Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Oh Summer

Arizona in the summer can be both beautiful and miserable.
On those miserable days, we throw a sheet on the microfiber couch and let the kids veg out on their or my electronics.
This was one such day. Kelly was off working with Nina and Wyatt was off to Boy Scout camp. Chelsea and I were in veg mode.
I so remember doing these same things when I was a kid. I try as a mom and adult to capture the essence of being a kid but also our summer.
So far the kids go swimming several days a week with Grandma at the YMCA, we've been trying to have movie days and library days.
The biggest thing they've done is clean their rooms, Yay mom says, boooo say the kids. It was bad, real bad.
The laundry is now under control, the clean clothes kept finding their way back into the dirty clothes basket, sometimes still folded!
The kids have rediscovered some of their toys, in Kelly and Chelsea's case they tried to bring them to the kitchen table to play instead of their room. When I said they couldn't, all toys need to stay in their room, their reason was they didn't want to mess they're room up!
Shaking my head...kids

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy 60th Mom!

Happy 4th of July and Happy 60th Birthday to my mom.
Mom has been saying how she didn't want a big to do and that she was going to go do stuff that she doesn't get to do that often.
Basically a ME day.
Sometimes hitting these big numbers can be depressing, I get it.
I wanted to have some fun, so last night I blew up 55 or so balloons with the thought that I would go to her house in the morning and decorate.
There was one small glitch. Mom is dog sitting for a client and needed to be at her house early, but this morning mom was running late.
I drove to her house, taking the back way  just so we wouldn't cross paths and as I about to come around the corner, I see her truck still in the driveway. YIKES
I ended up waiting around the corner for another 40 minutes till she left.
I got in and put up the plastic curtain I made. I hung up the birthday banner and then began dumping big garbage bags full of balloons all around her living room.
I then proceeded to blow up another 30 balloons. In the end, which included me making a second trip out to her house because I left a bag of  balloons at home,
I think there was closer to 80 balloons on her floor.
It looks so cool.
The Reveal: Things didn't go exactly as planned for mom's ME day but she had let me know that she was going to stop by.
Crud, I had nothing for her because it was all at her house!
Ma stops by, we sit and chat for like an hour. At the end the girls came home from swimming and I have to remind them that she hasn't been home to see yet so don't say anything.
Mom leaves and the clock watching begins.
A short while later I tried to play it cool when she called and asked if I was involved. I started laughing with her as I explained the back story and struggling to not say anything that would give me away when we were hanging out talking and how bad I felt not having anything to give her because it was all at her house.
Mom says she can't stop laughing and loves it.
I wrote in her card if she gets frustrated she can always start stabbing the balloons, I'm sure that would bring some stress relief.
Happy Birthday Mom, we sure do love you.

Chelsea turns 7

  Last Saturday this amazing girl turned 7. How can that possibly be?
Chelsea is a sweet, strong-willed firecracker. Our house is never boring with Chelsea around.
I love the fact that she still loves to wear dresses almost every day.
She drives me nuts because she won't clean up after herself and heaven forbid you ask her to pick up her room. That is when the, I'm too little, card gets thrown around.
Chelsea starts 2nd grade this fall and we have put her in the gate program at her school. I pray that she has an easier time than Wyatt did.
This year we are going to do something a little different.
Chelsea hasn't been able to have a friend birthday because of when her birthday is and not having anyones addresses or phone numbres.
Alas, we had a family party Saturday and once school starts we are throwing her a big ol bash.
Hint: its Hawiiaan themed.
One of the things that Chels has been asking for is a ukelele. Can I just say I was so excited to buy her this, lol. This last week it has passed hands as we all strum and "try" to make music.
We had fun tricking Chels when my mom arrived and she opened her gift and received a bike helmet and pads but no bike.
The bike was hidden and at first Chelsea didn't see it, but when she did... she yelled for everyone to come see.

We brought the bike into the house and after Rob made some adjustments we had her change her clothes so her dress wouldn't get ruined and took the bike out for a quick spin.
Now when her brother and sister go for a spin on their scooters she can join them.
I just know we need to get all of us moving more.
Granted now that the monsoons have arrived the afternoon temps aren't that bad. It really means getting our butts off the couch.

You sure can't miss Chelsea with her super cool unicorn helmet.
And just for posterity, she has been asking for  a bike for awhile and except for Rob, none of us ride like we should. So we are just learning and using training wheels.
Happy Birthday baby girl can't wait to see how your BIG party goes, hehehe.

June recap

I can't believe that today is the fourth of July.
As most parents say, summer vacation is half over. I feel the same way, but I think I will keep my head in the clouds a little bit longer and deny that summer vacation is almost over.

In June I hid from the heat as much as possible, heck I pretty much became a shut in one week when our temps were over 107. My scrap room was almost unbearable to be in.
The big news around here is that Wyatt now wears glasses.
I want to get a picture of our family with the caption that 4 out of 5 Ross' wear glasses. So far Kelly is the only one with good vision. Of course my vision didn't start to change until high school. So who knows.
Chelsea was also overdue for new glasses so both kids got the hook up.
The one thing I like best about Wyatt having to wear glasses is that we have them made with transitions. He is very light sensitive and this has helped immensely.

Also in June we all went to the circus. Ringling Brothers knows how to put on an awesome circus. I teared up when the elephants came out to do their walk around. The oldest elephant they were using was 58, and she broke my heart. I'm really happy that Ringling Bros are phasing them out. I found the human cannonball so nostalgic and fun. I was lucky enough to get her entire flight in pictures, so cool.
My favorite part was the guys doing the aerobatics on the twin trampolines, that was insane.

But the biggest event of all was this young lady turning 7. Holy cow!
Birthday recap tomorrow!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Victorian Romance Cricut Challenge

Summer is in full swing which brings lazy days, swimming and cleaning, ha ha
I have had a few days to play and look at the items I'm cutting out and asking myself how I can amp them up.
I took several of the hearts added some bling. The tiny white heart has glossy accents, the bright pink heart has crackle glaze, the light pink heart I added pink Martha Stewart glitter and on the big red and white heart is distress rock glitter. The giant pink swirly heart was just too pretty for me to add anything. My banner needed a little love, I originally cut it out in brown cardstock, and then I added Gunsmoke stickles. I love how it turned out. I also cut out the I Love you in a pale pink. The letters were completely washed out in the banner, so I sprayed it with Heidi Swapp color shine in Primrose. As a result the color and the sheen makes it stand out. Once I pick out or take the photo I'm going to add some more small hearts and maybe a few sequins.
My Cherubs, ugh. I swear the more I cut them out the worse they came out. I changed my blade on my Explore for the first time, since I got it in September of 2014, with this project. The cherub wings still did not cut clean but it wasn't so bad that they couldn't be used.
My next project took me a ridiculous amount of time and I learned several ways on how NOT to hang a mobile. All together I like how it came out.
I cut out 15 balloons in 5 colors and used 5 patterns. Each balloon is 3 sided. I took a coffee stirrer, cut it down and glued it in to run the fishing line through. I'm so glad I did this as I started out with too thick of line. I restrung the balloons and realized it looked empty.
I revisited the cartridge and decided to cut out the cupids. I spent hours moving the lines up and down trying to find a pleasing look. When I finally tied everything up and called it good I noticed that a couple of balloons are close in height. C'est la vie.
I have this hanging in my dining room and as I walked past it during the day I kept thinking, how can I jazz it up? I ended up hanging it from the pull cord to the ceiling fan in my craft room and gently added liquid pearls in Ballerina, Petal Pink, Flamingo, Ruby Red, White Opal. I'm still thinking about adding spray glitter to all the cherubs. I thought about embossing them, I just don't know how I want to jazz them up.
Chelsea is requesting that this goes into their room. Since I want it to last a little longer than a day, I think it's going to go back into my scrap room and I will add a small hook into the ceiling.
To make the mobile I used an 8 inch pink plastic embroidery hoop from Walmart.

What's next??
I've taken to letting the kids pull out the slips that decide my next few challenges. This gives me a little more time to think creatively, lol
My next challenge is using Sports Mania.
I know I will be doing a couple of scrapbook pages.
See you soon.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Spring Holiday Cards Cricut personal challenge

This cart is perfect for all those spring holidays: Valentines, St. Patty's and Easter.
That being said, I tried to think outside the box a little. I opened up Design Space and made the cards all 3x5. I then attached either a colored index card or one sided pattern paper and turned them into note cards. I though this would make a cute teachers gift or tucked into a child's lunch box.
I made 3 of each pattern with the plan to make more in brighter colors. We will see if I actually do this, lol
When I created the box, I did a lot of guessing to get it the right size. My other box, snicker snicker, didn't work out. The sides didn't match up so I couldn't glue them together.
I can't stress this enough to NEVER use your best paper on your first try writing. I had my paper on the mat, lined up on Design Space to be squared up. When it began to write I realized that it wasn't centered. I took another piece of paper and realigned to get it as centered as possible. I'm very happy with the results.
I also made some card toppers to fit onto a 5x7 card base.
I must say I got a little bored with this cart because I wanted more of a variety of sayings. But for something quick and easy, and most of my friends would think is cute, this will do in a pinch.
Now these two cards look much cuter in person. I really struggled with trying to find a print background out of ALL my pattern paper. The rainbow card still needs some jazzing up. I'm still debating about outlining all the elements to make them stand out more.
As I look at this picture more, maybe adding a white pen to the you rock card would help.
Always learning, always growing in creativity.

I have a love/hate relationship with stickles. I love all the colors and the glitter. I hate how long they can take, when I don't speed it up with the heat gun, to dry, lol.
I did have one incident where my orange bottle of stickles got clogged. I was using a small needle to get it unclogged and when I squeezed and then squeezed harder, the bottle top actually popped off and I ended up with sparkly orange stickles on my hands and my shirt.
Thankfully I didn't lose too much and I was able to get the top back on. Also thankful for having baby wipes next to me.
So what is my next project??
Victorian Romance Cricut Cartridge

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Martha Stewart Birthday Cake Art Cricut cart personal challenge

 I have been having way to much fun with this cartridge. When I first looked at what was offered I thought that what I was going to create was going to simple or basic.
Sometimes I think my brain freezes up creatively and once I let it thaw and then marinate, ideas just flow.
One such night, I was playing with my distress inks and a stencil and created this background. I shoved it off to the side and on another day I started cutting out all the different pieces to make all these different cards. When I got to cutting out the flower, I made a mistake in color and cut it out in oranges instead of pinks. Wondering what I could use this for, I saw in my piles this distress card base. The colors matched almost perfectly!! Now I just need to stamp or cut out a sentiment and the card is ready to go!!

Last Saturday, Kelly had a birthday party to go to and I had just finished this fun card and asked her if she wanted to use it.
Thankfully she thought it was just as cute as I did.
I used the happy birthday embossing folder to give the chevron paper some dimension and then added red bakers twine to the balloon dog. I think that balloon dog is pretty fun. I see this as a card elements that I can use over and over again.
There are some fun elements that were originally made to be put on cakes but I cut them out to see how it would work on a card.
My plan is always to use what I cut out but sometimes I end up just adding them to my small box of cuts to be "used" later
I adore this cut but didn't know how to utilize it. One night it came to me and this is the result. Elegant, fun, blingy.
A baby card was a given when I was looking over all the images on the cartridge.
This elephant is just too sweet. I pop dotted him and the balloon and added the Charles embossing folder. I dug through my massive stash of paper to find some boy pattern paper. I rounded the corners and... hello baby card!
Simple, fun and easy.
So now I'm coming down to my last card. Oh, how I struggled with this last card.
I cut out the butterfly and set it aside. Later I was playing around and decided to use glossy accents. This not only made it shiny but more flexible. Another great thing about glossy accents is that its an awesome adhesive. I used some pretty tiny gems and since everything is already covered in the glossy accents it all dries clear and strong.
I didn't know what I wanted to do with the butterfly or how I wanted to structure the background. I played with pattern paper,

and then I decided to try using green foil paper and my cuttlebug cut and emboss flower bramble . I will say that the foil paper was a bit too heavy to emboss great but it cut out very well.
I dug through my stash and came up with a few flowers to add.
I will say that its not my favorite card but I'm trying and experimenting.
I still have sitting on my desk two more cards that are for Christmas. I haven't had the time to run to the store and get another snow marker since I somehow have misplaced mine.
 The last thing I plan to create is a baby scrapbook page. Like I have said, I have all the elements cut out but have yet to put it together. My biggest issue is finding the time to go through photos for one that works.
School ends this coming week and I have to say that it has been so hard to work on these challenges while working during the day and all our extra activities in the evenings. I'm hoping that summer will offer me the chance to play some more.
Next cartridge up will be ... Spring Holiday Cards
I have noticed that this is a very simple basic cart. We shall see what I come up with. :)

Friday, May 01, 2015

Lyrical letters and Simple cards cricut challenge

A couple of weeks ago I threw my back out and wasn't able to work let alone sit at my craft table to create. I was able to design on my tablet while lying in bed.  I planned my projects with  Lyrical Letters and decided to try and get ahead of the game and I picked my next challenge...
Simple cards.
Once I was better, I got to crafting and really enjoyed making some cards.
I spent hours playing in my craft room, trying new things, trying to decide on colors and pattern paper. I didn't want to go simple but it looked so good to me. I cut and played and although I'm not 100% happy with all my cards I'm learning.
So when I was taking pictures of the cards I didn't even think of separating them.
My first photo has the back three cards from Lyrical letters and the front two from Simple Cards. I guess I should have taken individuals. For the back three my card bases were 5x6.5 and the front two were 5x7's. They all cut so beautifully. The die cuts that say hello and thanks are from Hero Arts. Oh how I adore these sayings.
I plan on making more of both cards, they just seem very versatile. And with the XOX card, I can cover the letters with flowers, buttons, sequins, etc. My favorite from the second photo was the Get well soon card. I loved the negative when I peeled the card off the mat so much so that I tried to make another card with it. I bombed miserably and ruined two cards in the process.

I also did my first attempt at using the writing function. I'm still learning the ins and outs and hope to use it more in the future. Peace and Comfort are in writing, while the swirl was also in writing I was also able to cut it out of cardstock and cover the pen marks. 
The middle card was one that I really struggled with. The cut on the card is more of a southwest kind of look but then I cut it out with circle pattern paper. When I went to find some matching or coordinating cardstock I was ready to rip out my hair. I feel that I have an extensive cardstock supply but yowsers, so I settled on a dark green. The strip of cardstock on the front is Bo Bunny double dot in dark green with the happy in bright pink. I plan on using the stamp set that went with it and adding more.
Short and sweet, there you have it.
What cartridge is next?...gimme a second....
Martha Stewart Birthday cake art
Big smiles, off to design... see you soon


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Best of Pixar cricut challenge

I was so surprised looking through the Best of Pixar cartridge to see this seascape elements. I have several friends that go on vacations to pretty places like this so I thought I could send this card the next time they're  heading off.
I will admit trying to cut the trees on the explore was tricky and ended up using my distress markers to get the colors back to what I was expecting. I ended up using texture paste for my cloud because I couldn't find my snow puffy pen. Still it was fun to use this cart in a way you wouldn't expect.
Now Mr. Incredible is a funny story, well funny to me.
A little back story for you. I usually design on my big computer in the living room, and that is where I do my printing. Then I take my tablet, open design space and go into my craft room to cut.
I had originally cut Mr. Incredible smaller and with the Incredible logo. After printing I set it aside and later changed my mind and deleted the logo and made Mr. Incredible bigger. A few days later, I took my original print and went to cut him out and when I opened my project in Design space, realized that my first print was now useless because I had changed the file. Back to the living room to print the new file and then I went right back to the craft room to cut.
Once I had gotten my Mr. cut out I went through a bunch of different backdrops trying to find the right fit. I finally gave up and made my own. I took a 4x6 project life grid card and then used my Dylusion sprays in London blue and Post box red. I dried it with my heat gun and called it good. Wyatt likes it, so I'm assuming another boy will like it for a birthday or get well card.
Of course there are other characters I could have used but when I originally cut Mr. Incredible I was going to use him on a Disney character page. When I found the picture I had planned on using, it wasn't as I had remembered it and wouldn't work for my page.

My next challenge will be...


Monday, April 06, 2015

Cousins Easter egg hunt 2015

When these 6 get together, laughter and craziness ensues. They're all 6 months to about a year apart in age and get along really well.
Mom, aka Nina usually has a egg hunt in her back yard for my three, this year we invited the cousins to join us.
Mom's backyard is a plethora of plants and garden decor, which makes hiding eggs fun.
The kids get ex amount of eggs apiece and one egg that has their initials on it. That egg has moolah. Mom is generous and gives each kid $5.
 My sister in law, Amanda and I lined the kids up, told them that they needed to find five eggs apiece and then the one egg with their initial. Mom made it more interesting by giving the girls one set of colors and the boys another.
Sadly, Mom had to work so I tried to snap pictures as the kids furiously snatched up eggs.
Boy, they were quick.
Once all the eggs were found, the gang went into the spare bedroom, opened the eggs and saw all the chocolate loot.
 When us mom's walked in to the bedroom, opened eggs and chocolate were in piles in front of each kid.
 A definite sugar high was had by most.
The best part is hearing the giggling coming from the room.


Reid Park Zoo 2015

 We are pretty lucky to have a zoo and I don't go as often as I might like. During spring break last week the kids and I went one cloudy morning.
Our Malaysian tigers, heck any big cat for that matter is a favorite. This guy was just chillin in the corner licking his paw. I sometimes wonder what they are thinking as they watch us.

A new attraction to our zoo has been these camel rides. The zoo has two camels and for $7 a person you get one lap around the enclosure. They have two photo op stops but otherwise its
 just a lap around. I told the kids to enjoy because it was probably the only time they were going to ride a camel.
The zoo offers to take a photo but they want $10. Thankfully I can do my own.
Poor Kelly said she felt like she was going to slide off and Wyatt was almost too afraid to climb on. Once on, they laughed most of the way around. So overall I think it was a good experience.
One of the cool sights was seeing all the peacocks around the enclosure, they were on the top of most of the log fence and walking around. I really have no idea how many peacocks our zoo actually has, but man are they gorgeous.
To try from getting bored I've taken to keeping an eye out for actions or behavior that bring boring animal shots alive.
I think the giraffes fit the bill easily, with their chewing and long tongues. This guy was looking

 me like he was saying, hey, or he was about to
 stick out his tongue at me, not sure which. The giraffes are one of the biggest, no pun intended, attractions. I love the ability to feed these guys and the line can get crazy long to do so, so usually I hang out before the feeding frenzy starts.
As we walked around I was bummed that the elephants decided to play in their other area away from the crowds. I was really hoping to get some fun shots of the baby elephant Nandi but she hightailed it with the rest of her family.
 The semi new grizzlies bears were chillin in the habitat so I couldn't get any photos of them. I really miss our old polar bear.
 As we continued along the trail we came upon the tortoise exhibit. This little dude was awesome and just seemed so interested in Wyatt, he wouldn't look away.

Usually of my least favorite trails is the South American one. I'm not totally sure why and maybe that's starting to change. Lately the sun bear, seen here is actually awake and moving

 around and this time he actually looked at me!
Another reason why my feelings toward the trail are changing is because the last couple of times the jaguars have actually been playful. The zoo has two sisters and they're beautiful, but for years when I would visit they just laid around. My last two or three visits the girls have been playing around and talking to each other, which makes it fun for me. That weekend the girls had a birthday and turned 19.
Sadly my pictures didn't come out well this time.
 A new attraction is the pair of lemurs. King Julian here was pretty cool. I got shots of him scratching his armpits and sniffing butts but finally, and thankfully he came toward the fence.
Gosh, I love those eyes.
This visit we went into the bird sanctuary and poor Wyatt was chased by a crazy blue bird, this guy followed him almost all the way around the path, it was hilarious.
There are some very beautiful, freaky and creative looking birds that were flying around in there
 This yellow looking guy was just too pretty not to photograph.
Who knows, maybe I will add text to the picture and put a quote on it.
I was really hoping to get some good shots of the flamingos but the whole exhibit was off limits for cleaning.
Can't wait to go back for the flamingos, they're so cool.
Overall the kids had a good time, until Chelsea walked away from me and got lost, for like 30 seconds.
 I tried to get photos of the kids and when I had them sit down on this bench, I laughed because the giraffe turned and showed us his butt.
I love each kids expression. Trying to get one good photo of these wild, crazy kids is getting harder.
But, each one is starting to understand my desire to document as they grow and change. They in turn also like to see how much they have grown and changed.

Just as we were leaving, I went over one last time to our tiger. Yup, he's sticking his tongue out at me. Not much, can't be too cheeky but I definitely got the neener neener vibe.
Well played Mr. Tiger