Friday, April 30, 2010

All My Favorite People at One Event!

The best party I ever gave was my wedding reception. It was such a great party that that a lot of our friends and my new in laws stayed behind after the wedding was over to hang out with my family for a week.
My new husband and I, however, had planned this little thing called a honeymoon which was fun and all, but had we known the reception would continue for an entire week, we'd have stayed to join in the fun.
As it was, we heard the fun during the many calls we got in Florida and saw the pictures later. And as great as our marriage has been, we've always regretted that we missed out on the party of a lifetime.
Over the past 30 years of marriage, we've hosted quite a few parties. Some have been better than others but the best ones were those where people made new friends, found common interests and had a blast.
And this weekend, National Scrapbooking Day marks the beginning of the best party around. If you're scrappy/want to be scrappy/looking for new place to hang your scrappy hat, you need to read on.
This weekend is the Spring Fling Crop over at My Sketch World. Lucy Chesna's sketches are to die for, and the ladies at MSW are amazing. But here's where the party takes off: Scrappy Jo's is one of the May Crop sponsors!! Now you've all read here about Scrappy Jo's amazing sales, and you probably remember that SJ was the very first place I ever posted anything scrappy. Jo's got a new site and some of the sweetest ladies around hang out there.
So what does this mean?
After 30 years, I've all my favorite scrappy people all in the same room (figuratively speaking, that is)!!
I've seen the line up at MSW and the entire month of May is going to be one bit of scrappy fun from beginning to end with amazing challenges and fun games! Jo is offering a $25 gift certificate from the Scrappy Jo store to one lucky winner so after the Spring Fling Crop, the scrappy goodness will just go on. Reminisce and Crop Stop are also offering nice prizes.
As for me, I've been beside myself waiting for May 1st to roll around.
I'm all set for the fun to start tomorrow morning. I have a generous supply of DP chilling in the fridge with a six pack of Mike's as back up. Lugged nearly my entire scraproom down to the dining room table (or at least that's what it looks like). Sorted out a stack of photos for LOs and new embellies for cards. Even ordered the weatherman to change the forecast from sun to rain. Baby, I am all set.
So stop by the Spring Fling Crop. Wave hi. Look around. Check out Scrappy Jo's store. Stay for a bit, stay for it all, come back often. Because this is definitely one party you DON'T want to miss!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fabulous, Over 40 and so much MORE

You wanna know a secret?
I liked looking at the picture of Gilad in my last post so much that I had decided to leave it up for a week. Mmmmmm. . . . .Gilad. . . . .
Yep. I'm that shallow.
So it takes something pretty important to uproot Mr. Hunky Man, let me tell you. Something big like. . . say a post about my friend, Tigger's, pursuit of Super More-dom. That's Sandi Tygar/Tigger up there to the left. She's as cute as Mr. Hunky Man was . . . well, hunky. . . wouldn't you agree?
For those of you who are not yet "of a certain age" (which we all know is just a euphemism for being old enough to rethink 4" heels but still foolish enough to wear 'em), More magazine touts itself as "the leading voice of today’s sophisticated, affluent and accomplished woman, who is enjoying the richest years of her life."
Which we all know is a euphemism for "these chicks are heading toward menopause so we'd better keep 'em happy or they'll give us all wedgies."
I have magazine subscriptions to Wired, Rolling Stone, Discover, The New Yorker and Time. I don't have a subscription to More magazine. I am a fan of More magazine, however. And I get to read it regularly because I am friends with generous women who have subscriptions to More magazine. Generous women who mean the world to me, women who are funny and accomplished and amazing and strong.
If you want to live an inspired life, pick friends who inspire you. That's what I say.
Which leads back to Tigger.
Tigger shares my love of all things scrappy. There are moments (brief tiny little itty bitty moments) when I can scrap something I'm really proud of. Most of the time, though, I happily plod along in the realm of the enthusiastically mediocre, content to just finish anything without gluing my shirt to the table.
But Tigger. . . Tigger can take a picture, throw on some scraps of paper, add some bling and a lot of Tim Holtz-ware and come up with something that's take-your-breath-away beautiful. Truthfully, I have scraplifted Tigger creations so often it's probably illegal. But probably not, on second thought - even my best scraplifts are whisper to her shout.
Tigger is the More magazine woman: lively, beautiful, talented, interesting, strong. Right now, More magazine is teaming up with Oil of Olay and CoverGirl to search for women who are Fabulous after 40. Tigger-like women who are beautiful inside and out, and who have a story.
Tigger's story is that she has spent the better part of the last year totally sober, after what I can only surmise must have been a more-than-casual acquaintance with alcohol. That journey would change a person, I would think. But Tigger is still oh so witty and laugh out loud funny and still has a spirit that is offbeat and fun and unfettered.
So Tigger sent a snappy snapshot and her story to More magazine and is now in the running for the most Fabulous Woman over 40.
Which I happen to think she is whether she wins or not.
But if Tigger gets enough votes on the More magazine website to win, she gets a cool $10,000. That's enough money to buy a whole lotta scrappy goodness, and you know how we scrapofiles like our stash. Come to think of it, it's probably enough money to buy the actual Tim Holtz for awhile which is just what Tigger might do seeing as how she is Tim Holtz's Biggest Fan Evah.
So do me a favor. Hop over here and give Tigger your vote. It'll only take a second. And you might also want to check out Tigger's blog for a good read.
It's nice of you to vote for Tigger. If she were writing this, right about here's where she'd be saying Spank You very much.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Getting Fit with Gilad and Two Dogs

This morning, I decided that it was time to step up my fitness program. I was hoping to expand my exercise routine from working only mouse-friendly muscles to include something more adventurous like seated neck rolls or bilateral ankle flexes.
Of course the last thing I wanted to do was enter a fitness center with all my jiggly parts so I did a few bicep curls with the TV remote, switched hands then rotated through the cable channels until I found Fit TV.
(Let us just pause here for a moment to appreciate the irony of the words "fit" and "TV" in the same sentence.)
The profusion of workout shows on cable today amazed me. There's a hip hop dance show for those of us who want to bust a move and get our street on from the comfort of our own homes. Or I could follow any one of a whole passel of yoga shows, thereby eliminating the possibility of passing gas next to a perfect stranger in a 500 degree room.
There was even a Bollywood dance show which promised "moves that are bold and sassy." I passed on that, too, figuring it could only lead to me explaining to the world how I got a black eye from my own hip flab.
Then I found an old friend: Gilad.
Gilad is like the General Hospital of fitness shows. Back in the '80's when unitard-clad, tousle-haired ladies made history with their oooh-aaahh come-hither fitness shows, Gilad was already inspiring housewives everywhere to move closer to the TV and watch his muscles make the most of physical fitness. With his dark curls and exotic accent and no-nonsense routines, Gilad was mesmerizing. Not that I ever exercised, but I hated soap operas and only got three channels back in those days, so burping babies and eating fig newtons while watching Gilad was pretty heady stuff.
And here he was again on my TV, fitness god Gilad. Older yes, but still in amazing shape and still with the curls. Seeing Gilad again was familiar and comfortable. Gilad never made me feel stupid when I'd lose my balance and knock the lamp off the table. Gilad never judged me for being uncoordinated or forgetting my left from my right.
So safe, my Gilad.
I put down the remote, moved the coffee table out of the way and prepared to get fit.
First we did some basic breathing stuff - inhale, exhale, hands over my head, hands at my sides, stuff like that. By this time, Charlie and Sammy had figured out that I was not going to be returning to the chair anytime soon, so they decided to stand next to me in case I was forced to drop out with a leg cramp or something. I shooed them away because we were now walking in place with our knees high. So far so good, although I did get a twinge from the toes on my right foot that I broke last week when I kicked a chair (not while participating in exercise). But I made do, just putting my weight on my right heel when I stepped down. Then Gilad introduced the v-step, something I remembered from my 6AM step aerobics classes way back in the day. The memory of those classes seemed oh so remote and other worldly, but I had loved the energy, the adrenaline, the sense of accomplishment as I had kicked, stepped and jumped along with 20 other crazy people dying for a Big Mac for breakfast. But that was then and this is me today, no longer buff or toned.
I had to wait a few beats to get back into sync with Gilad. Left foot out, right foot out, back to center with the left, tap down with the right. Ouch! Dammit - there were those toes again. But no time to stop - out with the right foot, out with the left foot, back center with the right (weight on my heel), tap down with the left. Got it.
Then Gilad added arms. After a few amateurish, karate-chopping motions, I finally got in the swing of things and found myself doing everything Gilad was doing. I'm pretty sure he winked at me when he said to keep walking while he went to a commercial.
Yes, sir.
It was then that I noticed something was wrong with one of the steam pipes in the house. No matter that I have gas heat- there must be a steam pipe somewhere because I kept hearing a rhythmic hissing sound, like the lead-in to a big explosion. Keeping my hands dutifully on my hips, I marched out of the living room and through the dining room trying to determine where the sound was coming from. But no matter how carefully I listened, the sound seemed to follow me.
That's when I realized the hissing sound was coming from me.
I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror - seven minutes into a half-hour TV work out show and I was already cherry-faced and frizzy-haired. Not only that, but Gilad's warm up alone had me making noises like a pin-poked blow up doll. I marched resolutely back to the living room, careful to keep my knees high.
Charlie was standing on the arm of my chair, licking the jelly off half of the bagel I'd been eating for breakfast. But Sammy - he was blithely standing on the coffee table, completely absorbed in gulping down the other half of my bagel. When they saw me, both dogs jumped down and ran over to me with their little hopeful faces, as if to say Enough of this nonsense - come back to your chair. I grabbed the remote and turned the TV up. Gilad was back and now we were going to work on our glutes.
With my feet shoulder width apart I did as Gilad instructed, taking care to squeeze my backside and my abs as I squatted. Sammy began to lick the sweat off my left calf. I ignored him. If you can't see your toes, Gilad said helpfully, you need to lean back further as you squat. I looked down. Charlie was planted in front of me with his hopeful face again but I could see my toes and boy, did I need a pedi. Most of the red polish was chipped off the two sore toes on my right foot, and the big toenail on my left foot was really long. Squeeze, instructed Gilad. I squeezed. Exhale as you come up. I exhaled. Squeeze, instructed Gilad. I squeezed. Exhale. I exhaled.
Things were going pretty well at this point, the moves coming back to me like old friends. I could do this. Gilad moved to a side kick on the exhale. Squeeze and squat. Exhale, stand and raise the leg to the side. Squeeze, stand and raise the other leg. Unfortunately, Sammy was still licking and I beaned him square in the face. I thought I'd poked out his little doggie eye with my toenail. Poor baby, I crooned. Mommy didn't mean to kick him widdle head. I scooped him into my lap, which was a huge mistake because both dogs jumped all over me in a snarfing/licking ball of joy, thinking I'd just be heading back to my chair now.
No, I said firmly, sliding both dogs off my lap. Back to my work out. Official-like and all.
Gilad was doing upper body moves now. Damn. Where are my weights??? The last I remember, they were in a closet somewhere. No worries. I ran to the kitchen followed by Charlie and Sammy who figured I was just teasing about the work out and was really running for their leashes. Much to their consternation, I threw open the cupboard and grabbed two cans of Progresso soup. One was black bean and one was chicken but they seemed to be of equal weight as I hefted them in my hand so I ran back to the living room to catch up with Gilad.
DaBoys followed me, grumbling under their breath about flights of fancy and hating Gilad.
I planted myself in front of the TV again and began doing bicep curls, letting the weight of the Progresso work its magic. The muscles at the top of Gilad's arm bulged and rippled. I pulled up the sleeve of my tshirt and focused on the mole on the top of my right arm.
Squeeze and curl. . .
The mole didn't even wiggle although there was a noticeable wiggle in that saggy part of my arm between elbow and armpit. I tried it with the other arm. Squeeze and curl. Only the saggy part wiggled. Damn.
Gratefully, I discovered Gilad was now lying down on his mat. I stowed the soup cans on the couch and laid down on the floor to work my abs. I placed my hands behind my head like Gilad and focused on keeping my shoulders relaxed. I inhaled and tried to flex whatever puny muscles still existed underneath my tummy flab as I tried to lift my shoulders off the floor. That's when I realized Sammy's entire dog body was laying on my hair and it was at that exact instant that Charlie launched himself full-bore onto my stomach. Before I knew it, I'd curled into a fetal position trying to figure out if I had any hair left to hold back while I threw up.
Lift, Gilad was instructing, completely unaware that I was breathless and pinned to the floor by two dogs who were now jumping all over me and licking my face with joy because I'd decided to sit down.
Off! I instructed firmly as I tried to get back into ab-working position which only momentarily confused the two dogs. Once they realized I was not getting up off the floor they figured I wanted to play with them and just didn't know it yet.
The more I tried to get up the more frenzied they became. Sammy jumped on my shoulders, licking my neck and ears. Charlie got all caught up in the excitement, nipped at my butt and climbed up on my side. I rolled onto all fours to get up but Sammy jumped up on my back king of the mountain-like and started barking. Charlie pointed his little nose to the ceiling and began yipping in between licking my elbows.
Stop, I cried trying not to laugh.
Lift and squeeze, offered Gilad helpfully.
Arf arf, barked Sammy happily as Charlie happily nipped my nose.
And that's when I gave up.
I lurched over to the chair where two truimphant dogs piled onto my lap and licked my face.
You two are rotten, I said.
IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou, licked Charlie and Sammy.
Breathe, instructed Gilad, raising himself into a sitting position and lifting his arms languidly over his head.
Oh, my Gilad. So nice to know you're still out there in TV land providing eye candy for the jiggly masses.
As for me and DaBoys, our fitness routine for the rest of today will consist of putting on leashes and going for a nice, long walk. Then maybe I'll exercise some mouse-sliding muscles and see if I can find a fitness center specializing in the unfit and uncoordinated.
One that doesn't allow dogs.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The DP's

I am in the clutches of an addiction.
Yup. I'm addicted to . . .
Diet Pepsi.
That refreshing, sparkling cola beverage. That chilly effervescence. The crackly sound when it's poured over ice. The sssssssssss of the frothy, tingly carbonatation taking flight. And then. . . the first sweet taste of the day as that cool, dark liquid slides down my throat. Ahhhhhhhhhh.
How do I know I'm addicted to Diet Pepsi?? Well, here's a few pieces of evidence:
1. I watch the clock, waiting until 11AM. That's the earliest I will let myself drink a carbonated beverage. Any earlier than that and it's like having soda pop for breakfast, but the point is. . . I watch the clock.
2. Last night, I chose to have DP with dinner even though we were having chicken scallopine, a dish that just cries out for a nice, dry white.
3. Last week, I stopped by Arby's for a large DP even though I'd be home in less than an hour and had six two-liter bottles in the trunk fresh from the grocery store. In my defense, it WAS 11:15.
4. The fact that I know Arby's and Taco Bell serve Diet Pepsi and McDonalds and Burger King serve Diet Coke (yuck).
5. This morning, I realized we were out of toilet paper. I went to the store. They were having a sale on DP so I bought DP and forgot toilet paper. Thank heavens we have tissues.
So there you have it. At this very moment, you are entertaining the maniacal, delirious ravings of a full-blown Diet Pepsi addict who's just had her first fix of the day.
You know, I tried to kick my DP addiction a few weeks back. Sure did. And do you remember what happened?
My mojo disappeared.
Coincidence? I think not.
I wonder if the fine folks at Diet Pepsi would like to sponsor my scrapbooking addiction. If they did, I could offer them some wicked product placement.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Flock You Say!

Here's a tutorial I did for Scrappy Jo's February Technique of the Month. With May on the horizon, I thought it might be a fun technique for those Mother's Day cards we'll all be making!

Here's what you'll need:

Tsukineko’s Essential Glue Pad

Stampendous! Fun Flock

Let's get started cuz I'm here to tell you. . . FLOCKING IS FUN!!

There are only a couple of things you have to remember about gluing flock onto your cards or layouts:

1. Don’t sneeze.

2. Turn off overhead fans.

3. Close your windows.

If you can handle those few things, you can flock especially if you’ve handled embossing powder before. Instead of inking a stamp, sprinkling on embossing powder and heating it, you're now going to use glue on your stamps and then ad the flocking material. Trust me - it's cinchy.

Here’s how you, too, can become a master at flocking-

1. Squeeze glue from the bottle onto the pad and work it in with the tip as you squeeze. Be sure to cover the entire pad. The instructions say to use about a teaspoon and that should give you about 100 impressions. I’m not good at measuring and probably used more than that.

2. Once you’ve glued the pad, you just tamp the pad all over your stamp in the same way you’d ink your stamp. Once your stamp is covered, it’ll be shiny which shows up better for pictures on a rubber stamp as opposed to a clear stamp.

  1. Then just stamp your paper. I tried to take a picture for this step, but guess what? Clear glue on white paper doesn’t photograph well. Don’t panic when you can see anything on your paper – just relax and go onto the next step. Trust me- you’ll be fine. Be sure to cover up the glue pad even in between stampings because the glue does dry out pretty quickly.
  2. After you’ve stamped your paper with glue, tap out the flock over the glue. This is where you need to minimize whatever breezes might be in your house, cuz I’m here to tell you that flock LOVES to fly. The good thing is that it’s not sticky at all, so if it lands on your shirt (or your nosy dog, say) it won’t stick there forever. (Or turn your dog pink).

5. Now go ahead and press the flock into the glue. You don’t have to be
gentle but try not to schooch it around. Just press straight
down with your fingers.

6. Now it's time to return the excess flock back to the jar for you to use again. Just pick up your card or LO, curl it up into sort of a loose cone shape and tap it so the flock slides into the jar. Or if you're like me . . .into the jar, down my lap and onto the dog.

At this point, wash off your stamp with soap and water and pat dry.

Let your beautiful flocked things sit overnight before working with them. I didn't, and if you look closely at my flowery card below, you can see where I smooshed off some of the flocking in the lower left hand corner with my thumb. That's because I have no patience and played with it before it was dry. My mom would not be surprised. . . I was the kid who ate cookie and pie dough because I couldn't wait for the part where you're supposed to bake 'em first.

I’m definitely buying more colors and playing with this some more. While working with this, all kinds of ideas popped into my head. Wouldn't flocked flowers in every color be beautiful on a Mother’s Day card? Or what about flocked frames around pics in your next layout?? Or flocked titles?? What an easy and cool technique – and the fun you can have is endless!

So go get yourself some flocking and start playing around. Just remember – no whistling while you work!

Friday, April 16, 2010

First, Put Down Whatever You're Doing. . .

. . .then go get your dog

then go get your other dog

and read this book as soon as possible.
For me the true test of any good read is if I have to fight the urge to read the whole book in one big gulp instead of savoring it. I started reading Garth Stein's "The Art of Racing in the Rain" after dinner last night and in the interest of pacing myself, forced myself to go to bed at my usual time.
At 1AM, I gave up my pursuit of sleep and turned on my light again.
4AM - book finished - found me downstairs sitting next to an open dog crate, crying in the dark and nuzzling a pair of very warm but confused dogs.
"The Art of Racing in the Rain" is a witty, touching hug of a story about a family's life as seen through the eyes of it's dog, Enzo - an intuitive canine who believes he will be reincarnated as a human when it comes his time to die. He knows this because he watched a documentary about Mongolian dogs on TV. Until that day, however, Enzo hates crows, resents monkeys, loves television and longs for opposable thumbs.
This wise and dignified observer lets the reader peek through a new keyhole at our human antics and trevails.
The voice Stein gives Enzo is so carefully crafted that the lessons here have a credibility that is engaging and palatable, with none of the manipulation that made me abandon Nicholas Sparks and Mitch Albom. Sometimes, Enzo's thoughts made me chuckle ("The smell would have given me an erection if I still had testicles"), but his meatier observations ("How quickly a year passes, like a mouthful of food snatched from the maw of eternity") are neither forced nor fake.
Dog lovers will relate to Enzo's thoughts as he does those purely doggie things like running through fields and playing fetch. But it's his thoughts when he sits by his troubled master or seeks out someone's hand for a good scratch behind the ears that had me thinking about even the innocuous interactions I have with my dogs. I found myself looking at both of them, wondering about the comparative weight of tiny kindnesses and tiny cruelties.
This book's gift is that Enzo's stories also made me think about how humans treat each other. And his disgust with the indignities and inconveniences of aging evoke a thoughtfulness I would do well to remember.
As in any life story, there is laughter and loss and sorrow even if in somewhat predictable doses. Cars and racing are the backdrop against which Stein's observations on life are hung but like any episode of National Geographic, you'll find yourself engaged by those details even if they hold no interest for you at first glance.
Like Dean Koontz's book "Watchers," "The Art of Racing in the Rain" will make you want a dog in your life and by your side. And if you've already been "dog blessed," you'll find yourself looking into their eyes at quiet moments, wondering if something more might be going on inside their little heads.
Ultimately, it is the unyielding tenacity of the human spirit that makes Enzo want to believe that someday he will be one of us, where he can finally embody ". . . that which manifests itself is before you."

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Did you ever get a song stuck in your head and no matter what you do it won't go away?
About halfway through the grocery this morning, I realized I was bobbing my head to Imma Be by the Black Eyed Peas. If you haven't heard it, Imma Be is a right catchy little tune. But when you are a 50-something woman bebopping your way through frozen foods to a tune only you can hear. . . well, people stare.
Not that having people stare at me is a new thing. I once sat through an entire church service with a pink curler imprisoned in the back of my hair, but that's a different blog post.
The problem with earworms - those pesky tunes stuck in your head like frantic birds flapping around a warehouse - is that once they get in there, you can't do a darn thing to get rid of them.
A few weeks back, I drove to Columbus to help Annie paint the rest of her apartment. I was looking forward to some alone time with my daughter figuring we'd get a lot done and have a blast doing it. (By my estimate, it's not a family visit unless you laugh so hard you snort Diet Pepsi through your nose at least once.) Instead, I nearly drove Annie crazy thanks to Lady GaGa and a little tune called "Bad Romance." And the fact that I have a tendancy to sing out loud to my earworms. The visit progressed something like this:

Roma Roma-ma
GaGa, ooh-la-la
Want your bad romance . . . walking up two flights of stairs with painting supplies, wine, sewing machine and a suitcase.

I want your drama, the touch of your hand
I want your leather studded kiss in the scene
I want your love, love love, love
I want your love . . . spreading out dropcloths and stirring cans of Westminster Gold and Legacy Blue.

Caught in a bad romance
Caught in a bad romance . . . washing paint out of my favorite Harley Davidson tshirt where Annie "accidentally" caught me with a paint roller.

I want your love I want your revenge
You and me could write a bad romance
I want your love and all your lover's revenge
You and me could write a bad romance . . . driving to JoAnn Fabrics for material to make kitchen curtains.

I don't want to be friends
I want your bad romance
I want your bad ro. . . Annie brandishing a big bolt of polka dotted fabric and threatening to staple my lips together if I didn't STOP WITH THE LADY GAGA ALREADY.

But the worst. . . the absolutely most nightmarish worst. . . are earworms of songs you hate. Those are the most potently awful, like a curse that you can't do a thing about. All I have to do is hear the tiniest snatch of them and they're embedded in my brain for days. Songs like "It's a Small World After All" or "The Song That Never Ends" or anything by Burl Ives.
What did I just do!!????
Now I've got Burl Ives stuck in my head!!
Must. . .turn on . . . radio . . .and. . . wash out. . . mind's ear. . . .lalalalalalalalalalalalalalala. . .

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Yoohoo! Mojo! Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are!

You didn't see my mojo run by here, did you?
Darn thing's been missing for quite awhile now.
I checked my scrap bin. It's not hiding there. It didn't slip between my sheets of Websters Papers or Pink Paislee, either.
Didn't see it in my Stickles drawer or in my ribbon boxes.
It's not in my button jars nor is it in those unclaimed moments between breakfast and lunch.
This is frustrating me, let me tell you.
I even strolled the aisles at Michaels and JoAnn yesterday waving a ten dollar bill and. . . . nothing.
Maybe I'll set out a dish of bling and see if that doesn't make it come home.