Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in Review

(Warning: LONG POST!)
What a year this has been! I knew it had been busy and crazy at times, but when I actually sat down and took an inventory of what happened this year even I'm surprised! Of course, I can't include everything but here is some of what went on in our world this year:
(Remember, you can click on the highlighted links to take you to the posts I've previously done or click on the pictures to make them larger)
Brave Girls:

What an experience this was. Something my soul so desperately needed - time to be still, time to think, and time to meet a group of amazing, like-minded women. I came back from Idaho with a new perspective and new friends.
At Brave Girls I met Rachel - and what a great year we've had! We signed up and traveled to multiple crafty venues this year. Looking forward to more in 2011!

Mary Englebreit Conference:

I traveled to St. Louis where I met up with Rachel and met her sweet friend Kara. We had such a fun time together on this trip! Creating, eating, sharing stories. It was great!

Craft Room Organization (Almost):

In 2010 I wanted to get my craft room in shape. At one point early in the year I literally couldn't walk around in there. I hired a personal organizer to come help me because yes, I was *that* overwhelmed with what I was facing. The organizer came and we worked for several days sorting, purging, planning - and things were coming along pretty well. However, I think I totally overwhelmed her because she had a minor accident on her bike and needed to take a break until she healed. I've tried to contact her and haven't heard another word. Guess I'm on my own to finish. I'm GOING TO COMPLETE this project in 2011. When I do, I will post before pictures (they will remind you of Hoarders) and afters. It's going to be good!
I left my consulting gig. Yep ~ unemployed. I had been feeling that it was time to move on but that is always a scary proposition especially when you don't know what is next. I took a leap of faith and decided I would take a month off and figure out what I would do after our trip. Well - a month has now turned into 7 months and I'm praying for work in the new year. No regrets though as to leaving - it was definitely time.

Our trip of a lifetime to Rome:

What a time we had!

I loved that Doug enjoyed himself so much on that trip. I did too but it made it even better for me that he loved Rome!

We ate and drank and totally absorbed the Italian culture. The food ruined us for food back home. Everything in Rome is so fresh and so flavorful and simple! We got home to tasteless garbage. What a bummer!
We took a trip back East that got cut short. While in NYC, before we could see my family in Connecticut, we got word that Doug's mom was very sick and we needed to get home right away. It wasn't good.
In September, we lost Doug's Mom. We miss you Carol...

Creative Connection:
Another *amazing* event! Rachel and I signed up for this one and could barely wait to attend! We can't wait for the announcement of the dates for 2011 because we are all over it!

What a surprise for us when we ran into our fellow Brave Girls Melody and Margie.

I went to Las Vegas for Inspiration Unlimited. It was my first trip ever to Vegas and I didn't really even get to see anything! I went straight to the hotel and attended the scrappy conference. I met some really nice ladies there and clicked with Collette (not pictured). I enjoyed the projects although, like usual I didn't get to finish them. Overall though, honestly, I didn't enjoy the event itself. The people were "different" - no where near as friendly as the women I've met at Mary Englebreit, Creative Connection and Silver Bella.

Silver Bella - This was my first year to attend and definitely NOT my last. I drove to Omaha and roomed with Rachel. Met some new friends, saw some "old" friends and took a handful of fun classes. Again - didn't get much completed but had such fun. That is what matters, right?

Just back from Omaha, Doug and I made the trip to Connecticut to meet my sweet new nephew Joao (pictured below). During our whirlwind trip we took a day trip to New York with Bobby & Jess.

We also had a baby shower for my sister January during that visit. It was a quick trip but so great to finally see my family - especially since the trip in August didn't quite work out.
We got to meet Baby Joao. I love my sweet nephew!

The day after Christmas Baby Garrett was born to my sister January. Can't wait to get to meet him!

Looking forward to a great 2011 - Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fabric Giveaway!

What a great giveaway! Head on over and leave a comment for a chance to win - hurry though - you only have until New Year's Eve.
I'm really hoping I win though - then I'll have some great fabrics to choose from while participating in Jemellia's Sewing Challenge. :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another Sweet Nephew!

My sister January (pictured on the left) had my newest sweet nephew, Garrett, on December 26th. My sister Amanda had my other sweet nephew, Joao, - the one I'm holding - back in October. This photo was taken when I went to Connecticut in November for January's shower. I didn't want to put Joao down or share him with anybody - and yes - he loved his auntie Lis. I wanted to just eat him up!

This picture is of Leier holding Joao and Amanda holding our new nephew Garrett. Manda says now she can see why everyone said Joao was so big when he was born. Look at how big he is at two months when next to newborn baby Garrett! So precious!!
I'm waiting for other pictures to be sent my way. I've gotten a few via text message but I don't know how to upload them here.
This is the hard part of being so far away from my family. I want to be there with everyone. Hopefully I can plan a trip home soon! Little babies grow so fast and I'm missing it!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Jemellia's Monthly Bag Challenge 2011

I've decided to do Jemellia's Monthly Bag Challenge 2011. Sounds fun so would you like to join too? Check out this link and get all the details.

Jemellia gives some great reasons for joining in and here's why I'm doing it:

1. I love bags!
2. I am a beginner sewist and would love how to do a little zipper bag. I'm always buying little cosmetic bags for my purse and can you imagine the beautiful little bags I can make once I learn how to do a zipper!?!
3. Amy Butler - need I say more? I've been to a few creative conferences where Amy Butler has spoken and I just love the energy that comes from her. So peaceful, serene - wow. Plus - her fabrics are beautiful and this gives me the perfect excuse to buy her books!
4. If I get particularly ambitious I can make gifts! I would *love* to receive a beautiful handmade bag as a gift and luckily, I have some friends who love handmade too. How great would that be to be able to make a cute bag for someone?
5. This may expose the limitations of my cute, humble sewing machine so I may discover I need to upgrade to a newer, more sophisticated machine! ;) (Put this on my wish list)

There are many more reasons I'm joining and I'm sure it's going to be so much fun! Thanks Jemellia for the awesome Challenge!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone peace, health and happiness!
Enjoying our day and hoping you are too.
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

It's going to be a busy day around here! Still stuff to do, presents to wrap, house to straighten, cooking to do...
I'll do what I can and I'm not going to stress about the rest. Dee Ann (Doug's sister) is coming from Texas and my friend Wendy may be coming from Sioux Falls depending on the weather and if she thinks she can endure the 10 hour drive.
Tonight - relaxing, eating, maybe watch a movie. Just soak it all in and enjoy!
Tomorrow I'm cooking a turkey with all the fixings.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kerri Arista's New CD!

I'm so excited! I ordered Kerri Arista's new CD last night. She's going to sign it and get it in the mail to me today. If you haven't had a chance to hear her you need to head on over to her website and take a listen. I just love her sound and look forward to seeing her perform in person one day.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

White Christmas Tag Swap Tags

Aren't these just beautiful?!?

Here are the creators of the tags starting at the top left and working down. If they have a blog, click their name and the link will take you right to it.
1. Wendy Robrecht
2. Cheryl Carey Bass
3. Robin Carr
4. Jane Palmer
5. Debi Martin
6. Michele Askeroth
7. Natalea Kandefer
8. Vivian Neroni

1. Mine!
2. Wanda Clark
3. Jonnelle Buhl
4. Rachel Velder
5. Marlene
6. Kathy Lowry
7. Jessica Joshi
8. Marian Ballog
9. Kimberly Laws
10. Dawn Tavela

These swaps are so much fun - so here's the next one I'm participating in:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My Cup of Christmas Joy has arrived!

How excited was I to arrive home this afternoon to find a package on my front porch sent from Vivian of Viv's Whimsy! We were swap partners in her Cup of Christmas Joy swap. When I first found out my partner was Vivian herself, well, lets say I was very intimidated. I'm still kind of new to this swap stuff and I know there is some serious talent out there. Look at what she sent me!

How fun is all this!?! Everything is so beautiful and Christmasy... But if I *must* choose my favorite thing - well - it's this ADORABLE panda bear she made for me. Yay!!! He is sitting in the cutest "Joy" mug filled with greenery. So cute!

A while back, Vivian was giving away one of these panda's on her blog and I entered to win. I wanted that panda so badly but someone else was the lucky winner that time. But look! Now I have one of my very own. Yay me!
For Vivian, I sent along these goodies.

There is a Christmas Tea Cup in the background filled with teas and packaged chocolates. I made the mohair bunny myself. I learned how to make the bunny earlier this year when I took Jennifer Murphy's class at The Creative Connection in Minneapolis. However, this time when I finished the bunny, no matter what I did or how I manipulated his stuffing, I could not get him to stand. I thought about making another one but I was down to the absolute wire for getting my package sent off in the mail. (I *always* underestimate how long things are going to take me to complete.) So I painted and glittered a little stand and attached him to the stand. The little kitten was purchased at Hobby Lobby and attached along with a little banner with the title of the swap. I hope Vivian likes it!
Check in tomorrow because you are going to want to see the beautiful tags I received in the Christmas Tag Swap.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Paper Clay Gurlie Class and Christmas Parties!

It was a very busy weekend with driving up and down the turnpike to Oklahoma City - Saturday was Ann-Denise Anderson's Paper Clay Gurlie Class at the Paper Crown. Here we are with my cute little doll. She's not quite finished but I got a really good start on her. The class was so much fun and Ann-Denise was a delight. Sometimes, you take a class and things just flow - the instruction, the people - and this was one of those classes. I enjoyed my day immensely and left there with a smile.
Yesterday was my investment group Christmas Party. Every year we have a potluck dinner - usually at Suzanne's house - and then have a present swap. We each bring a gift and it can be "stolen" twice before it becomes frozen with the third owner. Suzanne's house is something to see. I wish I had better pictures but it turns out I accidentally hit a button on my camera that took it off auto focus so most of my pictures came out blurry.

Suzanne has multiple trees, and when I say multiple I mean something like 9 trees! She had 5 just in the living area alone. I just can't imagine how long it must take her to decorate everything.

I received my beautiful tags from the Christmas Tag Swap that was hosted by Jane Palmer. I need to take pictures of the tags tomorrow and get those posted. Each and every tag is so beautiful just by itself, but all together they are amazing. I hope we have a sunny day so I can get some good pictures. Even still, I'm sure I won't be able to do them justice.
Also on the agenda for tomorrow is a dentist appointment - it's time for my teeth cleaning. Call me weird but I always like having my teeth cleaned. Tomorrow night I'm going to one more Christmas party with an ornament swap. Which reminds me - I need to bring a dessert.
Hopefully that will wrap up all my major Christmas obligations as far as entertaining goes. That will leave me some time in the next week to do some baking and crafting and enjoying the rest of the season until Christmas.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Swaps, Winning! and other things..

So, I've been keeping busy with various swaps and although they are fun, they can be stressful too! I always want to do my best and it is difficult for me not to compare my artistic abilities with anyone else's. But as long as I do my best and have fun in the process, well, that's all I can really ask for.
Today I mailed off my "Cup of Christmas Joy 2010" swap to Vivian. I'm not going to post pictures just yet - once I'm sure Vivian has received it I will post then. I really hope she likes it!
Over on Willowing, I participated in a couple of swaps last month. One was a Christmas card swap that I mailed to Janet Clarke in England! She emailed me to let me know she received it so I'm okay posting a picture of it here. She mailed one to me but I'm waiting on it.

Another swap for November was an ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap with a theme of Butterflies. We had to make two different cards and mail them both to the same person. These are the ones I created:

I still have to scan the ones I received in return. Once I do, I'll post those as well.

Seems I've been having some luck lately! You remember that I won Elizabeth's banner. Then yesterday, at our office sales meeting/pot luck Christmas party I was the lucky recipient of a Dell Inspirion Netbook! I was so thrilled to win and since I already have a really nice computer *and* an iPad I'm going to send the Netbook to my sister Amanda. Her computer is really old and outdated and she was so excited when I told her I would send it to her.
Finally - this morning I learned that I was the winner of a beautiful angel doll created by Jackie! Yay! I can't wait to pick her up tomorrow!
Speaking of tomorrow ~ I'm headed over to OKC to the Paper Crown to take a paper clay class which should be alot of fun. I've been wanting to learn how to sculpt with paper clay for some time now. After class, Doug and I will be heading over to the Wedge for a fabulous antipasto and pizza. Mmmm!
Last night we went up to Fat Guys for a burger with the Tomeceks. The burger was good but the girl taking our order had the worst attitude.
Busy weekend ahead but I'll try to get a picture of my Paper Clay Doll tomorrow night after she's finished. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thoughts on Elizabeth Edwards and my mom...

My heart is heavy today hearing the news about Elizabeth Edwards. I feel for her family, her children and their heart-wrenching loss. I also remember watching television and hearing the news about her stage 4 breast cancer. At the time of Elizabeth's diagnosis, my mother was nearing the end of her battle with that very same disease. Sadly enough, six years after her initial diagnosis my mother was gone.
We thought she had beat it and even celebrated five years of what we thought was "cancer-free" only to find out shortly after her five year anniversary that the cancer was back - and with a vengence. I remember thinking when hearing Elizabeth's diagnosis that she too would be gone in about six years. So sad that my thoughts back then turned out to be right. So sad that five years is the "average" life expectancy of someone with that particular diagnosis.
For my mom we had held out such hope. I so desperately wanted to believe that my mom had beaten the odds even though as nurses, logically we knew the truth but still couldn't wrap our heads or our hearts around that. I lived most of the last six years of my mom's life in total denial. Total denial that she would go, that I would lose her. Even now, five and a half years later I still have trouble with facing that she is gone. She was my best friend. We did everything together. We worked most of our lives together - first waitresses together at The Oxford House Restaurant, then nurses together at the The Willows and at Bradley Hospital. She was fun, she was funny and she lived her life. People loved her - I loved her. We were supposed to grow old together. We were supposed to be two little old blue haired ladies going to lunch. She would be a little more hunched over and a little more hard of hearing and I would yell, "C'mon Ma! Get in the car!" I'd roll my eyes pretending to be annoyed and she would giggle like she always did and off we'd go. I had all kinds of these scenerios in my mind of how we would grow old together and the fun we would have.
I still have trouble seeing mothers and daughters out and about. I get angry and jealous and want my mom back here so badly. When I see daughters being disrespectful or mean to their mothers I want to walk up to them and shake them and scream "Don't treat your mother like that!". I almost can't stand it.
I remember the last Christmas we had together. She was having pain in her hip and leg and I believe now that she knew the end was near. She knew that would be our last Christmas together. I remained in my state of denial. I couldn't bear to believe it. I still can't. A few months earlier I think she knew. She may have even tried to tell me but I just couldn't hear it. She said that she wasn't afraid to die and I remember responding that I was afraid that she would. I remember crying about it at the time and it just being such a completely devastating idea I couldn't even begin to think about it. Little did I know that less than a year later she would be gone.
I could tell so many stories about her. Times she made me laugh, things she did that made me roll my eyes, the sacrifices she made for us. She taught me to be the person I am today and I am so proud and so grateful to have called her my mom.
There are days that I cry, and there are days I think about the unfairness of her being taken so young - she had so much more life to live. We had so much more to do together!
She said that she knew we would miss her when she was gone but that she didn't want us to be sad. She wanted us to be happy and think about all the good times and all the happy times and she wanted us to laugh when we told stories about her. And I am happy and I do remember all the good things about her - and I do laugh recalling so many of the things she did - but on days like today - I feel sad.
Days like today take me back to those awful months when I finally came to the realization that I was going to lose her and ultimately did. So sad that she isn't here on earth with me.
I know she is watching over me, and she is always in my heart - but I am selfish and I want her here in person. I just miss her. And it hurts really, really bad.
So tonight, my prayers are with the Edwards family. I know that loss and its heartbreak.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sweet Christmas Banner & Weekend Happenings

Remember when I said I won the cutest banner from Elizabeth over at Bluebird Papercrafts! This picture doesn't even do it justice as to how cute it is in real life! Click on the picture if you want to make it larger and get a closer look.

If you haven't seen her blog, you really MUST check it out.

I didn't take a picture of the backs of the panels but trust me, they are equally as cute! I have the banner hanging in my office right now so I can look up at my bulletin board and enjoy it. Once Christmas is over, it is going up to my craft room where it will be proudly displayed all year long!

It was a busy weekend ~ Thursday night I met Kathy and her Mom Wanda at South Tulsa Baptist Church for their Christmas Dinner Theater.

The church members served us a delicious meal and then we watched the program. Although Tulsa is a city with around 850,000 people in the metro and surrounding areas, it really is a small town.
We sat at a table with some of Kathy's other friends and who should join us for dinner was the Emergency Room Vet that took care of Niles! Turns out she is good friends with Kathy's friend Linda. I thanked her over and over for the wonderful care she took of him while we were out of town. I guess you just never know where you will meet people again!
Speaking of Niles - he is doing much better. We took down the "critical care unit" - the special playpen where we were keeping him separated from the rest of the dogs and he has been released back into the "general population" ;) Doug has successfully managed to get not only Niles but Nestle, Phoebe and Teddy hooked on "Chicken Dinner". When Niles first came home he wouldn't eat or drink anything so to entice him we mixed canned chicken with rice and heated it in the microwave. We gradually moved him to dog food with chicken. Well, now *everybody* is getting "Chicken Dinner" - and expecting it too! So, twice a day now the assembly line is set up to mix up "Chicken Dinner". We'd better wean them off that pretty quick because at $2.00 a can, that little meal is going to cost us a fortune!
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for Niles. Looks like our little patient is going to make a full recovery.
Friday I got a much needed haircut and Doug and I went to Los Cabos for dinner. I wish someone would tell them to stop putting so much garlic in their salsa. It was almost inedible! I ordered the ribs which were pretty good.
Saturday was a day of craft fairs! The Tulsa Herb Society works all year crafting for this big event called Carols & Crumpets held at the beautiful Tulsa Garden Center. Not the biggest of shows but what wonderful crafts! A few vendors had herbal soaps, lotions and other natural products that are always nice to be able to sample.
From there I headed south to the Darnaby craft fair at Union School. This show was huge! It was bigger and actually better than I thought it would be. There was a mix of handmade crafts and vendors with "retail" product which made for a good mix.
Earlier in the week I saw a promotion on TV about an Antique Toy and Craft show being held in Claremore. I was so excited and Doug offered to drive me and attend that event with me. What a disappointment it turned out to be. There were probably a total of 7 tables there - two were jewelry vendors (and not handmade jewelry) and the only "Antique" Toys were a bunch of junk that it looked like the lady had dug out of her garage and thrown on a table. We laughed about it and walked around the gun museum (the venue probably should have given me a clue as to the show!) The museum itself was actually neat, the show was the disappointment.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Favorite Ornament and a Giveaway by Junk Sisters!

This year, one of my favorite ornaments is this cute little bird sitting so gracefully on the branches of my Christmas Tree.

Hey - did you hear about the great giveaway by the Junk Sisters?
Click on their name and go check it out! Trust me - you don't want to miss this one! )Or maybe you do and give me a better shot at winning. ;)

Happy December!

Can you believe it is December already?
I'm trying to slow down just a little bit and savor the season. Somehow, every year, things get so busy and it goes by in just a blur.
This year, I decided to journal the season and ordered Stephanie Ackerman's Homegrown Hospitality Christmas book. It came in a kit that I am working on for this month. Cute, right!?! It's a countdown book that forces me to take each day as it comes and notice even the little joys of the season. What a great idea.

Of course, nothing says Christmas Crafts quite like a delicious Bailey's Hot Chocolate with whipped cream. Yum!

Did I mention that I won a beautiful banner created by Elizabeth of Bluebird Papercrafts? This beautiful package arrived at my door yesterday.

This is a peek inside to the wonderful goodies that she sent me!

Look at that adorable puppy! And how about those trees~ so cute!

I'll be taking pictures of the adorable banner later this morning when the lighting is better and I will definitely post about the banner itself. Just too cute for words!
Elizabeth: Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just love everything you sent!