Thursday, July 26, 2007

Working on Projects for Convention

Gwen and her hubby, Kay, came over last night to work on our projects for the upcoming Stampin' Up! convention. I really enjoyed visiting with both of them. I talked more than I worked, so I didn't get much done, but I think they accomplished quite a bit. Here are a couple of the projects I've been working on. These are a couple of the memo pads:

The next few pictures are the swaps I made that hold a pack of Trident gum. I'm not completely pleased with the way they turned out, but I can't decide what it is I need to change to make them more appealing. If you have any suggestions, please post a comment and let me know. Do I need to change colors? Add a little something? They're basically a piece of cardstock folded in thirds with a small velcro closure.

Oh... I almost forgot to post this pic. I happened to catch little Mr. Ernie right in the middle of a ginormous yawn. He looks mean, doesn't he?? He's harmless... just very sleepy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

As if the squirrels weren't bad enough...

...Ernie stole a tomato when I picked them last night. I had a Blue Bunny ice cream bucket that I was using to put my tomatoes in as I picked them. When I wasn't looking, Ernie helped himself to a tomato. He didn't eat it, but he played with it until it was destroyed. I'm sure that whatever he left will be eaten by the squirrels if it hasn't been already.

Gwen and Vanessa are coming over tonight to stamp. I still have several projects to work on for the convention, which is next week. I'm really excited about our trip to Denver. We're going to have SO MUCH FUN!!! Toodles!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What A Terrific Weekend!!

I don't even know where to start. I met my three brothers for the first time this weekend and we had a GREAT time! I drove down to Branson Friday afternoon. Eric and Tim were already there and David was due later that evening. Eric, Tim, Sue and I went to a matinee on Friday afternoon and out for dinner that evening. David didn't get in until around 1 A.M. on Saturday morning, but we were all still waiting up for him. We stayed up, talking, until sometime around 2 A.M. Saturday morning. Saturday, we all got up and went out for breakfast at the Branson Cafe' before heading out for our hike in the Ponca Wilderness in northern Arkansas. Sue had taken Curtis and I on the hike a couple of weeks ago, but we took a different way back up the mountain this time. While we were at the bottom of the mountain, at the waterfall, we met a couple who were obviously experienced hikers. They told us that they knew a shorter way back up the mountain, but that it would be a little more steep and might require ropes to scale some of the rocks. They had already put the ropes in place, earlier in the day, with the intention of going back up that way. Tim decided that he'd go back up the same way we came down because he wanted to run back up. If I remember correctly, there may have been some sort of bet about whether or not he'd beat the rest of us to the top if we took the shortcut. About a third of the way up the mountain (after scaling the rocks that required ropes) the couple we had met up with at Hemmed-In Hollow wanted to show us a series of waterfalls that had pools of water between each fall. We all stopped and took our shoes off to wade through the pools and to climb down as far as we could. I was the last one to start down and hadn't made it very far when Eric said "I think I just broke my finger". Fortunately, I didn't see it happen. As he was climbing down, he started to slip and tried to grab onto the walls of the rocks to catch himself. In doing so, his ring finger on his left hand got caught in a hole and bent it completely sideways across his little finger. He had his wits about him much more than I would have because he grabbed the finger and popped it back into place and then removed his wedding band before it started swelling. The water we were in was ice cold, so he held that hand in the water for quite a while before we started back up. We were devising a makeshift splint when he decided that he thought he'd be fine without it and so we started making our way back to the top of the mountain again. We were never really "lost", so to speak, but there were several times that we were unsure about which way to proceed up the mountain. We finally came to a clearing and could tell that we had reached the top, but we still weren't back to the Compton Trailhead where we started. We were fairly confident that we were headed in the right direction, so we kept going. We finally reached the car around 5:30 P.M. Tim was waiting for us and said that he had made it back up in 39 minutes. The rest of us made it back to the top in roughly 2 1/2 hours. I guess you won that bet, Tim!! On the way back to Branson, we decided that we'd all go back to Sue's to start taking showers since we were meeting Curtis for dinner at Cantina Laredo on the Branson Landing. Eric and Sue took their showers first and then headed for urgent care to have them take a look at his hand. Urgent care was closed, so he decided he'd wait until morning to go back. The rest of us finished getting ready and Curtis picked me, Tim, and David up at the house so we could meet Eric and Sue at the Landing. We had a really good dinner at Cantina Laredo and then walked around Branson Landing for a while. Curtis headed back to Springfield since he would be leaving early this morning for a trip to Iowa. Tim's flight left this morning around 6:55, so he and Sue and I left around 4:30 A.M. to take him to the Springfield airport. He made it safely back to Phoenix sometime around noon (CST) today. When we got back to Branson after taking Tim to the airport, I went back to bed and Sue took Eric to urgent care. His finger wasn't broken, but one of the bones in the top of his hand was broken. The doctor said that he, most likely, pulled the finger out of socket, which put enough stress on that bone to break it. They put a splint on it, wrapped it tightly, and instructed him to see an orthopedic surgeon upon returning to Phoenix. When Sue and Eric returned from the hospital, the three of us and David left for Berryville, AR to meet my great-aunt Alice. She prepared lunch for us and was a wonderful hostess. The food was delicious and I absolutely loved visiting with her. As we were leaving, she pointed to a vase of roses on the table and said that they were for me. I came home with a beautiful bouquet of 18 various colored roses. Thank you, Aunt Alice!! You're a sweetheart! David left around 3 P.M., from Berryville, for his drive back to Chicago. Sue talked to him a couple of times after he left to make sure he was doing okay since no one got much sleep this weekend. I haven't heard from anyone yet, so I'm assuming he made it home safely. Sue, Eric, and I left Aunt Alice's house around 5:30 P.M. and drove back to Branson. I got all my things packed and loaded into the car and was on my way back home by 6:30 P.M. Eric's flight leaves from Springfield tomorrow at noon, so he and Sue will be stopping by tomorrow morning to pick me up for breakfast so I can say goodbye to him before he leaves. Despite Eric breaking his hand, I think we all had a pretty good time this weekend. I'm so glad to have found them and to have met them and I hope to continue to have contact with all of them. Hopefully, I can meet their families sometime soon. Below is a link to some of the pictures I took this weekend. Most of them were taken on our hike. There is a group photo that Curtis took of all of us at the Branson Landing and a couple of photos of me and Aunt Alice. Isn't she beautiful? I'm going to close for now. It's getting late and it's been an exciting, but exhausting weekend.

Friday, July 20, 2007

WOO-HOO!! I've been nominated a ROCKIN' GIRL BLOGGER!!

My good friend, Gwen, nominated me as a ROCKIN' GIRL BLOGGER!! I'm flattered!! It's really quite an honor considering how many blogging buddies she has!! ...And especially since I'm relatively new to the blogging thing!

I probably won't have a post for several days. Some of you may already know, but I was adopted when I was 6 days old. I have VERY loving parents and two great brothers whom I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. My parents were very supportive in my search for my birth mother and I found her, earlier this year, in March. It turns out that I have three half-brothers and I will be meeting them this weekend. Sue, my birth mother, lives in Branson. Eric and Tim live in Phoenix, AZ and David lives in Chicago, IL. The three of them are coming in this weekend and I'm terribly excited about meeting them. The suspense is just killing me!!! I will post pictures and an update sometime early next week.

Have a GREAT weekend!! TTFN!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My Crazy Stampin' Friends

I went over to Gwen Mangelson's house tonight to work on swaps for the upcoming Stampin' Up! convention. If you aren't familiar with stamping or scrapbooking, a swap is simply a card or other crafty project that you "swap" with another crafter to get new ideas and inspiration. I am planning to take at least 100 swaps to convention and am planning on creating at least three different items. Tonight I completed 20 cards just like the one below. The little notepad will be another of my swaps, but I only have one completed. I was playing around with the idea and I think I really like it. I may hate them by the time I complete 40 or 50 of them but, for now, I think they're cute. I really like that flower stamp from the "Year After Year" set... can you tell??

Vanessa Farkas ( was at Gwen's tonight, too, and the three of us had a GREAT time stamping and just spending time together. Every time one of us said something, someone else would break into a song that used the words or phrase that had just been said. I know that's corny, but it was nice to just spend time with friends and laugh about silly things. I'm sure Gwen will have pictures of our time spent together on her blog ( tomorrow. Just click on the link to check them out.

It's getting late and I have a big weekend ahead of me, so I'm going to close for now. Curtis went to a demolition derby or drag race (or something of that nature) tonight and he's still out, so it's just me, Ernie, Smith & Wesson - very quiet!! TTFN!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Today was the Annual Pancake Ride

I rode the 50 mile route in the Annual Pancake Training Ride this morning. Pancakes were served 10 miles into the ride at a Kiwanis pavilion and I really couldn't see that they were trained to do anything. Maybe they're still in training. Anyway, I opted out of the cakes. The first 10 miles are usually the most difficult for me and I was feeling pretty good at the end of those first 10 and didn't want to ruin it by filling up on pancakes and syrup. I chose to have only a small glass of 'Tang' and hit the road again. I met up with my friend, Tressie, at the first rest stop and we rode the rest of the way together. I finished the ride in just under 3 1/2 hours. We rode from Battlefield through Billings and Republic and back to Battlefield. I took a tumble coming to a stop at an intersection. I had my right foot locked into the pedal, fully intending to dismount on my left foot. When I came to a stop I must have had more weight leaning to the right because I fell right over while sitting still. The only thing bruised besides my backside was my pride. I got up just fine, though, and got right back on. At the next rest stop, my good friends from Sunshine Bike Shop were there to make adjustments for anyone who needed them. My handlebars were bent pretty badly on the right and my seat was crooked, so they made the adjustments while I had a snack and a cold drink. THANK YOU TO SUNSHINE BIKE SHOP!! They're the best and are always happy to help! I'll try to post some new Stampin' Up! projects later today, but I think I'm going to take an ibuprofen and a nap right now!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Crazy Stampin' Ladies

No biking or hiking for me today! Several of us Stampin' Up! demonstrators are getting together tomorrow evening for a little shin-dig and we're doing a card swap. Everyone will make 7 cards using current stamp sets and colors from the new Fall/Winter catalog. I didn't have my cards started yet, so I had to get those done tonight. Here is the card I made for the swap...

I used Groovy Guava and Wild Wasabi cardstock. The 'Year After Year' flowers are stamped using StazOn ink and colored using the Groovy Guava and Wild Wasabi classic stamp pads and a blender pen. The 'Warm Wishes' stamp is from the new 'Hugs & Wishes' stamp set and it is stamped using a Basic Black classic ink pad.

I picked a couple of yellow squash today, a few green beans and peas, and a dozen cherry/grape tomatoes. I've been putting some of our squash and green beans in the freezer so, hopefully, we won't get burned out on them this summer and can enjoy them all year.

I'm not very good at keeping in touch with friends. In the last week, I've contacted three friends whom I haven't seen or talked to in a VERY long time - it's been WAY too long. I ran into Lisa Balmas, a friend from the good ole days at UMB Bank in Joplin, MO at the Tour De Loco this last weekend. We happened to be at the second rest stop at the same time and, luckily, she recognized me. It's been several years since I've seen her and so I'm going to try to do better at keeping in touch. She will be participating in the MS150, as well, so I hope to see her at some more of the training rides. Yesterday, I called my good friend, John Bryan. We used to hang out together quite a bit when I worked at Cabool State Bank in Cabool, MO. John used to own a Harley Davidson shop and would ask me along on the organized rides when they held them. I LOVED those rides and was reminded of them when BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) helped out at the Tour De Loco last weekend. They drove the route to make sure that all the cyclists were doing okay and didn't need anything. Seeing all those Harley's got me to thinking about John, so I called. A couple of weeks ago I called my friend, Kris Scroggins - another one of my UMB cronies. We had lunch together one day last week and have decided that we're going to have to do that on a regular basis. I'm adding a reminder in my Outlook calendar to make sure I don't lose touch with her again. It feels good to contact friends to whom you haven't spoken in such a long time!!

It's getting late, so I suppose I should close for now. I'm looking forward to my "girl's night out" tomorrow night with all the crazy stampin' ladies!! TTFN!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Compton Trail & Hemmed-In Hollow

Curtis and I went hiking with Sue yesterday in the mountains of northern Arkansas. We started our hike in Compton , AR at the Compton Trailhead and hiked down to Hemmed-In Hollow. The hike down was 2.5 miles and the best I can tell, from internet research, the total elevation is around 1,300 feet. It was an extremely steep climb, but the waterfall was well worth it. Hemmed-In Falls is the largest waterfall between the Rockies and the Appalachians with a height of approximately 200 feet. The hollow itself is about a mile long, ending in the Buffalo River. It is tight, steep, has a beautiful stream flowing through, and while in the hollow you just feel completely hidden from the rest of the world. Below is a link to some of the pictures we took. Let me know if you have problems viewing them by sending an e-mail to

I also rode in the Tour De Loco in Mt. Vernon, MO on Saturday. I didn't take my camera with me and really didn't have time to stop for pictures, anyway. We, basically, rode a loop starting in Mt. Vernon and looping down around Aurora, Freistatt (it was, by no means, a direct route around Aurora and Freistatt), west to Sarcoxie, north and back east around Stotts City, and then back to Mt. Vernon. It was a VERY scenic ride and I saw some of the most beautiful Amish country I've ever seen in my life. A large portion of the ride was on county roads in Lawrence County - roads with no shoulder, no stripes, and that were almost too narrow to qualify as two lane roads. I met several Amish families in their buggies and saw their homes and farms as closely as I've ever seen them before. Their properties, I think, would be best described as "pristine". It was absolutely breathtaking. I didn't quite complete the entire ride of 65 miles. This ride actually started an hour later than most organized rides do this time of year. We started out at 8 am and the temperatures and the humidity escalated quite quickly. I made it to mile 56, where there was a rest stop, around 1 pm and got a ride from a SAG (support and gear) unit there. I was starting to feel light-headed and just weak, in general. I really think it was the heat and humidity that did me in. On the ride back to our starting point, I was extra thankful for the SAG units, since those last 10 miles would have been the most gruesome as far as the hills were concerned.

I'm taking the day off from work today in an attempt to recover from my weekend. I didn't feel too bad last night before going to bed, but I seem to have quite a bit of muscle stiffness today. That, coupled with my allergies, has me feeling exhausted and in need of some R & R. I didn't have much time for card-making this weekend, but I was able to squeeze in enough time to get one done. This card was made using the new 'Baroque Motifs' stamp set and inks from the 'Earth Elements' collection. The paper is from another one of those jumbo economy packs purchased at Hobby Lobby. I've been trying to challenge myself to use some colors and patterns that, normally, would not appeal to me. I have tons of non-SU paper that I need to use up or part with. Since I hate to part with things like that, I'm making an attempt to try to use some of it. TTFN!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy Birthday, Curtis!!

Curt's 39th birthday is tomorrow. I know he won't have a problem with me giving his age out. Otherwise, I wouldn't even think of doing it... maybe. Anyway, his kids have been spending a week at their grandparents' house and will be staying at our house tonight for the first time in about a week and a half. Branden will be at camp all next week, so it will be another week and a half before we see him again. My point is this... we're celebrating Curt's birthday tonight since this is the only night his kids will be here anytime close to his birthday. We're going out for pizza tonight to celebrate. I can say this on my blog now because I know he won't be reading it until sometime tomorrow at the very earliest. This is the card I made for him. I used one of those handy-dandy economy packs of designer paper from Hobby Lobby and my new 'Year After Year' stamp set from Stampin' Up!. The package was colored using 'Ruby Red' and 'Not Quite Navy' SU watercolor pencils. TTFN!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, America!!

Happy Independence Day!!! Curtis and I both had the day off today and we just toodled (is that a word?) around the house today. We spent a little time in the garden this morning gathering the vegetables that were ready to be picked. That pile of green beans, which can be seen in the picture below, filled a 5 gallon bucket. I was able to freeze 7 quarts and cooked about 2 quarts with some new potatoes, bacon, and onion for our meal today. We didn't eat all of those, mind you, but we'll be able to enjoy them the rest of the week. We have yellow squash running out our ears, so I made a squash casserole today, too. We also enjoyed salads, made using only things we grew in our garden, and some grilled chicken, which was NOT grown in our garden. I'm really enjoying our home-grown veggies. A BIG thanks to Uncle Jim and Aunt Helen for the card table you see in the veggie picture. It has become my official "veggie-picture-taking table".

About a week ago I planted two climbing rose bushes in front of the trellises on the back patio. We had our first rose in full bloom today and we have several more buds. I'm anxious to see what they'll look like next year!

That about sums up our day. It doesn't sound like we did much, but we stayed busy all day long. We did a little shopping late this afternoon and went out to see a movie tonight.

For those of you who are keeping tabs on my training for the MS150, I rode 76 miles last week. So far, this week, I've ridden 46 miles and have plans to ride about 25 tomorrow night. I have also registered to ride in an organized ride on Saturday in Mt. Vernon, Missouri. That ride is a benefit ride for an organization called K-Life (, which is a youth ministry, and I plan to ride 65 miles that day. Thank goodness for those padded shorts!!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Good Day For Working Inside

Today was a great day for working inside. It was overcast and/or raining most of the day. Curtis and I cleaned house and then I worked on making a few cards while he worked on trimming and cleaning some things up in the yard. Branden tested for the WINGS (Working with the Individual Needs of Gifted Students) program on June 23rd and had to score at least 138 on an IQ test in order to qualify. He called from his "Gram and Pa-Pa's" to say that he received a letter from the school... he was accepted! He is VERY excited, as are the rest of us. Here are the cards I made today. In case you didn't know, you can leave comments for me regarding anything I post to my blog. Just under each entry, there is a link that reads 'X comments' (X being the number of comments posted). Most of the entries have '0 comments' because there haven't been any made. Just click on that link and it will take you to a page where you can enter a comment. If you don't have a Google account, you can leave the comment anonymously. I welcome any comments and really enjoy reading them. This card was made using: Stamps: Big Blooms, Hugs & Wishes Cardstock: Tempting Turquoise, So Saffron, and Pretty In Pink Inks: Versamark, Taken With Teal Paper: SU Petals & Paisleys Designer Series Other: Clear Detail Embossing Powder, SU Large Oval Punch

This card was made using the following: Stamps: Very Punny Cardstock: Basic Black, Whisper White, Pretty In Pink Inks: SU Classic Regal Rose Other: SU Stampin' Write Journaling Pen, ribbon from Hobby Lobby
This card was made using the following: Stamps: Big Blooms, Much Appreciated Cardstock: Green Galore, Garden Green, and Whisper White Inks: SU Classic Pink Passion and Garden Green Other: Super Fine Glitter (non SU) and white rickrack

This card was made using the following: Stamps: You Make Me Happy Cardstock: Whisper White, Real Red Inks: SU Classic Real Red and Old Olive, Versamark Other: Sizzix embossing template, super fine detail glitter, ribbon from Hobby Lobby, Super Fine Detail Embossing Powder