31 March 2011


When I use the phrase "bad behavior" on my blog, I'll bet your mind immediately jumps to Lily. She's been known to do some extremely naughty things. But in this case, you would be wrong.

This time, culprit is TINSEL.

"Who, me?"


In recent months, our mild-mannered Tinsel has apparently been conspiring with Lily on new and innovative ways to wake me up at 3am. Between the two of them, they now have quite the repertoire. Up until now, most of Tinsel's techniques have been simply irritating -- no, make that REALLY irritating -- but not destructive.

Apparently I'm not responding quickly enough to her 3am hunger pains. In an effort to really get my attention, sweet Tinsel has recently started jumping up onto our dresser. I almost always hear her because my pretty glass things make a "tink tink tink" sound as she comes in for a landing. But I'm sometimes slow to rise at 3am, so our girl then starts pushing things off the dresser onto the carpet below -- usually jewelry and other loose items. Once she pushed a ceramic dish from the dresser. THAT certainly got my attention. Fortunately, it didn't break.

But last week, Tinsel tried something new while exploring the dresser at 3am: She ripped apart my beloved antique Valentine. Ironically, this tearing spree didn't even wake me up immediately. It wasn't until morning that I grasped the full extent of Tinsel's anger.

Of all the naughty things that have occurred around here, I'll admit that this one upsets me just a tad bit more than most. I really loved that Valentine.

Luckily, I love my kitties a whole lot more.

Okay, Tinsel. Message received.

29 March 2011

What happened to spring?

Wasn't yesterday's post about SPRING? Did I not just share photos of springlike sightings around the neighborhood?

Obviously my timing was poor, because when I woke up at 2am and looked outside, THIS is what I saw.
Snow was falling steadily!

And it clearly wasn't one of the weird dreams I've been having lately.

I WILL say that the snow is rather pretty. It's sticking to tree branches and staying off the road. But it would be a LOT prettier if this were December.

But it's nearly April.

ARGH! So much for my sandals today.

28 March 2011

A Few Signs of Spring

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like spring is a little slow in coming this year. The winter hasn't been nearly as bad as those in recent memory, so maybe I expected it to slip out a bit early.

No such luck. Only this past week have I been noticing a few signs of spring, albeit a bit feeble:

* Tinsel basking in her favorite dining room sunny spot. It disappears in the winter but -- to her delight -- returns each spring.
* A few green blades of grass amongst the brown.
* No buds on the trees yet, but we have had some beautiful blue skies.
* Mulch bags appearing in hardware and grocery store parking lots. Surely garden tents can't be far behind, right?
* A few purple crocus popping up here and there in the yard, only to be nibbled by eager bunnies.
* Day lilies starting to emerge, reminding me of all the plants that need to be divided and moved this spring.
* Hyacinth tips in the front yard. Luckily Easter is a few weeks away, so they still have time to get their act together.

Perhaps these photos will remind me that it surely won't be too much longer before I can wear my sandals every day.

After all, the word "snow" is only mentioned a couple of times in this week's forecast.

25 March 2011

Feline Friday

Hai guise! I finded a noo plaice to haz mi nailes cutted! Here I am waiteen fur mi turn! Im gettin a trim an pink pollish!

24 March 2011

Weapons of My Destruction

An array of yard tools hangs on our garage wall next to where I park my SUV. No one knows (or will admit) why I was assigned the stall next to the tools. The Driver of the Other Car gets to park next to the recycling bin, while I squeeze my vehicle into the space next to rusty shovels, rakes, and hack saws -- each one hanging precariously, just waiting to fall and split my head open. It is only a matter of time.

Every time I get in and out of my SUV, my door bumps up against a handle and the tool swings ominously away from the wall. See that curved blade with the orange handle? It's sharp enough to cut tree limbs as thick as my leg, a feature I considered as it fell from the wall last summer, narrowly missing my head. Earlier this week, I caught a shovel just before it hit me in the face. It's only a matter of time before I'm knocked unconscious by the pruning shears or skewered by a rusty rake.

So on the day the UPS guy finds me lying on the garage floor, I hope someone will print this blog post. Kindly take it to the emergency room and tell the surgeon repairing the hole in my skull that I accurately predicted my demise.

21 March 2011

Home is Where the Heart Is

Now that spring break is over, it's hard for me to believe that Bailey has almost completed her first year of college. Just a few more weeks and she'll be home for the summer! We loved being with her and catching up. Of course, she spent considerable time sleeping, too. But as a mom, there's a sort of comfort knowing she's upstairs asleep -- rather than 8.5 hours away.

I still marvel at how well she has adjusted to college life: So well, in fact, that I think she had a bit of an adjustment being home! :)

Before returning to IU, she spent a little time in the kitchen baking brownies and cookies to share with her friends at school.

She also ordered a few new mallets to add to her collection. Apparently, a serious percussionist cannot have too many. I keep telling Bailey that I could surely whip them up with a skein of yarn and a chopstick, but she assures me there is more to it than that.

Back in Bloomington, we were treated to a performance of some of her current pieces on the 5-octave marimba. It is such a joy to hear her play that beautiful instrument.

And we dined at Noodles & Company, a student favorite.

So now that we've passed spring break, I can't help but think about how far she's come from this time last year. Although it was incredibly difficult, we had to push her from the nest, reassuring her all the time that she indeed did have wings to fly.

I'm sure that many around us wondered why parents would push their child to do something she was clearly not comfortable doing. But we had such confidence in her that we knew she would be successful and happy, if only she would allow herself the opportunity. Through that often agonizing process, Bailey learned that sometimes you have to push through your blind fear in order to experience real growth.

Part of this growth process has involved shifting her focus from Iowa to Indiana. I can see this happening right before my eyes. I've never seen her happier -- and that makes me incredibly gratified, too.

So if home is where the heart is, I'd put my money on Indiana. :)

17 March 2011

Book Centerpiece

Memory Bound will be hosting a Graduation Open House on Saturday, March 26 and Sunday, March 27. If you have a graduating senior, be sure to drop by for all kinds of great ideas for your grad party or open house.

Since I had a graduating senior last year, I'm now much more experienced in this department than I was in the past! :) Although I worked hard to keep our open house SIMPLE, it was still a lot of work. So my advice is to start planning your party NOW!

I've been making a few guest book and centerpiece samples for the Memory Bound event, and I'll also be taking some of my scrapbooks and the photo boards Bailey created for her open house last year. In addition, there will be many, many more items from other staff members which will inspire you and help you get ready for your own party!

This is a centerpiece made from books and covered with school paper available at Memory Bound. I made the bow from cardstock and a bit of patterned paper. This one has an Ankeny theme but of course Memory Bound carries paper for many other area schools, too.

This centerpiece is very easy and economical! I only wish I had thought of it last year. I may have to keep this idea for the college graduation open house in four (?) years! :)

14 March 2011

April Page Kit

In addition to teaching classes at Memory Bound, I also get to create projects for the store, including many of our monthly page kits. Here's a sneak peek at the page kit for April.

This month's kit has an Easter theme. I love the colors of this paper!

Our page kits come with all the materials you need (except for adhesive and other tools, of course!) as well as instructions and a photo. This one is easy to assemble and will be ready for your Easter bunny photos! Look for it at Memory Bound in April.

13 March 2011

Core-dinations Class

Gentle Readers: Do not be alarmed by my new blog template. Daughter is home on spring break and I asked her to select a new template for me. Of course, she chose one that makes me think of Inception. I'll live with it awhile and if I start having dreams within dreams, I'll switch to a nice springtime template, perhaps something with fruit or vegetables.

* * * * *

I nearly always teach classes with projects I design myself, but we recently came across a card set created by the designers at Core-dinations which looked too cute to pass up. So I checked out the instructions and put together the four cards and box for an upcoming class at Memory Bound. The class is called "Boxed with Delight" and will be held on Tuesday evening, March 29.

One of the reasons I wanted to teach this class is because it focuses on using a scoring tool (such as the Martha Stewart scoring board) in both functional and decorative ways. We'll be using it to fold the cards and the box as well as create decorative score lines.

In addition, we'll also be using the Big Shot to create several embossed -- and de-bossed! -- designs. Two folders, including a set of border strips, are even included in the price of the class.

If all of that isn't enough, we'll also be doing a bit of stamping and -- hold onto your Crop-A-Diles -- TEARING! And we're not just talking about straight-line tearing, people. NO WAY! We will be tearing SHAPES! Those of you who know me understand that it takes a LOT to get me to tear, so you know the cards must be cute! :)

If you're in the area, I hope you'll join me. It is sure to be a great time!

11 March 2011

Feline Friday: Meatloafing 101

Today's post is for kitties who are interested in perfecting their meatloafing technique.

Among many other things (some of which are well beyond the scope of this blog...), Urban Dictionary defines "meatloaf" as "a cat relaxing with its front paws tucked out of sight under its chest." You see, a cat resting in any other position is very likely CUTE, but said kitty cannot be considered MEATLOAFED unless the paws are in the signature "tucked" position.

Let's take a look at a couple of examples.

In this first photo, Lily demonstrates a near-perfect meatloaf, while Tinsel's meatloaf is lacking.

As you can see, Tinsel's front paws are visible so -- cute as she may be -- she is not demonstrating proper meatloaf position.

By contrast, Lily is showing us an expert meatloaf. Notice how her paws are completely hidden. This is one instance in which a fuller figure is helpful!

In fact, Lily's meatloafing technique is so advanced that I challenge you distinguish between these two photos!

07 March 2011

Living on the Edge

Recently I was working on my computer and heard a scrambling sound out in the hallway. It was Tinsel, pulling herself up onto the railing. She has no front claws so this operation is somewhat difficult, but it doesn't stop her. Tinsel is fearless when it comes to the walking on our second floor railing.

There she was, walking confidently around the railing in the dark hallway -- with quite a drop below. I flipped on the hallway light briefly to watch her maneuvers.

Down the railing and back she walked, carefully but fearlessly. She even performed a rather tricky stunt when she approached me at the end of the railing.

Well done, Tinsel. We should all be a little more fearless.

04 March 2011

Feline Friday

If you come to our house, PLEASE WATCH YOUR STEP!

You never know who could be napping there! :)

03 March 2011

Mother's Day Album

This year, I have the privilege of teaching a Mother's Day class at Memory Bound. Although it has been a painful holiday for me since losing my mom in May, 2008, I'm happy to teach this class because I want to encourage everyone to recognize and celebrate a special mom this year -- whether it's your own mom or another significant woman in your life. I'm quite certain that, over the course of my life, no one has influenced me more than my mom, and I'm sure many of you would say the same thing about your own mothers. Such is the power of a mom.

Experiencing the sudden loss of my mom taught me the painful truth that life really can change in an instant, so don't let another day go by without celebrating that very special (and sometimes complicated!) mother/daughter relationship!

We'll be making a simple album bound with ribbon using Kaiser Craft's gorgeous new Chanteuse line. The pages are "graduated", meaning each one is a little bit shorter than the next. This is a fun technique to use if you're working with a coordinated set of papers.

But don't let the simplicity of the album itself fool you. We'll be having quite a bit of fun with the cover! As you can see, we'll be using beautiful Kaiser Craft flowers and a wooden chandelier which -- hold onto your Crop-a-Dile! -- we will be misting pink! Maybe we should wear our protective clothing?!

Watch for this class on the next Memory Bound calendar, due out in the next couple of weeks!