Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions in One Little Word

For those of you who know me and my blog, you also know that I find Ali Edwards to be a huge source of inspiration. She has a concept called "One Little Word" that invites you to choose a word for the year and reflect, plan, and create around it. I started musing about a word for 2011 by reflecting on 2010.

This past year has been: chaotic, inspirational, terrifying, pride-swelling, busy, depressing, fun, challenging.... I could go on and on! But in a word, exhausting to both body and spirit. I need a change. I need calm. 

To me, calm would mean:
  • a doable and less stressful morning routine
  • pleasant family evenings together
  • no life-threatening diseases, operations, or accidents
  • less financial stress
  • energy and time to create
  • a less cluttered house
  • less stuff, period.
I am seeking calm in my everydays and in the big moments, too. So much of this calm is within my power to claim, if I only work at it. So in lieu of a list of New Year's Resolutions, I am making just one-- Create calm whenever possible, and seek inner calmness when circumstances are out of my control. 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Easy Gift Card Holders

Here's a quick way to present a gift card (or any little trinket) for any occasion....

I started with an A2 envelope (sealed) and spritzed with Haunted Shadows and Pink Bubblegum Glimmer Mist. When that was dry, I went around the edges with Worn Lipstick Distress Ink.

Cut off about 1" from the  short end of the envelope. This will be the top of your holder. I stamped the large portion of the envelope with "French Script" by SU, using Staz-On ink.

Using a crimper on the larger piece "shrinks" it enough so the top will fit on nicely. After crimping I added bits and pieces from the December Daily kit I purchased from Scrap-Tastic.

Happy New Year to you and yours, and Happy Crafting!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

What If? Or... You and Me Together...Or....The Day of the Accident

September 8, 2010. 

I was eating lunch with some coworkers when my cell phone rang. Justin's work number popped up, but we were having a lively conversation so I hit “ignore”. I knew he was just calling to say hi, so no big deal. The phone rang again almost immediately. Hmm. I answered.

“Bekah? This is Chris. There's been an accident.”
“What happened?”
“A tote fell on Justin. He's responsive and we didn't see any blood.”

At this point it is not registering in my mind that a full tote weighs almost two tons. I am thinking that Justin maybe got hurt a little but is going to keep working, like some stupid manly man.

“He needs to go to the hospital!”
“He's in an ambulance right now.”

Ambulance? Shit. This is serious.

“Where are they taking him?”
“Miami Valley.”

Double shit. They only take people who are really hurt there.

“I'm on my way.” Click.

My coworkers ask if they can do anything. One later told me that she has never literally seen someone's face turn white until she saw me during that phone call. I run up the stairs calling to my office mate, “I need directions to Miami Valley Hospital! Justin. Hurt. Leaving now.”

The drive to the hospital is at once a blur and also exceedingly clear. First call is to my dad. I need to take care of logistics, since I won't be able to pick up the girls from the babysitter. He calls my grandma and reports back- It's taken care of, don't worry about it. Second call is to the sitter, to let her know what's going on. She kinda freaks out on me, and immediately puts a prayer request out on Facebook. The story is already on the internet.

The rest of my frantic drive is filled with two opposing thoughts: the memory of the first moment I saw Justin, and a desperate prayer. “Please God, let him be paralyzed. Just not dead. Just not dead.”

I arrive at the Emergency department and Ralph, Justin's supervisor, is waiting. I can't see Justin yet, he is getting a CAT scan. I question Ralph over and over. “Are you SURE he was breathing? Could he have stopped breathing on the way up here? Are you SURE he was talking?” A nurse comes out to talk to me. She assures me Justin is alive, but that's all the information she has. Do I want to speak to a member of the clergy? NO. I want to speak to my husband!

My cell phone rings. It is a doctor. He says he is with Justin, who has been asking to talk to me. Then I hear him. He is talking. Breathing. Alive.

What seems like hours later, I am led back to the room where they have been working on him. I see him on a stretcher. I see his shirt on the floor, ripped to shreds. I hold his hand. “I'm here,” I tell him. Tears run down his face. I have never in my life seen someone in so much pain. How can he bear it? No choice. I encourage him to be still, to take deep breaths, to squeeze my hand.

Various doctors and nurses are in and out of the room. The news. He has broken his pelvis in three places, but we don't operate on that. He has broken part of his spine, but there is no damage to the spinal cord. We don't operate on that.

A nurse brings up the news story on the internet. Surreal.

I make phone call after phone call.

He is finally admitted to a room. They tell me I cannot stay. So I go home. More phone calls. Very little sleep.

I have few clear memories of the next few days. Just many trips back and forth to the hospital, which is over 30 miles away. I DO remember being told, “He should be dead, if not paralyzed.” He is not. He will recover, at least enough to walk again. My heart is full, near bursting, with gratitude and wonder. I do not cry until almost two full days after the accident.

Three months later:
I am still amazed. I was not meant to be a widow at age 34. I still have a husband, my children still have a father. His recovery has slowed, and it worries us both. He walks with a limp and a cane. There is still some pain. What if this is as good as it gets?

A friend told me, “I have not once heard you ask 'Why me'. So many people would.” I shrug. If anything, it has brought us closer together. If there was ever any question in my mind (and there wasn't), I have been shown in no uncertain terms that I love this man, I need him, I do not want to live without him.

The “what if” has been very powerful to me, more so than what actually happened. The little irritations of married life fall by the wayside. They are unimportant. I wake every day with a grateful heart. My belief in some version of God has been renewed and strengthened. My marriage and the knowledge that we can do anything has been renewed and strengthened.

Justin has asked me more than once what I want for Christmas this year. I already have it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last Minute Holiday Treats

Here's an easy and yummy treat if you need to make something to take to a holiday gathering. I found the original recipe at the Family Fun website.

Chocolate Cookie Bark
You will need:
20 Oreo-type cookies
2 2/3 cups chocolate chips (I mixed semi-sweet and milk chocolate)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Step 1:
Crush the cookies
It might help if you wear pajamas and a cape!

   Step 2:
Melt the chips in the microwave, then add the vanilla.
I checked on the chips and stirred at one-minute intervals.
   Step 3:
Combine the melted chocolate and cookies.
Step 4:
Spread the mixture in a 9x9 pan that has been lined with waxed paper or foil (sprayed with non-stick cooking spray). Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Step 5:
Break the bark into pieces and enjoy!
This tasted fine as-is, but I thought of some other combinations that might be interesting:
  • oreos with white chocolate chips (omit the vanilla)
  • mint oreos
  • regular oreos with peppermint extract
  • regular flavored oreos with the green filling 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Past...A Layout

Time for another layout using a sketch from Scrappin' Silhouettes! This page features my brother and his beautiful family- their Christmas photo from last year.

All supplies are from Scrap-Tastic- December kit.

To play along, create a project based on Silhouette #23 and link up here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Scrappin' Silhouettes #22- A Makeover!

My girlfriends from college and I get together twice a year for Girls' Weekend. In April of this year our time together included a trip to the mall for shopping and a makeover at Bare Minerals! I used Scrappin' Silhouettes #22 for my layout of Victoria getting gorgeous!

Most products are from Creative Memories.

Here is the sketch. To play along, create a layout based on this silhouette, then upload to the Scrappin' Silhouettes blog. Feel free to rotate or flip the sketch to fit your needs!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thankful For You Project

I thought I'd share one last Thanksgiving-related project as the month comes to a close. I made this little paint can as a way for us to remember the meaning of the holiday. I plan to bring it out each year, and family members can write a gratitude on small pieces of paper throughout the month and place them in the can. Then we can spend some time reading them together on Thanksgiving.

clear paint can
Top Note die/ Die cut machine
Prima flowers
Glimmer Mist
Creative Memories alphas
AC Thickers alphas
misc. ribbon

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Project 365: Week 48

Sunday- My youngest niece has discovered the fun of activating all of my dad's singing holiday stuffed animals at the same time!

Monday- Bringing home artwork. They will usually let me toss it after I have taken a picture! Sure saves space.

Tuesday- Continuing the obsession with

Wednesday- Vivian's mini album we made together.
Thursday- Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday- Dad of the Year award goes to Justin- reading the girls a bedtime story by the light of the small tree in their room. I love that I caught Morgan peeking over the top of the bunkbed!

Saturday- Christmas decorations are all up. The kids actually posed themselves for this photo and asked me to snap it!

This week has definitely shown that some of my loves are rubbing off on my kids- photos, crafts, and reading. It could be worse- I could be passing on my bad habits of gossip, reality TV, and sleeping in late. Oh wait, I WANT them to do that one!
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Wanna Be a Guest Designer?

Scrappin' Silhouettes, a weekly sketch challenge blog, is looking for its next guest designer! To be considered, check out this week's sketch, create a layout based on it, and link up by this coming Tuesday.  

Need an idea about what using a sketch is all about? Check out my sample for this week's silhouette here.

We'd love to have you join us!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Recovery...A Layout Using Scrappin' Silhouettes (and Gratitude!)

This week's Scrappin' Silhouette , #21, features two photos. While the horizontal orientation worked great for my pics of Justin in the hospital, feel free to rotate, flip, or otherwise alter the sketch!

I used the latest kit from Scraptastic, Pretty Little Things, to complete my layout.

Today is Thanksgiving, and I have so much to be grateful for. I am so incredibly blessed to still have my husband with me, and despite his major accident, he can walk. Full recovery is still months away, and it is frustrating and worrisome for him. But at 2 1/2 months after the accident, he is walking, going up and down stairs, and using only one cane. What progress! 

paper- Creative Imaginations and The Girls' Paperie
cardstock- Bazzill
Alpha- Prima
Die cuts- The Girls' Paperie
Butterfly- Prima
Spun Silver Glimmer Mist
Adhesive- Helmar Scrap Dots

To play along, create a layout based on this week's sketch, and upload to the Scrappin' Silhouettes blog

If you link up by this coming Tuesday, you will be considered for a guest designer position with Scrappin' Silhouettes! 
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Project 365: Week 47

Sunday- I made Awesome Cream Cheese cookies, recipe courtesy of Nancy at Away We Go.

Monday- I saw this balloon on my way to work. I thought it was a little chilly for such an activity!

Tuesday- Dinner from our favorite Chinese place. Yum!

Wednesday- I met a family here for work today! Some days I love my job!

Thursday- My drama mama at work again!

Friday- Vivian showing off her favorite car in a library book.

Saturday- It was soooo foggy this morning. I think it looks really cool, but it sure slowed down my trip to a training this morning.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Layouts- I Need Some Scrapping Tips!

Yummy flocked paper. Do you ever scrap Black and White photos? I wasn't really sure what to do with this one, but I knew I had to use it! 

Do you ever use transparencies? Again, I had no idea what to do with it. I know some people cut them up and just use pieces, but I couldn't bring myself to do it! I ended up layering the photo + mat under the transparency sheet (the tree overlaps the photos) and adhered the title over the transparency. What do you think? Any tips on using transparencies?

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Week In The Life Album

I finally got around to photographing my Week In the Life Album, as I mentioned here
I hope you enjoy peeking at the finished product!

What I liked and will probably do again next year:
8 1/2 by 11 album size
baseball card protectors 
American Crafts D-ring album
5x7 photo for the first page of each day

What I will probably do differently:
I need more than two pages + baseball card protector for each day
I definitely need to leave more room for journaling
I wanted to use more stamps and embellishments
Capture more toys, appliances, and technology

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