Thursday, September 13, 2012

Farewell, Smokey

My sister, Mary Lucas, said farewell to her beloved companion, Smokey, today. He was 11 year old Weimaraner. Mary found him at a yard sale (of all places) when he was a puppy, and fell in love with his beautiful blue eyes and floppy ears. He had huge paws so he was destined to become BIG. And he did! He was goofy, and happy, and friendly, and adventurous, and a rascal.

I'll never forget the time I brought my new puppy, Beau, to my sister's farm in Kentucky. He was a lab-shepherd mix, about nine months old, and a "city" dog. Smokey wasn't too sure about this intruder. Beau was allowed to come in the house (as long as he was in his crate) and Smokey wasn't. This didn't go over well with Smokey. He thought he would teach Beau a few things about being a "country" dog. So, one morning, I let Beau outside to do his thing. My plan was to make sure business was taken care of and bring him right back in the house, so no leash. No one was home but the dogs and I. The telephone rang and I came in to answer it (this was way before the luxury of cell phones), trusting Beau to stay in the yard.

BIG MISTAKE! Smokey pounced on the opportunity to give Beau his first lesson on living the country life, as a dog. This lesson involved exploring. My sister lives on a 380 acre horse farm. Lots of ponds, ravines, and wildlife! There are a few fences but not intended to restrain a dog and his new friend. Smokey gives Beau the signal, and off they go. And fast! I honestly think that in the back of Smokey's mind was the thought that "This guy has got to go and I know just how to get rid of him!"

I came back outside moments later - OK, maybe minutes - only to find both of them GONE! And I mean GONE! No calling, no whistling, no searching around the immediate area had any effect. These two were off on an adventure!

Panic set in! I was getting ready to go back home to Ohio that day and Beau had to be in the car with me. All I could think of was how Dick was going to react if I didn't bring him home. He loved that dog! And if Beau didn't come home with me, I might just as well not go home. I valued my life too much to face that music.
So, the search set it in. For four hours I drove up and down the back roads, in and out of driveways, calling, crying, and praying that the two of them would show up. I recruited my sister-in-law, Beth, to join the hunt and still no success. Where were these two?!?

One more time down Oak Ridge Road, driving slowly, looking carefully, when all of a sudden there they both appeared in the front yard of someone's house. They looked at me as if to say, "Hi! Whatcha doing?" Both seemed totally oblivious to the frantic search that had taken up the better part of the day. Dogs! Needless to say both of them were put in the car and knew that I was not happy. Relieved, but not happy. At least I could go home knowing I wouldn't be tossed out on my ear.

I still wonder what adventures these two had for those four hours. Smokey didn't lose Beau, but he certainly gave Beau an education and a taste of "freedom." We had to put in an electric fence around our property. What's that old saying: You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy"? Thanks, Smokey, for letting Beau discover a little bit of country. You were a great teacher, a great companion, and loved by everyone. I hope you and Beau are sitting on Rainbow Bridge together - waiting for Mary and I to find you again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I've been put to shame!

My dear friend, Brenda Rose, at , just announced her 500th follower! That is so awesome! She has created the most gorgeous artwork for years and if you check out her blog, you'll be following her, too!

Me, I have three - that's right - three followers. And I'm happy about all three of them! But Brenda has inspired me to change that. So, I'm going to try to post something at least two or three times a week. Sometimes there will be artwork, sometimes travel photos or stories, and sometimes just a thought or two about what's going on in paradise (aka Sarasota, Florida).

Today, you get two posts from me. Lucky you! It's been another busy day. Starting at 10 a.m., Dick's occupational therapist, Laurie, came to check up on him and get his report on how well he's doing with his exercises. (He really only does them when she is here.)

Then the nurse's aide, MaryAnn, came and helped him with a bath. He said he felt better after that though it does wear him out. He hasn't felt well for a couple of days. He got a flu shot Monday and we think he had a bit of a reaction to it.

After MaryAnn, Vincent, our new yard man, came to trim the shrubs, bougainvillea, oleanders, jasmine, and palms surrounding our house and the one next door. Stuff grows very fast here in paradise and can get out of control in a heartbeat! Especially during rainy season, which is now.

Then the lawn irrigation people showed up to repair some leaks, replace some sprinkler heads and check out the systems here and next door. Maxine, the third new employee this company has had in as many months, was a trip but knows her stuff! She's a tiny little thing but mighty, full of gusto, and happy to have a job she loves. I like her!
She said I was a BITCH - Beautiful, Intelligent, Thoughtful, Caring Human. Love that! Maxine said so many people have called her a bitch over the years that she had to turn it into an acronym that meant something positive. She made my day!

Somewhere in the midst of all those people coming and going, I managed to do a couple of loads of laundry, fix Dick his breakfast and lunch, prepare his breathing treatment, give him his morning meds, take the dog out, pay some bills online, check emails, shower, get dressed, and brush my teeth.

Then it was off to PetSmart to replenish Saylor's supply of Greenies and meet my friend, Deanna, to deliver her Close to my Heart order - the new Cricut Artiste Collection. Thank you, Deanna, for the order and being kind enough to meet me at the PetSmart parking lot to make the exchange. (This must be how the drug dealers work, haha!) Deanna and I have been trying to get together for two months. She's busy, too! :-) She is from Allentown, PA and comes to Sarasota in the spring and late summer. She's on her way back to Allentown until April. We promised each other we'd get together for some crafting, fun, and food when she returns. Looking forward to that!

A run through McDonald's for an iced mocha and a brief stop at CVS for more meds, and it was home again. Just in time for another breathing treatment for Dick, to thank Vincent for working so hard in the sun, put the wet clothes in the dryer, start another load, go through the day's mail, empty the dishwasher, and figure out what's for dinner.

Paradise can be very deceiving. Think I'll go make some cards....

Where have I been? Busy!

OK! OK! I know it's been over two years! But I've been busy. Really! Plus, I keep forgetting about this page. Sorry excuse, huh? I can't even believe we are practically half way through September and so close to Christmas it's scary!!

This year has been overwhelmingly awful. I'm not going into the details; you can find those on my Facebook timeline. One of the highlights and happier times involved Close to my Heart and their annual convention. This year it was in Dallas at an awesome hotel with an awesome roommate, Jennifer Cox. (I know, I didn't tell you about the conventions in Washington, D.C. or Disneyland. Not because they weren't awesome; because I've been busy!) In Dallas, Close to my Heart introduced its second Cricut cartridge called Artiste. The first one, Art Philosophy, was revealed in 2011 at Disneyland. We CTMH Consultants have gone nuts over both of these cartridges. They haven't left my Cricut since they were delivered to my house!

Here are a couple of things I created using the cartridges:

This is a cute little treat box made using the new Pear and Partridge paper pack and the Artiste cartridge.

And this is a rosette ornament (made with the same Pear and Partridge paper pack) tucked inside a kraft box and wrapped with a band and my favorite little bow. These were created using Artiste and the card was made using Art Philosophy.

Aren't they awesome projects? These cartridges are only available from a Close to my Heart Consultant. That would be ME at

With each cartridge you get 3 dimensional element sheets and 3 stamp sets that coordinate with cuts or shapes on the cartridge. Check them out!

And I promise I won't wait two years to do another post. (It might be three! Haha!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

CTMH Convention Album 2008 - Orlando, Florida

The Close to my Heart consultants (of all levels) are getting ready to go to their convention in Washington, D.C.  As a member of the Scattered Hearts team, I have signed up for the convention album swap again this year.  Here is a slideshow showcasing the results of the Group 4 Album Swap from Convention '08 in Orlando, Florida.  I was fortunate to be a part of this group of talented consultants! 

True to my strong tendency to procrastinate, no pictures have been put into the album as yet.  I'll get there.  I have so many photos from so many sources, it's hard to sort through them and choose!  Enjoy watching the show!  I'm an amateur at this but I enjoyed creating it.  It sure takes a long time; or maybe that's just another of my tendencies: perfectionist.  The latter part of Close to my Heart's motto (Faster. Simpler. Easier.) doesn't apply to me.  I'm way too particular!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

The holidays are upon us.  This year flew by and I can't believe it's been more than a month since I posted anything.  Check out the Let's Say Thanks website sponsored by Xerox (click on the widget!) and send a card to a soldier.  Let him/her know that we are behind the troops, supporting them and praying for their safe return to family and friends.  When you have your Thanksgiving Day celebration (no matter how simple or extravagant), know that in the background are those that protect the freedoms we all cherish.  Their sacrifices deserve our recognition and prayers.  Happy holidays, everyone!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hey there, Cupcake!

Here is my latest creation scraplifted from the Stamp Goddess Tresa Black!  This was so much fun to make.  Took 4 hours but I like the results so much that I've already got 5 more in the works!  I'm thinking I can get this down to less than an hour if I prep all the pieces/parts before hand.  Tresa has a wonderful video on her blog listed under her tutorials and named "Cupcake Gift Card Holder."  Check it out! 

I used one of the Daydream B&T papers for the base.  The ribbons, flowers, and wooden bead for the cherry I found at Michael's.  I would like to find a larger wooden ball for the cherry.  The paper flowers are Making Memories but I think the Just Blooms from CTMH would be better.  I didn't have any on hand.  Need a little more practice with the base and placing the ribbons just so, but all in all I like it. 

The nicest thing about making these is no oven required!  And anytime I can get out of using my oven in Florida, I'm there!  Oh, yeah, and there are no calories but they produce lots of smiles when friends see them! 

I think I'm going to add a "To/From" tag that says Happy Birthday, Great Job, or Congratulations, and attach it to the binder clip.  I think a greeting card could be attached to the clip, too, instead of a gift card.  Lots of possibilities!

Gotta go make ribbon ruffles so I can "ice" the cupcakes tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

First Visit to Ikea, Tampa, Florida

What an afternoon!  I went to Tampa today with two girlfriends intent on finding out what all the buzz is about Ikea Stores.  WOW!  I get it!  What a great place to shop for inexpensive, great design in home furnishings.  My goal was to find a storage solution for my cardmaking and scrapbooking supplies. 

The stash has overtaken my home office.  Every week, available floor space gets smaller and surfaces become more covered.  The My Acrylix storage boxes are three across, half way up the wall and each one holds 15 or more stamp sets.  Paper packs and loose sheets are in piles everywhere.  And that's to say nothing of the embellishments, stickers, stamp pads, embossing folders, ribbons, and glitter hiding in plastic shopping bags.  By the time I find what I need to do a project, I'm exhausted.  Ikea, take me away!

Five feet inside the showroom and I've already picked out three possible solutions to my storage/organization dilemma.  Each one has its own "personality" and function and all are full of potential!  Fifteen feet in and the list has grown from three choices to seven.  This place is an amusement park for shoppers!  Follow the arrows on the gray painted floor past vignettes set up for living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, home offices, and kids' rooms with most unique stuff!  There is even a restaurant at the end of the showroom trail!  Needing time to think, I wander into the eatery looking for something to quench my thirst.  I bought an order of Swedish meatballs, bottled water and apple cake.  Then, down the elevator to the Marketplace!  This is like an attraction at Disney World.  Go on the ride, and at the end, buy all the stuff related to it.  Those Swedes were paying attention when they went to our theme parks! 

If you haven't been to an Ikea store, GO!  Make it a day trip; it took us four and half hours and we didn't even see it all.  Hint, measure your space if interested in furniture before you go and wear comfortable shoes!