A different kind of celebration…

Happy Fathers’ Day. Especially to my Dad in Heaven….his first there.

I had just started this little blog this time last year…and had no idea that the card I’d make for Daddy then would be the last one I’d be able to give him to celebrate this particular holiday.

Fathers Day 2012

This card was the only gift Dad would take. He loved giving and receiving cards, but wasn’t ever big on getting material things, and even moreso since he was “simplifying his life” as he dealt with serious health issues, including the cancer that finally claimed him in January this year.

For whatever reason, I can’t bring myself to make a Fathers’ Day project this year–not even to honor the other sweet and wonderful men I’m blessed to know who are themselves great dads. It’s just too painful. My relationship with my father was a complicated one–definitely not always perfect. But despite his imperfections…and my own…I loved him and know –for good or bad– he helped shape me into the person I have become. And I was blessed to learn from him–both from his wisdom…and his mistakes. And I knew, finally…fully…without any doubts, that he loved me, and all of us, too.

I made this page in December last year to honor him (and my Mom)…as the little girl in me mourned the impending inevitable outcome of the 2-1/2 year battle Dad had with cancer. IBNDC009-002It’s very fitting that the photo of Dad and me is when I WAS a little girl.  I didn’t have too many photos of us together as I aged. Daddy used to be the photographer in the family, and then I took on that role in my late teens. So, one or the other of us was usually behind the camera–hard to get photos together when that’s the case. As I was going through my father’s things after he passed, among the very few things he chose to keep as he pared down his life and belongings were photos I didn’t even know he had and barely even remembered being made….and among them WAS a photo that included the two of us. It also included my late husband and my late stepmother, and is also the ONLY one I have that includes my brother and his wife as well, so it is utterly priceless to me. Finding that amongst Dad’s treasures was worth all the tears I had to shed dealing with his paperwork.

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My Dad, circa 1966

Also among Dad’s things were several other more recent…and much older…photos I had never seen (or forgotten about). The funniest one, by far, is this crazy one of him, which was taken at my beloved aunt’s house at Christmas-time. Dad is wearing one of my cousin’s hats and aiming a toy gun that cuz got for Christmas that year. I definitely inherited my sense of humor from Dad. It’s one of the “things” I’m grateful to have to remember him by.

I miss him. We didn’t have any “unfinished business”, thankfully. My last in person conversation with him took care of that–as the eldest, he knew I’d be taking care of things when he passed. I promised him before I left him that day that I would make sure his wishes were honored–that unless he indicated otherwise, I’d make sure he was allowed to live out his life on his own terms–which meant being in his own home, living his life his own way.  It wasn’t an easy thing to do, because he was in a lot of pain. But I kept my promise.

The last words we spoke to each other were on the telephone shortly before he died. The conversation ended with “I love you”. Every conversation with our loved ones should end with those words, because we never know when those will be the last words we share.

Today–right now, at 4:00 in the morning, as I deal with my insufferable insomnia– I don’t feel very creative. But, despite the sadness, I do feel very blessed. And later today (hopefully after I get some sleep), I have the privilege of making a birthday card for the mother of a dear friend. The timing is not lost on me here.

–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today, sad though it may be. But I’ll honor my father by promising that I’ll remember I’ve got a lot of work to do, a lot of blessings to count, and a lot of life to live. –Terri

Happy birthday with MDS Monday

Happy Birthday MDSM17

Happy Birthday. Those are words we tend to take for granted. This year, at my area’s American Cancer Society Relay for Life, I had the honor of coordinating the Survivor Dinner activities…and of being reminded just how precious birthdays are. The theme I chose was somewhere along the lines of ‘the biggest birthday party you’ve ever been to’…and we made decorations, had a great dinner, and I even had the privilege and pleasure of presenting a handmade birthday card (provided by some wonderful papercrafting friends) to each cancer survivor present at the Dinner. As a survivor myself, it was a dream come true and a night I won’t soon forget (and not JUST because the weather ended up being a very poorly-behaved party guest for the after-party Relay event!).

My scrapbook page is me, in all my silly glory, wearing the “official birthday tiara” (hah!) and posing amongst some of the decorations for the evening. The layout for the MDS Monday challenge seemed perfect for preserving this goofy picture.

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(I hate having my photo made, but admittedly needed to have it included in the chronicle of the festivities this year.) And I liked the added challenge to attach text to our punch shape.  Needless to say, my choice of Epic Day dsp pretty much begged for a hexagon punch shape to work with. (All the items used here, except the buttons, are from the Epic Day/This & That kit.)

–And here’s a bunch more MDS fun I had, creating a large banner (strung together by tons of ribbon) to hang across the stage area:
Happy Birthday Relay-011

Happy Birthday Relay-013Happy Birthday Relay-005Happy Birthday Relay-004Happy Birthday Relay-014

Happy Birthday Relay-007Happy Birthday Relay-008Happy Birthday Relay-009Happy Birthday Relay-010Happy Birthday Relay-002Happy Birthday Relay-012Happy Birthday Relay-003Happy Birthday Relay-006

Happy Birthday Relay-001

–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today! –Terri

Sketching memories with PMDC-020

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One of the wonderful things about digital designing with MDS is the ease with which you can re-create or re-color or re-embellish any page layout or card you might be working on. No torn pages, no wasted adhesive, no filled trash can at the end of a project. AND you can keep the befores and the afters, if you so choose. Such is the case with the pages here.  I’m a bit late for Mothers’ Day with this post, but it’s never too late to honor and remember someone you love.

This week’s challenge over at Pixel Maven’s Retreat is a most lovely PMDC-020and versatile sketch and I decided to give it several different tries playing along this time….using the same photo of my Mom as the base for my layout.  

Mom 1956

This pic from my layout is one of my favorites of Mom. It shows both ‘the styles’ and ‘her style’ at the time she and my Dad married (old cars in the back as a fun bonus). In her younger years, in clothing Mom preferred simple shapes, minimal jewelry, as modern-classic and chic as possible, and usually very understated. 

But I didn’t “know her” back then! By the time I remember her clothing choices, Mom was all about comfort and considered herself as having ‘no style’. However, she more than made up for it in home decor. And that preferred style was directly 

PMDC-020-001opposite of her tastes in clothing. She loved old, vintage, antiques, frilly, victorian, super-feminine, and very fussy ‘stuff’ to surround herself with, when possible. THAT is the Mom I knew.  She would have loved both of these very vintage-inspired creations, (using that Attic Boutique ensemble throughout both layouts) and likely would have preferred the ‘busier’ one.  Here they are side by side to show how much impact ‘paper’ choices have on a finished product: (I prefer the less busy of the two!)

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When I play with my papercrafts now–whether digital or traditional–I think how much Mom influenced my own personal tastes–in everything. In clothing, I also prefer non-trendy, tailored, more sophisticated looks. When it comes to home decor–or papercrafting–I’m all about the vintage. One thing’s for sure though–pearls go with ALL those styles!

Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today! –Terri

MDS2 is here! Wait–what??

Hello Spring!

Okay, so I’m a little behind the times…but I FINALLY got “MDS2″….which is NOW simply “MDS”…which is all I had up til my free upgrade from SU recently. Did you follow all that?  *grin*  Seriously, I’m so thrilled to have the latest, most-totally-fabulous bells and whistles offered on this great digital designing software Stampin’ Up! produces. I’m just now starting to play with it and look forward to some serious fun in the future.

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To break in my fun new toy, I’m playing along with another great challenge with Nicole and Kris at Pixel Maven’s Retreat DigiChallenge. This was an ‘element challenge’ requiring the use of their chosen design element as the starting point for our creations. Couldn’t be easier, either: use a punch or punches on your project. And I went overboard in utilizing punch-power…almost every element on the page was created with a punch!

Items used to create this project:

  • Paper:  Summer Happiness DSP.
  • Ink/Colors: All were inspired by and actually pulled from the DSP using the ‘picker tool’.
  • Stamps:  Swallowtail. Text tool was used for the sentiment.
  • Punches: Butterfly Shape 1, Butterfly Shape 2, Flag Punch, 1.25-inch Square Punch (used to create all the rectangles on the page), 1.25-inch Circle Punch, Perfect Pennants Circle Punch 1.
  • Other Embellishments: Grosgrain Ribbon Knot and Button Latte–both of which were matched to my project using the “Recolor” tool!

I’m so loving the new toys to play with in the new (now current!) Stampin’ Up My Digital Studio software….and very much anticipating creating some more, using MORE bells and whistles!

–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today! –Terri

Rollin’ for Relay

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I created this fun page for this week’s MDS Monday challenge. Fun is definitely the operative word on this one!MDSM9

The sketch is perfect to feature one favorite photograph or image. And the subway art part of the challenge–well, I knew exactly what I wanted to include. The little quote above is making the rounds amongst the American Cancer Society‘s Relay for Lifers…of which I’m proud to be a part.  The photo was taken on my Survivor Lap Relay 2011, and I was very happy…and acting very silly. The roses were a gift from my Team members, and I carried them proudly as I made that initial lap around the track.  For those unfamiliar with Relay, let me just say that the Survivor Lap is just that–a leisurely lap around a track made by CANCER SURVIVORS. And it’s very exhilarating, very exciting, very emotional, and very LIFE-AFFIRMING. Whether we’ve been survivors for years (like I have–17 years this April!), or we’re newly-diagnosed….if we’ve ever heard the words, “you’ve got cancer”, then we’re survivors…..and RELAY CELEBRATES OUR LIVES!

This project came together very easily: I used only two different stamps on my page–a candle from one of the original MDS birthday stamp sets, and the feetsies from Daring Adventure.  My background is a blow-up of a photo (of some Relay balloons) that I reduced the opacity on considerably. The subway art was created with a bajillion different fonts using the text tool. You see a lot of purple here on my page because that’s the ‘ribbon color’ for ACS Relay for Life.

My LuminaryHere’s a photo of several luminaries (similar to the small inset photo on my layout above) as they were lit the night of Relay. Seeing your name lit up –alongside hundreds and hundreds of other names, all representing a life touched by cancer…well, it’s kinda mind-blowing. The luminary lighting ceremony at Relay is an amazing thing all by itself…as a part of the larger Relay experience, it is something that you truly have to try for yourself to fully appreciate. Once you go to a Relay, you’ll get it….AND you’ll be helping cancer patients in YOUR area to beat this beast!

This year’s Relay for my community is May 3…and I’ll be right out there again, thankful for the chance to celebrate another birthday!

Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today. And you can help out with Relay here ….. (or contact Relay in your area) –Terri

MDS Monday….or Two

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And here’s entry number two for MDSM4 over at the MDS Monday blog.  My first entry celebrated the fun of Christmas 2012; this entry reaches back a couple of years to a wedding I helped put together. I’m FINALLY getting the pages scrapbooked–thanks to the wonders of My Digital Studio!

There are plenty of pages featuring the people of the wedding: obviously the bride and groom, the wedding party, the parents. But I also wanted to capture the details of the wedding, too.  It WAS a handmade wedding–as much out of financial necessity, as it was a genuine love of the handcrafting.  All the florals, all the decorations for the church and the reception area, and even the bride’s veil were handmade….with love, sweat, and tears.  The love–obvious.  The sweat–lots and lots of hours of toil!

Wedding

The tears–well that’s MY old bridal veil in the photo above.  I had made my veil back in 1994 for my wedding (along with my dress!), and it seemed appropriate to hand-it-down to my niece, since I have no daughter of my own, and she’s always felt like mine.  I took that veil apart, crying tears of joy for the memories, and for the hope ahead.

Here I am with the original veil–hard to see in this really old photo, but the veil was longer, more full, and more old fashioned-looking.  For my petite niece, I completely reworked the crown/base of the veil, and it ended up being more of a small back-of-the-head adornment.  Very much “modern vintage” when completed.  By the way, the niece wearing the update is the cute 11-year-old to the far right of the photo.  🙂

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Anyway, this version of the MDS sketch showcases the new veil and the bride’s bouquet.  To complete this page, I used Frames with a Flourish, Delicate Doilies, and All Scallops stamp brushes.  The journaling was added with the Text tool.  The mats for the photo frames were colored using the Picker Tool (I matched the ribbon in the bouquet) and the stamps were colored the same way, matching the burgundy flower.  The background was created with yet another photo of handcrafted wedding decor (paper fans) added with a 30% opacity to give it a washed out/more vintage feel.

I think I’ll do a “facing page” for this scrap page, with the mirror-image of the layout, featuring a couple more of the handmade items, and a similar “washed-out” background. That’ll make a lovely double-page spread, either for print purposes, or just to enjoy digitally.

Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today! –Terri

MDS Monday …a Page

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My first MDS challenge of the year–and, naturally, it’s a Christmas page. Kinda hard to resist the sweet faces of my great-niece and nephew.

MDSHolly-001

This was another fun layout from MDS Monday, allowing for a lot of personal interpretation.  I tend to go pretty straightforward with the main elements of the layout (the photos), and then do my own thing with the embellishments and/or background.  No exception here: I placed my two photos as the sketch prescribes, and then interpreted the background (with a highly-decorative DSP) and the “rick-rack” from the sketch (with several border embellishments) in my own way.

The elements used here are all from the Letters to Santa and Jolly Jingles stamp, paper, and embellishments sets.

I’ve got another entry for this same challenge to follow.  Meanwhile,

Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today! –Terri

Memories get us by sometimes….

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This is a bittersweet project for my second entry for the IBN-DC009 challenge.  My Dad has been fighting colon cancer since fall of 2010–he’s already beaten the doctor’s best guess and had two more Christmases than was expected. At this moment, though, I’m not sure he’ll see Christmas Day this year. My heart is breaking, and in my sadness, I do what I always do–open up the doors of my heart, and pour everything I’m feeling into my words on paper (or the computer screen)….and into whatever crafting I’m enthralled with at the time.  Turning to digital designing right now makes sense, as it allows me to reminisce through my photos a bit.

I have been the official “keeper of the family photos” for many decades now. It’s not always been easy to keep up with them through the years, and the moves, and the changes in my life. But at moments like these, I am ever so grateful to have these treasures so close by…so that I can reach in…and remember.

My Mom passed away in 1990 from breast cancer.  Now it seems that this colon cancer will claim my father, as well.  I hate cancer.  I hate that it takes people we love from us far too soon, and before it does, it chews them up and spits them out.  It’s not fair to anyone–the one who is sick; those who have to watch their loved ones suffer.  So, I’ll say in this post what I spent the entire month of October saying–please do anything you can to help in the fight against cancer. I’m active in my area American Cancer Society Relay for Life; there is likely one in your area in which you can participate, help raise money, walk around the track with survivors…and honor and remember the victims of this hideous, wretched disease.  And there are many other worthy anti-cancer causes out there, too, of course.  Just–please–get involved in any way you can.

No one but God knows how this will go; Dad may surprise us all and rally again. He’s an ornery ole cuss who does things his own way–which is likely why he’s fared as well as he has.  But whatever course this takes, I’m grateful for this extra time I’ve had with him…and whether he spends Christmas here with us….or with Mom again, in Heaven….I’m thankful for all the Christmases I’ve had….and the only regret I have is that they EVER have to end.

Thanks for visiting my little Corner Today, sad though it may be.  And I wish YOU a Merry Christmas. –Terri

Snow Day with MDS Monday

MDS Monday 3-001The MDS Monday Challenge 3 gave me another opportunity to play with some old photos I’m trying to get scrap-booked. We don’t get a lot of snow in my area of the country, so when we do–especially around Christmas time, it’s very special. Hence, I’ve got a lot of photos of our little winter wonderland from a few years ago.

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The challenge this time was a technique AND a sketch. I have to be honest–I still only have MDS, NOT MDS2….and apparently I don’t have the capability to do the photo-filled grouped boxes at this point.  However, with some tweaking, I was still able to use the fabulous original MDS software to reproduce a similar effect with my triple-box photo.  This is one of my all time favorite photographs–of a scene at a place I loved, with snow, no less!–and I really love the effect of “stretching it out” over three photo frames.  (I will say that I can’t wait to get MDS2, so that I can do this with a couple of mouseclicks!)

To accommodate my particular photos, I turned the sketch upside-down–a full 180-rotation.  This allowed me to still highlight my Christmas-ribbon-bedecked column in the larger single photo.

I have minimal journaling on my page right now, but may go back later and add in a bit more.  I also chose to add some snowflakes to the blue background; I changed the opacity to about 30% to make them less of a focal point and more of a true background element, but still in keeping with the theme of the page.

Elements used to design this page were:

  • Frostwood Lodge DSP’s
  • Various snowflakes from Snow-Swirled and every other Christmas stamp set included with the original MDS!
  • Zig-zag stitching
  • Journaling was created with the textbox tool. I’m a big fan of all the fancy and fun fonts I’ve got stored on my computer.
  • The blue background was created with the Color Picker tool. I wanted to exactly match the shade of blue in that one DSP from Frostwood Lodge.  It gave me a blue that is somewhere between the dull shade of sky while it was still snowing….and the brilliant blue after the sun came back out. I LOVE this picker tool for getting exactly the color I want immediately!

–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today! –Terri

A new digital playground…

Thanks to the wonderful Pals chat group, I learned about the new digital challenge blog at MDS Monday.  And I managed to get two projects completed to play along in their premiere challenge!

My first entry, above, is one of my favorite photos of my great-niece and great-nephew. (Yes, sadly, I’m just now getting around to scrapbooking stuff from 4 years ago!   This is part of why I love digital designing and MDS–finally getting these projects done!)

MDS Monday‘s first challenge is this very nice, very *ahem* challenging sketch.  I’m still learning all the ins and outs of digital design, still working with the original MDS, and still accumulating downloads with all kinds of goodies with which to play.  One thing I did NOT have was a…banner! So I had to figure out how to make a banner out of a rectangular piece of DSP (added as a page layer). I’ll be reading up on the easiest way to do this in the next few days…but for the time being, I made the flagged edges on my banners the “traditional, real-paper” way–I used a square punch, turned at a 45-degree angle, and then filled the punch with the same color as the background cardstock. Worked like a charm–but I’m anxious to find out how many times I’m going to have to say “duh-uh” to myself when I discover any other “normal” digital ways of doing this!  Nothing like learning new things!

This second page was created for a friend–newly a grandmother last year–using the same sketch.  This time, I used like 90 million pieces of ribbon and trim….BUT I changed up and, instead of using the three banner shapes, I instead chose to dangle three little ornaments under the feature photo.  I also did a mirror-image arrangement. On this one, I created my “background paper” using another image of this sweet baby, changed to black-and-white, and then decreased the opacity of the photo to about 30% of the original. This afforded me the opportunity to include an additional photo on the page, while remaining true to the layout of the sketch. This opacity trick was the same one I used to add the Christmas tree stamp to the background page on my first layout above (the one with the wild bongo-kids).

Both pages include a mixture of many stamps, papers, and embellishments from the Merry and Type, Christmas Lodge, Snowburst, and Tree Trimmings stamps; Frostwood Lodge and Letters to Santa designer series papers; and embellishments from all those sets.  I used the “Add Text” feature of MDS to do all the journaling.

I’m really loving the fact that MDS lets me really get to work on all the years and years of photos I’ve accumulated that I want to commit to a scrapbooked album.  And I’m thrilled to find another site dedicated to inspiring and challenging those of us who need some prodding to “git ‘er dun”!

–Thanks for visiting my Little Corner today! –Terri