Life

We have had an emotional week.

Our neighbor across the street, whom we love so very deeply, lost his beloved wife through tragic circumstances last week.  She was only 39 years old, leaving behind 5 children, the youngest of which is not quite 1 year old.

This sweet woman was the epitome of everything that is good and wonderful and beautiful about life, so loved and cherished by all who knew her.  We have been friends with this extraordinary family for a decade.  The husband is the leader of our local church group.  Their children play with our children.  One of their sons is in our Cub Scout den with Little Man.  We and all our friends and neighbors have shared life’s events with them.

Our little neighborhood has been grieving for the loss of a dear loved one, but we have also come together to love and support each other.  And there is much comfort in our knowledge of the Savior and that we will see her again.

I tried to make a sympathy card for our friends, but I just could not do it.  The situation is too close, too real, and it is just too hard right now.  Hopefully I’ll be able to find the courage soon.

For now, my creativity led me to making a card for another next-door neighbor who was affected more than the rest of us, something to let her know that she is loved too as she processes her grief.

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This sentiment would definitely describe the friend we’ve lost.  The world was much, much brighter because of her!  Hopefully this card will cheer the friend to whom I’ve given it.  I also made 4 more of them for her to use in the future to brighten someone else’s day.

I have felt heartbroken, prone to bursting into tears at every small detail around me, trying to process what has happened, trying to remember the important things in life, trying to find ways to help our friends,….

It is just one of those sad life events that doesn’t make sense but must somehow be accepted.

Thanks for stopping in today and lending a listening ear.
-Ally

Projects

It’s been a few months, eh?  I hope life has been treating you all well.

Life has been an interesting ride for me.  With some pressure from my Sweetheart, I managed to (reluctantly) create my annual batch of 150+ cards for Christmas gifts at the end of November.  I wasn’t really up for it, but he insists that his co-workers and our neighbor friends really appreciate them.  So I gave in and got it done at the last minute.

Christmas was a fun time, and I think I might actually survive the winter, now that we’re already to the end of January.  It’s been a long month for me, as it usually is.  I’m looking forward to Springtime and less time wrapped up in layers and jackets and such to keep warm.

I haven’t created many cards at all, since November.  I’ve been occupied with other plans for our local Cub Scout Pack.  I am the new Committee Chairperson, and my Hubby is the new Cub Master, so we will be the hosts for this year’s Blue & Gold Banquet in February.  Although I don’t have any cards to share today, I thought I’d share a few photos of the projects I’ve been working on lately.

I made 6 of these medallion centerpieces for the dinner tables.  The large medallion has the Cub Scout patch logo on it, and the four smaller medallions have the Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, and Webelos patch logos on them.   I plan to replace the blue and white ribbons with something else that blends better.

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Then 6 of these pennant centerpieces.  Each of the pennants has one of the 12 words from the Boy Scout law, with a 3D star in the center.  I wrapped the jars with some blue burlap and tied it together with a piece of yellow/white twine.  I just used a pack of cheap BBQ skewers from the grocery store for all the sticks in these centerpieces.

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Then, I created 8 of these little campfire jars.  When Hubby trimmed our trees, I had him cut the trimmed branches into pieces.  I hot-glued them in an arrangement around a flat jar with red, orange, and yellow tissue papers scrunched up in them.  I have some blue mini milk jugs to set next to them in which I will put about 10 marshmallow pops to complete the little “roasting S’mores” scene.

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I bought some blue and yellow napkins at Wal-mart to wrap up the plastic utensils with a little band that reads “Do Your Best” from the Cub Scout Motto.  I used repositionable mailing labels to create the band so it will come off easily and not tear up the napkin when people unwrap the utensils to eat.

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As our guests walk out the door, they will see a table covered with these little parting-favor candy bags.  I used permanent labels for the Nugget wraps, printing out various digital papers onto them for the different patterns.  Then I printed out the papers in a smaller scale onto more labels, punching them out with a small circle hand punch to stick on the bottom of the Hershey Kisses.  I created the topper labels on the computer, and the little bags are from Hubby’s work.  I also did little packs with mini Reese’s peanut butter cups and then some with mini Nestle Crunch bars to stick with the blue and yellow color theme.

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I also created a few display boards with a little caricature printout of each of the Cub Scouts in our Pack.  There are 25 boys in our Pack, so it was quite a project.

We also assembled a little kit of misc household items (toothpicks, paper cup, straw, paper plate, rubber bands, paper clips, etc.) for them to use to create something to put on display.  I printed out 2 simple digital Thank You cards for each scout to write a little note of thanks to their Den leaders.

So, though I haven’t been creating many cards lately, I have definitely been creating!  I’ve been working on all this for about 3 months, and I am happy to have it all mostly done, with only a few loose ends to tie.  We have 2 weeks until the Banquet, and we will be expecting about 120 people.  My next project in a week will be baking and food prep.  Thankfully, we have many wonderful, involved parents in our Pack, so I will have help with the food for that night.

It’s been a lot of work, and I am looking forward to being done with this event. 😉

I don’t take any credit for these projects.  I found all the ideas on the internet, just adding my own little spin to each of them.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I’m hoping to get back into card making soon, and maybe having a little time to blog again.
-Ally

Blogiversary Giveaway Winner

Happy Friday, everyone! 😉

And Happy February, too.

I do love to see Friday arrive each week, but it seems like time is just whizzing by these days.  I won’t complain too much about that, though, because I would gladly have Spring just fly in here anytime now!

Anyhoo.

I’m here to announce the winner of my 2013 Blogiversary Giveaway, who happens to be….  Darnell!

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Congrats, Darnell!  I appreciate your empathy AND your sympathy!  And your RE-naming of fibromyalgia to ‘fibromyagony’ makes me giggle. 😉

Please email your mailing address to me at laughadaisy (at) hotmail (dot) com, and I will get these stamp sets off to you in the mail.

I also wanted to say Thank You to everyone who commented to wish me a Happy Blogiversary.  I appreciate all of you who stop in to comment, ESPECIALLY SINCE I AM SEVERELY LACKING WHEN IT COMES TO RECIPROCATING!

I confess that on a daily basis, I consider quitting this blog, for many reasons, the biggest reason being the guilt I feel for not being able to return everyone’s sweet comments in a timely manner, or even at all.  (You should see all the emails that go racing past me in a day, sheesh!)  I have committed myself to the Dynamic Duos DT through April, and so I hang in here for that, forcing myself into crafting time lately only to fulfill that commitment.  Outside of that, my poor creativity seems to be suffering a slow, painful death!

And as you know, I’m not in the best of health either, and my very limited energy has to be carefully dispensed throughout each day.  Homeschooling takes center stage, of course, and lately my energy reserves haven’t lasted long enough for much else.  We’ve had to rearrange our curriculum plans mid year, which has proved more challenging than I wanted it to be.

And there are more little tasks that beg for attention but which very rarely receive it.  Letting go of all the little things that don’t get accomplished has been such a difficult lesson for me to learn – still haven’t learned it, and it still makes me cry.  LOL.  The worst part, though, is the frustration I feel that such a great deal of my time right now is being swallowed up with fighting identify theft.  What a monumental waste of my time!!

I love blogging, I love to create cards, and I love sharing in the friendships and encouragement amongst all the sweet people I’ve ‘met’ in blogland.  I am hoping that it’s just Winter that has me held captive, and that Spring will bring new energy… or something that will magically give me more energy and time and less pain.  Fantasy land I’m living in, I know. 😉  I really hope I won’t have to quit blogging.  We’ll see where life takes me when it gets here, though, right?

I’m babbling, I guess.  Or maybe I’m whining!!!  Maybe I just need to talk to a grown up.  Maybe the reality is…. this is the crazy life I’ve chosen (as a homeschooling mom), and that’s all there is to it!

Really, I just wanted to tell you all Thank You.  I greatly appreciate the time it takes each of you to stop in here to comment on my blog.  Please know that your sweet and kind encouragement means a great deal to me!

Thanks for stopping by today!  I think I’ll be back in a few hours with a card.  I KNOW – Wow!  Right?  😉
-Ally

Birthday Winner

Goodness.  I could really use a year of sleep right now.   I am so very ill – AGAIN (dangit) – for the 4th time in less than 3 months.  I have been miserable for an entire week, and we awoke to about 18 inches of snow this morning.  The only thing I can think to say is…. blah.  This is the ‘blah’ time of year for me.  The weather, the illnesses, the long haul of Winter….  It is a time of monotonous endurance for me.

Sounds like I’d better get to creating something soon, eh??!

Anyway.  😉  I am here to announce the winner of my little Birthday Giveaway.  And the winning comment is #15 —– Alyssa S.

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Congrats, Alyssa!  Please email your address to me at laughadaisy (at) hotmail (dot) com, and I’ll send this little package off to you in the mail.

Thank you to everyone who commented, and thank you for all the birthday wishes.  You have all made one day of Winter pass a little quicker for me, and I appreciate that! 😉

And thank you for stopping by today.  I’ll be back tomorrow with a Dynamic Duos card – yay!

–Ally

Time

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

I know you are all anxiously awaiting the day when I will finally post a card that I’ve recently created, seeing how I haven’t posted any such thing in well over 2 weeks (LOL!).  I am here today, though, not with a card but with a little giveaway.

You see, today is my birthday.  And not just ANY birthday, today is my 40th birthday.  That’s right – 4 decades.  Officially.  😉

Wow.  Four decades!  Where does the time go??!

I thought it would be fun to have a little giveaway to celebrate, so I have a little package with 4 of my favorite Papertrey Ink items up for grabs – one item for each decade of my life.

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*  Papertrey Ink Harvest Berries Stamp Set.
*  Papertrey Ink Harvest Berries Die Set.

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*  Papertrey Ink Vintage Cream Felt.
*  Papertrey Ink Rustic Cream Button Twine.

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All you have to do to enter this giveaway is to leave a comment on this post, and maybe tell me what your favorite age to be is/was.  I have to confess, there are days when I do miss my healthy, fibromyalgia-free, 25-year-old body – LOL!

Anyway!  Leave a comment on this post before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on January 10, 2013, and I’ll randomly select and announce a winner on Friday, January 11.

Good luck!

And thanks for stopping by today to help me celebrate!  😉
-Ally

2012 Favs

Wow!  For me, the year 2012 seemed to drop off a cliff in the last few weeks.  Illnesses, injuries, health issues, and other surprises – for me as well as the children – have really slowed me down, not to mention the way the Holidays seem to take on a life of their own, when they finally arrive.  Although we did have a good time and made some great memories with the children and with family and friends, I am really looking forward to a little ‘calm’ and recuperation in the first few weeks of the coming year.

In the spirit of wrapping up the year 2012, I’m posting my favorite cards from the year.  It has been a fun year of creativity for me, with some good hits and some obvious misses, but with definite improvement overall, I believe.

In fact, I keep a spreadsheet of all the cards I’ve created and entered into challenges throughout each year, and this year shows that I created and entered a total of about 145 cards, which equals approximately 12 cards per month.  And that doesn’t count all the cards I created but didn’t have the courage or confidence to post.  😉  That’s decent creativity for a homeschooling mom, I’d say!

Although, after spending most of my creative time in December finishing up card sets for neighbor, family, and friend gifts, I’ve actually been enjoying the little ‘rest’ from it all now before the new year arrives.

I tried to narrow down my list to only the top 10 cards or even the top 12, but I just could not get it below 16. (hee hee!)  😉  So here is a little lineup of my picks for the year, in no particular order.

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During our Christmas and New Year’s break from lessons, I also spent a great deal of time getting my crafting supplies and other areas organized a bit better.  And I’m looking forward to getting into some sort of crafting routine again soon, now that things are more organized and where I can easily find them, especially my neglected supplies!  And I’m very much looking forward to becoming better acquainted with my new Christmas gift from my sweet family this year – a Tim Holtz Vagabond machine!

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What a thing of beauty, eh?!  I think I might be in for some die cutting fun this year. 😉

I hope you’ve all had a fantastic Christmas, and Happy New Year to you and yours!

-Ally

P.S. – You might want to stop in again on Thursday, as I have a little surprise to start off the New Year.

A Little Bit ‘O’ Love

I have a few more to share of the six cards I made while the children were ill last week.

I wanted to make a card with 3 hearts, for a Valentine’s/Anniversary/Love You kind of card.  And I originally planned to just use white cardstock with red for the hearts, for a nice, clean, simple look.  But then I decided I wanted to add some stitching, to utilize my new Janome Sew Mini machine I received for Christmas.  (Oh, who am I kidding!  I bought it myself and had Hubby wrap it up for me!)

So I went fishing through my DP stash instead and found some cute, coordinating red/aqua papers in my ‘Lovely’ K&Company stack.  And these two cards are the result:

Click on photo to enlarge for details.

I still went with the 3 hearts.  And my favorite Offray lace.

Then, for the next card, I finally broke out my Tiny Envelope die that I purchased months and months and months ago and still have not used! Tsk, tsk on me!  I stamped my beloved Fancy Flourishes on the envelope for a little something extra and added the smallest Heart Prints die-cut from the same red DP for a little seal.  The big arrow and the ‘LOVE’ stamp were pre-printed on the DP sheet, so I just fussy cut them out and used them as is (except that I distressed the stamp a little).

Click on photo to enlarge for details.

I like how these turned out.

Tomorrow is my 39th birthday.  No really, it is!  I’m not just using that perpetual “I’m 39 – again!” line.  I really am celebrating my 39th birthday tomorrow, but I suppose that I can use that line from now on, right??! ;-D  LOL  Actually, this will be the one and only time I’ll use that line, because I’m not bothered by age.  It’s the fibromyalgia that whips my butt!  If age were a factor, I’d be bothered by the fact that I’m only 39 but feel like I’m 90 – haha!!

Anyway.  My plan is to spend the day making cards and organizing some craft stuff, and let the kids extend their holidays by one more day before we pick up lessons again.  Then a little birthday chocolate silk pie tomorrow night and watching the Next Great Baker episode which I’m missing tonight because Hubby needs wants to watch all the bowl games he can.  (No spoilers!! Don’t tell me what happened if you’ve already watched it!!!  On the Great Baker show, I mean – not the bowl games, hee hee.)

Thanks for stopping by today. 😉

-Ally

SUPPLIES USED
Card #1:
Stamps:  Heart Prints (Papertrey Ink)
Paper/Cardstock:  Vintage Cream (PTI); ‘Lovely’ Designer Paper Pack (K&Company)
Inks:  Black (Colorbox)
Embellishments:  Lace (Offray); Rhinestones (Kaisercraft); Machine Stitching
Tools:  Heart Prints Dies (PTI); Scallop Trim Border Punch (Stampin’ Up!); Sewing Machine
Card #2:
Stamps:  Fancy Flourishes (Papertrey Ink)
Paper/Cardstock:  Vintage Cream (PTI); ‘Life’s Journey,’ ‘Lovely,’ and ‘McKenna’ Designer Paper Packs (K&Company)
Inks:  Chianti (Colorbox); Tea Dye Distress Ink (Ranger)
Embellishments:  Pearls (Kaisercraft); Machine Stitching
Tools:  Block Alphabet Dies, Heart Prints Die, Tiny Envelope Die (PTI); Sewing Machine