Monday, November 30, 2009

Molly's thank you's

Molly decided to use some of the Thanksgiving break getting ready for Christmas. She always stamps some thank you's to send for the gifts sent by our families. She's all ready to go! These were 100% her own work, color choices, and design, even to choosing to stamp the flower in a darker hue than the paper. I do like sharing crafting time with her, now I just have to get her to the point where she automatically cleans up after herself!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Glass Blocks

I'm still having issues with the photo editing package (sigh) but Byron says he'll have some time later tonight to help. I think I had better write down the instructions this time! So I surfed through my files and found this Glass Block photo (hmmm...I still have some of these downstairs......hmmmmm). This one does not have microbeads attached, as requested by the person for whom I did it. The one below does. I love microbeads, they diffuse the light and make the block sparkly.

Mary's casserole

Every holiday I make Mary's casserole with the leftover turkey (it is equally delicious with shredded chicken). Mary made this for us when Molly was born-- I think Byron and I ate the whole pan in 2 days! It was that yummy. If you need something new to try with your Turkey day leftovers, I highly recommend this.

1 box Stove Top Cornbread stuffing
5 tbsp melted butter
8 oz sour cream (light or fat free is fine)
1 can Cram of Chicken soup (I use 98% fat free)
1.5 cups chicken broth
4-5 shredded chicken breasts or same amount of leftover turkey

Mix the stuffing and the butter. Spray 13 X 9 pan with cooking spray and put 1/3 of the stuffing in pan. Top with shredded meat ( I just shredded turkey by hand until I had a nice thick layer, I didn't measure). Mix the sour cream and soup together, spread on top of meat. Sprinkle remaining stuffing mix on top and drizzle the chicken broth over all. Bake uncovered 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly. Delish!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas is coming.......

Come on, now, confess-- how many of you automatically sang along with "the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the poor man's hat!". Ohh--just me? Blame it on my mother, who hails from England. I never hear that phrase without a snippet of the song running through my brain!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and snagged some Black Friday deals! Molly and I went out around 11 and were amazed at the lack of crowds. Not much on either of our shopping lists. My big-hearted daughter scooped 2 tags off the Angel Tree; she's using her cat-sitting money to buy presents for a 6-yr old girl and 9-yr old boy. Then we dropped by the music store to pick up Russell's drum set. They actually called Tuesday to let me know it was in and (bad parent!!) I just couldn't face it, I left it until today. He's thrilled and I am ready to buy the rubber pads that fit on top to save my sanity.

I have a ton of new pictures (which I will whittle down to 6 or so) but the photo editing package is not cooperating, so here is one my 2008 Club ladies (I miss you!) will recognize. This was inspired by Master Brayer Artist Michele Zindorf. We took the easy way out and sponged our dawn sky-- I did try several times to get the same amazing effects she does, without success, so out came the sponges.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Noah is in heaven now

One of my kids today drove me to the wall. Attitude, mouth, disrespectful, ungrateful, you name it. I wasn't exactly nice when dealing with it, even if I did keep it together. Then tonight, sitting here totally frustrated, I got a reality check. I wrote earlier about a little boy named Noah, dying of Neuroblastoma. I'm sorry to tell you Noah died this morning.

If you sent a card, or said a prayer, thank you.

My friend Kathy told me today of another child here in Stafford suffering from the same thing. Check out Carter's Crusaders at and please keep Carter in your prayers.

Suddenly, I'm very thankful all my child suffers from is ADHD and a big mouth.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back in business!

Byron installed Windows 7 and it did something screwy to my photo editing program, so he pulled up a different one. I of course moaned about it and wanted the old one back! But I am thankful he patiently tutored me through this new one despite my complaints, because now I can post again.

This is the punch art pumpkin card Russell's class made on Friday. Russell's teacher wanted the kids to write a thank you note for something they were really thankful for, so I volunteered to come in and show how to do some easy cards. We had a ball and yes I let them use my punches, and even my Big Shot! They could choose a turkey or a pumpkin, and if they finished the first one they chose, could do the other. I had an assortment of designer papers pre-cut for them to choose from (cleaning out my stash!). The pumpkins are ovals, the bottom two placed side by side, almost overlapping. The top one has a Word Window punch stem and curled vine (thin strips of Garden Green wrapped around a bamboo skewer to curl it) glued to the back, then is placed over the overlapped two with a dimensional. When we did these in class last year, we sponged the edges with ink for more dimension. I did THINK about doing that with the kids, but quickly decided we might have pumpkin-hued kids if I did, so I let them loose on the punches instead.

The turkey card was a bit trickier but still fun. I did instruction sheets for the kids for both cards-- I'm such a visual person!

The punches used:
1-3/4" circle, 1 " circle
Spring Bouquet flower punch for the feet (now retired)
small oval punch

Here's how the body goes together. Adhere everything to the back, then flip when done.

The wattles I pre-punched. Punch a scallop circle with the Scallop Circle Punch. Of course, you're flipping the punch to see what you are punching, yes? Now insert just the edge of the scalloped circle back into the punch and punch a squiggly wattle. That is glued onto the back of the 1" circle. Flip that over, attach googlie eyes (these should have been just a bit bigger but these were what I had) and a hand-cut orange triangle for a beak. Pop the head onto the body with a dimensional, and your turkey is done!

Finally, another comment on cellophane bags. I NEVER run out of these. These gusseted ones I bought from Gina when she ordered a bunch last Christmas to wrap loaves of bread-- SU! no longer carries gusseted ones. Monday was my once a month "play day" and I sat and measured, cut, and put together templates for cocoa holders and candy holders-- I had seen some on a blog and was determined to do something like that, they were just amazing. With all that went on this week, Thursday evening came and I still hadn't done the goodie bags for Molly's church retreat leaders. Down to the basement I go. I packaged gourmet cocoa packets into a clear envelope and stamped a topper. Chocolates got tossed into another cello bag, tied with brown ribbon. Put those in the gusseted bags with packs of nuts, peanut butter crackers, Kashi bars, chocolate-dipped mint sticks. Tied up the bags with Chocolate chip Satin ribbon and wearily made my way upstairs to bed. The next morning I kept looking at the bags, wondering what I had forgotten. UH-- SOMETHING STAMPED!! I ran back down to the basement in between feeding the kids breakfast and quickly made Post-it Note books (these are so easy and quick!) and matching RSVP pens, opened the bags back up and threw it all in. Done!! Molly comes home tonight; I know she will have enjoyed herself thoroughly and I hope she will have grown a bit spiritually.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained*

I DO have some photos to post but I am having computer issues!! It is beginning to sound like those Windows/Mac ads around here, and I hope it will be resolved in time to show you some cute turkey and pumpkin Thank You cards Russell's class made yesterday.

The week became unexpectedly busy and not much else got done! A little background here-- long before I got my library degree, I fell in love with French and pursued it as far as a Masters (and 2 years in France!). Taught briefly at a private high school and a junior college, and had to admit to my mother that yes, I should have listened to her about becoming a teacher. Much more recently, I've had to do it again, as I started substitute- teaching for the kids' schools last year and truly enjoyed the whole experience.

I had called the high school up the road on Monday because I noticed there was an opening for a French teacher. I left my name and number with a note that I could sub long-term in French if they had trouble filling the position. The person I spoke to was not encouraging at all (they were already interviewing candidates) and I thought, "Eh bien, qui ne risque rien, n'a rien*." Much to my surprise, Monday afternoon they called and asked me to interview! The madness began. I had earphones on most of the next day, listening to Byron's old French tapes, as well as a quick dash to Potomac Mills for something to interview in. As nervous as I was, I had fun at the interview, too, because I spent 2 blocks in the classroom interacting with the kids. When I was in high school I could barely answer a rote question in French. Not these kids! Class was in French, some even managed their questions about the assignment in French, and they obviously felt comfortable with it and their teacher. The teacher who is leaving (hubby got a new job) has really set the bar high. I left yes, wanting them to call and offer the position, but trying to be realistic about my chances. Luckily, there was a lot to distract me: Russell's parent-teacher conference, Molly's guitar lesson, TNT meeting Thurs, Russell got an award at school, touched base with Petra right after, ran to commissary, and Thursday night not only got Molly ready for the big Ocean City retreat but prepped supplies for Russell's class to make cards and made goodie bags for Molly's leaders. Had to get all that done because Friday I ran around looking for a purse for Molly before volunteering in Russell's class at 11 and actually subbing in 5th grade that afternoon!

My cell phone was in my pocket but I had no reception, even on the playground. I could see that a Stafford County Schools number had called, but couldn't access the message. It was not until 4:05 that afternoon that I listened to the message offering me the position! Yipppeee!!!

This will be quite a change for the family (no Mom at their beck and call) but I think it will be crazy but good. I am so excited!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Update on Noah

The family has been overwhelmed with cards and gifts. Unfortunately, Noah is too ill to know they are still arriving, and the family requests only prayers now. Here is the posted update from his care page:

Wow!! Thanks! Please STOP!!!!

Posted 21 hours ago
Wow! The outpouring of love and concern for Noah is just amazing! Scott and I never in a million years thought that so many people would want to send Christmas cards to Noah. However, please note: We did already celebrate Christmas LAST Sunday -- November 8th.
Noah is very ill. He is not getting out of bed and it's time for Scott, our families, and I to concentrate on our son. His time is very short and he needs us.
Scott and I would like to say thank you so much for the support and continued show of love. However, we are asking that everyone please stop sending cards and gifts.
Also, everyone please post the stop order on Facebook and any other websites or organizations that you belong to. We need the peace right now.
Thank you for your understanding in this request.

Please keep the family in your prayers.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Can't stop painting pumpkins!

Happy Veteran's Day! I hope you are enjoying the holiday (it felt so good to sleep a little longer today). I really enjoyed the Veteran's Appreciation program at Russell's school yesterday. Pastries were served in the library before the whole school gathered at the flagpole to honor the veterans with patriotic songs and their service hymns. Byron was able to attend, in uniform. He then went to Molly's school-- they honored veterans at lunch. It doesn't always work out that he can participate when the schools do something; I am so glad he was yesterday. Take a moment today to offer a prayer of thanks for our veterans, and even better-- thank one for his or her service.

It's true, I am addicted to watercolor paper and the lovely pumpkins in Harvest Home. This time, after a base of More Mustard, I striped them in Only Orange and Pumpkin Pie. I love it when the colors are vibrant like this. And as Petra pointed out when she chose the colors for the card base, sedate background colors keep the focus on the watercolored image instead of what is going on around it. She ran by to drop off some things and I dragged her downstairs to help me chose--- then argued with her about her choices!! In the end I admitted she was right (boy was SHE surprised!) and even sent her one as a thank you. She painted the fire-tipped leaves for me as we talked, aren't they lovely? If I had time I would make a card with only those leaves! Assuming, that is, that she would paint them for me-- mine came out a bit muddy.

The finished card:
CS: Chocolate Chip, Baja Breeze, Old Olive, Watercolor paper
Embellishments: Baja Breeze Striped Grosgrain, brads, Petra's leaves

I forgot to take a picture of the inside. I mounted a 5 1/8" X 3 7/8" piece of Very Vanilla sponged with Baja Breeze. On it I stamped the sentiment from Harvest Home:
Season of Thanks
Season of Blessings
Season of Love

On most of the cards ( I sent 12!! my mail lady loves me, she says I'm keeping her employed) I wrote: "Enjoy the season!"

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thanks, Mitzi!

I cam home today to find the cutest thing on my door! Mitzi called and said she was leaving a late Halloween treat and I was mystified as to what it could be. It was TANG!! Boy that takes me back years, I think I was 11 the last time I had Tang. So you are only seeing the adorable topper for her "Spooky Brew" because Byron and I promptly mixed and enjoyed some Tang! We had to use a spoon to mix it though, because Russell grabbed the licorice stirrer and munched away. What a great idea for Halloween. Thanks so much, Mitzi!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A card for Noah

Today I read on SCS about Noah, a little boy dying of cancer. Noah was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma in February 2007. He went into remission in August 2007. In September 2008, Noah relapsed with lesions in his right arm and right leg. After going through six different trials, the cancer continues to spread.

Sadly, Noah will not make it to Christmas. The Biorkman family has decided to celebrate early with him. Friends and civic groups in Detroit are pitching in to help (Santa will come by, courtesy of the fire department). And cardmakers are asked to help out, too, by sending a card.

Please help the fulfill the Biorkman family's wish to make this the best Christmas ever for Noah.

You can send your Christmas cards to:

Noah Biorkman
1141 Fountian View Circle
South Lyon,Mi 48178


Detroit news video:

Obviously, time is of the essence, so I dug into my stash of cards instead of stamping a new card. This was my Christmas card 3 years ago. I hope Noah likes it.

Card details:
Stamp City of David in Staz On on a precut circle. Color as desired. Cover the entire circle with Versamark ink and emboss with a mixture of clear embossing powder and Dazzling Diamonds (this is called Faux Diamond Dust, and really makes cards pop!). The top of the ornament is a scrap of Brushed Gold cut with specialty scissors (now I would just use our Scalloped Edge punch) and you can use anything that works for the branches (this is the large single tree from Lovely as a Tree). Someone on SCS was the first to do this and I fell in love with it-- I wish I had written down who, so I could give credit.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy November

Say it with me....November already!! Keeping this blog not only lets me anticipate things to come, but reflect back on what was going on only a few short months ago. It seems as though it has been ages since I scooped up back-to-school ice cream sundaes in the driveway, but it was only 2 months ago. Wow. In one short month I will be struggling with what to write for our Christmas letter (I never know what to leave out and what to keep in-- a lot of joy in our life, but a lot of distressing moments, too). Anyway, that is NEXT month's issue!

For today's post I am again featuring a card from last year-- this was a "card front" swap I did for my upline's meeting to show that yes, I could do simple, LOL! Ok, the oval is a frame, and yes the Always Artichoke is stamped with Chocolate Chip-inked Canvas, and yes, I cut out leaves, but come on-- don't you think this is simple?

Off now to very, very slowly clean the house. I woke up today feeling blessedly normal, but I'm determined not to push it. I don't want another couple of days on the couch feeling miserable.

Stay healthy!