Archive | January 2012

Sometimes you just have to use the whole bling.

Gram and Pap Muthler

Greetings, it’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood!

The layout I want to share with you today is one that means a lot to me.  It’s a photo of my grandparents in the 1940s and it’s one of the only ones I have.  I have always wanted to scrap more vintage/historic-looking layouts, but I seem to have a hard time diving into that style.  I keep collecting papers in the hopes that one day a switch will turn on, and I’ll suddenly be a master.  For my first attempt, I’m pleased with this one, even though it blends a teeny bit of other styles in with the vintage damask paper I used for the background.  I also have to say that it is the first time I ever used a WHOLE bling spray in its entirety on a page.  I suppose just this once, I can get over my penchant for thrift and go all the way with the bling.  I would like to create some journaling on this page, but I need some more information about the photo, if I can get it, and I also can’t decide if I want to journal right on the page with a tag or something, or if I want to tuck it behind the photo.  I am sure the solution will come to me, but for now, I will just enjoy the page as it is.

This entry was posted on January 31, 2012. 1 Comment

Technique #5: (Hidden) Journaling

I think it’s time to get back on the horse and write a post today.  I had a lovely weekend scrapping with my girls and finishing up the 50-mile Batona Trail, and I’m home and ready to work again.  I looked through the pages I created this weekend and found one I’d like to share with you.  This page came from a card-making sketch challenge, actually, but since I don’t really give cards too often, I decided to use the whole card idea as a way to create some hidden journaling.  The first time I put a card on a layout was a month ago, when I messed up the rules of the challenge by not creating a layout from a card, as directed.  So I just slapped the card on a piece of patterned paper, and put on a title with sticker letters and that was that.  It was a joke about my own inability to stick to the rules when scrapping, but it came out looking pretty cool.  This time, I wanted to follow the card sketch, but I thought, “Hey if it worked once, I could do it again,”–this time because I want to actually use the card on a layout, not out of the necessity of following directions.

Sometimes I just don’t want to clutter up my page with words.  Other times, the journaling is of a more personal nature and I’d rather the casual looker not read it if they don’t know to look for it.  Sometimes I just don’t have anything to say that I feel would add to the sentiment on the page.  This page shows Kyle’s graduation from his 3-year-old preschool class.  The day-care he went to was run by some wonderful ladies, who took the time to host a graduation party at their church for the kids, and I was delighted to go see my baby “graduate” with his class.

I followed the sketch loosely, using my photo instead of a drawing or sticker and adding the tab on the side that says “LIFT”  I also put pop-up double sided tape on the inside of the card to add dimension and ensure that the reader knew that it was a card with extra hidden journaling inside.  I don’t cut the plastic sheet protector so that you can lift it while in the album.  Not enough people read my albums to go to that trouble.  I know many people who do line it up and cut a flap in the plastic, though.  I just prefer not to.

Here is the layout I made based on the card I made based on this sketch:

Card within a layout


Rest in Peace, Grandpa Joe.

Some people just want to work hard, earn their living and be a model for others to do the same.  They don’t want fortune, don’t care about fame, and just try to do their part to be a decent human being in what is otherwise a rapidly declining society.  If you are one of these people, you can understand what I’m saying.  If you are not, then maybe you resent people like that–people like me–PEOPLE LIKE JOE PATERNO.  I never spoke to Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State University football coach.  I never went to his house to experience the way he treated his family.  I never worked under him as a student athlete.  I never came into contact with him personally, but I know the kind of man he was.  Call it a gut feeling, because I can recognize my own kind.  Maybe it is because I view myself as old-fashioned that I can relate to JoePa.  Maybe it is some other kind of spiritual connection.  I don’t know exactly what it is that makes me draw any parallels between my character and his, because I certainly don’t have the years upon years of greatness that he did.  I just know that there is a connection.

Joe Paterno has been a role model for me since I was a tiny child.  Of course back then it was all about Penn State and to a lesser degree, about football.  My parents both graduated from Penn State, and my aunt worked there in the department of licensing (we always knew what products were officially licensed merchandise and how to spot the fakes!).  She and another of my uncles would come over on Saturdays to watch games.  She would bring a HUGE crazy pizza from a sub shop on the way from State College, and we would make popcorn in our brand new microwave oven and heat up butter in the fancy butter sprayer.  It was a joy to grow up Penn State’s glory years (the 80’s!) and watch Joe pacing on the sidelines with his jaw gritted and those signature humongous dark glasses he wore.  I looked forward to those days with my family, and it was about much more than football, even then.  I would go to Penn State with my dad on occasion to sit through his classes, always hoping to catch a glimpse of JoePa on campus somewhere.  Back then, he was just a celebrity to me at 5 or 6 years old.

As I grew older, I lost my penchant for watching football in general.  I grew skeptical about Penn State as a school (I always said the school had gotten too big for its britches when I was applying for colleges).  I went to Temple (so odd when the Penn State game in Philly housed thousands more PSU fans than the home team) and I moved away from Central Pennsylvania because I hated everything about small towns.  I went out to see the world, but one thing that always remained constant was my affection and respect for JoePa.  I thought of him as another grandfather.  When the rest of the sports world was getting arrested for drugs, robbery, rape, murder and corruption, there was JoePa remaining as he had always been, working hard and accepting only the highest  of behavioral and academic standards from his players.  He was still giving much of his money to the university, like he had been many years before.  His body was getting older, but his attitude remained the same.  He was consistent.  I wished so many times that more people in this world could be like him.  That more of his players would make it in the pros and show these fools how to act like decent and respectable human beings.  That more coaches put stock in those same values.

As he aged, people started to say he was too old to coach football.  I say people wanted Penn State to win, and Joe was about much more than simply winning.  Joe was teaching the same values to a new brand of students who, every generation are a little bit less respectful to others, a little bit lazier and a little bit more entitled to a trophy for last place.  Winning is harder when you don’t accept the good athletes with the bad grades and criminal records these days, I guess.  Nevertheless, people started to doubt him, when they should have been taking a look at the lazy kids they were raising.  I applauded him for standing his ground when others were saying it was time for him to retire (and I didn’t even watch football anymore).   Somebody needs to be the model for those kids, and there aren’t many left with the fortitude to do it.

Then came the Sandusky scandal, and Joe Paterno’s name was embroiled in it all.  He was chastised by one section of the public for “not doing more.”  His legacy of 61 years, his outstanding character and contributions were put to the test.  His job–his life–was whisked out from under him when the loudest screamers and the squeaky wheels in the social media needed somebody to fall–and FAST.  They pressured the Board of Trustees at Penn State to make a quick decision to fire him without so much as an exit interview.  And the Board of Trustees did.  At the same time, Joe was diagnosed with lung cancer.  This man, who has spent his entire career working hard to build a quality program and trying to maintain it, had his whole life taken away from him in the span of a week.  Joe held it together for two months after he was hit with these devastating blows.  He was courageous, and he was still just as giving and as honorable toward the university and its students after they fired him as he had ever been previously.  He continued to speak out to the students, reminding them to act responsibly even among the turmoil caused by these emotionally-charged events.  Today, on January 22, 2012, he passed away and left behind him a legacy.  JoePa’s legacy should not and will not be tarnished by the events of the last two months.  He was a good man, with a wonderful career that touched so many lives and a huge heart.  I can’t be the only one who thinks that broken heart may be the reason he is no longer with us.  Yet somehow, I believe that he did not die with any disdain or resentment toward the people whose nasty commentary took away the ending to his career that this man truly deserved.  This shows most of all what kind of a man Joe was.

I am saddened by today’s news.  So saddened that I couldn’t read any more and cried myself to sleep.  I feel like I lost another grandfather this morning.  I cry because I don’t feel that anyone should die having been treated this way shortly before his death.  I am thankful that Joe is home with God now and can have some peace–the same peace he deserved in his dying hours.  Bless you, JoePa.  I will miss you.   And WE ARE…NOT QUITE THE SAME PENN STATE WITHOUT YOU.

This entry was posted on January 22, 2012. 3 Comments

Woops, MIA for a few days

Hi folks.  I didn’t disappear from the blogosphere, I just had a very busy week.  I organized a scrapbook crop fundraiser at church that occurred yesterday, so the last week has been somewhat of a blur.  I have a post cooked up for today, aside from this one.  It isn’t done, so look for it later on tonight.  Hope you had a great week!

Shrimp Cocktail Hat

I haven’t scrapped the page yet, but I did promise a post about the soon-to-be-famous Shrimp Cocktail Hat that I made my sister for Christmas this year.  This hat–a combination of stitches I use regularly and patterns from the internet and my own imagination–is the epitome of super-cool hats everywhere, LOL!  At a later time, I’ll post the pattern, when I get around to writing it all down.

There’s a story behind why I made this hat and the sushi scarf for my sister, Ashley.  One day, our community band was riding in the charter bus down the highway, when we spotted a billboard with what we thought was the funniest advertisement EVER.  It was for a Japanese restaurant, and it showed a picture of a Japanese man with his mouth open, waiting to catch the flying shrimp.  The funny part about it was, he looked absolutely horrified!  My two sisters and I caught sight of it, looked at each other, and must have all had the same thought because we all burst out laughing.  From that time forward, the flying shrimp face has become a tradition at family gatherings.

This Christmas, as I struggled to figure out what to get the girl who spends most waking moments out DOING things, rather than USING things, the idea came to me in pieces.  I saw the sushi scarf, and started to make one for another gift, and quickly realized how I could get a theme going and give Ashley the Gift of the Flying Shrimp.  I bought her a gift card to the local hibachi restaurant (she and her 10-year-old daughter have never been to one before!) and finished the sushi scarf, and then I went online looking for something shrimp-esque.  I found a pattern for these cat toys on a google search for shrimp stitch, and set about for a way to put them on the top of a hat, shrimp cocktail style.  Behold what I came up with:Shrimp Cocktail Hat

This entry was posted on January 17, 2012. 1 Comment

Think Pink

I just read a blog post by Dina Wakley about using pink to scrap boy pages, and it reminded me of my favorite layout, so I thought I’d go along with that theme and post it here.

The photo is actually out of the sketch machine at Chuck E. Cheese.  I cut the corners off and chalked the lips and cheeks pink, and voila!  Here is the page:

Pink Boys Page


Several months ago, I went to drop my boys off in Philly (that’s where their dad lives) and I needed some dresses, so I stopped in a local clothing store, Forman Mills–a place where you can get stuff dirt cheap if you can handle being in the ghetto.  It’s a huge, canary yellow building a few blocks from his place, and I just dropped in for a few minutes before starting the three hour trip to my bf’s house.  I walked in the place, and I hadn’t been there for months, but I swear I didn’t remember it having an upstairs fabric section.  Of course, fabric warehouse piqued my interest and I walked up the twenty stairs into fabric heaven.  I couldn’t believe it had so many great fabrics and trims for SO CHEAP!  I’m a Renaissance Faire fan, and I have been known to make a few elaborate dresses/costumes for the Faire in my day.  This was truly a glorious day.  I could outfit my whole extended family for a hundred bucks in that store.  Anyone who has made a period dress before knows that stuff ain’t cheap!!!

Fast-forward a couple months to Halloween, and my son Andrew decided he wanted to be Papa Smurf.  I was thrilled to go back to my childhood for a time, and told him I’d make him the costume.  His brother wanted to be a magician and we had his costume already in our costume box, so I had the time, and I knew I could do something cool.  I told their dad I was going to take them to Forman Mills to choose fabric before dropping them off, and he said, “What?  They don’t have an upstairs,” much less a fabric warehouse.  I argued that they did, I had been there.  BUT, sure enough, when I drove to the store, I realized it was a SECOND yellow building across the street and I had in fact gone to the JOMAR Store by accident.  No wonder I never saw that fabric department upstairs before.  Anyway, it was one of those times where a mistake changed my life for the better, but I hate it when he’s right…

The boys and I went up and picked out yards and yards of fabric and trim for the costume.  It really didn’t take nearly as much as I bought, but it was SOOOO cheap that I bought a lot of extra.  We wandered around for an hour looking before deciding on the perfect red and blue fabrics, and some white fringe for the beard.  I went to work the next week sewing the costume.  I had no patterns, so I had to make it up, but thanks to an existing pair of sweats and a long-sleeved shirt in his closet, I sketched a pattern, added a little bit for error and sewed it up.  It took less than a day total, and I couldn’t believe just how cute it came out.

So I entered it in a contest, sponsored by JOMAR called their “Show Your Jomar” contest.  This store sells everything, not just fabric, so there were hundreds, if not thousands of entrants and they had some really great photos of clothing/models/costumes, a little bit of everything.  I was tickled pink when they told me my photo had won one of their monthly prizes (a $200 gc to the store) for October.  Andrew was elated and we were so proud of each other.  I posted the link on my facebook and the whole nine yards.  Very exciting!

Then December rolled around and I got another phone call from their advertising agency, we were in the running for one of the six grand prizes for the year.  WOO HOO!  I told Andrew and he said, “Mom, I’m just happy that we are in the finals, even if I don’t win,” and at that point, I knew I had the best kid in the world.  We waited out the next two weeks patiently and yesterday I got the call.  WE HAD WON!  After a total OMGOMGOMG moment, I cleared my head enough to give the lady the information she needed, and listen to the prizes he had won.  This contest was serious business, no kidding.  He won so many great things, and I never expected anything like this.  He won a Star-of-the-Day photo shoot.  He gets the whole hair/makeup/stylist routine, and he gets to keep his favorite outfit from the day.  He won two tickets to see the Harlem Globe Trotters.  We got another $200 gift certificate to the store (Mommy is happy about this one!) and he gets an iPad2!  Holy cow!!!  I still can’t believe it, really.  I knew it was a cute costume, but this was beyond all my expectations.

I need to thank JOMAR Stores, so my crafty project of the day will likely be a thank you card.  We had a mini-celebration yesterday after dinner when I finally told him he was a winner.  It was SOOOO hard to wait.  I made brownies, and Kyle helped me pick out a couple balloons at the dollar store.  And speaking of Kyle–he knew the entire day, and didn’t breathe a WORD to Andrew about the surprise (he’s 5).  I was so proud of them both yesterday.  I snapped a few photos of him when I told him, and although the brownies kept me from getting that first expression, the ones that ensued were pretty priceless too!  I think I’ll work my card around one of those shots.

This entry was posted on January 12, 2012. 1 Comment