Monday, August 31, 2009

Hot Texas!

We're in Austin - arrived here Saturday night going straight to a downtown bar for Katrina's birthday party. It was at a great little dive near downtown Austin with a great outdoor courtyard. It was hot but really not too bad considering Austin has broken a record for heat this month .... over 69 straight days of 100 degree heat! Sunday we just hung out at Melinda's house resting up for our "ladies night." Ashley, Melinda, Katrina and I had dinner last night at The Four Seasons before heading to The Bass Hall (on UT campus) to see the musical, Wicked. It was really good! Ashley & Melinda both read the book and thought the musical was better. I had planned on reading the book when I returned home, but don't think so now.

Today we met a good friend, Heidi, for breakfast and ooh-ed and aah-ed over her new engagement ring! She will be getting married Memorial Day weekend, 2010! After breakfast, we hung out in Melinda's backyard pool and played with Zach. Jake was at school. We haven't been able to go swimming with Jake around since he has a cast on his broken arm and we figured it would be just too cruel to swim while he was watching!! He just started first grade.

Tomorrow, Ashley has to report in to work. So, we will be hitting the road in the a.m. heading back to San Antonio. I'll have a day or two there before boarding the plane on Thursday.
We brought the boys paper hats from Blue Bell and from Cafe Du Monde (New Orleans). Zack has really enjoyed his!! He looks so much like my grandson, Jayce!! Too bad they don't live closer since they're only 2 weeks apart. Zach's birthday is Sept. 6!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Here are a few pictures I've downloaded to the laptop. This first one is at our favorite little piano bar in New Orleans - Lafittes. This is the oldest building used as a bar in the US. It's always a stop for us when we are in N.O.

I'm sucking down my hurricane in Pat O'Brian's. I only had one!! I've had experience with having more than that and did not want to repeat history!!

Me on Orange Beach/Gulf Shores .... using that towel to cover up - you don't want to see the full view!!
Finally .... Texas! Ashley & I stop at each state's welcome center and take a picture. We have pictures from welcome centers all over the US!!

We stopped off at College Station/Bryon to visit Scott. Here is a picture of sweet little Cassady - she slept all through dinner.

Texas ... finally!

So, we've made it to Texas!! We spent Wednesday night in Orange Beach (right next to Gulf Shores) with the rain moving us out on Thursday a.m earlier than we had hoped. That's ok .... there was an outlet mall nearby!! We spent a couple of hours there before heading on to New Orleans. We had a great time in N.O. ... sipping hurricanes at Pat O'Brien's and enjoying some great seafood at Mulate's. We topped the night off at the piano bar at Jean Lafitte's. This a.m. we enjoyed beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde ... oh so good! Then on the road again. We stopped in Baton Rouge for a cup of gumbo before hitting the Texas border. Traffic was a little heavy and we picked up quite a bunch of rain en route! That slowed us down so we were unable to meet Ashley's good friend in Houston before she reported for work (she's a ER doc in The Woodlands.) So, we headed on over to College Station/Bryon to Scott & Julie's home. Scott is an old high school buddy of my son's and is like a second son to me. I have not seen him since he got married 2 years ago and now they have a baby - Cassady. She is just a doll and so good at almost 5 months old! We had a good visit with them. It is just so good to see parents who are just so mellow with their kids and don't let having children change their life. They are just going with the flow being parents. Tomorrow, we will be headed to San Antonio and Austin. I will try to download some pictures in the next day or two while at my niece's home.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Family pics

Monday night, we met Marianne at Hickory Tavern.  Her back was acting up on Sunday so she was unable to come over.  She wanted to see Ashley before we left town.  These are the pictures of us I took at the restaurant.  Ashley got her hair cut on Saturday – 10 inches for Locks of Love!!



Thursday, August 27, 2009

Monday Mailer – week of 8/24

This is the Monday Mailer I sent this week.  I just got the Medallion stamp and this is the first card I have made with it.  I also used a SU wheel (Whimsey) in the background.  The color is the new In Color Melon Mambo!

MM Aug - Medallion

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

4 states down!

Well, we've made it as far as Gulf Shores, Alabama. We didn't get out of Mooresville until about 2:30 on Tuesday. Ashley had to pick her car up at the Chevy dealer, take it to have it weighed (empty and full) for the Army to reimburse her; then she wanted to take her grandmother for lunch before leaving town. We ended up driving about 10 hours yesterday (going through NC, SC, Georgia and Alabama) and stopping at Greenville, Alabama for the night around 11 pm. We got up early this a.m., ate breakfast and hit the road for the beach. We were about 2 hours from Gulf Shores and were laying on the beach by 2 pm!! So nice! I have only been to Gulf Shores once before - about 20 years ago. We brought the family here camping with my Texas sister and her family. We were here a week and I think the sun shined 1-2 days that whole week! Today was a beautiful sunny (hot) day! We hope to get up early in the morning and have a few hours on the beach before we hit the road again en route to New Orleans.

While driving through South Carolina, I wanted to stop and try to find the first house Sonny and I had bought when we first married. We were married in 1973 and lived in Greenville, SC. We bought a house in the fall of '73 in Taylors, SC. At that time, Taylors was merely a wide spot in the road! It has grown considerably since then. I was very proud of myself that I was able to find our house although it didn't look anything like the house we had lived in. As I was out on the street taking pictures, the lady who lived there came out to see who we were. When I explained the reason I was there, she invited us in and I got a tour of my old house! How nice! It turns out that they had a fire 3 years ago in the garage that destroyed the garage, kitchen and utility room. When they began to rebuild, the city made them lift the house up because of the creek that runs in the back. So, they added a nice front porch, screened in back porch and knocked down some walls within the house to redo the kitchen and bathrooms. (Plus, it was air conditioned! We only had 2 window units which my daughter thought was crazy!!) It was so much fun to take that little trip down memory lane. The sad part was that the house next door was not in very good shape. When we lived in our house, the sweetest older couple lived next door. They were a god-send to me when I had Ashley - acting just like our grandparents. They ended up being Ashley's god-parents and we were all sad when we moved away (when Ashley was only 2 months old.) They have since died and the family sold their home. Unfortunately, whoever is living there now does not keep the house up like he should.

Have a cow!

My daughter arrived safe and sound Sunday night and we enjoyed a yummy fish dinner (caught by my hubbie on Lake Norman) on Sunday with my family.  She has been telling us about her trip to Kenya and the safari and it has been very interesting.  The funniest thing to me was her visit to a neighboring village.  One of the medical school students she was working with (he has been in the US for about 10 years and is serving in our military having received his citizenship) took her and another colleague  to visit his family for the weekend.  She said they were treated like royalty and there were a bunch of kids there from all over the village mainly to see the white people!!   I asked her if she had been able to take them a gift or something for their hospitality.  After they left, the following week she asked what they could do to thank the family – her thoughts were to buy a goat for the family.  Dan told her his grandmother didn’t like goat so much, so she decided to buy her a cow!!  The next time Dan went to his village, he stopped at the market and purchased a cow …. a WHITE cow …. and took it home to his family.  He told Ashley that his family would be talking about that gift (and visit) for quite some time!!   Keep that in mind the next time you don’t know what to buy for someone!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On the Road Again .... Just Can't Wait ...

I will be leaving Tuesday with Ashley to drive with her on her move to Texas. I have a few posts set for the next few days. But, I will also try to do some posts while on the road. We are hoping to stay a day or two at a Florida beach, spend an evening or more in New Orleans, visit friends in Houston and/or College Station, visit the "little creamery" (Blue Bell) in Brennan, Texas, arriving in San Antonio sometime Saturday. Ashley has a welcome party Saturday afternoon we will be attending. Saturday night we are driving to Austin to help my nephew's girlfriend, Katrina, celebrate her birthday. Sunday we have tickets to see Wicked in Austin and will be going with my niece and Katrina. On Monday, we are having lunch with a good friend (Heidi) and driving back to San Antonio. Tuesday, Sept. 1, Ashley will be reporting to work at Brooke Army Medical Hospital. I will be returning home Sept. 3!


Monday, August 24, 2009

Last week's Monday Mailer

Here's last week's Monday Mailer that I received. A great simple card .... Designer Paper, Sizzix letters and a fancy brad!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Enjoy the Journey

Hope your weekend was great.  I had a good one.  Saturday I did my class at Stamper’s Alley and afterwards, my friend Judy and I went to lunch together.  Aren’t friends great?! 

As I’m typing this, I’m waiting on my daughter to arrive.  She turned over her condo keys to the realtor yesterday and left her place in DC for the last time.  We were sure hoping she’d get a contract before she left (like maybe from the couple who have been back to see it 4-5 times!!) but it didn’t happen.   All she can do is wait.  In the meantime, she’ll be staying with friends or in a hotel for a while.  If it drags on too long, she’ll have to rent a place in San Antonio.  The Army will store her stuff for 90 days. 

I’m excited to share this book with you that I made for Ashley.  The title is Enjoy the Journey and I thought it would be ideal for her Kenya pictures and journals of her trip.  I bought the kit at CK Convention last week from The Button Farm and I really like the way it turned out.  Their instructions are the best!!  Plus, I added a few touches of my own – buttons, brads, etc.  And, I kept some of the pages plain so Ashley could embellish as she wants.  Each page is an envelope so you can insert pictures, memorabilia, journaling, etc.

This is the front of the book:


Here are a few of the pages:











Friday, August 21, 2009

My Final Shape Class

I’m teaching the final “shape” class on Saturday at Stamper’s Alley so I’ve been getting ready today – cutting my paper, etc.  I always wait until the last day or two it seems like.  Although this time, I had gotten prepared a little early but didn’t get enough kits together.  Which is a good thing – more people signed up yesterday so that makes me happy!  This time we are doing a clothes theme – bikini, kimono, girlie dress and little boy’s overalls.  I like this one best of all!





A good thing happened today too!  I have been looking for my Oval Nestabilities for about a week.  I figured they were in my craft room somewhere but I was starting to panic!  I’ve been losing sleep over this, friends!  I went to Stampers Alley today and asked if maybe I’d left them there & Brenda Mott said she hadn’t seen them, but she remembered me bringing them in a couple of weeks ago to measure for my September class.  Well, then I figured they had to be in my car somewhere.  After searching my car …. twice …. no luck!  I was getting scared I had lost them for good.  After dinner, I came upstairs and was just staring at my shelves when …. voila, there they were!!  They were stuck in with my H20’s.  I’m sure what I did was pick them up with my H20’s last week & put them all on the shelf together.   Well, now they are in their rightful place and I can get a good night’s sleep!!

Tonight is my daughter’s last night in her condo.  The packers came today and packed all her stuff.  They will bring the moving van tomorrow and load her stuff up.  She is spending the next 2 nights with one of her girlfriends and will be arriving here on Sunday.  Her condo is still for sale.  She has been getting a lot of “lookers” so hopefully, one of them will make an offer SOON!  We will probably leave here on Tuesday to start our trek to Texas.  Our plans are to stop at a beach along the way (possibly Ft Walton or Destin), New Orleans, Houston and then San Antonio.  I’m really looking forward to it.  Ashley and I have such a good relationship and these trips are so much fun for both of us.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Last Week’s Monday Mailer

I received my Monday Mailer card from Ellie right before I went to CK last week.  It uses the Medallion again!  And now, I’ve gone and ordered it myself so you’ll be seeing some cards with it from moi!!

Here’s Ellie’s version …. and a great one I think!!


Aren’t those colors great together??

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Live & Laugh

I love those words …. live & laugh! That’s what life is about, isn’t it? We all need to heed those words and not sweat the small stuff! I had such fun today finishing up a couple of the projects from the CK classes. Who knows, at this rate, I may even finish the projects from last year??!! The acrylic album I am sharing with you today is from the Button Farm. The directions that came with the kit were about the best I’ve ever seen – so easy to follow. Check out the kits and don’t be afraid to order one of them – you will be able to put it together in no time! Now I just have to find some pictures for this one OR you may be seeing this album later as a GIVEAWAY!! I have never done any blog candy but I am thinking about doing some giveaways when I return from my trip in early September. I have been getting some really nice e-mails from some of you about my blog and it really has made my day! Thank you so much for your comments & keep them coming!! At least I know there is someone out there reading my blog.

Remember - you can click on the pictures to see the whole thing.

This is the front of the book.


Page 2 & 3 – notice how each page mirrors the one before it so you can’t see the back of the images through the acrylic.


Isn’t this paper great? It’s by Basic Grey. The page with the 4 squares is actually a transparency that was added to made an additional page for the book.101_3353

A square was cut out of the page on the right for a picture.101_3354

That lettering on the page on the right is actually on the next page – you can just see it through the acrylic.101_3355

Another transparency added page - 101_3356



THE END! What do you think?

Monday, August 17, 2009

A little of this and a little of that

Sorry I've been MIA!! I had a great time at CK Convention this weekend in Charlotte and spent way too much $$$$!!! When my last class was over on Saturday, Sonny picked me up and we drove up to the Shelton Winery for a get-together with friends ... a little wine and a little Embers beach music in concert! It was a wonderful night - not too hot and a little breeze blowing. Sunday we went out on the boat for a few hours and then to my sister's for BBQ. And today was spent at the Y, but we ended up canceling out that workout by going for lunch at O'Charley's. Sonny had fish & chips and I had shrimp & grits, not to mention the "to die for" hot wheat rolls we had!

I took several classes at CK and will be posting pictures of them when I get them all finished. They just get you through the hard parts of the project and leave the rest for you to finish on your own. Here's a picture of Sharon, Marianne & me at our final class.
My daughter got back home safe and sound from Africa and has over 800 pictures to share with us! So far, I've just seen about 50 pictures that she posted on Facebook and they are incredible!! Here are two pictures that were my favorites - the cheetah out in the wild and posing for a picture! And, the lion hiding in the grasses!

My grandson turned 3 on Friday and my daughter in law made the cutest Mickey Mouse cake for his party (not without some issues with the fondant frosting though!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Monday Mailer / Christmas Card

Here’s the Monday Mailer I sent this week. This is from a new Hostess Set …. The More the Merrier. This set will have a lot of use – Christmas, Halloween birthdays … very versatile! I ran the Sahara Sand through the Big Shot using the Top Note, then turned it 90 degrees and ran it through again to make the shape that I stamped on. I colored the button with ink and used Chunky Glitter on the card. Hope you like it!


I won’t be posting for a couple of days. I’m waiting for Marianne to pick me up to go to uptown Charlotte. We are attending the CK Convention and spending 2 nights at the Hilton!! I am so excited! Just hope I can keep my spending in check!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Safari Adventures

My daughter should be headed home from Kenya soon. I can't wait to hear all the stories. Here is what she put on Facebook about her safari last weekend -

The camp (Kilima Camp) was amazing...I would highly recommend it to anyone who is planning on visiting the Masai Mara. It was situated at the top of a mountain overlooking the Mara River/plain with beautiful view. The tents were amazing - a huge canvas tent complete with a bathroom (shower, toilet, sink). After a quick lunch, we were on a game drive with our driver, James, who turned out to be quite the pro. Dan and I still think there was someone driving ahead of us releasing animals for us to see...I never expected there to be so many. On our first 3 hr drive, we saw four of the "big five" - elephants, lions, buffalo, and a leopard...missing only the rhino, which is reportedly the most difficult to spot. We saw TONS of wildebeest, zebras, and giraffes...also, warthogs, hyenas, gazelles, topi, waterbuck, and probably tons of stuff I've forgotten.

We headed out farther into the park to find the places where the wildebeest were crossing the river - hoping to see the crocodiles try to attack them. I can't say that I was too disappointed to see "nature" in action...we saw them wade into the water to drink, but never actually saw a crossing. We did see a few lions attempt to hunt -- the wildebeest and warthogs were lucky as it was a bit hot and the lions didn't seem to be on their "A" game. We had lunch along the river overlooking dozens of hippos and a handful of crocodiles. At about 3pm, we began to head back when I told James that I really wanted to see a rhino...I kid you not, about 15 minutes later he pulled up right in front of one (that's 5 of the big 5 - hooray!!)

After breakfast, we went on a walk with a couple of Masai warriors which was different, in a good way, from the game drives. They pointed out all of the different trees, fruits, etc that they use for medicines, building materials, and the like. On top of that, we walked right up on animals grazing outside the park -- somehow, the zebras, giraffes, gazelles, and warthogs were much cooler when you were standing near them versus seeing them outside the car window! Dan really wanted to see a dikdik and the guides were trying their best. (This is again where I think someone was scaring one up to put out for us to see.) The guides stopped to give us an archery demonstration; as he started to line up the shot, he stooped and said, "There's a dikdik!" Sure enough, after careful stalking we managed to catch a glimpse of one running away.

What an adventure she has had!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Last Week’s Monday Mailer

I want to share the Monday Mailer card I received last week.  It uses the Medallion background stamp.  When I first saw this stamp in the catalog, I was not impressed …. even though it is one of Shellie’s favorites.  But as time has gone on and I have seen a lot of the fabulous cards others have made with this stamp, I have it on my list to order!  

She stamped (and embossed) the Medallion in Vanilla Craft Ink on the Razzleberry cardstock.  It is then layered onto a Vanilla card and the edges have been distressed.  The ribbon is the polka dot Razzleberry ribbon (turned over) layered onto a piece of Vanilla Grosgrain ribbon with a button that I believe she colored to match.  Isn’t it great?


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Birthday Celebration

This week was my nephew’s 20th birthday!  Wow …. doesn’t seem like he should be that old.  Or for that matter, that my sister should be old enough to have a 20 year old!!  I used to change HER diapers and his!!  Like I’ve said before, how time flies when you’re having fun!!  We celebrated his birthday Friday night at a local Japanese restaurant and a good time was had by all.  I think he is set now with gift certificates from grocery stores, Wal Mart, etc. to stock his apartment when he returns to college next week.

I made a gift card holder from the Top Note die and it was so easy! 

Remember …. click on the pictures to see them larger.



Here’s the birthday boy! 


Here’s the family (minus Harrison – think the food got to him - he escaped to the bathroom for about 30 minutes!!)


Here’s a cute picture of Marianne & me -


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Adventures from Myrtle Beach to Kenya!

How life changes over the years! When I was a teenager, I thought I was being daring and adventurous by finding a summer job away from home one year. I went to Myrtle Beach, SC with a college friend and waitress-ed at a hotel restaurant. What adventures we had that summer!! Another summer, I volunteered for Head Start as a teacher's aide. I had never been around that many poor children and it was a heart warming adventure - quite different from my Myrtle Beach experience!!
Well, I guess if I were a teenager now, in order to be adventurous or daring, I would spend my summers overseas or perhaps on an African Safari!! That is what my daughter is doing. She has been in Kenya for 2 weeks doing Infectious Disease research at a local lab there. She has finished with her work - very early - and has changed her reservations to return home next Wednesday. Depending on flight delays, etc., she should be back in DC Thursday or Friday and will begin out-processing from Walter Reed for her move to Brooks Army Medical Hospital (San Antonio). In the meantime, she has had her own adventures and I can't wait to hear all the details! Last weekend, she went to a village with one of the medical school students who is working with her and they stayed with his family for a typical Kenya weekend. Here are a few of her comments to us about her visit:
Lunch was "a typical Kenyan lunch (although certainly a feast) of rice, ugali (which is a "loaf" of flour which tastes somewhat like grits), cabbage, sukumawiki (a green similar to spinach), and beef stew"
"As everywhere else, CocaCola has a huge impact here with the standards of Coke and Fanta along with some new names -- Krest ("bitter lemon") and Stoney (ginger beer)."

"breakfast (the Kenyans have this food thing down well!) of donuts, chapati, pound cake, and bread with jam. And, of course, tea -- good Kenyan chai tea. "

"time for church...definitely an experience. African Pentecostal less than 3 people collapsed in convulsions and had to have the demons "cast out." They translated their traditional tribal language (Luo) into English especially for our benefit -- we were introduced to the congregation and they said special prayers for our "safe journeys." After church was lunch -- more typical Kenyan fare plus roast and fried chicken that we had watched them pluck the night before! "

This weekend, she is on a Safari in the Masai Mara National Park. Because of doing work there in the lab, they were able to get a good deal of the safari rates so they decided to splurge on their accommodations. They were originally going to pitch a tent in the park but instead made reservations at Kilima Camp. Here is a link to their site where you can see pictures and read about it. This is the high season for the wildebeasts so she is hopeful she will get her money's worth!! I think she will. Looks like such fun!! Sure can't compare to Myrtle Beach but I have my memories too which are precious to me.