Monday, March 30, 2009

Our Honeymoon Cruise

I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to start work on a scrapbook of Lee's and my honeymoon and then Vicki asked where we went for that, so here's the answer: we took a Disney cruise in the Caribbean. :) We went in March of 2005 so pretty much exactly 4 years ago and all I've done is print out the pictures...I didn't even do that until a couple months ago. I really need to hurry up and do this project before I forget everything, but luckily I also wrote down quite a bit of what we did while we were on the cruise so that helps.

We met this guy on our first night on the ship when they do the whole "this is what to do if the boat starts to sink" spiel and for the entire week of the cruise, he would start bugging us as to WHY we were on a DISNEY cruise if we had no kids every time he crossed our path. He was a British guy named Clive but Lee insisted on calling him Chive. Funny enough, we almost never saw him with HIS kid or his wife and here he is hassling us about why don't we have kids. But anyway, we had a really great time and I would soooooo do another Disney cruise. We went to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Castaway Cay which is Disney's private island in the Bahamas. Because you know Disney's gotta have its own private island in the Bahamas.

We had lots of chances to have pictures taken with characters on the ship; I know we have pictures with Chip and Dale, Pocahontas, Wendy from Peter Pan, Aladdin, two girl mice from Cinderella, Cinderella herself, Dopey, Lilo, Stitch, Pinocchio, Snow White, and probably a few others. When we had our picture taken with Captain Hook and Smee, Capt. Hook refused to stand next to me because I was wearing a Tinker Bell shirt.

My favorite Disney princess, Aurora from Sleeping Beauty (although I'd give a lot to have a picture taken with Maleficent, who is I think more what makes me love that movie...c'mon, she turns into a DRAGON! How much more awesome can you get?) This is the first time I'd ever had my picture taken with Aurora despite numerous visits to Disney parks. I may make myself a little scrapbook of just pictures with Disney characters, whaddya think? Just what I need, another project. I'd love to have a picture taken with Tinker Bell, but my mom thinks she doesn't do pictures, she just flies from the Matterhorn to the castle at Disneyland to kick off the fireworks show every night. At Tokyo Disney, Lee and I didn't really try too hard to get photos with the characters--the only one we got was of me with Jack Sparrow, so at least we got the really fun character, hehehe! I wish that awesome orange dress still fit me but alas...my sweet tooth has seen to that.

This is our patented self-portrait on the beach at Serenity Bay on Castaway Cay. The day we spent there was quite a bit cooler than the whole rest of the trip so we're both wearing long sleeves, no swimming for us. This pic was on our computer desktop for quite a while, but now we've got up a picture of us on the top of the lighthouse at Cape Zampa instead.

I liked St. Maarten a lot, we did an excursion there where we visited a butterfly farm and a marketplace and drove around the island a bit on a tour bus. We bought ourselves four little watercolor paintings at the marketplace as a souvenir, and those are now hanging up in our living room.

Sunset on St. Thomas...I didn't like this one as much, but I think that's because we didn't do an excursion so we were kind of at loose ends and couldn't think of what we should do that day. We did find a really good place for lunch, we had these ham and cheese sandwiches on the flakiest, butteriest croissants you ever did taste...and is "butteriest" a word? Well, it is now!

They did a midnight dessert buffet one night (as if we weren't all stuffing ourselves silly at the regular meal times!) and this was one of the items on display. Not sure if it was a cake or what, but it looked pretty cool.

Every day, we'd come back to our room to see a new towel animal on our bed. We had a lobster, a snake, a swan, a crab, a dog with Lee's sunglasses on, an elephant, and a scorpion. If you look in the upper left corner of this picture, you'll see Juan the Mexican Polar Bear, who's pretty much gone everywhere I've gone for the last 15 years or so, and my little Stitch souvenir. That Stitch is so funny, he's wearing a Disneyland shirt, a Mickey Mouse ears hat, and he has a Mickey-shaped ice cream in his hand. I got him from the ships souvenir shop, just couldn't resist. Actually I also got a scrapbook there, it's been waiting this long for me to scrap the pictures! So starting that may be my project in April (as well as working on the baby books, continuing my Japan scrapbooks, and keeping up with making birthday cards and Easter cards and whatnot).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Photo Swap

Did anyone wonder where I was? Luckily for me, I was *not* trapped under something heavy and unable to get to the computer, I've just been working on two baby books. I need to finish putting together the April layout and adhere the letters to three other months, and then I'll have finished four months of each book. Not too bad for a week's work. But I'm not ready to share pictures of that project yet.

Earlier this week, Missy came by with a thumb drive so we could exchange pictures from the Nago cherry blossom festival and our excursion to Cape Hedo (I also gave her the pics from bowling). A lot of the pictures are pretty similar but there are several I'm very glad to have, particularly one of the four of us at the cherry blossom festival since none of ours turned out well.

Yep, there we are. I'll have to upload this on Winkflash so I can order a print of it, but that's ok since I needed to do that anyway...I've got pictures from several events that need to be printed out.

Here's a pic of some of the 4 gabillion steps we had to walk up to get to where the cherry blossoms are. I have to say, I got pretty tired on the way up and then I saw this lady who had to be at least 7 months pregnant coming back down and I thought gee, if she can make it to the top, then I have to be able to make it or suffer massive amounts of mocking.

I think this was just about the best picture of the cherry blossoms from Missy and Bennet's camera. I really like how the colors turned out in this one. Now I just need to Photoshop out those power lines...

Ok, so now for a few more pictures from Cape Hedo.

I'm definitely going to print this one out, I like this photo of Lee. He went to the eye doctor yesterday so he's back to wearing contacts...I kinda liked the glasses. But he's hoping to do that eye surgery so he doesn't have to mess with glasses or contacts anymore so I guess I'd better get used to Clark Kent being gone again. I don't particularly like messing with contacts either and I'm practically blind without them, but I saw a video of an eye surgery when I was in high school and to this day just the thought of eye surgery gives me the willies. No way can I do that.

Ever wonder what I look like when I'm taking pictures? Well, now you know. I do my pinkies out funny the same way people do when they're drinking tea. I try not to squint into the camera though.

Just a picture of me and Ree that I liked. Can you believe the colors on the water here? Just gorgeous. But next time we're taking pictures out by the ocean I'll have to remember to tell Lee not to wear a blue shirt. :p

And here's Lee taking a picture! We've got several silly pictures of us taking pictures of each other taking pictures if that makes any sense. This was when Lee set up the tripod on the little gazebo thing and we all got in a picture together and the carnivorous palm tree bit me in the bum. Ow.

Ok, well, I'm off to work on those baby books some more. I'm actually surprised at how fast they're going, but this is a good thing--hopefully I can finish them by the end of April. We'll see how it works out...I want to start on my honeymoon scrapbook while Lee is gone so I have something cool to show him when he gets back. Tata for now, peeps!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cape Hedo

I didn't want to pester Lee about converting these pictures to jpegs for me, so this afternoon I sat down and messed with the program until I figured out how to do it myself. Yay me. However, Lee has installed a new version of Microsoft Office and now I can't find any of my familiar buttons and shortcuts, so rather than mess with it this morning I went and used the laptop because it has the stuff I'm used to on it. Blah. Lee changed Microsoft Office, and the format changes hit Splitcoast and Facebook around the same time. Can't find anything on the Internet anymore. But anyway, I DID succeed in getting the Cape Hedo pictures how I need 'em to be in order to share them :)

Again, we had some great weather on Sunday. The colors came out so wonderfully on almost all the pictures, I only tweaked one or two that came out a tad too dark.

Missy and Bennet channel Captain Morgan (y'know, the rum commercials? Which makes me think of Captain Jack Sparrow: "Why is the rum gone?"). Mom, we were all VERY CAREFUL in climbing over the rocks and stuff to get out there and take pictures, and we all stayed far away from the edge (Missy has vertigo for one thing, and for another, if you fall in the water there's a bunch of jagged rocks there to cushion your fall). There was another group of Americans out there at the same time as us and they weren't as cautious as we were, we thought for sure that at least one of them was going to fall off the Cape. But they didn't, which is good, because if they'd fallen then there would have been a lot of tedious paperwork to do.

Me and Ree, see how his shirt almost matches the water?

No idea what the plaque says or anything but I liked this bird statue. Lee kept telling me that I'd have a hard time getting a good picture of it because it's SO white, and I did tweak it a little bit on the computer but I think it turned out pretty good.

It's like Lee's wearing camouflage in this picture! Anyone wanna play a game of Where's Lee? I mean if it wasn't for the Superman logo, would you even be able to see him? Bwahahahaaaaa!

This view was off towards the west; the first couple of pictures were taken on the east side of the Cape.

Lee wished we could have gotten to this area to take pictures, but it was one of those things where you can't get there from here.

Back on the east side, there's a little gazebo-type thing with this little parky area in front of it. Lee set up the camera on a tripod so we could all four get in the picture. Those palm trees behind us look all nice and innocent but they're carnivorous--seriously, I accidentally backed up into one a little bit and the ends of the leaves are SHARP!! Got me right in the bum.

And there's me being a goober, because you know there's always shots of me being a goober. We took pictures of all four of us over on this side too but I figure you know what we look like by now ;) And that was our visit to Cape Hedo. Too far away to go for a picnic lunch or anything like that, but Lee was talking about spending the night at Okuma sometime and then going up to Hedo in the early morning to get pictures when the light is better (hard to take really, really good shots when the sun is right overhead, you get a lot of harsh shadows). But for now I'm happy with the pictures we got.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Road Trip!

On Saturday we had icky weather *again* and didn't hold out too much hope for improved conditions on Sunday, but luckily we were wrong--Sunday was gorgeous!! Cool and breezy and sunny. So we *finally* got to do our road trip up to Cape Hedo, but today's pictures aren't from the cape. We haven't sorted through those pictures and converted them to jpegs yet so instead I have some pictures we took on the way to Cape Hedo using our little camera.

It takes about three hours to get to Cape Hedo from where we are, and for a good portion of the way Highway 58 parallels the East China Sea. The colors on the water were gorgeous so when we saw a good place to stop we did (there are a bunch of little places to park alongside the highway, either for fishermen, surfers, or random picture-takers like us). So here's a couple pictures!

Bennet and Missy (yes, that's who the teeny tiny people are). If we enlarge this photo to poster size you might be able to tell that it's them, ha. I was trying to get some more of the scenery in the shot.

Lee's and my turn out on the big honkin' rock, flashing the obligatory peace sign. (Yes, Mom, we were extremely careful while climbing around on the rocks!)

Oops, forgot to take the camera off zoom when we did this self-portrait. Well, I think it's kinda goofy and fun so I'm posting it here anyway :) I'm going to get my hair cut again this afternoon, it's starting to get a bit shaggy.

This is the other side of the highway from where we were taking pictures of the ocean. We think that the concrete stuff is to keep erosion at bay, but it looks pretty weird how the waffle pattern follows the contours of the hill almost like it melted. So of course now I have to call them concrete hill waffles.

A random photo of the back of Lee's shirt :) I think I've mentioned that we both have quite the wardrobe of Eskimo Joe's clothes (I'm wearing my 1999 EJ's St. Patrick's Day shirt right now!) and this is one my mom sent to Lee since he's a Superman fan (this gift predated me calling him Clark Kent because of the glasses).

So anyway, we made that one stop to take some pictures and then had lunch at Okuma, the resort that's about 24 km south of Cape Hedo. I had a chicken parmigian sandwich, which I thought was kind of odd...tasted good, but a funky idea. It's a piece of breaded chicken with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese on it served on a hamburger bun (I took off the pickles and lettuce because that was just too weird on chicken parmigian...and I hate pickles). Then we continued on up to Cape Hedo, but we need to sort through the pictures and see how many good ones we got. It sure was a pretty day to go road tripping!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

ETA: I almost forgot to post about Tiny Task Tuesday this week, where you're supposed to try to do at least one little thing to be nice to someone or to make the world a better place. So anyway, yesterday I made a double batch of cookies for a fundraiser that was held today (and in the spirit of Not Me Monday, I so did NOT have to do two batches to make up for the fact that I always eat a ton of lemon cookies when I make them), and last week I sent a little present to a friend of mine but I think it's taking its sweet time getting to the recipient since I haven't heard yet that the person got it. :p And tonight was my first class of the new term (I'm taking Research Methods in International Relations right now, later I start Intercultural Relations) and one of the other ladies in the class doesn't have her textbook yet, so I lent her mine. I've had mine for almost two weeks so I've been getting ahead on the reading (I'm about five weeks ahead...) and I told her that if her book doesn't get here quickly we can just share mine until it does arrive. So there's my tiny tasks this week.

And those lemon cookies are goooooooooooood. Super easy too: you combine a Betty Crocker lemon cake mix, a half cup vegetable oil, and two eggs, then drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet (and try not to eat the cookie dough). Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes, cool on cookie sheets 2 minutes and then remove to wire racks to cool completely (and try not to eat all the warm cookies). Frost with a tub of lemon frosting (and try not to eat all the frosted cookies until you share with someone else). Totally yummy. And addictive. Which is why I can't make them very often, I'd gain a zillion pounds.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Found My Kryptonite

Tuesday morning I felt like Supergirl. Lee and I went to the gym at 5 a.m. (yes we're crazy, everyone tells us that but you'd be surprised how many people are in the gym that time of day) and instead of surfing on the computer after we got back I worked a bit on a scrapbook layout. I always have to kill some time in between going to the gym and taking the kids for a walk since it's still dark at 6:00 this time of year, so usually I surf the 'Net while Lee's getting ready for work. So anyway, I took the kids out at 7:00 (usually I wait till 8 but I got an early start that morning) and it was absolutely GORGEOUS outside, cool and breezy and SUNSHINEY oh my goodness it felt like I hadn't seen the sun in forever! So yeah, it was a beautiful day for a walk and Sadie behaved a million times better than she did on Sunday so she got a treat when we got home (Vader did too, don't want you to think I left him out). Then I got cleaned up and decided I should be virtuous and read a little bit of my textbook (trying to get ahead for my class that starts next week) and BAM! That's when it hit me.

Practically Instantaneous Narcolepsy.

What is it about textbooks that can instantly send me into dreamland?? I can (and have) stayed up to all hours reading things like Harry Potter and Twilight and all kinds of other stuff (even some books that aren't shelved in the Young Adult section of the bookstore) but anything for class will send me to sleep PDQ. Yeah, I was out for like two hours, and that was the end of my super-productive morning. I've started reading a few pages of the book at night when I'm trying to get to sleep and wouldn't you know, its narcoleptic powers aren't near as strong after dark. Wonder if it's like solar-powered narcoleptic hypnosis or something, I only fall asleep during the DAY after reading that textbook...

Anyway, once I finally emerged from my torpor, I DID finish my layout. Lookie!

Ah, yes, I love it. When I started out, I was going to do Close to Cocoa, Soft Sky and Blue Bayou, but my Muse (who on this occasion sounded exactly like Queen Latifah) said, "Honey, this is gonna put me to sleep. LOOK at that awesome address label and use that for your inspiration!" So I did. Whenever we move someplace new, I like to do a scrapbook layout about our new abode, including whatever address labels we get. I order address labels from Colorful Images and usually try to get something related to where we're living, hence the tropical sunset with palm trees. We used up all the palm tree ones though and my latest set is orchids.

So anyway, I took Queen Latifah's advice and ended up with yellow and orange Indiana Jones letters for my title, which just makes me giggle like a madwoman when I look at them because I think they're funny and these pages are for my entertainment anyway. The letters are another of my plastic letter templates; I cut them out of Summer Sun cardstock and then sponged on Pumpkin Pie ink for that authentic Indy look. I think this turned out a lot more fun that it would have if I'd stuck with my original boring color combo.

After I put this in my scrapbook, right after my First Impressions layout, I realized that I'd used the same picture of the front of the house (top left corner) on two layouts back to back. Oh well!

This week I've gone back to some of the first pictures we took when we arrived on Okinawa and have been working my way through those. (These are all from before we got our super duper fantabulous Nikon D80 so the quality for the most part isn't exactly stellar.) These are from some of my first blog posts from last year, when we went to Chatan and rode the ferris wheel and checked out the Make Man store for the first time. I don't do red page bases too often but it just seemed to work perfectly with these pictures; the weather was so dull that day that I think the pictures benefit from a strong background color. I matted all the pics with black and then decided that the layout needed more gray, so I matted the pics of Lee and me in gray as well and then added a few punched-out circles of the plaid paper.

I was bopping along to my 80s music (can't scrapbook without some tunes) and about half done with this layout, really happy with how it was going, when I thought wait a minute...this sketch looks really familiar. Then I remembered I'd used it before!

Yeah, just look back and forth at those two pictures, they're the exact same layout idea. Totally different colors though and I switched the photo and journaling blocks on the left page, but definitely used the same sketch. Oh well, doesn't bother me a bit since they'll be like 30 pages apart in my album and I seriously doubt anyone else would notice.

This is the layout I finished yesterday. The colors are actually real similar to that Handcrafted layout but again, this will be like 30 pages away from it :p I will soooo miss Baja Breeze when that color retires, it works really well with pictures like this when the weather is kind of dull. Before the retirement list starts this summer I'm going to stock up on Baja Breeze cardstock and all the patterned papers that incorporate it. Anyway, I fished out my old Stipple Shells stamp set for this layout and there's a large shell stamped on the journaling block, although it's hard to see in the picture.

I really like the title letters...they aren't one of my letter templates but rather some die cut letters I did using the machine up at the local craft store yesterday. I love the font (it's called Fairy Tale) but unfortunately the dies don't work 100% right--they don't cut all the way through the paper so I had to cut them out by hand following the indentations made by the die. Oh well, not like I don't know how to cut out letters ;) I also cut out enough letters from scratch paper that I can spell out pretty much anything I want, so if I ever want to use them again I can just put my scratch paper stand-ins on the layout as place holders until I get up to Crafty Things to cut them out.

And I kind of have a project in mind using those letters...I'm debating whether or not I want to make a baby's first year album for a friend of mine who's expecting her first child later this year. I've done it before...it's a lot of work but I keep getting these cute ideas for what I'd do and those Fairy Tale letters would be just perfect. But I'm still pretty far behind on my own scrapbooks, despite having finished 48 pages this year. They even have a really cute baby album at Crafty Things too...we'll see if I talk myself into it or not.

Enough scrapping, how about some stitching?

I finished stitching this last year and my mom got it framed for me. The mat is actually green to match the colors on the stitched piece, it just looks gray in the photo. Didn't she turn out purty?? I'll be excited to see her in real life when we move back to the States (so it'll be a while before that happens). My mom and I get all our stitching projects framed by a couple, the Tottys, who are the grandparents of a guy I went to high school with--I knew the grandparents before I ever met the grandson. Mrs. Totty always gives good advice for what kind of frame and mat will work with a particular piece, and Mr. Totty does a fantastic job with the actual framing. I don't know what Mom and I will do when he retires for real from doing this! (They used to have a store, but now they just do occasional framing for a few select customers. Mom and I are lucky enough to be "select customers".)

Ok wow, I've yammered a lot today. We have nice weather again today (it hasn't rained in 2.5 days! Yay!) so I think I'll get out and run a few errands. Then I'll work on my next layout this afternoon...I can't seem to do more than one layout in a day, my creative juices just stop flowing after a while. This weekend Lee and I are going to get massages on Saturday morning (I'm pretty excited, I've never had a massage before) and then we're going bowling again on Saturday night. Nope, it wasn't my choice, it's a little shindig before one of our friends leaves for several months on a work assignment. I'm crossing my fingers for beautiful weather on Sunday so we can try to make the trip up to Hedo Point this weekend. So tata for now, peeps!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mimi Would Be Ashamed

She would also probably crack up about this. My great-grandmother was a really good bowler. That aptitude was obviously NOT passed down to me:

Yep, that's me, the granny bowler (the irony that my granny could out-bowl me blindfolded is not lost on me). My bowling technique consists of hurling the ball down the lane and hoping that it hits only what it's supposed to hit. See the bumpers? Yep, I need those. On the other hand, I have never slung a bowling ball so wildly that it ended up in the next lane over and got a strike. That would be Lee. (I didn't see it happen so I can't vouch for the veracity of the tale, but that's what Lee *said* happened.)

Yes, we went bowling last night. Apparently it's the thing to do when it's been raining nonstop for four days, so Missy and Bennet and Lee and I hit the bowling alley for a few games. Everyone else had the same idea so we had to wait a while before we could start bowling (or in my case, pretending to bowl), so we played some arcade games. I managed to demolish my racecar in a fiery explosion three times in a single game. That's talent, people. But back to the bowling and my lack of talent therein.

Lee got this really funny picture of me right after I slung the ball down the lane. Hey, if I'm going to look really silly in front of a whole bowling alley full of people I don't know, we may as well photographically document the event so I can share it on here, right?

I think Lee has a more "traditional" bowling technique than I do. However, in the second game, he and Bennet decided to give left-handed bowling a try. If they'd done it for the whole game then my score might have only been 20 or 30 points behind theirs...in our first game, both the guys' scores were more than double mine. Even with the bumpers. Seriously. It kind of cracked me up that Missy usually looked disappointed with however many pins she knocked down if it wasn't a strike or a spare. Me? I'm happy to hit *any* of the pins.

Hey, aren't we cute? It's me and....Clark Kent. Whoops, I'm not supposed to post pictures of Lee in his glasses but he's not here so nyeh!! He's hoping to get PRK to correct his eyesight, so the eye doc is making him wear glasses instead of contacts for a month before they do an exam to see if he's a good candidate for it. So I keep calling him Clark and he keeps giving me dirty looks and refusing to answer. But he's still just so stinkin' cute.

And there's Bennet and Missy. They're cute too. Not as cute as Lee, but I may be biased.

So today we were supposed to go up to Hedo Point just so we could say we've been there, which would have involved at least 4 hours in the car and hopefully a good photo opportunity. Yesterday the forecast for today was rain, rain, and more rain, and then Lee got a call to go do something for work for most of today (yes, on a Sunday) so we postponed our road trip. We get up this morning and the sun is shining, a breeze is blowing, and in short it's a totally gorgeous day, perfect for a drive on up to the north end of the island. But nope, we can't do it after all. So I thought I'd take the kids for a walk after Lee left. Apparently having nice weather for the first time in days made everyone else think that a walk with the dogs was a good idea too, because I saw a lot of other people out there (perhaps even the same people who were at the bowling alley last night). Unfortunately my dogs are criminally incapable of behaving when there are other dogs around, so ours was a very short walk. Usually I can count on Vader to behave himself pretty well, but today he was just as bad as Sadie, and it's hard for someone my size to haul back on 130 pounds of excited dog when they wanna go say hi to the other dogs. Sigh. No treats for either of them, and I ended the walk much more cranky than I started it.

I'm sure a liberal application of chocolate will help with that last bit.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ramble Ramble Ramble

I have not forgotten about you, my faithful four blog readers! I've just been working...first I was procrastinating on my final paper for class by making St. Patrick's Day cards, then I had to sit down and write the stinkin' paper, and then today I've been a busy little bee making cards! So let's have a look, huh?

My friend Sally's birthday is tomorrow and somehow I don't think this card will make it to Florida by that time (Sally, if you're reading this, don't look at the pictures!) This was yesterday's color challenge on Splitcoast. I like the colors together; the Pink Passion and Kiwi Kiss seem to jive well together but I am sick to death of Kiwi Kiss on the color challenges! It's been four weeks in a row!!

Seems like the thing to do now is decorate the inside of your cards as well as the outsides, so that's what I did on this one. Just because. I think that little flourishy thing from the Priceless stamp set gets more of a workout than just about any other stamp I own...

How about some St. Patrick's Day cards? I loooooooooooove St. Patrick's Day! I even ordered myself a new Eskimo Joe's shirt this year. Actually a rather large percentage of my wardrobe is from Eskimo Joe's, and now Lee's is too because Mom and I keep buying shirts for him. They have some really cool ones, so you should go check out their online store AFTER you finish reading this post :D Anyway, back to the cards! Last year I bought the SU St. Patrick's Day set and then I don't think I got any cards mailed out. So this year I wanted to make SURE I got my green cards made and mailed on time! If this one looks familiar, it's because I used the same layout as I did on Lee's oceanic thank you cards. Saves me time trying to come up with new ideas, hehe!

Ok Miss Vicki, you asked how I do the sponging. For the lighter color, I just have the paper sitting on my work surface (the scratch paper that gets all inked up crazy as I work) and just sponge on the edges the way everyone does. For the darker color, I pick up the paper and hold it up in the air, and then swipe the sponge just on the edge of the cardstock. That's how you get the feathery edge on there. I *never* woulda thought of that on my own, I saw someone do it at a shoebox swap once upon a time and promptly copied the idea. So there's my big secret!

These were the two other slight variations I did; I made these two first before I got the idea to stagger the circles with the shamrocks. These four cards would have been really fast to make if it weren't for the fussy cutting on those shamrocks. I don't know why but I seem to do that fussy cut thing a LOT, you'll see more of it in a minute.

My second St. Paddy's day card for this year! That patterned paper on the bottom tends to make my eyes cross but I still like it on this card. For the medallion, I stamped it three times, once on Barely Banana cardstock, once on Certainly Celery, and once on Whisper White. Then I used various sizes of circle punches to cut out the parts I wanted and layered them, and that's how I got my multicolored Pinch Proof medallion.

This is the card I made today (only I made three, not just one). I based this on the Mojo Monday sketch for the week (see the link on the sidebar...somewhere in there anyway!) but I omitted the ribbon she had on the sketch. I liked how this one turned out...I sponged the edges of my cardstock rather than matting them in an extra layer of paper. I put greetings on the inside of all the St. Patrick's Day cards I made; all three use the "Happy St. Patrick's Day" stamp from this same stamp set.

Uh-oh, MORE rubbah-dultery has been committed!!! When I was sick last month and couldn't sleep one night, I ended up surfing the Unity Stamp Co. website (it was all Amber's fault, I swear) and wouldn't you know, three items fell in my shopping cart. It was this Hot Mama stamp that made me push the "BUY NOW" button, I just love it! And given how many pregnant ladies I know right now, this stamp will definitely get used. Actually the card on the left was commissioned by my mom; she's making a baby blanket for a friend of hers and asked me to make her a Hot Mama card. I made the pink and purple one just because I love pink and purple (I am one of the few weird people on Splitcoast who actually LIKE Orchid Opulence). Besides it seems like a lot of ladies are expecting girls, so I'm sure that card will get used PDQ.

Anyway, on both cards, I stamped the whole image (lady and words are one stamp) on white cardstock with regular classic ink. Then I stamped the image again on a scrap of cardstock using craft ink, and embossed with Iridescent Ice embossing powder so my Hot Mamas are all SPARKLERIFFIC!! Woowooo!! I cut them out and adhered them to the other image using Stampin' Dimensionals so they both are raised up from the Hot Mama part. The layout is Amber's weekly Unity sketch so now I've been inducted to the Unity madness :) Bwahahaaaa! Oh, I don't know if you can see it in the picture (click to see it enlarged) but the four strips behind Hot Mama are all stamped with a baby onesie (not a ONSIE, that's not a word!) that says yeah baby under it. That stamp is part of a long-retired SU stamp set called A Little Love, and was probably the main reason why I bought that stamp set. Guess I like my baby cards with a little bit of attitude or a sense of humor, hehe! Oh, I'm also excited I got to use some of the forty gabillion Primas I bought when I was in Washington last year! Woohoo!

Oh no, MORE rubbah-dultery!!!! This awesomely fantabulous butterfly is also by Unity (and yes, I cut it out for this card!). This is today's sketch challenge and an older color challenge...I think if I were to do this card over, I would switch the green and red patterns. That floral pattern is just overpowering the rest of the card I think. I like the black mats on everything but that means this card is heavy, so I bet it requires extra postage.

And look, I decorated the inside of this one too. I could NOT get my More Mustard sponging to look right though. Oh well. I like the butterfly on there.

And last up is this card by my friend Janice who also has the super-cute and totally adorable kokeshi doll stamps! Amber said she got mine on Two Peas in a Bucket, but if you Google "Hero Arts Four Dolls" you'll find them for sale on a variety of websites. Hero Arts is the name of the company and Four Dolls is the name of the stamp set. If you're like me and don't use acrylic stamps very much, here's a tip for you: it helps to rub an eraser all over the stamps and then clean them prior to using them. That helps get rid of any residue from the manufacturing process and will make the ink stick to the stamp better so the image is clearer.

So that's what I've been up to. I need to get started on my scrapbooking again; it seems like I focus on one or the other, scrapping or cards, and lately it's been cards. Liz totally beat me in February and she's ahead cumulatively for the year too, but this month I have a chance to beat her so I need to get crackin'. (In case you're wondering, neither of us gets anything for "winning" other than a stack of completed scrapbook pages and ultimate bragging rights over the other one.) I've got about a week and a half before I start up with classes again so I've been taking advantage of it with the card making so far...now on to scrappin'!

In other news, my friend Dusty has started a campaign she calls Tiny Task Tuesday.

You can read all about it on her blog, but the premise is simple: find some small way each week that you can make the world a better place. Help someone out, do a little extra work without being asked, even something as simple as smiling at the checker in the grocery store and asking her how she's doing. Dusty posts each Tuesday about what she's done to make the world better one tiny task at a time, but I'm a rebel so I'm posting this on Wednesday evening my time :p So during the last week, I made cookies for my class for our final meeting on Thursday night, and tonight I'm making another batch of cookies for a coworker of Lee's who has been really working hard and not getting much credit for it. So since she loves the pumpkin cookies I make, that's what I'm going to do tonight. I also routinely do random things like smile at people in the grocery store and hold the door at the post office for whoever is coming next. See? Not exactly earth-shattering but every little bit helps. If you'd like to join in, just copy the cool lil graphic Dusty has provided and then get the word out on your blog or wherever else you want. Let's all participate in Tiny Task Tuesday!

This weekend, Lee and I are planning to drive up to Hedo Point, the extreme north end of the island, just because we've never been there before. So hopefully I'll have some new Japan pictures to share with you guys, I think you're more interested in those than in my paper crafting projects aren't you? Yeah, I know you are. Anyway, hopefully the Eeyore Cloud will drift away long enough to give us some nice weather up there, or at the very least I hope it doesn't look like it's going to rain buckets at any minute while we're up there. No idea what's up there yet, that's what we're going to find out :)

ETA: I got an email from my professor that he received my paper and thought it was well-written. He must have only read the first half...