Sunday, November 30, 2008

I gave myself a present today. . .

I made myself a Christmas journal. It's not at all traditional - but it is very "ME"! I have wanted to do this for the past couple of years but never had the time. This year since I am ahead of the holiday game I took the time out just for me. You can click on the photo to see the pages inside and all of the details.

I have not forgotten the Thanksgiving Day post - that will hopefully come tomorrow. I have lots of photos that I want to add and have not edited them yet. But I must say that it was a GREAT Day!!!! I hope yours was full of blessings and family too.

More tomorrow - enjoy the remainder of your holiday weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's HERE. . .

That's right - it is officially the Holidays! It is time to cook, shop and basically wear your yourself out trying to do "it all". And that's NOT a bad thing. I love the holidays! But I did see a sign the other day at Kirkland's (love that store!) and it said
"Simplify Christmas. . . Celebrate Christ!"
Sadly I think that is something we all need to take time to remember. It is not about presents, Santas, cookies, etc.
But no matter what, I know we will all take our turn at getting too busy and a little overwhelmed this season. But at the same time I know we will all be making memories and enjoying the things we do to make Christmas our own.
Enjoy the ride!!!
Today we started getting things ready for Thanksgiving dinner. We will be hosting it this year. It will be the regular players, plus my Son-in-law's sister's family will be joinging us. It is going to be FUN! Lizzy helped me put up the tree today (I have a bum arm right now) so that we can decorate it after dinner Thursday evening. It made me realize how big my baby is - I always put the tree up by myself without help. Today she did it and I just told her how to do it. This weekend I hope to get some pictures posted for you to see of our tree and our family at the Thanksgiving table. I hope you will all being having a FULL TABLE this year. Full of family and friends you love. Full of good food. Full of thankfulness. Keep your camera handy!
Since I didn't get pictures of anything I did today I figured I'd share some from this past week with you . . .

This is Monkey and Grandpa reading at her new "big girl" table and chairs! She really does look like a BIG GIRL here! Don't mind that her feet don't touch the ground, her Mom is 26 and her feet still don't touch the ground when she sits in a chair!!!!
Gary's family started a new "tradition" this year - making ornaments for each family's tree. So Sunday afternoon the girls gathered around my kitchen island and got theirs done. Of course we had to go to Michael's 1st to get them, then we had to eat, then it was time for them to raid my studio for paints and ribbons etc. But I have to tell you it was one of the best days I have had in sometime. I never get to have both of my girls with me at the same time. It reminded me of when I was raising them. It also reminded me of when they were little and I made them make their Christmas gifts each year. Good times. . .Great memories!
These are lizzy's fun and funky ornaments. . . all of them diffent colors. She was so tired by the time she finished (quite a bit after Bryanna finished and went home). But they turned out so cute!
Look at that concentration. . .
and attention to detail!
Bryanna was smart - snowflakes with a little hint of blue on the edges! Although she made 10x the mess with her 2 colors of paints as Lizzy did with her 10 colors!
Here she is with all of her finished snowflakes. . .
I guess Lizzy, or Uncle Larry as we call her, didn't feel she had enough to paint. This is evident when you see poor Monkey's belly! Poor baby, everytime she walked past Uncle Larry added a little more paint to her belly!
This is a book I started yesterday. I got it finished this afternoon. It is a Christmas gift for my SIL. She doesn't look at my blog so I was able to post it. If you click on the photo you can see the inside of the book.
Well friends, it is 3am and I have more Thanksgiving chores to do tomorrow so I will say goodnight for now.
Have a FANTASTIC Turkey Day

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No More Painting!

That's right, I have put away all of my paints and brushes. But I thought I'd share these last two projects with you. Yeppers, they are Christmas presents. And Yeppers they are both for my Monkey.

This 1st one is the foot stool to go with her rocker. Nothing fancy, but I still think it is cute. I am not sure if you can tell or not, but the top is shaped like a heart.
This next item is fun and practical. I think Monkey's Mom will like this more than Monkey will.
It is a hair bow holder. No more searching through baskets for the perfect hair ornament - they will now all be neatly clipped on the long ribbons here! I put some of her bows from my house on the ribbons just for the photo so you could see what it was. This will sure be handy when it is hanging on her wall in her bedroom! And it will be pretty too - I made sure to make it match her room.

This is my Monkey trying to immitate her Gramie! She was so fascinated by my painting this morning that I brushed a little paint on her hands (just like mine). She seemed to want more so I painted a "V" on her belly. That was way too much fun for her, so I handed her a clean paint brush. That was even more FUN for her! She ran all over the house "painting" everything and everyone.
She is so stinkin' CUTE and SMART! She is immitating everything we do now. If you cough, she coughs. If you yell at the dogs, she yells at the dogs. If you are painting, she is "painting". It is just so exciting to watch her learn and explore everything. I am so blessed that her parents trust me to have her everyday to enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Finished it!!!!!

That's right - the rocker is ALL DONE! And even better than that, I am finally happy with it! I can't wait to see my Monkey sitting in it watching TV and "reading" her books. So take a look, what do you think?

I had a hard time figuring out a "theme" for her rocker. I am NOT a painter and knew I could never paint monkeys on this. So I decided to go with hearts as my theme. Then I remembered all of the monkey stickers I have been collecting. PERFECT!
I even had some bananas to put on the edges of the arms!

So it is all done now and ready to be put away for awhile. Today I am starting on the stool to go with it. Hopefully I have learned from the rocker and wont have as many problems with it. Maybe by tonight I will have more photos?
Have a GREAT DAY!!!!
Do something FUN today!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Rockin' Chair Saga Continues. . .

This weekend I have been consumed by this little rocker - today was no different! I got up this morning (okay - so it was noon) thinking of all of the things I should be doing. But then I walked into the kitchen and saw the rocker sitting there. Although I have time until Christmas, I really wanted to finish it this weekend so that I could get it put away before Monkey comes over tomorrow. So I set my sights on finishing it today, and ignoring the rest of the things I was going to do.
The next step in finishing my little rocker was the stripes! I have to admit I was a little nervous about this step. This could be a big WOW for it or it could be a BIG disaster! My roll of blue painters tape was just about empty, but as luck would have it I found another roll in Gary's junk drawer - success - no trip to the store was needed. Okay - deep breath - here we go. . .
Would it be a success or a disaster? When I first started to peel off the tape I was convinced it was the latter.
The tape had pulled off the light green paint! I was so upset. I showed it to Gary and I don't know if he really was being positive that it could easily be fixed, or if he just wanted me to leave hime alone while he watched the Steelers play. Luckily his encouragement worked and I was able to get it all fixed!

Still, it seemed to be missing something. . .
So I turned my attention to cooking dinner. I turned around and the sunlight coming through the blinds were making perfect polk-a-dots on the light green support posts! While dinner cooked I got out my sponge daubers and made hapy little white polk-a-dots on the green. Perfection!

It was still missing something. . .
But my attention was once again diverted - Lizzy and Richard got home from Disney! We heard all about their trip, saw their souviners, and ate dinner. After diner everyone went off to do their own thing and my thing was the rocker. I decided lavender polk-a-dots all over the white posts would be the perfect touch - and it was!
Seems that I should be finished now right? Well now it is time to add the varnish (3 coats) and then glue on the embellishments. So I started on the varnish. Lizzy was so sweet and grabbed my carmera and took some pictures of me working on it during this first coat. Proof that I actually did paint this.
Well, all three coats are finished now on the top side of the rocker. Now it needs to dry for an hour or so. Then I can flip it over and do the underneath side. To kill time I got the kitchen cleaned up and dishes done. Then I decided I would come and write on my blog and share the latest pix of my little rocker. Hopefully tomorrow night I will have pictures of it all completed with the little embellishments. These are the things that will make it truly personal for Monkey. Can you guess what they are?????
Well, back to varnishing. . .
I hope you guys all had a great weekend and have plans for a super week!

Rocker Update. . .

This rocker almost ended up in the TRASH Saturday!!!!!
That's right! I was so frustrated with this thing I almost threw it away. But two things kept going through my mind -
1. The $$$ I had invested in it
2. I HATE to give up! I hate for something to beat me!!!!!!
So these two thoughts drove me to get it done!
Let me tell you what it was that was making me so crazy. Friday afternoon I started painting it and the paint just would not go on! And in the places where it did go on were thick and chunky. It just looked horrible! I finally put it aside and went shopping with Bryanna & Monkey. Saturday morning I got up hoping that it really wasn't as bad as I thought and could continue. NOPE! It was just as horrible as I remembered! I tried to take a close up of it to show you, it's not the best picture but you get the idea. I tried to paint it a little more and still it just looked awful and continued to make me upset. Mom tried to be nice and tell me it wasn't that bad, but I knew it was. I also knew I could never give this hideous thing as a Christmas gift. This is where the trash can idea came into play. Finally I decided to sand the whole thing down again and start fresh.
So, that is what I did most of the morning and afternoon. I got it all sanded and bought new paint and started ALL OVER. This was a GREAT idea! I could not believe how much easier it was to go on. I also could not believe that I was finally happy with it again!
These evening I started painting some of the colors. I ask Gary for some technical advice (he used to be a painter as a profession). Once he gave me some tips he offered to do some of the painting for me (this way the gift will truly be from us both). So Gary painted the green and the lavendar. What a huge help this was for me.

Once Gary had had his fill of painting I started on the pink. This thing is turning out so sweet, it's like a big piece of candy! Tomorrow I will start on the pink stripes on the runners and the green stripes on the arms and the bottom, back rung. Who knows, I may have this finished by tomorrow night?!?

There are still some little painted, wooden hearts to go on it (I got those painted tonight also) and it will need it's varnish coat and of course some distressing. But I am feeling much better about this project. I did manage to get her name put on the back tonight - gotta love rubones!

My next update is about Lizzy. She is having fun in Disneyland. Her and Richard sent me this picture last night.

She called today and said she did well at her audions and made it all the way through the cuts. She will get a letter in the next two weeks letting her know if she will be getting the internship at DL. Also when she called today she told me that they may not come home tomorrow. The fires in CA are burning very close to them and they have shut down all the freeways to get out of town. She said it is so bad that while drinking a glass of water outside today she got ash in her glass! She also said that Disney had to close down ToonTown because kids were getting sick from the smoke and passing out etc. (apparently the fire's smoke and ash were coming right in there because the fires are so close! So tonight I am asking that you all say a prayer for my Lizzy and her BF Richard, that they get home safely.
I hope you all are enjoying your weekend and getting to do something fun and creative by yourself or with someone you love!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm Rockin' Christmas. . .

Hey everyone - remember awhile back I said I planned on being ALL DONE with my Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving day? Well, I am almost done. I only have 2 or 3 more gifts to buy and a few handmade gifts left to finish. Can you believe it?!

Tonight I started working on Monkey's rocker. It still has a long way to go, but I did manage to get it all sanded (twice with 2 different grits of sand paper) and I have 2 coats of sealer on it. I hope to get it painted this weekend. The plan right now is for it to be pink, white and green with little hearts on it. I also need to get the fabric to make a cushion for it. Anyhoo, I hope she will really like it. Right now she has no chairs in my house that are her size. I think Monkey deserves one of her own - don't you?

Some other Monkey news hot off the press today is that she has a new tooth! We are not sure when it actually came in, but I discovered it today after her nap. She was laughing so big and had her mouth opened wide, that is when I found it. The funny part is that it is a molar! She only has 6 front teeth, and we figured the next ones would be bottom front. Nope - this one is all the way back there, and very sharp!

Lizzy left for Disneyland at 6am today for her audition. There is a part of me that wishes her luck. And an even bigger part that does not. I hate the idea of her living away from home, especially in a whole other state!

Well that is pretty much all of my news for today - any BIG plans for you this weekend?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Show and Tell today. . .

Well, I promised (and warned) you all lots of pictures and an update tonight. And here I am with both! This 1st picture is out of chonilogical order - but I suppose it doesn't matter - right?
Many of you know that I do not celebrate Halloween. But I am still a Grandma and must have photos of all of the cute things my Monkey does. While we were at Disneyland this summer we got Monkey this Minnie Mouse costume, so it was only fitting that she be Minnie for Halloween. Have you ever seen such a cute mouse in your whole life????? I wasn't there but Bryanna tells me that she really enjoyed her trick or treat experience with her older cousins.
These next couple of photos were taken on Oct 30th - Gary & my 24th wedding anniversary! I swear the best part of the day was spending it with Monkey. We played ALL day and I had my camera in hand the whole time! This is not to say I didn't enjoy Gary once he got home, but frankly after he's worked a 12 hour day it's dinner and a little tv then he is off to bed. I will say that I love this man more today than I did the day I married him and still find him incredibly handsome and sexy! I hope when my girls have been married this long, they feel the same way about their husbands!
You will notice a recurring theme in all of these photos. Monkey has her monkey leash on. She has always liked it, but lately she insists upon wearing ALL day! Also as you can see below, she has started using those pretty little pearly whites to pick things up. We think she is immitating the dogs. Whatever the reason it is stinkin' cute!

Can we say china doll here! She is so beautiful and this is my very favorite outfit on her! And I must say the monkey harness and tail really make the outfit!

These pictures are from Wednesday - my 45th birthday! Can you believe it? I am half way to 90 now! Do you think I will make it the rest of the way????? Anyhoo. . . Monkey and I had the whole day to ourselves and even though there were chores to do we had fun doing them! As you can see here she helped me do laundry. And while she helped she discovered that the dirty clothes cart made a great riding toy. We did several trips up and down the hallway with her riding on it, and of course her monkey leash was along for the ride as well. Notice also that the pj's are covered in monkeys!
Later that morning she discovered that the Lego table could be turned upside down to make a totally different and entertaining toy! Gotta love that smile of hers!!!!!
Eventually baths were taken and hair was brushed - what a BIG girl she has become! She looks like she is heading off to school.

Look at how she looks at Grandpa - I just love this! They were playing piano together and then she just stopped, reached up and patted him on the shoulder and looked at him as if to say "I love you Gramps, teach me everything you know". Gary is not typically a "mushy" guy, but this little girl melts his heart and I see in him a tenderness I never saw before.
This was my Bday present from Monkey. Isn't it cute!
My birthday was a great day! Not only did I get to spend it with my Monkey I also got to have Lizzy and Richard here for dinner. She was gonna cook for me but I decided to put a roast in the crock pot and bake an apple pie before she got home from school. I would rather spend the time with her than watching her cook. She and Richard bought me a DVD player for my bedroom (I have been wanting one for a long time). They got it all hooked up for me and then we watched movies. Not just any old movies, but MY old movies. My Mom had all of my old VHS home movies from when my girls were growing up, transfered onto DVD for me. Oh how fun it was to see my girls as little girls and not woman once again! Of course they loved the ever changing hair styles and glasses I sported through the years. It was really a fun day!
This is the next day, Grandpa's lunch hour. He tries to come home every day at lunch before Monkey goes down for her nap. She just loves it when he does. This day she helped him make (and eat) his lunch. Lunch consisted of a protein drink and tuna salad.
She is getting really good at stirring it all up for him!
WOW! You look back on a week and you think "nothing big or exciting happened" then if you are lucky, like I feel I am, you look back and think "WOW! How blessed am I!"
I have a beautiful, healthy family. I have a beautiful home. I have it ALL!!!!!
This is that time of year when our focus is turned more strongly toward family and thankfulness. The winter holidays just have a special way of making you reflect upon these things. I have always been grateful that my birthday and my anniversary fall right at the beginning of this time. It makes me even more aware of all that I have and how much I am loved and how many I have to share my love with. I hope you all feel the same way about this time of year and will take time in your own way to acknowledge all that you have and those you have to share these things with.

Last Saturday I taught this class - Santa's Toy box. It was a full class and lots of fun. But one of the really fun things for me was a gal named Tanya that was in my class. It was he 1st time I had met her. While talking to her I found out that she was from New Mexico and had flown in to Phx to take my class! How fun that was for me. She had been in the store a few weeks back while she was in town for a scrapbooking event and saw my sample book. She and the friends she was with wished they were going to be in town when I taught the class. But instead they all ordered kits. Once she got home she decided that she could make some other plans and come back during that weekend and take the class in person. And that's exactly what she did. I took this as a huge compliment.
Today I was at the store to teach another class when I got another compliment on my Santa's Toy Box book. My sample book was stolen from the store! Tht's right, stolen! I guess someone liked it so much that they just had to have it - and they took it! I hope they enjoy it and fill it with photos of their family at Christmas time and display it proudly on a coffee table this holiday season. It is funny, when I found out it had been stolen, everyone but me was upset about it. I just choose to treat it as the highest compliment. I guess like anything else in life, it's all how you choose to look at things.
It's the old "glass half full or half empty" thing. I am not always good at it, but I do try to have a half full glass most of the time. How about you???
Have a great week!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Just a quickie. . .

Hey everyone! Just popping in to say a quick hello and to share a new project I have made. I promise that by Sunday night I will do a real post. I have tons of pictures to share.
But for tonight I am going to share my latest project and upcoming class. I hope you will like it.

Click on the photo to see all of the pages.

Enjoy your weekend and I will see you all on Sunday!