Monday, December 29, 2008


I desperately need to update this poor, sad, lonely blog. I am making it my New Year's Resolution. Someone please hold me to it!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Goofy Glasses!

The girls and I spent a rainy Sunday afternoon working on this silly craft:

Monday, March 3, 2008

Our Dream Come True

It's official and I can finally share our big news! We're going to be moving. It's been a long time in the works, but suffice it to say that we will be renting and remodeling a farmhouse on the Loyalsock Creek, 12 miles north of civilization. The house sits on a cleared lot about 400 yards away from the creek, and is surrounded by timberland. You can't see a neighbor from anywhere in or around the house -- a far cry from our tiny city property with streets and alleys on three sides! The hiking and fishing opportunities here are endless. The landlords are fine with us using the outbuildings, having animals (chickens are definitely in the plan) and planting a big garden, and we're looking forward to the significant lifestyle change that this move will bring.

The house needs a vast amount of work -- right now it has no heat, no insulation, no bathroom and no kitchen to speak of. It's going to be an ongoing long-long-long-term project, but we're hoping it will be habitable by summer so that we can move in and put our house on the market. It's going to be interesting to be renters again, but it will be worth it in so many ways. There's something pretty to look at from every window in the house. I can't wait for our friends and family to see it firsthand. We are so blessed!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Year of the Rat begins today,
February 7th, 2008.
May it be prosperous and joyful for you and your family!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

More Cards - Mojo Madness 22

Here are some cards that are very roughly based on Julee's Mojo Madness 22 sketch (of course I'm a week behind!). I've really enjoyed using the complimentary designer papers this way. Fun stuff!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Weekend Sketch Challenge

This may be just what I needed to get inspired to blog more. I've started using the sketch challenges from SplitCoast and its contributors to inspire my stamping. I completed Beate's Weekend Sketch Challenge yesterday and like it enough to post and share.

All stamps are from the One of a Kind set. Base is Ruby Red; also includes So Saffron, More Mustard, Ballet Blue and DP is Passionnant by Francis Meyer (I love this!). Background on the So Saffron is the trio of flowers stamped in More Mustard. I stamped the medallion in Encore Metallic Green and embossed it with Enchanted Gold. Medallions are raised with dimensionals. The 1/2" blue center medallion is also stamped in metallic green, with brushed metal red brads in the center. The tag is the sentiment from One of a Kind, clipped on to 1/4" rust organdy ribbon with a brass swirl clip from Hodgepodge Hardware.

The original sketch called for three embellishments down the left side but I kept trying different things and nothing suited -- they just detracted from the medallions. So I decided to skip them. Overall, I'm very pleased! I struggled with the tag; I don't have any good punches and I haven't historically been happy with my tag efforts. But it works for this card. The stamping on the saffron side busied it up a little, but it was too blah without anything. And the medallions have an awesome holographic sheen. I enjoyed playing around with this sketch!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Goodbye, Cooper

Cooper left us last Monday, January 21, and made his way to the Rainbow Bridge. We'll miss you, buddy.

Cooper joined our family rather unexpectedly last March -- I was at the SPCA "just visiting the kitties" with Juliana when I noticed this little grey-muzzled guy in his own x-pen in the main lobby. He looked AWFUL. He was dirty, matted and so weak that he could barely lift his head when I walked up to him. I talked to the staff a little bit about him -- he was a stray, brought in from the edge of the county; no one had any idea how long he'd been wandering or what his issues were, and no one seemed particularly concerned about him. He was headed out (and not via the front door) if he wasn't adopted in the next day or so -- no one was holding out much hope for finding a home for this tired and sick senior citizen. I brought Tim and Tigger (our alpha female) back to meet him that evening and took him home for good the next day.

Cooper was in such deplorable physical condition that we honestly expected to have him for a few short weeks. The vet couldn't pin down an age but suspected the 9-10 year range given the condition of his teeth. Coop could barely stand due to the complete lack of muscle tone in his back legs. He wouldn't chew dry food, so we started him on kibble soaked in broth, with added thyroid meds and a needed supplement for his liver function. He would hobble across the floor until his feet slid out from under him, and then he would just give up and rest wherever he fell. After a few weeks we discovered that he wasn't just ignoring us -- he was actually completely deaf. Over time we developed a rather simplistic system of signals...stomp on the floor to get his attention, then a big wave this way if you want him to come toward you, or a big wave that way if you're trying to shoo him out the door. Easy but effective, as long as you weren't hoping for speed.

He got along fine with the other dogs, never even glanced at the cats, and was an absolute doll with the kids. He was a quiet little presence in the house -- not so much like a dog as just a small, tired soul in a furry package. There were a number of times that we thought we'd lost him -- he slept so soundly, presumably because he couldn't hear, that you had to touch him to wake him up. A few times he took a little longer to come out of his naps and we really thought he'd passed away.

After a few months he seemed to perk up a little -- his tail would wag for a few seconds, and he would almost seem to get up to a trot when making his way from the back room (where the dogs are kenneled) to the backyard. He managed to get up and down the back steps, albeit slowly and with a few wobbles. But for a few months, he seemed to be turning a corner.

Unfortunately, this winter proved too much for his already weakened system. He started to fail rapidly around Christmas and by last week he had stopped eating. His eyes were cloudy and he seemed to be having difficulty focusing. He would still tolerate being petted, but how much of that was just being too weak to protest...? I'll never know. We took him to see Dr. Dave last Monday and made the difficult decision to let him go. God bless our wonderful vet for his perfect mix of compassion and professionalism...he is the very best. I hope to pick up Cooper's ashes sometime this week. I'm not sure yet what I'll do with them -- I would like to take him with us when we move out to the country this summer. He would have liked it there.

He was a charming boy who was with us for too short a time, but he brought us a lot of joy. I will miss him always. Blessed be, dear Cooper, now and everafter...and thank you for being a part of our lives.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Baby Steps

I'm taking baby steps toward feeding my family better! I've been baking my own bread -- my goal is that my children will one day have no memory of storebought bread. A bajillion thanks to Farmgirl for being so inspiring, and especially for recommending Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads -- it's been a lifesaver. The Buttermilk White bread is outstanding and is our new sandwich bread of choice. And the only loaf I've made so far that didn't turn out was a recipe from the back of the flour bag -- all of Mr. Clayton's recipes have been successful. I'll take a few photos of upcoming loaves and post them here when I can.

I also want to thank Amanda for recommending We received our first shipment of produce yesterday and it's wonderful. Reasonably priced, fresh and yummy, and 100% organic (now if only it didn't have to be shipped...! ...carbon emissions and fuel consumption will be the death of my conscience). It's really going to help me feed fresh, nutritious things to my family in the dead of winter, when everything at the grocery store seems too expensive and too "plastic." I hate conventionally-grown, genetically-modified, blemish-free, perfectly-sized, perfectly-shaped, waxed and shined and polished fruits and veggies. Ick.

It's just baby steps, but it's helping.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Christmas Photos

Here's my beautiful girls in their 2007 Christmas photo. The photographer really captured them! Rina looks like such a big girl, and Juli is just her perfectly charming and sparkly self. I love this photo!