Grateful Mehndi

Yesterday, I mentioned a piece of Kraft cardstock that had previously been embossed with the Mehndi Medallion.  After finishing yesterday’s card, I went ahead and turned that Kraft Mehndi into a fairly simple card.

I used most of the Color Throwdown colors, since I had the Copic markers out anyway.  But I didn’t work in the gray this time.

So this one doesn’t quite fit for any challenges.  Just a little something.

We have 3 days down out of 11 for the cousin sleepover, and it seems to be going well.  Except that cousin was diagnosed with asthma the day before she arrived, and so I’m the one responsible this week for the inhaler and making sure she survives while here at our house!  Caring for children through health issues is, by far, not my strong suit.  It tends to make me feel overwhelmed and incompetent, and very, very stressed.

It is good, then, that we are taking a break from lessons this week, and that I am able to have a bit more creative time.  Really, I’m just trying to keep breathing this week!  But I hope the creative time will help me keep my heart rate a little lower. 😉

We are scheduled for bowling tomorrow night to celebrate PrincessA’s upcoming birthday, and then the local zoo on Wednesday, dinner out on Saturday for more birthday celebrating, and then a neighborhood Halloween party for PrincessA and her cousin next Monday.  And I’ve got rice crispie treats and marshmallow pops to make for the bowling party, but not before I take 4 children shopping with me to get the supplies.

So I hope you’ll excuse me for a bit while I go work on my breathing!

Thanks for stopping by today. 😉
-Ally

Supplies Used:
Stamps:  Mega Mehndi Medallion (PTI); Framed Greetings (MFT Stamps)
Paper/Cardstock:  White Cardstock (Xpedx); Dark Chocolate, Kraft (PTI)
Inks:  Dark Chocolate (PTI); Versamark; Copic Markers; Tea Dye Distress Ink (Ranger)
Embellishments:  Pearls (Recollections); Ribbon (Offray); Embossing Powder
Tools:  Heat Gun – for embossing

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CAS-ual Fridays – Autumn

The theme for this week’s CAS-ual Fridays challenge is “Inspired by Autumn.”

And yesterday, on the first official day of Autumn, we went on our annual hike in the local canyon.  If you’re looking for Autumn (which of course, I AM), I am happy to report that IT IS HERE WHERE WE ARE!!  And I have the photos to prove it. 😉

And here is my sweet little family at one of the lookout spots:

I love this annual hike we have – such a fun family tradition centered around what I consider to be the absolute best and most beautiful time of the year.  It just doesn’t get any better than that – a perfect life moment. 😉

Well, I suppose my card for the challenge turned out a little more on the ‘drab’ side – compared to all the gorgeous Autumn color in those photos!  But I can’t complain, because it only took me about 10 minutes to complete it – LOL.  And I actually am happy with it.

Very, very simple here.  I thought that the Love & Marriage tree would be cool to use, so I stamped it onto the white cardstock using PTI Soft Stone ink.  The sentiment is from the Vintage Picnic stamp set, in PTI Classic Kraft ink.  Then I added the little arrow/heart image to the trunk in PTI Melon Berry ink.  A little Rustic Cream Button Twine finished it off at the bottom.

Again, I apologize for my lack of photographing-of-white-things skills.  I wish I had time to work on that, but we are in full lessons mode already, and I’m actually pretty lucky to be getting all this creativity and blog time in, as it is!

Thanks for stopping by today. 😉
-Ally

Challenge Photos:

Supplies Used:
Stamps:  Love & Marriage, Vintage Picnic (Papertrey Ink)
Paper/Cardstock:  Stamper’s Select White Cardstock (PTI)
Inks:  Classic Kraft, Soft Stone (PTI)
Embellishments:  Rustic Cream Button Twine (PTI)

Home Sweet Home

We have returned from vacation, and I am almost ready to get back into some kind of rhythm in life!  Before I get too far on that topic, though…

I’M GUEST DESIGNING AT DYNAMIC DUOS FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER!!!!!  BAH!! 😀

Oh my word – WOW!  It has been an interesting week or so of emotions since Lesley sent me that first email, but I am really looking forward to my first little ‘engagement’ of this sort!  Hopefully you all will enjoy seeing what my little creative brain will produce. 😉

So, last year on our vacation, I took some supplies and churned out a bunch of little embellies and things, most of which haven’t even been used yet.

This year on our vacation, I managed just a little bit of Copic coloring and inventing a new little crochet flower.  I also spent an obscene amount of time working through a book of Sudoku puzzles, and then 4 hours one night watching repeats of Wife Swap.  And I’ll tell you what!  After 4 episodes of Wife Swap, I am feeling like the Mother of the Year!!!  Nothing like watching people more dysfunctional than me on national television to make me feel better about my life!  LOL. ;-D

Well, we also had a few days at some children’s museums, the Demolition Derby, a morning at a local reservoir ‘beach’,

a day at the ‘Country Boy Store’ (so the children could spend their hard-earned chore money on a new toy), much swimming at the resort pool, a trip to the Air Force museum,

much consumption of ice cream and cookies, late night movies with popcorn, photographing bovine statues/yard decorations at a nearby farm,

dinner at IHOP, dinner at Sizzler, lunch at In-and-Out Burgers, and the indulgence of watching hours of Family Feud and Animal Planet on TV.

Although, I think my favorite event was – as we were driving down the highway – when we spotted a train chugging along near us at the foot of the mountain.  We counted approximately 150 cars.  Our son loves trains, so he was a bit sad when we quickly passed it by and it seemed gone for the time being.

We saw a little bridge ahead where it would be passing through in a few minutes, and then a little side road that led to a lookout right next to the bridge.  We pulled off to the lookout, and within 5 minutes that train was barreling past us – and our little boy was thrilled!  It was so spontaneous and fun and unusual, and it made my boy so happy, that it was easily my favorite moment.  Even the girls got a kick out of it and danced around as it went by!

And the best part about it is that I happened to have the camera and the video recorder with us at the time to capture it so that Little Man can watch it over and over and over to his hearts’ content!

Other than all the fun, my favorite part of vacation is coming home.  There’s no place like home, after all!  As I try to unwind and at the same time gear up for the next run at homeschool lessons, I am beginning to feel that expectation of Autumn about to arrive.  And that makes me feel Oh, so very HAPPY!  I love this time of year when the busy huh-bub of Summer suddenly stops and we are finally left to settle back into ‘normal’ life. 😉

I know not everyone in my family agrees with that sentiment.  Heaven knows we have a few VERY active bodies in our home!!  All I can say is, thank goodness we live in a place where there are noticeable changes of season!!  I cannot imagine having the luxury of constant good weather, and consequently feeling the pressure to be out and about and doing things all year long!  I am one of those home-bodies who needs the down time of Autumn and Winter.

Anyway.  Thanks for listening to my ramble about our vacation and the upcoming arrival of Autumn.  I appreciate it if you took the time to read.

I hope you’ll stop in on Saturday to see my first post as a Guest Designer at Dynamic Duos!  And then play along as well. 😉

Thanks for stopping by today!
-Ally

Passing The Time

So, does posting every day in October make up for posting next to nothing in November…??!

It seems like there has been one thing after another preventing me from sitting down to create just a single card, for me.  I have been creating – a ton of cards, in fact.  I finally finished my 80 cards for neighbors, and also the 20 Christmas cards for my brother, and 44 Christmas cards for my mom.  So I guess I’ve made about 144 cards in the last month or so.  But it would be nice to have some unhurried free time to just sit and think and create one little card just for creativity’s sake, you know?

I originally planned to make our own 60 Christmas cards for sending out to friends and family, but after all those other cards, I just wasn’t feeling up to it.  So I went with the digital-scrapbook/photo card this year.  Sometimes I feel like that’s a cop out for me.  But I did design it myself and spent a few hours doing so, so I definitely put the effort into it, however meager and amateurish it is!  Oh well.  I’m just ready for things to chill out and settle back into ‘normal.’

I thought you might like to see what I’ve been up to the last few weeks, besides the mass production of Christmas cards. 😉

A few weeks ago, I attended a ladies’ church activity where we learned to make pie crust.  I have never made pie crust before, most likely because pie just isn’t my treat of choice and I have no real interest in making it.  But I was sufficiently roped into this event, so I gave it a go.  My husband is a die-hard pie lover, though, so I knew I would be WOTY (Wife Of The Year) when I brought that baby home.  He was thrilled to see it, and even more thrilled when we actually filled it with apples and sauce and turned it into a dutch apple pie:

And I have to admit, it turned out really delicious, especially with Hubby’s homemade ice cream.  And I will probably try it again in the future.  Funny, isn’t it?  How we spend time avoiding things that really aren’t that bad in the end. 😉

Two days before Thanksgiving, while still trying to finish up my mom’s Christmas card stack, she called me to let me know my youngest sister – who is really struggling in life after having being injured in a car accident 12 years ago and having a portion of her brain removed, and whom I haven’t seen in years – was planning to attend Thanksgiving dinner, and since her birthday was on the 19th, would I please consider making/bringing her a gift of some sort, maybe some bookmarks, because she loves to read.

Well, I was so busy finishing up her cards and feeling a bit scatter-brained, I barely managed to get to the store to buy her a reading book and some crossword puzzle books and make one bookmark to stick in the book:

I used last week’s Make It Monday technique for background layering with stamps, but I never found time to submit it.  I wasn’t really pleased with the results anyway, so I guess I don’t mind that it wasn’t submitted.

But I somehow also managed to try my first gable box template (that I picked up from Nina Brackett’s website more than a year ago) and make a little box full of chocolate goodies for her as well:
I can’t believe I didn’t try it sooner, because it was quite easy to assemble, and I think I’ll use it again in the future.  Although, I think the green I used here is a little overpowering, but I still kinda like the thing.
I guess my mind was calling me to create other things, because on the eve of Thanksgiving, late in the evening, I felt compelled to try to make some last-minute wine bottle tags for my non-wine bottles of sparkling cider (since we are LDS and do not consume alcoholic beverages) to give to my mom as a little token of thanks for hosting Thanksgiving dinner:

I’ve seen lots of the tags after the PTI release with the wine-bottle-tag die, and though I didn’t order the die because I didn’t think I would use it (being a non-alcoholic-beverage consumer, after all), I was suddenly overcome with the urge to make some tags for my non-alcoholic beverage containers.  So I used my Tag Sale #5 die instead, cutting it a little longer by adjusting the die and cutting twice with it (to make it a little longer) and using a circle die to cut the top to fit the bottle.

I had received some complimentary Inkadinkado Thanksgiving stamps in an order I placed a few weeks back, so I used the words and leaf stamps to create the tags.  I also used a PTI Fillable Frames die for the label, and PTI’s Picnic Plaid Impression Plate for some texture, and some Rustic Cream Button Twine with a miscellaneous button and some rhinestones for embellishment.  I thought it turned out pretty cute.  I probably still won’t purchase the wine bottle tag die, though, since these improvised tags worked our fairly well and weren’t too troublesome to make, and I wouldn’t really make them often as it is.
Following Thanksgiving is what can easily be described as my favorite time of the year – the 3 days after Thanksgiving.  It’s just me, my husband, and our 3 children – just our little family – with 3 days to be together while Hubby is off work, putting up our tree and decorating for Christmas, watching fun Christmas shows and listening to our favorite Christmas carols, watching some football, going out to dinner, driving around to see all the community/neighbor Christmas lights displays, and enjoying some really relaxing down time.
I decided this year to let the children put the ornaments on the tree, and then promised myself not to fiddle with them.  I usually do fiddle with them, re-organizing them after they go to bed for a more even distribution. 😉  But this year, I actually don’t feel any gumption to do so.  We have little children, and our Christmas tree reflects it, so what?!
We also took on the challenge of painting Little Man’s room on Saturday, since his was the only unpainted room in the house and has been since he was born:

He was so thrilled to be painting right alongside his daddy, and all day he kept saying, “I can’t believe this is the best day of my life!”  It was so dang cute.  As you can see, we used green and blue (which he selected himself, with Mom’s approval, of course) – two opposing walls in green, and the other two opposing walls in blue.  I am so happy to have that project completed.  Although, I keep losing my Little Man to his room because he loves being in there more than ever now!

I also like Christmas Day and the time off Hubby has there as well, but there is just something about the 3 days after Thanksgiving that makes me feel like I could die right then and go to heaven and life would have totally been worth every minute, just for those 3 days with my little family.  I just love it!!
And then ‘the Monday after’ comes.  And the homeschool routine has to be picked up again, and it’s busy and sometimes crazy, and full of kranky-pants attitude from the kids…. and life goes on – LOL! ;-D
Christmas shopping is complete, the digital Christmas cards have arrived in the mail and are ready to be sent to loved ones in a week or so, and I finally did finish all my neighbor/co-worker/friend cards (hoping to post about those in the next few days), so now I just have to get them wrapped up all cute-like and ready for distribution, along with a few other little neighbor gifts, and I’ll be set.  I like to have most everything finished before December even begins so I can relax and coast into the Christmas/New Year’s holidays and really enjoy the time, rather than rushing about and crazy.
During the month of December, at bedtime we like to turn out all the lights except the garland and tree and little village and then sing songs while lounging around at the foot of the tree.  It’s prime time for cuddling with little children!
I am also hoping that I will have some time to make some cards and start up again with some challenges and such.  With the money I earned making cards for my mom and brother, I was able to purchase a few more PTI wish-list goodies, so I’m looking forward to when those will arrive.  As if I don’t have enough PTI goodies to play with already!!!  But I’m sure you crafters know what I’m talking about, right??! 😉  Really, I only purchased some scor-tape and new ribbons, and replenished my spent supply of vintage cream felt.  But PTI goodies are PTI goodies, just the same!!
And on a rather unpleasant personal side note, there has been growing concern that my gallbladder may need to be removed in the near future.  Though I am promised it will help alleviate many different pains/symptoms I am currently having and possibly help me feel a little better overall, I am not exactly looking forward to it and hoping to put it off until after the new year begins.
Anyhoo!  Thanks for stopping by today.  😉
-Ally

31 Days of Card Making {Day 30} – Happy Birthday To My Baby Girl!

Today is my oldest daughter’s birthday.  We had princess cake for the slumber party a few weeks ago, so I asked her to come up with a backup treat for today (because I really just didn’t want to make another cake so soon!), and she decided on chocolate-dipped strawberries.  A chip off the ol’ block, that girl!! ;-D  We are harvesting the last little bit from our strawberry patch – nearly 60 pounds of strawberries this season! – and using them for a birthday treat.  Mmmm, mmmmm!

So today I am posting the card that I made for her.  It doesn’t coordinate with any sketch or color combo challenges or anything.  It’s just a card with elements that I thought she might think are fun.  Mostly pink, and flowers, and pink, and butterflies, and pink – cuz she is definitely a girly girl who loves all things pink and princess-y!

She is officially 8 years old today and will be baptized this coming Saturday.  She is one of our three miracle children, because the odds were that we would never have children.  (Thank the Lord for blessing the world with medical discoveries to help fix those problems!)
I went through about 24 hours of labor to bring her into the world, and just after she was born, a gentle snow began to fall outside.  So we lovingly refer to her as our Snow Princess who brought in the first snow of that year.  And in spite of a C-section delivery, the days we spent in the hospital recuperating after her birth were some of the most calm, quiet, peaceful, magical moments of my life. 
Click on photo to enlarge for details.
She is my little singing child who isn’t intimidated by stage fright, like her Mommy often is.  I love seeing the light that shines through her eyes and her soul, never failing to be amazed by the wonderful, beautiful, delightful, imaginative person she is.  I am grateful to be her Mommy and her ‘teacher’, to be able to help shape her education and her character in these early years.  And I am eager every day to learn more about her and discover as she grows older who she is and what her purposes are in life.

Thanks for stopping by today and humoring me with a personal post.
-Ally

***Make sure you stop by tomorrow for a little surprise to wrap up my 31 Days series! 😉 ***

Supplies Used:
Stamps:  Big Wish (Verve)
Paper/Cardstock:  Stamper’s Select White, Lemon Tart, Scarlet Jewel, Autumn Rose, Raspberry Fizz, Hibiscus Burst, Sweet Blush (Papertrey Ink); Yellow Polka Dot DP (BoBunny); Misc Pink Designer Paper (Unknown Brand)
Inks:  Black (Colorbox)
Embellishments:  Rhinestones (Kaisercraft); Satin Saddle-Stitch Ribbon (Offray)
Tools:   Double Loops Border Punches (Martha Stewart Crafts); Blossom Dies, Butterfly Die (Spellbinders Nestabilities); Beautiful Wings Embosslits Die (Stampin’ Up!)