Monday, December 30, 2013

What I have been up to. . .

I realized that tomorrow is the last day of 2013. I am taking a deep breath and crossing my fingers that 2014 will be much better. I know that my life wont be filled with the drama and deceit of the last year because I have cut evil people completely from my life - never to return! I have spent this year at every turn feeling the loss of my husband. People say that it gets better with time. I guess because after that first year I wont be able to say - this is my first Easter without him, or our first Anniversary apart. But I still have the occasional wound because with the beautiful 6 year old he left me with there are still many milestones that he will miss. We still talk about him a lot and she is still very clingy to me, but this year I am determined that we will focus on this actually pretty awesome life that we have built since he has passed. I have to say, though, before I move on that he would have loved it here. It is everything we always talked about in a home of our own, and I do consider it his as well, because it was OUR dream to escape and live our lives on our terms minus the bitter jealousies and manipulation we had dealt with for so long.

On to our lives. . .

I have been pretty busy lately, canning and dehydrating. My family has canned vegetables from the garden as far back as I can remember, and I have always enjoyed it myself. I finally have a place to store all of these jellies and fruits, and even meats, so I have been canning up a storm. I have recently discovered dehydrating and am now madly in love with it. I always thought those dried up little pebbles would be gross and tasteless, but after some experimentation, I have discovered that it is hard to tell the difference once everything is cooked up. As I write this I am actually saving about $8 on minutes rice! I boiled up a cheapie 3 pound bag of regular rice, rinsed it really well and slapped it on the trays. Once it is done it will cook up just like minute rice - perfect every time! Better than a coupon!

After much soul-searching, I purchased a pressure canner. It took me a couple of months to actually try it, and the unopened boxed stared accusingly at me from on top of my upright freezer until I finally worked up the nerve to try it. My oldest daughter and I have been canning chicken and dry beans (partially cooked first) ever since we tasted the first batch!

Another thing I am enjoying is baking homemade bread! Of course, I do cheat by making the dough in the bread machine, but I shape it and bake it in the oven. The shape that we enjoy is braided the best because you can just rip a hunk off whenever you feel peckish!

I cant wait until spring! I didn't have much of a garden last summer. It took me a while to replace my stolen tiller. When I finally got it, I went with raised beds for a few veggies- we ended up with some corn, beans, and squash. 2 cucumbers, 4 watermelons, and 6 tiny little tomatoes. So sad. We haven't had a garden for the last 5 years, because of the constant harassment. Now that I am on my own land, I have been researching greenhouses to extend my growing season (maybe year round), and I have decided that I am definately going for it this year! I have always wanted a greenhouse and I want to try my hand at hydroponics as well - we'll see how it goes. . .

I expect next month to be pretty hectic. This will be Jordan's first cookie sale as a Daisy. I really can't wait, but I am dreading it a little too. I sure hope all my friends and relative know that I am hoping for dibs on all their cookie purchases this year!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My Life Upgraded

I am a Grandma again! My daughter had her second child at 10:30 this morning by C-Section. Mom and baby are doing fine. In honor of this new life I have decided to move on with mine - no longer in fear of harm or retaliation.

This is my first post since my husband was hit by an 18 wheeler. It's been over a year. A lot has happened - he passed away in July of 2012. Although I have stayed very emotionally numb and busy, I haven't taken time to do a lot of the things that I enjoy. Crafting and blogging being two of those things.

I have recently taken up Project Life, which is a life saver. I have so much to catch up on. I bought the Jade Edition and a set of cards from HSN during their CRAZY sale, and now I'm hooked! I decided today that I would start blogging again to stay sane and to help me document my life so I can journal better in my layouts.

When my husband died, part of my healing process included following a dream of ours to buy this property and put a home on it. At first I hesitated because of survivor guilt, but then decided that it would be a tribute to him if I follow through with his vision of our home together. I have to say that in light of the terrible things that happened after his death- it is a good thing that we escaped that horrible place and my daughter and I are safe on the land that he wanted so badly to live on. I wish I could post details, but I am still trying to decide if I will prosecute or not...

Anyways; now that I live on 3 beautiful mountain acres I am also planning on building a greenhouse - A dream I have always had, and a chicken coup! I will be survivor woman - lol. I'm not one of those end of the world conspiracy people, but from past experience I know that we are trapped on this mountain for at least 2 weeks out of the year, so we really do need to stock up and prepare for storms and such.

So far I have planned for my gardens for next year by propogating seeds for blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. They are wintering over in my refrigerator right now waiting for me to plant them in the spring. I already have an organic celery, 6 herb pots, and tomato, pepper and watermelon seedlings sprouting on my kitchen window sills. I got a late start this year on gardening because my tiller mysteriously disappeared and I couldn't replace it until a few weeks ago. I still have time to put the watermelon in raised beds, but I am desperately hoping to have my greenhouse up before cold weather hits this year and my seedlings will be ready to transplant.

I see that I still have a couple of followers. I will be posting more now that my daughter and I are starting to get into a routine. I am still working on the house - A repo doublewide that I got for a song, but I am finding a little more time since most of the urgent stuff has been done. I can putter around a do the rest of the decorating and fine tuning as things come up. I am looking forward to posting my progress and crafty things as I ease back into "Living" and getting to know myself again.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Decorative Edge Scissors Inventory Sheet

I have created a couple of Decorative Edge Scissors Inventory Sheets. The first one is 2 columns and the other is 1 column for longer samples. I uploaded them to my Google Docs and I hope the links work. I am putting the links in twice to see which one, or hopefully both ways work.

Single column sheet             Double column sheet                              


You may email me if the links don't work here and I will send you the PDFs - Please type "Request for Decorative Edge Scissors PDF" in the subject line

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 Resolve to Get Organized Series

Week 5 - A Plethora of Pictures - February 14, 2012

Due to technical difficulties, this segment will be added to the end of the challenge, but Tiffany posted a previous taping for those of us who wanted to stay on track. I have been so busy with this challenge that I hadn't had time to update my blog until now...

This week's lesson was to show us how to get our photos organized. I started out with over 12,000 pictures just on my external hard drive. I've been using the Adobe Photo Album Starter Edition for a while and I have tried Picasa. I like them both because:

-They are both free.
-They both show your photos in chronological order (provided your camera's date was correct, but those properties can also be edited within the program).
-They both allow you to tag or catagorize individually or by groups of photos.
-Photos can be optimized, edited, cropped, and collaged (is that even a word?).

When I first tried Picasa I liked the facial recognition feature, but ultimately found correcting it's auto tag feature to be exhausting, so I stopped using it.

Ok, so enough rambling...

This week’s challenge:

• Establish your Physical and computer filing systems.
• Sort 2 boxes/Piles/Drawers of photos. 
Add one additional box for each “family” helper you recruit.
• Sort one year of Digital Photos.
• Sort 1 container of other supplies into your 4 Section System.
• Sort 4” of paper
• Post on FB

Tiffany recommended using a photo sorting software, and a perpetual calender to help. I found a nice perpetual calendar for free on the microsoft website. Click here and it will open in a new window.

To start out with, I scrap-lifted (can I use that term here?) Tiffany's file folder and index pages into word documents and just printed them out on plain copy paper and folded them. I gotta say, they are awesome for journaling prompts, which is really my biggest weakness as a scrapbooker. This is what they look like in a binder, but I will be adding my unfinished layouts to this holding album next, and those are 12x12.  (The holding album and journaling challenge is next week.) I got caught up in this project and now have 20 planned layouts and 15 previously unfinished ones. I'm a bad Grandma...

In order for me to gather my physical photos, I had to organize an area of gloom or two. My desk and filing cabinet has so much storage that when I put something away it becomes lost for all time. I have a cabinet in my scraproom that ends up being a pile catch-all for unfinished layouts and "cool stuff" I want to hang onto.

I ended up gathering up 3 "old fashioned" photo albums, you know, the ones that have the sticky board and plastic sheet... several brag book type albums-the purse sized 4x6 ones. There were 4 of the 4x6 plastic photo organizers with some high school photos of me and some pictures taken when my current husband and I were dating. My mom had also sent me (several years ago) a bunch of family history stuff and my childhood photos in several of those 9x12 envelopes, so I have those to deal with too. I found some photo disks and envelopes with the negatives from Wal-mart strategically located on the top shelf in my linen closet (don't laugh). Unfortunately, I also found about 15 undeveloped rolls of 110 film from when my children were toddlers and preschool aged in an old purse in the bedroom closet. Great.

A few years ago I was "getting my affairs in order" before my unit deployed to Iraq (2008), and went on this organizing binge so that if something happened to me my husband would be able to lay hands on all of our important documents and photos. I bought one of those pioneer digital CD organizers on Amazon. They hold the picture CD's and index cards and it expands (post bound) so you can buy refill pages and the pages that hold negative strips too. So at least I already had that covered, and I will just add the newly found stuff to that. The pictures in the albums  and photo boxes are already in chronological order- -go figure. My oldest daughter wants me to scan those eventually, but I can't deal with that just yet.

And on to the digital pics. I am still not finished with that. Over the years, every time I have backed up my computer, apparently I ended up with a pictures folder that has somehow multiplied until I had 6 or 7 copies of every picture I have EVER taken. While sorting these pictures by year, then by month, then by event, I have actually deleted, so far over 2000 duplicate photos. I swore I wouldn't delete any unless Tiffany came to my house and put a gun to my head, but I actually managed to do it. The nice thing about organizing them this way is that I get reminded of events and the dates. I actually got about 10 years worth organized. This is also how I ended up with so many new holding folders! I still have 3 grandchildren's births, 2 years worth of birthdays, 4 weddings, 2 vacations, and several Christmas and Easter's to scrap! I guess I am going to have to look into that Power Layout thing! I was feeling pretty smug about getting 3 Halloween's and 2 high school graduations done a couple of weeks ago, but now I feel so much less overwhelmed! 


I ended up looking for the Microsoft Office Picture Manager on my computer - I never knew I had it. I really do like it because I has the folder list (or tree, if you prefer), on the side and I can just open up the folders by clicking on the plus sign next to the years and go down the list. When I use Explorer I have to back out to go to the next folder I want to look at. This is much easier, and I like that you can change the names of several photos at once. I hovered over the pics and could see the digital date stamp, so I just renamed them by their date XXXX_XX_XX and let the program sequentially number them 01, 02, 03 etc.


I am almost caught up with my containers of supplies (only 3 left!), and have organised all my colored cardstock & papers onto my paper shelves. I thought I might need to get another shelf unit for my patterned and themed papers, but I am also thinking about just using the up-cycled postal boxes I have emptied out for themes and patterns - simply because I don't want to expand any more. I really don't have THAT much themed paper. Now that I have holding albums I actually realize I need more of that, but at least I know now what I actually need, instead of just grabbing whatever (or specifically whatever is on sale). I have probably purged about 3 inches of patterned paper that came in those huge paper pads. Those pads are almost as bad as buying a whole music CD for one good song... You might get 10 gorgeous sheets and 15 hideous ones!

On a personal note:

I know we aren't done yet, but I really feel like this challenge has been a life changer for me. I didn't really realize that there was a problem - except that I was getting to be so disorganized. I just kept getting more containers!  I like this system better because everything is right in front of me and I can use all those baskets elsewhere around the house. So the benefits are spilling into other areas of my home and life. I actually used 6 of my matching baskets in the bathroom cabinet to organize stuff by category. When I was going through the cupboard I found and got rid of a whole shelf of expired medications and near empty bottles of lotions and stuff I don't use anymore anyway. I even found unopened stuff that I am always buying - so that saved me some money too. I consolidated 4 boxes of band-aids and 3 boxes of wax strips (battle of the mustache). Now when I look for something in a cupboard around here I have a better shot at finding it - and it really looks nice. Big time-saver too! I've always been a packrat, but it was starting to make me unhappy and feeling overwhelmed and cluttered in my mind too. I am finding that it doesn't bother me to throw things away like it used to. I can't give Tiffany all the credit, because I subscribe to malitose79 on YouTube, and she is awesome too. But both of them have helped me bring it all together in several areas! I've even noticed that I am starting to think this way automatically everytime I open a cabinet or drawer and take a couple of minutes to organize it. It is so nice to have a place for everything instead of feeling like every drawer was starting to become the "junk drawer".

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 Resolve to Get Organized Series

Week 4 - Inks, Chalks, Pens and More -February 7, 2012

Step 1 – How will you store your items?

I will probably put everything back in the cassette display. The markers came in their own storage case.

Step 2 – Gather your Products

I had to get all of my stuff down out of the shelf so that I could read the names and make samples of all my colors. I wasn't really happy about this step because I already had my stuff organized the way I wanted them. I figured if I  take them all down, they are going to end up cluttering my coffee table for the next week until I get time to put them back.

Step 3 – Create Color Catalog

Here it is:


I dont know why these uploaded upside down, but the pictures options don't give you any way to rotate them, sorry, but you get the idea. When I finally got this all done I was actually glad that I did it after all. I saw which markers exactly matched which ink pads. There was a white pad that I had never even opened and it looked awesome on the black cardstock. I also have a white gel pen that is seriously under-used and under-appreciated. I got it because of Sandy Genovese's You Tube videos. I think she uses that white gel pen on everything. But it looks good, so I wanted one too- now I never even use it.

I did the color tabs on my word program and I wasn't happy that the printer margins cut off my words. I will probably end up using cardstock to fix them, but I need a tab punch so they will look nice. I had to make sure that the front and back cover were cut down too, so the tabs will show. I didn't have enough colors to fill an entire sheet, so I just used half sheets front and back, I have to look at both sides.

I can make photo copies of these pages and stick them into the proper rainbow section of my homemade scraprack.

Step 4 – Create Manufacturer Catalog Sheet

I didn't have to do this step because I only have one type of markers, which are the crayola pipsqueaks. I liked the bright colors (so does does my 4 yr-old). I haven't tried the copic technique yet, but I have enough shades so that I could try it if I want to. I didn't catalog my Sharpies because I only have the black & primary colors anyway. I did have a rainbow assortment of glitter gel pens (Dollar General), but Jordan got them.

I have generic, unheard of brands of ink pads, and actually started out with the ones at staples for office stamps. I am afraid to get into Stampin' Up or any of the other ones because I am such an addict. I usually try to collect one of everything once I get started on it. Those fancier brands have hundreds of shades and are so expensive. Then they come out with new palettes every year. I'm not really into stamping anyway (yet).

Step 5 – Store Products

I fit everything in one 5x7" basket and it is sitting on the kitchen table to be taken back out in the morning. It's too cold outside right now to walk out to the scrapbook room.

So I have pretty much finished my homework for the week. I am really not looking forward to the next challenge... We will be organizing pictures. I hope I can get through it!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Repurposed Packaging

While throwing away mountains of packaging from my embellishments I realized that I could use the clear plastic for shrinky dinks (I'm giving away my age, now). I had googled how to make them a while back because it is so hard to find certain names, my daughter Jordan being one of them. You can use the recyclable type 6 plastic. I cut mine out on the Cricut and welded the letters together to make my own word art. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to ink the letters before I heated the plastic so they would pop. These bake at 350' for about 3 or 4 minutes and worked out really well on the first try. I debated whether to punch a hole in it somewhere for a keyring, but decided I just wanted the word art for a scrapbook layout.

Here are the results:

I had to use red because that is Jordan's favorite color. I thought it turned out pretty good for a first try. Next time I will jazz it up a bit.

I am going to try to make some of those sprockets and old clocks to go with the embossing folders I got for Christmas.

This shrunk down a good bit, I might even guess about 1/3 the size I started out with, so you'd have to keep that in mind.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2012 Resolve to Get Organized Series

Week 3 - Embellishments, A Container at a Time - January 31, 2011-

Epic Fail...

I was so proud that I had managed to save some money on these spinders. I ripped apart some binders that were collecting dust and hot-glued some velcro to the back. Surely this would get me by until I win the Lotto.

Everthing was going great, I even stapled the other velcro side to a 20" x 16" board and could prop that up on a wheeled kitchen chair.

So, I'm making incredible progress putting things away one container at a time.

Zipping along

Feeling Great! Three garbage bags full of packaging and scrounged, re-purposed storage containers. (AKA shoe boxes and plastic mayonnaise jars.)

I am the Scrapping Organizing Bomb

I'm so smart

I saved hundreds of Dollars

Until the damn Velcro came off the spine.

OK, No problem, right? 

Yeah, crazy glue doesn't hold for long either, and that actually rusts the metal.

Sorry, Tiffany, I bow to you... 

If I can find my husband's Gorilla glue I might be able to save my "trailer trash Scraprack", if not, it's back to square one - unless anyone else has any bright ideas.