Monday, November 28, 2011

Worth the Click: Holiday Inspiration & Freebies

Hopping around the interwebs, I've found a few fantastic holiday freebies to make your season just a bit more festive.

Becky Higgins has free templates with instructions for your Holiday Cards in three different sizes, including the one you can use to have Costco print your photo cards.  They even provide the matching envelopes!

Jessica of vol.25 has free unique holiday tags that you can print, including wood grain to cut into strips for paper ribbon.  How cool is that?!

What about fonts?  Fonts, especially free ones make me shake with glee! has a handful of free holiday fonts with alphas and images.

And if you're simply looking for Christmas ideas?  It's Pinterest to the rescue.  I'm having an all out love affair with that scrumptious online rendezvous.

Feel free to check out my Christmas Pinterest Board for some ideas!

Are you starting to feel a festive spirit?  If you don't celebrate Christmas, I'd love to know what holidays or traditions are special to you in the coming month.  I love to hear what makes people smile!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Celebrating { Creative Traditions } Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas

I may not be sharing a whole lot of papercrafting as of late, but it is something that has made me smile for the last seventeen years, since I first visited a rubber stamping store that I later worked at.

One of my favorite December traditions is coming up very soon...

Come December 1st is Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of Christmas!

Papercrafting, stamping, mixed media, inky joy is sprinkled all around during those twelve days.  Quite literally, I find myself on a high every night I can stay up 'til 12:01 a.m., when he posts the next day's tag or first thing in the morning if sleep found me before the clock ticked past midnight.

But, that joy isn't just for me!  In addition to all of Tim's great fans around the globe, I happen to have one little one right here with me.  My wee girl (she's probably officially not 'wee' anymore, but I still think of her that way!) adores Tim and all his creative creations.

She begs to watch "Mr. Tim's" videos on YouTube and to see what inky, painty, stampy tag he has created for her today (okay, okay, so maybe not for her...but, don't tell her that! ;>).  Her eyes widen and glisten with sheer delight.

"Mom!  He has paint!  Ink!  Look at his hands!"  That last bit would be in reference to his stamper's manicure which she knows I always love to see on my own hands...because it means I found time to create - hands on.

Sometimes creativity is simply something I enjoy for myself or with my girl.  Sometimes creativity is put to use for others.  One round of Tim's tags inspired me to make sets of Christmas tags for my son's teachers' gifts.  Practical and creative!

Whether paper or stamps or paint or ink or altered items or the holidays bring you delight, I do hope you find the time to bring a little creativity to your days in this busy, chaotic, fun, joyful month that will arrive on our doorsteps in just a few short days.

I know where I'll be heading to recharge my creative batteries for at least twelve of those days.

What about you?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

If you are celebrating today...

Happy Thanksgiving


We have a turkey roasting in the oven and a kitchen full of food to make a delicious GFCF Thanksgiving meal today.

We have a special guest arriving tomorrow for her annual after Thanksgiving visit that we're all excited for.

We're spending the day together, enjoying each other - a perfect kind of Family Day.

If you are celebrating today and even if you're not, may your day be filled with both greatness and simplicity.

I hope your day is full of rainbows to be thankful for!

Let's BEE Friends

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oh Internet...

After spending most of yesterday without a splash of the Net to play around in, I realized just how much my love affair with the interwebs has grown over the last few years.

Oh, Internet.  How I love you...let me count the ways:

1)  A sudden unfulfilled urge to blog slips by without you, Internet.

2)  Without you at my fingertips, I'm forced to download, install, and figure out apps on my phone - fun, but I prefer you in full interactive form with all your bells and whistles.

3)  Without you, I'm almost driven to the brink of madness as I try to cope with Auto-fill on my phone....who, quite clearly, has a very different vocabulary.

4)  You bring me music to groove/sing/write to, Firefly, Dancing With the Stars, beautifully blogged posts to read, gorgeous bits to look upon - a la Pinterest, sunshine, rainbows, glitter, oh my!

5)  You have Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, NaNoWriMo, Amazon, Etsy, Write on Edge (my son is the one who pointed 'that writing prompt thing' out! :>), Flickr, and more email accounts than I care to count.

6)  You have the essential parenting resource:  Google.

7)  And most important, Internet, you have my friends tucked in, around, and about your interwebs.

While I may turn you off at times, please don't ever leave my demanding fingertips again.

Thank you, ever so much!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Road Trip: Aunt Julie & Sara

Leaving the Bay and San Francisco’s June Gloom behind us, Sara fussed with the rented Prius’ radio, before finding my favorite station that I was wise enough to preset.

“You’ve got good taste in music, kid.”

It didn’t seem to matter whether we listened to music from my youth or what’s current now, we enjoyed both. Thank goodness. Nothing kills a road trip faster than different tastes in music in the same small car.

“So, we’ve got our requisite tourist stops: Disneyland, Venice, and the Chinese Theater. Oh, and the beach. Anything else you want to make sure we hit this week?”

“The County Museum of Art?  And I know we’re doing Disney, but can we also spend a day at Universal Studios? I’ve never been.”

“Now that is why you are so much fun to hang with, Sara. A local art museum and a theme park. Gotta hand it to you for enjoying opposite ends of the spectrum.”

“Ah, Aunt Julie, you know I aim to please!”  Her sarcasm nearly lost stifling a snicker.

Though she technically was one now, she’d always been like a little adult.  I was happy to play the role of ‘cool aunt’, but Sara was more like a little sister to me. I wanted to protect her as much as I wanted to ride a roller coaster with her - our arms high in the air, screaming the whole way ‘round.

Florence + The Machine began pumping out music with the voice that could sing an insurance claim and still wrap notes around us. Our hands collided reaching out to crank the volume up as we sang along with Florence while the pavement rolled under us.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-HoodIt's time for Write on Edge's Red Writing Hood prompt!  This week we're taking our fictional characters out for a spin, or more specifically, a road trip.

I've grabbed my main character, Julianne, from my #NaNoWriMo writing and her niece for this trip!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#iPPP - Who's Tower Is It?

Give my brother a couple of free airline tickets and he's off...most recently, to Chicago.  He emailed me a pic that he took with his iPhone of the Water Tower.

Actually, he emailed his niece, my daughter, the picture because it reminded him of Rapunzel's tower from the movie Tangled.

Water Tower Chicago copy

She looked at it. Turned her head to the side a bit. And I asked her if it looked her current favorite princess' tower.

She shook her head.

She's an incredibly specific child.

Water Tower in Chicago

I turned it upside down, so it would be fat at the top, skinny on the bottom - like Rapunzel's tower - to see if that helped.

Still shaking her head. She disappeared for a minute and came back carrying the movie cover to school her ol' Mom on what Rapunzel's tower really looks like. When school was over, she told me it's not the tower, but she still liked it.

Truthfully, I think she'd like anything from her favorite uncle!

Taming Insanity
Though I finally have my own fancy schmancy smartphone, I couldn't resist sharing the imaginations of a fun loving uncle and his niece...and it was actually taken with an iPhone making it a perfect chance to finally link up with #iPPP for the first time! :>

Also linking up with some rockin' awesome Wordful/ish Wednesday peeps!  Seven Clown Circus, Parenting by Dummies, Project Alicia, Live and Love...Out Loud, Angry Julie Monday

Let's BEE Friends

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Infuse a little phone fun into a fall day!

On Tuesday, the Unexpected happened to me.  And it was determined that I needed a new phone...stat!  So, after purchasing all new tires (my wallet is still protesting), I promptly got a new phone.

And while some peeps suggested an iPhone, I ended up walking out the door with a Samsung Infuse 4G.  So far, I'm lovin' it!  My cell & cell use was very old school and admittedly, I still refuse to pay for a texting plan.  So, I still don't text.  But, having the net at my fingertips, anytime?  Now, that I dig.

And this morning, I'm hopping on the Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop train, in the Autumn in Your Neck of the Woods car.  It was the perfect excuse to check out my new phone's camera!  Come aboard now, won't you?

Changing Ivy 

Grape Leaf Drive By

Drive By Fall 


I had a lovely trip playing with my new phone and in Flickr's Picnik when I got home.

And yes, I did stay in my car, er, um, train car for this trip.  39 degrees out while wearing a tshirt and Hub's hoodie meant you couldn't pry me away from the heater that I had blowing as the windows were down!

Hope your day is just as colorful!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Yesterday was unexpected.

I unexpectedly blew a tire on my way to drop a carload of li'l kidlet stuff at a donation drop off.

I unexpectedly blew a tire on a country road.

I unexpectedly could not call for help when the number I needed to dial contained a 3.  Yes, my #3 button had not been working on my old phone for quite awhile.  Did I mention it was old?

I unexpectedly found an old(er) man, who did not have a phone.  Then, found a mean lady who said she didn't have a phone.

Then, unexpectedly, from the mean ladies place came a gal with her cell phone and offered it to me.

I was relieved.

Unexpectedly, she offered to change my tire.  I was ecstatic.

Unexpectedly, her little chihuahua came running across the street.  He was adorable and I held him while she changed my tire with my very slow to rise jack and minimal tools from my trunk.

I thanked her repeatedly, though I don't know that my words conveyed how grateful I was.

The rest of the day remained unexpected.  But, that unexpected act of kindness carried me through.

And what did I learn from having a flat tire on a country road?

A)  I need to learn how to change my own tire.


B)  Have a cell where all the buttons work!

Many thank yous to everyone who stops to help a stranger.  You make a greater impact than you know.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Little Red Bear across the Interwebs!

Guess who's guest posting over at Makes Fun today?  Yup, c'est moi!

Head on over to see if that Little Red Bear warranted my trepidation!

I'll see ya there!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Eight O'clock Hour

Time seemed to tick faster each night.  I could see my reflection staring back at me in the wet window pane.  She looked confused, frightened.  Of course she did.  It had been happening for a whole week now and last night’s episode was just as terrifying as the first.  Glancing at the clock, I knew someone else would soon be haunting me.

When the first one came, a week ago, I blacked out.  I found myself wandering in the street, but have no idea how I got there.  Instead of fear, I felt curiosity surge through my veins, pulsating at every turn.  It didn’t make sense to me to be curious about the ground beneath me, the air flowing around me, or even more strange, my skin and teeth and toes.

For four hours, seven strange nights in a row, I became someone, something else.  Each night left me understanding only slightly more.

As darkness descends, the eight o’clock hour will soon arrive.  I’ll be locked inside, allowed to see, hear, smell, touch, but never speak as someone or something takes me.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood
It's all about 8:00, am or pm, at Write on Edge this week; 200 words or less.  And I'm bringing the hour to you with a new fictional character.  While I love watching scifi, I've never written any...until now.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo in 8 sentences

NaNoWriMo is uber fun instead of freaky scary.

NaNoWriMo has me writing...a lot.

NaNoWriMo makes me accidentally ask my son how many words he's read for homework, rather than pages.

NaNoWriMo has me on such a roll, I wrote this post and Friday's Write on Edge fiction early - something that never happens.

NaNoWriMo, surprisingly, makes my husband smile.

NaNoWriMo makes me a rock star in the eyes of my kids.

NaNoWriMo introduced me to a new-to-me writing software, Scrivener, that I'm taking for a test drive as I write my 50,000 words this month.

NaNoWriMo peeps, tweeps, and writers are fantastically friendly and a rockin' awesome community.

Mama’s Losin’ It
Writing with Mama Kat and she says, write a post in 8 lines...or as Mommy Nani Boo Boo, who inspired the prompt says, 8 lines or 8 sentences, which is clearly the route I went (minus the prompt, of course! ;>).

Farm Animals & Jack-o-Lanterns, Oh My!

On Monday's Pumpkins, Guts & Gloves, I promised a few more pictures, so I'm back with a handful.

 Farm Animals Piglets & their Pumpkin Moo Cow

This cow kept moo'ing at me every time I walked up to her (?him? I didn't check! lol) and just cracked me up.  There were chickens, roosters, pigs, piglets, cows, ponies, oh my!  And we had a blast visiting with them on our trip to the pumpkin patch!

And on Sunday, it was time to get busy carving those pumpkins we brought home with us.

After seeing the kids drawing complicated faces with a million cuts (too many for their small hands), Dad drew a sample face on a piece of paper for them.

And then proceeded to use his sample for his own pumpkin.

His Pumpkin 

My boy used the sample for the mouth on his, adjusting the teeth.  Apparently, pointy is scarier than square.

This was the first Halloween that he wanted a 'scary or horror' costume rather than a superhero.  Though he ended up being a cool alien, he greeted every door he trick or treated at saying, "Braaaiiinnnsss" and looked a bit more like a scary zombie alien rather than the little green man it started out as.  He loved it.

Her Pumpkin

And my girl's sweet pumpkin. She had me making the turns at each corner, while she cut the straight lines of the eyes and nose, but by the time she reached the mouth, she was a Jack-o-lantern cutting pro and doing it on her own!

Linus and the Great Pumpkin 
(Clearly I need to learn to shoot better in low light, but I'll get there!)

I went with Linus and the Great Pumpkin this year. A little simpler than years past, but when I saw the image on Creative Type Dad's pumpkin stencils, I was blind to all others.

We had a fun Halloween!  How was yours?  What does November hold for you?

Me?  I'm participating in NaNoWriMo this year and though only on to the second day, loving the writing and community surrounding the word frenzy!

Linking up with some rockin' awesome Wordful/ish Wednesday peeps!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm Diving In - Yikes!

Not quite sure if I've crossed the line to insanity, but if I haven't already, I'm sure I'll dance with it at some point this month!

Do you know about NaNoWriMo?  Are you participating this year?  Have you participated in the writing frenzy before?

I've seen the NaNoWriMo badges on blogs since before I began blogging myself.  And with a name like that you get to clickin' and your nearest friendly Google page to see what the heck it is.

So, what is it?  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It's run from Berkeley, California, though people participate around the globe.  And people write a 50,000 word fictional novel in one month.

I had told myself that there was no way I was going to dive in this year.  Maybe next year.  This year?  No.

Um, yea, that went over real well when the NaNo bug started whispering in my ear last week.  And when it had become a deafening roar by the end of the week - you know, just days before the event was set to start - I caved.

I quickly began jotting down story ideas in the car while waiting to pick my daughter up from school and found one that resonated enough, keeping me from running, screaming at the top of my lungs.

And then, I hopped online to figure out what the heck I was getting into.  Yes, I realize I might have approached this a little backwards.  Eh, just keeping life interesting!

While there are over 200,000 participants worldwide, there are a good sized handful of us from Write on Edge getting our novel writing on together.  We have a few veterans, including Cameron D. Garriepy, who is helping us all get our ducks in a row.  And there's quite a few of us NaNoWriMo newbies, like myself.

If you're participating this year, give me a holler & we can be writing buddies.  I'm timecrafted over there.  And if you're not, then please, by all means, send patience, inspiration, nimble fingers, and caffeine!!!

See you in the word pool!

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