December 29, 2011

Thank You, Dixie!

Thank you so much, Dixie, for two years of shipper duties for Operation Write Home! It's time to become a "real" retiree! Enjoy all the things you've been looking forward to.

And thank you for being a great, patient teacher this fall teachin' me the ropes!

December 17, 2011

Merry Almost Christmas... Card Break!

So before I knew I would be the new shipper for Operation Write Home I began a Copic coloring frenzy with my holiday Magnolias aka "Tildas".. I know, I know.. they don't have faces but I love 'em anyway. Long story short most of my coloring efforts -- at least 20 more various girls, snowmen and Santas -- are tucked away to be completed next summer but at least had to do cards for my two fav nieces and granddaughter...the dining room table looks like I made at least a dozen cards and they aren't what I envisioned with all the embellishments etc. but they are done and proof, yes, that there is still crafting and coloring going on in beautiful downtown Mint Hill.
Feliz Navidad!

November 30, 2011

You've Come a Long Way, Baby....

So I'm into my third week really as the East Coast shipper for Operation Write Home and I can honestly say that, thanks to helping with "stuffing and stamping" for a year or so and great (patient) training from Dixie, I'm not overwhelmed at all, am loving being "busy" again after two years of retirement and especially for such a worthwhile cause. My husband was in the Navy in the early '70s, stationed in the Indian Ocean with liberty in places like Bangladesh, Ceylon and India - far from home for long periods with very little way to even keep in contact with loved ones. What a blessing greeting cards delivered to their vessel to send back home would have been! So he's my box builder, post office runner and happy to donate his time so others can keep in touch.

Two years ago I had "sort of" made a greeting card because I am first a scrapbooker and knew nothing of rubber stamps, embossing or even a bone folder! It was hard to pick one of my "best" first efforts (because they were so few and far between) but by February 2010, I did know how to use stamp and this was "good" for me.....

Hanging out at an LSS with ladies making cards for OWH inspired me to become a cardmaker but it was a huge learning curve...a year later, though, thanks to Stampin' Up and patient friends, I was graduating from card elementary school...

This past year I began selling Stampin' Up! really as a hobby and became a Certified Copic Designer which were a big boost to the creative juices, but I am still learning so much, loving it all and am truly amazed at the creativity of all the women I've met here in North Carolina and every day through their cards while I'm sorting cards for our heros but I feel like I'm startin' to catch up because I was only slightly intimidated when I found out I was going to be a "Featured Cardmaker.

Being creative for such a good cause is the best of both worlds and although my creative time will be curtailed a bit for the next couple of years, it will be fun making cards for my contacts and the OWH challenges!

November 27, 2011

OWH: Valentines and Archway Cookies!

Operation Write Home has teamed up with Archway Cookies (yum!) again .. so if can get 5000 Valentines by December 10, Archway will donate 5000 cookies for the heroes. I know we can do this! East Coasters: ready, set, go! Get the details here.

15 cards for Archway challenge completed, stamped and tucked....

What Will You Do With Your Scraps of Time?

Scraps of time.... it's been a month, a long difficult month since we lost our boy Rio. He was a just a scrap of a pup when he was rescued-- 3 months old, 8 pounds of ears and nose literally "sick as a dog" from floating in and lapping up hurricane floodwaters containing who knows what? Joining a household with two active older male dogs, Dusty and Motley, was a huge adjustment for everyone and, in retrospect, not fair to them. But I was undeterred in my quest to be the heroine who rushed in to rescue one of the "Floyd dogs." But I almost sent him back -- twice. Nothing prepared me for how sick he'd be -- for months, how much his trauma would completely derail any attempt at crate training or puppy cuddling, how many scowls I got from the usually fun loving, "kissy" older dogs, and how much money (and time) I'd spend at the vet with him the first four months. But one cold Februrary night in February 2000, Rio wouldn't walk, not at all, not even for a treat. He was diagnosed with severe bilateral hip dysplasia the next day and arthritis, probably exacerbated by his recent romps in the snow. As we drove home all I could think of was bills, more bills, more time off from work to care for him.. but this puppy, this soulful, really serious puppy who always seemed wiser than his years, turned to me in the car and those big brown eyes just said "Mom, I'm sorry I'm such a bother to you" and then a kiss, just a little lick, but a kiss nonetheless from the Rio dog. From that second on, that scrap of time, he had my heart. We got help from the great vets at NCSU and Stony Creek, fixed the worst hip as best we could and life with Rio the Wonder Dog began in earnest!

I lost Dusty and Motley in August and October 2004 and the world changed, especially Rio's world -- he refused to be left out back on the deck along at all, even when I was at home. It was no longer a safe happy territory once shared with his pack and Rio became a total "house dog.". Devouring his "1, 2, 3" treats everytime we left, he was a loyal sentry by the window in the back bedroom through long work days who was overjoyed every time we came home but never anxious when we left -- he knew we'd be back! His only transgression was the occasional foray into the trash when "someone" forgot to put the can in the bathroom and shut the door... when we did... scraps of food.

Reflecting back as I now can do, I see that there are so many scraps of time with this sweet, gentle dog and I see now that I did make something with them - wonderful memories, especially since my marriage to Steve in 2006, that I am grateful for-- being able to retire early in late 2009 which meant more time with Rio especially our morning "kibbles & coffee" while we watched House Hunters was "mom time" and Rio always thought everyone made such a fuss over the size of the bathroom! Then there was his enthusiastic, always high stepping "treat dance" when we returned home from an evening out; hip pain or not, the joyful bounding down the driveway in greeting everytime I came home; squeaky toy concerts; the simple joy of watermelon and carrots; licking an almost empty yogurt container for 30 minutes; counting out "time out" when he begged too much at the table; precleaning all the dinner dishes as they went into the dishwasher; a goood rawhide (aka "cigar") after dinner; "dad" rough housing with him and, as they both aged, getting a good rub on his white spot as only Steve could do; early mornings exploring the pasture with Steve, lazy afternoons "out front" taking in the goings on in the 'hood; walks in the park; that big nose pushing against my elbow saying "stop working and play with me"; "teaching" two generations of neighorhood toddlers that you don't have to be afraid of a black dog who's bigger than you are; never having a couch in the evening because "someone" took over; and the quiet companionship while I went about daily life just knowing Rio was there. He was a gentle companion, a quiet, understanding listener... and even an occasional kisser! Sweet little scraps of time.

Age, "thunder terror" and all the steps in our tri-level house took a toll on Rio the past year, and the "decision" about quality of life and how much pain he was in was looming -- Steve and I both knew it and wondered how Rio would make it through a bitterly cold winter without becoming still more lame. Three nights before Rio left home for the last time he and I laid on the living room floor watching TV and I as I rubbed his back and tummy I told him that I wanted him to tell me when it was his time... "let me know, Rio, you let me know, little boy," never dreaming that three days later he would. Hemangiosarcoma is, in most cases, a sudden and deadly disease. Rio's time was quick - a scrap of time from Saturday evening when, after his usual late afternoon walk, he never got up again from his bed. We rushed him to Animal Medical Hospital at 6:00 but by 10:30 Sunday morning, a beautiful autumn morning, weakness and old age and the disease met, and Rio slept peacefully forever as Dr. Fanning helped him across that last bridge. She told me he had not suffered, that his recent "slow down" could have been the sarcoma or his hips, that he might have sensed something was wrong as animals often do. His last food was his favorite Pup-er-oni treat that I brought from home Sunday morning, his last day at home was a lovely cool sunny autumn day (his favorite) and his last moments were spent surrounded by people and smells and touches he knew and trusted - the final scraps of his time with us. What was sudden and gut wrenching for us was quick and peaceful for Rio and for that I have learned to be so eternally grateful. He was, as Steve has said, his own dog who deserved do to things quietly, with dignity, and on his own terms at the end.

When life gives you scraps, make something with them, okay? A scrap can be an opportunity (like Operation Write Home!), a windfall, a set of art pencils, a piece of fabric, a new relationship, giving a homeless animal a new lease on life...whatever scraps you find, be certain before you discard them that you can't turn that scrap into a quilt.

In 1998 I was still swearing I'd "never have a dog in this house" -- 21 years later I'm still not used to having no one to step around in the kitchen or seeing my "new" couch without a cover on it. Dusty, Motley and Rio were each rescued, each grateful and each their own "man." They changed me forever, but Rio's last 7 years as an "only child" is a scrap of time that was especially sweet -- a great life with a a goofy "silly old dog" who lived a complete dog life. I see him and his brothers in the stars above our deck where they look down on us, I know they do. "Good night, little boy, sleep tight, we love you...."

November 23, 2011

Operation Write Home - Week Two

So I've jumped into my new "job" as East Coast Shipper for Operation Write Home which means (1) my cardmaking and crafting time has taken a back seat and (2) I'm enjoying every minute of it! There will be time for cardmaking -- all my contacts will get a new card with each box I send -- but it was time to get "busy" again after two years' retirement. I'm finding out quickly that our relatively small den and oversize downstairs half bath are excellent storage spaces when you stack the boxes carefully (especially on the bathroom shelves! Only thing I really forgot was to warn our letter carrier = lots of walks up the long driveway with packages!

I could not have done this transition one quarter as smoothly without Dixie, the "retiring" shipper, who is a good friend and who has been soooo helpful and patient teaching me the ropes. Now she has time to do some things she's wanted to do and to decorate her house for the holidays without the OWH decor - can't wait to see it.

Almost forgot! Operation Write Home has a card challenge with Archway Cookies for Valentine's Day.. you can get more info about that challenge at

November 13, 2011

Girls Weekend Out: Camp Crop

I've heard good things about a local scrapbook retreat for a couple of years so a friend and I decided to do an 'overnight' to test the waters.. Wow! Beautiful setting on nearby Lake Norman - an hour drive that took us a world away from busy everyday life! Ladies were very nice, lots of room to spread out, good food.. and I got 78 Christmas/winter cards done - most for my OWH shipper military contacts, but also some for us to send, and 3 BoBunny scrapbook kits.. did I work hard enough??? Now it's full steam ahead with OWH and I'm excited to get going... but also looking ahead to camp again in March to work on scrapbooks (sorely behind.... as is everyone?)

November 11, 2011

Welcome, New Life: Big Changes... big big....

So today is a big, big day.. it's Veterans Day and a time for all to reflect on and be thankful for the service and sacrifice to our country by so many men and women over the years... Thank you all, and especially to hubby Steve! Today is also a fitting day for Sandy at Operation Write Home ( and to announce that I will be taking over duties as the new East Coast shipper. I've been making cards for OWH since I retired nearly two years ago and just enjoying all my free time..but enough is enough.. This new "full time" retirement job affords me an even greater opportunity to help our service men and women. I'm taking over from my friend Dixie who has been a huge help in the transition and whose friendship I cherish but now it's time for her to "play" for a while! Over the past couple of weeks, OWH has turned our downstairs den into a warehouse but, hey, it has a fridge stocked with drinks, HDTV and the nearby panty... I can just move there!

As an aside another big change in our lives was the loss of our beloved Rio two weeks ago. A true rescue "survivor" dog he was, at age 12, still a fun loving, gentle, sweet dog who is sorely missed by us and everyone in the 'hood but he led what I know was a "complete" dog life and passed without pain. We will never forget but always be thankful he left on his own terms...

October 1, 2011

Any Hero Christmas Card for OWH Challenge

Forgot to send Sandy the info to link my blog for the Blog Hop for World Cardmaking Day but, yeah!, they had a separate Christmas card challenge. Reminder to self: you sdon't send her your link the day of the blog...

September 11, 2011

Birthday Challenge #15 - Splish Splash

First I thought this was going to be a summer theme card (tricky title!).. but then I decided to make it about chocolate which is even better.. a CAS card for OWH too.

Birthday Bash Challenge #11 - CAS

Love CAS cards especially for OWH cardmaking days.

September 10, 2011

OWH Birthday Challenges No. 1 and 3

An animal for Challenge 1 and a kids' card... for "unique Christmas" challenge 3 -- well how many times have you seen a dog actually write a letter of supplication to Santa... I ask you? Love this Impression Obession stamp! My dog Rio always has this look on his face when he's gone counter surfing but his hat usually falls off....

Dixie: this Bow Easy bow's for you! ;)

OWH Virtual Card Making Party! Challenge #2

Okay, okay, I will do better keeping up this blog and OWH's cardmaking party is great reason to turn over a new "leaf" (ha ha, it's fall now!). Working on cards today on the deck where it's not a bazillion degrees.. here's my nature card! It's a stamp from Earth Art that I watercolored last evening as a birthday card for my hubby next week. Timing is everything....

I am also entering this card on a site that my buddy June hooked me up with that I really like, Shopping Our Stash ( The challenge is bugs, beasts or birds!

July 22, 2011

Stampyland Fri-Dare-Day #1

I love Scrapyland, so I'm really happy they've got a sister site, Stampyland, for us stampers.

First Challenge on the new Stampyland Challenge Blog ) is a beach day card.. I love Just Rite stamps and this image which was colored with Copics. I have a friend who lives on the beach at Sanibel and this image reminded me of her lovely shell collection and the beautiful beach there = a "just because" card.

July 3, 2011

OWH 4th of July Blog Hop- Holley's Vintage Challenge

Colored with Faber-Castell watercolor pencils and Staedler crayons! This is an Impression Obsession image - love all of their images but this one is a fav... Happy 4th of July everyone!

June 2, 2011

OWH Midweek Challenge: Purple and Green

Missed the OWH blog hop but gearing up for the "second million" challenge which is perfect for hot weather when you want to be inside being artsy. This week's midweek challenge is to use purple and green on a card!

May 31, 2011

A Cherrful Home for the Tag Ladies & Playin' with my New Crayons!

No 63 year old woman should be so excited about a box of 24 Crayons, really, it's nuts. But I love love my new Lyra watercolors that blend so easily it's like painting. This butterfly digi is one of my favorits - and not too big an image - so I used it to experiment with some different color blends and used the images on some semi-vintage cards for OWH. And then are all these tags I've been making that needed a home and a 95 degree day in May [sorry, that's just insanely hot for May!...] seemed like a good time to build 'em a cheerful "home" on my tool table.

May 23, 2011

Endings and Beginnings

Another local scrapbook store, Southern Scrapbooks, closed on Saturday. But this one held a special meaning because through Peggy, the owner and now one of my dear friends, I met so many amazing women. Sunday I went to help Peggy "break down" the store so that Mickey could move gondolas and inventory to what will be her new store in Anderson SC. It was a bittersweet day but it was just good-bye to "stuff. Friendships are the "stuff" that make your life better and that "stuff" didn't have a thing to so with what's no longer in that building. Welcome to your new life, Peggy! And thnks for introducing me to your creativity and friends.

May 22, 2011

Tags in Distress

Love Tim Holtz "in theory" but the altered/distressed style is just not one I have embraced at all although I love "painting" Magnolia stamps and others with his distress inks. That being said, and because Daphne at Family Memories is a great (and patient) teacher who had some gorgeous samples in their window, my buddy Katherine and I decided to become damsels in distress and test those waters one more time! And we loved these! The distress stain on the "bird" tag is a bit dark for the sentiment to show up (a bit of a learning curve on this stain and ink blending) and the verdict's still out on using those stains in any dark colors. The three flowers, green using the new rosette die and "mist and twirl" orange/red flowers sisters using his Tattered Flowers die, lots of ink blending, water and Pearls mist will be showin' up on some scrapbook pages. I still haven't gotten used to the idea of tags for tags' sake but the dressmaker and Memories tags lend themselves to smaller versions for cardmaking especially using the smaller "My Minds Eye" stamps that are so similar to Tim's and with less "dimensional" flowers. A fun, creative girlfriend afternoon, Mickie D's sweet suthern tea and inspiration = a winning Saturday combination.

May 16, 2011

Cleaning out the Colored Images Stash....

I love to color but at some point you have to "do" something with all those Copic'd, crayon'd and "distressed" images so today was cardmaking day. I love Maggies aka "Magnolia stamps".. this little girl is "Tilda with hands in pocket" (who knew the names were so creative?). Did 3 of these experimenting with light from a different source, hair color and shading. I love Stampin' Up!'s popcorn trim from the Occasions mini caalog and used it in Daffodil Delight to hightlight the flower and sentiment.

May 10, 2011

Quick Quotes Has Entered the Blog-o-sphere!

Went to a Quick Quotes Private Reserve weekend in Atlanta last year and it was "the" best time.. a bunch of friends from Southern Scrapbooks, great projects (see above) and of course the great QQ team - Patsy, Sunny... et al. I'm delighted to see they have started a blog with what looks to be a great design team to get ongoing inspiration... and if you've never seen any of Patsy's quotes to use on your projects, well, I'm just sayin....... you need to go look here.

May 4, 2011

The Copic-Cabana!

For several months I've carried my Copics around the house and crops etc. with those snap and store units that never stayed snapped ... Since I'm retired on a budget (well sort of), I have Ciao, Sketch and a few "original" markers depending on what was on sale. Finding a way to store them has been a huge priority since I have different sizes and the "official" holders are rather pricey. My dear friend Peggy is closing her scrapbook store this month, selling the fixtures as well, and lo and behold there was this lonely acrylic shelf.. I really didn't think every marker would fit but I have 3 empty cubicles and all is organized by color, the new chart colored in, with one big "scratch off" on the to do list! It was a good evening, well except for poor Rio the wonder dog who was suffering thru thunder boomers while "mom" played with Copics until 2 a.m.!

May 2, 2011

Copic Extravaganza and Certification!

I do love my Copics.. I've experimented with the shabby chic, distressing (some of it's okay) and a ton of other "styles" in the past 15 months since retirement but coloring (Copics, watercolor crayons and pencils) has followed me from kindergarten to my 60s! Last week I took three Copic classes at Peanut Doodles, a great scrap store in Salisbury NC: coloring skin and hair, many ways to use Copics on glossy, jewels etc., airbrushing and another class on blending techniques.. new mantra is light-to-dark since I've experimented with dark to light and gotten frustrated. These two adorable cards were the project for the third class. Colleen Schaan taught these classes and she's wonderful - if you have a chance to take one of her classes somewhere in the Southeast, you will learn so much!

Next day was the 8-hour "beginner" Copic certification class, also with Colleen. I'm so excited to pursue this! Why? Just for me... some people have very negative "opinions" on the value of these classes but art is personal and the possibility of being able to teach and just enjoy this medium "for me" is my motivation, not pleasing other people! ::who put me on this soapbox?:: I caved and nearly completed my Copic collection at, got a marker holder from my dear friend, Peggy, and now hubby is busy figuring out how to improve on that.

Where did April Go?

Wow! It's been just over a month since I've been here... where I "live" online.. it was a busy month with cards for OWH, girlfriend time and classes... art, cards, and my Copic Certification!

One of my favorite techniques this month has been a 'one page wonder' card.. this one is made with a 4x10 sheet of paper cut either with four 2.5" "strips" across for 4 cards or with two 2.5" strips and then cutting the remaining section on the diagonal. Perfect for OWH cards.

March 27, 2011

OWH midweek throwdown: Cards4kids!

Hi, Blog! Long time, no see... This week's midweek throwdown on OWH is to make cards for kids! I love Impression Obsession stamps; this sailboat "Cupcake" is one of my favorites and IMHO would be perfect for a boy birthday card! I textured up the blue a little bit (really can't see it because I didn't want it to stand out too much) with Sizziz water dots folder and used a Nestability to frame the sailboat!

March 8, 2011

Welcome Back, Everyday Life....

So my surgery went fine and it's been 5 days and I'm feeling semi-crafty so I made very simple card for a couple of challenges just so I could feel productive. I used a white gel pen and then Rose Red marker to make the polka dot flowers for this simple, simple Mom's Day Card for:

OWH - Mom's Day card
Do You Stack Up - #9 Just green it!
Kaboodle Doodles - Challenge 57 Go Green
Cupcake Craft Challenges-Cupcake 132 pink polka dots

February 28, 2011

It's Time to Do the Bunny Hop!

Next, please hop over Judy's lovely blog...

I love this digi pooch which was designed by (ta-da!) our fearless leader, Sandy Allnock - So, thanks, Sandy, for the great Easter image which is colored with Faber-Casell watercolor pencils and aqua brush.

We're almost done with cards for Easter (due March 18) and hard at work on Mother's Day (due March 31) and, of course, we always need "all occasion" cards with or without sentiments. I am constantly inspired and amazed by the creativity of the women on this blog and the sense of satisfaction I get in creating for such a worthy cause! And we send so many cards each week, it's amazing!

There's a little blog candy here for one lucky "hopper" which, if I can't get this thingy to work will be distributed with the assistance of shipper Dixie!
If you want to go back to the top of the blog,
click here
. Happy Hopping!

February 27, 2011

Two Crafty Days...

So I'm taking a mini-hiatus from my blog this week but spent a great day stamping and being creative with friends yesterday. I just love Copics and this stunning digistamp from Digital Two For Tuesday is one I've been wanting to play with!

I colored this card with E50,53,25,002,0000, Y13,17, R20, 24, YR00, G41

This card is being submitted for the following challenges:

Copic Creations - warm colors
7 Kids College Fund blog - square card
Simon Says Stamp - coffee and cream
Stamptacular Sunday - frame it
StampsRUs challenge - for the girls
Do You Stack Up - anything goes!
The Corrosive Challenge Blog- distress!
CCEE Stampers-distress!
Woodware USA blog- anything goes
Sentimental Sundays-anything goes
Stampin for the Weekend -monochrome

February 25, 2011

A New Embossing Technique (for me)!

GMTA... had a card making afternoon with friends and we did flowers glued onto cardstock, then embossed with Sizzix lattice card and lo and behold, here comes a similar tutorial the next day..... love this technique and will use a lot more than the 15 cards I already did for OWH!

This card is also for the "anything goes" challenge #8 on the Do You Stack Up challenge blog.

February 21, 2011

Cake with a Slick Cherry on Top!

Cake or ice cream? Yum... I love this new cupcake stamp from Stampin' Up and a little bit of Crystal Effects on the cherry just enhances the icing on the cake! This card is for (1) Cupcake Craft challenge "Cake 'n Ice Cream", (2) Fussy and Fancy Sweet Treats challenge, (3) Do You Stack Up challenge 7 - dots,and (4) Meijen's DT and challenge blog -Happy Birthday!

OWH Sketch 57

Easter baskets and flowers.... Love this weeks challenge sketch and will use again and again, I'm sure.

A Square Card and a Fold.....

Not the best at folding but a challenge is just that so.... Easel card I created for the 7 Kids Challenge blog square card challenge and Kaboodle Doodles' challenge to make a card with fold technique.

February 19, 2011

DYSU Challenge #7: Dots!

Dots, dots dots.. they're everywhere... used crystal effects to enhance the "dots" on the turtle.. cheerful thank you card for the weekly challenge at Do You Stack Up.

Bad, bad, bad.....but it was such a bargain!

Beautiful day yesterday so two friends and I set off for a new store in Salisbury, NC ((Peanut Doodles) and the 30% off entire store sale at the Enchanted Cottage even further away but, oh, so worth it. Two of us are seriously addicted to Magnolias and the lure of the discount was just too much.. so much so that we forgot some we meant to buy and ended up getting online full price to add to the stash.....

Life with road trip buddies that are such great enablers is good...

February 17, 2011

Shelter Dogs... Wise and Wonderful....

Every time there's a dog show on you know what's coming, right? Those "adopt a shelter dog" commercials set to mournful music with soulful eyes gazing up at the camera. Look past the sappy commercial and into your heart the next time you want to bring a dog into your family... please. Shelter dogs do have tales to tell and life experiences that pure bred dogs don't have... but these experiences make a shelter/rescue dog grateful.. eternally grateful for their home and the love they receive. You see it in their eyes, in the wag of a tail, in the utter abandon of dozing on the couch instead of a hard floor or worse... Sure, some may need a little more encouragement in the "training department" but many were lost or brought to a shelter from a loving home under circumstances simply beyond the owners' control and have no clue why they aren't "home" any more. Shelters do the best they can but for a dog who has been loved and lived with a family, the time before the stress of shelter life sets in is often short.

Our Harrier (think big beagle), Plotthound/Blue Tick mix (think Eyeore) and Rio (flat coated lab/pointer mix) each have/had their own story, truly distinctive personalites and utterly annoying habits...but each never seemed to forget that they came from a place that wasn't "home." Dus and Motley crossed the bridge within two months of each other in 2004, a very very difficult autumn, leaving our beloved Rio who at age 12 is in the twilight of his years. Rescued from Hurricane Floyd's flood waters at barely 6 months of age he is a true survivor who still loves his pasture romps with "dad," his huge squeaky toys and mooching rawhides from me. Think about it the next time you or someone you know has a hankerin' for a dog,okay? Don't discount shelter dogs and don't ignore the senior dogs either. All of them want just one thing: they want to go home.

::Stepping off rescue dog soapbox and back into craft room... I feel a doggie card coming on:::