Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How old is your inner child today?

My inner child is six years old today

My inner child is six years old!

Look what I can do! I can walk, I can run, I can

read! I like to do stuff, and there's a whole

big world out there to do it in. Just so

long as I can take my blankie and my Mommy

and my three best friends with me, of course.

How Old is Your Inner Child?
brought to you by Quizilla

Organization Complete!

I’m so excited! I finally finished last night (and I’ve been spending all of my free time cleaning and organizing since the challenge began – I think nearly 2 weeks ago). I even dragged my husband out of bed to come look at my space last night.

For some reason, the last stretch was the most tedious. Just all the little bits and pieces of things that I needed to find a home for, but didn’t have the patience to sort through. I had originally thought I might offload some of my “crap” on eBay, but then decided that it would be a lot less hassle to just donate it to a friend who is a new paper crafter. I told her to just throw away or give away whatever she didn’t want. That way I don’t have to feel guilty about it.

I wanted to post before & after pictures this morning, but my camera was in baby’s room, and I didn’t want to wake him up rooting around for it. I’ll try to post pictures tonight, along with the details of some of my solutions, and how much it cost me in the end. I did finally figure out a solution for my foam stamps… since the document boxes have been nowhere to be found for ages, I used the new organizer trays from the $1 spot and just stacked them up on a bookshelf.

Maybe tonight I will actually get to work on something in my new clean space. Yippee!

Here's before:

aaaaaaaaaaaaaand... AFTER!

In other news, Jake uttered his first 3-syllable word yesterday: hamburger. Not intellgible to the uninitiated, but very clear to those of us who are accustomed to Jake-speak.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Would you trade your parents for an M & M?

Yesterday morning, Scott trimmed Jake's outrageously long fingernails. Not quite so long as that Charlie Chan looking guy from the Guinness Book of World records with the long long long fingernails that actually curled around and dragged onto the ground like giant swirling flourishes... but long enough so that every time he touched his face he got a new scratch. Anyway, Scott trimmed one nail just a little too close. And for the first time, Jake actually pulled his pudgy little hand away and yelped "ow." Now, the background on Jake's "ow" utterances to date had been that it was a funny little noise to be repeated after smacking daddy in the face with a matchbox car, or clobbering mommy over the head with a hardbound book. This time, it was a heartfelt "ow," one with meaning. Because he connected that when something hurts, you say "ow." But even more importantly, he learned that when you say, "ow," mommy and daddy make a huge fuss over you. "Poor baby, show daddy your owie. Let me kiss it for you. Awww. I'm sorry." So then for the rest of the morning, he would randomly hold up his injured index finger like he was about to announce, "and let me tell you another thing," and then he would whine, "oooowww." Daddy felt very guilty and apologized every time. Very effective.

In the afternoon, we dropped Jake off at Scott's parents' house. As soon as he realized we were leaving, he began this hysterical screaming/crying thing, reaching for us over the baby gate, looking just devastated, with these huge instant tears... until grandma gave him one single M&M (did you know that M&M's had their own web site?) and he was fine. Just like that. And I realized that he would totally trade me, his own mother, for an M&M.

Scott & I went to Michaels to get some photo storage boxes. I'm almost done with cleaning/organizing my room. I'm so ready to be done. I really thought I might be able to finish yesterday. I keep assessing and thinking to myself that maybe just another 1/2 an hour to finish. But then I discover some solution I thought would work that didn't work, and have to rethink it. My current assessment is that there's a bunch of little bits of things on my table that need to be put away. That's it, I think. Just putting away and I'm done. And I'm pretty happy with it all. I got rid of so many priority mail boxes and so many Club Scrap pizza boxes.

After Michaels, we went to Barnes & Noble. We're magazine junkies. I've outgrown most of the scrapbook and card magazines. I still love the Stampington publications, and Cloth Paper Scissors, and have just started reading Scrapbook Answers (I think I might like this one)... but I need something a little different. Loving the How magazine I found last week. So I looked in the art & design section (instead of crafts) this time and found a couple more. One of them was called Print. Can't remember the other 2 - haven't read through them yet. Scott has exhausted the photography magazines, so he tried a new section too - men's magazines. And found some really edgy photography, interesting covers... I'm totally looking at them for inspiration when I get through my design mags. Feelings freshly inspired now. We went to Chipotle for dinner and had another great conversation about how to find art inspiration, how to network with other artists, and how to grow creatively. We talked about trying to find some likeminded people to spend time with, but of our current circle of friends, no one seems to be similar driven to surround themselves with art and creativity. This was so apparent when we went to 2nd Saturday with Nathan and Stacy. It was so obvious that Stacy wasn't into it. And it kind of killed the joy of discovering new art and ideas and perspectives. She's just not interested. I can't comprehend that.

After dinner, we stopped by Scott's new studio at Distinction

Scott wants to go to the Getty. I've wanted to go ever since I learned about it. But we hate trekking up to LA. But I love the idea of seeing Gib. I wonder if Scott's parents could watch Jake for an entire day. Or if Jake would tolerate the four hours in the car and a day in a museum. Probably not. We'll have to put this on the calendar so we can go soon. Gib's neighborhood is really interesting. I think Scott would have a great time taking pictures there.

Talked to dad on Friday night. He was still at home in bed, and not going to Chicago. Mom had already left for the airport, and was on her way to Chicago by herself for Alex's 2nd birthday party on Saturday and Eva's 1st birthday party on Sunday. I talked to Tim, too. He said that they were keeping the 2 birthdays separate, having 2 separate parties, and had even gotten separate decorations for the 2 events. Hello Kitty for Eva, and I think he said it was Thomas the Tank for Alex. We bought new shoes for the kids, but haven't quite gotten around to mailing them. I suck at mail.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Update

Quickie update before the weekend...

Alex's birthday - my nephew turned TWO on Tuesday. I can't believe it! I tried to call to say happy birthday, but he had 103 degree fever and they were on the way to the doctor. Haven't gotten an update from them.

The Far Side - Cindy is pregnant again. Yep. Total madness. And her story is that she was on depo provera, so the doctor says that she has to have an abortion because the baby will be a mutant. Paul is lonely and depressed in jail. And he misses Cindy and wishes she would talk to him. Please, somebody pinch me and wake me from this madness.

Paoli - talked to mom last night. My dad is really sick with the flu. Had to stay home from his planned work trip to Cleveland, and will probably have to stay home from the planned dual birthday party for Alex & Eva in Chicago this weekend. So mom may have to travel by herself for the party unless she can negotiate to postpone the trip so she can stay home and take care of my dad. I'll have to call them tonight to get an update. In other East Coast news, mom told me that Aunt Rosie is making an art quilt with acrylic paint and fabric strips... I'm so proud! She said, "Johanna is the only one who would get it." My mom told me that I remind her more and more of her mother, my interest in weird art projects, my taste in colors and clothing. A good compliment I think. She said that if Priscilla were still around, she was sure we'd be having a terrific time talking about our weird little projects and working on things together. Oh, how I wish. Sniff.

The Cat's Pajamas - Cat called today to tell me that she got the new Cat's Pajamas supplement and Sprinkle the Cat has a veil and Poochie the dog has a top hat. Inspiration from the card sample I emailed Alma. Yippee. That's so cool.

We went to Chipotle for dinner last night. Yum! And then to Target to get some more organizational supplies from the $1 spot. I started to sort through some of my unmounted stamps, but didn't get very far. No idea what's on tap for this weekend, other than more and more and more organizing of my craft crap.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Project Runway & The Wayback Machine

Stayed up entirely too late last night. I keep promising myself that I will go to bed early so I can get back on track for my 5 am waking up. But mostly I’m sleeping until 6 or so. Then I have to face the parking-lot-that-used-to-be-a-freeway. Curses. Anyway, I was organizing my ribbon, and it keep seeming like I was almost done. And I was watching TV, and Project Runway came on. And I wasn’t going to watch it, because I was supposed to be going to bed, but I couldn’t help it. I had to know.

Man, that Zulema chick was annoying. So angry and insecure. Not a pretty picture. You’d think she’d have softened a bit after her win in the list episode. So, she stole Nick’s model. And Nick got all whiny about it, talking about quitting and how he didn’t want to be there. Self-absorbed, no coping skills… I thought I was watching the teenagers on America’s Next Top Model, not adults. Sheesh. But then Daniel V came through with a very mature outlook and encouraging pep talk and Nick hung in there. Daniel V won the challenge. I was a little disappointed with all of the dresses. It was such a fun challenge, and it seemed like everyone was very literal about it. No one looked at their picture to get an idea for a theme or an era or to make a story. They all just created what they saw in the picture. And Daniel’s dress wasn’t flattering. That top was this big poof, which I suppose was fun in a couture kind of way, but can you imagine anyone wearing it, really? Andrae seems to be managing his emotion better. He’s a little scary sometimes. His dress looked to me like he’d taken some inspiration from one of Santino’s earlier dresses.

My current prediction for who will be in the top three is Chloe, Daniel V, and Nick. I had originally thought that it would be Chloe, Santino, and Nick, but Santino’s last couple of attempts have me wondering about his viability.

Discovered a cool web site, called the Wayback Machine. You type in the web address of any site, and it shows you the old home pages. How fun is that?


Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh... I'm sooooooooooo excited! I just was catching up on Claudine Hellmuth's blog ... she posted a link to a CHA sneak preview... there are going to be Poppet stamps!!!! I want to have them! Right now!



Product debuts Jan 28 - just 3 days from now. I called Cat and told her about it... I hope she thinks there'll be a market for it.

Irregular Choice

We went to the mall after work last night. I got 2 new pairs of Irregular Choice shoes. These are just my absolute favorite shoes right now. They make me feel so happy and even a little eccentric! They are just a little punch of color/interest in my otherwise boring, solid color, plain attire. Here are pictures of the ones I got. Not sure if you can tell in the picture, but the purple/green ones are somewhat irridescent and on the green/pink ones the bright green part is glittery!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tuesday Morning Update

I was being so good about updating regularly, and then the weekend came and my record is blown.

Friday night we went to Ikea (with Jake in tow). Looked at furniture options for Scott's studio. No purchases. Bought a chair, 2 shelves, magazine holders, and some jars for my re-organizing project. Then met Mike for ice cream. Jake was cranky, so we didn't stay at ice cream parlor very long. He did, however, manage his first original sentence (one he didn't copy from us, like "where go?" "what's that?" "what's this?" "that one"): "wow, zoom, bye-bye!" This exclaimed while pointing at an airplane overhead. "Zoom" is the word we used when watching the planes take off at the Philly airport. Each take-off, I'd guide his pointing finger to follow the plane and say "zoooom." Though we pointed at the grounded planes and said "airplane" ("uh-pain"), he says "zoom" whenever he sees a plane. Oh well. Wow seems to be a new addition in the last week or so. When he's excited about something, he says "wow, wow, wow!"

Saturday morning, we went to breakfast at Original Pancake House. Then to Target for those cute pink rolling carts. I worked on organizing my space. Purged so much pattern paper. I think about 4 Club Scrap pizza boxes worth, which must have been around 600 sheets or so. Yay me! So, I had 3 carts. One cart got all cardstock - nearly full. Another cart got Self-Addressed, Club Scrap, and "premium" (like Basic Grey, Chatterbox, SEI, Scenic Route) pattern paper, and the last cart got Slabs & Stacks. I have way way too too much Slab/Stack paper. Too much. Really. But I pulled it all out of the accordion folders, and after the purge, I was able to fit it all in one cart except for the Christmas paper. So I still need to find a home for the Christmas paper. I filled up the Ikea jars with silk flowers. Looks really cute. Used the magazine holders for 8.5 x 11 paper, Club Stamp kits (all in those really cool little velcro folders from Target $1 spot), 8x8 paper, and miscellaneous paper (transparencies, tracing paper, vellum, canvas, etc).

Saturday night, we went (with Jake) to Marin's mom's house. Stopped at Target on the way there to get another pink cart and some more jars. Marin was in town for the weekend. Got to meet Marin's grandfather, and her mom's friend Pam's Italian boyfriend Sylvio. Lots of oohs and aahs over Jake's cuteness. Good to catch up with Marin a little, but not quite as satisfying and one-on-one time. So much going on, especially Jake's evening rampages of screaming, running, hitting, jumping, throwing. Makes me tired to just think about it.

Sunday morning, Scott went to his studio to unpack some thing, take measurements and plan a little. I worked on more organizing. Buttons into jars. Self-Addressed 6x6 paper, cards, embellishments, stamps into 6x6 CD boxes from Target $1 spot. Sort & purge stickers. Sort embellishments into categories (metal, paper flowers, 3D & puffy stickers, rub-ons) and put in baggies until another solution can be identified. Organize partially completed projects into craft keepers and bags to store until the reorganization can be completed and I can actually work on them.

In the afternoon, we took Jake to Scott's parents' house. Then we went to afternoon dinner at Olive Garden, then to Borders. I found some new books I'd been wanting:

Also found the latest yummy scrumptious issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. The first page has a big ad for the International Quilt Show in Chicago - April 7-9. I'm kind of interested in attending, but I think Art Walk is around that time, and my mom was planning to come to California for a visit around then as well. The show seems to have an altered/collage art component (with stamping, assemblage, collage) in addition to fiber arts. The quilt in the ad is just beautiful. I didn't see it online, but will try to scan in a picture of it later. Also discovered a new magazine called "How" that seems to be directed to Graphic Designers, but had plenty of ideas and eye candy for paper artsy folks as well. I was completely captivated by an ad for fontshop.com, which allows users to upload self-portraits depicting what font they identify with. It's way cool. It should be an effer dare. You have to see for yourself: http://www.fontshop.com/iam/

Here are some of the newest entries:

Monday, I had jury duty. My first time. Lots of waiting around. But goo time to read some of my new stuff. Flipped through Spilling Open. So inspired by that. Read the main articles of interest from Cloth Paper Scissors. I want to try everything. Bad for my wallet. Need to focus on what I already have and am working on. Especially fascinated by an article about textile artist Angie Hughes. http://www.angiehughes.com/ She makes the most amazing things, incorporating paint, fabric, and poetry. This is one of the pieces in the article:

That's really tiny, isn't it? Well, you'll just have to go look at her gallery. Or pick up Cloth Paper Scissors. After flipping through CPS, I sketched out some poppet collage ideas.

There were about 500 potential jurors. They chose a group of about 35 first. I was in the 2nd group of 60. Spent about an hour before lunch going through the selection/interview process with 18 of the 60. Then 1.5 hour lunch break. Then the lawyers eliminated the undesirables. Then replacements and more questions and more eliminations. Then one more round of questions/eliminations and the jury was set. We wrapped up around 2:30 pm. Then took another 1/2 an hour to fill out paperwork and sign out. Then I was done. I don't have to go again for 12 more months. Hopefully longer.

The interviewing was fairly interesting. People had things to say. When they were asked questions, they provided more information than was needed to answer the questions. Stories about crimes they'd been victims of. Their feelings about their experiences with prior jury duty, cases, crimes. One girl had seen her brother killed in front of her when she was 13. A man had a younger brother who had been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon. Several lawyers. One criminal justice professor that had been a cop for 30 years. A really beautiful girl who talked loudly on her cell phone during the breaks about mortgage rates and faxing paperwork here and there - when she sat down, you could see up her skirt and the cottage cheese cellulite on her thighs. I was embarrassed for her. And secretly happy to know that she wasn't perfect.

Last night, I went to the Dollar Tree. Found some cute metal buckets that might make a fun project. And invested in some more clothes pins for organizing ribbons. I bought 100. Wrapped around 60, and still have more than 40 ribbons left to wrap. I see another trip to the dollar store in my near future. I had planned to put the ribbon in the metal buckets, thinking that my pink rolling bin was overkill for the amount of ribbon I have. But I'm re-thinking that. It might be just the solution I need. Because I can't imagine that I'd skip buying new ribbon if something super-cute and new came along. I'll have to see how my ribbon class comes together to try to use some of it up. I also bought 2 little weird barbie-ish dolls at the dollar store, and am going to try to put together a "muse" class. Make her clothes out of paper and ribbon. Stamp her purse. Give her a tattoo.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Weekend Creative Goals

1) Go to Ikea to look at organization options. Make a decision between Ikea solutions and Target solutions. Buy, assemble, and clean/purge.
2) Finish Christmas Naughty or Nice kit for cancelled class. Gotta get this done by Saturday!
3) Illustration Friday topic: Cats. I think make a layout about Alley Cat and the summer of endless kittens.
4) Self-Portrait Tuesday topic: Personal History. I think I really liked the one where there was a transparency layer of a little girl over the heart of an adult - inner child symbolism and all that.
5) Use my new Christine Adolph transparency for a self-portrait. B&W picture of me, Fresh Flowers stamp over one eye... not sure what else to incorporate.
6) Work on my February class samples. Got the ideas, just need to actually pull it together.
7) Finish scraplifting the "curls" layout and put it in my album.
8) Work some more on Amylin scrapbook project.
9) Pull something together to submit to Rubber Stamp Madness - themes are a) something inspired by a famous artwork, b) use your favorite stamp
10) Take "before" pictures of my craft room and post at 2peas
11) Go for the Green - Cat's Feb Challenge
12) Genealogy book for Ken

Of course I won't be able to accomplish all of that in just this weekend, but it's good it have some goals. Here are some other projects I need to get to:

1) Different Point of View submission for Stamper's Sampler
2) Birthday Book
3) Stamping on Jeans
4) Rosie's wedding scene for Rubber Stamp Madness
5) Altered paper storage box
6) Effer Dares
7) Garden Girl scraplifts - I'm discovering that I'm pretty good at creating my own layouts, pretty good at exactly copying layouts, but not so great at scraplifting (taking the idea and using my own paper/photos). Need practice. Lifting GGs is my solution. Also a quick way to get more scrapping done.
8) She always loved pictures of lemons canvas
9) Got Nudes? canvas
10) Family Poppet canvas for Allison's
11) Poppet painting for Melissa
12) Poppet painting for Chris
13) Poppet painting for mom's b-day
14) Genealogy quilt for dad's b-day

I'm sure I have more things that I want to do, but that's a long enough list for now.

I'm so so so excited, by the way, that I emailed Self-Addressed and they have the 2 papers I've been scouring the LSS's in search of. Yay! They'll be added to my next kit. So a couple of projects on hold, but at least I'll have exactly what I want. Yippee!

Just about time to go home - hooray for weekends! Jury duty on Monday. Bleh.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Cleaning and Organizing - Oh Yes

I've finally had it with my disaster space. Then I saw a thread on 2peas about a bunch of peas getting to the same frustrated, squished, tired-of-the-mess point, and someone started a challenge. And it's so helpful! I was having the hardest time figuring out where to start. So I took the idea to envision what I want it to look like... sketched it... then had a great conversation with Scott about how we could accomplish it.

Of course, Scott's main solution to anything is "throw it all away and start over" - the joys of living with a neat freak. He'll throw anything away.

Last night, I started going through my paper. I measured - I have FOUR FEET of 12x12 paper. How did that happen? So I went through about 18 inches of it... and managed to make a 1.5 inch pile of stuff to get rid of. I think I'll be going through this exercise a few more times, and then a few more times after that.

I'll try to take some "before" pictures of the room, and scan in my sketches to post later.

Stopped by Cool Scrapbook Stuff on the way home last night in search of the ever-illusive green Sweetwater paper. I'm going to have to break down and order the extra 12x12 pack from Self-Addressed for $12... but I really ONLY want that ONE piece. Sigh. Anyway, I didn't find the Basic Grey Skate Shoppe paper I was looking for, and I didn't find the KI Memories Alphabet Soup Letters... but I did find a Christine Adolph transparency, and decided that I'd try using it for a Self-Portrait-Tuesday challenge. I think I have it partially planned out in my mind. Hopefully I'll have some time this weekend to experiment.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New Blog Games

What were you doing 10 years ago?

1996. Hmmm. Living in Delaware. Working as a 401k analyst for a bank. Finalized my divorce from my 1st marriage. Living with a wealthy turkish guy. Got my first passport. Went to London for a weekend. Discovering the internet via AOL & dial-up. Writing lots of poetry & trying to get published. Taking ballroom dance lessons. Falling in love with my dance instructor. Being generally young and irresponsible with money and emotions.

What were you doing one year ago?

Still adjusting to being a mommy with 6-month old Jakob. Still adjusting to going back to work after a summer of maternity leave. Waiting for my brother's now-almost-one-year-old daughter to be born. Otherwise, life not so different than now.

Five snacks you enjoy:

1. Oreos
2. Any kind of chocolate with caramel
3. Sour patch anything
4. Graham crackers
5. Cheese & crackers

Five songs, to which you KNOW all the lyrics:

1. Chuck Berry's You Never Can Tell (danced to this at our wedding - really)
2. 440's Estrellitas y Duendes
3. La Marseillaise (French National Anthem) - not sure if spelled correctly
4. Garth Brooks' Friends in Low Places (husband's favorite karaoke song)
5. Silent Night (always sing this on Christmas Eve at candlelight service)

Five things you would do, if you were a millionaire:

1. Buy a bigger house... I think here in SoCal, that would use up the million.
2. Invest more money in husband's photography (www.scotthatlestad.com)
3. Help struggling family with expenses
4. Buy a different car for me - give husband some play money to modify his truck
5. Buy an antique car and fix it up (had to sell ours when baby was born)

Five bad habits:
1. Eat too much
2. Spend too much time on computer
3. Don't notice household chores that need to be done
4. Hate brushing my hair
5. A little obsessive about anything I like a lot (a whole bag of oreos? all night scrapping?)

Five things you like doing: (hmmm these are suspiciously similar to my bad habits!)
1. Making things
2. Spending "just us" time with husband
3. Traveling
4. Spending time with my little guy Jake
5. Learning

Five things you would never wear, buy, or get new again:
1. Shiny black pants
2. Really short mini-skirts
3. Spandex anything anywhere other than a gym
4. Fluorescent clothes or accessories
5. Prairie skirts

Five favorite toys:
1. Computer
2. Camera
3. Wacom tablet
4. Paper trimmer
5. Rubber stamps

Recipe Exchange? Ha!

Funny how our lives and friendships change. Got an email from Shelley this week inviting me to participate in a recipe exchange. I never cook anymore. Sometimes Kraft mac & cheese (follow recipe on box) and sometimes hamburger pie (follow recipe on Bisquick box). That's about it. I'd love to participate - but I have nothing to contribute and wouldn't use the ones I received.

I keep trying to drag Shelley into my paper crafts obsession. I thought sure she'd go for the weird artsy collage-y Somerset Studio stuff, but her response was "blah" - she seemed to just think it was a bunch of weird stuff. I hadn't thought she'd go more conservative in her expression in taste - I'd thought the opposite - expected a more avant garde or edgy outlook on life in general. So as I explore deeper into this craft, I'm finding it hard to connect with people who think it's a waste of time or who are just disinterested. Is this a selfish perspective? Maybe.

Break Dancing & Other Stuff

Talked to Tim briefly on Monday afternoon. They put a bed in Alex's room & he loves sleeping on it. He still sleeps in the crib sometimes, but says things like "daddy sleep bed, mommy sleep bed, alex sleep bed."

Monday night, Scott went over to Nathan's (his friend, also into photography) to photograph the CEO of the Year awards for the scrapbook.

Jake & I went to Target to check out the $1 spot. Love doing that. Relieved to discover that there were CD boxes left. They'll be perfect for a class. I bought 8. They hold 6x6 paper very nicely. Also 6x6 kits. Found a bunch of other goodies too. Little photo holders that I can use to hold the samples for my classes. Plastic file holders that I can put class kits in. Little London/Paris/SanFrancisco/NewYork wine charms I can disassemble and re-use - charms for scrapbooking, rings for tying ribbon on and turning in suns and other stuff. Scrapbook section had slim pickin's - but I got some cute little paper clips, some letter stickers, Xyron refill. Jake was really good the whole time. No screaming or fits about anything.

Then we went to Jamba Juice for a treat. They had moved all the chairs and tables aside I think to clean the floor, so it was this huge open space. Jake ran around a bit, then got down on his knees and was spinning in circles. I realized that he'd been watching the Daniel Cook episode where he learns break dancing moves and was copying what he'd seen - even the part where Daniel Cool holds the fronts of his pant legs up. Funny kid.

Yesterday was just chaos. The internet connection went out again on Monday, right around the time that Nathan's was resolved. The guy came to fix ours and was there for hours. Finally they were able to sort it out by having the phone company guys along with the folks where Scott used to work (that's how our line is listed in the system - still a business line for that company, but the bills are sent to our address). Anyway, I'm glad it's fixed, and it seems like they've actually sorted out what the problem is.

I ended up not coming into work because someone needed to be at the house with the internet guy and the yardwork guy and Jake while he napped, but Scott had errands to do and needed to go sign the lease for his new studio. We went over there in the afternoon to take some pictures of it and to drop off a few things. Took some oranges to the gallery owner. Then we visited Cat. Got a handful more of stamps (some of the new v-day Memory Box ones), and a new set of Sizzix tiny tag dies.

Then, last night, we went to Target again to explore options for organizing my little space. There were some cute options, but I'd like to find some shelves that are at least 12 inches deep and tall. Not as easy as I'd hoped. We didn't buy anything. Will go to Ikea probably later this week or this weekend.

Last night I finished a Christmas 2005 layout. Hate it. Hated it right from the beginning. I chose the wrong colors. I'd found a layout that seemed clean and well designed, but when I tried to use it with my own colors/photos, it looked really weak. So I added things until it was to a point that I could live with it, then stuck it in the album. Yikes. Definitely not going into my 2peas gallery. In fact, I've been thinking I might/should purge my 2peas gallery of the mediocre stuff and just leave my favorites. I'll probably just try to move the blah stuff into a private album. It's nice to be able to share with family. And I think I'm going to purge my albums. There's no reason to promote various companies when I have no vested interest.

I was thinking over the last few days about wishing I had a mentor or someone that was willing to provide feedback and bounce ideas around with. When I read 2peas this morning, I saw that someone was having some of the same issues. So I emailed her a probably-over-excited and slightly incoherent message, trying to reach out and see if we can organize a peer group. We'll see if she responds.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Garden is Blooming (Finally)!

Though it is now the 16th (and not the 15th), I think I'll overlook that little detail this month because I am so stinkin' excited that I got scraplifted by a Garden Girl and it's posted right there in the garden, WITH my layout. Yippee. Yay me. Nevermind that her layout looks nothing like me except for journaling in a circle in the center of a flower. Nevermind that when my husband looked at my layout, he thought all the lines were a little busy and couldn't even see that it was a flower until I pointed it out. Here it is:

I struggled a lot with creativity this weekend. I wish it didn't take me so long to create. Even when ideas abound, each project is so time-consuming. It took me so long to do effer dare #18. Mostly thinking time. What to choose as my inanimate object. Find the inanimate object (aha! in a box on top of the entertainment center in the living room). Take a picture of a glass vase in the poor 1920s lighting (it's original!) in the living room in the middle of the night. With my crappy camera (ok, maybe it's me that's the problem, but I like to blame the camera). But I did it - with the portrait setting so the background would be out of focus. And I like the picture. A lot. And then I did a digital layout again because I didn't feel like digging through my stash and because I wanted to do a black background with the poem text and didn't have the patience to stamp the whole poem. AND I had to re-write the poem so that it would fit on a 1-page layout. It was much longer originally. Anyway, I did it. I'm happy with it. It's not efferlicious (I love this word), but it's me. And I think I'm improving in lots of little ways. I printed a bunch of the other dare layouts to scraplift, chose photos for them, but haven't been able to pull any of it together yet.

Yesterday was the Rosie's Roadshow class at Cat's. It was not as fabulous as I had hoped, but it was still fun and a nice change of pace for me. The person at the table behind me kept rolling her chair back and crashing into me and didn't seem to be aware even though I gasped every time because I was trying to color and my pencil would fly across the paper. Irritating. The rest of the class was fun. I got to sit with a couple of girls that usually take my classes, as well as Cat's sister. And after the class, when everyone else had left, Cat spoiled just a couple of us by letting us dig into a box of inventory that hadn't been put out on the shelves yet. Rosie (whose real name is Linda) was very sweet and encouraging. And strangely, she's also terrified of flying and a hypochondriac. I love eccentricities. Linda Berge was along with her, and was such a pleasure. She was so encouraging about submitting work for publication and had so many great ideas. I hope they come back for another class when the next supplement is released. That reminds me - I need to look on the web site and see if there's anything new up there... www.rosiesroadshow.com ... looks like there's an update in the works because some of the links are broken, but the new catalog is not up yet.

I'll have to scan & post my cards from the class and my little experimental stamping as well.

Last night, while stalking the Garden & waiting for it to bloom, I stumbled across a new blog. Love this woman's writing style and her scrapping, too. Very cool. I even sent her email. Very rare for me. So much of my life takes place only in my head. It's nice to connect with some other people sometimes. She's just been diagnosed with diabetes. It's such a strong reminder of why Amylin is here and how significantly this organization can change lives. I think I might sent the blog to our CEO. I'm going to think about it anyway. Here's a link to the blog:


and the gallery:


Saturday, January 14, 2006

My Sweet Internet, At Last

Can I just tell you what torture it has been to have Internet issues? Earlier in the week, we had nothing. Then the last 2 days, connectivity has been intermittent. And oh-so-frustrating!

It seems to be working relatively reliably since late this afternoon. But someone is coming again (3rd time!) on Tuesday (first appointment available) to check on it, because even though we're connected, it's REALLY slow.

Stayed up nearly all night last night - kept hoping internet would come back. Worked on my entry for Purple Onion Designs contest at Self-Addressed. Finished it and submitted today. Feel good that I did it. Not super-confident about it though. However, I now have some fun doodles that I can use to make brushes with in PhotoShop - because I finally figured out how to do that last night!

Effer Dare #18 was posted on Friday. Scrap an inanimate object. At first, I thought to do a layout of a long exposure of something inanimate with Jake streaking through - I seem to have a lot of those lately. Then I thought to do the Tiffany bracelet Scott gave me as a wedding gift - but 2 other people already did Tiffany jewelry. So I did the vase I made Scott for Valentine's Day the year we met. I'm super-happy with the photo (taken at night with poor lighting) - used the portrait setting on my camera to get a shallow depth of field. I'm starting to understand some of functions - still have lots to learn. Here's what I came up with:


Been totally stalking the Creating Garden on 2peas now that I think I've figured out how it works. Last month's User Inspiration has been bumped to the previous pages, so maybe they're going to update soon!

Some exciting news for Scott today. He went to Blue Mug (coffee shop) this morning to show his portfolio to the owner. She really liked his work and wants to have a show as soon as he can get ready - 6 local images - all 16x20. It'll be his first solo show. He went by Distinctions Gallery this afternoon to talk to Melissa and she has a space available. He's going to take it - lease signing & keys on Tuesday. It's only 150 square feet, but will be a space where he can store his images when they're not hanging somewhere, and an opportunity to build some more relationships with the other artists in the studio.

It was 2nd Saturday tonight, but Municipal Gallery, Distinctions, and Shiva didn't have new shows, so it was a pretty quiet night. We thought there might be a crowd around Distinctions, but it was really quiet. Just a handful of people hanging out. We went to dinner with Nathan & Stacy, then did the loop, and then home.

Here are links to the controversy at Melissa's gallery. She's exhausted from dealing with people calling and screaming at her:


Not too much showing up on a web search. But that's the gist of what's going on. KPBS did a segment, lots of local coverage for the issue. Painting was still up tonight. And not really offensive. In fact, it's kind of hard to even see.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Few of us write great novels; all of us live them

Few of us write great novels; all of us live them. -- Mignon McLaughlin (The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960)

Wow. What a great quote. And it's so true! I wonder how many people consider actually writing a book about their lives vs. how many actually write vs. how many are actually published.

Anyway, discovered the quote on Jennifer's blog when I clicked through from a comment she left on mine. Here's hers: http://lifessnapshots.blogspot.com/

Silent Blogger

Well, I've only told 2 people that this blog even exists, so I think I'm currently treating it more like a diary. I like the idea of an online diary - that I can update from anywhere, never worry about running out of paper or ink, can't lose - but not sure I like the idea of feeling like I should censor myself (because of the audience of people I know, because it's public)...

So I'm not on the list of people who might get "tagged" for silly blog activities. But I'm going to play anyway...

*Four jobs you have had in your life
1. Systems Analyst @ Biotech Company
2. Producer @ Video Game Company
3. Project Manager @ Web Development Company
4. 401k Manager @ Trust Company

4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over
I don't really like to watch movies more than once. Here are some I might tolerate:
1. Breakfast at Tiffany
2. I Love You to Death
3. Forget Paris
4. French Kiss

4 Places You Have Lived
1. San Diego, CA
2. Philadelphia, PA
3. Wilmington, DE
4. Bridgeton, NJ

4 TV Shows You Love To Watch
1. Craft Corner Death Match
2. House
3. World's Strongest Man
4. America's Next Top Model

4 Places You Have Been On Vacation
I love vacations. This list could be a lot longer.
1. London, England
2. Istanbul, Turkey
3. Paris, France
4. Germany (all along the Rhine River)

4 Websites You Visit Daily
1. www.twopeansinabucket.com
2. www.self-addressed.com
3. www.google.com
4. www.blogspot.com

4 Of Your Favorite Foods
1. gnocchi
2. fresh figs
3. oranges
4. oreos

4 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now
I'm at work, so there's the perspective.
1. At home (at my house)
2. At home (at my parents' house)
3. On vacation anywhere fabulous
4. In Delaware with Marwa

Jake Update

Night before last, when it was time for bed, Scott said what he always says, "Come on, buddy. Time for bed. Let's get your pj's on." And Jake promptly stuck his fingers in his ears and giggled. Even when Scott came and picked him up to carry him back to his room, he kept his fingers in his ears.

Last night when I got home, Jake was playing the harmonica. So cute.

Scott had a Photographic Arts Group (PAG) meeting, so it was just Jake & me. Finally figured out what "doh-wun" means. All this time I had thought it was something like "down," but it's "that one." Jake has 2 plastic grocery store balls that he loves. He spent a good portion of the evening just carrying them around. Funny because it's really unwieldy for him to carry even one. Since one is purple and one is red, I tried to get him to associate the colors with the Wiggles (Jeff is purple, Murray is red). So I showed him purple and said "Jeff" and red saying "Murray" several times. Then put the balls down and asked "Where's Jeff?" He went and got his coloring book with the Wiggles on the cover and pointed to Jeff. Oh well.

Internet connection has been down 2 days. After Scott had spent 6 or so (cumulative) hours on the phone trying to sort it out, having replaced the modem, tried 5 different cables, and a number of other combinations of things, they sent someone out to check the line. Nothing wrong with the line. And the outside guy that fixes things is not allowed to come inside. It's a different company that does the inside work. And that company can't send anyone until today. Ugh. Hopefully tonight that guy will be able to resolve the issue.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Trading Spaces?

Scott's dad came up with an interesting proposal...

Their house & yard is too much house & yard for them. Our house is not enough house for us. So he proposed that we trade houses. We keep our same mortgage payments and same everything, just switch places we live. Interesting idea. Would solve our space problem without costing us anything.

Some concerns:

1) While we live on a busy street, they live on an EXTREMELY busy street. Scary.
2) They don't have heat or air conditioning at their house. I think that would need to be addressed. It gets so hot here in the summer. And it's also nice to have the heat to take the chill off on cool/rainy winter nights.
3) If we move any time in the near future, they'd have to move again (back to their house).

But definitely something to think about.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Blogging Challenge - 10 things I like about myself

Hmmm... I'll have to think about that. In the meantime, here's an update...

Last night, Scott went with his dad to visit his brother in jail. I was asleep when he got home, so haven't gotten any update from him on how it went.

My mother-in-law came over to visit Jake & me after work. She said that the evil daughter-in-law brought the granddaughter over to her work for a visit last week and it was quite a surprise. We talked about what might happen to the baby (now only about 10 months old) if there's a divorce and then the baby interferes with going out and dating. It's really hard to sit back and watch the train wreck.

Today, I got an email from a GARDEN GIRL (from 2peas) asking if she could scraplift my Laughter & Noise layout for the mid-month user inspiration. Not only was it a GG - it was a GG that I really admire - Rhonna Farrer. And she even sent me a second email saying that she really liked my work! Cloud 9. I'm not invisible after all. I think they post the layouts on the 15th, so now I have something fun to hunt for. Yippee. And also now I know about the user inspiration challenges, so I can milk those for ideas as well. La la la la la. I'm cool today.

10 Things I Like About Myself:
1) Creativity
2) Courage
3) Sense of Humor
4) Depth
5) Intelligence
6) Height
7) Boggle Abilities
8) Ability to Learn Quickly
9) Willingness to Take Risks
10) Comfort Level with Being Unconventional

Wow... this is really hard. I'll have to ponder the rest. In the meantime, I'm feeling like an egomaniac, so I think I'll stop and go do some work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

This morning when I was just about to walk out the front door to go to work, Jake backed up against the door, spread his arms out, and said "no-no." Too cute. Scott had to pull him away from the door so I could get out. Makes it hard to leave.

About 7 years ago, my brother & I went on vacation to Orlando, FL, and got suckered into buying a time share. The way I remember it, he was for it and I was neutral, but I gave in and we bought it. So I guess I can't deny all responsibility for the decision. Stupid, stupid, stupid. At the time, we'd been taking pretty regular vacations together and had a lot of disposable income. That thing has become such an annoyance. A couple of years of me paying the payments and collecting from him later. Then when he was able to afford it, he took over the payments. Then I wasn't working, then Scott wasn't working... we just wanted to be free from the thing. We told them they could have all the equity - sell it if they wanted to & keep the money. Whatever. Now they are really strapped financially. I want to help. I really do. But we have the same resources we had (none) when they were living here and we had to pick and choose when we could afford to go out to dinner, and do other things that required disposable income. Sure, we splurge here and there - all on credit, though. And we're at a breaking point. I just had to sell some of my stock options so that we could pay bills and try to dig out of debt a little. Credit cards starting to get maxed out. Stock options not enough to cover even half of what we owe. But will make the monthly payments lower. We agreed to pay the late taxes & associated fees, and to pay off the last few payments so they would be free of it for a while. But it was nearly $1000 that we just don't have. Since proceeds from my options haven't arrived yet, we just put it all on a credit card. Ouch. The whole thing with their financial situation is so frustrating. It's like the monster that has taken over their lives. Changing their personalities. Making everything ugly. I hope they find a solution soon - that their house here sells, that they decide to rent it out, that there's an untapped source of funds they'd forgotten about... I don't know what the answer is. Just that it's really painful to watch it unfold. Yuck. That was convoluted. Maybe I'll edit later.

On to more interesting and exciting things! Effer dares! Yeah... they're so fun. I've been stalking the Effer site looking for the new one. Should be posted any day now. I know it was due to the Effers by Jan 8, then that on Jan 9 at least one of the Effers was working on it. I'm so ready for the next challenge. Which is silly, since I haven't finished all of the old ones yet. But I'm silly. So there.

Here's the one I finished last night:


Trying so hard not to put everything in square/rectangle boxes. I was so thrilled with it until this morning, when Scott said something about the funny lines and didn't recognize that it was a FLOWER! Doh. Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Fun with Google

So here are the my needs Google search. How it works: just Google the phrase " needs" and see what randomly comes up! Then follow with "has always" and "bought."

Johanna needs to know the disease may last from 9 months to 24 months
Johanna needs structure
Johanna needs me to wash her face
Johanna needs to talk with Larry and let Chris know what is needed and get thisunder control
Johanna needs to make sure no ordered items are previously claimed, and calculatethe exact shipping
Johanna needs to pay more attention to Elfwood, yes she does
Johanna needs serious help

Johanna has always been "daddy's perfect tough little Marinegirl"
Johanna, a straight-A student, has always worked hard to please her controlling parents
Johanna has always been attracted to traditionalrepresentational and impressionist art
Johanna has always been a very.. provocative styled writer
Johanna has always been a conflicted and uncertain child
Johanna has always had a bright outlook on life and kept her spirits upby continuing to paint horses and dogs in her free time
Johanna has always been into music and dancing
Johanna has always been active in the. professional organizations for Early Childhood professionals

Johanna bought a bag full of lingerie ("It's so cheap over here!")
Johanna bought a house 5 years ago for $310000
Johanna bought the farm from Karl Johan's mother and his siblingson 18 Oct 1845
Johanna bought the same radio for 30% off the regular price
Johanna bought me Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
Johanna bought Game Boy Advance last year and that was a bit of a disappointment
Johanna bought a Persian Rug
Johanna bought the tickets to the “Guns N’ Roses” performance
JoHanna bought a female
Johanna bought another farm in Nyarp, 1885
Johanna bought a Esprit top


Met with CEO. She's happy with scrapbook so far. Would like to have as much completed as possible by May board meeting. That's gonna be a lot of work! I know how I'll be spending my free time until May I guess. When scrapbook is complete, she wants to have it scanned and bound professionally - for the corporate archive. I hope I get a copy. That would be so cool. She's going to give me some money for supplies. I'm relieved the meeting is over and she's excited about the project.

Stumbled across this guy's dating blog this morning while creating my last post. So funny. Brought back so many crazy memories about online dating. Just madness it was. Maybe I'll tell you about it sometime. In the meantime, you can read about his adventures: http://pghdatingblog.blogspot.com/

One of those weeks

This morning, I realized as I was walking out the door that the sole had fallen off my left shoe. What the?? How does that happen? So now when I walk, my left shoe makes a sharp clicking noise on the floor. Ugh. At least most of the office building is carpeted - hopefully no one will notice.

An update from the alternate universe we sometimes inhabit... Paul called from the jail last night. He had his sentencing hearing today. 180 days for domestic violence. Still hasn't been able to get in touch with his parole officer to work out the details of the parole violation, which will be a separate hearing/sentence. The 180 days is a plea to a misdemeanor, so he'll just be in county jail, not state prison. This is more convenient for visitors and less harsh than state prison, but he'll have to serve the entire 180 days. State time he only has to serve 1/2 of the sentence. It's weird talking to Scott's family about it, like that's normal stuff that everyone knows. Ken went to talk to Cindy to get her side of it... she says that they were fighting on Christmas Eve about visiting Ken&Deloris on Christmas Day. Paul shoved her against the wall, she fell down, he pulled her up by her hair and slapped her. She was holding Breanna at the time and she was protecting herself and the baby, so that's why Paul's face was scratched up. Paul's side was that Cindy was hitting and scratching him first, and he hit her back. He wanted to press domestic violence charges against her (apparently she's been arrested for it before), but the public defender wouldn't allow it. Paul opted for the misdemeanor and the 180 days instead of having to face felony charges and state time.

Back in our world... Scott has been making dinner every night this week. I'm so impressed. Last night we had chicken and pasta with pesto sauce. Yummy.

Had so much fun playing with Jake last night while Scott was getting dinner ready. We built a mini fort out of the sofa cushions, and he crawled under and around it, then collapsed it and kept throwing himself down on the pillows over and over and giggling like a mad man. Around bed time, Jake gets really weird. Last night was no exception. He has this little board book with a rubber finger puppet that sticks out from the middle of the book. He opens the book up, puts the whole finger pupper in his mouth, and then walks around making weird monster noises, shaking his head back and forth, with the book hanging off his face.

Okay. I'm off to meet with our CEO to finally show her some of the scrapbook pages I've been creating for her. Hopefully she won't hate them. I'm nervous.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

E Trading!

We did it! We exercised some of my stock options today. Money situation very ugly. Spent too much unbudgeted money on vacation. Somehow managed to spend several thousand dollars for Christmas even though we agreed not to exchange gifts with anyone. Though we'll only get about 1/2 the money from the transaction (the rest to taxes), it will help pay down the credit cards and give us a little spending money for the next couple of months. We owe Scott's parents a bunch of money. Scott needs new breaks for his truck. And I'm sure he has a huge list of house projects that should be accomplished. I really want to add the patio to the back of the house, but rainy season has arrived and I think that project will need to wait until spring. We should probably calculate whether we'll owe any taxes this year before spending any of that money. Suddenly it seems like a piddly amount. Sigh. It was fun for a few minutes.

Word Catalog

I keep meaning to catalog the words that Jake knows. I keep making lists but I've no idea where I've been putting them. Here are the ones I can think of right now:

balloon (bloon)
car (car-car)
broom (boom)
juice (juuuuuuuz)
bottle (bah-doh)
ball (ball-ball)
banana (nana)
grandpa (papa)
kitty (key)
Dorothy (doh-tee)
Henry (en-ree)
TV (tee-tee)
yes (yes-yes)
airplane (uh-pen)

He seems to understand quite a few words and phrases, but is unable to say them yet. Things like:

Lay down
Put your head down
Give to... (mama, dada, grandma, grandpa, etc.)
Time to sleep
Kiss... (mama, dada, grandma, grandpa, Elmo, etc.)
Get up on the couch

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back to Reality

First day back to work after a loooong and much-needed break. Yesterday was Scott's dad's birthday. Age 59. We went to Applebee's for dinner with Ken & Deloris. Then back to our house to visit a little until Jake's bed time. They loaned us their box of family photos, which I've been scanning. They were able to identify a bunch of the unlabeled pictures. Still lots more to get through.

Pouring rain yesterday. Windows leaking again. Had to take emergency measures - covered the living room window with plastic on the outside. Had to nail it to the house since it was so windy. Noticed this morning as I was leaving that the plastic is also weighted down with clamps.

This morning the shower fell off the wall. Yep, the whole thing. The metal pipe broke. Water spouting out of hole in the wall, plaster chunks in the tub. Sigh. Whose idea was it to buy a gazillion-year-old house anyway??