Monday, August 30, 2010

firsts and a wnner

today was the first day of school (only snapped one pic...the kiddos were NOT cooperating)

it was also the first day since early June that I have been alone in the house for more than 1 hour (I soaked in the peace and cleaned my heart out!)

it was the first day of my new exercise/diet plan (got up early & ran, stayed on plan)

the first day of my Operation Organize plan (in the purge phase...but folded 300 & put away about 300 loads of laundry, filled up 2 trash bags in JT room, and scoured the upstairs bath)

the first day of my Operation Make My House a Home plan (cleaning & purging...but as I was doing that I got tons of crafty, creative, DIY remolding ideas...)

it was the first day of our new schedule (the kids don't like it, but I will grow on them)

it was a new beginning (when my plan is full force life will be simpler, less hectic, calmer, filled with more me time, etc. etc...just good)

more to come....

and....we have a winner from my GIU week last week. Congratulations Kristi of Kristi's Paper Creations. You won yourself some Unity goodness.  Please email me or leave a comment with your email address so we can get your stamps in the mail.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Growing in Unity Day 5 on FWF Friday

Hey there ~

I cannot believe today is the end of my GIU week.  I have had so much fun creating and sharing.  I couldn't think of a better way than Friends with Flair Friday to end the week.   But just because my GIU week is over, I do hope you will come visit me again!  I can't promise crafty inspiration every day...but I can promise a little bit of this...and a little bit of that with some crafty inspiration sprinkled in here and there.

I wanted to thank you all for the sweet comments you have left all week long on my blog...reading them has made me smile a little brighter each and every day.  I also wanted to thank you all for your comments is so true, experiences like that just restore your faith in all that is good.

That being said, today I have a little wickedness going on...but the fun kind!  When I was going through my stamps I put my finger on one of my very first Unity stamps (actually I think it was my first) and it is still by far one of my favorites.  I know it is only August...but I just had to play with this Halloween sentiment now (plus the paper just happened to be sitting on top of my desk)!  Fall is my favorite season and I love everything that falls within that time.

Thank you again for sharing my Growing in Unity week with me.  I hope I was able to spark a bit of inspiration.  Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win Unity stamps.  I will be selected a random winner on Sunday.  And...since today is FWF you will have even more chances to win Unity goodness.  Hop on over to the Unity Blog and be sure to visit each of the FWF participants.  Someone has the mystery blinkie....find it and leave a comment for your chance to win!  Don't ya just love Unity???

Happy crafting,


Sketch is based on Mercy's Tuesday Sketch Challenge #88 and I am linking up there as well.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A stranger's generosity and Growing in Unity Day 4

Today is day 4 of growing in Unity!  I have a card to share, but first a little story.  One that truly makes you step back and take a look at your life, be thankful for what you have, and give that little extra each and every day to be kind and loving to those around you.  This isn't a sad story...although I will tell you that when it happened to us, it made me cry.  I wasn't crying tears of sadness, but because of how this one stranger was so thoughtful, kind, selfless and how it touched my heart so very much.

Last night my family and I attended a Dine to Donate event at our local Applebee's to raise funds for the youth football program in town, that my son is a member of.  I figured the place would be mobbed (which it was) and that the wait would be long (which it was) and since Kelsey & I had hair appointments at 8:00 I asked Bob to go right from work and put our names in.  The kids and I were at football practice and planned on meeting him as soon as practice was let out.  

There was already a wait when Bob arrived so he put our names on the list and sat down at the bar.  Now he was coming right from work so he was still in uniform.  He sat down next to another man and as guys do over a beer they started talking.  Not about anything in particular.  The gentleman asked him why he was in uniform (which he explained as I did above) and about his family.  No biggie.  In the meantime we arrived, our table was called and Bob ended his conversation with the man. 

During dinner we were approached by a waitress (or could have been the manager, bartender...not sure) who handed Bob a gift card and told him it was from the gentleman at the bar.  He had already left and didn't want his name revealed, nor any thanks.  He just wanted to thank Bob for his service and their conversation and wanted our family to enjoy dinner on him (this is where I started crying...right there in a packed restaurant).   Let's just say that this man was very generous and his gift paid for our meal and drinks.  Since the woman that presented the gift card knew this gentleman personally, we did ask that she thank him profusely and to please make sure he knew how grateful we were for his kindness. We have gone several places with Bob in uniform before and this has never happened to us as a family (he had a similar experience in Wisconsin a few weeks ago on a military trip), not that I would ever expect it to.

I am still without words.  People in this world can be so mean, and this one man, with his act of kindness put many things in perspective for me and allowed me to teach my children a very valuable lesson in kindness and generosity.

I wish we could thank him, but since I don't really know how I could I will pay it forward at the right time.

In honor of his kindness and beautiful spirit, I created this card for GIU Day 4...enjoy!

Images are from Bevy of Butterflies and the design is from Mojo Monday (#153).  Don't forget to leave me some bloggy love for your chance to win some Unity goodness.  I will pick the winner on Sunday.

Please take the time today to go out and do something kind for someone,


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Growing in Unity Day 3...Unity Addicts Challenge

Wow!  Day #3 of GIU already!  I am having such a great time.  Today, I pulled a card out from the archives.  I have had such a great time creating but when I found out the Unity Addicts challenge was black & white with a pop of color I knew I already had the most perfect card for that! 

I used one of the beautiful lamp shade images from Shine On! This is one of my favorite Unity sets for it's elegance and simplicity.  I just happened to have the perfect coordinating DP and my "pop" of color is a ribbon I salvaged from a chocolate Easter Bunny package this past Easter (I am thrifty like that!)

If you are just joining me today go back and check out my GIU posts for Monday and Tuesday and be sure to leave me some love for your chance to win some Unity goodness at the end of the week.  I will be posting Thursday and Friday also so come back to see what else I have to hopefully inspire you to go create!

Happy Crafting,


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Growing in Unity Day 2...Just in Time for Back to School

We are preparing to head back to school here very shortly.  The kids will start on Monday and I can't believe how this summer has flown by.  I love having my kiddos home with me every day, but I also crave the routines and schedules that Fall brings (even though ours is a bit hectic and crazy).  I have plenty of projects planned (starting with reclaiming my house!) to fill up my time while they are at school but until then I am soaking up every spare minute I can with my two loves.

Today is GIU Day #2 and I created a card appropriate for back to school.  There are so many uses...notes to the teacher, welcome to school (I hope you survive my child...), thank you for all you do...etc. etc. I actually think I might make a few of these to have on hand when the need arises.  

I used the May 2009 KOM (journaling border design), Aug 2009 KOM (school house) and May 2010 KOM (letters). DP is October Afternoon Cherry Hill Collection, Cardstock, the little ruler & Ink is CTMH, button and ribbon is from my stash.

Don't forget to stop back again tomorrow for Day #3 and every day until Friday!  Leave me some love on each of my GIU posts and you will have the chance to win some Unity goodness all for yourself.  I will pull a random winner this weekend.  Don't forget to check out all of Unity's great products on the Unity website and all of the fun over on the Unity Blog!

happy crafting -


Monday, August 23, 2010

Growing in Unity Day 1

Woohoo! It is my great honor to host Growing in Unity this week!  A whole week to showcase Unity Stamp Co. on my little ole' blog and a chance for you to win some wonderful Unity of your very own.  All you need to do is leave a comment each day on my GIU posts and at the end of the week I will draw one lucky winner to receive some Unity goodness just for stopping by!

So who is Unity Stamp Co.?  They are this wonderful stamp company that I fell in love with almost 2 years ago.  Their stamps are unmounted red rubber and their kit of the month is a fabulous deal in itself!  But the people...the Unity peeps and online commmunity are what make this company shine.  I hope my little glimpse of Unity this week will make you fall in love too!  Hop on over to their website to check out their products and their blog to meet the Unity peeps.

Enough of my is my first GIU card for you.  The owls are from the June Kit of the Month and the sentiment is from the March Kit of the Month.

I love how this card came is so fun!  But you know how the camera adds 10 pounds?  Well apparently it isn't very forgiving on marker lines either...LOL!  If anyone has tips on how to make sure your color blends without leaving lines, dots, swirls or other odd brush marks, as I have this issue with it, I would appreciate you sharing! 

Don't forget to come back tomorrow, and the next day, and the next to check out some more Unity goodness and leave me some love for you chance to win some Unity at the end of the week!

happy crafting,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

makeover monday - "the list"

ok, I know it is Tuesday but I can explain the tardiness very kids are still home for the summer.  If you are a mom with school age children you know what that means...routines don't exist (not for lack of trying) and no matter how great your plan is to accomplish things...they usually don't get done on time (or at all).

Don't get me wrong, I love my kiddos and I love having them home for the summer, but I also love my routine and some structure. Come the end of June to the end of August that structure is thrown out the window and I have come to accept that my routines and to do lists get put on hold. 

As summer is winding down I am trying to cram in every last second of fun with the kids but am also looking forward to getting to work on this house.  So I came up with a plan of action on how I am going to finally make this home something that I am proud of.  A place we can all enjoy as a family.  A place we can call home.

Enter "the list".  I sat down the other day during a brief break in the action and brainstormed everything that I needed to accomplish.  I went room by room and focused on the things that I could do myself, or at least learn to do myself.  I also made a short list of things that I would need to hire a handyman or professional (plumber, electrician) for.  My list filled both sides of a sheet of lined legal size paper...yikes! 

Now I am not talking major overhauls here.  No gutting of kitchens/baths/basements.  This is all cosmetic details (painting, decorating, etc) and minor changes (like replacing the bathroom countertop/sink).  While I would love a brand spanking new kitchen, second floor bathroom, finished basement, siding on the house, front porch, etc.  I realize that those items are beyond my scope right now.  Although I will add that all of those things are on the list for the future wish list and will be done we get ourselves out of debt and can pay cash for a professional to do those jobs for us.  Right now, I am focusing on working with what we have or what is realitively inexpensive that I can learn to do.

After making the list (and taking several deep breaths as I realized how much work I really do have ahead of me), I tried to figure out what I needed to do to start putting my plan into action.  Once the kids go back to school I will have most of my day on Mondays free to work on projects and some time during the rest of the week.  I decided to take the next few weeks to catch up on laundry, putting things away, filing, etc.  Generally taking care of the little things that will eat away at me and distract me from doing what I really want to do. 

I have been stalking checking out a lot of blogs and adding great idea to my inspiraton folder.  I am pretty excited to get started.  I will use Mondays (and sporatic postings throughout the week) starting on August 30th to update you all on what I am working on and what I have accomplished.  I can give you a few things to watch for though that made the list:  refinish/paint staircase, redo master bedroom, spruce up interior doors, paint kitchen and more.

Stay tuned -


Sunday, August 15, 2010

CTMH August Spotlight Bloghop

Hello and welcome to this month's CTMH product spotlight blog hop.  If you hopped on over from Wendy you are heading in the right direction.  If you are starting here, don't worry, just keep on hopping and you will come full circle. The next blog on the list is at the end of my post and  I have also listed this month's hoppers at the end of the post just in case you get lost along the way.

This month we are showcasing how easy it is to create backgrounds with our stamps.  I created a card using 3 of my go to stamp sets.  For the background on the Autumn Terracotta shaped image I used Spot on Backgrounds.  I also used For Every Occassion for the sentiment and Cottage Floral.  These 3 sets are among my most loved.  The design of the card was inspired by this one from Dawn McVey...check her out, her work is amazing.

I also pulled out a layout from my archives to show you another way of using stamps to create a background or your own patterned paper.  I stamped the baseball image from In the Game - Play Ball onto Color Ready Alphabets to create custom letters for my layout.  I also used a sponge to ink the white space on the right hand page and then random stamped a design (with retired stamp) to create my own patterned paper.  Sorry about the un-cropping of the picture.  For some reason my photo editing software won't open and I don't know how to use Photoshop (it scares me!)

I hope this gives you some inspiration to dig out those stamps of yours and add a little something special to your cards, layouts and projects.  If there is something here that you don't own and would like to, please contact your CTMH consultant or myself.  You can order directly through me by clicking on any of the product links above.

For more inspiration...hop on over to Nikka to see what wonderful project she has for you today!

Have a crafty day,


Just in case you get lost:

Wendy K.

Tracy Oleksak  <------- You are here
nikka geers
Jen B.
Haley D.
Toni Hinchcliffe
Karen C

Friday, August 13, 2010

sending all my FWF a little happy...

Hello and welcome to another Friday...Unity Stamp Co. style...with friends with flair!

I haven't had a chance to play with my stamps or paper lately (or even set foot in my craft room) so being able to participate this week really was a treat!  It got me back in the groove and i hope to be sharing more real soon (btw - I will be hosting GIU the week of Aug stop back then, I will be sure to have crafty posts...Unity style, every day!)

Today I have a card for you...honestly it was the first image I laid my hands on when I started thinking about what to share with you.  These little guys just make you want to whip up something cute.  I based the sketch on this great one from Mercy

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Please make sure you head on over to the Unity blog for a full list of today's participants.  You will want to visit each of these talented ladies not only to get some fabulous inspiration, but to find out who has the secret blinkie for your chance to win some Unity stamps. 


{sending you a little happy} materials:
stamps:  Unity Stamp Co. June 2010 KOM (birds); May 2010 KOM (sentiment)
cardstock:  CTMH crystal blue, cranberry, white daisy
DP: Cosmo Cricket Sunshine
Ink:  CTMH cocoa
Other:  CTMH ribbon, sparkles, colored pencils, button, hemp

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Vacationland Part 2

I figured the follow up to my first set of vacation pics was long overdue.  Boy, the time gets away from one very quickly when you get back to the craziness of summer, plus back to school shopping and on top of it JT started football which is consuming much of our time.

So before another week gets away from me, let me share with you the rest of our vacation pics

This is "the taco" aka The Stealth 5...all I know is that it is a 45' tall hydro half pipe that is the scariest thing I have ever been on (and haven't since the first time I was goaded into it 3 years ago).  Kelsey loves it and rides it over and over again...she is my dare devil:

She also is a lover of all things bacon and would eat it exclusively if I let when we found this shirt in Portland, we had to take a pic:

and of course we needed a pic of Treehouse Toys.  We discovered this toy store 9 years ago and have made it a tradition to stop in and buy something for the kids each and every year.  I think this may be the last year though...JT remarked that he was too old for the toys that they have now {sigh}.

Our last day was overcast and threatening rain so we headed to Old York, ME.  Growing up as a kid we spent summers in York Beach just a few miles down the street and I never remembered coming here, although I am sure we did...the kids loved the one room school house dating back to 1745:

the really old cemetery

and the old gaol (how jail used to be spelled).  This building served as a prison from 1790 to 1860 and is one of the oldest public British buildings in the United States.  What was even cooler (at least to me) was the fact that many of the displays and information related back to the book series I am reading right now (The Outlander series) so it was even more I was in the book (which would be so cool...if you have read the series, you know what I am saying...)

We found this old wharf (more pics to come on my landmark and house post soon).  I loved the buoys and tried to get a pic...but at least this one captures my two obnoxious loving monsters children at their best.

We then drove down to Short Sands Beach in York, ME to show the kids where I spent my summers.  We had to take them to Fun-o-Rama to play some arcade games and skee ball.  They had a blast and it brought back tons of memories.

this is where we begin and end (with lots of trips in between) every summer vacation.  The best ice cream shop.  It is still set up like a old time soda fountain inside, with the exception of little booths and tables around the shop instead of stools at the counter.


I snapped a whole bunch of pics of cool buildings and homes that I would love to own and will post them later.

Have a great day ~


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