Thursday, July 30, 2009

Anyone wondering where I've been?

Hello everyone!
Long time, no blog.
WOW have I been busy!!!

Wanna know what I've been up to? Well, when I last left you, it was July 19, but my posts before that were on July 10. That was Michael's birthday, and in addition to making a few cards and inviting you all to my Open House celebrating the then new IB&C (Idea Book & Catalog), I had a job interview and we went to visit family who were vacationing in Gatlinburg. We actually went to Gatlinburg twice that week. The resort where our family was staying has a great indoor water park. Here are a few pics from both days.

Michael and the kids were standing under a huge bucket that dumps water on you. This was DJ's favorite part of the whole thing...except maybe the one water slide he was able to go on, but I don't have pictures of that.
AJ and me in the lazy river.

The next week, Michael and the kids went down to Fort Walton Beach with his family. He took pictures, but I don't think they are on the computer I'm currently posting from, so maybe those will just end up on our family website. Anyway, they went to the beach, and I stayed home by myself. "WHY?" You ask. Because there was a possibility that I would be getting a job teaching music part-time at an elementary school "in town." This particular elementary school is on a year-round calendar, so if I got the job, pre-planning started July 15...right in the middle of the beach trip. So, I stayed home, and fortunately, I GOT THE JOB!!!!!

So, I am an elementary music teacher once again. Right now I am teaching Thursdays and Fridays most weeks, and in the spring I'll be teaching Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. However, the position is shared between me and the art teacher, and she is pregnant, so while she is on maternity leave, I will be subbing for her, and then I'll have a few extra weeks to make up after her maternity leave is over, so she'll be able to stay home longer. Now, back to July (and why there are extra weeks that I have to make up).

The principal called me on Monday afternoon, and told me I needed to have a background check done, and that there would be a faculty meeting the next morning. The next day, I stopped by the school expecting to pop in, be introduced, and then be on my way, and I ended up spending the entire morning in training and faculty meeting stuff, so I was back in teacher mode even sooner than I expected. Then I went to get my fingerprinting done for the background check and the system was down for the entire state of Tennessee, so I had to drive 1 1/2 hours round-trip the next day to have it done (I called first to make sure the system was up and running that day). I worked four days that first week.

The following Monday, July 20, was our students' first day of school, but that day I was on an airplane flying from Atlanta to New Orleans for the ELCA Youth Gathering where I served on the Gathering Volunteer Corps (GVC). It was an awesome experience. I've been a volunteer at five Youth Gatherings now, and each one is unique and amazing. There were around 37,000 Lutheran youth, their adult leaders, and volunteers of all ages that converged on the city of New Orleans that week. Each day for three days of the Gathering 12,000 participants went out to do service projects. All the locals we encountered couldn't say enough to thank us, and the Mayor of New Orleans said that all of us in our many colored t-shirts seemed to be Katrina's rainbow. I created a collage of *some* of the pictures I took.
I hope that if you click on the collage, you can see each part of it better. But I'll explain them all a little so you get an idea anyway. Starting at 9:00 and going clockwise there is: me standing in front of the welcome sign at the main entrance to the convention center; a pic from the opening mass gathering--each evening all 37,000 of us gathered in the Superdome for praise, prayer, and inspiration--you can see the theme, "Jesus, Justice, Jazz" on the screens; I was fortunate enough to meet up with the youth and adult leaders from St. Peters in Bethlehem, PA, where we did our internship year of seminary (and I was even luckier that it was on the morning they chose to go to Café Du Monde for breakfast!); I had been to New Orleans once before, for another ELCA Youth Gathering in 1997, but I forgot how different the cemeteries are down there, because it isn't really safe to burry people underground due to the city's being below sea level...so I took a picture while riding down the highway on the way home; the Holiday Inn is where I stayed on my last trip to NOLA, but I couldn't resist capturing that clarinet all lit up; imagine my surprise when I look up on the big screen, and there is my friend Chris Clay (aka Bryan Clay on his Atlanta radio show) playing the piano on stage...I had just worked at a different youth event with Chris a few weeks before and he didn't mention a word about it, so I just had to get a picture of him up there; this is a picture I took of the Superdome during closing worship; next is another friend of mine on the big screen, Pastor Andrea Walker (who is a Southeastern Synod gal and was the head of the GVC when it started in '97), assisting Bishop Mark Hansen during closing worship; then there is a different perspective of the opening mass gathering event; and finally another picture of Chris, this time I was standing in the same place as the other "wide angle" shots were taken, but I zoomed in on him playing on the stage. {Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE my camera...I will confess, though, that most of the other pictures I took with that much zoom turned out totally blurry.}

The week after the Gathering, I spent four days in new teacher orientation, and then the following week Monday and Tuesday were system-wide inservice days, so I finally got to teach my students for the first time on Thursday of their third week of school. So far it has been a very good experience. The students are sweet, the staff is nice, and working part-time is exactly what I need right now.

Well, I still have most of the month of August to catch you up on, but it is WAY past my bedtime, so I'll have to say TTFN, but I'll give you a little sneak peek at some upcoming posts.
  • both kids are back in school now
  • they have both started gymnastics
  • my August Big Shot Club meeting featured the Beautiful Butterflies bigz die {not to mention I have several other SU! classes to catch you up on}
  • DJ's starting his second season of YMCA T-ball
  • and AJ is currently sporting a bright pink cast on her right arm

...so stay tuned.

Sweet wishes!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Deal of the Week #3

This is one HOT deal!


Sorry I just couldn't resist. Purchase the Square Fire Rhinestone Brads for just $6.99 now through Sunday, July 19, and save over 30%!

Sweet wishes!

This post will remain at the top of my blog while the special is current. Please scroll down for updates.

ETA: Sorry if you saw this special when I first posted it. Stampin’ Up!® changed the brads from Ice to Fire.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Please come!

You are invited
to my Open House celebrating the new
2009-2010 Idea Book & Catalog

When: Saturday, July 18, 2009
drop in anytime from 10:00am-2:00pm
Where: My place

There will be door prizes, make-n-takes, and much more! You won't want to miss this FREE event. An RSVP is appreciated but not required. Hope to see you there!

Sweet wishes!

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Today is Michael's birthday! The kids and I each made him a card. AJ wanted flowers and PINK, but then decided that since it was for Daddy she would do a green card (Always Artichoke), but she still had to have a pink flower (Regal Rose), and a purple one (Lavender Lace), and the other two she just agreed on when I pulled them out of the scrap folders (Bermuda Bay~new '09-'10 In Color and Marigold Morning~'06-'07 In Color). She cranked most of the dies through the Big Shot herself and helped with the adhesive.
DJ HAD to have a Star Wars themed card. I searched the Splitcoast gallery to see if someone had a punch art Yoda, but I couldn't find one, so we decided to use some pictures from a coloring book. We did a gatefold closure with a belly band. Yoda is attached to the belly band and a picture of Anakin podracing fills the inside of the card leaving just enough room for DJ's signature.
I will shamelessly admit that I CASEd my card. When I saw this card by Kristin Moore, I knew I had to recreate it for someone. I changed the colors a little in attempt to make it more masculine, but I'm not sure if I succeeded. Groovy Guava ('07-'08 In Color) is one of my all-time favorite SU! colors, so when I came across the DSP with Guava in it, I grabbed it. Hopefully the Not Quite Navy, Chocolate Chip, and Ruby Red, tone it town a bit. ;-)

Sweet wishes! And Happy Birthday, my love!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Big Shot Club projects-Birds & Blooms

I ended up rescheduling my Big Shot Club Meeting for last Sunday (after the interactive card class the Saturday before took way longer than anticipated). This month's meeting focused on the Birds & Blooms Sizzlits dies. Only two of my six members were able to attend, but we made two cards each and got all 6 done in no time at all.

For our first card we CASEd luv my dolly's card which can be seen here. I loved the crisp, clean look of the Whisper White and Baja Breeze, so since the class was originally scheduled for a date prior to the new catalog release, we still used it.
Then I jumped right into the new '09-'10 In Colors. I LOVE them already! For our second card we CASEd this one by Misermom. Another crisp, clean card. We may have made ours a little busy, but the Whisper White flowers tie the whole thing together so well. The new In Colors used are Crushed Curry, Dusty Durango, and Soft Suede. We used the Dusty Durango polka dotted grosgrain ribbon, but turned it to the non-polka dotted side. The DSP is from the Razzleberry Lemonade pack.
For our final card we CASEd this adorable creation by flowerbugnd1. We used more of the new In Colors: Crushed Curry & Melon Mambo card stock, and more Razzleberry Lemonade DSP focusing on the Rich Razzleberry pattern. This card also uses Pumpkin Pie 1/4" grosgrain ribbon and a Build-a-brad.
You are invited to join my Big Shot Club at any time. We meet once a month (generally), and each month we choose a die or set of dies to feature. There is a one-time membership fee of $20, and then each class is $5, or free with the purchase of the featured die(s) of the month. Our next class will feature the Beautiful Butterflies Bigz die. The cost to order the die and get the class free
is $26.50. Watch my calender of events to see when the next club meeting will be. (It will be on a Sunday afternoon in August, I'm just not sure when yet.)

Sweet wishes!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The McMillan Clan

Over the 4th of July holiday weekend, we traveled to DeSoto State Park in Alabama for my dad's family reunion. We get together every other year, and have a blast every time. There's swimming, Scottish dancing, hanging out, family picture taking, and of course lots of eating.

Here is how the kids fell asleep the first night we were there. So sweet! DJ, AJ, and their cousin Owen.
Swimming in the swimming hole.
Another view of the swimming hole.
While at 'the hole' my brother found this crawdad claw.
And I found this gorgeous damsel fly.
Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the Scottish Dancing this year--yes we have a real live bagpiper. I had temporarily misplaced my camera. I also didn't get any family pictures with my camera, though there were some taken. Here is a picture from the 2007 reunion; this is just my dad's branch of the family tree. My sister's fiance isn't in this one, but luckily for us, my cousin's ex-girlfriend is hidden behind my step-mom. This year we were all compliant and wore our blue shirts.

I'll leave you with this. DJ is doing that dance move where it looks like you're going down into water, only he really is going down into water. (We thought it was hilarious!)

video

Sweet wishes!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Spin! Pop! Flip! Pull!

Did you know I was on the Drill Team of my high school marching band? I also danced ballet, tap and jazz for 13 years. I heard words like this all the time, but that has nothing to do with the actual meaning of the title of this post.

On the last Saturday of June, some of my stamping buddies and I got together to honor those stamp sets which would be retiring with the Spring~Summer 2009 Idea Book & Catalog. For a while now, I have been wanting to do a class featuring interactive cards, and I decided that it was the perfect time. My definition of an interactive card is any card that doesn't open "normally." In May and early June I did a gate-fold card and a hinged card, so those were both little sneak peeks of what was to come in this class.

We did 5 cards. I planned for them to take about 2 hours to complete, then we were going to break for lunch and have our Big Shot Club Meeting in the afternoon. Well, it took the entire time, plus some to finish these very involved cards. We did break for lunch. ;-) {Keep in mind that all the stamp sets used are now retired and so are the "old" In Colors. Sorry.}

Our first one was a "Surprise Pop-up Card" featuring the Doodle This and Absolutely Fabulous stamp sets and 3 retiring In Colors (Baja Breeze, Kiwi Kiss, & Pink Pirouette). Here is the card closed.
To open it, you pull the ribbon at the top, while holding the very bottom of the card.
Here is the card 'open.' We decided to decorate both the inside of the opening and the tag that gets pulled up. One of my customers suggested putting a family picture in the opening for a Christmas card, and then you could write your message on the tag part and decorate the front with a poinsettia.

The next card is called a "Wiper Card," and it featured the Blooming with Love stamp set.
To 'open' it, you hold onto the back left side and the front right side and gently pull.
This card gets its name from the little tag that pops up like a windshield wiper. Oh, and that Old Olive pollytwill ribbon is also retired. Sorry again.

Next we made a "Free Standing Pop-up Card" using the Heartfelt Thanks stamp set.
As you pull the tag up, the bottom opens to form a box which will allow the "card" to stand up. Isn't this a gorgeous color combination? Garden Green and Elegant Eggplant; and those Filigree brads are not retired. :-)

Since I used three retiring In Colors in the first card, I couldn't leave the rest out, so we incorporated Pacific Point, Riding Hood Red and Tangerine Tango into this "Waterfall Card." We also used the retiring Ronald McDonald House Charities stamp set, Say It with Scallops.
To 'open' this one, you pull the ribbon, and the tab slips behind the narrow piece of card stock, while each panel flips to reveal the next panel, and ultimately the message 'appears' on the pulled tab.

Our final card paid homage to the Life's a Breeze stamp set, but when I looked at this super summery stamp set, I knew I just had to use the NEW '09-'10 In Colors. So on this "View Master Card" we said hello to Bermuda Bay, Crushed Curry, Melon Mambo, and Rich Razzleberry. Some of my customers added a Dusty Durango fish and some Soft Suede sea shells.

My step-mother's birthday is this coming Wednesday, so I made a slightly different version for her. I added some Kiwi Kiss polka dotted ribbon from the Pig Tails Ribbon Originals (retired, and the Pumpkin Pie rick-rack from the Waterfall card above is also from this pack)...I think Kiwi Kiss is the perfect green for the new In Colors...what ever will I do?

This card was a learning experience for all of us. Each person had some good idea that helped us get the card together a little easier. In the end, I think we all contributed to the best way to get it done.

Well, sorry for this extra long post. Trust me though, it took us much longer to complete these cards than it took you to read this post! ;-)

Sweet wishes!

ps. Everyone who came to the class said they enjoyed it, despite how long it took, so be on the lookout for my next interactive cards class sometime this fall.

Deal of the Week #2

Fashion and function at a fraction of the price!


WOW! What a deal! The Big Shot Doctor's Bag is normally $69.95, but for this week only (July 6-12, 2009), it is on sale for $49.99. I've never seen the bag in person, but I've heard it will hold the Big Shot machine "feet-first" (the safest way to store it), and it has a Stampin' Up! logo on it. It sure looks cute. :-) Hurry and order yours today!


Sweet wishes!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cheep Talk class projects

My preorder class for June featured the Cheep Talk stamp set. Here's what we made.

This first card is a loose CASE of this one by hudsonhannah.
I got the idea for this next card from slschaf771. You can see her creation here.
Since I used a Chocolate Chip base for the card above, I tried to alter this card by kathleenh, but my version didn't work out so well (I tried sandwiching the silicone mat between the layers of my card so that only the front was embossed, but the whole thing got WAY warped). We ended up adhering the Tempting Turquoise card front to a Whisper White card after running the turquoise layer through the Big Shot with the texturz plate.
I CASEd myself for this one. I had made the card in this post for a Splitcoast challenge, and I knew I wanted to make another hinge card for my class.

Here is the card open. Everyone loved this card, and it gave them a little taste of "interactive cards," which is what my retiring stamp set event centered around. I'll try to get pictures of those projects posted soon.

Sweet wishes!

A day on the lake

I can't remember if I mentioned that while Michael and I were at Affirm, the kids hopped around quite a bit. They spent time with SEVERAL different family members. At the end of the week, the were with my dad & step-mom, and they took them up to their lake house, so we met them there on Saturday.

Of course, we had to go for a boat ride.
Here we go...
And DJ needed to go tubing.
Obviously what AJ needed was a nap!
They finished the outing with a dip in the lake.
The wind was blowing pretty hard, and the boat was moving pretty quickly even though the engine was turned off. DJ was keeping close to the boat, but when AJ got in, she let go of the ladder and was soon too far away for us to reach with a life preserver. My dad had to jump in and rescue her (because he had his swim suit on and Michael and I didn't). As made apparent by the look on her face, she wasn't bothered by the situation at all. {I, on the other hand, was freaking out just a bit.}
Sweet wishes!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I know it's not 2010 yet, but today marks the start of a brand new Stampin' Up! year and, better yet, a brand new Stampin' Up! Idea Book & Catalog!!! Click on the links in the left hand side bar to view the new IB&C and the new Definitely Decorative Brochure (formerly the Décor Elements Brochure, but they've expanded it).

This year, we're starting off with a bang. As a part of July's Summer Fun promotion, there will be a Deal of the Week each week this month! Here's Deal #1:

Purchase a Scallop Edge Punch for just $10.99 (regular price=$15.95) from now through Sunday, July 5. There is no minimum purchase required and no limit to the number of Deal of the Week items you can order, but the deals are only available during their "week," and this first one only gets a partial week, so be sure to order your Scallop Edge Punch today! You may contact me to place an order, or order online--click the Online Ordering button at the top of the left hand side bar; then click the Shop Now button in the top right of my SU! website; and then be sure to create an account, if you haven't already, to take advantage of the "preferred pricing."

I can't wait to start showing you stuff from the new catalog, but I have some catching up to do from a couple June classes, so I'll try to intersperse the old with the new. I've got nada for now, though. Check back soon.

Sweet wishes!