Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Been reading alot lately about staying creatively inspired. A main source of inspiration for me are the blogs of celebrity scrapbookers. One such blog I frequent is that of Emily Falconbridge. She is a very artistic scrapbooker and since the start of the year has been doing a little art journal challenge each week on her blog. This week's challenge was about symbols that inspire. Although I didn't participate, it got me thinking about which symbols inspire me. Of course there's the cross-Celtic crosses in particular and birds. You might have heard I have a thing for birds-especially blue birds! Anyway, lately I really have this thing for wings. Just love them. Last week during her BPS lecture, Heidi Swapp mentioned a stamp she had used and I immediately spied it on her layout and had to have it. Perfect timing as I was thinking about symbols-it arrived yesterday. :) Anywhoo-got to playing with my new stamp set and came up with a few cards. So inspired by just these two little stamps! Love the idea of wings and find them so inspiring. I love that they remind us to reach for new heights, attempt the impossible, fulfill your potential, letting go-being free. But to me they also symbolize peace, comfort and remembrance. They're romantic and can be elegant or playful. And right now they are very trendy!

The chair in the photo is another recent inspiration. Love the color-no surprise there, but also love where I found it. Little shop nearby called Robin's Nest. The shop and it's owner really inspire me every time I go there. I've bought lots of white furniture, old books and stuff there. I even painted a room in my house the same color as the main room of the store and the colors in my scrapbook room and finished basement were totally inspired by Robin's Nest! I like to visit Robin's when I'm getting ready to clean-it inspires me to go home and clear out clutter and enjoy all my things in a new light.

My other big inspiration source are magazines-I have an infatuation with them. Always have. My mom says I get it from my Grandma Swan. She always had a stack by her reading chairs and I loved to sit for hours at her house in the afternoon sun looking through them. When I was a young girl Grandma used to call them my wishbooks. Fav's now are Home Companion, Martha Stewart Living and Country Home. I also love to look through the Pottery Barn catalog.

One of the tenets alot of artistic people hold is to surround yourself by things that inspire you. Sounds rather simple, doesn't it? But just like everything it's a habit. I've been tring to get my scrap studio together since we had our basement finished around this time last year. Very slowly getting things hung up and put in their place. Right now it's mainly just piles of supplies, but slowly and surely I'm getting it together. Finally hung up an inspiration board and began tacking bits and pieces on it. Like I said, slowly.

Gone on and on for far too long, but just wanted to share. Running out to Tae Kwon Do cause it's Tuesday (see earlier post)! Ciao for now and remember to surround yourself with lovely things and be inspired!

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Major enabler alert: Elsie Flannigan has unveiled her first ever line of products at CHA and they are totally yummy! Wasn't sure what it would be like and honestly, wasn't anticipating being nearly this excited about it. So fun and very KI, but totally Elsie. Young, hip, funky and fresh. Can't wait for it to hit store shelves. Don't say I didn't warn ya!

You're Gonna LOVE IT!

If you have not seen Dream Girls yet you need to get to your local theatre and see it! WOW! I have not wanted to stand up and cheer during a movie before, but I did this one. Jennifer Hudson totally blew me away. Now I know what everyone has been raving about. Look for her to get the Oscar. She is amazing!
UPDATE: She won the SAG! WooHoo!

The one thing better than spending the afternoon with the Dream Girls is discovering my new favorite Target. My friend Diane got me to venture outside my comfort zone today and I'm so glad I did! Lots of fun things there since they're coming out with all the Spring stuff already. And...they even have a Starbucks! I will definitely be traveling that way again.

Well, in for the night. Going to have an uber healthy meal and do a little scrap play tonight while I watch the SAG awards. This time of year the award shows get me. Love the glam!

Oh, and I'm in countdown mode for Tuesday. Harry's new cd comes out-can't wait!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Greetings From Radiator Springs

Even tho' we're back to frigid winter weather it's been all warm and fuzzy at our house today. Cousin Matt spent the night with Brady last night so we had a hectic, but good morning getting them up and around for their Upward basketball game this morning. Matt even scored six points for the team. Then it was off to Warrenton to see their new house. Very fun to see their log cabin and hear all about the plans for sprucing it up as they settled in, but sad that they won't be right across town from us. So sweet to see Brady give his cousins big hugs when we got ready to go. At least through basketball season we'll see them every weekend. After we got home it was time for mom and Brady to have a little nap. We curled up and watched Cars. I hadn't seen it yet so it was a treat to snuggle up with Brady and watch it. Loved this movie-great story, great characters and voices and an awesome soundtrack. Love Pixar and Disney. As usual, I teared up at the end with Brad Paisley singing, "Find Yourself". Just loved it! BTW, we suspect there's a new Toy Story on it's way. Have you seen the new versions of Buzz and Woody in the stores? This is both my boys' favorite Disney movie. Has always bonded them a little more since they were equally enamored with Buzz and Woody at about the same age (one from the first movie and the other from the second ten years later!).

Anyway, just a nice day to relax and enjoy. Gotta get motivated now to work on the Sunday School lesson and head out to the grocery store. Maybe some scrappin' later on. The photo is from our Disney trip. This was at MGM Studios in the Magic of Disney Animation. Brady and I took an animation class. Was such a great moment because Brady is usually totally not interested in drawing and he actually did great with his drawing of Mickey. Anyway, this is a reminder that I need to get crack-a-lackin' on those Disney photos some day! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Here's The Mail-It Makes Me Wanna Wail!

To most of you this will be totally insignificant, but I have been waiting for the first shipment of materials for my BPS class since December! And today it arrived! I am so excited! Some of these things are literally, hot off the press-how cool is that?!? All the items are of course from Heidi Swapp and include the calendar album, her new stickers including new cardstock stickers, some Valetine bling which is super fun, her brand spankin' new idea book and some other little goodies she threw in just because. Love, love, love it! This is going to be a blast getting similiar packages throughout the year as part of the class A Year To Remember. There was even an iron-on for the front of the album-can you see it in the photo? It ROCKS! And black satin ribbon to tie closed through the grommets on the bottom of the book.

Gotta love getting happy mail! But I guess I'll have to calm down. She's asked us not to get into any of it until our class on Thursday when she tells us how we're going to be using it the rest of the month and beyond. Have plenty to keep me occupied though. Heading out to Target and Tae Kwon Do 'cause it's Tuesday and we must do all things beginning with a "T" on Tuesday-just kidding! And then later having coffee with a college friend who is home on furlough. So, busy night-have a good one!

Oh, and for all you Fighting Illini fans out there-you know who you are. Tonight's big game is against arch rival Indiana. So you know what'll be happening at our house while I'm gone. Long live the Chief-go Illini!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What Are You Waiting For?

That's what I've been asking myself the last week or two as I tried to set my goal as part of the class I'm taking with Heidi Swapp over at BPS (Big Picture Scrapbooking). And since I can't come up with any reasonable excuses why I should not try to reach the particular goal that's been on my mind, well, I guess I'll get on with it. The photos should be some clue as to what goal I've chosen. And if you're part of my daily life, well, you already know so I'll spare everyone else the details.

Goals are good-trying to reach them even better. But it's not easy, is it? To reach your goals. To stay the course. To keep on keepin' on. To hang. To persevere. But it's the end, the finish line, the results that should be our focus. Eye on the prize, you know? *cue Rocky theme here!

As part of our class we were asked to come up with five reasons for wanting to reach our goal. One of my reasons was to set an example for my kids. So they'd understand that anything worth doing won't be easy, but well worth it! And rewards don't hurt either. Bless his heart, my sweet husband has offered me everything in the world if I'd stay the course and reach my goal. This time it's either a trip to New Zealand to see my best friend from college or a photo shoot for our family with Tara Whitney. Well, like I said, eye on the prize.

In the meantime, what are you waiting for? What would you like to accomplish in the next year? No time like the present they say! Best 'o luck to ya!

BTW, my hubby is responsible for the photos in this layout. I think he did an AWESOME job, don't you?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Idol is Back!

I can't believe how much I have missed it! Oh, my gosh! I think my favorite was that they made the rocker sing ABBA. And he still sang it growling-and Barry Manillow, too. What a riot! Lots of reasons I love the Idol-Simon, Ryan's sarcasm masked as empathy, the good and the very, very bad. So glad it's back!

Now I have ABBA in my head-love them, too. Fond memories of 8 Track in the stereo playing while my sister and I wash dishes singing our lungs out. Time to get out the Ipod-yes, ABBA's Greatest Hits on there. Love it!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

ICE,ICE, Baby!

Well, we got it again. They say so far, not nearly as bad as the ice storm we got in November, but more is coming. At least we were more prepared this time. Hit the grocery store with everyone else last night to stock up for a few days.

And we're more fortunate than most in our area. Our power was only out for five or six hours and came back on. Only victim was my husband's t.v.-not a good thing, but not a tragedy. My sister bless her heart is out of power for the third time in the last six months. Fortunately for her, she is forever a girl scout and highly resourceful. She was making toast on the stove when I talked to her earlier. :)

I've decided I'm going to scrapbook and putter all weekend and enjoy the lovely stack of magazines passed on to me by my friend Cathy. Last night when the power went out I had paint on my fingertip getting ready to edge. Turned the tech stuff off (incuding hubby's t.v.), got a flashlight and kept on scrapbooking. How's that for resourceful? Well, maybe just obsessed!

Have a great weekend whatever you do and where ever you are. My pal in New Zealand I'm sure is enjoying a balmy summer's day. Nice.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

What I Love About Sundays

long afternoon naps,
teaching my son's sunday school class,
pizza for supper,
favorite movies on back to back,
jeff having the day off
Just a few. What a nice day just relaxing and keeping each other company-love that!

Getting closer to nailing down my goal for the heidi class and outlining a timeline. Need to get focused as we head into the week. Managed to scrapbook a little with Tammy last night. very little, but actually love the first one I did. Probably looks too much like others I've done, but love the pop of color, the photo and the Autumn Leaves stamps I'm slowly becoming addicted to. So far, I've restrained myself from snatching them all up! Especially love the 7gypsies self-inking stamps. Don't actually own one myself yet, but thanks to Tammy was able to use one on my layouts this weekend-so fun!

Have a good week everyone. Ours will be filled with dentist and hair appointments and getting back into the school vibe. Off to watch Cheaper By the Dozen with Jeff and Brady. Take care!

Friday, January 05, 2007


Technically, this was a short week. But in reality it has seemed very long. Not quite back to our regular schedules and routines yet after the holiday. Hopefully, next week will be more normal for us. Snuggling in tonight taking down what little Christmas stuff I had out this year. And trying to build on some of the cleaning I started prior to the holiday. Of course, I'm the only one who knows I've cleaned out all but a couple drawers and cabinets in my kitchen including the pantry. But at least it makes me feel better that I have. I'm attempting to go through the bedrooms next which is the real challenge. Wish me luck!

Thought I'd just check in and make sure I didn't come across ungrateful or too negative about my Big Picture Scrapbooking class with Heidi Swapp. I am so excited to get rolling with it and feel so lucky to be able to participate. Very lucky, indeed. I just wasn't expecting to be challenged in such a big way right out of the gate! Still doing alot of thinking about the goal I need to be setting. Hope to have a decision by Monday and start hammering out an action plan. I'll keep you all posted.

For now, I guess I'll curl up and make a list of stuff to be done tomorrow. Need to make the most of Saturday morning. And pray for me, the Illini play tomorrow and their conference play hasn't started out too swell. Those of you who know my husband will understand how to pray.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ready...Set A Goal!

Okay, so I got up about 6:30 this morning to attend my first class with Heidi. (For you nonscrapbookers out there-that's Heidi Swapp, the super creative designer who is single handedly changing the way we scrapbook!) You may recall from a previous post, Jeff and his parents gave me this class as my Christmas present. Anyway, my mind has been racing ever since I listened to the first lecture. So she says in keeping with what most folks are thinkin' about in January with the start of a new year and all, she wants us to pick a goal. Not a resolution, but a goal. And she acutally wants us to commit to reaching it! Yep, pick an accountability partner, set a date, the whole shootin' match! After which she proceeds to tell us about her dad who taught her about setting and reaching goals all her life. She told us that in his 60's he finally reached one of his own life goals-riding in the Tour de France. And her goal? Well, little Miss Thing is going to run in a marathon. How do you follow that?

Since it is January and the first of the year, I had already been thinking of things I wanted to try to accomplish this year-to be more ambitious about home improvement, learn to knit, declutter our house and keep it that way, read the Bible through this year, and of course, the one that appears on my list year after year-lose weight and get healthhy. But to narrow down to one specific goal for the purpose of this class, well, I'm just not sure. Truth be told, I'll probably attempt all of these, but would like to document one worthwhile goal for the class.

In some ways, it's a no brainer since I am lots and lots of pounds overweight and that has been an issue for a number of years. But, like many, I have been unsuccessful in my many attempts in the past and I guess I'm assuming I'd fail once more. So I'm a little hesitant to make that my goal. Since the class is filled with and led by an overachiever-I don't want to fail to reach said goal! On the other hand, since this is such an issue for me then it certainly makes it a worthwhile one to achieve. And one which would affect many areas of my life-not just my physical well being.

At one point during her talk, Heidi said how much she likes the song from Gwen Stefani's first solo cd, "What Are You Waiting For". Kind of how I'm feeling about this goal thing. Not sure what I am waiting for-there are so many things I am missing out on by not achieving my goals in life. NOTE TO SELF: Buy Gwen Stefani cd and use this as title for first class layout.

Check in later this week to see which goal I've deemed worthy of documenting. Cause guess what? She gave us a week to come up with the goal, pick someone to tell and take photos of us starting to reach the goal! Better get busy. What am I waiting for?!?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Top 5 Reasons I Love Ali Edwards

5. She updates her blog often!

4. She is understated, yet cool.

3. She is an inspiring mom.

2. She is a supportive wife.

and the number 1 reason I love Ali Edwards.....

She comes up with killer projects that totally inspire me! Check this out-aliedwards.typepad.com Just love her! Can't wait to receive my Cocoa Daisy Kit. Had to shake things up a little bit and take a break from Jenni for a couple months.

Also, just one more day until my Year To Remember class begins. A little unsure about it, but hoping it will live up to the hype. Guess I'll let you know in a day or so. Thinking I might get up really early for the first post. Heard it will be available by 3 am EST-that's 4 am for us. Might be kind of fun. We'll see.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Tuff Chix Rock!

One of my resolutions for the new year is to be more adventurous when it comes to home improvement. I have always depended upon my dad, brother or sister or when we could afford it, a professional. I'll probably still hire some things out when our budget allows, but I hate waiting to get things done until I can afford it or until I can persuade my dad or another family member to help me. So, encouraged by my friend Cathy, who I maintain can do anything, I have already managed to accomplish one DIY chore that had been waiting for nearly a year.

For Christmas, Cathy and hubby (my boss) presented me with a new drill and other tools desinged by and for women. Cathy even decked out a tool tote with girly embellishments! Included with my gift was a great book called, "The Tuff Chix Guide to Easy Home Improvement" by Paige Hemmis, carpenter from ABC's Extreme Home Makeover and a copy of "The Little Engine That Could".

Here is the result of my first little chore. A seemingly easy task for some, but quite an accomplishment for me. With this first little victory I'm hoping I can now begin to start checking off lots of things on my home improvement list. I just have to keep telling myself, "I think I can, I think I can!"