Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pucker Up!

Happy New Year's Eve!!

As 2011 comes to a close I thought I'd share 2 new "punch" friends with you.  Meet "George and Lucy" (named by my daughter, Brittany).  These sweet little fishies aren't waiting til midnight to share a smooch!  Their theory seems to be "Life's too short!....Kiss me now!"  :-)

I have to be honest....every time I look at this card the Disney girl in me comes out.  I just hear Sebastian from "The Little Mermaid" saying, "You pucker up your dees!" *insert puckered lips here*
These sweet fish are made using just a couple of punches and some card stock.  You can't get any easier than that!  Here are the deets....

The fish bodies are made using the Ornament Punch #119847.  They're just turned on their sides.  The fins are made using the Heart to Heart Punch #119881. Voila!  I added black brads from the Neutral Brads Assortment for their eyes and Lucy has on her pearls which are from the Basic Pearls Pack #119247.
To add a little texture and really make them "pop" I embossed the bodies and fins.  The bodies are punched from a piece of Peach Parfait card stock that I ran through the Big Shot with the Fancy Fan Letterpress Plate #123129.  **Note: It's best if you spritz the card stock first with a little rubbing alcohol to help the image be more defined**  Once embossed, I punched out the ornament shapes and then I sponged each one using Peach Parfait Ink to make the design "pop".  The fins are embossed using the Perfect Polka Dots Embossing Folder 117325 and the Big Shot. 

Here's a close up....

The background is stamped using the En Francais Background Stamp #109521 in Pacific Point ink to match the fins.

Ok....are you ready for the BEST part????  Watch THIS!

SURPRISE!  Isn't that so FUN??  Both George and Lucy are popped up on dimensionals but George just has one underneath his back fin so that you can easily slide him (and the inside of the card) out to reveal the greeting.  Fun, fun, FUN!

So there you have it....Two new punch pals for this New Year's Eve.  I hope you like them.

I wish each of you a happy, healthy and blessed 2012. 
My new philosophy for the year that awaits is simple...

"If not NOW.....WHEN?"

Happy New Year!  (Pucker Up!)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Vintage Feel

Hello my friends!
I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying being with family and friends.  One thing I love about working for the school system is having this time off between Christmas and New Year.  We are really blessed that Mike has also been able to take the week off too.  We have been enjoying having all the kids here and relaxing.  We are headed out soon on a little adventure with my parents. (We are so lucky to have them living up the street from us so we see them often!)  Today we are going to take the Virginia Railway Express from here in Manassas to Union Station in Washington D.C.  We went up to see the station last Christmas and loved the decorations and had a wonderful time so we thought we'd do it again.  I'll be posting pics so stay tuned.

Tomorrow we'll be celebrating Christmas with Mike's Dad and stepmom and also his brother and his wife.  I have been planning on making a box of assorted "all occasion" cards to give to Mike's stepmom and I finally sat down this morning and did it.  So I'm sharing it here with you today.  I hope you like it.  It has such a vintage feel and I think she'll love it.  Here are a couple of pics.

The box is made using Basic Black card stock for the lid and Crumb Cake card stock for the box bottom.  The gorgeous DSP on the box lid is a piece from the  Mocha Morning Specialty DSP pack.  I LOVE IT!  The monogrammed oval is embossed with the Designer Frames embossing folders and the Big Shot.   The "V" is from the Lovely Letters stamp set and is embossed with Black embossing powder.  I added a little "bling" with a Basic Pearl to make it "pop".  The flower is made with a brand, spankin' new punch that is coming out it the New Occasions Mini Catalog at the end of January.  I punched out two of them from Cherry Cobbler card stock and then stamped a piece of Very Vanilla CS using the En Francais Background Stamp and Basic Black ink and punched out a third flower from it.  I then sprayed each flower with my Stampin' Mist and crumpled each of them up and then opened them up.  The mist helps to break down the fibers in the card stock and adds a nice texture to the petals.  Cool, huh?  I punched a 3/4" circle out of Cherry Cobbler and placed it in the middle to add a touch of color and then added an Antique Brad to finish it off.  The ribbon is one of my faves....  It's the Black/White Striped Grossgrain Ribbon.  
I then picked out 10 assorted cards that I have here in my "stash" and added envelopes to  match.  It's a great gift for someone who loves sending cards.

Be sure to stop by my ONLINE STORE and check out the deals there on the Clearance Blitz.  That offer ends on January 4th. 

Ok....I'm off on our adventure!  I'm so excited!  I'll be back soon with photos.

Have a magical day!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Reindeer Noses

Hey there Peeps!

Long blog.  I know.  Things have been craaaaaazy.  Today was actually my last day at school until January 3rd!!  Yahooooo!  I can't believe our school system waited until 12/22 to get out for Christmas Break!  Most of the school systems south of us have been out since last Friday!  Seriously???

Oh well...I can finally concentrate on getting this done and ready for Santa's arrival!  I have been busy making a few things here in my stamp room.  Sad to say that I was rushing around so much that I didn't take many pictures of the projects though.  I'm hoping to get busy over my break and make lots of new things to share with you.

If you're looking for a last minute...cutie patootie project for stocking stuffers or just for might like these.  These are "Reindeer Noses".  hee hee hee

The brown "noses" are large, malted milk balls and Rudolph's nose is a red gumball.  :-)
Sooooo fun!  The reindeer on the tag is made using the XL Oval Punch, the 3/4" Circle Punch and the Snowflake Punch.  I added a little sparkle to his shiny, red nose using Dazzling Diamonds.
The bag topper is made using the Top Note Die on the Big Shot.  Voila!  Magical Stocking Stuffer!

Don't forget....the AMAZING ONLINE CLEARANCE RACK BLITZ SALE is still going on until January 4th.  You can go to my Online Store to see all the fantastic deals.  Just click HERE

I'll be back soon so stop back by while you're waiting for the next batch of cookies to come out of the oven or maybe when you take a break from wrapping gifts. 

Have a magical day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

Hello Friends!

Today I have a happy treat for you just case you're feeling a little frazzled with all your holiday shopping, baking, wrapping and more.....

Linz found the perfect Christmas hat at WalMart and let me just say...
she definitely has that Christmas cheer!
Here you go......


Monday, December 12, 2011

Linz and Zach...Conversation?

Ok...just had to share this....
Mike and I decided yesterday that we'd meet at Reston Town Center tonight, take the kids to dinner and do a little Christmas shopping.  So...the kids and I hopped in the car at 4:30 and headed out to face the traffic and meet Mike for a fun evening.
To be honest it really wasn't bad since we were going in the opposite direction of all those headlights heading west...until we got close to Reston.  There we sat through a couple of light cycles.....but wait!  I'm getting ahead of myself.

Linz waits all year for the radio stations to start playing Christmas music 24/7.  I swear it seemed like this year it started right after Halloween!!  So that's what's tuned in whenever we are in the car.  I will tell you that she says the same thing as soon as the first few notes of the next great holiday tune starts...."OH!!!!  THIS is my FAVORITE!"  (no, seriously...she does!)  It can be anything from Elvis singing "Blue Christmas" to "Feliz Navidad" to that annoying song with the dogs barking the tune to "Jingle Bells".  (**eyes bugging out here**) She LOVES them ALL and they are ALL her FAVORITE.

So tonight as we sat at the light through the THIRD light cycle to turn onto the last leg of our journey, the beautiful violins started and then the soft velvety voice of Nat King Cole...
."Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.......Jack Frost nippin' at your nose....."
And I hear from the back seat...."OOOOOHHHH!!!! Now THIS is my very FAVORITE!  This really is a magical night!"  and that was immediately followed by Zach, who doesn't talk but decided to chime in his two cents worth.....He said TWO words....Two very heart felt words......ready???
He said, "Traffic Stinks!!"  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants!  It was a perfectly timed come back and the closest the two of them have come to an actual "conversation".  It just cracked me UP!
It just made me want to say, "Hahaha, Autism!  How do you like THAT?"

I just had to share that because I know how many of you pray for us and our family and we can't begin to thank you enough for all your kind words and loving comments.  We're making steps....They may be baby steps but that's ok.  Tonight we even found joy in spite of autism.  Score!!

Blessings to you and yours,

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Egg Nog Snickerdoodles

Happy Sunday My Friends!

Today I started pulling out my favorite recipes for cookies and treats for Christmas and I thought I'd share this one with you.  It's a recipe for Egg Nog Snickerdoodles.  YUM!
They are quick and easy AND they don't require a ton of ingredients (which is a must in MY kitchen!)
They my Dad would say...."So good they'll make your tongue slap your brains out!"


Egg Nog Snickerdoodles


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
2 eggs
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg


In a mixing bowl, cream butter, shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and extract.  Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.  Gradually add to creamed mixture.

In a shallow bowl, combine the nutmeg and remaining sugar.  Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar mixture.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield:  6 1/2 dozen.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do at our house!
Happy Baking!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Autism...Smurfs...and Joy

**A non-stampin'/crafting post**

This is just one of those posts where I need to just get my thoughts down and pour some of this "stuff" out of my brain and my heart.

I'd really been looking forward to going with Mike to Lindsay's first evaluation for her internship with Project Search today.  For an autistic person....change is one of the hardest things to face and when she started this new adventure as the school year began she really was having a rough time.  Actually she had a very rough summer realizing that she would not be returning to her class at the high school again.  (Students with special needs can stay in school until they are 22).  Having already graduated and then returning for one year as a "super senior", Linz was comfortable and extremely successful.  She'd found her niche.   She knew enough to realize that her future was unsure....what WOULD she do when she grew up?  
We couldn't answer much as we wanted to be able to.

Now understand that life with kids with autism gets harder as they get older because they aren't just "cute little kids" with autism anymore.  People look at them differently and the expectations...well I have no words on that subject.
We have been praising God with all of the milestones with this new venture because she's just beyond happy and content in this program.  The program has only five students left out of the 8 who started the school year together at the hospital as the inaugural year of the program began.  There are two job coaches on site working with the students every day and Linz has had an awesome first internship working in the IT department. 
Tomorrow marks her last day there and she will spend the next week working again on learning about resumes, workplace expectations and how to be good in an interview etc.  Then she'll be off for Winter Break and start her second internship when school begins again in January.

Her first internship was a perfect fit for her.  She loves the ladies in her office and she was made to feel like one of the team.  She had her own desk and office "space" and they couldn't keep up with the speed and accuracy of her work.  Her daily tasks would just blow your mind!  
So Mike and I met at the hospital today eager to hear about her progress and all of her successes.  Well....when we sat down and her teacher there on site began talking to us my eyes were fixed on the Evaluation Form on the table.  As he was talking, my eyes were looking at her scores for each criteria.  The highest score possible for each was a "4".  I'll admit there was a long column of "4's" that I noticed first and then I noticed that there were a couple of "2's" and even a "1.6"..  Let me just say here that Linz always was excited for report card day in school because for the most part....she'd get all "A's". 

When I looked to see where her "trouble" areas were I noticed the dreaded heading which read "Social Skills and Interactions".  Great...just great.  For all those who love to chat with her or read her "Linz Quotes of the Day" on Facebook, apparently that doesn't get a girl too far on an evaluation.  While he was talking, her teacher and job coach praised her work ethic, all of her skills and a lot more.  It was when he started talking about her "interest in Disney and cartoons" that my stomach started to roll.  For years there was absolutely nothing that she hated more than the thought of having to read a book.....ANY book.  Now, she has created a library in her room..."Lindsay's Library Palace" as she's dubbed it... and not a day goes by that she's not reading.  Is it War and Peace or Little Women or The Works of William Shakespeare???  Well NO, it's not.  but she LOVES going to the used book store and even the "normal" bookstore, as she calls it, to buy new chapter books to read.  It's her passion.  It gives her pure JOY.  Plain and simple.

So today we were advised that we need to work with her to start to "curb" her interest in Smurfs, Disney and other things cartoony and "help" her "find" new interest that are more "age appropriate".  My heart sank.
Now it might seem like a logical step to you but let me say that if you asked me to find a single word that best describes my daughter would be JOY.  Best of all...she's LOVES bringing joy to others. I don't want that joy to be dampened....I don't want her spirit to be squashed....  Those things make her happy.  She has NO friends.  NO ONE that she can have over to visit, have a sleep over, go out to see movies with, go shopping with....  Well...that's not true.  She has me.  I'm her "Lady Twin".  In my humble opinion, Linz was dealt a pretty shitty hand of cards to live with and if Disney and Smurfs make her happy...then so be it.  If that means that she isn't one of the first kids in the program to be offered permanent employment from the internships (and she wasn't) be it.  Doing those things....drawing Smurfs....visiting Disney....reading junior chapter books....they all make her the happy go lucky girl she is and we LOVE her just where she is.  While we want what's best for her....I will NOT squash her dreams and be responsible for extinguishing that joy.  She has SO many gifts to share and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has the perfect place for her where she will bless SO many people.  I have to believe that.  I stay awake at night worrying and praying about what will happen to my two autistic children when something happens to me and to Mike.  My only comfort is that God is in control and I know that He holds them in the palm of His hand and will never let them fall.  And guess what...He loves her, my little Disney Princess....Smurfs and all.
I'll claim responsibility for instilling that love of Disney.  If you know  know I'd be happy working and living in Orlando.  Seriously.  I love spreading a little pixiedust  and making people smile.  What's wrong with that?  I hope no one at my school system finds out I love Disney.....
Oh wait!  I think they might already know!  Gasp!

If you've read this post thus far....well....Mom, I'm going to bed now.  :-)  I just needed to pour it all out.

So now let me wish you a most Magical and Smurfy Day!
Blessings to you and those you love,

P.S.  I love all things Disney too....I hope they still let me teach kids at school tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Waiting for Santa?

Hello My Friends!

I'm so sorry it's been so long since my last post.  Somehow life got in the way and "busy" doesn't begin to cover our schedule of late.  Thank you SO much for all your wonderful notes and comments.  They mean more than you may know.  :-)  We had an awesome family weekend at the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor just down the river from Washington D.C.  We got to see the "ICE" Merry Madagascar display while we were there and it was simply incredible.  If you haven't heard of it, check it out online.  It was magical. 
Here's a photo of us inside the display with the parkas they gave us to wear.   It was a toasty NINE DEGREES in there!!  Brrrrr! I finally got back to creating and working on a few Christmas gifts too down in my stamp room.
The project I have to share today is one I call....
"Waiting for Santa"

This is "Frankie"....and he's waiting for Santa to arrive.  His dog house is all spiffy and his stocking is hung and ready to be filled.  I don't know about you but I think he might be playing "possum".  Oh well....I bet Santa will leave his treats anyway.  

Here's a view of the inside...

The card stock colors I used include:
 Cherry Cobbler, Early Espresso, Whisper White, Soft Suede, Sahara Sand and Basic Black.  The lights that are strung on Frankie's house are punched out of the Silver Glimmer Paper and strung on Baker's Twine that started out as White.  I made it into the green light cord by inking it with my Garden Green marker.

I'm so happy with the way it turned out.  Frankie just warms my heart.  I hope you like him too.

Alrighty....I'd better get back to creating.  So much to little time.  :-)

Wishing you a magical day,