Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Pictures of Christmas' Past

Seems like each year at Christmas, when all the family is together, we end up chatting about all the Christmas' past and all the good times we've had. This last Christmas (2008) I started thinking how cool it would be to have a whole photo album of all Christmas. I printed some pics and bought some paper, but wouldn't let myself start until NJ's baby book was done. Then it seemed like things just kept getting in the way. Well, I finally started the Christmas album and thanks to Rachel's new Cricut machine, I think it turned out super-cool:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I've just discovered Alchemy! It's a piece of Etsy where people can out in requests for what they're looking for. So, for example, maybe you really want a blue hand knit scarf and can't find one just the right length. You just go put out a request for one and VIOLA! you find a knitter who'd love to make one for you, for a price of course. Or, maybe you, like this guy want a custom calendar made that you can print off your computer at home. You just put in a request and someone like me, who has made herself several calendars over the years is happy to fix one up just how you want it! How exciting!!! Too bad I was a little too late to bid on that one...

Anyway, I always buy one new Christmas ornament each year. This year, well, last year, well, for Christmas 2008, I decided I wanted a camping theme. This was the year we bought our camper and the year my hubby killed his first elk, and the year that NJ got to go on his first camping trip. So I created a request and got all sorts of great bids. The one I chose was a girl who makes cute little felt things. She was wonderful enough to really work with me on getting the elk just right and choosing a fun pine tree for NJ. How very exciting!!! In case you're hungry for more, this is who I chose to make the ornaments: metzypants

And, in case you're curious about my stuff, this is my etsy shop: Arizona Made

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Botanical Window

Back when we lived in Michigan a friend found these two old windows (and a door) on the curb by the trash in front of an old house someone was remodeling. She always had plans to do something creative with them, but when they went to move she decided not to take them with her. The door wouldn't fit in my car but I was happy to take the windows. I brought them home and taped these four botanical prints (from an old calendar) to the back of the small one. For some reason the larger one has always remained empty. My hubby thinks it needs something in it, but I've grown to love it blank.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Re-Scrapbooking Project

A long long time ago, before I knew any better, I put all my photos in those peel and stick albums. I like to think that I scrapbooking before scrapbooking was cool. Lately it's really been bugging me that all my photos are resting on acid and slowly rotting away. (don't you love drama?) So, I set about to convert my nine peel and stick albums to a simple photo-safe album. This is really very unusual for me. Normally, once something is done, even if it's not perfect, I can't stand to go back and re-do as long as there are other projects waiting. It's like re-reading a novel when I have a stack waiting to be read! Anyway, in the space of a few nights I managed to convert the six albums from my college days. It took over 120 pages, but the result is quite pleasant. I did zero embellishments and only journaled anything that written in the previous book (very little). Maybe someday I'll go back and fancy them up, but it's not likely.

The Family Tree

I thought I'd post this layout of the family tree in NJ's baby book because I like how I did the whole tree on the pc but then embellished around it (again, sorry for the blurs, my hubby's a little paranoid).

Hawaii Layout

This is one of my favorite scrapbook layouts. I'm not sure where I got the idea, but I did it the slowest possible way. If I'd researched a bit I would have found that the free Picasa software makes this much easier, but instead I did it all by hand. Crazy!

Once it was complete and perfect I realized I had no where to journal. But my sister came up with this great idea to do a little tab and the print the journaling a similar block like pattern! I think it turned out great! (Sorry for the blurred out image, but my husband begged.) In order to make it stay in place I folded a 8x10 piece of paper in half and then taped it, fold end down, to the background page and the mounted paper, so the tab never falls down too low!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


This is one of my favorite of all the cards I've created. I'm sure I got the idea for the design in a Stampin' Up (SU) catalog- that's where most of my card ideas come from. The thing is, I LOVE this stamp set, "Wonderful Wings," and I really like how the watercolor pen blended the colors. See, this is what's so cool about SU- I can color in the butterfly with the exact same yellow that I mount it on!

The Painted Pot

It was the year 2000. We were newly married and had more expenses than salary. We had moved to Michigan in June and I was VERY excited to be going home for the holidays. For some totally unknown reason I decided to paint my sister a flower pot for her house as her Christmas present. I was going through a Marjolein Bastin phase (ok, so maybe I’m still there- a little) and spent hours and hours and hours and hours working on birds, butterflies and a rabbit painted in a Bastin style. I went to crazy ends to pack the pot in my carry-on, not trusting the baggage handlers with it, and was so proud when Deanna opened it. She still keeps it out (or at least she does when I’m in town) and every time I see it I wonder what inspired it.

My point in posting it here is just as proof that even an non-artist as paint something, given enough time and a good artist to copy from. You'll find my right brain rarely does anything very original, but then, that's not really the point, is it?

Exhibit 1: Taggie

Taggie was so simple to make! A friend of mine made NJ one and he loved it. So, I made a few more and now we keep one in bed, one in the car, and one in diaper bag.

I made it like I would a pillow- All you do in buy about 8 inches of the ultra soft material (I think it's called minkie?) and 12 pieces of ribbon, each 3 to 4 inches long. Cut the minkie into 2 squares, each 8 in x 8in. Fold each ribbon in half like you want it to look when finished. Lay it down on the nice side of one minkie square with the folded end towards the middle. Pin each ribbon in place. Lay the other square of minkie on top with the nice sides in. Pin in place. Taking care not to let the ribbons move, sew all the way around except for a 1 to 2 in space near one corner. Turn it inside out and hand sew closed the gap- Wa La!

If that doesn't make sense, let me know and I'll try to revise!


So, what's with the new blog and and the silly name? At the urging of a few good friends, I decided I'd try to post some of my handiwork and didn't think it would mix well with my stream of consciousness blog. It's been a bit of a journey to get to the point where I'd post this stuff, so I thought I'd tell you the story. Here’s the short version:

I got my bachelor's in Environment Science in 2000 and got a cool in-house-consultant type job in Michigan right out of school. In 2002 I got accepted to a master's program with my company in conjunction with EMU and started working on my MBA. In the middle of my MBA I changed from the environmental department to the compensation department. It was a crazy change, but my boss was an amazing teacher and I love how different it was. But still, it was all very left brained. So, after a long day of Excel and Access I found I really enjoyed some brightly colored paper and a pair of good scissors, or even a nice piece of fabric and a sewing machine. But I was not a crafty person (I'd say to myself).

After I graduated my husband got a job transfer and we moved to Yuma, Arizona in 2006. I telecommuted but soon grew tired of sitting at home alone all day. I had been dreaming of doing something entrepreneurial for 4 years and I had been doing research for about a year trying to determine what the best venture would be. I ended up choosing to become a Real Estate Agent because I wanted to work with people, I didn't want to have to buy a franchise, and I really enjoyed the experience when we bought our own home. Real Estate is great! You have the softer sides of working with someone through a highly emotional experience, but there's also a lot of contracts and financial calculations to keep my left brain happy.

Then, I had a baby and just like they all said, he changed everything! I feel called to stay home with my son and I enjoy the growing relationship we share. However, I find it difficult now to do much with my real estate work. I try to keep a listing or two, but mostly I just help out friends when they need to buy or sell their home. I miss my real estate work, but I regularly remind myself that I've got the rest of my life to work- he's only small for a few years and then the schools steal him away. So, as a stay-at-home mom, I find my strange schedule is actually very conducive to all those crafts I've been secretly doing for all these years.

Why secret? I didn't like to talk about them too much because I thought that most people would view me as less credible in the business world, it they knew I was "crafty." Is that true? Tell me, when you think about your friends, do you generally consider your crafty friends to be less business minded? Would you want your crafty friend to be the one handling your finances? Would you expect that a CPA could make a beautiful scrapbook?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I’ve recently decided that I’m being very silly. I’ve decided that the traits that made me excel in Corporate America are the same traits that make me “crafty:” I like to try new things. I focus on continuous learning. When I fail, I try, try again. I truly believe that anything you set your mind to, you can do (not perfectly, of course, but then, what’s the cost/benefit justification for perfection?). So, I will now, from this day forward, admit to being crafty. There, I’ve said it, “I’M CRAFTY!”