Tuesday Morning 15 Years Ago

Many of us have memories of that fateful Tuesday morning fifteen years ago. The empathy and deepest sympathy incurred that day are surly some of the strongest that have been shared among all the people of the world. It planted profound and intense memories.

If you are old enough, do you still vividly see in your mind’s eye the events as they unfolded? I do. Although there was no personal loss for me I still shudder when I think of what the survivors and loved ones must still feel.

My job required us to stay abreast of the latest news that could affect the state of the national special telephone equipment we had to keep running. I can still see the TV screens. I looked from screen to screen around the room, not believing what was showing on one, hoping it would be different on another. Sure enough the circuits locked up. No telephone circuit could be prepared for that amount of traffic.

Once the shock subsided the thought of my own loved ones arrived front and center. Daughter was stationed at a Master Jet base. She would be powerfully engaged in activity as an ordinance technician. I would have to wait to hear from her I knew. I believed she would be safe. Still I anxiously awaited that confirmation. My granddaughter was in my care until the end of the current school year, 5th grade. School was still in session so I knew she, too, would be cared for and that the school officials would keep them from the scary news. Her aunt, our neighbor who worked at the school, would take her home until I left work; she would keep her from fear if she realized the part the military and her mother would play in this horrendous tragedy.

I wore red, white and blue to church today. There was absolutely no mention of it today by anyone, except one woman who wore a flag-styled top. She and I spoke after the service. Did I really expect the pastor to mention it? Maybe. Does it really matter? Is there a need nine-eleven-mefor us to be verbally reminded? Probably not. Strange though.

Times have changed in 15 years. The pain eases. We look for the good out of the ashes. Literally, I just read about a photographer who was in New York covering Hewett’s US Open win when his employer assigned him to document the tragedy. There in the gray world of rubble and ash he spotted an unburned photograph of a woman and baby. It is a good story, one of simply being somewhere else when the Trade Center went down. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/special-features/in-depth/from-the-ashes-of-september-11/news-story/6171991f8bdb47ec86b401e12a014c7b

Dwelling on the past is never a good thing. The past is gone and can not be changed, that is the truth. Perhaps remembering “9-11” isn’t such a good thing. Let remembrances come upon us once in a while as they may, but make sure they leave quickly and we do not live there.

Stay in the Now, folks. That’s where it’s at!

Speaking of now, let’s get something crafty going on!

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Hello My Lovely

The September “Scrap-lift” challenge is up and I got Michele’s gallery to choose from. She has a Lea France page so I had to do that page.  Her page is of her baby granddaughter and all pink with a patterned (striped) base page.  She has lots of small photos which I rarely have so mine is different.

My pics are random shots of Leia, some of which I could cut down a little to fit in this Stain Glass Lea France stencil.  I’ve added a few stamped embellishments that DD colored up with Copics for me.  Using my Stamp-a-ma-jig I added the sentiments on the crumb cake card stock.  I have a little pink glitter paper in there too.  This very old pattern paper is SU and I like the girly look it gives with these photos. Although the pattern next to the photos isn’t solid, it sort of reads as solid.  Kristy commented that I seem to use a lot of glitter paper with my stencil pages.  Perhaps it is my way of adding some “bling” and still keeping it simple.  I decided on small words that I printed and encircled with a gel pen to help tie in the variety of photos, uniting the collection.

Each photo for me is a delightful memory of time spent with my little precious.  Most photos are from early April and the bottom two are early May.  I cherish my time with her and now that she is so far away it will be unlikely I’ll see her much. We do get the have some “Face time” on the phone though.

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Sweet Dreams Layout

Created with the Fan-tasy Lea France stencil:

After selecting this stencil because of the ovals I was able to whip it out last night rather quickly.  Following lunch I spent a happy afternoon yesterday showing a friend how to use these Lea France stencils.  It wasn’t until the evening came that I couldn’t get the urge out of my system to make myself a page so I pulled this batch of photos out and played.

My granddaughter set up this photo shoot on her bed, mainly to get a photo to share with the ladies who gave the blanket to them.  The ladies who make and give baby blankets to the military families in their area request one thing in return – a photo of baby with the blanket if possible.  So, the photo session was staged with my two great grand babies.

Not needing the full shot of the blanket, I focused here on the precious baby boy by showcasing him in the ovals.  I think the two accent pics create a nice balance showing them together.  The title was cut with the Cricut, using “Cuttin Up” cartridge.  The sub-title came from a sticker sheet.  As soon as this title had come to me I know just the embellishment that I needed.  I stamped the cute sheep with the same ink color (Huckleberry Fusion) as the darker card stock.  Some glitter paper and hand doodling and I called it done.

Diverse Activities Energize Me

Switching between craft activities keeps the energy level up for continuing when I feel stale. There can be a risk, though, of leaving projects unfinished which would be counterproductive. When I get to a point where a craft project seems routine and the creative juices stop flowing that’s the time I start craving a different project. That old saying about “once it’s begun, finish it” echoes in my head, seems to be the motivation to complete whatever I’m doing, already feeling happy anticipation because of the prospects of the new project, so I switch gears and work through the current task.

My usual “switch” is between cards and scrapbook layouts with the occasional sewing something thrown in the mix. Crochet has reentered. The ladies of the church have started talk about the Christmas Cottage sale coming up early November. Ideas were being thrown out and I was encouraged to join the crocheting and knitting group that I have only visited a couple of times over the years. With the success of the “Brain GrainWheat Belly” program I have felt like being social again so I showed up this past Wednesday. How nice it was to sit and join in the conversations without that feeling of imploding from depression. I had grabbed a skein of my cotton yarn before going so I could at least work on something, even a wash cloth. Well, someone suggested that yarn would be great for the heart monitor bags they give for the old folks. After being advised of the dimensions I got started.

This week my activities have included finishing up a stack of cards to submit to Take Ten , a few scrapbook pages, a heart monitor bag, and two toppers to kitchen towels for hanging. Not to mention that my ability to socialize has taken a turn.

Since hearing of the group meetings at the camera shop I had wanted to go to them. Last night I actually went to the Nikon Users group hoping to begin to learn more about my camera. It’s a good 30 minute drive. When I pulled into the parking lot I saw a few cars but not many. I began to wonder what I should do to find them, I was picturing in my head a group standing outside because I knew the store was closed so I figured we would be told where to go once 6:30 arrived. I saw a man get out of his car and start to check doors, so I got out too. Another man approached the first. As I was walking up the man told us there was a sign saying this group was canceled because of the weather. How disappointing! And the nasty weather had passed. Oh well, that’s a step in the right direction for me even if I didn’t get to actually join the group. Next month.

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Outside the Professional’s Studio

While waiting for the photographer we took some shots of our own.  Here are some scrapbook pages made with those photos.

This was a quick and easy page because I followed a layout from Splitcoast Stampers.  The papers and ribbon are from Fun Stampers Journey – gotta love the quality of their CS and DSP.

A smaller format here, 6 X 8, is for the Simple Stories album. I pulled some chipboard out for the embellishments and title.  Using this small format is more challenging for two photos.  The princess anticipated the flash, she nearly closed her eyes before the lens did its job.  I do love the shot of them smiling at each other.

The center photo shows how the photographer was posing our baby boy in the studio, I just had to sneak a shot myself.  The other two were taken back home in the den with his long pants off.  He is just so cuddly looking, makes me want to pick him up and hug him!  As for the building of the page, I followed a challenge from Splitcoast stampers again, this time to create the bars on the sides and have everything at the top – raising the bar, so to speak.  I cut 2 inch red strips, scored them, ran liner tape and added glitter.  The eagle is a digi from TLC that I printed with blue ink and then used a red gel pen on the inside, mounted on a circle of red.  I looked for quotes and found this one by Perciles.  “Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.”  Whether our little man follows his father into the Navy or not isn’t important, what is important is that he understands his choice to honor and protect freedom.

Many words have been written about the concept of what freedom means.  It isn’t just about the military who stand for the freedom of a country.  What does it take for one to be truly free?  It all starts from inside the individual.  My struggle has been to be free from the sadness in my life.  How many of us run around seeking happiness only to find we never quite achieve it or it all too swiftly vanishes?  The freedom to be happy is right here in this moment if we just stop and let it be!  All the good there is to be found is already ours, right within each of us, waiting to be accepted.  Let go of the past – it’s gone, over, done with, and can’t be changed.  That’s a hard one, for sure, and I will admit I struggle still, but when I stop fretting and just “be” I find the peace and joy I seek.  How can that be ?  Sounds too easy.  It isn’t easy to stop thinking about the past and future, it’s necessary to be free, though.  I forget, sometimes, that I have a helper within, a source of strength, the giver of freedom to just be.  The truth is within each of us because God, the Creator of everything, the Source, if you will, built it in us.  It’s helpful if you study the wise words of the Bible and learn the teachings of Jesus to understand how we already have the ultimate power to be free right here within us.  I’m going to throw this pitch for attending Church regularly out there.  Really.  It will help.  It helps me stay focused on the now.  There is something to be said for how freeing your own happiness can be when you are involved in helping someone else in need.  That’s what a good church group can do for you, give you the field in which to work for the greater good.  That’s one of our freedoms in the USA.  We should be thankful for it.  Some say they can do good for others on their own, I say “good for them”, not everyone can.  I work better when I’m focused on the Source of the power that is in me.  Sunday morning is my recharging station, my one on one with God.  So, I hope you will find your happiness and protect the freedom of others with the help of the power of our Creator in you.  It’s really okay to stop and just be, just to feel the freedom from worry, stress and fear.  You are not alone.

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Taking a Hike

My granddaughter and great granddaughter were in the habit of taking exercise just about everyday.  Some walks were shorter, but most were rather hearty.  There is a nice part down the road from their apartment complex.  She said it’s about a mile or so.  By the time one winds their way out of the complex I suspect it is certainly well into the “so” portion of the estimation.  The next day after I arrived I gladly joined the walks.

To my surprise Tiny Tot rides her bicycle.  I feared one of us would be pushing the bike home while the other carried the little one.  Not so!  She is a tuffy for sure.

There were talks about nature as we went along and several stops to pick a wildflower.  Soon, though, she had to be convinced to stop and look, but leave them,  She realized they were always withered by the end of the walk when she picked them and placed them in her basket.

Here is a layout I did with those first photos.

It went quickly because I was lifting a page done by a scrapper on Splitcoast stampers a while back.  I selected papers from my scrap bin for the squares.  Before placing anything, though, I spattered ink with a toothbrush.  Digging into the stash bags I found the word pieces and tags.  The yellow strips are K&Co I think.  It’s all a hodge podge of companies.  I did do some stamping.  The bottom left panel is a Fun Stampers Journey stamp, so is the little yellow saying near the top (which is hard to see-should have used a darker ink).  The bottom tag says “19 days to “D” day”, meaning until baby will be born.  She stayed healthy by walking, eating right, even going to the gym a couple times a week.  She is one awesome young lady, I’m very proud of my granddaughter.

Thanks for stopping by!

Stay happy by staying crafty!

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Summer Snapshots Scrapbook Layout

I gathered these 3 photos my dear Granddaughter sent to me for a 3 photo sketch by Cheryl for Splitcoaststampers.  Also for a challenge on Scrapbook.com I had certain requirements to follow.  I like how my page turned out – it’s a quick and simple one especially when lots of variables are already mapped out for me.

Pulling out old stash is always fun.  I always find stuff I didn’t remember having.  Piecing elements together to try to make a cohesive page is a fun challenge.  Once I picked this background patterned (the first requirement) I settled for just a pop of red to finish it off.  No sequins on here, but I do have a doily, my other favorite item to use.  In the end this page is all about my baby Great Grands!

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Coming Soon to a Newsstand Near You

DSCN3980_edited-1I love Take Ten magazine!  I also love getting the advance notice, especially when I have cards published inside.  I always feel “validated” when I’m published.  It’s good to know that the cards Stampington & Co receive are given to charity too.  So, it is selfish to a point but there is good that will come of the cards.  There are only so many cards one can send to friends, family, and that can be sent out from the church ministry. Currently Doris, our secretary for sending members cards from the church, says she has plenty.

After making the large batch of 42 cards recently for the challenges offered by Splitcoaststampers.com I have still been making one or so now and then. I guess I am back to my usual routine which is to switch between cards and scrapbook pages.  Just recently I have been pondering the fact that I am not focused.  I have too many interests.  I dabble in lots and am proficient in none.  Every time I come across a new technique I just on it.  I have to try it!  That in itself isn’t a bad thing, is it?  It’s good to be curious about every aspect of my crafting world.  That’s how we grow as artists.  There’s the catch: can I call myself an artist?  I believe I could be.  I could be so much more if I worked at it.  Artists who cut a piece of card stock come in many degrees of proficiency when cards are made.  Some of the card makers I have come across blow me away with the artistic mastery of their pieces – time and time again.  I seem to get lucky once in a while and put out a card that looks really good.  I want to be great, not just good.

Accepting good is the enemy of being great.  My daughter is an example of how hard work pays off.  She set out to learn to color with Copics.  She didn’t settle for getting good at it.  She has studied techniques and practiced the paths to perfecting her coloring.  She worked at it, coloring all the time, hours of coloring.  She now produces great works.  I’m still good at water coloring a simple little stamped image.

We all have a choice.  We can accept the “I can’t” and let it go as it is.  “I can never be great at water coloring”.  I don’t believe that.  I believe that practice makes us become better, lots of practice makes us much better.  I need to focus.  Where do I want to spend my energy?  What am I willing to sacrifice?  I have the supplies, lords knows, and I have the time.  Time passes and I squander most of it.

These are some cards I just made that have interested me to spend more time perfecting.IMG_1473 (Edited)

This one was for a challenge to create my own illegible handwriting and have some multi-media aspect.  I was inspired to make the background after heat embossing this Fun Stampers Journey image.  Then I mixed some gelatos with the light modeling paste and used it over the FSJ Stencil.

 

The challenge for this card was to use book page.  I also sponged some Distress ink over the tree stencil and did a quick but not awesome coloring with my pencils of the FSJ owl.

Opportunities!

I can!

Time – I can put it to use or continue to squander it until it runs out.

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42 Done!

42 cards in one week!  I amazed myself.

The DTGD challenges on Splitcoaststampers.com just kept coming and kept me interested. This is the kind of deal where one shouldn’t ponder too long, just make it happen.  I really like some of my cards, many I could have more, and some need a complete re-do.  But, in the end I finished all the challenges and won the honor of being on the Kings and Queens list.  Funny how titles can motivate and push us, isn’t it.DSCN3913_edited-1

I managed some variety in theme.  The most surprising are the bending frame (which is cool because I used the new tree die and have a deer and cabin in the woods scene) and the box to hold note cards or what ever.  Using different media, especially getting to play with watercolor more was a treat.  I even hit the 3 upcoming holidays with a start on cards for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by. Maybe you will find some inspiration to go get crafty too.

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Cards from Saturday’s VSN

My card stash is starting to grow, thanks to the Virtual Stamp Night at Splitcoaststampers.  Here are 5 cards I have finished from the challenges posted on Saturday.J_3745ATC-1_edited-1

This card went together quickly because it was an extra panel from where I made ATC’s for a swap. So all I had to do was mount it on the Butter Cream. Kristy had cut the background to use (the opposite side) on a card but changed her mind, this side was a perfect match for my bird panel.

Loved how this watercolor technique turned out. It was created from a tutorial on SCS called Bokeh.  I used Fun Stampers Journey Splash sprays, made a stencil with an acetate sheet and sponged on FSJ’s Whip Cream ink. Isn’t this new light bulb set too fun!

So long ago I fell for this “snarky” guy while shopping at a stamp store. It’s not often I can use him, so of course I jumped at the chance when I read the challenge was “something that swims”. I stamped him in FSJ’s ink and colored him up, quick as a flash, with the new pan pastels. The sentiment and heart dies are Fun Stampers Journey, as is the scissors that cut the grass strips.

Lucky for me, this Fun Stampers Journey die arrived in the mail this morning given me the perfect opportunity to make a 4th of July card to send and it fits the VSN challenge about baseball and the using these colors. The flag stamp is retiring and I had yet to actually use it until today. I inked it with the Candy Apple red, then with the Denim Days. The sentiment stamp was from the $1 bin at Michaels years ago, when those stamps were still just a dollar. I colored it with pencils. The narrow ribbon was a scrap still lying on the table so a made a little bow to embellish it. Now, I ask you, what could be more fitting as a tribute to the All-American game of baseball?

This final submission was a real treat.  It is a waterfall card technique. For the most part it was simpler than I thought it would be.  The one catch was the dimensions for the card base (what the patterned panel fits onto) was wrong. Once I got past that shock, I made my own by measuring out a new sheet of card stock. The bottom of the strip, the turquoise twine, pulls out and allows the panels of cactus pots to flip up. My plan is to mail this to granddaughter now that she is in Arizona. Besides, this new set of pots and cacti are just too cute.  It was from the latest Bloom Box.

I first thought the plant would pop up over the 2 inch square but it wouldn’t work because of the flip motion and how it would need to fold.

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