Thursday, November 29, 2007

Busy Little Elves Sneak Peak

So, any guesses? Here are some photos of two different projects we have in the works and hope to send out by the end of the first week of December:

Oh, the pretty sparkly colors! What could this be? Sure are a lot of them! And then there's this:
Again lots of them, and what unique patterns. Wonder what it could be. And look even Andy got involved in something:

These are projects that we'd like to spend more time on. Jansse will have a role in upcoming portions of these projects - super fun and exciting.
We are also going to have a craft day with a friend after church on Sunday. Its pretty kid orientated, but she has some beautiful ideas. I've gathered hand died felted wool, dowls, wooden beads, and lots of excitement for one of the projects we're going to try. And then there is a special project that I really want to make but because it is for me, and not as a gift, I haven't had a chance to sit down with it and make it. Gotta get to that.
Plus, I had some time down town (see the three hour wait for snow tires that didn't get mounted from last post) earlier this week, and spent a whopping $1.50 on a little something for Andy for Christmas. I got it at Salvation Army, and it needs some loving care and altering to be what I ultimately vision, but I was so glad to find it. We were agreed not to get anything but stocking stuffers for each other this year because of some bugetary concerns, but I felt that $1.50 wasn't so much that I couldn't fudge the rules for it. Hopefully I'll have time to get it done!
So, I'm off to inventory the modge-podge, foam brushes, sealants, and other such products for... well, I'll let you guess which project(s) those might need those things!
Hope you enjoyed the sneak peek!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Whew, its crazy around here!

So, I'm not sure if things around here are crazy, or if it is me who's crazy. Could be both I guess. But I'm trying to beat the crazies. One way I did that was to play with my camera a bit yesterday in the late afternoon. Michelle had asked for the baptizmal gown for her up and coming grandson. He will mark the first of a third generation to use the gown. That's pretty neat when you think about it. I sort of got crazy possessive of it and its fragile condition (it is 43 years old now, and there is a small tear under one of the arms, and it is not as pure white as it once was), but then realized it needs to be shipped all over the country if necessary to make the rounds to all who want to use it. To try let go of the possessiveness I took it outside (being careful of its fragile condition) and took photos of it around our property. Here are a couple of the results:

This next one is just the gown, without the little coat:

Pretty cool to take these photos, and they are much better than the photos taken on Thanksgiving day. Didn't have to touch them up hardly at all in photoshop. It was a relaxing and pleasing exercise to take these photos. I realize they have no real value since they are just of an object, not of a person, but I'm so glad I took the time to play like this.

So, today's craziness involved a three hour wait to get my snow tires put on only to be told that upon inspecting my tires they are inadequate and unsafe and could not be put on. Can't really afford a new set this season, so we're going to make due without them. It was frustrating to lose the three hours and not get anything accomplished with that.

Add to that Andy got a call from the judge in West Yellowstone today letting him know that one of his clients down there had been rearrested over the weekend. The officers put him in their little jail without taking his personal possessions, which included a knife. The knife was used by the client to slit his own wrists. Thank God he was rescued and did not die. He's in the hospital. It is so disturbing to find out about someone being so dispondent that they would try to end their life, but that was not the most disturbing issue in this situation. What was so much worse was that the officers, upon finding the young man, called the judge and asked her to rush down and sign an order releasing the man from the jail without bail before he was transported to the hospital because they didn't want the county to have to pay for his medical bills which they would have to do if he was in custody when the ambulance arrived. And the judge did it - she later expressed to Andy that she realized this was a mistake. It floors me that the officers would be more worried about the cost of caring for this man than just getting him to the hospital a.s.a.p. Not only is it inexcusable that they didn't take all weapons and potential weapons from this man before they put him in the cell, but then they couldn't even treat him like a human being who's life was important. So sad and even more crazy! These kind of incidents are what make me know that it is okay for people in jail and accused of crimes to have good attorneys to advocate for them - can you imagine if people like these officers were allowed to proceed without anyone to hold them to the legal standards? It is crazy how humans treat other humans. Makes you wonder sometimes just who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. It must bring a tear to God's eye when he sees us display such hardend hearts to the very ones for whom he was willing to sacrafice his son.

So, it is crazy around here. Thank you God for being good and loving even amongst all this craziness.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

We might live in Montana

So, my friend Elizabeth Wickland had this posted on her blog. I have identified at least 10 of these that are true of us. Can you guess which ten? 1.If "vacation" to you means going shopping for the weekend in Great Falls , Billings or Bozeman, You might live in Montana. 2. If parking your car for the night involves an extension cord, You might live in Montana. 3. If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 8 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, You might live in Montana. 4. If you're proud that your state makes the national news primarily because it houses the coldest spot in the nation, You might live in Montana. 5. If you have ever refused to buy something because it's "too Spendy", You might live in Montana. 6. If your local Dairy Queen is closed from November through March, You might live in Montana. 7. If someone in a store offers you assistance, and they don't work there, You might live in Montana. 8. If your dad's suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of his forehead, You might live in Montana. 9. If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time, You might live in Montana. 10. If your town has an equal number of bars and churches you might live in Montana. 11. If you know how to correctly pronounce Butte, You might live in Montana. 12. If you measure distance in hours, You might live in Montana. 13. If your family vehicle is a crew cab pickup, You might live in Montana. 14. If you know several people who have hit deer more than once, You might live in Montana. 15. If you often switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day and back again, You might live in Montana. 16. If you can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard, without flinching,You might live in Montana. 17. If you see people wearing hunting clothes at social events, You might live in Montana. 18. If you've installed security lights on your ho us e and garage and leave both unlocked, You might live in Montana. 19. If the largest traffic jam in your town centers around a High School basketball game, You might live in Montana. 20. If you carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend knows how to use them, You might live in Montana. 21. If there are 7 empty cars running in the parking lot at Wal-Mart at any given time, You might live in Montana. 22. If there are more people at work on Christmas Eve Day than on Opening Deer Rifle Season,You might live in Montana. 23. If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, You might live in Montana. 24. If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, You might live in Montana. 25. If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, You might live in Montana. (And road construction season and fire season coincide with one another.) 26. If you can identify a southern or eastern accent, You might live in Montana. 27. If you consider Red Lodge exotic, You might live in Montana. 28. If your idea of creative landscaping is a statue of a deer next to your cottonwood, You might live in Montana. 29. If the sunbelt to you means Miles City, You might live in Montana. 30. If a brat is something you eat, You might live in Montana. 31. If finding your misplaced car keys involves looking in the ignition, You might live in Montana. 32. If you find 0 degrees a little chilly, You might live in Montana. 33. If you actually understand these observations, and you forward them to all your Montana friends, You Must Live In Montana !

Friday, November 23, 2007

Difficult Thanksgiving Photography

Okay, so most of my Thanksgiving photos of people who came to enjoy with us look like this one because, basically, I have no skills at flash photography, and there was no natural light as it was already dark outside.

Actually, yesterday was a tough day for photography all along. It was a beautiful, mostly blue skies day, with temps topping out at about 3 degrees. There is still about 9 inches of snow on the ground from earlier this week. Not easy photo taking conditions when the children were out to play. Here is what I go of Daniel pulling Jansse and Danielle around on a tube behind the tractor:

And these "Lovely" photo specimens are the product of some fussing in Photo Shop as well. Now, obviously, I am not the most skilled with the program, and there really wasn't much I could do about what the outdoor conditions were. But I'm glad I have something to remember that for Thanksgiving 2007 Jansse and Danielle had a fun time playing out in the snow. By the way, this idea of pulling your kids around on tubes and sleds behind tractors, trucks or four wheelers is what those of us without a hill in our large yards do for winter fun when we don't have the time or inclination to go to one of the hills in the neighborhood. Sort of "hillbilly" I know, but it is fun for the kids! And we do make them wear helmets!
Now this is one of the photos I was able to take (and fuss with a little in Photoshop) during the daylight, without a flash but in the house. Not great, but not trash either.

And this one is with a flash, and it was taken close up, but it just turned out better. I don't get it!

Photography is so much fun. It can be so satisfying and so empowering. And then, on days like yesterday, it can be one of the most humbling experiences in a long time. Oh well.
It was a great Thanksgiving all the way around for us. We had great friends and family come over. The food turned out wonderful (although the turkey was a little over an hour late getting done due to the oven being turned off (unknown to me, the cook) for an hour in the middle of roasting. Our friends brought great food, and fortunately lots of appetizers (see late turkey above), so it was a successful feast. The four children played and played and played, and now that I think about it, I don't remember one time when an adult had to intervene with them regarding any disagreement or inappropriate play. The baby was a delight to all the adults - picked up a couple of new friends to flirt with along his way! We probably bored the two teens who came, but they left right after dinner to go to a movie, so hopefully that made up for us older folks who are just not a thrill a minute if you are 15 and 18.
Missed all of our family! If any of you are reading this, we hope you had a great time yesterday.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

A Happy Thanksgiving to all! It's a beautiful day at -5 degrees as we are up and starting our final preparations for a beautiful meal with 16 people. I set up this table last night, and am pleased with the Thanksgiving garland I made (also last night). I don't have everything perfectly matching at my house, but I think it looks nice anyway.

We're having the typical meal - turkey, stuffing, potatoes, yams, green beans (my family's traditional recipe), corn, salad, bread, and of course pies (pumpkin and pecan). I've also make a batch of fudge to make dessert just a little bit decadent.

Our guests are Daniel and his family, of course, and then three different families from church. It's very nice how much they are all helping with the meal - I really have relatively little to do besides make the turkey and bake the bean casserole. We certainly miss our family who live in other areas, but it is nice to have Daniel, Stacy and Danielle plus so much church family to help celebrate.

I'll try to post tonight some photos from along the way today. In the mean time, I hope everyone has the happiest of Thanksgivings - and don't eat too much! Ha! Ha!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Early Christmas Tree?????

So, I worked at Keepsakes by Design all day yesterday (I do that two days a month to support my scrapbooking habit!). I go home after dark, and I heard this little voice and saw the shine of a flash light. It was Jansse out in the yard very excited that his papa had given him permission to cut a large branch off of the large fir tree in the back yard and to bring the branch into the house and use it as a Christmas tree. "HUMMMM" I thought to myself. I decided to just go along with it. Through out the process of cutting, bringing into house, placing in my good large rubbermaid bowl with large rocks to stablize I continued to think "HUMMMM." By the time we got to getting out the Christmas ornaments I was feeling a little rushed into the season, and a bit annoyed at what I viewed as nothing but a potential mess for me to clean up.

Didn't turn out that way. Instead, we had a great evening around Jansse's tree. We read from "Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember" by Barbara Rainey - a wonderful tradition to read this book, and if you don't have it, go get it. 100% worth it! Your whole family will learn so much! This is our second year with it, and it is a tradition everyone loves. We read a chapter an evening for the six days before Thanksgiving. What a way to learn about the true story of Thanksgiving and faith!

While working yesterday I completed a layout about picking Jansse up from school. It was in response to a challenge on the Two Peas In A Bucket website. The challenge was to scrapbook a

about every day things. I pick Jansse up from school every school day, so this seemed a great thing. I just took my camera with me on Thursday afternoon. It just so happened that that day I had to remove the plow from the truck to go, so I documented that. The views as I go across the country roads are wonderful, so that was a fun thing to include in the page. And of course, getting to Jansse is always a treat at the end of a school day. I'm glad he goes to school, but I really do miss him while he's there.

Enjoy your weekend! We'll enjoy our early tree - I wonder if this means we won't be getting another one this year? Could save us some money I guess.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beautiful gift from God

So, look what God brought us yesterday morning. It is beautiful! This photo was taken this morning, so you know it has remained cold since the snow did not all melt away. It will probably be gone by the end of the day tomorrow if the weather reports are to be believed.

Jansse is loving the snow. Andy created a small mound of snow when he plowed the drive way yesterday, and Jansse has claimed that mound as his "snow fort." He digs, makes snow balls, slides down, climbs up, and dreams of an igloo like structure. He loves it so much that he was out in it this morning after breakfast and before school - and it was on 15 degrees. It is so cool that he has such enthusiasm for this blessing from God.

Tonight we host our Wednesday night Bible Study, so it is a day of cleaning, cooking and getting ready for company. Busy, busy busy. Since our group shares a meal together every Wednesday evening, I'm off to finish making the home made bread that will go with the home made soup another woman is bringing. Yummy!

Have a great day!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Projects, Floods and Fun!

My dad will probably be excited that the first thing you'll notice about this post is his big fish! This is one of the pages I did at the retreat this weekend. Only going to show three of them, because I have some special plans for the others, and making them public at this point would defeat the special plans. So, let me tantilize you with these three.

First, as I said, is my dad. He's at Lake Tahoe, and he caught one of those fish - the other was caught by my then six year old son. We were all impressed! Grandpa was more willing to actually hold the fish, so he got all the glory in the photos.

Next up is Jansse carrying a large box that contained a big surprise for him - a pitching machine. This page used some special (at least special to me) distressing techniques, so I've included a couple of up close photos so you can see some of the detail. I'm loving using my sewing machine on these pages, and I did that all over the place here. I actually "scraplifted" the sketch for this page from a beautiful scrapbooker named Nic Howard - she's on my list of artists at the top right if you want to see some of her beautiful work.

The journalling tells of how Jansse was not expecting a package, but when he realized this was for him he carried that big awkward box the entire 100 yards from the gate to the house all by himself. Everybody likes to get packages, but this one was so special long before he knew what was in it just because it was almost as big as he was. That was pretty cool to him. I'm so glad I was able to capture this little moment to remember his excitement!

While were' waiting for the next photo to line up,

let me share a bit about the weekend. It was very busy, and I am very tired after getting less than five hours sleep every night. You see, the retreat is at a hotel in town, but I'm too cheap to spend my money on accomodations, so I'd work until my eyes were blurry and then jump in my car and drive the half an hour home. Then I'd wake up early and head back to town for more fun. About that being cheap - I'd just rather spend my money on supplies for scrapbooking than on a hotel room where I wouldn't have my nice warm husband to cuddle up to.

So, here is the last of the pages I'm sharing at this time. Its from a camping trip we took this summer where the daughters of some friends of ours joined us - we were watching them for five days while their parents were out of town. What an experience for our little family of three to become a family of five, especially since little girls are very different than our rough and tumble little boy. I realized with girls it actually does matter to them if their clothes get wet in the creek - need to take lots of changes for camping! And, I'm embarrassed to admit that the first time they stayed with us it didn't even dawn on me that they needed to brush their hair in the mornings - you see, until recently Jansse's hair was so short that brushing was unnecessary. Not a chore I'm used to. Fortunately I realized the need before church on Sunday morning.
Anyway, here are a couple of detail shots of this page. I distressed the chipboard letters and stamped over them. I stitched around all the places I could, inked all the edges, and then got to add tons of flowers - girl pages can have many more flowers than boy pages, and that is very satisfying to this prima flower loving scrapper!
Oh! And girl pages can have bling! Love that bling!
So, at the retreat were friends I've made over the last couple of years of participating in this craft. I was able to sit with a wonderful group, and we laughed and talked, shared our hearts a bit, poked fun at each other in fun, and ate way to many chocolate calories. It was a great get away.
While I was gone, poor Andy did not have so much fun. I almost came home on Saturday afternoon because I new he was unhappy. He was already feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work he was facing in the office, and he wanted to use the weekend to catch up. However, on Saturday morning when I went down to throw a load of laundry in the washer before I left for more crafting, I noticed that my socks were getting wetter and wetter as I walked around the basement laundry room. At first I thought the washer had over flowed. Nope, a pin hole size leak in a water pipe running above the laundry room and under the kitchen was spraying a fine by consistent mist all over the wall board, and then running down the wall into the carpet. I had to rush off to teach a class on Saturday morning, so Andy was stuck with the chore of ripping out wall board, and evaluating the best course of action. For those of you who don't know, he's not generally a "fix it yourself" kind of guy, so I assumed he'd be calling a plumber. But he got an idea, was able to direct the water into a bucket so it wouldn't make the walls and carpet any wetter. Then, on Sunday, with a friend from church he fixed the pipe. He now knows how to sweat a coper pipe back together. GREAT JOB ANDY - and thank you David for the help!
So, I've bored you enough for now. Back in a day or two, hopefully with something interesting to report.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ready, Set ...Retreat

I'm getting ready for the retreat sponsored by Keepsakes By Design, the store where I work and teach. You can see the blog here: . I'm packing up my stuff, with many thoughts running through my mind as to what I want to get accomplished and what fun I'm going to have - similar to the "visions of sugar plums dancing" through the heads of children on Christmas Eve.

To give you a bit of an idea of what I'm going to be doing between now and Sunday afternoon, here's a bit of a tour. I will be teaching a class to twenty ladies. Its an acrylic album, similar to the one that will be published in Scrapbooking and Beyond in the next few months. Here are a couple of photos of what the ladies will be making:

And, because I'm teaching this class, the whole retreat is free to me. That is a real blessing as far as I am concerned. So, now you know what I will be doing Saturday morning.

The rest of the time I will be working on my own new project and taking one class. I have lots of sketches, photos printed and supplies gathered, but of course I never know what the end product will look like until I get there. I'm hoping to use these to make a few tag books with Christmas themes. (See what I now realize is a sideways photos just below this line and on the left - remember, I'm still learning!).

I spent an entire evening last weekend dying these shipping tags to be just the colors I wanted. I've got ideas "dancing in my head" of glitter, silloettes, swirls, twigs and textures to make little books that tell the Christmas story. I'll let you see what I come up with when I get back.

For my other projects (mostly scrapbook pages), I've gathered some of my favorite papers:

So, you can see that I will be having fun and getting (hopefully) a lot done. Can't wait to show you some of my projects after the weekend.
A special note to Dana: Hey! I'm so glad to hear from you. I use a Pentax ist*D and love it. I already had Pentax lenses, so it made so much sense for me to stick with it when converting from conventional photography to digital. Not the most common equipment, but I am happy. Love to see some of what you are doing with the digi-scrapping. I don't digi-scrap (not good at PS), but I am often inspired by what I see in digi pages. Email me something of yours so I can see what you are doing and get an update on your family!
I'm off to have a great weekend. Hope all of you do too, and I'll try to post on Monday, hopefully with some eye candy to enjoy as well!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Meet Bo and So Forth and So On

Okay, here in Montana there are some funny ways of talking. If you say "Creek" you better pronounce it "Crick" or people will know immediately you aren't from around here. And there is no "EE" sound at the end of the word Coyote. That bugs Andy, but I kind of find it endearing. However, what drives me nuts is the over use of the following phrases: 1. And so forth and so on; 2. and what not. Perfectly intelligent people who are otherwise well spoken add these two phrases on to the end of sentences almost like a period. Ugh! Help! I can't stand it! It seems their attempt to appear intellectual back fires and they just look foolish!

So, this is Bo! In this photo he is six weeks old and traveling with us from Spokane to Bozeman. He's a cutie! He's pure Catahoula with one blue crackle eye and one brown eye. On his back are black almost zebra stripes, and he has a white patch on his chest. As you can imagine, he's a lot of fun and a lot of work. Jansse is completely enamored with him - even took him to school for show and tell a few weeks back.

Now Bo is 11 weeks old, and three times the size. See:

He's a skinny little guy, but that's normal for this breed. We're having fun with him, although his teeth are sharp and he wants to chew on everything pant legs, fingers, ear lobes, you name - or should I say "and what not."
Week day life around here is busy with office business, school, errands, and "so forth and so on." This week I'm also scurrying around to get my art supplies gathered for a 3 day retreat starting Thursday evening. Hopefully I'll get a lot done there and have some projects to share with you.

Have a great Tuesday! I hope to be back at least one more time before I go to the retreat.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Playing with his cousins is a favorite thing for Jansse, as is riding on Papa's tractor. These two photos are yesterday, when Jansse, Andy, Ben and Ellie piled on the tractor for some trips around the front field. Ben loved driving the tractor! Nice for a little guy to get to do such a grown up job!
We had kids galore yesterday - our one child household went to a six child household for about five hours there. Jansse was thrilled! Didn't get any pics of the three Rogers boys, but they were here, and football was played by all. Along with some costume wearing, super hero playing, and general good times.
So, this is my opening post in a blog I intend to use for two purposes: 1. to share what is going on in our lives with so many of you that I want to keep in contact with, but don't have the time to write to; and 2. to be a place for me to share some of my paper craft/art work as I can. It seems a bit self-focused to be posting my own blog, - I'm not sure I have all that much that is interesting to others to share. But when I think about reading other's blogs I never think of them as self-focused, so I'm going to give this a try. Let me know what you think. I'll try, try, try to keep it interesting and updated. If I miss a few posts that either means our lives are so boring that it isn't worth a comment, or that we are so overwhelmed there hasn't been time to breath, much less post.
Ready, set, go! I've got a blog!