Delayed gratification

When my daughter was little - just learning to speak - we taught her the phrase "delayed gratification" and we made her say it at family gatherings and in other public arenas as her little "trick."  It was made even better by the fact that she knew what it meant and could tell you all about it.

Sadly, in my life, for the most part, I am all about the instant. 
High-speed internet, drive-through coffee and microwaves. 
But there are a few things in this life that are worth waiting for. Worth the "delayed gratification."

One of these things that I'm willing to wait for is Tsukinecko's Goosebumps.  Because of the nature of this product, it does not dry quickly on acyrlic's non-pourous surface.....but given a couple of's a beautiful thing.
Here's a project I did using, butterflies from the Clear Scraps Mini Butterfly Album. This card will be up in the booth in January at CHA.  I first used Eggplant alcohol ink and then a quick spray of Goosebumps.  When my butterflies were dry, I used a heat gun to soften and curl up the edges of the butterflies' wings.  I love how the light reflects off all the glossy bumps from the Goosebumps.

  It makes the butterfly a beautiful central image for a card. 

I am so looking forward to this month.  Even though my calendar is full, there appears to be several completely empty days, and when I say "empty" I mean no-kids-in-the-house-either days.  Those days, combined with the big box of Clear Scraps acrylic that just landed in my mailbox yesterday, mean that there will be a lot more crafting going on this month than there has been recently!!  YAY!!

The new Clear Scraps - the stuff that I can't even show you yet because it won't be released until January at Winter 2012 CHA - is So. Cute. I'll be working on that so you can see it here on my blog as soon as I'm able to post sneak peeks.

Happy Birthday to me :)

I threw myself a birthday party yesterday :) 
I know...a little weird, but it just felt like the right thing to do.  And as much as it was about celebrating turning 40....for me, it had more to do with thanking the people who have been carrying me and caring for me.  My significant ones.  Investing in them a little.  Not paying back - that will never be possible, but at least letting them know that I have appreciated every single one of them this past year in particular.

We had baked potato wedges, pork tenderloin, veggies and breads....and every single food item had an appropriate dip to go with it - I am ALL about the dips :)  In fact...I think food in general is a dip-vehicle.  We had Kelsey's 4-cheese spinach dip, artichoke dip, dill dip, black bean dip, and some amazing mayo-dip for potatoes.  Oh, and the perfect end to the perfect meal:  cheesecake.  Yum.  And enough leftovers for lunch at school tomorrow!!

No gifts, I said...and of course, no one listened so I sat alone, late at night after the party was over, opening envelopes....and wishing that someway I could repay these people for their generosity...and knowing that my only way to do that is to pray that God will do it for me. 

This beautiful owl chain I got from Mica.  When I came home from the party, she couldn't resist giving it to me early - we are SO much alike....I can't keep a present till the actual day to save my life. I love it - partly because it's silver and an owl....yay....but partly because the story behind it is that she bought it with her own money, at Bootlegger....she saw it hanging there and knew immediately I'd love it - but I was in the changeroom trying on jeans so she bought it quickly before I could finish and come out.  Very very sneaky.  I love that girl.  I forgot to take a picture  but the boys gave me their gift today too - a bowl they bought at 10,000 Villages - made in the Philippines I think, out of recycled magazine pages.  I'll post a picture tomorrow.  Oh, and 3 small stamps they picked up at The Scrapbook Cottage for me.  Yay again.

Lynette made me this cute "sucker-bouquet" that says 40 Sucks.  
Which, by the way, I fully expect it won't!

Tonight I climbed into bed to journal and read my Bible and I realized the journal I have, I got for my birthday last I decided to go back and see what I had to say LOL.

My life has been such a rollercoaster since then but I can't believe how carried I've been and how much I've grown this past year (fortunately, I'm talking spiritually, not height or weight).

Here's a passage from my journal just about a year ago that struck me tonight as poignant.

November 10, 2010
Hey, I get it.  I finally get the passage in Daniel that I love so much.
"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O King.  But even if he does not, we want you to know O King, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

I've loved this passage - even highlighted it, but today I get it.  I know God could rescue me from my current "troubles."  He is able. And He will rescue me from this all.  Either now, or eventually.  He will. He promised to never leave me.  But even if He doesn't (rescue me, in the world's view or in the world's timing), I will still praise Him.  I still know that what I'm going through is Him rescuing me.  This is God saving me; bringing me into a better place; increasing my joy; drawing me to Himself.  If those around me think that I'm in crisis and God is not acting....they're wrong.  I'm in crisis, and God is moving through this to do an amazing work in me, in my kids and in Trev, I pray.  There is never a time in this crisis of mine when God is absent or not in control.  This crisis is my rescue.  This crisis is proof of His love for me and His desire to draw me closer.  The lengths He'll go to to bring me to Himself!!  How can I not love a God who wants me so badly.

Letting the sun shine in (warning: picture heavy)

 This week I did something at my place that I've been wanting to do for a long time.....I let the sun shine in.
We live on this amazing street - Evergreen Ave - so named because before it was urban, it was apparently, an evergreen tree nursery.  Every home on our street has evergreens in their yard and that's a great thing for beauty and privacy and all that....but after many many years, some of the evergreens are overgrown, some are diseased and the 2 gigantic ones in front of our house in particular were almost completely blocking the view of the house from the street.  On top of that, we had NO light in our living room.  So...we tackled them this week.

The "before" shot - you can see my garage, the "people" door, the window above my kitchen sink and you can see that there is another window there but not all of it.

 Within 1/2 hour this is the pile of branches we'd cut off.

 By "we" I mean this guy - my next door neighbour Bob.  He's amazing - a superhero on a ladder.  He kept saying while he was up there that he was having so much fun and that he loved his ladder.  I just kept thanking God for such an amazing neighbour.

 After only 1/2 hour of cutting, this was already the change in the scene.

 45 minutes in I felt like I had palm trees in my front yard and inside the house was already filling with beautiful sunshine.

Another neighbour/friend came over to scavange some of the boughs for Christmas decorating....and then after she'd brought them home, she came back and helped out for nearly 2 hours - I love you Joyce.  You have no idea how loudly your service speaks to me.
 My parents arrived (that's my Dad on the left) and my BF Maria's husband Phil came with chainsaws.  In no time at all, they had the rest of the trees down (this one with a split trunk, and the single-trunked one beside it).

Here's the video of the first tree coming down:


 Once down, we chopped up the trunks in the front yard. 

 That big pile of boughs was too tempting - of course E had to have a little jump in them!

 A nice little stack of firewood to give to another friend who heats with wood.

 My parents (Mom & Dad here throwing branches into the back of their truck and Ernie & Joyce's trailer)
Thanks so much Mom & Dad - I am overwhelmed by your support - not just here but always.
Also helping load were Joyce, of course, and Lynette (not pictured - but that's her son in the foreground). Love you guys!!

 Today (Saturday), Ernie & Joyce came back and helped me shovel up this trailer-load full of roots and needles.  I couldn't leave them there or I'd never have any grass.  They loaded them all up, took them to the dump for me, brought me 2 loads of dirt and grass seed, leveled the yard and planted the seed for me.  If that wasn't enough - they blessed me with free labour and only charged me for dirt & seed.  I gave them a little extra but I'm sure it barely covered their gas.  I cannot say it enough times:  I have THE BEST FRIENDS in the world.  And to have so many friends and  neighbours who are willing to pitch in for me - Priceless.

 This is the street view after the trees were gone and hauled away (the needles are still there in this picture but can you see how big my yard is??  And check out all the windows I have in my house!!!  

This morning I woke up to my boys playing TechDecks in the living room - with the light off...because THEY HAD SUN!  It was lovely.  I don't think we turned the lights on in the house all day today.  Love it.

Thanks so much to everyone who pitched in - you know who you all are.
I adore you.

Paper Smooches and some card classes

I made another card for the next Paper Smooches SPARKS challenge

....this time the card was to be based on  was to be based on this photo: it is:
My card uses a little bit of the woodgrain look, a bright orange central image and of course stamps from 2 of Kim Hughes' Cornish Heritage Farms stamps.

The other thing I've been working on is a couple of sets of cards for some classes I'm teaching at my LSS.  I did this vintage set in one class with a lot of Tim Holtz's stuff ...

 (A Joyful Christmas - design lifted from Hobby Lobby flyer.  The other 2 cards are my own design).

and I'm doing a simple techniques class with this Hero Arts-inspired set.
 It's fun to be back teaching again - it's been a while.  
Thanks for checking it all out :)