A Happy Holidays surprise!!

My boys have been sharing a room.  It's pretty small.  I mean, big enough for them when one dresser would hold all their tiny little sleepers and they had a small box of baby toys to play with....but as they've become avid readers (filling bookshelves up with books), and their lego collection has grown beyond healthy, and their pants have grown to fit 9 & 11 year olds instead of toddlers....the room has seemed to shrink.  My daughter, on the other hand, has been anxious to purge (her room and life) and she's had her eye on a bedroom in the basement.  Her options down there were  a.) an old office/storage room that would require quite a bit of insane cornering with drywall, heat duct cutting and all sorts of renos I'm not prepared for  or b.) my old scrapbook room which is an easier reno.  Swayed only slightly by adult logic, she chose B.

So this:

moved to here:  a (temporary?) home for my scrapbooking out in the rec room.  The kids seem to like it out here because they can join me at my giant tables (I think they're re-purposed school computer lab tables) and I can be with them while they're watching TV in the basement. 

and the room above turned into this:

 That colour, my friends, is Snow Cone Green.  And yes, it's that bright IRL. The ceiling (not shown LOL) and window and closet are drywalled thanks to my friend Maria's husband Phil, and mudded and taped thanks to my friend Ange's husband Keith...thanks guys - it was a HUGE gift!! The door was hung and the light fixture installed by my go-to neighbour Trevor...thanks so much!!  The bedding is from Target. Thanks for picking it up for me Bev :)  It is one of the deep regrets of my life that I don't live closer to a Target. The day bed is from Maria - thank you so much Maria...she loves it!!  The desk and hutch are MCC finds which she's quickly filling up with art supplies.
 This hutch stayed in the room.  It was in my parents' farmhouse when my Dad bought the farm in '66...it's been a variety of colours and used for a variety of things but when my parents retired off the farm I fought long and hard to get it :)  I have such great memories of this hutch.  The bottom doors held my Mom's fabric and sewing stuff and old magazines and newspapers that we could look through and use for crafts.  The drawers held my Dad's "important papers" (right) and my Mom's "pretty stationary" - both of which were off-limits, and therefore fascinating to me as a kid.  The top doors held Mom's China and fancy dishes. Oh, and right across the top of the front right corner, when I was a kid, there was a black strap.  Just lying there, peeking over the edge.  I remember having Mom or Dad just kinda glance up and the strap and we'd know....stop it, or else LOL.  Ahhh...good old fashioned discipline - a truly lost art.  I turned out OK, I think :)  Anyway....the hutch is now in Mica's room.  Bottom will be dresser, top will be special books.  She's going minimalist so there'll be a ton of books for sale in the near, near future :)

 Mica's not the only one who loves the new room - Wasabi has taken up permanent residence under her desk, and occasionally under her bed.  This carpet has a story of it's own.  It's one of many of my God-moments this winter.
Mica, always the agreeable one, knew that this reno was going to be on a tight budget.  She knew I was looking for a scrap of carpet, and as such, would have almost no say in what it looked like.  She did though, mention that, if she could choose, someday, she'd love thick shag, like Grandma's house - in a dark chocolate brown.  I was so sad that that wasn't something I wasn't going to be able to custom order for her but that was definitely not in the budget.  So, I searched and searched for carpet scraps and every email I sent out they said, "Sorry, sold already," or it wasn't the right size, etc. I'd found mis-cuts in town here but they were in the $200 range - not really good enough.  Finally, this past Sunday, I had no kids for the day and the opportunity to drive into the city.  I debated long and hard about it because I HATE driving to the city without a bunch of errands to take care, especially this close to Christmas, and I'd been sick so the chance to nap instead was quite appealing.  But, I decided to take the trip.  First Home Depot I stopped at, I asked if they had any mis-cuts.  The guy said, "Probably not...we try not to, but let me check."  
Oh...I should mention - the room I was redoing is 9'x13'.  
So, we go to the back.
They have ONE scrap.
It's 9.12" x 13"
Chocolate Brown.
I'm pretty sure that's not all coincidence :)
It wasn't free...but it was nowhere near the $200 carpet in town. 

So, once again...we are blessed beyond what we asked for or imagined.
I'm pretty sure that's what Paul's talking about when he refers to God as...

 "...him who is able 
to do immeasurably more 
than all we ask or imagine, 
according to his power 
that is at work within us..." 

Ephesians 3:20 


So, that's my holiday reno story.  Next phase, once she's totally moved in, is to separate the boys and get them set up.  But first....tomorrow is Christmas at our house.  There's a flu bug going around so we're spending the day in PJs and hopefully getting a lot of rest!

Happy Holidays


I missed Multitude Monday again, didn't I?  I have a zillion things to be thankful for again but some of them I can't say out loud yet because Christmas is in a couple of days and I don't want to ruin any surprises for my kids in case they read my blog.

So...today - just this:
I made this canvas for a friend of mine who owns SRM Press Stickers.  I love their product for card-making especially but this home decor piece went really fast with a quote from their Nature stickers.
Here's the post:

Clear Scraps Holiday Card Inspiration BLOG HOP!!!!

Hey!  Welcome here!
You probably got here from Tonya's blog on your way through the  
Clear Scraps Holiday Card Inspiration BLOG HOP!!!!
If you didn't and you accidentally stumbled upon this blog hop - you might want to go back and start at the beginning here:  Rita http://letsembellish.blogspot.com/

Comment on each blog, then head back to the Clear Scraps blog.
There is a special prize for one lucky winner!

 I've been making Christmas cards and tags for the last couple of months already and most of them are already sent or stocked in the stores who generously allow me to sell my cards so I made a special one just for you blog hoppers today!

This Christmas tree is a single page of 5 that come in the Mini-Ornament Albums that Clear Scraps sells.  They're awesome as mini albums but as a card-maker, I always rip mine apart as soon as I get them so I can use them all on individual cards!  They're also perfect this way for classes if you want a quick card class or a birthday party craft!

OK, enough talking.
Here it is:

I covered it in Pintura Metalizada (metallic paint) by Viva Decor in Pistachio and then when it was dry, I brushed on a thin layer of their Peridot-Light-Green 3D Glitter Gel.  One layer of paint is never enough - that's my theory.  The rest is all smoke & mirrors...I mean beads & wire.

Here is the Blog Hop List
you are here-------->>>>>>> Cathy http://cathysartblog.blogspot.com/
your next stop-------->>>>>>> Hilde http://scrapworld.web-log.nl/scrapworld/
then end here at:   Clear Scraps!

Leave a comment on all the blogs
for your chance to win a prize (that you'll get to choose) from Clear Scraps
*winner will be chosen on Monday*

Happy Holidays!

Sick Week...

I feel just a little silly about this but thought you'd get a kick out of it -
I've just had 7 sick days in a row.
I had a cold...I know...we all have them.  So, because I was kinda miserable and because I work with some students with low immune systems, I took off last Thursday and Friday.  That should have been enough you'd think, but then on the weekend I was pretty sure it was turning into a sinus infection which I have on a regular basis.  By Sunday morning  I was very sure.  Unfortunately, I was nowhere near my own doctor so I went to see a walk-in doctor in my parents' hometown where I was staying for the weekend (Christmas gathering).  He said, "not an infection," (D'oh) but also he said, "highly contagious" and that going to work wasn't a good idea so, I asked him to write me a note (because my school division requires one by the 3rd sick day).  I thought he was writing one that said I could take "up to" 5 more sick days if I needed them....but what he actually wrote was "5 more sick days" and so when I forwarded the note to my school division, they then insisted that I take the full 5 days unless I wanted to get another doctor to write me another note that said I was able to come back to work early.  I thought about it but a.) this cold really did drag on until today and I really did need the week  and b.) getting an appointment in this town is like winning the lottery...it might have been April by the time I got one and then I would have had to pay for a note anyway.  
So, I've had a week off.  I've napped.  I've been on all kinds of great cold meds.  I got some scrapbooking done for the brand new stuff Clear Scraps is putting out at CHA this coming January.  I painted my daughter's new bedroom in the basement.  I installed closet shelving, painted out a desk hutch, did laundry and dishes several times, finished some Christmas shopping and wrapping, made cookies...all kinds of things that I was able to do in between coughing fits, blowing my nose, and napping.  
Sadly, there are no paid sick days from my Mom job :(
Here are my new best friends:
Yummy and warm.....this makes me sleepy
I LOVE the menthol Dristan :)

I have my own bottle of this in the house so I can drink straight from the bottle....I just have to make sure I have a full 8 hours to sleep this off otherwise I'm groggy and dazed for the first part of the next day.  I also have to take it on my way to bed because I'm woozy after a few minutes.

So, the weekend's here and I'm nearly as good as new!
Just in time for a 3-day week of school and 2 weeks of Christmas holidays!!

Multitude Monday - Dec. 13

171-180/1000 of things I'm thankful for.

#171: Christmas.  In all honesty, who isn't thankful for Christmas for some reason or another?  I don't love the busy-ness of the season but I do love the reason of it.  It's good for people like me, who've been Christians since they were itty-bitty, to stop and think about it a little longer than usual; stop and remember and re-read the message; stop and sing about it and teach it to my own kids.  What an amazing thing that God came to be with us - that He'd rather be with us as a crying, drooling little baby, than not have us with Him for eternity.  Amazing.  I'm thankful for Christmas.

#172:  Family.  Somehow, in this season, this goes hand-in-hand with the last one.  We had our family gathering this past weekend with my side of the family.  I love those people.  Mom, Dad...my brother....we're a small crew, and we're vastly different in many ways, but I love them.

#172:  Generosity.  When I see it in action, anywhere, it almost always brings me to tears.  I think it's one of the greatest witnesses we can have - being generous with our time, our things, our selves.

#173:  Grandma:  At this point, she doesn't always remember who I am, or who my kids are....but she always has her hands out for a hug and she knows that she's been praying for us.  I know she won't be around for that much longer....and she's definitely anxious to be home with her Lord, but I'm thankful for this woman!
This photo is my kids with her this past weekend.

#174: Chicken & Rice soup :)
I'm sick....I can't remember having a cold hit me this hard, ever.  The doc says it's not a sinus infection and the best thing to do is let it heal so I've been given a week off work to let my body do that.  I feel a bit silly staying at home when really, I could be working....but he classified me as "highly contagious" and since I work with high needs kids and often kids with compromised immune systems....this is probably best for everyone.  I'm hoping the extra sleep will get me well for Christmas holidays!

#175: Friends with skills.  And friends whose spouses have skills.  This is a new thing for me, trying to do things on my own at home and I'm extremely thankful for friends who've offered to help out with things around the house that I'm not totally comfortable doing.  I have one friend working on fixing the fan in my laptop (not my area of expertise). I have a friend who, together with her husband, have helped me move furniture.  I have another friend's husband who dry-walled for me and another friend's husband who's mudding and taping in my basement for me.  I will never, ever be able to pay you people back.  Ever.  I hope that someday I can pay it forward and help out others who may need skills that I have.

#176: Tools!  I now have some tools :)
My dad: former farmer, bus driver, welder, fix-it man extraordinaire...dug through his hefty collection of tools and put together a little pile for me.  I haven't needed to use any yet but it feels so good to know they're there and I don't have to find a neighbour with a pair of pliers or a flat screwdriver every time I need one.  Oh...and I got a cordless drill for Christmas....I'm really, really exited about that.  I'm almost tempted to put something up on the wall just to see if it works :)  I won't....I'll control myself.

#177:  Scrapbook Stash.  It was my goal this Christmas to supply all the stores that sell my cards with Christmas cards made entirely of my stash and not buy any product.  And, I did it.  I made so many Christmas cards this year - I'll probably even have leftovers for next year.  I'm a little sick of one or two of the lines of paper b/c I've used the entire line up twice now but I did it.  It felt a little like the widow's oil....I wondered for awhile if I'd have enough and then as I kept going and going making cards, there seemed to be no end in sight.  It's either a sad report on how much stash I really do have, or a testament to how God provides for me :)  I'll choose to believe the latter.

#178:  Peace & Quiet:  If I listen closely these days....that's what I hear and that's what I feel in this house.  Peace.  And Quiet.  I love it. 
#179:  Homework.  I sure wasn't thankful for it when I actually had it....and my kids probably would argue this one but I'm so thankful for a.) teachers who expect much from my kids and b.) work that I can actually see them do here at home.  It's a different experience than just walking into Parent/Teacher interviews a couple of times a year and seeing what they've done.  Tonight I watched my middle son work on a project from the moment he came home until the moment I finally made him go to bed.  He even took it to Trev's to work on a little in between.  The reason it is taking him so long?  He's artistic, slightly perfectionist and very, very meticulous.  And I'm fascinated watching him work.  I love this side of him that I get to see when he's got work that he has to do at home.  And I love the discipline it teaches him.  I'm so proud of him.

#180:  Eggnog.  Yum.  Enough said.

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A week of concerts

 Mica's been working hard this past term to prepare for several concerts and as luck would have it, they all happened this week.  On Tuesday night, she sang with the Hanover Symphony Singers.  They performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra during their Holiday Pops concert tour.  It was amazing.  The WSO, as usual, was phenomenal. The choir, after only 4 rehearsals...did amazing! 

 Next up:  Thursday's Junior High Band and Choir Concert.  She's a clarinet player and although practicing is not her favourite thing to do (is it anyone's?) she was prepared and had a great time.  I went to the 2pm performance and the boys went to the evening performance with Trev & his parents.


 I was sitting a little far away to get good pictures of her during the choir portion but...these will have to do.

Now that it's all over, she's relieved....I think she's a lot like me - not loving the BUSY that comes at this time of year.  But she did great under the pressure of having something up every night.  I'm hoping to get this girl some well-deserved nights off in the very near future!

Love you Mica!  You did awesome!

Multitude Monday - Dec 6

161-170/1000 of things I'm thankful for.

#161:  My friend Lynette. We are a lot of things to each other - this amazing woman and I - we rescue each other when we're out of an ingredient and in the middle of cooking, we watch each other's property when the other is on holidays, we talk about all manner of deep things, we feed each other's families,  we bail each other out when one of us can't be home in time for our kids.  On top of all that, she inspires me on a regular basis to be a better person, to keep on going and to always be in the Word.   Check out her blog - she's doing Multitude Monday too...and she's a phenomenal photographer...I promise you'll be inspired.

#162: Scrapbook Magazines that love me :)  I've been published in many magazines but it's been a bit of dry spell so to have some requested this Fall/Winter was a great treat.  These 2 just came out in the latest issue of Scrapbooking & Beyond:

#163: Birthday boys:
I have 2 boys with birthdays in December.  That was not my plan originally but really...who can plan these things :)  They're 2 years apart and the best of friends.  They love all the same things which makes parties, and specifically, the birthday supper, easy because they both want to go to the same place.  This year, AGAIN:  Montanas - in large part, due to the funky hats :)

#164:  Purging.  I'm in purge mode.  My house and my life.  I'm selling off jeans I no longer wear, scrapbook stickers I'm not using, DSs and games that are no longer played around here.  And I'm purging from my life too.  I'm slowly figuring out how to get rid of anger, pride and depressed thoughts.  I'm figuring out how to pare things down so that I can see what's really important.  Honestly, every single time I throw something out or sell something, I can see just a little bit clearer.  That may sound funny but it's true.  I am in purge mode.

#165. Speaking of purging.  This verse jumped out at me this morning as I was reading in Isaiah.  The first line that jumped out at me sounded horrific....coming from God....that he would turn his hand against me....especially now when I need him for me if ever I did.  I know He's good, so how is it that Him turning His hand against me might be for my good?  Then I kept reading and in light of my purge-mode mentality, it all made sense to me.

Isaiah 1: 25-26
"I will turn my hand against you; 
I will thoroughly purge away your dross 
(earlier in v. 22 it says that "your silver has become dross and your choice wine is diluted with water") 
and remove all your impurities...
...Afterward you will be called 
the City of Righteousness, 
the Faithful City."

I'm still convinced that God doesn't allow hurt & pain in our lives to make things worse than they were, but to lead us to him and to make things ultimately better.  I'm even more convinced than ever that purging my life of the dross and impurities that are messing up what could be pure silver and choice wine, even though the process may be painful, will ultimately lead to beauty, and glory for God.

#166:  Handmade Christmas gifts.  A.) they're saving me some money this year.  B.) they've been ultra fun to make and I think, they'll be more meaningful than ever.

#167:  My bed.  I can't wait to get into it every single night.  It's soft and comfy, cool and stacked with blankets...just the way I like it.

#168:  Jeans on sale.  Yay for a Bootlegger card that this week, got me 40% off Silver Jeans!  I will never buy jeans anywhere else again.

#169:  Everyone home.  I love when my busy day and the kids' busy days all conclude with the 4 of us together, all tucked in and anticipating sleep. 

#170:  Tears.  I've cried my share in the last few months and I know how cleansing they can be.  Tonight there are tears from my DD as she sags into my arms and expresses her anger and frustration, her fatigue and feelings of being overwhelmed with everything her life holds right now.  I'm not exactly thankful for all of that stuff that stresses her out but I'm thankful for her tears and that she comes to me with them.  Pray for me that I'll, in turn, lead her to God with those tears.

Birthday boys

December birthdays.
I love 'em, and hate 'em at the same time.
It's the busiest month of the year and there's always an element of feeling like I'm not able to give anything at all in December my full attention because there's 1oo other things going on at the same time. So for that reason, having both boys' birthdays in December isn't fun. But, they're so good about it. They both love the same things and often end up having similar parties and similar wish lists that it's almost like having twins. Again this year they chose Montana's for their birthday meal. I'm not sure at what age they'll outgrow wanting to wear these crazy horn-helmets but for now, they're happy to do it and loving the food there so we went. Egan ordered his own plate of ribs and a side of beans.....so much more grown up than when every meal out was Mac & cheese or chicken fingers. Cale's still a pasta-guy but at Montana's he gets to make his own choices on sauce and toppings. They did great - they looked right at the waitress, spoke clearly and ordered their own food - I'm so proud.

After taking pictures last night I realized...they both look like they could use haircuts.
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