewalks after our post-Christmas blizzard, I called my neighbors to see if I could drop by for a minute. I was so pleased to be able to watch K unwrap her present. The child was vibrating with excitement. I don't think any blanket has ever been this eagerly anticipated. She was, I think, blown away. She was definitely smiling from ear to ear as she was happily reunited with her favorite PJs, or at least a new incarnation of them. Later her mom told me that she spent the rest of her birthday snugly wrapped up in her new patchwork blanket. I guess that makes it all worthwhile. I just hope that K's sisters don't get any bright ideas when they outgrow their favorite jammies . . .

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Stampin' B's Celebration Card Challenge

A very happy Thursday to you! It's time for another challenge from the Stampin' B's DT. This week Vicki Dutcher is our hostess, and she is challenging us to make a celebration card. I chose to make a birthday celebration card.
This is a big card, measuring 5" x 7". Have you noticed that Bingo cards are all the rage these days? From Stampin' Up! to Tim Holtz, there are lots of trendy Bingo-themed papercrafting items to be had. So when I saw packages of birthday Bingo games on clearance at Target last month for $0.75, I snapped up two packages. Each has 24 adorable Bingo cards, sheets of punch-out Bingo markers, and a spinner (another hot papercrafting item! Look for that in use elsewhere sometime soon.). I was so excited to try out my Bingo bargain for this celebration card challenge!

Other challenges:
I hope you've been inspired to play along with the Stampin' B's!! If you do make a card, post it on your blog or SCS gallery, and link it up to the Inlinkz tool on the Stampin' B's blog. We'd love to see what you create!! :)

Thanks for checking out my little slice of bliss for today!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Unity Sentiments O'Simple, Unity Lovely Bits and Baubles
The Paper Company CS, birthday Bingo card from Target
Ink: Palette l'amore red and reflection blue
Accessories: Tiny Twinkles, Bingo markers, dimensionals, red/white baker's twine

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Stampin' B's Ribbon Challenge

It's Thursday! Not only is today my kids' last day of school for 2010, it is also time for another Stampin' B's DT challenge. This time around Lois is our hostess, and she is challenging us to use ribbon in any way except tied in a bow or a knot. Hmmmmm . . .

Here's what I came up with. I gave my red satin ribbon a good twist before adhering it down. No bows or knots here!! I altered this mini lunchbox tin as a Christmas gift for my son's second grade teacher. Here's a peek at the other side.
I also made a set of 20 Christmas gift tags to go inside the tin, where they are organized by paper dividers I created. This should help my son's teacher keep all organized for gift prep!

I hope you've been inspired to play along with the Stampin' B's!! If you do make a card, post it on your blog or SCS gallery, and link it up to the Inlinkz tool on the Stampin' B's blog. We'd love to see what you create!! :)

Thanks for checking out my little slice of bliss for today!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Stampin' Up (various)
October Afternoon Very Merry collection DP, SU whisper white CS, MFP hazelnut tan CS, various CS from The Paper Company
Ink: Palette: noir black, l'amour red, moulin rouge, burnt umber, jardin moss, viridian leaf, starry night; SU bashful blue
Accessories: CM corner rounder, various SU punches (lots!), baker's twine, red satin ribbon, dimensionals, gold lame Smooch
Techniques: altered tin

CAS Christmas Thanks

Just a quick post to share this ultra-quick Christmas thank-you note I made this morning amidst the bustle of hustling my kids out the door for their last day of school for 2010!
I love, love, LOVE my twine from The Twinery!!

Thanks for checking out my little slice of {sanity} today!!!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Stampin' Up Spotlight on Christmas
SU whisper white, CS from The Paper Company
Ink: Palette noir black, Palette l'amore red, SU melon mambo
Accessories: CM corner rounder, pop dots, baker's twine from The Twinery

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Daughter

It's hard to believe, but on Friday--yes, that's Christmas Eve--my dearest daughter, my firstborn, will turn 12 years old. Twelve!!! Twelve short years ago, we spent our very first Christmas together in the hospital. Santa visited us in our hospital room and gave me a hospital logo mug filled with peppermints! And now she is on the cusp of teenagerhood. How I love this girl! And how very proud I am of her. She works hard and does so very well in school. She loves to read, loves anything to do with horses, loves to be creative, and loves to play with her brother. She has a caring heart, a compassionate soul, and a generous spirit. What an amazing journey it is watching her grow up. I'm in no rush, but I look forward to seeing who she will become!!

Last Friday night, my husband and son attended their monthly Cub Scout pack meeting, leaving us girls home for some quality time. She loves her academic teachers and, being the generous girl that she is, wanted to do something special for all four of them for the holidays. She decided to make a set of hand-stamped holiday gift tags, so we spent the evening stamping together. We had a wonderful time, and I am so proud of her results!! Here is one of the four identical tag sets she made:

We bought four small wooden boxes at A.C. Moore
for packaging her tags and tied each with
some red and white baker's twine.

After untying the twine, her teachers will discover
a baker's dozen of assorted hand-stamped gift tags,
each sporting baker's twine for easy hanging.

Each one is different! My daughter had so much
fun playing with my various Stampin' Up! tag
stamps and coordinating punches.
On Monday, she couldn't wait to deliver her gifts to her teachers and got such a thrill from their heartfelt reactions. Ah, the joy of giving!!!

Thanks so much for taking a peek at my daughter's creations today. She is so much a part of my little slice of bliss!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gingerbread Village

One of the Christmas traditions my family has developed during the past few years is decorating a gingerbread house to dress up our kitchen island during the holiday season (and often beyond!). Believing that the fun part is decorating the house, we simplify things by starting with a Wilton pre-baked gingerbread house kit. Normally retailing for $12.99, I've discovered that I can usually find one of these on sale around Thanksgiving for $5 or $6. Last year we purchased a house kit and a cool gingerbread Christmas tree kit (which we loved!), but I was unable to find a tree kit on sale this year. So we went with an adorable gingerbread mini village kit this year instead.

So on Sunday, after church (including our kids' Christmas pageant) and Sunday School, a lunch out at Applebee's to celebrate both kids' most recent and most excellent report cards, and a stop at Cold Stone Creamery so DD could use her free ice cream coupon for her upcoming birthday (more on that later in the week!), the four of us spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen assembling miniature gingerbread houses and getting them all decorated for Christmas. Here are our results (just keep in mind that our chief decorators are 8 and nearly 12, so you won't find perfection here! But you will find lots of sugary cheer.).

Thanks for indulging my little slice of bliss here today. We had so much fun making this little gingerbread village. :)

Happy First Day of Winter!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sanity Stamping #1

OK, I didn't really have time for stamping today, but I have so much on my plate this week, I just had to do a little for the sake of my sanity!! Here's the quick project I made:
This is for The Play Date Cafe Challenge #60, to use black and white with a splash of yellow. It is also for the Cupcake Craft Challenge #122, to make a thank you note. Gonna needs lots of thank you notes come next week!!

I used the "thanks {so much}" sentiment from Stampin' Up's Tiny Tags set. I made the crumpled paper flower myself out of scalloped circles punched from vintage book pages. I sponged each punched circle with Paris Lights ink (Palette) to add my splash of yellow!!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Treat Boxes

Just a quick post to share a project I've been working on this morning. Tomorrow is the kids' Christmas pageant at our church, and both DD and DS will be shepherds. (Threw together some quick shepherds' headdresses this morning and a tunic for DD to wear. Thank goodness for my huge fabric stash and my trusty pair of pinking shears!!) I wanted to make little Christmas gifts for the kids to give to their Sunday School teachers after the pageant tomorrow, thanking them for all of their dedication and hard work so far this program year.

There wasn't much time to do anything elaborate (I'm starting to feel the time crunch), but I was so pleased to {finally} ink up these adorable nativity stamps from The Angel Company that I've had for a while now.
These stamps were perfect for dressing up the white favor box totes from the Dollar Tree that I keep on hand for just such projects. A little silver stamping on blue for the fronts, a few images stamped in blue directly on the other sides of the boxes, acetate bags filled with holiday Hershey Kisses, some swirly blue and silver ribbon to tie up the treat bags, and DONE!

I made these with the Simon Says Stamp challenge (to use silver, blue, and white) in mind. I love these colors! I'm also entering this over at Cute Card Thursday, where the challenge is One for the Kids (my interpretation: "One for the Kids . . . to give to their Sunday School teachers.")

Thanks for checking in on my little slice of bliss for today!!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: The Angel Company
Paper: The Paper Company
Encore metallic silver, Palette starry night
Accessories: MS loops punches, MS modern garland punch, ribbon

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sparkly Birthday Chandelier

Happy Friday!! I'm just about to head out to run some errands, but before I go I want to share a quick one-layer card I made this morning. I've been hoping all week to be able to play in the current EtsyInspired Challenge. There's some gorgeous inspiration at this week's Etsy store! I was taken with some beautiful chandelier motif items, and it just so happened that two new {ippity} sets that I'd ordered (one containing a shabby chic chandelier!!) just arrived in last evening's mail. The timing couldn't have been more perfect!! (The EtsyInspired challenge ends in just a few more hours, so I've got to be quick now!) I'm also thrilled to be able to play in the One-Layer Wednesday Challenge for the first time--the theme this week is Home Decor. I think I've got that covered with this card!

I dressed up this one-layer card with some clear embossing at the top, sponging around the edges, pearl and rhinestone adhesive gems, and a glittered chandelier chain (gold glitter adhered to a length of Glue Line--I've always wanted to do that!). The crinkly gold ribbon was salvaged from a Lindt foil-wrapped chocolate Santa!!

Hey, thanks so much for dropping by today and checking out my little slice of bliss!! I'm especially happy today because DH and I finished signing, stuffing, addressing, stamping, and sealing our Christmas cards last night, and I dropped them off at the post office after delivering kids to school this morning. BIG RELIEF!! Next up: holiday gifts for the teachers. EEK! Time is running away from me . . .

Card Recipe:
Stamps: {ippity} Regal Greetings, {ippity} Just Wanted to Say, SU Very Vintage (jumbo wheel)
Paper: SU pink pirouette CS
Ink: Versamark, Palette noir black
Accessories: CM corner rounder, clear EP, heat tool, Glue Line, gold glitter, salvaged ribbon, adhesive pearls and rhinestones
Techniques: one-layer card, clear embossing, glitter, sponging

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stampin' B's Baby/Toddler Challenge

Today is Thursday, December 16. Already. How can that be? December is just flying by, and soon it will be time to forget to write "2011" on our checks.

But, yes, it IS another Thursday, and that means another challenge from the Stampin' B's DT. This week our challenge hostess is Brenda, and she is challenging us to make a baby or toddler card. A fun challenge!! Here's what I came up with: This is one of two Lili of the Valley stamps that I won way, waaaaaaaaaaaay back during the summer. I've been itching to get some ink on it for quite a while now, and this challenge was the perfect excuse to just do it. I stamped it on some of my best watercolor paper and had a mahvelous time watercolor painting with re-inkers. (It's been waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long since I last watercolored, so this was quite a treat.) It was fun dressing up the fur trim with some white Fun Flock and finishing this off simply with some Caribbean baker's twine from The Twinery.

This card will go to our little 15-month-old neighbor girl and her parents for Christmas.

I hope you've been inspired to play along with the Stampin' B's!! If you do make a card, post it on your blog or SCS gallery, and link it up to the Inlinkz tool on the Stampin' B's blog. We'd love to see what you create!! :)

Thanks for checking out my little slice of bliss for today!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Lili of the Valley
Paper: Canson watercolor paper, SU chocolate chip CS, SU bermuda bay textured CS

Ink: Palette noir black; SU inks for watercoloring: real red, chocolate chip, old olive, bermuda bay
Accessories: MS loop corner and edge punches, watercolor brushes, foam tape, white Fun Flock, Zip Dry glue, Caribbean baker's twine from The Twinery
Techniques: watercolor painting

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What I've been up to . . .

It's been a while since I posted here on my blog and just as long since I've had time to make any cards or paper projects. 'Tis the season to be super busy!! So this post is just a quick update on what's been going on in my neck of the woods.

We had an awesome weekend, starting with our homemade pizza and family movie night last Friday. (Have I mentioned that my dear hubby makes THE BEST homemade pizza?) We decided to start the season of holiday movie/special viewing by choosing Home Alone as our movie. We all love that one! It never fails to get us in the Christmas spirit. :)

Saturday morning we took the kids out to do their Christmas shopping for the family, splitting up and then swapping Mom and Dad for some secret shopping. That was fun. After lunch we started rolling out and baking our Christmas cut-out cookies, a family affair! We ended up with over 15 dozen cookies. Wow! Sunday afternoon was spent frosting and decorating them. Here's our spread:
(Go ahead and click on the photo. I know you are dying to see
all that lusciousness close up!!)
Because we were planning to bake so many, we tried to simplify things and stick with only five different shapes (tree, star, bell, gingerbread people, round) and four different icing colors (red, green, yellow, and white). But the kids had a large array of sprinkles and sugars to choose from for decorating, and didn't hold back LOL!!!

We managed to squeeze in a bunch of other holiday preparations over the weekend, and I was pleased to get a start on prepping my Christmas cards for mailing. I had big plans for being productive this week as well (both with Christmas preparations and on two freelance projects that are nearing their deadlines). All was going well until my eight-year-old came down with a nasty stomach bug. My poor baby!! He couldn't even keep water down. He was so sad to miss school, but he got lots of rest and was well enough to return today. Yay!!

I'm trying to get back into my crafting, blogging, and blog-visiting routine again. (So sorry if I haven't been by to visit your blog recently! All of this is why.) I may be light on cards overall this week, but I will have a new card to share tomorrow--my sample for the new Stampin' B's challenge. So, until then, stay healthy and warm. Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

CAS Christmas Ornaments

I had a busy day today (OK, who am I kidding? ALL of my days are busy any more!) but managed to fit in making this card this afternoon.
It's pretty straightforward. I used all Flourishes stamps, with white-embossed pine branches, silver embossed ornament caps, and silver ink for the ornament strings. I stamped the tea rose on the round ornament with Versamark ink and applied chalk with a sponge applicator.

I'm so very pleased with how this card turned out! Thanks so much for dropping by to take a look and share my little slice of bliss.

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Flourishes--All That Glitters, Strawberries (sentiment), Tea Rose Background
Paper: SU bashful blue CS, white CS from The Paper Company
Ink: Versamark,
SU bashful blue, Encore metallic silver
Accessories: EK 1.5" circle punch, MS nordic snowflake punch, SU 3/4 x 15/16 oval punch, CM corner rounder punch, white EP, clear EP, heat tool, silver brads, Stampin' Pastels, sponge applicator, adhesive pearls
Techniques: Poppin' Pastels
, embossing

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monochromatic Thinking of You

I just found out last night that my best friend has received a lot of bad news in the past few days. I wanted to drop a note in the mail to let her know that I'm thinking of her and that I'm here for her in any way that she needs me. But I'm running low on "thinking of you" cards in my stash, so I made this card in her favorite color this morning.

It's sunny but cold here today and there were a few snow flakes falling this morning. It was the perfect time to light my balsam and cedar candle and crank some Christmas jazz music while I worked. My heart is happy!

Thanks for stopping by!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: MFP Hearts, Hearts, Hearts and MFP Brick Wall (sentiment)
Paper: Mark's Finest Papers: Grandma's Lavendar Patch and Groovin' Grape
Ink: Palette violette, ColorBox frost white
Accessories: MS loop edge and corner punches, CM corner rounder punch, scissors, white EP, heat tool, foam tape, Momma's favorite purple satin ribbon from MFP, Bow-Easy
Techniques: embossing

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Boy Thank You Cards

My newly minted 8-year-old son worked on writing thank you notes for his birthday presents today. Once he got started, I realized I didn't have quite as many "boy" thank you notes ready as I had thought!! So I threw together a few more for him to use. He has started to show an interest in the Boston Celtics, so I thought he'd like a some basketball-themed thank you cards and made a couple of each of these. I drew the lines on the basketball by hand using a ruler and some oval cutting templates. This 4.25" x 4.25" card was based on this week's Waltzingmouse Sketch Challenge.
I went totally CAS for this next card. The basketball image is a retired stamp from The Angel Company. I made these with the Moxie Fab World Card Creations: Favorite Occasions week Thank You challenge in mind and used this week's Get Sketchy sketch 67.
I'm happy to report that my DS had smooth sailing for his thank you note writing and everything is ready to be sent out tomorrow!! It's always more fun to write thank you notes when you have fun cards to write them on. I think my son would agree!

Thanks for dropping by for today's little slice of bliss!

Card #1 Recipe:
Stamps: SU Four Square
Paper: SU pumpkin pie, MFP natural, The Paper Company scraps
Ink: SU pumpkin pie
Accessories: CM circle cutting system, SU photo corners punch, SU large tag punch, black pen, oval cutting template, ruler, basketball brad

Card #2 Recipe:
Stamps: The Angel Company, MFP Thankful Mums and Pumpkins (sentiment)
Paper: MFP natural
Ink: SU pumpkin pie
Accessories: EK 1.25" circle punch, CM corner rounder punch

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Car Thank You Note

So today we finally got to celebrate DS's 8th birthday in earnest!! I got up early to bake bread and start on some cards I needed to make, while the kids worked on homework. Then all four of us headed out to lunch at Fuddruckers, chosen by DS for his birthday celebration meal. Yum, yum!! We stuffed ourselves on mammoth burgers and hot dogs, french fries, and milk shakes (for the other three in my family; I stuck with light lemonade. Gotta fit into my dress pants for church tomorrow morning somehow!!). Oh, and the kids got freshly baked cookies with their kids' meals. I don't think any of us will need to eat again until Monday!!!

After our lunch out, there was a pile of birthday presents waiting here at home for the birthday boy. He has been waiting very patiently since his actual birthday on Thursday for the presents part of his celebration!! And he was just thrilled with everything he received from us and his extended family. He and his sister are having a ball right now playing with some of his new stuff. He will have thank you notes to write tomorrow, so I had fun making this one to add to his stack: He will just love that there is a car on it! I was inspired by this adorable Santa car ornament that I found on the Bronner's Christmas Wonderland website as part of today's Inspiration Challenge IC261 on Splitcoast Stampers.
I incorporated these challenges into this thank you note:

Thanks for checking out my little slice of bliss for today!!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Mark's Finest Papers Thankful Mums and Pumpkins (sentiments), Studio G
Paper: SU old olive CS, Little Yellow Bicycle Christmas Delight DP collection, various scraps
Ink: Palette noir black, SU old olive, SU bashful blue
Accessories: MS nordic snowflake punch, SU modern label punch, sponge, Prismacolor pencils, OMS, paper blending stump, foam tape, red brads, SU blender pen
Techniques: sponging, Gamsol Magic

Wreath Gift Card Holder

Happy Saturday!! I needed a gift card holder for the gift card we will be giving my Aunt Jay and Uncle Bill for Christmas. This is what I came up with:


I was inspired by this beautiful holly wreath ornament from Bronner's Christmas Wonderland:
I used a 1-inch scalloped circle punch (with a 1/2-inch circle punched out of the center of each one) for the little wreaths on the front. Some red glitter glue dots became the holly berries. The wreath image on the inside was from the $1 bin at A.C. Moore. The sentiments are both from Mark's Finest Papers.

I incorporated these challenges into my project: Thanks for stopping by!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Mark's Finest Papers Bells on Bobtail (sentiments), Studio G
Paper: The Paper Company CS
Ink: Palette jardin moss, Marvy LePlume II black marker
Accessories: EK 1" scallop circle punch, SU 1/2" circle punch, MS modern garland edge punch, SU 2-3/8" scallop circle punch, scoring tool, Studio G red Sparkle Writer, Prismcolor pencils, red photo turn, brad
Techniques: punch art

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stampin' B's Color Challenge

Happy December 2nd! Today my dear son, my baby, turns 8 years old. Wow! It seems like it was only yesterday that he was born four weeks early (better than the 12 weeks early he originally seemed intent upon; I spent those last eight weeks, a majority in the hospital, on bed rest trying everything possible to keep him "in the oven" until it was safe for him to make his grand entrance into the world). We have delighted in watching him grow into a loving, bright, curious, sweet, sensitive, and hilarious boy who loves to laugh, read books, build with Legos, push buttons, play with computers (see "push buttons" entry), ride his bike, help people, and be a Cub Scout. He likes to be just like Dad, play with his sister, and cuddle with Mom. We love him to pieces, and we hope that he has a fantastic birthday. :)

So to celebrate, I have been invited into DS's classroom to read a favorite story to his class. The Scholastic Book Fair is at his school this week and today happens to be the day for his class to visit the Book Fair, so I'll meet them at the Book Fair so we can shop together and then head back to his classroom for the story. We also have some winter pencils that he will pass out to his classmates as a birthday treat (because edible treats are no longer allowed at his school).

At some point today (when I'm not at his school but while he still is), I will be baking him the chocolate chip cake that he requested as his birthday cake. There won't be time for a full-blown birthday celebration tonight (both kids have gymnastics tonight after school, and then DS has an evening Cub Scout meeting tomorrow which will leave us short on time for celebration then, too), so the birthday cake will have to suffice as celebration for today. But we'll really do it up right on Saturday with presents and lunch out at the restaurant of his choice (looks like he's decided on Fuddrucker's) and maybe even a little surprise outing. We're looking forward to fun day!

Well, it's time to meet my card for today!! It's Thursday, so you know what that means--another challenge from the Stampin' B's DT!! This week it's time for me to host my very first Stampin' B's challenge. My challenge to the team, as well as anyone who would like to play along with us this week, is a color challenge with a twist: use purple and turquoise on your card and add something shiny or sparkly. Here's what I came up with:
My "DP" for this card is actually a piece of calico fabric from my stash. I've always thought this is the most beautiful shade of purple! After stitching it to my card base with my sewing machine, I frayed the edges (or at least as best as I could manage). The butterfly and sentiment are a sneak peek from a new stamp set called Take a Peek that will be released by Mark's Finest Papers next week. Just wait until you see the cute lil' critters in the rest of this set!!

My mother-in-law loves to quilt and sew. We will be sending this fabric-bedecked card to her for her birthday next week. Hope she'll like it! Here's a close-up of some of the sewing details that I hope she'll flip for:
I incorporated these challenges into my card:
I hope you've been inspired to play along with the Stampin' B's!! If you do make a card, post it on your blog or SCS gallery, and link it up to the Inlinkz tool on the Stampin' B's blog. We'd love to see what you create!! :)

Thanks for checking out my little slice of bliss for today!

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Mark's Finest Papers Take a Peek
Paper: The Paper Company CS

Ink: Palette violette
Accessories: SU large oval punch, SU decorative label punch, dimensionals, scissors, grosgrain ribbon, sewing machine, turquoise rhinestones, buttons from my stash, lilac baker's twine from The Twinery
Techniques: machine stitching

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

It's been far too long since I've posted on my blog, and I think I may have gone into withdrawal! Our Thanksgiving weekend was busy, busy, busy and kept me away from papercrafting for far too long. Here's what I've been up to:
  • We met my parents and my sister's family (big sis, her husband, plus their two kids) last week for Thanksgiving. All of my family lives in Ohio, where DH and I both grew up, but we live in Massachusetts. Now that all four of our collective children (that is, my two kids plus my sister's two kids) are in school, it is really hard for either family to travel the entire way for Thanksgiving on the busiest travel week of the year. So my mom had the bright idea of all of us meeting in the middle. She made hotel reservations for all of us in Geneva, NY, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. So on Thanksgiving morning, the Ohio contingent drove east and we Bay Staters drove west, a six- to seven-hour drive for everyone. But waiting until Thursday morning cut down on the traffic and congestion considerably!
  • My parents treated everyone (there were 10 of us altogether) to a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner (7 p.m. reservations on turkey day) at historic Belhurst Castle, overlooking Seneca Lake in Geneva.
  • This was the menu of our ultra-fancy, all-inclusive Thanksgiving dinner:
Caramelized Sweet Corn and Salt Potato Chowder
Seasonal Garden Tossed Salad with Buttermilk Dressing and Toasted Bacon
Chef-carved Turkey: White and Dark Meat
Dressing with Fresh Herbs
Marsala Pan Gravy
Whipped Red Skinned Potatoes with Buttermilk and Sea Salt
Smashed Yams with Maple Walnut Butter
Assorted Winter Squash Poached in Riesling Syrup
Whole Cranberry Sauce
Warm Semolina Bread
For Dessert: Choice of Pumpkin Pie, Apple Caramel Pie or Mincemeat Pie

It was all amazing and exceedingly delicious. We definitely feasted!
  • We spent Friday at the hotel (a Hampton Inn), enjoying the continental breakfast, swimming in the pool, playing games in the lobby, eating cheese/crackers/bakery bread/fruit for a light lunch (after that huge meal, no one was really all that hungry!), chatting, and visiting.
  • Saturday morning, everyone headed out around 9 a.m. to their respective homes. I was exhausted by the time we returned! But there was unpacking, bill paying, and grocery shopping to do. No rest for the weary.
  • On Sunday, after church and Sunday School, we were on a mission to fix our Christmas tree. We have always had an artificial Christmas tree. Eight years ago we bought one of those (at that time) new-fangled pre-lit trees. The putting-on and taking-off of the lights was our least enjoyed task when it came to our Christmas tree! We were thrilled to have a tree that we could set up "like a beach umbrella" already lit--just like that scene in the animated Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! But last year we noticed that after seven years of use, some of the lights had burnt out. When enough burnt out on a single strand, the whole thing would overload and an entire layer of branches would be unlit. Not cool. We made do last year, but knew that this year we would have some serious engineering/surgery to do on our tree. I made a note on the calendar to buy 100 or more replacement bulbs as soon as the Christmas decorations hit the store this fall!! So Sunday afternoon was spent preparing a space in the living room for the tree (this involves quite a bit of rearranging, and DH insisted on some not exactly pertinent cleaning as well), hauling down all of the Christmas decorations from the attic, and then spending quite a lot of time and team effort finding burnt out bulbs and replacing them in situ. A major operation, but well worth it. Once we had all the lights fixed, we had a wonderful time decorating and reminiscing about all of our keepsake ornaments.
  • And all of this brings us back to our everyday, back-to-school/work busy-ness!
Yesterday, I managed to make a card combining this week's Splitcoast Clean and Simple Challenge (which was to use flower accents) and this week's Splitcoast color challenge: to use real red, old olive, and river rock. Here's what I came up with:
This card is also a sneak peek of a new Mark's Finest Papers stamp set called Hearts, Hearts, Hearts that will be released next week. I clear embossed this pretty flower-filled heart on red four times and then cut them out to create my big red flower. I definitely kept it simple, but couldn't resist the color challenge dessert option and tied on some of my favorite red/white baker's twine!

I was invited to lunch by a dear friend yesterday and she stuffed me with a homemade panini (homemade pesto, fresh mozzarella, and sliced tomatoes--yum-MEE!!), a wonderful salad, a cup of hot tea, and some Ferrero Rocher. So this note will go in the mail tomorrow morning to thank her for a lovely lunch.

Thanks for bearing with me on my long post today! I'll be back tomorrow with my sample card for this week's Stampin' B's challenge, this week hosted by yours truly. :)

Card Recipe:
Stamps: Mark's Finest Papers: Hearts, Hearts, Hearts and Thankful Mums and Pumpkins (sentiment)
Paper: SU old olive CS, various CS from The Paper Company
Ink: Versamark, SU old olive, Palette haystack (for sponged edges)
Accessories: CM corner rounder punch, clear EP, heat tool, button from my stash, sponge, red/white baker's twine
Techniques: sponging, embossing