Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just Under the Wire

I've been slowly working on two sets of card fronts for a swap I'm in, knowing that they needed to be sent out this week to make it to the swap hostess on time (for those of you who aren't in the know, a swap is when you make a bunch of copies of one card or card front, then give them all to the hostess, who will swap yours out with the other participants' cards so you get a bunch of different cards back. Much easier than coming up with a dozen ideas all by your onesies.) So today I went to the post office as usual and thought I'd check to make sure they'd be open tomorrow--the post office is normally open on New Year's Eve, right? It's not a federal holiday...well, ours isn't. And it isn't like you have a lot of choice for where to send mail to America here. Not only are they not open on New Year's Eve, they're closed on New Year's Day *and* January 2 as well. Given that they're usually closed every Monday, that means that I had exactly *one* day this week to send those cards out and make sure they'd be on time. Today.

Crap!!! I'd finished one set (luckily, the set of 14) but I hadn't started the second set of 10 card fronts. So I bought a box to send them in because our post office never has the little bitty priority boxes that cost $4.80 to ship, and then I raced home and started working on those swaps. I cranked out 10 card fronts in about an hour and a half, ran back up to the PO and put those puppies in the mail. Usually I include a recipe of everything I used to make the cards, but I just plain didn't have time to do that today. I told Lee about my afternoon's adventures when he got home from work and he just tried to do a He-Man style "moral of the story" thing about the evils of procrastination -rolls eyes-

So anyway, here's the cards:


This is the one I made 14 of. Actually, I liked it so much, I made an extra 8 full cards to send to my little Stampin' Up! customer base. This stamp set will be in the upcoming catalog that we'll start mid-January. Anyway, the flower is stamped and watercolored on white cardstock, and then I did the sentiment on a vellum overlay which is attached with ribbon. I had to have Lee help me with the punch I used to make the holes to thread the ribbon through, I was having a tough time getting it through all the paper even one layer at a time. Anyway, these ones were all done and ready to go when I got to the PO the first time today.


And here's the one that I raced like a crazy stamper to make in an hour and a half. Again, both the stamp set and the patterned paper will be in the next SU catalog, part of being a demonstrator for them is you get to order some things early :) I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with this card, but I suppose that's to be expected given how fast I put them together. I tried at first to stamp the hummingbird in green with teal accents on his wings and tail, the same green as is in the patterned paper, which was an interesting look...if the hummingbird hailed from Chernobyl. Totally icky. So the bird got to be all teal instead and I used the green just for the sentiment.

Now I'm going to share some of the handmade cards I was lucky enough to receive this month, mostly Christmas cards of course. Just wanted to make sure I put 'em up here and there's not much left of December to do that in, so here they are.


My good buddy Liz sent me this in a box with Christmas presents for me and the kids (I swear, Sadie and Vader made out like hairy little black bandits this Christmas, for real!!). I've never done that awesome snowflake but I've seen how to do it...need to put that on my list of things to try. Liz sent me a set of 50th anniversary Wizard of Oz glasses, so cool! She knows I'm a big WOO fan. I have all the Hallmark ornaments that have come out since they started with those--except the one where you had to join the club to get it (ruby slippers) but that's a long and slightly bitter story. Anyway, love this card! She used my favorite color, purple :)


This was Liz's Christmas card. She made all her Christmas cards in July this year, I so need to do mine early next year! I hate being all last-minute with that stuff...even though I did it to myself again earlier today with those swaps.


Got this one from my friend Kim in NC. There's just a little bit of glitter on the tree and the ground to look like snow, it's gorgeous.


This one's also from Kim, and is cuter IRL, for some reason the colors were off in the picture and it looked much pinker than it really is.



Got this one from Sally, who used to be my SU upline and kinda got me into all this stamping stuff. At least, I blame her when Lee starts rolling his eyes about my obsession :)


From Missy...this one has a vellum overlay like that first swap card I did. This is totally gorgeous in real life.


From Amber...I thought she had a blog post with this card on it but I couldn't find it.


And this one was from my sister-in-law Adrienne. Last year we went to a grand opening sale at a Hobby Lobby store, and they already had a bunch of House Mouse stamps on clearance so we picked up a few. They were doing 50% off the regular price stamps, and when we went to check out the girl gave us 50% off the clearance prices too, so of course we went back and picked up a whole bunch more :) I've got quite a collection of them but sadly have yet to use most of them. They take a long time to color...anyway, Adrienne sent me bluebonnet seeds for Christmas! If you don't know what those are, look here. It's probably a good thing that box wasn't inspected when it came to Japan, I have a feeling they'd not like people sending flower seeds here but I am *so* tickled to have them. I'm going to plant them in a couple pots, see if I can grow those better than the orchids I have just about killed off completely...

So that's IT for Christmas cards this year. I'll get back to the Tokyo pictures next time I post, but only if I feel loved on this post so leave me some comments :D

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chinatown, Part 2 and a Mini History Lesson

So I mentioned in my last post that there's a distinct Chinese influence on Okinawa, you wanna know why? Once upon a time, Okinawa was an independent kingdom (it started out as three kingdoms, which is kind of funny given the size of the island, but was eventually unified by the Sho dynasty if I remember my history book correctly, who ruled from Shuri Castle) and had its own culture and language, distinct from Japan and China. The island is strategically located for trade, so in time the Chinese came to Okinawa and made the island into a tributary nation--Okinawa had to send a certain amount of goods and money to the Chinese emperor as tribute every year. In addition, when an Okinawan king died, the new king had to send envoys to the Chinese court to get permission to be the next king, and the Chinese provided the king with a special seal. This went on for several centuries. Sons of noble families were often sent to China to study at the schools there and would return to Okinawa several years later to begin jobs in the government and such. So that's why there's a heavy Chinese influence on the island; historically Okinawa has been more closely allied with China than Japan. Japan didn't take over on Okinawa until the 1800s I think. So there you have it, back to the pictures!


Today's pictures are from Maso-byo, which is the temple to the sea goddess Ma Zhu in Yokohama's Chinatown. Since Ma Zhu is a patron goddess of the sea, she was prayed to by sailors for safe journeys, and the Chinese would build temples in her honor whenever they settled in a new place since they generally got there by boat. If you read the Wikipedia page linked above, you'll notice that Ma Zhu's story is similar to the one our guide told us about when Lee and I toured some shrines and temples on Okinawa. I looked through our pictures again and found a good one of the front of Kanto-byo so I added that in to the previous post.


Here's Lee at the gateway to the temple, but the temple is behind me. The shop across the street (the bright yellow building) had a ton of panda merchandise in it--I kinda wanted to buy one of the panda umbrellas since I don't think my old umbrella managed to make it to Okinawa, I haven't been able to find it. I forgot to go back to the shop when we left the temple though, so no panda umbrella for me.



The way the temple is set up, you go through the gates (see picture of Lee above) and into the forecourt area, seen here. You go up some steps to get to the temple itself--we didn't go inside since there were people in there praying, and we didn't want to disturb them by trying to take pictures of everything, so we just walked all around the temple and took pictures from there. Anyway, this picture is taken from the top of the steps so you can see the forecourt area and all the Chinese lanterns strung up from the gate to the temple. They had a place where you could buy incense to burn at the entrance to the temple.


This is my new blog header! If you're looking at the temple from the gate area in the forecourt, this is what you see on the wall directly below the temple--the stairs up to the temple go on either side of it. Once again, clicky da picky to see it bigger.


A closeup shot of one of the dragons that decorates the temple. The whole temple was done mainly in shades of blue and green, which makes sense since it's for a sea goddess. If you visit the official Maso-byo website, they even have waves making up the background to the webpage.


There were several light posts around the temple area that were decorated with golden dragons, kind of neat huh? They had some decorations a bit like this at Shuri Castle.


Another decoration, I think this one was on the wall around the forecourt area, I just snapped a picture of it as we were leaving. Maybe it was on the gate post...yeah it was, I just looked back at the first picture from this post. They had these fan-shaped decorations on the inside and outside of the gate.


And another shisa picture, this one's for you, Vicki! :) And I'm actually *in* this picture, flashing the obligatory peace sign. We were getting ready to leave the temple when a pair of older Japanese ladies stopped Lee and asked him to take their picture via sign language since they didn't speak much English and we don't know much Japanese. I had to laugh that they would pick out Lee to do that out of all the people who were wandering around the area, why wouldn't they ask a Japanese person? Anyway, he took their picture and they were extremely polite.


This is the mate to the shisa I had my picture taken with above. Lee had the big Nikon camera so I took this with our new little point and shoot--it's a Canon PowerShot SC880 IS Digital Elph, whatever that means. Takes pretty good pictures though and it's pretty tiny. It's the camera we used at Disneyland so we wouldn't have to lug around the big one--can you imagine taking a big honkin' camera on Space Mountain? No, thank you! Anyway, I liked this big closeup picture of the shisa. Seriously, I'm going to have to do a whole scrapbook of nothing but shisa pictures at the rate I'm going.


This last one was a decoration on the wall that goes around the temple complex, I snapped a picture of it as we were leaving. I had to get a picture of it since I have all those photos of real-life lotus from the botanical gardens :)

So that's it for Chinatown I think; I've still got some more pictures to post from this tour though so I'll be sharing those this week.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Chinatown, Part 1

Ok sports fans, I'm back! Lee uploaded the pictures from our trip onto the computer so now I can blog about 'em. Hope you all had a great Christmas! I'd post pictures from us opening up presents here, but a.) I had bad hair in the pics and b.) I'm pretty sure you'll find this more interesting :p

So anyway, we did Disneyland the day after we arrived in mainland Japan, then kinda took a day off to just sit around and watch movies because we are old, our feet hurt, and I was still getting over my cold and Lee was trying not to get it. So then on Sunday (the 21st if you're counting) we did a tour up to Yokohama, which I've found out is just south of Tokyo proper but it's one of those things where the whole area is completely urbanized so it's kinda like one big huge city. Our first stop was to a rest area that had this huge parking lot full of very impressive and expensive sports cars; Lee got out and took pictures but I'm not going to post those because a.) I don't know anything about cars, much less fancy sports cars, b.) I don't think posting car pictures will entice more guys to read this blog, despite what Lee says, and c.) our next stop was more interesting. What was it, you ask?

Chinatown. Yep, we go to mainland Japan to go to *Chinatown*. This is one of the biggest Chinatown areas in the world (except for maybe all those towns that are *in* China, I'm just guessing here) but it was really cool. Kind of an assault on the senses though--so much to look at, noisy, and lots of restaurants packed into a small area so you could smell lunch wherever you went. We got these steamed pork buns that were surprisingly good...at least I'm going to say they were steamed pork buns because if they were something weird I don't want to know...oh wait, you wanna see pictures, right? Ok.


Our tour guide gave us a map but it doesn't have much on it besides the locations of the gates all around the area, and this is the first one we went through. (Click the picture to see a larger version of it.) I think we saw three gates as we walked around but they've got ten, and each one is just amazing with all the carving and the colors and I just wish we could have gotten some good close-up shots but we didn't want to stand in the middle of the street to do it :)


Hey look! Even the cars in Chinatown are happy!!


I just thought this sign was kind of amusing, Coke is everywhere. There's vending machines on practically every street corner (I think I read in a guide book that there's like two million vending machines in Tokyo alone) and just about all of them sell Coke. But enough about that, let's get on to the really cool pictures...


There are two large temples in Yokohama's Chinatown and we went to both. These pictures were taken at Kantei-byo, which is a shrine dedicated to Guan Yu or Kanwu, an ancient Chinese warrior who is, for some reason, also seen as a god of business. Supposedly the historical Guan Yu was an expert in accounting so this one's for you, Dad! (If you're confused, let me explain: my dad is an accountant. I even know how to say "I am the number one accountant!" in Japanese. I can't say "Where's the bathroom?" but I can say that.) Anyway, this is the front of the temple after you go through the gate (we couldn't get a great picture of the front gate due to all the power lines in the way).


Closeup shot of one of the dragons adorning the very top of the temple.


Here's the dragon from the other side...I think in these closeup shots you can better appreciate the artistry that goes into this building, it's just amazing. The little mappy thing we got said this is the fourth shrine built on the site since the 1800s.


Another dragon from a different part of the temple. I keep thinking that part right above his eyes looks like sunglasses. I'm just amazed at all the vivid colors on here and all the little details.


You knew I was going to post at least one shisa picture, right? :) This one and his mate are sitting in the shrine's forecourt. Shisa are actually Chinese, but there's such a pronounced Chinese influence on Okinawa that you see them everywhere. I didn't see as many around mainland Japan other than in Chinatown.

So tomorrow, if you guys have all commented and oohed and ahhed over my pictures from today (yes, I like to know that you're out there, so leave me some comments!), I'll share some pictures from the other temple we visited. You'll see where we took the picture that became my brand new blog header, you likey? Lee made that for me, isn't it cool?? Then over the next week I'll share some other pics from our trip, Lee took some really fabulous ones so stay tuned!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tokyo Disney!

So we got to Tokyo just fine on Thursday. That night we were looking for a place to have dinner and the closest one in walking distance was doing an Italian buffet so we went for that...yeah, we're up in mainland Japan and we're eating Italian food. It was pretty cool though, they had a pasta bar run by these two guys where you choose your pasta, sauce, and topping, and they'd saute it for you in this little bitty pan, totally yummy!

Friday morning we got up *early* and walked out to the nearest train station to get ourselves to Tokyo Disney. We're staying a ways outside of Tokyo so it took us over an hour to get into town. Riding on a commuter train in Tokyo is not something I'd recommend if you have claustrophobia at all...when the train arrived and the doors opened, I thought how in the heck are we all going to fit in there? And then it just kept getting more and more packed at each stop. Mostly it was businessmen heading into work, and those who were lucky enough to have seats were sleeping. No one talks and you just pack in there like sardines. We managed to get to Tokyo station and switch trains for one that would take us to Disney--there's a train station right outside the park!

So we bought our tickets and what do you think was the first thing I did?


Yep, had my picture taken with Captain Jack Sparrow! This was the only character we had a photo taken with all day but hey, at least it was Captain Jack! The first ride we went on was Pirates of the Caribbean--last time we were at Disneyland, PotC was closed so they could add in Jack Sparrow, so I was excited to see it here. The animatronic Jack Sparrows look *just like* Johnny Depp in the movie, and there's this one part where they have a wall of smoke and they project Davey Jones onto it and your boat goes through it, so cool!!


There's us in line for the Haunted Mansion. They've got it all gussied up like Jack Skellington from the Nightmare Before Christmas has taken it over and tried to decorate it for Christmas. If the Haunted Mansion here normally looks like the one in Disneyland, then they do a LOT to it for Christmas, it's amazing. I've never been to a Disney park in the winter before so this was a new experience for me, I've only ever been in spring and summer so I loved seeing all the holiday decorations. Yes, they still do a lot of Christmas decorating here in Japan!


The Castle...Lee and I got a new point and shoot camera with a gift card my parents sent us for Christmas so this was our first trial of it. I think it takes pretty good pictures for a little bitty camera!


We saw a bunch of people in costume going into the castle for some kind of show but we didn't see the show...I'd love to have one of these ice princess costumes though, whaddya think? Can you imagine me going to the grocery store in this kind of outfit? Never would have a problem trying to think of a Halloween costume again...


The castle at night, pretty cool shot huh? Lee set the camera down on a rail to take the picture without it blurring.

The whole day I kept seeing everyone walking around in these funny hats and I kinda wanted one but I figured where else would you wear one but Disneyland? Plus Lee probably would want to walk on the other side of the street from me...


Isn't it cute? That one's a Stitch hat (from the Lilo & Stitch movies). They had all kinds of hats, mostly mouse ears in different colors--white, black, leopard print, polka dot, etc., plus some other ones like the Cheshire Cat and Tigger, both of which had tails on the side that come under your chin to fasten it.


There's Minnie. Those hats were only about $20-30 so I might be regretting the fact that I didn't get one...but I already have that cute lil ski hat (it is cute, right? Right?!) so that's why I resisted.


There's my honey! He's not happy with me for putting this picture on here but I like it so I put it on here anyway. Besides I was in a lot of the pictures in this post so he needed one of just him :)

Anyway, we went on Pirates of the Caribbean twice--the first and last rides of the day. I took Lee on It's a Small World After All but they were mostly singing Jingle Bells in different languages instead of the usual song so luckily I didn't have to hear Lee singing that song for the rest of the day. We went on Space Mountain *twice* and it was fabulous--I've never been on a roller coaster without having my hair up in a ponytail but this time it was free to just go woosh all over as we rode the coaster, so fun! :D The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was great too, and I was surprised that the little kiddie rides seemed to have longer lines than some of the roller coasters and stuff. The rides are just like the ones in Disneyland but in Japanese (half of Pirates was in English though). We watched the Tiki Room show and that was all in Japanese, it featured Stitch. The only part I understood was one of the birds cracked a joke about meeting the Big Kahuna and telling him Kahuna Matata, that one made it through the language barrier.

Tokyo Disney was pretty cool, I'd totally go back again next time we're up this direction. We didn't go to Disney Sea though, Lee said everyone who's been there has said it's a disappointment which I find hard to believe for a Disney park...one of these days we might go there so we can make our own decision on that one. Tokyo Disney was a fun start to our vacation but it tired us out so much we've pretty much spent all of Saturday just relaxing here at the hotel!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Talk to Ya Later, Peeps

Lee would like me to tell everyone that he helped with the 2004 card, he did some of the watercoloring for me. He's right, he did help, and I'd forgotten about it so now I am trumpeting the fact that my husband is the BESTEST EVER and will help me do Christmas cards if I ask him to. On the green Merry one (where I already posted about him helping me), he did the heat embossing with me (I sold it to him as being manly to use the heat gun). And there's several years that he's helped me by writing in the cards for his family. Yes, ladies, he is *that* cool.

Anyway, I'm a little surprised...I post a fudge recipe and the crickets chirp. I post some old Christmas cards and you guys fall outta the proverbial woodwork. What's up with that? Well, I'll ponder that question while Lee and I are hanging out in Tokyo for the next week :D We've got to get to the airport tomorrow at the bust of dawn so I'd better get off the computer and start packing. I've found my basket full of winter clothes that I don't need on Okinawa, so I'm sitting here typing this while wearing my super-cute ski hat (souvenir of my one and only ski trip).


Ok, I just took like five pictures of myself in this ski hat and I was totally cracking myself up while I did it. One of the pictures I kinda looked a bit inebriated, which was hilarious to me since I can't remember the last time I had a drink...must be the cold medication. Lee's wondering what on earth I'm doing in here...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Card Retrospective

I told my mom that I wasn't going to post anything new till someone commented on the last post, so she wrote something just to make me post more. I think I'm cranky since I'm trying to get over the cold Amber so kindly shared with me :p I've got some pictures *somewhere* on the computer from when Lee and I visited some castle ruins a few weeks ago, but I can't find them so you'll have to wait to see those till he tells me what happened to them. So for now we're going to have a Christmas card retrospective...2008 is the fifth year that I've made my own Christmas cards, so here's a walk down memory lane.


My first handmade Christmas card from 2004. I pretty much copied it straight out of that year's Stampin' Up! catalog except I didn't use any brads on it like their sample did. You can tell from the crooked sentiment that I had yet to discover the joys of the Stamp-a-ma-jig, but hey, I'd only been stamping for a few months at this point. The image was colored with watercolor pencils, which takes a while when you're doing over 50 cards, but then again I've never really considered time intensity when designing my Christmas cards -rolls eyes at self- so I come up with some crazy design that takes forever to make, and then put all this pressure on myself to make a jillion of them. Hah.


2005's Christmas card...I think this one was prettier in real life than the scan makes it look. The tree was stamped in green on green paper, then the swoopy swirly decoration was embossed in gold. I think I know why I have trouble with pain in my right hand now--I cut out like 80 of those trees that year! I remember it scared Chewie when I was setting eyelets because it was loud and involved a hammer...luckily I now have a Crop-a-dile so I can set them silently and not scare any doglets.


I procrastinated a little bit too much in 2007 so I had to make something that was quick to put together, and Lee actually helped me with these. The "merry!" part is stamped with red craft ink and embossed with Iridescent Ice EP so it's glittery in real life. The card opens in the center; the bottom is folded up and held in place with brads, forming a pocket for my annual Christmas letter.


We were in Texas last year from August through December, so I wanted to do a more Western type Christmas card (and it was a good excuse to buy this stamp set which I always wanted anyway). Mom said they weren't Christmasy enough because no red, no green--I said bah humbug, it says "Merry Christmas" big as life on the front so there nyeh. The horses were colored in with chalks. I'd wanted a "Merry Christmas Y'all" stamp but couldn't find one last year; my sister-in-law Adrienne is sending me one this year so next time I want Western Christmas cards I'll be all set.


And then here's this year's card again, which you've already seen a couple posts back. So which one is your favorite of the five? And am I getting better as the years go by?

Like I said earlier, I do have some non-stamping pictures to share if only I knew where they were on the computer. And on Thursday Lee and I are heading up to Tokyo for several days' vacation, so we'll have *tons* of pictures to share after that. I'm drinking as much orange juice as I can trying to get over this cold before we leave, can you imagine me sneezing my way through Tokyo for five days? We plan to go to Tokyo Disneyland on Friday and I definitely want to be feeling 100% for that. I have a feeling that rollercoasters wouldn't be good when added to head congestion...wish me luck! And leave some comments or I'm never blogging again! :p

P.S. If you don't get a Christmas card from me this year, it's because I don't have your address. So if you want one, email me!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh, FUDGE!

So last week Lee and I were talking about what we might do for the people who work in his office, and I suggested I make some cookies 'n' creme fudge. Normally I don't do much fudge, I prefer brownies and cookies, but this white fudge recipe is delish. Only one problem: they have NO white chocolate at the grocery stores here! I checked the one close to us and then dragged Lee to another American grocery store about 20 minutes away and they didn't have it either. I know the Japanese stores wouldn't have it because most Japanese houses don't even have ovens, they don't bake.

Arrrgh!! K, so, instead of cookies 'n' creme fudge, I'm making three double batches of regular fudge, one with marshmallows, one with walnuts, and one with peanut butter chips. The recipes I'm using are on the side of the Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk cans so I won't bother typing them here. I don't think I'd recommend doing double batches the way I am though simply because I thought my arm was going to fall off with all that stirring, and I still haven't done the peanut butter fudge yet.

Anyway, I'm going to share the cookies 'n' creme fudge recipe with you so maybe SOMEONE out there can make it this holiday season. And at the risk of sounding like JanTInk, I won't stop you if you want to send me some white chocolate so I can make it. After all, I bought a whole pack of Oreos for it, and if I can't make the fudge then I'll just have to eat all the cookies. The sacrifices I make, people. Really. So here's the super easy recipe that I got out of one of those little cookbooks that they sell at the supermarket checkout line, I *love* those things but Lee thinks I buy too many. I've actually done a couple recipes out of this one though, it's one that's all recipes using sweetened condensed milk that came out about two years ago. Oh yeah, recipe:

Cookies 'N' Creme Fudge

3 (6-ounce) packages white chocolate baking squares OR white baking squares (not sure what the difference is but ok? I thought 18 oz. white chips might work but they don't even have those right now)
1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk (they also have reduced fat and no-fat versions which will work just as well...at least they have those in the States, not here)
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups coarsely chopped Oreos (about 20 cookies)

Line 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil and set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, melt baking squares with condensed milk and salt over low heat. When it's all melted, remove from heat and stir in cookies. Spread evenly in prepared pan and chill for 2 hours or until firm.

Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off foil and cut into squares, or you can use a small round cookie cutter if you want it to look all fancy and stuff (it does look cute in the picture in my cookbook, but wouldn't that waste some of the fudge? That's no good!). Store tightly covered at room temperature, as if it's gonna last long enough to worry about how to store it :p

Here's a couple tips for you: use a little rubber spatula to get all the sweetened condensed milk out of the can. That stuff is pretty thick so you'll need to scrape to get it all out. Also, to prevent your cookies 'n' creme fudge from looking like mud fudge, put the chopped cookies in a strainer and shake it all about (doing the hokey pokey is up to you) to get all the crumbs out.

Oh yeah, this is all Arrie's fault, she's the one who mentioned fudge when we were talking one day last week and that's what gave me the idea to dust off that white fudge recipe. So I blame her :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bella-Riffic!

This weekend was Stamping Bella's second anniversary, so there was a big Bella Bash over on Splitcoast complete with challenges and prizes! Since Stamping Bella is my biggest addiction aside from SU (and I'm a demo for SU, so I gotta buy their stuff but I love it anyway!) I had to play along this time. I even got to chat with everyone during the Bella Bash even though I was in class :) So lookie!


That's Matilda Muffinbread, she's a Chichiboulie fairie. Isn't she the cutest? She's also the *last* Bella image stamp I had that I hadn't used for a card or other project, so since she's debuting now that means I can buy more Bella stamps right? ;)


Here's Rockabella! The second Bella challenge was to use two's in your card since, after all, this is Bella's second anniversary. You can check out all my two's on my SCS gallery, you'd be surprised how many two's are involved in this card!


This last one was for the challenge to use Bella's signature colors, pink and light green. Love this color combo and I figured it would be perfect for a congrats-on-your-pregnancy card for my college roommate, Jenn. I *so* almost put "you've been so bizzy!" for the sentiment but I changed my mind at the last minute, bwahahaaaa!

Go visit Bella's website (link at the beginning of this post). Emily has some of the cutest stamps on the planet! Now I'm just crossing my fingers that I'll win one of the prizes for the Bellaversary challenges ;)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Christmas Party and Some Photos

I'm so glad that Sadie and Vader let me sleep in today...I was exhausted after last week and I didn't even get to kick back and relax over the weekend. I had class both Saturday and Sunday plus the final exam, then Saturday night was a Christmas party and we went to pick up Amber at the airport in Naha. At least this week doesn't look *quite* as busy as last week was. So here's a few pictures from the Christmas party:


There's us with Dean and Jamie. I didn't originally intend to dress like Lee's girly twin but it just kind of happened...I do like that red top though, I got it last year and didn't have a chance to wear it till now. Anyway, Dean and Jamie arrived on Okinawa just about two weeks after we did and we've all become friends. They came over to our house with their black Lab, Raven, for Thanksgiving this year.


There's me and Arrie, someone else I've become friends with over the past year. Arrie and her hubby Josh...


only have about six more months left on the island, whereas we have two years. Josh goes scuba diving with Lee on a pretty regular basis but now that it's gotten a bit cooler, Lee needs to get a new thicker wetsuit so he doesn't freeze the next time he goes out. Still hoping that Lee will be able to get some good underwater photos for me to share at some point.

Lee was just as busy as I was last week, and he spent some time on one of the little islands near Okinawa (I don't recall the name). He took the camera along and got a couple of pretty neat pictures.


This last one is my favorite I think. Lee tweaked it a little bit in Photoshop and I really like how it turned out.


So that's it for now...I've still got a mile-long list of things to do for this week, some of which involves getting ready to go to Tokyo before Christmas :) So I'd better hop to it!