Merry Christmas - from us!

 Christmas Eve 2012

 I'm embarking on a 4-day adventure at home, over Christmas, by myself (ie: no kids).
I think it might be wrong to be so excited about it but I can't help myself LOL.  I have a list a mile long of things I'd love to get done (knowing full-well that most of them won't ever get crossed off the list) including paint touch-ups around the house, building shelves into a couple of dressers-turned-consoles, cleaning up 6 months of un-albumed photos, baseboards, door frames, toilet paper holders, dishes, laundry....etc.  I think I'm off to a good start.  I've made cinnamon buns (baking as we speak), thrown in one load of laundry, and completely prepped my 2013 Project Life album.  This will be my 3rd year doing Project Life and hopefully (3rd time's a charm, right) this will be the year I more-or-less stay on top of it.    Working full time this Fall really put a cramp in my scrapbooking/card-making/Project Life style LOL.....but the hope remains.  I even joined a PL Facebook group and am following a few blogs of some ladies who've got this thing Figured Out! (jealous).

 I know my blogging has really taken a hit.
I'm hoping this is the start (again) of a better season for that.
And for scrapbooking/card-making/PL.



Why am I so surprised??

Why am I so surprised when God answers my prayers?

I totally KNOW he can.  
I believe he loves me and wants to answer my prayers. 
I accept his grace as a gift. 
 I come boldly to his throne and ask with confidence.

Then why, when he does answer my prayers, am I completely blown away every time?

Here's a little backstory - too long for a Facebook post so if you're here from Facebook, thanks for coming to read the whole story :)
About a month ago, I wrecked my knee at school playing tag.  The chiropractor said he thought I tore the patellar web - the muscles that surround and hold the knee cap in place??  I just quoting because I leave medical type things like that to people who know, and care.  It hurt like crazy.  And I couldn't straighten or bend it really. I wore a brace like this one:

About 4 days after it happened, I realized....I hadn't prayed about it.  I'd prayed "with" my kids at night but I hadn't really prayed about it myself.  Strange revelation.  I did a little soul-searching that day and came to the conclusion that it was 1 of 3 things.  Either I...
1. Didn't think God could do it and that's why I didn't ask.  This is not the issue - I know he can.
2. Didn't want him to.  This was a bigger conversation with myself - do I like having "something" that I can complain about and people can feel sorry for me about?  It was a humbling conversation but in the end I'm pretty sure I feel better being known for better traits than being a victim; injured; etc.
or 3. I didn't think I deserved it - that I have lots, and can't ask God for more grace.

As soon as the word Grace came up in my mind, I realized that was what it was - not feeling worthy of MORE things from God and not feeling like I could ask because I didn't deserve more.  

That lead to an almost month-long search and study on the word grace and what it means to be on the receiving end of God's unmerited favour.  I read through every verse that my concordance could throw at me and all the related verses those led to.  It was fascinating.  And humbling.  And a good reminder that everything I have is grace from healing, to eternal life, to actually just waking up breathing in the morning.  A good reminder that my God is LONGing to give more grace; that his wants me to ask (confidently, boldly) and he gives it (abundantly, overflowingly, lavishingly - I love these type of words and all their forms in the Bible).  

Anyway, the funny part of the story for me is this:  I've prayed that God would help my knee heal quickly.  But at the end of my Grace study yesterday morning, I really, really prayed, boldly, confidently, with faith and thankfulness - for healing - for strength in my knee, etc, etc.  Now I should preface this again with:  my knee has been steadily getting better for about a month.  The chiropractor is already impressed with how well it's doing and how quickly (I told you right, that other people are praying for my knee). But there were still a few very specific things I couldn't do with my knee.  So, last night at the chiropractor I told him, I still can't kneel on it and I can't crouch (like beside a student's desk when I'm working).  So he says, "let's see..." and I get up, and kneel - no pain.  I crouch - no pain.  "Hmm...." I say.  "I couldn't do that yesterday."  
(there are still a few positions that aren't completely back to normal with my knee - but that may be because I am not 16 anymore LOL....and the chiropractor said that it wasn't a bad thing that I couldn't sit on my heels and spend a long time cross-legged anymore).  

I left the chiropractor with this funny grin on my face I think....wondering again why I'm so surprised when I actually pray for something and it happens.  Blown away again by how much he loves me and wants the best for me.  Surprised by his love and surprised by my own surprise.

Why I miss scrapbooking

I was awakened this morning by the smell of bonfire - I'm sure someone somewhere is burning leaves, or left something burning and it's turned into a hazy smoke smell coming in my open window.  I did actually get up and go outside at 5am just to make sure it wasn't anywhere in my immediate neighbourhood; prayed for whoever was out there battling a fire at this early hour; and then climbed back into bed with coffee and devotions. 

As part of my devotions recently I'm reading through this book: 

I've seen Luci speak at a couple of Women of Faith events and I've loved her crazy outlook on life.  This book isn't extremely deep/theological....but it certainly gives some perspective and jumpstarts my day with an attitude of thankfulness and joy :)  

Today's struck me especially because she was talking about carrying her camera around with her everywhere and journaling constantly about all the memories and how God commands us numerous times in the Bible to "remember" all he's done for us.  Remember, remember, remember....THAT is why I started scrapbooking in the first place: to remember my kids younger moments; to remember what things looked like, felt like, meant;  to remember how and why we did the things we did.  I wanted to perserve memories.  To remember.  And now, in this season of my life:  busy, working full time, single-parenting to a large degree, and in house renos....I find myself without the space, time or energy to do much scrapbooking at all and it's sad for me.  I am trying to keep up on a Project Life album....but even that is behind.  I don't want to look back on this time in my life and have regrets about not remembering it.  
My compromise is:  filling my camera card up, even if I don't get around to dumping the card, editing the pictures or doing anything creative with them;  journaling a few lines each day and blogging when I can even if it doesn't turn into a lovely 12x12 page of artistic journaling; and spending the time with my kids MAKING memories, even if they don't all get documented and preserved....the making of the memories is, after all, the more important of those two things. 

Happy New Year!

I've missed more than an entire month of blogging.....I could give all kinds of excuses but to make a really long story got busy.  

Because we've always been so tied to the school calendar - both the kids, and I at school - September always seems like New Years to me.  New start to the job, new start to classes, new school clothes, and new resolutions to make this year the best ever.  I love it.  (Jan. 1 comes and goes around here without much fanfare, I'm afraid).  This year has been no different.  Maybe even more "new" than most Septembers.  

My job has changed.  I'm no longer working with Grade 1's primarily....I've moved over to a new middle school and I'm spending my days with Grade 7's and 8's who, I must add, I am falling for harder than I thought I would.  Love them!!  My job is also full time this year which is strange to me - I've worked part-time ever since going back to work when my kids were all in school full-time.  I've picked up extra hours as funding allows but I've never started a year working full-time so this is an experiment in perseverance for me (and also attitude).  My home is also changing - we're in full-on renovations.  We've been without our basement and second bathroom since Spring Break and now we're starting to see the end of renos - I'll do a whole post with pictures one of these days but suffice it to say - I'm working on that as often as I have energy and time to do so.  And, in the busy-ness that is my life, I've had to let a few things go so that I can stay sane.  One of those things which has been a MAJOR part of my life for many years, is my Design Team commitment to Clear Scraps.  I have loved being a part of their team for 5 years or various capacities, including coordinator, marketing, teacher, and designer.  I miss it like crazy. 
 But, I have to keep in mind that this is my main responsibility right now:  

Aren't these guys gorgeous?  It's not just because I'm their Mama, right?  
Big thanks to Joanne Peters who gifted us with an amazing deal on photos this year!!  One more to show you - the kids wanted to do a "train" picture because she had this cool chest that we could all fit on.  It sounded a bit corny at first but the photo turned out really cool.  

In a nutshell....this is the reason I'm way behind in blogging.  
You'll forgive me, right??

Christmas in August

 Can you belive it??  It's almost the end of August!!  Right about now is when I step back and realize the summer has flown by and I am in NO hurry to be back at school.  I say it every year and this year is no different - I really wish the kids went back to school a month before I did.....I could really use that extra month to get the rest of my summer projects done :)  

Here are pics of a few of my most recent projects.  Painting Projects.
 (I won't bore you with the cleaning the house projects and weeding my yard projects).

This is what my driveway looked like a few weeks ago.  An new acquaintance asked me if I'd consider being a part of a Christmas In August craft fair 2 weekends ago and I agreed to go and sell my Christmas cards and upcycled journals:

Fortunately I keep a supply of Christmas cards ready :)

And a box of upcycled journals made from coffee sleeves...

...Bingo cards, Pop Tart boxes, etc, etc, etc....

Now here's the funny part.  Not funny-ha-ha....but funny-interesting.
I didn't sell a single Christmas card at this craft fair.  
I did sell a few journals - enough that it was worth going....but NO cards.  Weird eh?

The funny thing was though....a few days before the fair, I thought....why don't I bring along a few furniture pieces and try to sell them as well.  It's worth a shot, don't you think?  

So, I got to work - spread out all down the driveway and got a few pieces ready.
This photo is just a whole lot of primer going on.  I'm a firm believer in Kilz.  I know it's stinky but when you're working with old, or vintage, or who-knows-where-this-has-been's so nice to know that any smells and stains and whatever else are blocked and primed with Kilz.   

I dug out this can of Hot Pink paint I got as a "seconds" can at Canadian Tire awhile ago....before I stirred it I had to take this picture with all the different pinks and reds swirling around each other.  Crazy fun :)  Took a while to stir it altogether too, but when I was done - it was a beautiful rich hot pink.

My first "Girl's Dressing Table" project - I love how it turned out!!  Apparently other people liked how it turned out too b/c I had lots of great comments on it and it sold at the Christmas in August craft fair!! 
I currently have 3 more of these dressing tables on the go - one done (white with celery coloured drawer fronts),  one nearly done (white with butter yellow drawer fronts) and one 1/2 done ( I think the drawers are going to be pink again).

Benjamin Moore Cloud White; some Hot Pink from Canadian Tire; Krylon Gloss White spray paint for the handles; Minwax finish

 I also finished up this Little Kids' Table & Chair set.  I love the 2-toned look on here too!  I used Kitchen & Bath paint for the table top and chairs to give it just that extra little bit of wash-ability :)  This lovely piece sold at the craft fair too :) 

Benjamin Moore Cloud White, Waterfall;  Minwax Finish

 The third piece I made and sold at the craft fair (well, it got picked up later, but the deal was made while I was there).  I loved how this one turned out - it was a rickety old cupboard to start with that I found at my thrift store (if you know me at all, you know that I LOVE that place).  Although it had very cool straight lines and funky legs, it also had deep grooves (bottom right photo below) where shelf dividers used to sit - probably to hold record albums  (top right photo below) I'm guessing (should have left them in - my scrapbook paper holder is an old record storage cupboard!!)  Because I didn't want those grooves on this piece, I used a pretty significant amount of Wood Filler to fill them in.  Sanded and painted, you can't even tell they were there. I used the original hardware - partly because the bronze metal had worn away to a really nice finish and they perfectly matched the patina on the hinges which I didn't want to remove.  

Benjamin Moore Cloud White,  sanded to distress,  Minwax finish

I had one more set of chairs at the sale and they although I dragged them home again, they have since sold.  Stay tuned for more painting adventures :)

As promised.....upcycled furniture

I posted this dresser the other day that I re-freshed....
just a bit of paint really because it was in pretty good shape.

But here, as promised, is my real love - upcycling furniture and making it into something NEW or entirely different; giving something new life; giving it a new purpose.  

Here's piece #1.
A poor sad dresser
  Ugly brown veneer covered, and missing both pieces of and entire drawers.

And here it is, cut down to size, painted a beautiful Cloud White and new black hardware.  If I had a little girl, I'd put a nice pink cushion on the top of this and tuck it at the end of her bed for when she's learning to tie her shoes :)    Or maybe under her window so she could read in the sunlight.  Can't you picture it??  

And piece #2:
An entertainment unit that wasn't going to hold together much longer.
Solid wood (at least solid, from the mid-point down LOL), but in need of a new purpose.

...turned into this:  A great storage bench.  This one I'm picturing in the entrance somewhere with big baskets full of mitts and hats,  or maybe in a classroom at the edge of a carpetted area - books stuffed in and seating for the teacher and possibly the "star" student that day.  

 That's it for today.
I feel really accomplished getting these 3 pieces finished this week. In the words of one of my favourite Youtube videos,  "I feel happy of myself!!"  

 The dresser is already in it's new home, but the other 2 (benches) are for sale.  If you're interested and in my area....shoot me an email :)

ETA:  Nevermind....both are sold already LOL....NOW I'm completely hooked - my connection for old furniture will never get rid of me now Mwahaha.

Taking a break from painting today and blogging instead - both my own, and hopping around on other blogs - including this one (Paper Smooches) where I intend to be fully, and completely inspired to make cards tonight!
Paper Smooches Stamps

My other :)

Anyone ever ask you what you'd do if money wasn't a part of the equation?
If money wasn't an issue for know what I'd be doing?

Upcycling furniture :)
I LOVE, love, love to go through the furniture section at my local thrift store, or at a garage sale and find - not just pieces that need a little TLC - those too obviously - but pieces that can no longer be what they were meant to be and need a whole new purpose in life.  I have 2 pieces that I'm currently working on - hopefully they'll be done for a blog post later this week. 

 But in the mean time - this is a piece I did today
 (A dresser/change table for friends who are expecting a newborn foster baby any day now):

(She's a beaut, eh? )
 I love the square chunky lines but the hardware looks old and Bleh on there...
I knew she needed to be a baby change table or something along those lines because her drawers are wide, but quite shallow - like only 2 pairs of my jeans and one drawer would be full. 
 and this....oh my goodness, what is this?? A formerly-glued-on piece of laminate countertop??  In some faux rock mosaic?  Nasty.  I keep thinking of dinosaurs when I see this for some reason. 

So here she is now:  
*primed with Kilz, 
*painted in Benjamin Moore Semi-gloss Cloud White
* drawer fronts in Krylon Celery
*and a Minwax finish

I even like the old hardware on it.  I bought more Krylon spray paint to do these in glossy white but once the dresser was brightened up I just kept the hardware the same. 

Hope you love it P&M....and I hope this baby, and many, many more babies are served by this dresser :)

I'm linking up (for the first time ever) with Liz Marie's blog - a blog that NEVER fails to inspire me.
Come check out more people who've been creative this week!!
Liz Marie Blog

Another Clear Scraps new release life took off in a different direction than I was expecting and I didn't get around to posting my second Clear Scraps it is, slightly late but still FUN!  

Last time I showed you the butterfly card that I painted with Painty Pens and stamped with StazOn.
One of Clear Scraps other releases is this new card - the Lock card.  
I used silver leafing pen to colour the lock and while it was wet I added large vintage Mica flakes to it.  I actually added some liquid adhesive overtop so that the Mica flakes would be nice and stuck :)  but I like how it turned out. 

 The key is an old 7 Gypsies one I think....and the edges of the card are adhered with the stickers that come with each card that you buy from Clear Scraps but I also sealed the ends with Washi tape.

I do still have some acrylic to give away.  I'll be picking a winner from commenters on this and the last blog posts :)
Today's the big day......Clear Scraps reveal :)
I got to play with 2 of the new cards from Clear Scraps' "Send-it Clear" line!!  These cards are so much fun to do - a challenge for sure to get all the layers to look good together, but so much fun! 

The first one I did was a Butterfly card, and since we just did a great swap with the people at Stampendous, I decided to use one of their giant stamps to dress up this butterfly too.

Obviously the stamp was WAY bigger than the butterfly and I didn't want the excess image stamped all over the rest of my clear card, so I put the 2 front pieces of the card together to form the butterfly and then masked the area around it with scraps of paper (red & blue in the photo)

This is what it looked like with the flower image stamped on the butterfly (with StazOn, of course).

Then I took my favourite-fav-fav Zig Painty Pens and coloured the stamped image from behind.  That's the beauty of acrylic, don'tcha many layers and surfaces to play with!!  

I finished the card off with a stamped sentiment on the front, a scalloped circle of paper behind the butterfly - to make it pop and also give me a place to write a little something-something to a friend maybe...?  and a quick run of a matching paint pen around the outside of the acrylic pieces (front and back).  Just a tip - it's a good idea to use something to border your acrylic projects like helps your eye to stay focused on the project itself instead of wandering off the page/card, etc.  I attached my card fronts and back with the stickers provided but I also added a nice little border of Washi Tape at the seam!!  Love that stuff.

That's all for now :)
Come back later this week - I have another card to show you - a Lock card.  I think you'll like it :)

Hey....I have more than my share...
How about I draw a name from all of you who comment either on here or on the next post this week and I'll send you out a little acrylic to play with.    Go to Clear Scraps' facebook page and let them know what you think of their new releases this year, and I'll put your name in the draw 2x.  Make sure I can find you - either by linking back to your blog or leaving me an email address.

Clear Scraps & Stampendous!!


Thanks for joining me for DAY 2 of our blog-hop with Clear Scraps and Stampendous.

For my project today I used a couple of simple chipboard tags from Clear Scraps and I mixed a little shabby (raw chipboard tag and burlap ribbon) and a little glam (Aged Silver Embossing Enamel and Pearlized Mica Fragments from Stampendous) for a unique tag to tie onto a gift for someone you love.   I added sticker sentiments from SRM Press and some adhesive pearls and it's ready to go.  

Thanks  for stopping by! 
Here are some more places you'll want to stop today - some more projects from our Clear Scraps DT and some from few of the Designers at Stampendous too. 

Clear Scraps

Leah & Cathy Please feature these blogs in your hop.
Stampendous Impressions –
Stephanie Lee (Arty Carty) -
Pam Hornschu -
Lea Kimmel

Check every day this week at the Clear Scraps blog for a list of those who are participating in the blog hop each day - and check back on Saturday for a full list of blog hoppers from Stampendous.  It's going to be LOADS of inspiration!

Sneaking in a few minutes of play

LCOM Online Birthday Bash

 Found a few spare minutes to play this morning before having to wake the kids up for school.  Hoping to stop in a little later at LCOM's 3-year birthday bash for some more inspiration.

Here's the first card I made for the sketch challenge:

 :)  Cathy

Finally feeling human again :)

Again with the big gap in the blogging....sheesh.
 In my defense - this has been my new best friend:

I got some wacky-3-week cold.  It was the weirdest thing - a lot of nose-blowing (you wanted to know that, right?) and pure, sheer exhaustion.  For several weeks in a row, as soon as the kids were in bed, I headed there too.  I had ZERO energy.  I think I'm finally feeling a little more human now after 3 weeks.

There were a few good days in between and so I do have a few fun things to show you.  I got a couple of layouts done on National Scrapbook Day:  

Maybe not my best ever LOL....but it was fun to be back doing layouts for a day.  I've been making cards to sell for so long that I haven't had time to make layouts recently.  Felt great :)  

I also did a furniture project!  Since my scrapbook room has temporarily moved up to my bedroom so that basement renovations can happen, I needed to get rid of my giant nightstand.  But I couldn't have NO nightstand - I need a place for a clock and my Bible & journal...and I only had room for a really narrow one.  I looked for a couple of weeks and didn't find one that would work and then I found this small child's desk at the MCC store - out back, and cheap because it was broken - exactly the challenge I wanted :)

Here's the before:
 It's on casters....but only 3 so it's a little wonky :)

I cut the bank of drawers apart from the rest of the desk.

I filled in the holes and gouges that the top had with wood putty and sanded everything down.

I painted it out in the creamy Lancaster Whitewash that the rest of my trim is done in.  I only used the top 2 drawers and left the bottom section (2 drawers) open for a shelf for books.

Here's the painted finished dresser.  I used the original hardware because it was so cute.  It's 12" across (13" across on the top).  Oh, and I found some cute little square-ish legs that fit on the bottom so that it was exactly the right height for a nightstand.

Right where I want it :)  Someday, when basement renos are done my room won't be so squishy, but for now this is ideal!

Now that I'm feeling better and the weather is looking up I'm hoping to get a few more projects done in the near future.  I have this little "beauty" 1/2 done - turning into something completely different.

and I picked up a stack of these windows that I really want to play with.....hmmm...what to make first...??