Friday, January 30, 2009

True Love Mini Album

Hmm, about the only subject I haven't documented in a mini-album is my love of mini-albums. Wouldn't it be funny to have a little book in the mini-album basket with pictures of the other mini-albums? And how many more times can I say "mini-albums"?

I really made this one just to play with the beautiful Love Letters line from My Little Yellow Bicycle. There are so many wonderful embellishments in this line and the colors are wonderful. MLYB debuted more great new lines at CHA-W--I can't wait to get my hands on some of them. I am a sucker for travel lines and they have a great one coming soon.















I listed this album on Etsy, despite my lack of luck there. Clearly I am not trying hard enough. Don't you need a little album for your Valentine?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ultimate Cruise Charm Swap

In my cruise recap I forgot to mention the outcome of the charm swap. I am really impressed with the creativity of the participants, and at the variety of different charms we received. I was NOT AT ALL impressed with the swap hostess, who was disorganized and just plain mean, and that is enough said about that. My resolve to avoid future swaps remains intact.

The completed bracelet is very heavy and it's hard to see the individual charms, so I am trying to think of an alternative way to display them...maybe in a frame. Unfortunately one of my charms broke before I got home. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.



I hope this gives a little better view of each charm. What a fun keepsake from a great trip!

Friday, January 23, 2009

All good things must come to an end



Let me just begin this post by saying that ScrapMap has already begun accepting deposits for the Second Annual Ultimate Scrapbooking Cruise, which will take place at the end of January 2010. Go on over there and plunk down your $100 deposit, because you will regret it if that cruise fills up and you just have to live vicariously through the lucky participants two years in a row.

In the ten-plus years that I have been a scrapbooker, I have attended right many scrapping events--conventions, trade shows, retreats, classes, and crops. I claimed for several years that I wasn't interested in a scrapping cruise because I'd either want to crop or to cruise, and I was skeptical that both could be done in a single trip. I'm here to tell you that I was mistaken. The Ultimate Scrapbook Cruise was the best of both worlds, and Mary Beth and I had a blast. The six-day cruise consisted of three days in port and three days at sea, and for the most part classes were only held on the days we were at sea, so that we did not miss out on any chances to explore the locations where the ship stopped.

We arrived at our stateroom to discover that ScrapMap had sent us all bottles of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. It was just the first of a number of little surprises that made the cruise so much fun. I can't say enough about how well organized this trip was and how beautifully the ScrapMap staff had planned out every detail. We were all so excited at the opening gathering, where our awesome teachers were introduced.

Karen Rusell, Donna Downey, Teresa Collins, and Margie Romney Aslett


And of course, Heidi Swapp



The classes themselves were wonderful(hello? did you see the list of teachers above?) and I hope to post some photos of my projects as I get them completed. The smallish size of the classes, about 25 people in each, meant that we actually got to interact with the instructors, which was fun except that it meant I had plenty of opportunity to make a fool of myself when I introduced myself to Karen Rusell.

One of the things that really struck me about this event was how well the participants seemed to "click." At some of the events I have attended, the women who travel together tend to stick together and not socialize much outside their group. We made so many new friends on this trip, and were amazed at how nice and friendly everyone was. We especially had fun with our dining companions, Tina and Debbie, who are sisters and Good People. For some reason, every single photo that we asked someone else to take with my camera came out blurry. Clearly my 40D loves me best.



A few highlights:

* Learning to use the Bind-It-All in Teresa's class. I had been eying this cool tool for a while, but now it is definitely on my must-have list.

* Playing with canvas, paint, alcohol ink, book text, toilet paper rolls, etc. in Donna's class.

* Margie. She is just hilarious and so much fun.

* Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Mary Beth and I rode up to a mountaintop on a chair lift and then bob-sledded down despite one of the employees' warning that it was "for the young people." We ate lunch at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, a crazy fun place to hang out.



And I saved the best for last: On the final evening there was a cocktail party where ScrapMap gave away over $10,000 in prizes, including THREE cruises. I didn't win one of those, but I was even happier with what I did win--a spot in Karen's online photography class! Can you believe it? It was fate, I tell you. Can't wait to get started on that.

And now this post is much too long and I am up MUCH too late. There are more photos from the cruise at my Flickr if you're so inclined.

Ch-ch-changes

Twelve days since my last post? Seriously? My only excuse is that I am caught in some winter doldrums which are preventing me from wanting to do anything but sit around wrapped in a blanket drinking hot tea. I'm interspersing all that activity with frequent naps, of course.

The cruise was wonderful, and I will be posting more about that on my other blog shortly. I have to be honest and admit that it has been difficult to re-acclimate myself to the lack of 24-hour buffets and tropical drinks around here.

There is a lot going on in our household, some good and some bad, but all of it stressful. While I was gone, Thomas came down with a stomach bug during the night at school. It freaked him out pretty badly to be sick away from home, and the experience has resulted in a terrible bout of homesickness. Yesterday we received a letter from him, the most pitiful epistle you have ever read, begging us to let him go back to being a day student. I don't know whether I ever mentioned how he begged to board for over a year, how he swore that he would not change his mind, or how Ron and I agonized over the decision and the money involved. We are sticking to our guns and hoping that spending weekends at home will hope him get over this, but oh my soul it is heartbreaking to drop him off sobbing his heart out.

Also it seems that after eleven years of staying home with the children, it may be time for me to go back to work. (Now it's me who's sobbing.) Coincidentally, there may be an appropriate position available in Ron's department within the next few weeks. I don't have any real objection to contributing to our family's finances, but those long years out of the workforce bring up all sorts of insecurities in me. Do I still have anything to offer potential employers? Do I still possess two brain cells to rub together? And most importantly, what in the name of heaven would I wear?

Lastly, for now anyway, I learned today that I need to have a biopsy done on my thyroid. The lovely young (why are all the doctors I've seen recently so stinking young?) endocrinologist spent an alarmingly long time describing what it would mean if my nodules turn out to be cancerous. I am not particularly worried, since I have been told at various times that I probably had a pituitary tumor, a brain tumor, and a pulmonary embolism, and I didn't in fact have any of those. Am I being punk'd by the medical profession? Nonetheless, I am predictably unenthusiastic about having needles stuck into my throat.

But hey! I am thrilled about the amount of awesome TV that's been available the past couple of weeks.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bon voyage

I am waiting to board my flight to Fort Lauderdale, so you may not hear from me again for a week. I'll miss you!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thirteen

Thomas will turn 13 on Sunday, but we celebrated his birthday before he went back to school on Saturday. All of a sudden this child who wore nothing but sweatpants and whatever t-shirt was clean has developed a keen interest in name brand clothing, specifically Abercrombie, Aeropostale, and American Eagle. (Were they fighting to be listed first in the phone book? What's with all the A's?) Since Abercrombie is the only one of those three that carries kids' sizes, I ordered him a few items on clearance because holy cow, do you know how expensive that stuff is? (Insert flashback of my mother saying to my 15-year-old self, "If you want $88 Guess jeans, get a job." And I did, thank you very much.)

He seemed pleased, until I accidentally sat on his new clothes, which he left on my chair. "Moooooom, be careful! Those are Abercrombie clothes." Apparently my butt is good enough to purchase Abercrombie items, but not to sit on them.





He later cracked me up by planning out his outfits, down to the shoes. Watch out ladies. Thomas also received an electric razor, for which he has only the most minor need now, but Ron's dad gave him one at 13, so it's tradition.



After he shaved his whisker off, we went to his favorite restaurant where they sang to him and he enjoyed a traditional slice of birthday key lime pie.







Happy birthday, Thomas! I love you.

If I fall overboard I will not be ashamed of my undies

Mary Beth and I leave for the Ultimate Scrapbooking Cruise in just two days, and I have done very little in the way of preparation. I did however feel the need to purchase all new underwear, an impulse which is puzzling to me because I doubt that MB (or anyone else for that matter) will even see my drawers.

I think it's something to do with the old saying about wearing clean underwear in case you're in an accident, but I watch a LOT of true crime shows on TV and I have never once heard the forensics experts remark on the condition of a victim's undergarments unless it was directly related to the case. At least now I know that I will not be the first.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pray for the Lamberths

It's interesting to me how the internet, particularly the blogging part of it, makes the world seem simultaneously bigger and smaller. There's so much to learn, and so very many people doing good things for the world and for each other. I am always amazed at how the internet rallies around strangers who are hurting or in need; getting the word out, whether the need is for donations or simply prayer. I believe strongly in the power of prayer, and it certainly can't hurt to ask you to add to the pleas that are going up tonight on behalf of Mark Lamberth, a young father who suffered a devastating head injury just before Christmas. After showing some positive signs earlier, he has taken a turn for the worse.

Charmed, I'm Sure. Or not.

I have never been a tattoo sort of person, although I often admire them on other people. I just don't, at this point in my life, have find any part of my body attractive enough that I want to call attention to it. But I am beginning to think that a tattoo might sometimes serve as a useful reminder of something one never wants to forget...a permanent post-it note, if you will. Thus, I have designed myself a tattoo to serve that purpose. What do you think?



Mary Beth and I leave Saturday for the Ultimate Scrapbooking Cruise, and not surprisingly, we are beside ourselves with excitement. The only thing clouding our joy about the whole experience has been the 33 charms we each have to make for the charm swap we signed up for. Several years ago, when paper piecing was all the rage, I got deeply involved in swapping. It always sounded like great fun when I signed up, but being the procrastinator that I am, I always ended up burning the midnight oil to get my projects done and mailed on time. Often I was disappointed in the quality of the materials that I received in return, and there were invariably people who didn't complete theirs at all, and I would swear after every swap was completed that I would never participate in another one. I made that promise after paper piecing swaps, after circle journal swaps, after page kit swaps, after card swaps, and after altered puzzle piece swaps.

My scrapping friends would roll their eyes every time I got involved in another swap and remind me how I had sworn them off. Given that Mary Beth was one of those friends reminding me of my past mistakes, it is surprising in hindsight that she was willing to join me in signing up for the charm swap on the cruise. Nonetheless we did sign up, and surprise surprise, it has turned out to be much more of an ordeal than either of us expected. We had originally signed up to make 25 charms each, and a new swap hostess who took over at the last minute allowed more people to sign up after the cutoff date. I will spare you the details of the multiple trips to multiple stores that those additional eight charms have necessitated, but suffice it to say that they have been a pain in my hiney. They are done though and packaged up three whole days early, which is a record for me. This isn't a very good photo of my charm...I assure you it's cuter in person, but it does convey the general idea. The starfish charm hangs down the back of the disc when it's hooked on.



I have to admit that I am looking forward to seeing the completed bracelet now that I am finished. The ones I have seen from Creative Escape are darling and I hope our cruise themed bracelets turn out as well. I'll let you know, and I will be sure to post a picture of my new tattoo.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Attention, Nintendo

If you read a lot of blogs like I do, you probably noticed that before Christmas, a number of popular bloggers were having Wii giveaways sponsored by Nintendo, after hosting Wii parties also sponsored by Nintendo. You might think, from the number of posts I have written raving about how much we love the Wii, that Nintendo must be sending me a stack of Wiis to give away to my loyal readers. Puzzlingly, that is not the case. They have not contacted me at all, unless maybe they called me on my iPhone, which my new case is causing to shut off randomly. Their loss, as they could have reached an audience of at least eight readers. Despite the deliberate snubbing by Nintendo, I am going to say publicly that the Michener family is quite enchanted by the Wii, especially this young person who bowled a 215 tonight, our family record.

video

It is so much fun to watch her bowl, especially since she is nearly as excited when she misses as when she gets a strike.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Better late than never

Well, it seems I took a bit of an unplanned blog hiatus. I think I have some January Blahs, and I haven't been able to muster up much energy for anything other than napping and playing the occasional Wii tennis and bowling with the kids. Tonight, though, you would swear I had had espresso with my dinner. How much caffeine is in one eight of those tiny Lindt dark chocolate squares?

This week many of my favorite bloggers have posted wonderful year-end recaps complete with links to their favorite posts from each month in 2008, but I am not even going to pretend that I had twelve posts interesting enough to re-link here. It was a pretty good year at our house, but blessedly mundane. We are starting the new year financially chastened but healthy and hopeful.

Not surprisingly, there have also been quite a few "New Year's Resolutions" posts around. I am not so good with the resolutions, and the ones I would make are the same as almost everyone I know: Eat healthier, get more exercise, spend less money, spend more quality time with my family, etc. I hate to be predictable, so I am making some resolutions that I might actually keep.

1. Splurge on better-quality wrapping paper next Christmas. Target, I still love you but your wrapping paper sucks and I am going to Hallmark next year. Look for crappier gifts, beautifully wrapped.

2.Improve my "Wii Fitness Age." (It's 54! Even my TV can see how out of shape I am.)

3. Get up to date on The Office. I mentioned before that I can't jump into the current season until I have watched the previous ones, and I am actually making good progress. I think I'll insert subheadings in this section to break it down, if you will. (Saying that always reminds me of my brother-in-law, who adds "if you will" to the end of 90% of his sentences. He is clearly very accommodating.) I am already feeling like 2009 is a success resolution-wise because I am 40% of the way toward accomplishing this goal.
a. Season 1 DONE
b. Season 2 DONE
c. Season 3
d. Season 4
e. Season 5

4. Purchase some photo-organizing software. Holy cow, this is a big one. I should have put this one first. I have 67GB of photos on my computer, or over 25,000 pictures, and virtually no organization system (although we do back them up online daily). Let's just say that when I am looking for that one cute picture of Annamarie where she was wearing a straw hat, there is much grumbling. If any of you own ACDSee let me know how you like it.

5. Find my brain. I do not know what my issue is (perimenopause?) but lately I am a flake. In six days, I leave for a Caribbean cruise that I am taking with my BFF Mary Beth. We booked this cruise oh, nine months ago? Today I discovered that I booked my return flight for the wrong day. I swear I have looked at that reservation 50 times--why did it never click that the cruise ends on the 17th and my flight home is on the 18th? Also this evening I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out why the photos I took earlier today wouldn't upload to my computer using my new Eye-Fi card. Eventually it dawned on me that the photos were on the card I took out of the camera when I put the EMPTY new Eye-Fi card in. I am thinking that maybe if I clean off my desk I will locate the missing pieces of my brain and also my passport.

If I can accomplish those things this year I will feel pretty good about life. And if I can also somehow manage to get thin, fit, and out of debt it will just be icing on the cake.