Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Shack

The Shack
The Shack by William P. Young

My Review
rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a wonderful book! It had its emotionally difficult moments for sure, but overall was a completely comforting story. It reinforced many of the beliefs I had regarding God, but also showed me a few misconceptions or judgements that I share with Mack, the main character. I found myself wishing that somehow I could have an experience like Mack does, to meet God and receive the peace and healing bestowed upon him. I guess for now I'll have to be satisfied with knowing there are wonderful things (hopefully) waiting for me when my time on this planet is complete.

I think this brings my total to 27 books read since Memorial Day, so all in all, not a bad summer! I live about a mile and a half from St. Mary's by the Sea, a small park of sorts right on the water with benches, a walking path, etc. and that's where I've done most of my reading. At least 2 or 3 nights a week I've gone there after work, enjoyed the breeze and the view, and read practically until sunset. The sun is setting earlier and earlier now, so I think my speed of reading is about to decrease (not to mention that the Fall TV lineup starts next week for many shows!). I thought I'd share a few photos I've taken this summer to give you an idea of the views I see from where I sit - I think you'll see why I spend so much time there!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pineapple Express and...Butterflies?

I saw Pineapple Express tonight, which I've been dying to see since it came out. I had high hopes for it and was not disappointed! I was laughing my head off so many times and was most pleasantly surprised by James Franco. I knew Seth Rogen would be funny, but having really only seen James Franco in the Spiderman movies, I wasn't sure what to expect. Well if you ask me, he stole the show! So freakin hilarious! I should put a warning - just because I thought this was funny doesn't mean everyone will. I happen to be very immature and think stoner jokes about male genitalia and whatnot are pretty darn funny. If that's not your speed, I'd like to recommend that you pass on this one!

Now onto more ladylike matters... This was a super quick and easy card. I think it needs more but I didn't feel like doing anything else with it when I was making it around 11:00 last night. I took the picture from a crooked angle so that hopefully you can see that the butterfly wings are not attached to the card. I used Martha Stewart's Royal Butterfly punch and glued only the buttefly bodies to the card, allowing the wings to come up off the base. It's tough to see in the photo, but the bodies are highlighted with a clear spica pen and the wings are dotted with the pen as well.

Stamps: sentiment from PTI's Little Lady
Ink: Purely Pomegranate

Paper: PTI white, Purely Pomegranate, Pretty in Pink
Other: Martha Stewart Royal Butterfly punch, clear spica pen

Monday, August 25, 2008

Birthday Cards

I'm telling you, my LOSTies are some of the most talented ladies around! They spoiled me with some truly fabulous birthday cards! The slide show below shows off all the cards I've received - just hover your mouse over any card to see who it's from. Thank you B's!

Sympathy Card

I made this card for my co-worker whose father passed away yesterday. I tried not to make it too girly, but apparently that is impossible for me, because I couldn't avoid adding some ribbon and some stickles to the center of the flowers! Oh well, it's the thought that counts I guess!

Stamps: Close as a Memory from SU
Ink: Bashful Blue, Certainly Celery
Paper: PTI white, Bashful Blue, Certainly Celery
Other: Classic and Scallop Rectangle Nestabilities, celery organdy ribbon, Stardust stickles, dimensionals

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Michael Phelps - the New Chuck Norris

Well, the Olympics are just about over. Or I guess they technically already are, but here in the United States the closing ceremonies are airing right now. I'm sad. I've so enjoyed watching every night for the past two weeks and am so proud of our athletes. To lighten my mood as I wait for my beloved Michael to appear in London, I thought I'd share some jokes from a website I found while reading a blog that two writers for the Baltimore Sun set up from Beijing to track MP and other Maryland athletes during the games. These are in the vein of the Chuck Norris jokes I'm sure you're familiar with. There are tons of these jokes on the site, but some of my favorites are below. Now remember, I didn't make these up, so any less than desirable language is not my fault! :-)

Michael Phelps does not swim; he beats the $hit out of the water until it takes him where he wants to go.

If you spell Michael Phelps in Scrabble, you win. Forever.

Michael Phelps doesn't need to wax; he just wills his body hair not to grow.

There is no 'ctrl' button on Michael Phelps' computer. Michael Phelps is always in control.

Michael Phelps destroyed the periodic table because he only recognizes the element of surprise.

Michael Phelps can slam a revolving door.

Michael Phelps was what Willis was talkin' 'bout.

Michael Phelps sleeps underwater with one eye open.

So Random...

I was just uploading some pictures I've taken recently and thought I'd share a few here. First up are a few shots from the Franklin Park Zoo that my mom and I went to on my birthday. I just love this lion. He's the epitome of what I think a lion should look like with his full mane and regal manner. The worker at the lion pen said he is 15 years old, very old for a lion, and I was worried that he would be lonely all alone in the big pen but she said as lions near the end of their lives, they tend to separate themselves from their pride and spend the rest of their days alone, so this solitary life is natural for him. Very interesting!

And this "little" guy is one of the zoo's newest additions - a baby giraffe named Sox, for the Red Sox of course! He is about 8 feet tall, which didn't sound so little until I saw his parents, who are 16 ft. and 18 ft. if I'm remembering correctly! He is very sweet and was such a good little model posing for me!

I think my favorite of the animals were the gorillas, but my pictures of them didn't come out so well since they were behind glass and even with my flash off, everything came out a little blurry. They are such cool animals to watch though and I swear they make eye contact with you and it's a little unnerving! Makes me wonder what they're thinking about all the wackadoo humans on the other side of the glass! There were I think 5 gorillas total, including a baby who was sitting on a ledge right up against the glass, just chewing away on some sort of stick that he had stolen from a bigger gorilla. So cute!

Last night some of my friends had a birthday dinner for me, with my favorite indulgence, lobster, as the main course. We were very excited to have a lobster race across the back deck and were prepared for them to take off as soon we let go. Well, what you see in that picture is all we saw too. The darn things didn't move an inch! My brother says any temperature above 70 degrees is way too hot for them, so they probably didn't feel like moving at all. I don't blame them - I feel the same way when I'm too hot!

We got tired of waiting around for some race action, so decided to let the lobsters have a little social hour. I swear the one with the blue rubber bands was talking! Its little pincher things under its face were going back and forth almost like he was clapping and there was this clicking sound going a mile a minute. I think the one in the yellow was answering too! LOL! We were thinking it would be funny if we had props, like miniature tea cups and whatnot so we could take some more interesting pictures. Hey, people like prints and greeting cards of dogs dressed as people, so why not lobsters?! I think it would be a big hit on Cape Cod!

And finally, I found this picture on my camera and realized I never shared it on here. I had made this for my friend Tracy, who won a "name that movie quote" trivia question I posted on SCS a while back. Just a fun, cheery card for my fun, cheery friend!

Stamps: PTI's Little Lady
Ink: Palette Noir, Barely Banana
Paper: PTI white, Basic Black, Barely Banana
Other: PTI Lemon Burst ribbon, clear spica pen

The Friday Night Knitting Club

The Friday Night Knitting Club
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

My Review
rating: 3 of 5 stars

I snagged this off my mother's bookshelf this week and while I liked the majority of the book, I did not like the end, which is what kept me from giving this 4 stars. I loved the exploration of the lives of the characters and how the book was told from each of their perspectives. That made for a very interesting and well-rounded picture of this group of women. I don't want to give anything away about the ending, so I'll just say it was not what I expected and I wish it had ended differently. Otherwise this was a very enjoyable story and a well-written first book for the author.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I don't have anything stamping-related to share, but having just celebrated my birthday on Wednesday, I've been doing some reflecting on the past year and on some of my goals for the coming year. I thought it would be fun to look back on this a year from now to see if I've actually seen some of these goals/wishes come true!

By my 28th birthday I hope to...

1. Lose 25-30 lbs. Actually, I'm hoping to do this by Christmas - beginning the day after Labor Day, my mom and I are starting a contest to see who can lose 25 lbs first and our goal is that we'll both have lost at least that much by the end of 2008, at which point we'll treat ourselves to a (non-food related) reward!
2. Move. I've lived in my apartment for 5 years and I never thought I'd be here this long. It was a place my then-boyfriend and I settled on in a hurry because I was starting a job here in Connecticut and needed a place to live. I've never liked the apartment itself or the building it's in, so I really can't wait to move. With this currently being a buyers' market, I'm hoping to buy a condo and leave my renting days behind. I'd love to see this happen by Christmas too!
3. Be debt free. I've been steadily working on this over the past two years and I'm almost there. To be honest, I never thought I'd come this far. A little over 3 years ago, my life was a mess due largely to the previously mentioned boyfriend. But with a lot of determination, I've managed to pay off everything he saddled me with, paid off my car early, and paid off the money I borrowed for college! Just a small credit card balance to go and I'll be officially debt free. Just in time to start with a mortgage...!
4. Date. I'm 27 years old and have never officially been on a date. Sure, I've had boyfriends, both short term and long term, but it has always been a situation where we met through friends, went out in groups, and then it was just sort of an unspoken thing that we were exclusively "dating". But I've never just met a guy, had him ask me out, and gone to dinner or a movie and had the chance to get to know each other that way. I think it's time! This one's a little less within my control than the first three, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my eyes open!
5. Meet Michael Phelps. Ok, so this one will likely never happen, but a girl can dream! Just because I'm 27 doesn't mean I need to let go of ridiculous crushes, does it? I am somewhat ridiculously obsessed with Michael Phelps these days. I can't get enough video footage, interviews, articles, photos, you name it. His appeal for me is a combination of things - his amazing accomplishments in the pool of course, and the fact that he's just adorable in a hot yet "guy next door" kind of way. But what really caught me was his personality in all of the interviews I've seen and the relationship he has with his mother and sisters. For a kid who has every reason to have the biggest head in the room, he seems remarkably down to earth. I like it.

So that's that. If you've kept with me through this bit of reflection, thanks! Though I have a lot of things I want to change about me and my life, deep down I know that I am truly blessed. My timeline that I've always had in place may be off (I was supposed to be getting married at 27 or 28 at the latest, so my first child could be born when I was no older than 30 and so on...) but I guess life just doesn't work that way. I have a wonderful family, the best friends anyone could ask for, a roof over my head, too much food to eat, and the luck to live in the United States. It's easy to get swept up in complaints about our country, the economy, the president, etc. but I am so proud to be an American. Tears have come to my eyes with every single playing of our national anthem throughout these Olympic games and I have felt such a surge of joy for each and every one of our champions. Go USA!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Heard That Song Before

This will be a slow week in Shamrocks and Seashells land, as I'm visiting my parents and have no stamping supplies with me. So, no projects to share, but I have read one book so far since I got here and if my mom keeps taking naps instead of hanging out with me, I just may read a few more before the week is up!

I Heard That Song Before
I Heard That Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark

My Review
Rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book well enough, though it wasn't my favorite of Mary Higgins Clark's books (and I think I've read them all!). I don't want to give everything away, but the events at the beginning of the book (mainly the shotgun wedding between two of the characters) were just too unbelievable for me and didn't allow me to really connect with those characters and buy in to their story. That aside, this was a typical MHC mystery that kept me interested enough to read it in just a few hours. I generally find her books to be a little predictable, although this one did keep me guessing just a little longer than some of her others. Overall, a quick and easy mindless read!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Let's try this again...

This was not meant to be a separate post from the last card I posted, but when I tried to hit Shift P to capitalize the "p" in "paper" in my supply list for the last card, I hit Ctrl P instead, which published the post! So I just quickly edited that post to finish it off and figured I'd do this one separately. Anyway...

I just made this card to play around with my new Cuttlebug border embossing folders. This is just my first card playing with them, but I can tell I'm going to have some fun!

Stamps: PTI Everyday Blessings
Ink: Purely Pomegranate
Paper: PTI white, Purely Pomegranate
Other: Frills Cuttlebug embossing folder, pearlescent white bridal flowers from Michael's, Wedding Bells dew drop

Trivia Prize...

I made this card for my LOSTie friend Justine who won a Charlie trivia contest I had a while back. I used my Baroque Motifs set that I "had to have" and yet has only seen love once or twice before! I used an old SCS sketch challenge for this, though I don't remember which one off the top of my head and I'm too lazy to get up and check my sketch book. The main image is outlined with a clear spica pen and the centers of each of the stamped images have a green swarovski crystal in them. I love bling!

Stamps: Baroque Motifs, A Muse sentiment
Ink: Certainly Celery

Paper: PTI white, Certainly Celery
Other: clear spica pen, crystals, dimensionals

Baby Proof

Baby Proof Baby Proof by Emily Giffin

My Review
rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third Emily Giffin book that I've read and the third one that I've really enjoyed! I love Giffin's "chick lit" because while it has its indulgent frilly moments, it also touches on real issues that face women today. In this book, Claudia and Ben find a common bond that is unique among their friends - neither of them want children. They quickly fall in love and get married, but when one of them changes their mind about having a baby, they're forced to reexamine their lives together. There are some great supporting characters in the book that were fun to get to know and add a lot to the story. As with so many of the books I've read this summer, I read it in just a few hours because I was compelled to keep reading until I finished!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Birthday Card for Mom

I made this card for my mom's birthday. I have no idea what I'm giving her as a gift yet, but at least I've got the card done! I used some of my new Nestabilities - a classic rectangle (which I also embossed, though it's hard to see in the photo) and a scalloped rectangle. Gotta get my money's worth out of those things! I used SU's word window punch to punch an opening out of the black strip, punching it twice, side by side, for a window long enough for the sentiment. The sentiment is stamped on a scrap of white cardstock which I then centered in the window and taped to the back. The spots on the ladybug's back are traced with a clear spica pen, and the window is traced with that pen as well. I hope she likes it!

Stamps: Papertrey's Little Lady, Birthday Basics
Ink: Palette Noir, Sage Shadow
Paper: PTI white, Basic Black, Sage Shadow
Other: Nestabilities, stylized flower cuttlebug folder, word window punch, clear spica pen, dimensionals, May Arts ribbon

Monday, August 11, 2008

Anni-VERVE-sary Sketch #8

I hadn't gotten to play along with any of the Anni-VERVE-sary sketches yet, but tonight I needed to make a card for a co-worker who had a baby a week ago already (the baby was 3 weeks early, so I sort of have an excuse for being unprepared!) and this sketch was perfect, as I knew I wanted to use this onesie image from Papertrey. I'm not crazy about having the onesie and the sentiment stamped in black, but I tried them both with Sweet Blush ink at first and it was just too pale. I couldn't see the lines to cut out the onesie and the sentiment was barely readable. So ugly stark black it is! Other than that, I really like how this card turned out. I kinda wish I had stamped something on the strip of Sweet Blush cardstock but didn't realize it until too late. Oh well!

Stamps: Bitty Baby Blessings
Ink: Palette Noir
Paper: PTI white, Sweet Blush, patterned paper
Other: Sweet Blush twill ribbon, paper piercing tool, Marvy mega oval punch, Marvy giga scallop oval punch, Wedding Bells dew drops, dimensionals

I've Been Tagged!

I have received the BFF (Blogging Friends Forever) Gold Card from three of my sweet blogging friends, Kim (who gave this to me before I left for the GBC when I was so behind - sorry I'm so late!!), Rachel, and Stacy. The rules are that you are supposed to list 5 faithful readers of your blog, one of whom is from another part of the world. Well, I only have about 5 faithful readers and they've all been tagged already I think, and by the few people who do read my blog! SO I won't tag anyone else, but I'll thank you lovely ladies for tagging me and will encourage anyone that I don't know about who is lurking to soak in the talent oozing from the blogs created by these girls!

I was also given the Brillante Weblog Award by Rachel and for this award I am to choose 7 blogs to pass the award on to. I'm going to try and choose some blogs that I haven't seen tagged by my faithful friends to spread the love even more!

New Nestabilities!!

I did a very bad thing yesterday. My local stamp store had their entire store on sale - 20% off EVERYTHING this whole weekend. I managed to resist on Friday and Saturday, telling myself I didn't need anything. Then I remembered that the store sells Nestabilities. Nesties for 20% off??? Impossible to resist! So I booked it on over there, half hoping they'd be all sold out so I could be saved from myself, but alas, they had a number of sets still available. So somehow I am now the owner of 7 sets of Nestabilities - how did that happen??

Here's the first card I made with them, just playing around really. I had seen people do an embossed frame on a one layer card like this before and it just screams simple elegance to me, which is just what I was looking for. I wanted to make a card for my pastor because his homily yesterday was especially wonderful and I felt like it was directed right to me. He has an uncanny way of doing this with his homilies and when he is presiding over Mass, I always leave feeling comforted. So I figured I always like to know when I'm doing a good job, so I'm sure he wouldn't mind hearing it either! I need to find a repositionable tape to hold the die in place when I need it in a specific postion like this, because as you can see, it's slightly crooked. I don't think my pastor will mind though! I kept the rest of the card really simple - the cross is just embellished with a few clear gemstones and the innermost embossed part of the "frame" is traced with a clear spica pen. That's it!

Stamps: PTI's Everyday Blessings
Ink: Bashful Blue
Paper: PTI white
Other: clear gemstones, clear spica pen, rectangle Nestabilities


Lottery by Patricia Wood

My Review
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was just the sweetest story. It is told from the viewpoint of Perry L. Crandall who is NOT retarded - he has an IQ of 76, and you have to have a number of 75 or lower to officially be mentally retarded, as Perry reminds you repeatedly throughout the book. I read this book in about 4 hours because I just couldn't put it down and kept telling myself "just one more chapter" until suddenly I was at the end! I loved seeing the world through Perry's eyes and his simple, no nonsense way of looking at things had me laughing out loud a number of times. It had a few sad moments too, but overall was a wonderful, uplifting read that made me stop and think about how it's the little things in life that really matter and can bring you joy.

Friday, August 8, 2008

My Personal DNA

My brother sent me this personal DNA test, filled with a lot of questions about my likes and dislikes, how I perceive myself, how other people perceive me, etc. I thought the results were pretty interesting and more or less dead on! It said I'm a "faithful dreamer" and then proceeded to break down my personality and analyze where my strengths and weaknesses lie: My personalDNA Report

Margarita Pie

Try to overlook the melty pie in the picture to the left. I am a HIGHLY impatient person, especially when it comes to food, and barely waited the 2 hours I was supposed to before I dug into the pie. Therefore, it wasn't quite as set as it should have been and doesn't quite look too pretty!

I had high hopes for this pie - ice cream: good, limeade: good, tequila: gooood! So I'm sorry to say I was a little disappointed in it. It was pretty tasty, don't get me wrong. And I WILL finish off the whole thing myself. I guess I was just expecting more of something. I didn't put in the orange-flavored liquer that the recipe called for because I didn't have any at home and I didn't feel like buying a whole bottle for the tablespoon it called for. So maybe that's why the taste was off? I got the recipe from and it had high reviews, so I guess I thought it would be more 'wow'.

I think part of the problem was the crust. It wasn't as flavorful as I would have liked and I think if I were to ever make this again, I'd go with a graham cracker crust as opposed to this homemade pretzel one. The other problem with the crust is, because you have to keep the pie in the freezer, there's no crunch or crispness to it, which I like in a crust.

Oh well, it was a nice pie warm up before The Real Pie Club officially kicks off next week. Don't ask me to explain the RPC because then I'd have to kill you.

Margarita Pie

2 cups miniature pretzel twists
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1 6 oz. can frozen limeade concentrate, slightly thawed
1 qt. vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1 tsp. grated lime peel
3 Tbsp. tequila
1 Tbsp. orange-flavored liquer

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In food processor bowl with metal blade or blender container, process pretzel twists until crumbs form. Add sugar; process with on/off pulses to mix. Add butter; mix well. With machine running, add 2 tablespoons of the limeade concentrate, processing until well mixed. Place mixture in ungreased 9-inch pie pan. With back of spoon, press mixture firmly in bottom and up sides of pan.

Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until set. Place baked shell in freezer or refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to cool.

Meanwhile, in clean food processor bowl with metal blade or large bowl for electric mixer, combine ice cream, remaining limeade concentrate, lime peel, tequila and liqueur; process or mix just until blended. Spoon into cooled baked shell. Freeze 2 hours or until firm.

Remaining GBC Creations

I think this one was my favorite of all the non-Christmas cards that I created at the GBC. This is for my friend Marie, who had her first baby, Quincy Reginald, on July 30 (3 weeks early!). I can't wait to see him, but she ended up having an unexpected c-section because her blood pressure was through the roof, so I figured I'd give her a little time to rest and get used to having little Quincy at home! I just love this little PTI buggy - so fun to customize with just a little paper piecing!

Stamps: PTI's Bitty Baby Blessings
Ink: Palette Noir, Bashful Blue
Paper: PTI white, Bashful Blue, Certainly Celery, DCWV patterned paper
Other: clear gemstones, SU oval punches, Swiss Dot Cuttlebug folder, twill ribbon from Taylored Expressions

This was my first foray into coloring with Copic markers and let's just say, some practice is needed! I had a really hard time getting the hang of blending, of removing ink from spots, etc. I guess I'll have to wait until next year's LOSTie gathering to play some more, because I'm not spending all that money on toys I can't even use properly!

I love this image from Impression Obsession and I think if I were any good, it would be really fun to color, LOL! I pulled the colors from the Figgy Pudding paper from Basic Grey, so it's sort of stuck between a Christmas card and an everyday one. Oh well!

Stamps: image and sentiment from Impression Obsession
Ink: Palette Noir, Mellow Moss, Copic markers
Paper: Ruby Red, Mellow Moss, PTI white, Basic Grey Figgy Pudding
Other: SU scallop punch, Weding Bells dew drops, Sakura silver gel pen

Colleen issued a challenge to make a card about food, but NOT using cupcakes (since that was naturally the first instinct all of us had!). I thought I was out of options, but Rachel had her A Muse Sushi set, so I borrowed it for the challenge. The sushi "fillings" are colored with glitter pens, and the tray is outlined with one as well. Otherwise, there's just some sponging along the card edges and a little paper piercing along the top and bottom of the green square.

Stamps: A Muse image and sentiment
Ink: Always Artichoke

Paper: PTI white, Always Artichoke
Other: spica glitter pens, clear gemstones
This was just another quick baby card, made for my friend Lili who is due with a little boy in November. The oval is punched out of the blue top layer so that the sentiment, stamped on the base, shows through.

Stamps: PTI Bitty Baby Blessings
Ink: Bashful Blue
Paper: PTI white, Bashful Blue, Close to Cocoa
Other: SU small oval punch, Marvy giga scallop oval punch, mega oval punch, clear spica pen, misc. brown ribbon, Swiss Dots Cuttlebug folder

This last card was made from a little "kit" sent to all of us at the GBC by LOSTie Debbie. The image, paper, ribbon, and dew drops all came from her and I challenged myself to see what I could come up with. I think it turned out pretty cheery, though that yellow and blue copic marker choice is unusual on my part - I don't usually go that bright!

Stamps: Inkadinkado cupcake image
Ink: yellow and blue copics
Paper: Real Red, Vanilla, patterned paper from ????
Other: red grosgrain, dew drops, Stardust stickles (on sprinkles)

Birthday Card for Alyson

I made this card for my LOSTie sister Alyson, whose birthday was the day we arrived at the GBC. It was wonderful to be able to see her in person on her special day, and to get cake as part of the bargain! ;-)

The main image panel is slightly crooked, but when I noticed it and tried to reposition, the tape started ripping the paper a bit and I decided it wasn't worth it. So just ignore that part, ok? (Oh, and ignore the crooked sentiment too!) I had started off by watercoloring the cupcake frosting but the realized the color that it dried as was waaaaaay off from the pink of the cardstock, paper, and ribbon. So, I covered it with the white opal liquid pearls which apparently let some of the watercoloring show through, creating a pinkish frosting that was a much better match! I love when accidents turn out ok like that!

Stamps: cuppacakeabella, sentiment from PTI's Birthday Basics
Ink: Palette Noir, Close to Cocoa, Blush Blossom
Paper: Pretty in Pink, Mellow Moss, PTI white, Chatterbox paper
Other: Sweet Blush twill ribbon from PTI, white opal liquid pearl, pink gemstone

My Sergei: A Love Story

I picked up this book after seeing it on my friend Kim's Goodreads list. The main events of the book, and the height of stardom for Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, take place from the late 1980s through the mid-90s, which also happens to be when I was a figure skater myself. I started off with group lessons, then began private lessons, and even entered a competition, where I came in second place. I was obsessed with figure skating, loved watching the Olympics, the movie The Cutting Edge, and anything else skating related that I could absorb. So I remember very well the team of Gordeeva and Grinkov and remember being crushed when Sergei died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 28. Back then, I knew that was young, but it didn't seem as young as it does now! Being less than two weeks shy of 27, I can't imagine leaving this world so soon. But anyway, this is not about me, it's about Ekaterina's story of how she met Sergei, their life together, and how she is pushing herself to carry on...

My Sergei: A Love Story My Sergei: A Love Story by Ekaterina Gordeeva

My Review
rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a sweet story that I think would be enjoyed by anyone, but especially fans of figure skating. The relationship between Katia and Sergei spans so many years, as they essentially grow up together and go from partners to friends to lovers and finally husband and wife. Katia's story gives you a true sense of who Sergei was, and what he meant to her and to the world of skating. This was a fast, easy read, but be prepared to cry!

Monday, August 4, 2008


My trip to the Gutter Bus Cottage in Bailey, CO with 11 of my LOSTies was every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped! I had SO MUCH fun and laughed and cried and ate and drank and oh, right, stamped a little too! Stamping honestly wasn't my priority; I was more concerned with just chatting and giggling and general merriment, but I did bring a bunch of stamping stuff with me and of course raided other people's loot as well, so I got more done than I thought I might!

I think this one is my favorite of all the cards I made and I plan to use this as my Christmas card for my extended family this year. It was quick and easy to do and will not be hard to mass produce. The card was inspired by a challenge issued by Colleen - we had to create a card using the colors we were wearing. I had on a red shirt and denim capris, and luckily had the supplies to replicate that!

Stamps: Snowflake Serenade by PTI
Ink: Night of Navy, Real Red
Paper: Night of Navy, PTI white
Other: Real Red ribbon, clear spica pen, clear gemstones

Here's another quick and easy Christmas card that I was pretty pleased with and would take no time at all to make multiples of. The car is colored with a silver glitter gel pen and the headlights are covered with clear gemstones. Otherwise, just a few small layers, a multi-colored sentiment, and the card is done!

Stamps: A Muse image, sentiment from PTI's Take a Bough
Ink: Palette Noir, Real Red, Garden Green
Paper: PTI white, Real Red, Garden Green
Other: silver Sakura pen, clear gemstones

I used the same image for this card and cased my friend Tracy for the layout and design. This time I used a red copic marker to color the car and used the silver glitter gel pen for the bumper. The wreath is also colored with sakura glitter gel pens for some extra sparkle.

Stamps: A Muse image, sentiment from PTI's Take a Bough
Ink: Palette Noir, red copic marker
Paper: Old Olive, Real Red, PTI white, SU patterned paper
Other: clear gemstones, silver, red, and green Sakura glitter gel pens

I've become a big fan of very simple card with one, maybe two layers, so this card fits right in. I love how quick and easy I can create cards with this Papertrey set and plan to use it for a lot of my Christmas cards this year. The ornament hook is traced with a gold spica pen and the center of the ornament is traced with a clear Sakura glitter gel pen. The stars are self-adhesive and I found them at Joann's in their $1 spot!

Stamps: Take a Bough by Papertrey
Ink: Close to Cocoa, Always Artichoke, Cranberry Crisp, Summer Sun
Paper: PTI white, Cranberry Crisp
Other: gold spica pen, clear Sakura gel pen, silver star embellishments

I've got more to share, but it's almost midnight and tomorrow I go back to work after my WONDERFUL long weekend. :-( I've got a handful of non-Christmas cards that I worked on, so I'll share those tomorrow night or later in the week.


Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn (Twilight Series, Book 4) Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

My Review
rating: 5 of 5 stars

Really, if I could have given Breaking Dawn 4.5 stars instead of 5, I would have. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it and won't read it repeatedly in the weeks and years to come, but in all honesty, I just didn't like the book as much as Eclipse or Twilight, so to give this the full five stars doesn't give enough credit to those two books. Yet I liked it more than New Moon, so I wanted to give it more than 4 stars. What a dilemma! I ended up giving the full five because it really was a wonderful book.

I don't know what it is that makes me hesitate just slightly about raving that I love love loved it. I guess I can't really explain it without giving anything away, and the last thing I want to do is spoil the book for anyone! There was definitely plenty of the good romance I was looking for, some tear-jerking moments, and some heart-pounding action as well. I was lucky enough to get the very last copy available in the bookstore at the Denver airport yesterday afternoon, so I was able to read my whole flight home, which made the 3.5 hours fly by! I was a little over 500 pages in by the end of the flight, and then saved the rest for this morning so I would have something to look forward to when I woke up, LOL! I'm really sad for the series to come to an end, and I REALLY hope Stephenie Meyer gets crack-a-lackin on writing Twilight from Edward's perspective. At least there's the movie to look forward to on December 12!

Second Chance

Second Chance Second Chance by Jane Green

My Review
rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was not my favorite of Jane Green's books, though I did enjoy it. Her books are usually a little more frivolous and to be honest, that's kinda what I was hoping for out of this one too. I didn't really read the book jacket, just assumed it would be in the same vein as her other books, and was a little surprised that it had some very sad elements, as the main characters dealt with the sudden death of their friend and were forced to deal with the unhappy turn of events in many of their lives. It was still a good read, but I think Jemima J remains as my favorite Jane Green novel to date!