Sunday, September 29, 2013

Inspired Sunday Blog Party--and my inspiration


(Warning: this post is a long "ode to my son," so you might want to scroll way down 
to Inspired Sunday if you're not in the reading mood... )

This has been my mantra for the past few weeks or even years, and if you can bear with this long post you'll understand why. Dear ADHD  adventurous son, who is also quite brilliant, got a burr up his @$$ to stop taking college classes for a while and find a really good job. (We have always made him work for what he wants.) Being the brilliant, interesting, annoying, highly experienced with computers, and ADHD wonderfully spontaneous person on hyperdrive that he is, he updated his Linked-In profile and within two days had Google and several other companies contacting him. In the meantime, he applied for many jobs with tech companies, got interviews with them all, and ended up taking one in Santa Monica with Edgecast - the company that manages the data flow for Hulu, Pinterest, Twitter, and other huge companies. Very exciting!  

Fast Performance, Fast Growth

But first he HAD to go to Puerto Rico by himself for a rock-climbing, caving, sky diving, scuba diving, Electric Daisy Carnival (don't ask) adventure. I kept saying, you can't get sick, cut yourself on coral again and get a staph infection (like in Jamaica last year), break something (he always does), or worse.  But our protests were useless, he went anyway, and needless to say, I aged a few years in those ten days and wore out the good Lord, which is probably why the phone call "Mom, I don't know what to do, I smashed the rental car into a semi" didn't completely freak me out.  (It was an exaggeration--he broke the mirror bumping into the semi's mirror in a parking lot going about 15 mph and got it fixed at a dealership for 25.00.)
Jamaica. Don't know how high... "I really didn't need a helmet, Mom, but they made me wear one."
Broke a bone in his knee "Great jump, though," he said.
One of his many rock climbing adventures this year - didn't break anything or have to be rescued by helicopter. (Yep - that actually happened two years ago.)  I find these pictures on Facebook!!
Once back home, he decided not to stay in the place he rented prior to his trip-- "I would kill myself if I had to live in a dump like that" (there are drama "kings" as well as queens), and decided to drive back and forth until he could move into a very nice place. Meanwhile, instead of packing and doing the things that sensible most people would do to get ready for a move, last Sunday on my wedding anniversary, he drove to the Red Bull Flugtag where people fly contraptions they've made off the Long Beach Harbor--3 hours from our house.  (For this event, he had not built anything  - God does answer prayer!) 

A contraption from the Red Bull Flugtag
Another contraption. I'm actually sorry dear son had to miss this wacky event.
About the time he should have arrived at the event, we get a call.  "Dad, my car completely stopped on the freeway and a cop called a tow truck to get me to a parking lot. What do I do?" Fortunately (or not) my husband doesn't care to know anything about cars, so he could only give our son the phone number of our mechanic. After hours of wondering how dear son is getting around or if he is in a bad part of town, I find out that his solution for getting home is on the back of a friend's motorcycle on one of the busiest freeways in the world--back on my knees again! Well, he did get home safely. A friend (he has loads from all over the place) happened to be driving through and brought him home--in a car! (Thank you, Lord, this is our anniversary after all!)
Some of his friends. He took this picture in Utah - he's a pretty good (understatement) photographer.
A few evenings later, my husband and I had to drive to see his new place, co-sign a rental agreement, and meet the people he will be living with. To get to Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), you can drive through any number of windy, two-lane, canyon roads that traverse the Santa Monica Mountains separating the Conejo Valley where we live from the ocean. There are turn outs for people to pull off the road for a variety of reasons - for me it's to recover from car sickness - ugh! At one of the spots my husband said, "this is where they park and HITCHHIKE to the dam."  Okay, I was numb calm at this point.  (I did tell you he has loads of friends--actually has never met a stranger.) And then about a mile up the road at one particularly high spot overlooking a sheer dropoff of about 800 feet, my momentarily stupid dear husband pointed out where our dumb dear son goes over the edge and down the side to get to the dam!!!! Breathe..... quick prayer....
The road is the white line at the top before the blue line descends down into the canyon.
We finally get to the new condo, meet the landlords/roommates and love them. We go out for sushi at a trendy Santa Monica restaurant, life is fun, all is hopeful, and I feel the chaos settling down. Dear son says, "life is fantastic, and it's only going to get even better!"
I swear this isn't the restaurant we ate in, and that's not us, but it looks EXACTLY like him!!!!
Fast forward to Wed afternoon, sitting at my desk at work. Cell rings: "Mom, my eye is almost swollen shut. I think I have a staph infection. I saw it online. I'm taking a taxi to the doctor."  As concerned as I was, I kept thinking - "why a taxi for a staph infection and to only go a few miles?"  After all, I drove myself to the ER in the middle of a gall bladder attack.  So he goes, gets meds for staph and stays in Santa Monica with a friend. Whew, I need a bottle glass of wine.

The next day, my cell rings ("I really wanted a phone again?"). "Mom, I only have $4.00 in my bank account. I'll starve!!! (drama king again). The car repair had wiped him out (oh, yeah, and Puerto Rico sky diving class, and Electric Daisy tickets, and the taxi, and too much sushi, and expensive camera gear), and he hadn't gotten his first pay check. So we worked out how to get cash to him quickly from his savings account here, and I think whew! I need a glass bottle of wine. Is this week over yet????

That night he decides to drive home to show us his eye.  (I spare you the pictures of this one!) Mr. staph infection flops down on my bed (yick) at 11:00 complaining of pain (I did feel bad for him) but starts railing about losing a $20.00 bill while walking from the ATM to his car (ADHD again) and getting a $68.00 PARKING TICKET that day!!!!!!! AAAAAGGGHHHH!!!!!  (IS THIS WEEK EVER GOING TO END??????)  

The answer was "NO." Mr. staph spends the night at home but doesn't sleep well because of pain that loads of advil isn't helping--kinda strange.  But he goes on to work--after all it WAS beer Friday--only to have everyone there tell him it looks like he was punched in the face--not so great after 2 days of antibiotics.  So he gets worried and is sure he has MRSA. (I did say drama king, right?)

So he gets home from work around 10:00 p.m. (after stopping to eat sushi) --one hour AFTER the local urgent care has closed!  His eye is swollen, he has tingling, burning, and is really concerned he has MRSA. "If it's MRSA, I could die!" (drama king). I keep suspecting it's something else, maybe shingles-- we are all kinda medical nerds-- and none of us knows if he should go to the ER.  By 11:00, two calls to nurses, and 300 Google images of staph infections later, I am falling over with exhaustion. So poor, dear hubby, Sudoku book and music scores in hand, lumbers out to the car to drive him to the ER, which for our medical plan is 25 minutes away.  
They return about 1:45 a.m. From a half sleep I ask: "Is it MRSA?" And hubby replies that they think it is a virus.

So somehow, dear son contracted a virus (in Puerto Rico?) that attacked the trigeminal nerves on the right side of his head. He is on antiviral meds, Prednisone, and antibiotics, I guess there is staph as well???  He is in pain, but it's a little bit better.  So he's upstairs spending the last few nights at home recuperating in his room in familiar surroundings with his crazy loving parents nearby.

Seriously? Did you believe that????? Heck no. He packed his car for the move and drove back to meet friends in Santa Monica to experience Glow:

"Every three years, for just one night, Glow features an 
extraordinary array of original, site-specific installations by local and international artists. 
Ranging from the haunting traditional music 
of the Javanese Gamelan to the most technologically advanced interactive artworks, 
Glow celebrates the exceptional ability of artists to activate and shape public space."
Pic from Glow's Web site

Art from "Glow's" Web Site

Full of life, energy, enthusiasm, intelligence, creativity, strength, compassion, endless curiosity and the desire to reach and grow and challenge himself in every way. This is the boy who has made my hair gray. This is the man who has shown me what it means to truly live.

Inspired Sunday

I did look at all the wonderful link-ups this week, but I'm sorry that I didn't have time to leave you a comment. You can see that I've sorta been a little crazy, and I also had work and design team commitments.  That's why a couple of posts really resonated with me. 

First of all, when you've had a really crazy week, and you just want to make something pretty and don't have time or even much money, you could do what mother and daughter newcomers, Dianne, Jackie, and Jessica from Shabby Gals did: grab something out of your neighbor's trash, slap a $1.00 image on it from Walmart, and hang it in your palace. Can you believe how great this looks? I've gotta find some of those decals! And don't be tempted to cut a plank out of your neighbor's fence at 2 a.m.!

I thought that Lisa, from My Ordinary Country Life, might want to try this project!  When she first posted the picture below in the link party, I will admit that I thought, "why would anyone... " You've got to read her "Pity Party" post. It will have you laughing and relating and loving her to pieces.

And just to hit it home, that family (or people and friends) and what we experience with them is what life is truly all about, be sure to read her other post here.

My small group of party goers has so many things in common. I am enjoying getting to know each of you better with every passing week. Now, I've got to scoot and go clean up this disaster of a house!

If you were featured, please display my badge on your blog. If you link up to this week's party, please link back to me. I would also love it if you became a follower! Now let's see what the first week of October brings. Link up anything you think we would find to inspire!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Halloween Travertine Coasters

Halloween is oddly enough my favorite holiday. Perhaps one reason is that it seems to be the one holiday that requires so little and gives so much in return. There is so little pressure to meet expectations, and that lets me be free to enjoy and do what I feel like making or doing (or not)!  I love the dark evening, the cool air, all the Halloween folk art and colors, the neighborhood sounds of laughter and music, and the 80 or so little guests all dressed up for festivity who come only expecting a piece of candy!  What's not to love?

So to kick off my Halloween crafting, I made these coasters with new Danse Macabre rubber stamp sheet from Oxford Impressions at the Austen Gallery.  These stamps come as an unmounted rubber sheet that you mount yourself (tutorial here).  The macabre images work well on travertine, which looks like crumbly old cemetery stone.  All in all, this style is a little creepy for me, but I think perfect for those with edgier tastes.

So what do you think? Are they your style or do you know someone who would like them?

I'm linking up with these parties:
Inspire Me Tuesdays at a Stroll Through Life

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tag Tuesday - Wings

I am SO happy get back to making tags after a brief  hiatus. The late summer heat and unusually high humidity was just a bit much for me. But with the cooler weather, I revive! Here is my attempt to carry out the theme of "wings." I had no intention of making it a Christmas tag, but creative pursuits often take you in an unplanned direction, which is the fun and surprise and sometimes frustrating part of it!

This involved a lot of "fussy cutting," but I enjoy that.  I thought she would look cute hanging from a package or even from the Christmas tree. The doll stamp is from Character Constructions. The wings are from Mad Rat Rubber--perfect wings for this size of doll!  The sentiment is a retired stamp from Stampin' Up.

I plan to make quite a few more of these in deeper colors for Christmas ornaments and gift decorations, but for now I need to work on the next theme and get some Halloween items made for Oxford Impressions new Halloween stamps: Danse Macabre

I'm linking up with these parties:
Inspire Me Tuesdays at a Stroll Through Life

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Inspired Sunday Blog Party - Hello Fall

Fall comes gently to Southern California and lingers well into January until the wind whips the last of the Fall color off the trees. Detecting it requires a certain sensitivity and constant awareness of light and shadow, of warmth and coolness, of hue and tint as the days grow shorter by inches and grains of color quietly insinuate themselves into the proud summer of the trees. Like many of you in warmer climates, I feel the need to nudge it along, wishing for cooler days, soft blankets, warm comfort food.  Were I freer in this season of my life, I would have bade farewell to summer this week as Debby Ray did, walking through fields and woods, breathing with nature and glorying in God through it all. 

Had I a little more time this week from work and tutoring and obligations with friends and family and chores, I would have welcomed Fall by making these gorgeous sweater pumpkins that Jodi made with her friend:
But for right now, on this first day of Fall, I will bring out something old and rich and full of memories as did Patti and bring Fall into my home:

I will welcome my twenty-ninth wedding anniversary and celebrate with my love.

 Now, let's see how you greet Fall. Link up any post, old or new, that you think would inspire us to incorporate beauty in our lives.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Index Card A Day (ICAD) Swap

I recently participated in an international swap with other paper crafting artists. Our challenge was to make ICADs (3x5 index-sized cards) and holders and mail them to the assigned people. I finished mine today and sent them off and just couldn't wait to share what I came up with. (I did warn the recipients that they might not want to view my blog and ruin the surprise.)  I embossed and cut the frame for the front of the holder and tied it with seam binding. The bird stamp is from Oxford Impressions.

After you open the front panel you see the sentiment on the right, also made with stamps from Oxford Impressions:
The inside of the holder looks like this, with collage stamps of music, butterflies, and flowers:
The ICAD fits inside the holder:

And here is the singing bird ICAD with torn bits of a French book and 
the back that I made with an image from the Graphics Fairy:
I hope you are having a wonderfully creative week or at least finding some beauty to enjoy!
 I'm linking up with these parties:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Inspired Sunday - Ready for Fall

A common theme in this week's blog party link-ups was Fall.  Fall is my favorite season. It ushers in cooler mornings, just right to bundle up in a throw on the sofa and cooler evenings with overflowing bowls of vegetable-beef soup and fresh homemade bread. I actually come alive again in the Fall after wilting in the late summer. My energy returns, and I clean and cook and craft. And I see that you too are decorating, and crafting, and enjoying Fall outings.

While Fall decor typically centers on rich crimson, burnt orange, and bright gold colors, Penny at Penny's Vintage Home shows us this week that Fall decorating can be achieved with shades of cream combined with the rough textures of wicker baskets:

Aimee from Refresh Renew also went with a neutral color scheme and made these great burlap pumpkins, which she says are fool proof:

Jann from Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olsen also varied the traditional color scheme for her Fall decor, using black and white elements combined with a few colorful Fall elements:

Perhaps Fall means Oktoberfest to you.  I've never been to one, but Brittany's post on dirndls and the fun to be had at Oktoberfest just made me want try it. On my way to brunch today, I saw a sign in a nearby town for one in mid-October. You can be sure that hubby and I are planning to go! Brittany's outing to the bone church is super-interesting too-- be sure to check out her post. I have never seen anything like this church, and I love the churches of Austria!
Brittany in her dirndl
And now that Fall is around the corner and the heat is almost over, it is time to get an early start on Christmas crafting. Jenny at Lakeshore Stamping gives a great video tutorial on making a gift card holder out of an envelope. So cute and easy to create with what you have on hand or with new items that you might want to buy. What a great way to add a personal touch to gift cards, which often seem so impersonal.

It is always a treat to visit your blogs, to learn new things, and to get to know you better.

Now lets see what this last week of summer holds for everyone!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Wardrobe Overhaul and Inspired Sunday Blog Party

Hello!  I have been absent this week, trying to stay cool in the HEAT and super high humidity which isn't typical for So Cal.  Because our houses aren't insulated and many don't have central A/C, this has been a doozy!  So what better way to beat the cool than to spend my last two Saturdays shopping with a friend! The stores weren't even very cool, but I managed to find great deals on desperately needed items.  My wardrobe had become so ratty, that I am not even able to donate many things. I did get years of mileage out of some of my favorites, which I will now lay to rest or cut up for the rag bag.

What did I buy?  Well, we discovered Designer Shoe Warehouse's clearance floor, and I, who was just along to help my friend pick out shoes for a dressy event, bought these: 30% to 70% off their already discounted prices:
The store manager let us continue our three-hour shopping extravaganza while they were cleaning up and closing the store. Super nice employees! 

Along with DSW, shopping at Ross has become one of my favorite ways to stay cool.  I love the deals and fashions there. This Calvin Klein dress was a steal, so I bought twins--black and beige and navy and gray. This style works really well on my curvy body:

These maxis from Ross also work really well, were 70%  off, and I figure I can change up the style with the shoes and my jewelry. They're a funky style, kinda like a mummy dress--bandages sewn onto a see-through base. You have to be sure to wear a body slip, or a tank and spanx. I made the mistake of only wearing one with a bra and gave quite a few men quite a flash of cleavage. I wondered why they were all smiling, and when I went to the ladies room I saw why, GASP, YIKES!  

I also bought a few nightgowns, some ladies' unmentionables :-), and 
quite a few tops, like these:  

My dresses all together:

This looks a bit over the top, but my clothes and shoes really were falling apart. My husband finally threw away two of my night gowns that were in rags being held on by the shoulder straps! (I should have taken a picture. For him to throw away anything really says something! They were just cool and comfy for me! Ha!)

So what has kept you busy? Lot's of crafty DIY projects that have really inspired me to get out the paint, cut a little molding, and finish up a few projects around my house (when it cools down).

Brittany's tutorial on painting a cabinet door with Annie Sloan chalk paint and wax was thorough and informative. She answered so many of the questions I had about this paint, and now I think I'm ready to paint a bookcase in my bedroom.  Thanks Brittany!
The Roccoco Roamer
Trisha from Glass Slippers and All Sorts of Stuff showed a project that's easy to do and provides quite a wow factor for the effort. Really cute, quick and easy to change up for seasons or events!

Magali from The Little White House on the Seaside managed an impressive feat with molding to bring an expensive paneled look to her deeply set windows with a little bit of elbow grease and a lot less money than a carpenter. Congratulations on a beautiful job, and thanks for the tutorial!

Julie at Love My Simple Home made these great wall hangings with bead board, paint, burlap, and rope.  So cute and her instructions are great. The link is broken, so hopefully she can fix it, send it to me, and I will link it. Her blog posts are warm and refreshing.  I need "simple" right now!  So much!

Thank you everyone for linking up. If you were featured, please be sure to display my button on your blog. And now, let's see what's going on in your neck of the woods!  Link anything that might inspire us, and I do mean just about anything!