Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Card Toot!

My card was printed in the newspaper on Christmas Day! The New Orleans' Times-Picayune put out a call for readers to send in Katrina related Christmas cards and I drew one up. What a fun surprise!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Surgery Delayed

After two days of doctor and hospital visits, EKGs, Xrays, talking with the anesthesiologist, lab work, etc. Julie gets a call about some scheduling conflict...not enough time for the procedure...only two neurosurgery ORs...other doctor scheduled first and gets priority...not enough ancillary hospital workers...shortened OR hours since the hurricane...blah, blah, blah! Seems that OR staff can make more money pulling out sheetrock! Seriously...that's what we were told! Julie had prepared herself and is not taking this delay very well as you can expect!

Friday, December 2, 2005

Great Stories Of Humanity

* In the Kireka slum outside Kampala, Uganda, hundreds of women earn about $1.20 per day pounding rocks by hand into walnut-sized pebbles for sale as construction material. Hearing of Katrina, 200 of them began a drive to raise money for the hurricane victims. They raised $900, and were so overjoyed at being able to make this gift that they held a celebration, complete with dancing. Their story is in today's Times-Picayune.
* In a similar vein, this story was reported here about 3½ weeks ago: St. Lawrence Church in the Watts section of Los Angeles took up a collection for Katrina's victims. The normal parish collection is $6,000; the special collection raised $7,000. But most touching was the gift of one woman. On the special-collection envelope, she wrote, ""Para las victimas del huracan, no traia dinero pero esto debe de tener algun valor. Es de todo corazon." ("For the victims of the hurricane. I did not bring any money. But this should be of some value. It is with all of my heart.") Inside the envelope, she placed her gold wedding ring.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Now Hiring!

Fast food establishments like Rally's are paying $10/hour. Wendy's has a weekly bonus of $125. Burger King has a $600 sign-on bonus. Houston's pays $13/hour. And no one can find workers. It's crazy!

But the shortage means that Brendan and his friend Josh landed a little part time job with a high-end electronics dealer looking for help. No big checks for two 14 year old kids, but at least they have something to do with themselves in the afternoon since the school they now attend has been platooning since the storm.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Kevin's Rash

Kevin, 5, was sick on Sunday...didn't eat or drink or get off the couch practically all day. So I kept him home Monday. He complained of a few itchy spots but I just assumed they were mosquito bites. That night he comes into our room complaining again, I notice several blotches,and it dawns on me that he has 5th's disease. (There I am at 3:45 googling and reading about his textbook case.) I kept him home one more day but this morning I gave him antihistamine and sent him to school with a rash and a note since Fifth's is no longer contageous once the rash appears. I'm reading that this rash could last up to 3 weeks! THREE WEEKS! I hope not!

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Masked Men In City!

We took a lot of depressing pictures last weekend when we went into New Orleans. Started out uptown where my sister works taking pics of marked homes , etc. then little by little we realized that nothing was really off-limits…..so…..loaves of bread in hand, we made our way to City Park on a mission to feed the ducks! But the ducks and geese were nowhere to be found! They probably figured out how to use those wings of theirs and headed to a better place. Anyway, after taking pictures of Chris’ school in the park, we caught sight of these two fellows:

There were actually three of them…..little babies with momma nowhere to be found. We fed them the only thing we had…bits of bread. They were being very cautious but hunger got the best of them and they devoured it all. So CUTE!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I looked out the window and saw...

the MAIL TRUCK!!! Woo-hoo! I BOUNCED down the stairs and swung open the door expecting a sack of mail...all the bills and junk that's been collecting in some warehouse high and dry somewhere. Nope! Just two measly envelopes for my daughter...AND...

A box from Lifetime Moments...stuff that I ordered two days before the hurricane! The entire household comes running so see why I'm so excited! (They think that I scared off the mailman and he'll probably never come back.)

Ahhhhhh! Glad to see that the important stuff is being delivered first! LOL!

Monday, September 19, 2005

School starts again...

For Kevin at least! I hope! Since St. Ann's was severely damaged by flooding and won't reopen until January, we signed him up at St. Rita's (which cousin Emily attends) and they reopen on Wednesday!!! Their sign-ups were supposed to begin at 8AM this morning...so of course I was there at 7:00! LOL! Two other parents were there already, but I think Kevin was the only Kindergartener. So, I'm crossing fingers that we'll get a call tomorrow! This year is so important. He should be reading soon and instead has only been to school 2 days before the storm. If he gets in, we'll keep him there the entire year. Whew...some sense of normalcy will be nice!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Going Home

Guess what we may be doing TOMORROW! We may go HOME! A friend went and checked our house and we have electricity now. Still under a boil water order and not sure about the sewerage facilities, but my dh and the kids decided that they want to go back anyway. The authorities have not said that we "can" go back but they are also not stopping anyone who does. While I was out looking for a laundromat this morning, the rest of the family decided this and is ready to "vote me off the island" if I don't agree. So...I think we're going to do it. I'm so tired of the wandering! The house we "were" going to rent here is not quite ready yet. GRRRR! This hotel thing is getting very old, and I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I can't wait to COOK a meal! Some of the groceries near our home are opening and although they still mostly have only canned goods, they will be getting fresh and frozen stuff in soon. Even tuna fish and crackers sounds good if I can eat it at my own table!

The authorities are inviting businesses back but are not saying anything to the homeowners and everyone is getting quite ticked to say the least. We're going to test the waters and try to get back in. I'm anxious to get back and tarp the roof and chimney. Good thing we haven't had any rain lately, because I don't know if we would get water damage from the missing shingles and sheared off chimney top. Then there's that tree leaning precariously against the house. I want to get moving on repairs! So that's the plan for now. Bye-bye Atlanta!

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Off We Go!

We are heading out tomorrow for Atlanta. It will be easier to find housing there, and I can get the kids back in school and into some kind of routine. We're going to take it day by day.

Went to our house. Not bad at all! Our chimney top is in a neighbor's driveway, and the largest oak in our yard split and came crashing down, partly on the house...but miraculously did not appear to do any serious damage! The fence and our patio cover is history, and we'll need a new roof, but that's it! Everything just looks so weird! My mil didn't even recognize our street. then there's all those army guys with their AK47s! And choppers flying overhead every minute or two. Very eerie!

Of course, the city proper is a mess. Since Brendan and Christopher went to school in New Orleans I'm sure some of their friends and schoolmates lost their homes. It just gets worse from there, and I can't even think about what lies ahead for the city.

So off we go to Atlanta, praying to be back soon to a place that will be forever changed, but hopefully better and stronger than ever.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Seeking Housing

(LM Archives)

...in Houma, Thibodaux, Morgan City, Pontchatoula, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Carencro, Brusly, Napoleonville, Plaquamine or etc. We are (10 of us) living with a single friend and need somewhere more permanent to land until we can live in our home again. Our situation is that our home was not destroyed, but we can't go back. Every home on the market has been sold in the entire unaffected SE LA. Please if you have any contacts, put the word out. Thanks so much!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Restaurant Funnies

The infamous Cracker Barrel Incident occurred about 10 years ago, when Brendan was 3. We were on our way back from a company Christmas party in Nashville and had stopped for lunch at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Seated at a long table against the window, we were pouring over the menus when we notice B-boy standing up in his chair, pulling down his pants, underwear included! Well, you know how things begin to move in slow motion at times like these? An eternity later, we had him seated with all clothes in place, and asked him what in the world he thought he was doing. "I farted and was just checking my pants," he said nonchalantly. Tears mixing with food, we giggled and choked our way through the entire meal!

Another day, we were taking the family out of eat...again. At the TGIFriday's in Memphis, there was a gold colored bowl attached to the wall just inside the door. Filled with sand, it was a signal for smokers to extinguish their cigarettes before entering the seating area. Well, Brendan reaches right up, dips his fingers in the bowl, and makes the sign of the cross. He thought it was a holy water font! LOL! Meanwhile the hostess informs us of the very long wait, so we were able to leave and continue our laughing in the car.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Counting the Days

The kids have been out of school for over 3 weeks now and I am missing it immensely! The kids are home all day, dirtying dishes, clothes, the house, and fighting me and each other for the computer! Is it August yet???????

Friday, March 18, 2005

Clean Rooms

The "cable guy" was coming to switch our phones to cable this morning. I was told that they would be working outside but then may need to check the inside jacks if there were problems. Well, since there are jacks in every room in the house...including all the kids bedrooms, I've been threatening them all week long. Their rooms had to be cleaned up (no clothes under the bed, vacuumed floors, relatively neat and clean) for this morning. You should have seen the dust flying last night! LOL! (I don't even go into their rooms unless it's an emergency usually!) So today the kids' rooms are sparkling clean, all the mess picked up, the cable telephone is installed...

and they didn't even have to come inside! ROFL!

What can I have installed next?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Scenic Route

From the LM Archives

March 17, 2005
Scenic Route
by Madeline Fox
Festival \Fes"ti-val\, n.
1. A time of feasting or celebration; an anniversary day of joy.
2. Revelry; conviviality.  Syn: Feast; banquet.  Also festivale, as in Scenic Route’s newest line of patterned papers for scrapbooking.  Syn:  feast for the eyes, celebration of color, amusement park of patterns!
Have you “scene” it?  The newest collection of 36 patterned papers from the Scenic Route Paper Company, calledFestivale, is a sight to behold.  It’s like a fabulous stroll through a street fair, being bombarded from every angle with color and pattern, one stall more intriguing than the next.  Every way you turn there’s a new combination of colors, patterns that inspire, and interesting applications of typography.  
It’s the beautiful colors that grab your attention and continue to intrigue.  Each of these artistically crafted papers is printed on a thick sturdy cardstock in jewel-like colors in schemes ranging from cool blues and greens on white to the dazzling multi-colored diamonds on worn.  If clean, geometric and bright tickle your fancy, you’ll find papers in the collection perfectly tailored for you.  The crisp white background contrasts nicely with diamonds, circles, squares, stripes and flowers, to name a few of the patterns that grace these papers.  If a more shabby-chic look is your “cup of tea” the papers with the worn, tea-dyed background should fill this niche nicely.  Either way, you’ll find appealing patterns in gorgeous colors that are easy to incorporate into any variety of page designs.
My favorite pattern… (Well, OK, second to the funky chickens maybe)…has to be the modernized Harlequin diamond design.  Much to its credit, the Festivale line takes this classic pattern to a new level, with the addition of color and visual texture unlike any I’ve ever seen.  The mélange of colorful diamonds, softened by a bit of distressing and a layer of text is the perfect start to any page.  Pick your base color, because these diamonds can be found on either a bright white or more subdued “worn” background. 
Another standout pattern is the large daisy design, Big Yellow Daisy or Big Red Daisy, on a background of text on white or text on worn respectively.  Apples, pears, or colorful flowers are other pattern options, in addition to stripes in a multitude of colors and styles.  The many scripts also lend themselves to great paper compositions when layered with a coordinating pattern or two.  The “almost solid” is a great anchor for a larger pattern.  In my page, Good Neighbor, the large daisy design would be overwhelming if not tempered by the addition of the green script and matching accent envelope. 
I can’t forget to mention the wonderful papers of word art.  There are Spring WordsAdventure WordsExpressions, and more.  Even a page of chicken jokes!  Gayle, on her Shabbat layout, has strategically placed a section of one such paper so that the words, believe and discover, are advantageously displayed alongside and above her photos.
Are you wondering how all of these colors and patterns can be found on just 36 sheets of paper?  Well let me tell you!  (This is the best part!)  The entire line is comprised of double sided cardstock papers, where each pattern has a coordinating flip side.  This is such an awesome feature, a definite advantage when you design pages using multiple patterns!  It also makes it easy to design cards, folders, bookpockets, accordion tags, etc. with no worry as to how the “other side” will look.  Stripes, scripts and solids back each of the larger designs!
First drawn to the artistry of the Festivale line, I then began to appreciate the finer details that make working with these papers a real joy.  New to the store and sure to enhance any paper crafting project are this line’s cardstock sticker words and monograms and an appealing array of great alphabets.  Also available are six vellum designs, including a diamond pattern, words, and large alphabet.
Next time you’re in the store, take the Scenic Route and explore their newest offerings.  You’re sure to find just the right papers to compliment your memories! 

Thursday, February 10, 2005

From the LM Archives

February 10, 2005
Envelopes & Pockets
by Madeline Fox
If you have ever done the laundry of a typical toddler boy you know better than to simply throw the clothes into the washing machine without first checking all of the pockets!  Rocks and crayons, coins and other priceless treasures, even the occasional creature are all capable of finding their way into little boy pockets.  There are many surprises to be discovered when going through the pockets of a child on washday!  This mystery and intrigue also applies to pockets on a scrapbook page. 
 With pockets and envelopes (basically pockets with a flap), scrapbook pages can become interactive and fun, with an added element of surprise!  These page additions can hold tags, mini books, or extra pictures when photos are plentiful.  They are great for tucking in a little extra journaling, and freeing up room on the page for other photos or embellishments.  With more personal writings, an envelope or pocket can hold your thoughts in private while allowing others to view the page.  Perhaps you’ve written a love letter to your child, spouse, or special someone. You could even seal the envelope so that your heartfelt journaling remains undisturbed to be read sometime in the future!
What else can go in pockets and envelopes?  Vacation souvenirs such as maps and brochures, menus and ticket stubs can be stored with easy access for viewing.  Special keepsakes, such as baby’s hospital bracelet, a lock of hair, or other memento can be tucked away for safekeeping.  All sorts of ephemera find a handy home on your pages.  Cardmakers will also find perfectly sized envelopes to compliment their handcrafted cards and invitations.
Even with all of these uses, I find myself adding pockets and envelopes more for artistic reasons than anything else.  While most people value envelopes and pockets for their ability to hold things, I seem to value them more for what goes on the outside.  They become a coordinating backdrop for other page elements, set off photos and add interest to a layout design.  Just like tags, envelopes and pockets allow you to create on a small scale…as with a mini-canvas.  Decorate with patterned papers, paint, ink, stickers, ribbons, rub-ons and more for a personalized page accent, which may or may not double as a holder of sorts.  For the page I did for my son’s Homecoming Dance, the policy envelope is a major part of the page design, helping to anchor the accent elements, bring out the colors in the photos, all the while holding extra photos and journaling about the event.
Envelopes and Pockets at Lifetime Moments
Bazzill has come up with a comprehensive selection of envelopes and pockets in 13 of their scrumptious cardstock colors.  A2 and square envelopes are the perfect compliment for homemade cards, 5 3/4" x 4 3/16" and 5 7/8" x 5 7/8 respectively, with lick and seal closures.  At the opposite ends of the spectrum are the tiny coin envelopes, measuring 2 1/4" x 3 1/2" with lick and seal closures, and the large policy envelopes, 4 1/6" x 9 1/4", with string tie closure.  And don’t forget their library pockets.  They’re not just for library cards anymore!  
Kopp Designs has taken the traditional library pocket and given it an updated look!  Kopp pockets are available with cutouts and windows in two sizes and six colors.  I used one of the large cranberry-colored Kopp pockets with a window to make a unique valentine for my husband.  The opening was perfect for showcasing a vintage postcard image.  The front of the pocket was then distressed with ink, layered with torn paper and accented with ribbons and letter charms.  A simple tag was cut from a coordinating shade of cardstock to hold my sentiments.  Since everything is acid-free this pocket card can be added to a scrapbook page at a later date!
Lil Davis Stationary Collection also has button and string envelopes in a great 4” x 5” size and slash pockets that measure 2” x 3”.  Use the pockets when you want a little peek at what’s enclosed, such as with a tag or additional photo, and the envelope when you want something hidden or kept from view.
With pockets and envelopes, it’s easy to add a little mystery and intrigue to your pages.  And everyone will love all the little surprises to be discovered…the priceless treasures of your world!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Streamlining the Process

From the LM Newsletter Archives

January 27, 2005
Streamlining the Process
by Madeline Fox
How many scrapbook pages would you like to complete in 2005?  One a week, one a day, or simply more than last year?  Upon noticing a tally in the signatures of several scrappers at the end of 2004, I decided to do a count of my own, resulting in a final tally of 87 (12x12) pages, a quite sizeable number considering the time it takes for me to complete just one page.  Meanwhile, the photos that I want to scrap, the moments that I want to document, the thoughts that I want to share, and the memories that I want to preserve continue to accumulate like snow on the slopes of the Cascades.  I needed to dig myself out of this avalanche before beginning my climb to the top.  Getting down to business, I first cleaned and decluttered my scrap space, organized and rearranged my supplies, then looked to the mountain ahead, ready to conquer!  I set my goal for 2005, increasing it by over 30 pages to 120.  How hard could that be?  Breaking it down, 120 pages is merely 10 pages a month, 3 pages a week, one page every 2 days!  Why was this so hard for me?  I’ll tell you why.  I’m obsessive!  I’m indecisive!  I procrastinate!  I rethink my designs, color schemes, accent placement, and even photos!  And I have a family…’nuff said!  So I began to think about solutions.  Here are a few good ones that I plan to utilize in order to achieve my goal this year:
Idea Books-From simple to sophisticated, there’s an idea book out there for everyone and every style.  Some books are designed around a particular product line, such as KI’s Little Book of Big Ideas and Junkitz Unzipped.  Others are geared towards a selected theme, such as Baby, Oh BabyAll About Kids, or the Scrapbook Solutions DVD Birthdays, Holidays and Everyday Life.   For an inspiring and varied compilation of page ideas, complete with creative techniques and fresh concepts, choose one of these new books: At Home, Scrapbooking with Faye Morrow Bell,Designing with Simplicity, or The 2005 PK Powerbook.  Let the layouts in any one of these volumes be a springboard for your creativity, as you utilize their design, photography, and journalism tips and tricks, incorporating them into a page that is uniquely yours. 
Lifetime Moments Gallery-I found one of the greatest resources for fresh and original page ideas right under our noses here at LM…our gallery!  Like an online idea book, the gallery is filled with incredible talent!  When you peruse the gallery, remember to add those that inspire you to your Favorites, thereby creating an unparalleled resource, an idea book filled with pages that you have chosen based upon your personal taste and style!  Browse categories by theme or execute a search of your own.  There is even a section devoted to sketches!  Speaking of sketches…
Becky Higgins Sketches-These fabulous templates for page design are wonderful tools especially when working with a large number of photos.  The sketches help to streamline the layout process, by giving us pleasing page arrangements, ready to be customized by our own choice of papers and page accents.  The new book, Becky Higgins Creative Sketches for Scrapbooking, showcases over 50 new sketches, each with accompanying page ideas from talented readers of CK magazine.  See how a single sketch can inspire such diverse pages.  (TIP: If you don’t have that many photographs, use only one page of a sketch to create your layout.)
Coordinating Products-A tremendous amount of my time seems to go into coordinating the papers, cardstock, and embellishments that I want to add to my page.  Choosing just the right alphabet stickers, colored brad or buttons would have me sifting through my supplies, taking out products I hope will match only to find that they don’t quite go together.  No more worries!  Paper manufacturers are beginning to do a lot of this work for us by introducing lines of coordinating papers, cardstock, AND embellishments.  The most recent KI Collections have a selection of matte cardstock, tags, frames, labels, and acrylic accents that coordinate with their patterned papers.   Basic Greyhas recently added fiber assortments to go with their lines of paper, tag sheets and alphabet stickers.  Doodlebug has assembled one of the most comprehensive collections of coordinating products: cardstock stickers, rub-ons, I-lets, tokens, ribbon, ric-rac, ABCs, 123s, sequins, and buttons come in an astonishing array of colors, made to match their papers!  Another extraordinary product line is the new Studio K from K & Co.  Papers, acetate and vellum combine with frames, words and word tags, tag books, string clasps, alphabets, and full color rub-on transfers.  Metal art embellishments in this line include word strips, photo clasps, page corners, and brads.  In a bit of a different twist, Junkitz is adding papers (to debut at CHA next month) that match their already coordinated Collectionz of alphabetz, labelz, buttonz, swatchz, and twillz!  Halleluiah! 
With an abundance of inspiration and products designed for easy coordination, fast yet innovative pages should be within our reach.  In order to give everyone a jumpstart on their 2005 layout goals, the Design Team this week has been given the challenge of creating pages that can be recreated in 30 minutes or less!  Are you ready?  On your marks, get set…..SCRAP!
If you’re interested in what page goals other scrappers are setting for themselves this year, check out this General Scrapbook Discussion Poll.  Add your post if you haven’t already!  Thanks!