Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thank You - I'm A B.O.A. Trainee!

Prayers have been answered. Praise God - I got the job! Today I had my second interview with the Finanacial Advisor (herein known as FA) at the Edward Jones office right here in town, walking distance from home. The more I have been reading about Edward Jones Investments on-line this week the more I wanted to work for the company. No. 2 company in Fortune 500s top 100 companies to work for, Smart Money magazine's No. 1 pick for best brokerage firm based on client satisfaction, stock picks and whatever else they go on (I have a lot to learn about investing!); a company founded on integrity and just treatment of its associates - I seriously became more impressed the more I read.

Today was all about compatability. I needed to like the FA if we were going to be a team - as a branch office consists of a BOA (branch office administrator) and FA. The more I talked to Keith the more I liked him - we definitely share the same values on how people should be treated and how our behavior can reflect favorably or unfavorably on a person or organization. He seems to be an honest man of integrity, just in his treatment of others, is a family man, and I just really liked him - I knew we would make a good team.

He must have thought the same, as I wasn't home for even two hours when St. Louis HQ called and offered me the job. The pay is better than I had asked for, the benefits are awesome and I already have met the woman who will be my mentor and like her a lot. The training for BOAs at Edward Jones is awesome - St. Louis HQ has all the answers and are 3 touch pad taps away, and the computer program itself is chock full of answers, plus you have a mentor and a group of BOAs who help each other out.

I know my family is very happy, especially my husband, that I will be working in town again and home at night. I can soon return to putting Abby to bed at night. The job is full time so we will have to make some arrangements with "little miss" care. There are just a few more pending details, but I should be able to start work in a little more than 2 weeks!

I admit I do feel bad for the great consultant I have been meeting with at Addecco staffing agency - he was really going to bat for me and I am sure has some prospective interviews lined up for me next week. I will have to call him tomorrow - I never really expected the EJ prospect to move so quickly, and figured I would size up a few places, but there was absolutely nothing I did not like about the EJ opportunity - so I seized the moment and accepted without thought to what else might be out there for me. I had totally given this up to God, and asked him not to place the job before me if it was something too left-brained, or not intended for my greater purpose. Now that I am a BOA trainee I know God has placed me at EJ for a reason.

We have another month ahead of things being tight, but God has shown a great big light at the end of the tunnel. From the very first moment I was told my job was eliminated I had a sense of peace that God was in control. I trusted that He would take care of us and be our Provider, and He has. I am so thankful for a God who is very much alive, very much listens, and very much loves His children. I thank ALL OF YOU who have been praying - Jesus said, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." The Lord has definitely been with us through this difficult time.

On a note of difficult time, could you all please lift up my friend Elaine who learned her cancer is back today? Thank you. She's a wonderful woman and I pray it is God's will to heal her. Through all trials I know Elaine is of strong faith. II pray that through all of the trials you face that you find joy and peace in knowing that God sent His Son to die for you, so that you can spend eternity with Him. I love you all - celebrate the life God has given you and take time to dance in your journey!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

68 Words A Minute!

Who knew? I had no idea. Yesterday afternoon I went into Addecco – you know, the world leader in workplace solutions. I think the solutions are their people, aka employees, and now, me. Yep – filled out all the paperwork, took a few tests…found out I can type 68 words a minute! Much faster than high school – which seems was only 55. I had 4 errors which brought my score to 64, but you know what…they make you double space at end of sentences! I was surprised. You DON’T do that on a computer. Back in the days of typewriters, yes, but it is one of the first things they teach you in typography. So here I am, trying to not do what has been ingrained into my head for 20+ years. In my effort to remember to double space (I agree with my husband…if they want us to double space after a sentence then keyboards would have a double space key – makes sense, right?) I know I triple spaced at least once – fingers move faster than I can count sometimes. (LOL)

Today I have to take the Office assessments for Word and Excel. My Excel is limited to charting business expenditures, income, gross, net, etc. I can manage a few formulas, but hey – have not done any of the merging stuff… ah well.

I had my first interview with Edward Jones yesterday. The branch office here in town is looking for a BOA. I admit - investments…skipped over this the first time I read it because hey, I know very little about investing! But the more I read about EJ on line and their awesome training program, well, it caught my interest. I also learned they are a top company to work for, and hey…I could walk to work! There is a lot of growth potential, and I know God won’t put me there unless He is confident in my abilities to learn about investing. That would be a strong push to the left for my creative little brain! (LOL)

Addecco also has some possible options for me and is sending out my resume…so I shall wait and see what the Lord has in store! Not to sit on my laurels… I have a WALL!
A what? Yes, I caved and joined Facebook. My mother, bless her heart, scanned a newspaper article about job hunting and it said Facebook was a good place to network. So there I am…connecting with a number of familiar faces and hopefully getting the word out that I am looking! It was great to reconnect with my favorite DVM – Dr. Tom Curro, best exotics vet I know and lover of all things rhinoceros!

So hey – if you are on facebook look me up – Rita Shimniok. I am there, still figuring out how to sort and create my wall. Oh, and I have a 2nd interview with EJ Thursday – so please lift a prayer if this is to be God’s will for me as I search for yet my 4th career in the journey…(whatever made me think I would retire as a church admin.? God must be having a chuckle and thinking how very silly I was to think my journey would end there.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Trusting Through The Storm

So often I go to church and I feel like the Lord has guided the worship leaders to plan the service just for me. Today was one of those days as each, and every, praise and worship song spoke to my heart and brought me to tears. The first song we sang is “YOU NEVER LET GO” by Matt Redman – a favorite I had playing on this blog shortly after I first heard it. I had a vision of God holding my hand through the current storm, and yet I see a light that is coming as I have hope in an interview lined up for Tuesday (please pray for me Tuesday morning).

Yesterday Jesse and I took inventory of our pantry and cupboards. Should a new job be some time off we have to figure out especially how we can stretch our food dollar, and looked at things like rice and pastas already here to make casseroles that can feed our family for three days or more. We had Kyle’s input for things he would eat, meatless dishes, and popping our own corn with the old hot air popper vs. microwave corn. This morning as we sang “ENOUGH” by Chris Tomlin I am reminded that the Lord is our supply, He satisfies every thirst and every need. This song has always hit a chord with me, but today more so than ever. I envision a layout with photos of our pantry and a reminder that God is enough through tough times.

The third song in the opening praise and worship set was “BLESSED BY YOUR NAME”. I have not sang this song in what seems like a long time, but through my tears I could still raise my hands and give praise to God for all He is and all He has done. He gave me a new job last September, and He can and is taking it away. It is and was one of the most challenging positions I had ever undertaken, yet it was fun. The hardest part of my position at the scrapbook store was not being home at night to put our daughter to bed. Some of you may recall the “Week in My Life” album created earlier in 2008 documenting my favorite time of day – which is putting our daughter to bed. I have also been unable to attend events and activities at church that take place at night or on weekends when I am working, and it has made my heart sad. Does the Lord know what He is doing? I know He does, and if He takes away it is for a good reason yet unknown to me.

Today’s message revolved around Hannah’s story (Book of 1 Samuel), a woman from the Old Testament whose words and example I turned to when I so badly wanted a daughter. Hannah taught me the importance of steady prayer and pouring one’s heart out to God. As many of you reading this blog already know, the Lord answered my prayer with a beautiful daughter. I am so grateful every day that God listens – He hears our heart, feels our pain, and holds us through troubled times. I know He hears me when I ask Him to open a new door of opportunity that will benefit my family.

If you would like to hear the message and Hannah’s story, explained so well by a great teacher, Pastor Chris – click here to listen to or download the message.

For those of you hoping to see a new layout or creation today – my apologies. Today I simply wanted to blog and journal about the thoughts going through my head this morning. The post is filled with layout ideas – that someday I hope to share (so you will have to come back again Hollis!).

I know and trust that the Father has something even better in store for me. The path may take me down yet a fourth career change, and I can actually chuckle at the rollercoaster the past six months of my life have encountered. (I have such a great vision for a layout or mini album with this thought!) What a ride it has been, but I am ready to get off and find stability in my work life, our family’s financial situation, and develop a routine that works for all of us and allows each of us to grow in our spiritual walk. The Lord is so GOOD TO ME, His promise never fails, and my desire is to follow Him wherever this journey takes me. I pray that you also will be able to TRUST God through the storms in your life, and PRAISE Him in times of trouble. Peace in the journey.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Smiles During Challenging Times

I seriously cannot imagine my life without the joy our children bring. It warms my heart to hear my son say, "help mom find a new job" during family prayer time. Abby, rather oblivious to the situation, may have her wish come true - as she has not been fond of my working nights. Last night I got home earlier than usual from work and she was not fully asleep, so the sound of the garage door woke her up. I went in to give her a hug, and she asked me to snuggle. So we did, and had lots of silliness in our conversation and giggles. That girl can sure make me smile!

Above I am sharing one of those layouts that makes me smile, as I think about how silly she was being that day the photos were taken. The paper is by Piggy Tales, and the layout was going to be one of my submissions for the design team before I reassessed my priorities and decided that I needed to step back from commitments. I want to be sure I have time to spend with my kids, and scrapbook WITH my daughter rather than always about her. It was tough to make that decision, as the PT/3M joint DT would have been a super opportunity. All the best to those who tried -especially to my wonderful friends: Dawne, Deanna, Jen and Debbie!

Here is a close up of the flowers I cut from the patterned paper, and a little tip... When coating your cut out flowers with sparkle mod podge, or similar product, bend the edges upward a little bit while it is wet. The edges will dry in that position and you have added a little dimension to your layout with no extra effort.

On a bright note - I have an interview Tuesday morning for a job right in town here. It would be full-time (less time to scrap - and therefore how wise that I did not take on another commitment in case I should get it), I could walk to work, and it deals with the public. Full-time would mean I would not have time to continue at the store part-time, but I may return to teaching classes as I want to keep in touch with everyone I have come to know at the store.

As a matter of fact, off to work I go! Please keep my in prayer Tuesday for a successful interview. I meet with an employment agency Tuesday afternoon, and hope to hear back from at least one other job that I mailed a resume out to. I pray you give thanks to God for the smiles in your life - I know I do!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change is In the Wind Once Again

Yes, it is Inaugeration Day and many are anticipating great changes and hope for the economy. I sure hope so as I find myself looking for a new job. Retail has not been kind to the local LSS, so people I IMPLORE you – if you love your store shop there! If you love a certain manufacturer and cannot get it locally – buy it on line! Specifically I am thinking of my favorite chipboard company – Magistical Memories. I have seen the sneak peeks and they are awesome! I only hope I have an income that can buy the new products!

So yes, I am searching again, management is always the first place to make budget cuts. I know God is SOVEREIGN (this week’s word for the Faith Sisters Scripture Challenge) and in complete control. I know He wants only the best for me. I have to trust in Him to get us through this and put food on the table. I really enjoyed my almost 6 months as a supervisor for the store, and will continue on as a sales associate for now, but it won’t pay the bills. My family is so supportive and wonderful - I am blessed to be able to do the things on my list in my layout above. Have you thought about that? Consider making a layout about the things you do for your family.

I hope that I can find a new job that will still allow me to put in some time working at the store. I volunteered to take on the BoBunny section and create projects for display and help market product – a strategy the entire staff is undertaking in hopes of increasing sales. The new releases for BoBunny are so awesome! Be sure to check it out!

My not so good news is mixed with HAPPY news!! I had two layouts requested by Memory Makers for the July/August 2009 release of Scrapbook Idea Gallery edition. I know many of you say you don’t subscribe to magazines because you have seen the layouts on line, but don’t forget that Memory Makers publishes only never-before-seen projects. If we don’t buy the magazines soon there won’t be any, and how sad would it be if we have to have a PC to get inspiration. Personally, I prefer curling up on the couch with a cup of tea or hot chocolate to enjoy the magazines, and there is no better read for a long trip in the car!

One of my layouts is digital, mixing products from both Faithsisters and Kjoi Studios, and the photo is a self-portrait I took while driving. Seriously! I promise I did not run over anything while doing that, and yep – it took a number of shots before I actually had my whole face in the viewfinder, because I was driving afterall – albeit SLOWLY. What a crazy and dangerous scrapbooker, eh? But ya know how it is …you get an idea and just have to do what it takes to make it come to life. The second layout is a traditional created with one of my favorite Cosmo Cricket lines, Be Happy. It is quite innovative and uses something very old from my stash in a quite brilliant manner, if I do say so myself. So be sure you don’t miss the summer release of the Making Memories Scrapbooking Idea Gallery!

I also learned yesterday that one of my layouts is to be featured on Thursday at A Cherry On Top. The artists whose projects are chosen are sent a congratulatory note, but the project chosen remains a mystery even to me. Could it be the “fear” layout that mixes a Halloween web with Christmas paper? That is my theory – let’s see if I am right. (LOL)

If that’s not all, I was honored to learn that my layout titled, Blue Plaid, featuring The Paper Element’s Blue Flannel Collection, is the only project to be on display at their CHA booth in Annaheim. Apparently The Paper Element is sharing a booth with the awesome Core’dinations Cardstock and they figure they will have limited space, so even though I am not an official DT member Lisa and Beth are taking my layout. Wow – how cool is that?!

I am working with Piggy Tales this week for their March kit release. I am trying to update my resume and such while still trying to meet the PT deadline. I have my first project done and it is SO cute and original, and frugal, I might add - a perfect gift for a young one, should you know of children with a birthday coming up. I can’t share it with you yet - but look forward to the day I can!

Please pray for our nation this day, for our military and for all families who are struggling with reduced or no incomes, and please pray for our economy that it will thrive once again. Most of all find PEACE in the journey, even through the hardships and struggles, for God is SOVEREIGN and in control.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Color it Green!

Today I want to share a mini album, 6x6 in size, that I created for the 2009 Faith Sisters "His Holy Name" scripture challenges. What could be better than a Magistical Memories Crown Journaling Box for a project about the King of Kings? I have decided to use LIME green as the dominant color for the entire project, with wonderful warm brown, cream and teal as accents. So far I have used October Afternoon and Making Memories, but I trust that manufacturers will be releasing product in this color throughout the year, because afterall - it is my favorite color as it is for many!

The project is a hybrid - mixing traditional with digital scrapbooking. In this close up you can see how I printed text as a background on kraft cardstock, distressing with ink.

A short while ago I showed the design above in yellows and reds, but once I decided to create my album with a focus on lime green and teal, I changed up the colors. This image was printed to be the inside of the front cover, featuring one of my favorite scriptures about God's holy name. It is almost entirely created digitally, but for the GOD letters, key words highlighted with a clear glaze pen, stamped parenthesis and distressing with chalk ink.

The first scripture challenge issued revolves around the word Holy. I created my own patterned paper, by utilizing a crown design that I painstakingly created in Photoshop. The crown motif ties in well with the chipboard shape on the cover. You cannot see the crown details in the little photo, but there are many. With all time I spent in designing one crown, I SO TOTALLY admire digital designers and all the time they put into their products!

My plan is to add 1-2 scripture verses to each page per the challenges issued by Patter at Then, on the back side of each page I will hand journal about what God has put upon my heart for the specific challenge. I did not take a photo, but I have printed lines on the backside of each 6x6 kraft cardstock page to allow me to write in a straight line. By having the prep work done, and keeping my "green supplies" together, I am hoping that the remaining 25 scripture challenge pages for the year will come together rather quickly.

On a chilly note... Brrrrr!! Baby it is COLD outside! Schools are being closed all over due to the forecasted -40 degree temps tomorrow. Our district is still holding out, as always, but I know there are two kids hoping for that cancellation!

Today was a long 12.5 hour work day. I started out right behind the bus, driving ever so slowly to the east side of Madison today to speak with the Madison Christian Women's Connection. Cars were in the ditch here and there...salt just does not work when temps are as cold as they were this morning! I went about 15-20 miles per hour for 2/3 or more of my journey! But I made it safely, and God was watching out for me.

I met a delightful group of ladies and loved sharing about the importance of preserving memories. The keynote speaker, LeeAnn gave a wonderful talk, sharing about her struggles and how Jesus can rescue you from the deepest of pits. If you are experiencing a low in your life, struggle in your journey, or doubt that you are worthy of His love - KNOW that God loves you and wants to reach down and pick you up out of the mire of pain, sadness, addictions and self-doubt. Trust in Him, give your life to Jesus - and discover the joy that withstands all hardships as we journey this earth toward the heavenly prize!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Whipping Up for Bella Blvd.!

Oh my – how the time flies!! Since I read the call for Bella Artista’s for Bella Blvd. I knew I wanted to apply. I have been working on getting my other design team commitments finished before Piggy Tales product showed up on my doorstep. Did I mention I am the guest designer for Piggy Tales “Ants Go Marching In” March kit? I have so many fun ideas and cannot wait to get started, and ultimately share them with you.

Tomorrow I am gone from the time the kids hop on the bus until after 9 p.m. It is also the Guest Artista deadline, so it was today or never as far as getting some layouts done. First, however, I wanted to finish my Scripture Challenge Mini Album for Faithsisters “His Holy Name” project so I could display it tomorrow when I talk to the Madison Christian Women’s Connection about scrapbooking. The album colors are lime, teal, brown and cream – and is gorgeous so far, using Making Memories and October Afternoon products. Basically I plan to work in any mfr. that has the right colors, as this is a year long project!

That finished, I had one hour before the kids got home from school and literally whipped out TWO layouts for the Bella Blvd. Artista call. Looking at the time I do believe I actually finished both layouts in less than 2 hours. I worked fast for sure, BUT I have to say if the Bella Blvd products did not come together so easily this would not have been possible. I have used mixed products from both the “Family Tree” and “Pack Your Bags” collections.

What do you think of the photo in “Song”? I confess, I loved the photo but it seemed a little blurry – so I added an art filter to it in Photoshop. I love how it looks like a painting. I have done similar things before, but this is by far my favorite – I think it is the obvious joy in Abby’s face and the bright colors of the layout, and of course the bling…gosh, I am such a bling addict!

I love how the Pack Your Bags collection is so versatile - certainly worthy of layouts beyond traveling experiences! Here is my second layout for the call - "Destination Mexico".

You may have noticed in the past 6 months that I have a “thing” for dimensional adhesive dots – I just love popping things off my page. I always have, but I do believe everything I create these days is popped up!

Pop-dotted World:

Pop-dotted Trees:

Pop-dotted Titles:

Recognize those orange letters from Bella Blvd? Probably not - but they are Bella stickers! I needed orange lettering to balance the layout, and figured the fastest resolution was to get out the orange paint. But it did not cover the coated cardstock stickers real well, so I put my letters on wax paper and dragged an orange Staz-On pad over the top, letting some of the paint show through for a two-toned look. I think they are pretty cool and the paint adds texture.

Oh, want to know one of my latest tricks for defining edges? Ink pads don't always get into the nooks and crannies, and I recently discovered that if I take the chisel point of my Zig Writer and drag it around the edges of my chipboard pieces that I get a nice edge, more defined than any ink pad could deliver. Go slowly though - so you don't get the marker where it is not intended to go.

I have made my submission and now cross my fingers. Be sure to check out Stephanie's blog for the latest in Bella Blvd. sneak peeks!

And guess what showed up on my doorstep today?
Yeppers – ANTS!! We are experiencing dangerously cold temperatures outside, but leave it to Piggy Tales to bring ants into my house this time of year! (LOL) I already have ideas swimming in my head – so it will be tough to work the next five days and not be able to do a whole lot. This is why I carry a note pad around to jot down the mojo when it comes. Happy scrapping all!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Piggy Tales Releases Best YET!

Perhaps I am biased when I say the new releases by Piggy Tales are the best yet!! Why, might you ask?

Well, some of you may recall that back in September Piggy Tales asked its blog readers to send in suggestions for new spring themes and ideas. Since my brain tends to go a mile a minute my document was almost 1,000 words long! You bet…. I just brainstormed until my fingers could type no more, well honestly, I thought Debbie might think me crazed if I kept on going.

Today the sneak peeks were released on the Piggy Tales blog.
Hmmm, bugs – INCLUDING ants. Umbrellas – and yep, there are the rain boots! Garden trowels and watering cans. Gosh – all sounding so familiar. So I went digging in my “sent items” folder…ya know, that Outlook folder you are supposed to clean out often, and I am embarrassed to say has sent emails from 2007 in it! (I promise to empty it this weekend hon!)

I offered five theme ideas, and lo and behold THREE of my ideas made it into the spring releases – no wonder I am loving the new collections!! The collection title for my gardening them suggestion is even in the line up –"Mary Mary Quite Contrary How does your garden grow?" - I had given a link to each nursery rhyme found for my ideas. Here is
The collection includes garden trowels and watering cans, as I had hoped – AND just the other day I came across photos of Abby discovering the fun in watering the outdoor plants with a sprayer attachment on the hose – I need to get my hands on this collection!

The bug collection has marching ants…. I relayed to Debbie my woes of not finding bug paper with ants included…and gosh – my kids are ALL about watching the ant hills in the summer. You may have gathered that from my last post! (LOL)

The third collection that is a must have is the “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” collection. Woo hoo – I have my umbrellas and rainboots. The little yellow duckies are missing, but oh well – I threw those in the line up for the benefit of my friend Deb, who loves yellow ducks. (LOL)

And although I did not offer any brainstorming whatsoever on the La Belle collection – the colors are fantastic and the line is OH so pretty! I am looking forward to scrapping with Piggy Tales for sure!

Did you know that Piggy Tales has a design team open call?
You have until January 16th to get your entry in. You can find info on their blog. I will say that for those of you worried about the exclusivity clause, Brandon put my mind to ease as she explained that to me today. Primarily with a partnership with 3M, the DT members need to use exclusive 3M adhesives in their projects. They fully expect their DT members to have commitments to other mfrs. and such – afterall, the scrapbooking industry really does have one very common goal – preserving those memories for future generations!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fisk-a-Links Fridays

As CHA nears sneak peeks are everywhere! Today I got a glimpse of some new releases by Fiskars. I am such a border punch fan - I just love how you can dress up a page so easily with these punches.
My TOP TWO of the new releases are Apron Lace

and Upper Crest.

I highly suspect Apron Strings is going to be one of those most sought after, and hard to find punches. What do you think? The bracket shape is so HOT right now, one of my favorites, which is why I think Upper Crest is also going to be a huge seller.

ALSO Fiskars is releasing some adorable spring themed squeeze punches. I just love the little chickie punch! And the packaging is delightfully spring, too! Can it get any better? YES!!!!

Summer punch releases have just been glimpsed...and OMG there is an ANT!! My kids seriously spend hours taking scraps of food and candy out to the ant hills in the front yard to watch the busy little critters carry it down under. The ant punch is a must for me!

Case in point, this layout using Around the Block papers is about 2? years old. The photos are even older, but this is a scene that is repeated every summer in our front yard. Ants fascinate children from about age 2 up to....??? Don't know what it is, and I am even learning to appreciate the workings of an ant colony as explained by our son. As long as they stay out of the house...

As I mentioned, the peeks are starting to happen...and already I am noticing a color trend... PURPLE! I am not sure what to think about that. Although my daughter LOVES purple, she has so little clothing in it. I have a closet full of plum, yet it is rare that I have any photos of people wearing purple. We will have to see ... some of the papers are so gorgeous it is worth turning photos to black and white just to use the paper! What do you you scrap purple papers?

Just a reminder that you still have time to reserve a spot at the Madison Christian Women Connection brunch this coming Wednesday at the Eastside Club off Monona Drive in Madison. In addition to myself speaking about scrapbooking and leaving a legacy of faith - you may hear tale of some childhood memories that will make you wonder how I turned out. I don't have my speech written, rehearsed or anything... it's been playing in my head though. My problem...15 min. to talk. I could probably talk for 30 min. easy when it comes to my story and how scrapbooking has become such a passion in my life! There is a second guest speaker as well, who is going to share how she overcame an eating disorder and now makes jewelry as her therapy. The brunch is $11.50 and it is being held at the East Side Club, 3735 Monona Drive. For reservations you can call Pat 838-3461, Lois 846-4823, or Alice at 271-3816. Reservations must be made by Sunday, January 11th. Would love to see some fellow Fiskateers and other friends there!

Do you fear something? Sometimes facing it is the best way to overcome. This was our daughter's theory. She hates spiders, and even the pretty beaded spider we received as a Christmas ornament gave her the jeebies. The ornament had a legend come with it, all about spiders and webs and thus the reason we put tinsel on our tree. As pretty as it is - Abby wanted nothing to do with the ornament.

But I had an idea... I had a cool web chipboard shape from Magistical Memories, and I wanted to do a layout on her fear of spiders. I asked if I could take a picture and first response was no. But I asked again. "All right mom, sometimes you just have to face your fears! I'll do it." (She must have been reading a book?)

At first Abby took a timid approach to holding the spider, but once she realized that hey, it was fake, she smiled and was quite proud for holding it.

I had so much fun making a spider using Cloud 9 rain dots. I cut 4 pieces of black wire and sandwiched them between black rain dots, and added red gem stickers for beads. It turned out so cute, but not cute enough. Abby likes her layout, but not the spider on it - especially when he moves as it is dangling from the web.

The products I used are from October Afternoon's Night Light and Good Cheer lines -bright and festive. A Cherry On Top has an October Afternoon manufacturer challenge going on - pull out your October Afternoon and give it a try!

Last night Kyle had his first 5th grade band concert. Someone told me not to expect much from 5th graders - but OMG they were good! Even Beethoven's Ode to Joy was done well - these kids were playing arrangements! Hope to have pics and a layout soon on the holiday concert - delayed two times previously because of winter weather.

Have a case of the Winter blues? Trust me, visit Cosmo Cricket's blog, watch the videos they have been sharing the past few days and prepare to split a gut! What a hilarious group of people! They're still holding out on paper releases, maybe tomorrow for a peek? But I LOVE the new spinners!

Oh, and if you are in the Madison area next Wednesday I am speaking at the Madison Christian Women's Connection Brunch. Come hear what got me into scrapbooking! The cost for the brunch is $11.50 and it is being held at the East Side Club, 3735 Monona Drive. For reservations you can call Pat 838-3461, Lois 846-4823, or Alice at 271-3816. Reservations must be made by Sunday, January 11th. Hope to see some of my friends!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Embrace the Day!!

"Each day is a new gift from God, greet it with open arms and give thanks!" This is the journaling I wrote for the layout above, and one of the quotes in my January Inspirational Challenge at Kjoi Studios. How often do we take each day for granted? How often do we realize the gift of life given to us and thank the Lord each morning as we rise? I know I don't do it nearly enough, but working on a layout for this challenge has definitely made me more aware.

January is a tough time for many people. Winter doldrums, depression - it hits many hard and especially at holiday time. If you are enjoying life take time to pray for all those who are not. I have many wonderful friends who suffer from depression, and like the commercial says, "who does depression affect?" Everyone. I also want to encourage you to step forward if you see a friend whose depression is so severe that you are concerned for their life. If you are not the primary person to make medical decisions, contact a family member who is.

We are coming up on the anniversary of the death of my friend and neighbor. She hid her depression so well as we chatted about gardening. Sad to say I did not know her well enough. But it was a wake up call for me to act for another friend who suffered terribly from depression. Sometimes a spouse does not see things clearly or understand the disease. When this is the case, you need to go beyond and talk with a parent or someone else who has influence in your loved ones life. Medical treatment is available...and finding the right medicine can also take much trial and error.

Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, and sometimes all the Godly faith in the world cannot cure it. I firmly believe God helps in creating medicines that help us - and it is OK to take medicine, even if you are a Christ follower. I do know that I have my friend back, as she was before depression. Sure, she is on medicine everyday, but if that is what it takes for her to live a meaningful life, you can be certain it is right by God.

I love the photo used in the layout above. When God gives us rain, many of us complain. But not children - free in spirit and unburdened by life, they embrace the rainfall and take joy in the puddles that result. I remember this spring day, and just watching our daughter dance in that huge water puddle brough joy to my heart.

A Cherry On Top issued a color challenge this month, to use green paired with a bright, contrasting color. I immediatley knew I wanted to use the Loopy Lime collection by Ivorys Designz, downloaded from Kjoi Studios. This kit is chocked full of my very favorite color of green. Someday I WILL have a finished studio painted in that color - with accents of red, turquoise and no doubt some hot pink. These colors make me happy. If you love the color LIME, do check out Loopy Lime! You won't be disappointed.

AND if you like freebies, visit my friend Lisa's blog for a chance to win some fun products from the Fiskars family of great scrapbooking product!

Tired of winter? Scrap with bright colors! Many, including myself, consider scrapbooking their mental therapy. It keeps me sane when the world makes me crazy, it lifts my spirit and brings me joy. What better way to embrace a cold winter's day than to scrap with bright, spring colors? Go on, you know you want to!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Believe - and Grow

Days into the new year...most of our family has now recovered from a flu virus that hit hard Friday night. Three down at once, thank goodness Jesse was left standing to be nursemaid and clean up crew - I sure married a gem! Saturday we all rested/slept through the day (when we were not visiting porcelain) - and our legs felt like they weighed thousands of pounds. We have not been around anyone sick... so have no idea where we picked up that little bug. At one point we were all three on the couch, pathetically wrapped in blankets. We knew we were a miserable looking lot, and actually got a little laugh out of the situation. I tried to talk Jes into taking our picture (even though it meant I would look really bad) - but I could just see the layout. He didn't do it though...darn, the one time my kids would have been too out of it to protest or run from the camera. (LOL)

I created the layout abouve using BoBunny's Believe collection and the wonderful Holly Frame from Magistical Memories. The layout is really so simple - the frame really makes a statement. I simply painted it - using Making Memories Ruby Glaze on the frame, painted the leaves evergreen, and spritzed Forest Glimmer Mist on them. I also used the Ruby Glaze over the berries, and added bling (of course).

I was happy to find BoB Xmas papers from 2 yrs ago, or more, that coordinated beautifully to work behind the scenes in this layout.

Although Abby is adorable in her Santa hat, I chose to center this layout around the true meaning of Christmas, and included John 3:14 in the journal block. As a believer in Christ, my word for 2009 is GROW.

I desire to grow in relationships: with Jesus, with my family members and with my friends. I really look forward to the bible studies that help me do this.

I also desire to grow in my profession, although I am not sure what I would even call myself these days... (LOL) This definitely includes my work at the Scrapbook Superstore, but I would also like to grow as a designer.

By focusing on GROWTH in these areas, I know that I will grow as a person. Afterall, there is no journey less exciting than one which has become stagnant. I encourage you to take steps to grow in the various areas of your life. If something is missing, seek it, embrace it, and grow with it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bling on 2009!

Happy new year to all of you! I really would like to thank those who come by to read my blog, see what I have been creating, and “listening” to me go on and on about life in general.

My new year is starting off well. I entered “Born in my Heart” in the A Cherry On Top bling contest last month and it won! I really went all out with bling in the form of glitter, gemstones, glaze and glitter pens. I blended alcohol inks on wet paint to dress up the Magistical Memories chipboard flowers.

The prize is a $25 GC to the store. Haven’t had time to browse yet, but I am hoping there is some of Cosmo’s 2008 Xmas line as we did not get that in the store this year, and I have a mini album I had wanted to make with it.

On new year’s eve day I worked at the Scrapbook Superstore and just had a great day helping customers and showing several of them the very cool embossing features of the Cuttlebug. I have never been a serious cardmaker, but that Cuttlebug really makes me consider taking up card-crafting on a regular basis. I just LOVE the embossing capabilities and it’s versatility in using other dies. Who knows, by the end of 2009 I just may cave, get the Cuttlebug and start making cards on a more regular basis.

New Year’s Eve we attended our first party in probably 8 yrs. It just became too difficult when Kyle was young to secure a sitter for the evening, and Jesse is always tired with his early morning work hours, so we have basically been hanging out at home, playing with the kids and Kyle and I have been the only ones to make it to the new year for the past several. Last night we all attended a party at Abby’s former daycare provider’s home. I had a blast playing air hockey with Kyle and meeting new people. Abby was moving non-stop, and even when her young friend and her family went home shortly after 10 – Abby kept going and really seemed the most lively of all the people there – including the teens.

We paused the game of Apples to Apples to hoot and holler at midnight, after which Kyle was anxious to go home as he had this grandiose idea that his father would stay up and watch Pirates 2 with him. (LOL) Abby did not want to leave the party – she was having too much fun. Finally we get her buckled in, she looks around at the Moser’s house twinkling with Xmas lights, the snow…and she says, “are you sure it’s 2009? Everything looks the same.” Kyle and I just cracked up at the comment, and seconds later the girl was OUT like a light.

I purposely did not take my camera to the new year’s eve party. I wanted to just have fun, meet new people and play, and I did. I do wonder, however, how I might scrap that comment Abby made without a photo. It was too cute to not preserve it.

Speaking of Abby, I just had a report from our son that she fell asleep on the couch at 6:15 pm. Not surprising! This means an earlier viewing of Pirates 2 – I only hope I can stay awake! I work the next several days in a row, and won’t scrap much at all. But the kids return to school on Monday and I am off, so here is hoping!

I also want to wish Wendi Wright, owner of the Scrapbook Playground, all the best as she closes down the site after many years. The SBPG was a great place to be and I really enjoyed my time there and serving on the DT.

I pray that all of you have a wonderful and healthy new year. To celebrate the new year I chose quotes that focus on “new” for the inspiration challenge at Kjoi Studios. Create a layout using any of these quotes to get your new year started.

The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings. ~ - Dave Weinbaum

"When God closes a door he opens a window."
Maria - Sound of Music

“Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.” Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Each new day is a gift from God, greet it with open arms and thanks!

If you create a digital layout, post in the Kjoi Studios gallery and provide a link in the inspiration forum to have a chance to win a $5 GC to the Kjoi prize vault. Happy scrapping!