27 February 2008

Inspired by a tag (again)

I'm a firm believer that inspiration can be found anywhere:

in fine art...

in literature...

in nature...

or on an underwear tag.

In fact, this is the second card I've made based on a clothing tag I've found in a wastebasket around here. It's a good thing I'm the one emptying the wastebaskets, otherwise this inspiration would go the way of empty pizza boxes.

When I first looked at this tag, the colors caught my eye. I remembered an article in the February issue of Creating Keepsakes about orange and gray being a "fresh" color combination to watch for this winter and spring. In addition to the color, I thought the simple design would be easy to replicate.

To make the card, I created three text boxes in Word, filled them with color, and changed the text color to white. I inserted two dingbats (60's Chic) and expanded the small-caps text (Gill Sans MT) to 1.5.

I printed the text boxes on smooth white cardstock (I actually printed a second set on glossy photo paper just for kicks), cut them out, and adhered them to a white base.

Thanks to the designer of this underwear tag, I now have a simple, modern card design that could work for just about any occasion.

26 February 2008

Random Musings on a Tuesday

Since I have several things I really need to be doing today, I thought it would be good to work in a bit of PROCRASTINATION and post a few random musings. Here we go:

* This week, I discovered wikiHow, a collection of "how-to" articles covering just about everything a person might want to know. Here's a great article on How Not to Be Annoying. Forward the link as needed. :-)

* Tinsel has been experiencing some "bathroom missteps". I'm pretty sure it's a behavioral thing related to her rivalry with Lily, but I'm taking her to the vet on Thursday just to be sure.

"Please bring a stool and urine sample," the receptionist asked nicely.


"Confine Tinsel to a room with an empty litter box. Collect the feces in a plastic bag. Keep trying to get the FRESHEST specimen for us. Once you get a fresh one, put the bag IN YOUR FRIDGE until Tinsel's appointment."

Yeah, right.

* Something I am getting in trouble for lately: Not being able to make less than a full pot of coffee. Call me math-impaired, but I can't ever remember how many scoops of coffee to use for a partial pot. Methinks this calls for an attractive Excel chart.

* It's so freaking cold here that I've been wearing two pairs of socks all winter. When I peel them off, they stay together, one sock inside another. Kinda cute.

* Over the weekend, we discovered that the ends of Lily's eyebrow whiskers are all twisted like corkscrews. Some of her cheek whiskers are like that, too. They appear to be growing in like that. What does this mean? Is this cause for concern? Maybe she could work for the American Greetings card line, Twisted Whiskers.

* As much as you might like to, do not attempt to use a three-hole punch on a transparency.

* I love grid paper. Give me grid paper over lined paper any day. I recently discovered grid index cards at Staples. People, it just doesn't get much better than this.

* This morning, I heard the "jingle-jingle-jingle" of the bag of bells. Lily is ringing the bell for food pretty regularly now. Maybe I should post an article about teaching your cat to ring a bell for food on wikiHow.

* Last week, my mouse started acting up. The cursor wouldn't reach the top of the screen and it absolutely drove me nuts. I even took it apart and cleaned the roller-ball, but it still malfunctioned. So over the weekend, I got a new laser mouse. Oh, my gosh! It's so great! And in addition to the regular left and right buttons, it has buttons on the sides for back and forward Web navigation. Super cool!

* Caught part of a great program on public TV this week about raptors. They actually strapped tiny cameras to the backs of various falcons -- "Raptor Cam", so to speak. Absolutely amazing footage, especially when the birds swooped down on prey.

* Of course, the notion of "Raptor Cam" got me thinking about developing a "Lily Cam". I'm just not sure she'd go for a camera strapped to her back. Hmmm... some type of head gear might work, though ...

* Dear local Public Radio People: Please do not mess with your programming without consulting me first.

* I'm in a deep blue funk because as of yesterday, I'm completely out of frozen Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars. Can't get 'em again until November. *sigh*

* Why is it so ridiculously expensive to have furniture reupholstered? Completely cost-prohibitive. It's cheaper to buy new furniture than work with what you have. I find this totally irritating and completely contrary to my efforts to "reuse and re-purpose". Grrrr...

* If your cat eats breakfast at 5:30 a.m., she'll be ready for lunch by 10:00 a.m. Let this happen and I assure you: Your entire day will go to pot.

25 February 2008

Oscar Reject: Snacktime with Lily

Not every documentary film is Oscar-worthy. Here's one that didn't quite make it to last night's awards: Snacktime with Lily.

In this video, I'm feeding her pieces of Eukanuba Indoor Cat Formula (which must be quite tasty). If we'd had the sound on, you would not have heard any crunching -- she swallows it whole. But man, those little teeth are sharp!

Pardon the mess in the background: We really should have considered proper staging prior to filming. Perhaps with audio and a tidier kitchen, we'll be back in the race for next year's awards. :-)

23 February 2008

Saturday morning TV

Lily and Tinsel enjoy watching "Video Catnip" from time to time. Lily will watch the DVD of birds and squirrels for hours on end, usually sitting on the wooden stool placed in front of the TV for optimum viewing.

One Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago, I didn't see her on the stool and thought she'd wandered off.

Nope -- she'd simply moved to the recliner. :-)

21 February 2008

Feline Friday

Hans Christian Andersen was wrong.
This princess ATE the pea.

Gas, to go

Awhile back, Daughter and I were driving down the street in our fair city. On the opposite side of the street, going the other way, was a red van. As it passed, Daughter noticed something dragging along behind it. She turned around to look and saw that there was a red gas nozzle still stuck in the side of the van, complete with a 10-foot hose.

We happened to be passing a convenience store with red pump nozzles right at that time, so we wheeled in.

Sure enough, the nozzle and hose were completely missing from one of the pumps. I thought I'd have a little fun, so I hopped out of my SUV and went into the store. It was a Sunday afternoon and the two kids working there were sitting on the floor eating pizza.

"Hey, you guys won't believe this, but we just saw a van driving down the street with one of your gas nozzles still hooked to it."

"No way, dude!"

"Way. We stopped here to see if it came from your pump and sure enough, it did. Come outside and I'll show you."

So they put down their pizza and we went outside, where I pointed out the missing nozzle. They fell over laughing. When they recovered, they got on the phone to the manager.

I couldn't help but wonder what the woman in the van did when she got home and discovered her error. Did she swallow her pride and return the nozzle? Or did she throw it in the garbage and hope her family didn't find out?

Daughter and I went on our merry way, knowing full well that it's only a matter of time before I do the same thing. And believe me, when that day comes, I'll never live it down.

19 February 2008

Complete havoc, in miniature

I was working at the computer Monday when I heard a strange noise behind me. Sure enough, Lily was in the dollhouse.

In spite of my efforts to make the dollhouse hard for her to enter now that she's a big kitty, Miss Lily was making herself comfortable on the second floor. I found her in the master bedroom, waking Mr. and Mrs. Dollhouse Couple up from a sound, six-month sleep, tipping over the kitchen table (obviously in the wrong room), and creating all sorts of havoc. Occasionally, she turned around and stuck her leg out the bedroom window, a la King Kong, and tried to smack me on the head.

Of course, Lily's mischief created the perfect photo opportunity. But I had to take the interior photos blindly by holding the camera in front of the room, since I'm too big to fit behind the dollhouse. I took several and looked at them afterwards, sort of like a hidden surveillance camera.

And the evidence is enough to convict, methinks. Breaking and entering? No...entering and breaking. :-)

18 February 2008


I have been tagged by one of my blogging friends, Toni! Here goes...

A: The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.
B: Each player answers the questions about themselves.
C: At the end of the post, the player then tag 3 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

10 years ago: We were living in the same house and DD was 5 years old. I was working for Norwest (which later merged with Wells Fargo) in the HR/Training area. There were NO CATS living in our house at that time!

Things on my to-do list today: Two new projects for the store, prep for my upcoming class this weekend, laundry, update our calendars on Outlook

What I would do if I were suddenly made a billionaire: Donate to charity, travel or move abroad

3 of my bad habits: Not being able to say no, being overly sensitive, not picking up after myself

3 places I have lived: Oak Park, Illinois; Paris, France; Pella, Iowa

5 jobs that I have had: surgeon’s office assistant, compensation specialist, human resources rep, learning & development consultant, scrapbooking instructor

5 things people don't know about me: I have freckles, I’m allergic to a lot of metals so I usually only wear my wedding ring and one or two other rings, my toenails are always polished, I love to be near water but hate to be in it, and if I have several things on my plate, I eat all of one thing before moving on to the next. :-)

I'm tagging Cheri, Fonda, and Karensue. Have fun!

17 February 2008

Of board books, blizzards and bells

Today's items of interest start with the letter "B". First, the board book:

Last week, I finished up another class project: a board book in a cigar box. For this project, I used Bo Bunny's new Felicity line, along with a Cosmo Cricket cigar box, Bazzill's new paper flowers, and Bo Bunny's decorative brads. The board book (also a Bo Bunny product) is 6x6 and the box is 6.25x6.25, so it fits inside perfectly.

Next, the blizzard:
We're under a blizzard warning until midnight. Looking out my window, the snow is coming down fast, but there is not much wind to speak of yet. At 27 degrees, it's not even cold compared to the past few days. It certainly doesn't look like a blizzard to me, but I understand the winds are supposed to kick in this afternoon.

Dire weather warnings have been posted, suggesting we "gather provisions", such as blankets, food, and batteries, and prepare for extended periods without power. Gusty winds will cause icy power lines to "gallop" (seriously -- who has heard of this term?) and snap. The entire metro area is practically shut down for what (so far, anyway), looks to be a pretty average snowstorm. Don't get me wrong -- I totally appreciate the value of weather warnings. But I think that we sometimes over-dramatize the weather forecasts around here. Good grief, people...this is winter in the Midwest! What do you expect? :-)

And finally, the bell:
You may recall that I've been trying to teach Lily to ring a bell for her food. She has two options: a desk bell from Staples (she's not really liking that) and a cloth bag filled with jingle bells. Many people have been skeptical about Lily's ability to learn to ring a bell when she's hungry. But -- prepare to be amazed -- Lily has rung the bell on several occasions this week, completely on her own! She sort of wiggles the bag - "jingle, jingle" - with her paw! She doesn't do it every time, but she's learning! So take that, you skeptics! :-)

Updated at 1:15 pm: Our blizzard warning has been cancelled. It has been replaced with a "blowing snow advisory". That seems more appropriate for the conditions. :-) And middle school softball pitching has also been postponed. That seems like another good call!

14 February 2008

Feline Friday: Hug your kitty today

If I tried to tell you how much I love my cats, you wouldn't believe me - unless your heart is also meow-shaped and covered in stray fur. ~Lexie Saige

Lily, 4 months old , 8/06, cell phone photo

13 February 2008

The Look

Does your cat give you "The Look"?

Tinsel gives it to me daily, especially when she's waiting on me, usually in my scrapbooking area.

Even more than Lily, Tinsel is my helper when I work on projects. She finds the one full inch of clear space on my table and perches there, right in the middle of everything.

And quite often she gives me "The Look", like she's doing in this photo. Possible interpretations of "The Look" include:

a) "Do you not see me here? Hurry up, woman! I'm hungry!"
b) "Because you are not responsive to my needs, I have left you a special reminder gift on the landing."
c) "I'm stuck to the table with a glue dot."

How about you? Do you get "The Look"? What does it mean at your house?

12 February 2008

A few cards...

This week, I've been working on cards for next quarter's classes at the store where I teach. I just finished up the cards for my next "Year of Cards" class, in which we'll make twelve seasonal and all-occasion cards. Here are three of my favorites.

For this particular class, I'm mainly using the MAMBI Sanctuary line, which includes papers with bold patterns and colors. I'm also using die-boards for many of the cards and envelopes. For the cards pictured here, I used our library card/pocket die, our gift tag die (with matching envelope), and our dragonfly die.

The Year of Cards classes are a great way to build up your inventory of cards so that you have a few on hand when needed.

Much better than scrambling at the last minute, right? I know I've never done that, have you? :-)

11 February 2008

Layout a month

Some scrapbookers participate in "Layout a Day" challenges. I should be part of the "Layout a Quarter" group, if there were one. But I'm making an effort this year to do more much than that. If I hope to have anything to show for myself at Daughter's graduation in a couple of years, I'd best get with the program.

In general, I don't do a good job scheduling time for scrapbooking. I'm one of those "work before play" people, so everything else comes first. That philosophy needs to change.

So I'm shooting for at least a layout a month...preferably many more. I'm actually doing pretty well with this goal. I have finished several layouts so far in 2008.

Here's the latest one with photos from a recent jazz band clinic. I used a combination of new and old (yes, hoarded) stuff on this layout: 7 Gypsies patterned paper, Making Memories journaling blocks (love these), and old chipboard letters.

One more layout down, only 10,821 to go. :-)
Just kidding. Who's counting?

10 February 2008

Bad influence

I left the lid off the plastic cat food container for just a minute. When I came back to the kitchen, this is what I observed:

Two heads poked into the container, woofing down morsels of food like there was no tomorrow.

Rest assured that our prim and proper Tinsel has NEVER done anything like this before.

Lily is obviously teaching her some new tricks.
Posted by Picasa

08 February 2008

06 February 2008

An old photo and a tag

Going through some VERY old e-mails, I found this photo. It was taken a few years ago by a counselor during the week that DD attended Girl Scout photography camp. I found it on the camp website and pulled it to e-mail to Grandma, but somehow it never made it to my digital files. I haven't yet scrapbooked that particular summer camp experience, and I'm so glad I found this photo. Love it.

Meanwhile, our internet connection is back (YAY!), and I'm belatedly responding to Toners' tag! Here we go:
  • You must post the rules before you give your answers.
  • You must list one fact about yourself for each letter of your middle name.
  • Each fact must begin with that letter.
  • If you don't have a middle name, just use your maiden name.
  • After you've been tagged, you need to up-date your blog with your middle name and answers.
  • At the end of your post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged and need to read your blog for details).
OK, my middle name is Le. I've always believed that my parents misspelled it, and it should really be spelled Lee, Lea, or Leigh. But we won't get into that now. And actually, for purposes of this tag, the short length of it will serve me well. :-)

L: Lost easily -- I have no sense of direction whatsoever. I'm quite used to getting lost, but it distresses some around me.
E: Energized by being alone -- I really don't care for crowds. No offense to anyone, but I can't handle being around groups of people for extended periods of time. I'm an introvert, and I crave time alone.

So now, I'm tagging these fellow bloggers:
Have fun!

05 February 2008

Random musings on a Wednesday

I was preparing to deliver my Random Musings for the week when we began suffering from PSI (Painfully Slow Internet). With any luck, it should be fixed today, assuming they can find our cable under the eight inches of new snow in the yard.

Meanwhile, Spouse has been playing Larry the Cable Guy. He checked our still-unburied cable (they never buried it when they fixed it last time) and found a scraped spot. Spouse wrapped it in packing tape (that's the high-class version of duct tape), and sure 'nuff, the internet connection is sort of working again. Intermittently.

So without further ado, here is my list of meaningless thoughts for the week. Is it a good sign that I've had fewer meaningless thoughts this week? Does this mean that my thoughts have been more meaningful in general? Or perhaps there has been less thinking going on. You be the judge.

* We now have a new light fixture in the dining room (the old one was sort of a disco gold color). And while I like the new one, I'm starting to think that it would be suitable for the Olympic Flame.

* Cats do not always land on their feet when they fall from high places, such as stair railings.

* How is it that I can NEVER find the right lid to go with the 192 travel mugs which sit in our kitchen cupboard?

* On the subject of travel mugs, you know that little plastic thing on the lid that you slide to create an opening? On the opposite side of that opening, there might be a tiny little slot. Here's a tip: It works a lot better if you drink from the side of the lid with the actual opening. Just a tip. Not that I've ever seen this happen, mind you.

* Lily has been measuring the distance to the new dining room light. I'm quite sure that soon you'll see photos of her riding in it.

* A woman arrived at my class last night carrying a purse made from SOCK MONKEY fabric! She had designed and made it herself. People, sock monkeys are the NEXT BIG THING! The Sock Monkey Train has left the station! Get on board!

* You know how it is when you get to the end of the bag of chips and there is nothing left but chip dust? If nobody is looking, you (theoretically speaking) might open your mouth really wide and dump the dust into your mouth directly out of the bag, right? Here's a tip: Tap very gently on the bag -- not too hard or chip dust will miss your mouth and go all over your face. I share this just in case you ever find yourself in this type of situation.

* My friend Darci's daughter was looking at some old scrapbook pages recently and coined a new phrase: "Step away from the decorative scissors." Love it. I could have used some of that advice way back when.

* Last week, I provided you with a new term for cat litter: kitty tidy. Today I'm providing you with a new word for the TV remote control: troller. It's the official name for that particular device around here. Just don't say it in public. People look at you kind of strangely. Trust me.

* I am WAY past due for both a piano tuning and an oil change.

* It is only a matter of time before I back out of the garage without opening the garage door.

* No offense, but I really don't understand the appeal of battery-operated candles.

* When Tinsel yawns, her ears go way back and her entire face gets distorted, not unlike an alien. But I realized today that in all the time we've had Lily, I've never seen her yawn. Why is that? Does she yawn? Or does she not? Or is she yawning when I'm not looking? And if that's the case, what does she have to hide?

* Things I've Gotten in Trouble for This Week: leaving cupboard doors open, leaving drawers open, leaving curling iron plugs on the floor where Spouse can step on them in the dark, and not properly winding up cords.

* Regardless of your political affiliation, I think it's awesome that so much interest and excitement has been generated around the presidential race this year.

* What is the deal with chandeliers appearing on scrapbook paper?
I am certainly in favor of owls, sock monkeys, and even mushrooms, but I just don't get the notion of chandeliers as a design element.

* There are only so many things you can do with meatballs before you have a mealtime revolt on your hands.

Short and sweet

Since Saturday, we have been experiencing PSI: Painfully Slow Internet.

Slower than dial-up.

As in three minutes to load the Google home page. Then repeated time-outs.

There are few things that irritate me more than PSI.

We concluded that our PSI was due to fact that four undersea cables were recently cut, slowing internet traffic worldwide. With a problem of this magnitude, it's not a wonder that our internet is slow.

Turns out, however, that this is not the reason for our PSI. Looks like our cable (it was never buried after the last repair) has been scraped or even chewed by something. Perhaps the neighbor dog. We don't know, and it really doesn't matter.

So until Larry the Cable Guy can get here and fix the problem, I'm essentially incommunicado.


02 February 2008

Chipboard storage

You know how it is when you buy something you don't need, just because you love it?

That's how it was when I spotted these boxes at a JDRF garage sale last year. I had no particular use or need for them, but I loved the color, pattern, sturdiness, and 5x5 size.

The boxes have been sitting in my scrapbooking area since then, waiting to discover their purpose in life.
I recently decided to move my chipboard shapes from a basket to the six drawers in the boxes. I don't have a ton of shapes right now, so they fit perfectly.

It wouldn't really matter what was in them. I love them!

Boxes by Roger la Borde, First Press Design