My Colorado Home

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lately, I've been missing my Colorado home something terribly.  Besides the fact that we didn't get to make a trip back to Colorado this summer, I know the Aspens are in full, fall force, like this photograph I found on the Colorado State Parks website.

Can't you just smell the cool, fresh mountain air?  Aah!  Memories!  I long to...
  • go camping again in Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • hike the steep, mountain paths, shaded by the towering trees above.
  • dangle my feet in a chilly, mountain stream.
  • bask, from a rocky ledge, in the sun's warm rays.
  • feel the mist of a waterfall on my face.
  • listen to the trees' gentle whispers.
There's just nothing about Kansas that even compares.

I finished Adina's, first year, birthday invitations and have given the recipients plenty of time to retrieve theirs from their mailboxes, so it's time to reveal them to you all.

I'm so excited about them and just love the quilted effect!  I saw the idea for them here on Kristina Werner's blog.  She created a pdf of instructions and card patterns here, which made it totally easy to create my own version.  I cut the card base from orange cardstock and layered with pattern papers, consecutively from bottom to top, from Stampin' Up, My Mind's Eye (There's that same paper, from Hobby Lobby, I just couldn't resist.), and Stampin' Up again.  Each patterned paper layer was trimmed with a white, machine stitch; and, with the exception of the very first green layer, which was attached using my AdTech Glue Runner, they were adhered to the card base using dimensionals.  I, then, cut two of the pumpkin stems from green cardstock; trimmed one with a white, machine stitch; enclosed the backside of the stitching with the second stem; and attached it to the card base.  The tag was hand cut from orange cardstock and clear embossed with the "YOU'RE Invited" sentiment.  I, then, rounded the far right (base of the tag) corners, using Stampin' Up's Corner Rounder punch; adhered them to the top of the pumpkin; and trimmed them off with a Stampin' Up, Really Rust button, laced with green embroidery floss.  The only mistake I made was forgetting to sign the back of each one.  Sorry, guys!

I have one more pumpkin project coming your way tomorrow, and then, I've joined a couple challenges to wrap up the countdown to World Card Making Day.  It looks to be a busy Saturday, with the family, so I'm crossing my fingers to be able to sneak a little time, to create, in my loft.

A Great Bag!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm always on the lookout for a great bag, so you can imagine my excitement, when I saw Parenting's article entitled "30 Adorable Diaper Bags: All Under $50".  I jumped right online and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I actually own two of their 30 bags.

Both are made by Ju-Ju-Be and are super fabulous!  We keep the Be Quick clutch in our trunk and grab it for quick errands or trips to the park.  They both are machine washable, reversible, only cost $35 and $15 respectively, and come in all sorts of great colors and patterns.  Here are a few of my favorites.

I'd love to get one of their Be All bags for those longer trips that just require more stuff.

So, today, I just wanted to call your attention to a new card set in my Etsy shop Lofty Designs.  I'd love for you to go check it out along with my other listed sets.  Let me know if there's something specific you're looking for.  I'd be honored to custom make it for you.

This card came from several trial and errors.  I had an idea in mind that I was super excited to try out, but when I did, I just wasn't happy with it.  I am, however, very pleased with the final result, as you see it here.  I began by stamping the "THANKS so much" sentiment, on white cardstock, with Close to Cocoa ink.  The pumpkin image was colored with Pumpkin Pie and Old Olive inks, before being stamped just above the sentiment, on the white cardstock.  I, then, framed the images with orange cardstock and again, with a larger, dark brown cardstock.  I punched the bottom edge of the dark brown cardstock with Martha Stewart's Doily Lace Edger punch.  I, then, machine stitched a white threaded frame around the orange cardstock frame and adhered all three layers onto the olive green card base.  Before packaging it, in a set of five, with envelopes, I trimmed out the white cardstock layer with a glitter edge.  I think anyone would be totally thrilled to find this thank you in their mailbox!

Such a Silly Weekend

Monday, September 28, 2009

We decided not to do any of the many activities KC had to offer this weekend.  We wanted to take it easy and just be a family.  It still seemed to go by so quickly, but I have a few pictures to show you that it really was such a silly weekend, as the title of this post proclaims.  It all began Friday afternoon.  I left Adina in her high chair with some Cheerios, so I could go check on Ezekiel, and came back to find this.

She was just shoveling in more Cheerios, completely oblivious to the fact that she had one stuck to her nose.  Then, Saturday night, Adina had a little accident in the tub, while BJ was in charge.  That literally never happens!  Her accidents always seem to happen on my watch.  Anyway, he was trying to get things cleaned up, when I walked around the corner and saw this.

I literally laughed out loud.  Who can resist a naked baby bottom?!  On Sunday, it was Ezekiel's turn to be silly.  The boys dove right in to crazy hair night at Awana.

Yes, that is my son!  Doesn't he look so cute?!  He really loved his silly do, and I have to admitt that I had so much fun doing it.  I cannot wait for Adina's hair to grow out!  It's difficult to tell from the picture, but he had a little blue in his, too, just like Daddy.

We also decided that, with the cooler fall weather and all, it was about time to buy Adina her first pair of shoes, so off we went to Target.  We'd hoped to find some similar to Bobux or Robeez, minus the expense; but they were all really ugly, so we ended up with these cuties... one pair for church and the other for every day.

I found a couple really great deals in the way of scrapbooking kits, too.  They were both more than 50% off and too cute to pass up.  This first one is called Marcella by K&Company and comes with all kinds of stickers, embellishments, die cuts, and spunky paper. I just love the bright colors, and aren't those little owls just too fun?!

This second kit is called Animal Crackers Ella by Making Memories.  It, too, comes with all kinds of stickers, printed paper blossoms, and enough fabulous paper to motivate any scrapper to get to work.

It's been way too long, since I've pulled out my own albums; but I did so, just to see where I'd last left off, as soon as I got home with these gorgeous kits.  This is what I found.

To be fair, I have completed Ezekiel's second, third, and fourth years of life.  It's just this first year that's giving me a headache.  There are so many pictures, and every one of them is too cute not to put in his book.  I used my Mickey Font Cricut cartridge to cut the title and numbers from Blue Ballet cardstock by Stampin' Up.  The rest of the paper, with the exception of the So Saffron piece from Stampin' Up, came from two, baby boy, scrapbook kits, similar to the ones above, that I purchased at Hobby Lobby.  There was very little stamping... just the photo corners stamped in Blue Ballet ink.  The white buttons, tied with orange embroidery floss, were from a bag I picked up on my last trip to Archivers.

Happy Birthday, Kari!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just a quick post to wish my long-time friend a very happy birthday.

There's just something extra special about a friend that's known you since you were little (the fourth grade, to be exact) that makes it easy to reconnect, even when distance and time drag on.  Kari's that friend to me.  Happy birthday, girl!  I love you!

I started Kari's birthday card with a teal layer of cardstock clear embossed with little flowers, which just so happen to be the perfect negative image of the flowers on the teal party hat, and dots.  The second layer of purple cardstock was stamped several times, with the "Celebrate" sentiment, using Orchid Opulence ink.  For the third layer, I stamped party hats, in Green Galore, Orchid Opulence, Taken With Teal, Yoyo Yellow, and Real Red inks, on white cardstock.  I also added glitter for that little, extra, shimmer effect.  For the fourth and final yellow layer, I kept it simple by punching just the lower edge with Stampin' Up's Scallop punch.  I, then, used my sewing machine to frame the sentiment by sewing a straight stitch, with white thread, across the top and bottom edges of the purple layer.  I wrapped a striped, monochromatic teal ribbon (which incidently, was leftover from Ezekiel's birthday thank yous) around the yellow, cardstock layer and tied it in a knot.  A few dimensionals on the back gave all the layers lift from the red card base.

Pome on the Range

Friday, September 25, 2009

While the roofers were pounding away on our roof Wednesday, we headed on a little field trip to Pome on the Range in Williamsburg, Kansas.

Ezekiel's homeschool buddy, Ryan, got to come along, which totally made his day.  They could hardly wait to get started picking apples and quickly realized that apple trees are fantastic for climbing.  I was able to get them to sit still for a second for a quick snap.

Even Adina got in on the action.

Here's a picture of the boys with their spoils.

We picked 75 pounds of Golden Delicious apples in all.  That's a lot of apple goodies, folks!  Obviously, we made BJ carry the big bags.  The people running the place even took us around back for a quick tour of the facility.  We got to see the line of apples being washed and hand sorted for the market and for cider.  The $7 a gallon for their apple cider is totally worth it!

I've already made two apple pies to pair with homemade ice-cream for our BBQ tonight.  My mouth is watering!

The pumpkin and fall leaf decor has made its arrival throughout my home, and I'm totally in the swing of Fall!  Although, it didn't take much doing.  If you're still working on your mojo, here's a little card for inspiration.

I know!  I know!  More stitching?!  I just love the stitching, guys!  I started with a layer of orange cardstock, which I clear embossed with Autumn Leaves' flourishes.  I, then, stamped and water colored the pumpkins on white cardstock, using Pumpkin Pie, Close to Cocoa, and Green Galore inks.  For the green, cardstock layer, all I did was punch the bottom edge with Martha Stewart's Doily Lace Edger punch.  All three layers were joined with a white threaded, zig-zag stitch.  The "to You from me" sentiment was stamped, in Jet Black StazOn ink, on brown cardstock; punched out, using Stampin' Up's Scallop Circle punch; and adhered to the back, of the top, right edge, of the orange cardstock.  All the layers were then attached to a kraft-colored card base.  I made sure to hang the punched sentiment, over the top edge, like a tab.  Finally, I wrapped that cute orange, with white polka dots, ribbon around the whole card face and tied a bow.

Our New Roof

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our roof BEFORE...

and AFTER...
It really is beautiful!  It looks perfect with the grey color of the house, now, and will look even better, later, when we save enough money for new siding.  The new skylight, on the back side, lets in TONS of natural light right above my craft table.  Let me tell you... I cannot wait to have some time to create by natural, unfiltered light!  Lately, I've been super inspired by fabric.  I'm working on a few Christmas gifts, which will have to wait until after Christmas to make their appearances here on my blog, and I'm dreaming up a homemade, birthday, party skirt for Adina.  I've also got a great party invitation in the works.  Her birthday is right around the corner!

I finally got the rest of Adina's nine-month pictures, and some of Ezekiel's six-year pictures, sent to our out-of-state friends.  They received theirs care of this pretty, little thing.

I just had to have that patterned paper, at the far left edge of the card face, when I found it at Hobby Lobby!  Isn't it gorgeous?!  I love the colors!  It's by My Mind's Eye and was the inspiration for this card.  I colored the flowers' centers and the dots on the petals with Apricot Apeal ink and the outer edges of the petals, as well as the outer edges of the flowers' centers, with Pumpkin Pie ink.  I, then, stamped them randomly onto white cardstock.  The leaves were colored with Old Olive ink and brushed over, with Glorious Green ink, before being stamped, like the flowers, onto the white cardstock.  I never would've put Old Olive and Glorious Green together, but they matched the patterned paper perfectly, and I was so pleased with the result.  For a little glam, I glittered the centers of the flowers.  The white, now stamped, cardstock was then attached to the card face.  Before layering the patterned paper, I punched both sides of it, using Stampin' Up's Scallop punch; and then, wrapped it, from the front, around to the back of the card.  I wish that I would've taken a photo of the edge of this card, because I love the way the patterned paper forms a kind of book spine.  I saw this idea here on Nichole Heady's, the creative mind behind Papertrey Ink, blog.  The sentiment was stamped, in Old Olive ink, on white cardstock and framed with green cardstock.  A couple dimensionals gave it a little lift from the card face.  Finally, I threaded natural, hemp twine through a Stampin' Up, Pumpkin Pie button, letting the ends hang free, before adhering the button, to the left of the sentiment, with a glue dot.

I'm working on a couple projects for World Card Making Day Saturday, October 3, 2009.

Maybe, I'll have to use this occasion to reveal Adina's first birthday invitation as well.  Happy creating!

Excitement Is in the Air!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Besides it being the very first day of my most favorite time of year, look what pulled into our driveway this morning!

There was pounding on the roof, a spinning ladder and elevator, and strange people stomping about, above our heads, for about an hour this morning.  How exciting!  We're getting a new roof tomorrow!  Adina couldn't take her eyes off all that was going on, but after Ezekiel's lectures and punishment for the "I wanna pull my hair out!" day yesterday, nothing was going to distract him from what he needed to accomplish.
Well, I'm sure that he took a few peeks every now and again; but for the most part, this is what he was doing.  I think that he felt terrible for how he'd behaved, because yesterday afternoon, he cleaned his room without being asked!  He also kissed my toe, when Sophie (one of our dogs) raced over and sliced it with her toenail.  (Her toenails probably need to be cut again, huh?!)  Then, when I left, by myself for once, to go to the grocery store, he kissed and hugged me twice, told me that he loved me about a gazillion times, and walked me to the front door to say goodbye.

Anyway, back in July, we were sitting in the kids' playroom, getting everyone ready for church, and praying that the rain and wind would let up enough to be able to get to church without looking like wet dogs; when a huge branch, from our Sycamore tree, landed on the backside of our roof.

We really are lucky that it didn't do more damage.  It didn't puncture the roof, no power lines were pulled from the house, and after waiting a few days to let the adjustor see exactly what had happened, it had slid off the roof enough that BJ and I were able to get it off the roof together... albeit, not without several scary moments.  Then, one of our neighbors came to the rescue with his chainsaws and wood chipper.  He even pitched in and did some of the dirty work himself.  We have been so blessed with such wonderful neighbors!  Insurance covered some of the damage, after all their crazy deductions; but in having the damage inspected, we discovered that our roof was in pretty bad shape already.  So, we filed another claim for hail damage, put the two checks together, along with like another, entire paycheck of BJ's, and are getting a new roof.  Praise the Lord!  We'll be safe and dry and hopefully, a little warmer this winter.

So, I thought maybe you'd like to see the the thank you card that I made for our knight in shining armor neighbor.

I began by embossing the "Thank You so much" sentiment on dark purple cardstock.  I, then, layered three pieces of lime green cardstock, scalloped down the left side with Stampin' Up's Scallop punch, over the far left third of the card face.  I tied a white, frilled ribbon, in a bow, over the right side of the layers.  I, then, tied a length of natural, hemp twine around the white bow, laced it with a white button, and tied it in a bow as well.  I punched the white cardstock circles using Stampin' Up's 1-3/8" Circle punch.  They were, then, randomly stamped with stems inked with Green Galore ink and topped off with purple, flower gemstones by Hero Arts.  All four circles were arranged in a square pattern and popped off the card face with dimensionals.  After rounding the top and bottom corners of the far right side of the card face, it was ready for delivery.

An "I Wanna Pull My Hair Out!" Day

Monday, September 21, 2009

Today has been one of those "I wanna pull my hair out!" days... maybe it's the rain or the chilly weather... I'm searching here.  I wish I could find something to blame it on, but I cannot.  I'm a little lost for words.  So, I'll just post a picture that makes me feel warm and cozy inside.

I also want to wish my friend Betsy's daughter, Lily, a very happy first birthday!  She should be receiving this in the mail.

I began with a layer of red cardstock embossed with clear polka dots.  I'm loving those polka dots, people!  I then stamped the "happy bird-day to you!" sentiment several times, across a piece of purple cardstock, in Orchid Opulence ink.  I finished up the paper layering with the party birds.  They were stamped on white cardstock and water colored in shades of Orchid Opulence, Real Red, Green Galore, Pretty in Pink, and Tempting Turquoise ink.  I grounded them with a Bordering  Blue shadow and glittered each one for dimension.  I, then, machine stitched each layer together, with white thread, on the purple cardstock.  Finally, I gathered and attached a pretty, red ribbon, to the backside, of the white cardstock, and popped it all off the pink card base with dimensionals.

I'm off to do some more creating.  Have a blessed day!

On the Road to Beautiful

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I was so encouraged that maybe, just maybe, we might be doing a few things right, as far as parenting goes, this morning in church.  Glen Kahler preached a sermon entitled "Parental Engagement Required."  Lately, parenting Ezekiel, with his little, growing fits and back talking, has been a HUGE chore.  Some days, I just want to pull out all my hair; but then, I think, "What if I've got a misshappen head?"  Other days, I want to throw my hands in the air and walk out the front door, but that would be child neglect and endangerment.  Glen called attention to the scripture many Christian parents seem to draw encouragement from, in Proverbs 22:6, which says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  I love how he defined train as "creating a hunger in your child to learn according to their bent."  He reminded us that not every child learns the same way, and every child is unique.  Ezekiel definitely floats that boat!  I know that sometimes Ezekiel may get a little lost along the way, but if I remember that he is simply "On the Road to Beautiful," as Charlie Hall so eloquently puts it, and don't give up on bettering his training, one day, he too, will find his wings and fly.

Yesterday, we had an awesome day being outside in the gorgeous weather, working in the yard, and enjoying one another's company.  Look what we did!

The shed is now affectionately called our little barn thanks to three coats of Sherwin Williams' Real Red paint.  I love it!  It's my little bit of country in the big city.  We wanted to get it finished before a neighborhood BBQ we're having, at our house, this Friday.  (BJ won Zarda BBQ for ten, in a drawing, and we decided that getting to know our neighbors better was the best way to celebrate.)

Then, on a routine trip to Wal-Mart, we found these beautiful, fall to spring Pansies.  I didn't purchase them at first, but I couldn't stop thinking and talking about them.  When BJ ran to Lowe's, to get more mulch for my gardens, you know I had to ask him to look at the pansies, too.  He brought me home these!

Aren't they just gorgeous?!  I'm crossing my fingers that they last all winter in our sunny, front yard.  I totally wasn't thinking about planting anything new, in my gardens, this fall; but these beauties are sure to give a warm welcome, to all our visitors, with their delicate, little faces.

Today, I thought that I'd share the BBQ invitation that I sent out to all our neighbors.
I cut the shape to look like a BBQ apron, using my Fiskars' oval cutter.  I used the orange cardstock face as a frame for a checkered, patterned paper by My Mind's Eye.  The apron pocket was hand cut and machine stitched, before it was embossed with "YOU'RE Invited."  I finished off the pocket with an apple stamp, which I colored, before stamping, with Green Galore, Chocolate Chip, and Garden Green ink.  A little glitter, to add some shimmer, on the front, and a dimensional, on the back, prepped it for its new home.  I set Really Rust eyelets on either corner, of the top, of the apron, to thread orange ribbons through, knotted each ribbon on one end, and joined the other ends in a bow.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Ezekiel has been studying Noah in his Bible class.  (You can read more about Noah and the flood in Genesis 5:28 through 9:19.)  I have heard this story dozens of times, since I was little, and it has always been one of my favorites.  I love how...
  • the Bible says that God called Noah "righteous."
  • Noah obeyed God in the face of others' ridicule.
  • Noah wasn't even a carpenter and still built a boat that weathered the world's first storm and managed to stay afloat.
  • Noah probably never once stopped telling others about God's warning to send the flood and would've welcomed any, who turned from their wicked ways and listened to God's message, into the safey of the ark.
  • the first thing Noah did, when the waters receded and he and his family were safe and sound, standing on dry ground, was build an altar of worship and thanksgiving to God.  The Bible says Noah's sacrifice was a "soothing aroma" to God and that "the Lord was pleased with the sacrifice."
Today, when we finished with our reading of Noah, all I could think was that I so desperately want to be pleasing to God!  I don't want to let Him down!  I want to be chosen, like Noah was chosen!  I want to stand firm, in my faith, in the face of adversity!  I want to be like Noah!  I want to be safe!

Some of you have heard about the arrest of Jesse Dimmick, after his taking hostages, Jared and Lindsay Rowley, in Dover, Kansas.  What you may not know is that Lindsay is BJ's cousin.  Click here to see the video of Jared and Lindsay's interview, following their escape.

After seeing this video, something greater hit home for me... maybe it was...
  • Lindsay's tears.
  • how Jared said, "words cannot describe what we went through," while shaking his head.
  • the fact that this is absolutely NOT the way to celebrate a week-old marriage!
  • how I know they still haven't gone home after this whole ordeal.
  • that I don't know if I ever would've seen them again, if things had taken a different route.
  • just seeing their beautiful faces safe and sound.
Whatever it was, if you're reading this, Jared and Lindsay, we love you and are so thankful to God for keeping you safe!

There's something about papercrafting that brings me a sense of peace.  So, this card is for Jared and Lindsay.

Knowing that Jared and Lindsay are huge K-State people, I decided to go with a Wildcat, color scheme.  I started with a dark purple background, that I stamped with white, fluttering leaves and dots, and the white cardstock, that I stamped, with the truck image.  I, then, watercolored the truck image in shades of Eggplant Envy, Pale Plum, Basic Black, Close to Cocoa, and Bordering Blue; and embossed the truck body and hubcaps to give it a more refurbished, old truck appeal.  (I was trying to steer away from the old clunker look.)  I also grounded the image with a Bordering Blue, watercolor shadow.  The truck image was framed with black cardstock and anchored, in all four corners, with black brads.  I stamped the sentiment, which says, "thought you could use a little pickup," in Eggplant Envy ink and punched it out, using Stampin' Up's Tag punch.  I hand cut the dark purple and lighter purple frames, using the orignial punched sentiment as a guide.  After using Stampin' Up's old, Handheld Rectangle punch on the left side of the sentiment (or the top of the tag), I threaded a black and white gingham ribbon through, wrapped it around the card itself, and tied a bow for that perfect, finishing touch you know I love so much.

Mom's Chocolate Sheet Cake

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I've been craving Mom's Chocolate Sheet Cake for a couple of weeks now.  BJ and I are not big fans of chocolate cake, but there's something about this recipe that keeps drawing us back for more... maybe it's the nostalgia of Mom's, sweet smelling kitchen or the cooler, fall weather calling me to bake.  Wherever the craving came from, it was satisfied, at dinner, last night (and then again, at lunch, today).  Yum!  Yum!
Even Adina couldn't stop shoveling it in!  Isn't it just too cute how her left eye closes slightly more than her right, when she smiles real big?!
Yesterday afternoon, I got a text from my sister, Cristi, saying that she had finally gotten her driver's license.  Get off the road, people!  Just kidding... Kinda!  Anyway, this card is for her.  Congratulations, lady!
Purple is Cristi's favorite color, so I decided to make a monochromatic, purple card with the exception of my neutral white.  I started with the top layer of patterned paper by Frances Meyer.  I then layered on a deep purple cardstock, which I embossed with clear polka dots, although it's difficult to tell from the picture.  There's a little bit of shine attributing to their existence.  I then finished off the bottom edge with a little, white scallop, using Stampin' Up's Scallop punch, and straight stitched all three layers together with white thread.  I colored the words of my CONGRATS! stamp with Eggplant Envy ink and the little star with Pale Plum.  I then glittered up the star for a little more shine, punched the sentiment out using Stampin' Up's Scallop Circle punch, and cut slits in the upper and lower halves to thread a fringed, white ribbon through.  A couple dimensionals, on the back, pop it off the card face; and a little bow, above, adds the perfect finishing touch.