It's time for another baby post! This time, very close family friends are expecting their first baby. My aunt hosted the baby shower and as a special surprise to the mom-to-be, ordered live butterflies that each guest was able to release (what a fun idea!). Unfortunatelly, the shower took place while I was on the road and I was unable to attend.
Since I knew of the "butterfly" plans ahead of time, I wanted to do something special to make up for the fact that I couldn't be there in person. I commissioned my good friend, Jenn Shurkus to make a canvas for the nursery. The only problem, is we had no idea what the room colors were! There was no indication of a color theme by looking at the registry as the bedding was being hand made. The only info my aunt and I were able to get from the mom-to-be was that it had chevrons, birds, and was pink, orange, and grey - but I wanted to make sure the colors were spot on. After a lot of sleuthing, the nice folks at The Baby Guy sent me a photo of the bedding fabric so Jenn could color match. I love how it turned out:
I know the butterfly stressed poor Jenn out, but I think it turned out so cute :) I especially love the touch of grey on the border. Thanks, Jenn, for making the canvas so quickly and shipping it out to me in time for the shower!!!
I tried to match my card to the bedding too:
and had fun wrapping up the gift...
Just wish I could have been there in person! Best of luck to the new parents!
What a great week I've had! The hubby and I have managed to sneak away for a little road trip (and our first vacation in... well... we can't remember!!!) We decided we *needed* to do something fun this summer and, so, road trip it is. We hunkered down at my parent's place in Oregon and managed to convince my parents that it was a great idea to do a Volcano Day (because, really, who doesn't LOVE a volcano???) We trekked on over to Mt. St. Helens - a HUGE BUCKET LIST item for me.
There is no question, this was a spiritual place for me. I vividly remember this eruption as a child and am in complete awe of the forces at play here. I am in love... Maybe next time I can convince the hubs to do the helicopter tour...
We all loved it so much we decided, quite on the '"fly", to make our way over to Mt. Rainier - another beauty, and perhaps the most potentially destructive, in the Cascade Range...
But, I digress, and know you have come for the cards. I am sad that we are leaving in the morning. It's getting harder and harder each time to say goodbye to my parents. It's also hard to say goodbye to my nieces, the Chiquitas. It's astonishing how much OLDER they are from the last time I saw them. But I made sure we got in a little crafty time... and fireworks watching from the craftroom windows...
(Can you *believe* how BIG they are now???? Gah!!!!) And to officially say goodbye... I leave each a special card at their spot on the craft table, to discover the next time they come to "grandma's" to craft. I think they will love these cards...
They are just now *intrigued* by washi tape, so I wanted to use it two different ways - to inspire them :)
Goodbye volcano's, Mom and Dad, and goodbye Chiquitas... Until we meet again...
First of all, my apologies for the delay in posting. I'm slowly adjusting to getting back to "normal" and my summer jobs have kicked into high gear! I had to make sure to pop in today as I am honored to contribute a post for my friend, Jenn Shurkus' "All Things Nautical & Summery" July blog feature. (Click on the image below to check out her blog).
I have a few special things to share with you today including a *very special* card!
As a part of Jenn's July blog feature, she has asked her guests to donate their works of art to a big huge blog silent auction where the winning bidder will win ALL of the fabulous creations featured on her blog this month (yes, you read that right, ALL!!!). The money will be donated to a fund that will help the Mom of her friend, Sue Avila, who was recently diagnosed with stomach and lung cancer. I am more than happy to help by contributing a collection of three marine themed cards that I have designed. (You can check out the "auction" by clicking here.)
This is the LAST day of July, and the LAST donaton for the silent auction!!! Are three cards possibly enough to be the end bookmark to this important silent auction??? After fretting over this a bit, I called my dear friend, Bernardo Alps, an amazing professional photographer and naturalist. When I shared Sue's story with Bernardo, he didn't hesitate to offer and help! He has agreed to donate one of his prints to the winning bidder! :)
I had the honor of meeting Bernardo several years ago when our paths crossed at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, CA (he just happened to marry a wonderful friend of mine and co-worker at the Aquarium). Bernardo has "worked the beat" for several years, doing photography and photo editing for several newspapers. His passion for wildlife photography has made him an extraordinary bird and whale expert and a much sought-after resource who is actively involved in numerous projects for the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, American Cetacean Society, you name it! Traditional newspaper photraphy is sadly becoming a dying art, and Bernardo is now trying his hand at some freelance work. You can find him on Facebook by clicking here.
I'm very excited to share three of Bernardo's prints with you today. Jenn is also sharing three different prints over on her blog (click here). THe winning bidder of the silent auction for Sue Avila will get to choose their favorite of the six prints that Jenn and I are featuring. Bernardo and I will print your favorite and ship it out! So I challenge you all to hop on over and place a bid - not only will you be making a meaningful difference to this family duirng such a difficult time, but you will also be the proud owner of all of these wonderful treasures from such a diverse group of artists that Jenn is featuring, including a Bernado Alps original print!
I had a hard time choosing ONLY 3 of Bernardo's photographs to feature! I knew one *had* to be a pelican (since I love pelicans so much) and I wanted to feature some of his cetacean "action" shots, which he is so well known for. I'm sure you will agree his work is nothing short of awe inspring!
California brown pelican, "what-choo-lookin-at-Willis???" Seriously sweet action shot!!! How did you DO that Bernardo???
Humpack whale, mouth WIIIIIIIDE open!!! WOW!!! Check out that baleen! I don't think I've ever seen a picture like this. Completely awe inspiring.
The cutest little Common Dolphin I ever did see! *squeal* I think animals just pose for him when they know he's around - astonishing!
Thank you Bernardo for your generosity and inspiration!
Last but not least, I do have a very special card to share today. I will admit I plan on sending this to Jenn (I will donate three different marine-themed cards that I'll be featuring on my blog at the end of August). I wanted to be sure to send this beauty to Jenn to say thanks for a month of fabulous ocean inspiration and to congratulate her on her new road in life and her wicked awesome new job!
I think making me her guest on July 31 was simply "meant to be". It is the start of SHARK WEEK after all, teehee...
Da-dum, da-dum, da-da da-da da-da da.......
Ahhh!!! I am so happy with this card :) I somehow am sadly lacking in a shark stamp (how is that possible???) So I had to make my own using an oval punch and cutting out a mouth with pinking shears. A little sanding did the trick to really show off those pearly whites!
My passion for Shark Week started many moons ago when I was working as a marine biologist. I've looked forward to it every year since. It's the most wonderful time of the year... After all, who doesn't love sharks?
So, happy "all things nautical and summery", happy bidding (don't forget to bid to help Sue Avila!), and happy Shark Week!
Wow! What a whopper of a year this has been! I have loads to share with you...
The Beast is nearly conquered and it has taught me a lot:
1. Radiohead is wicked awesome to write to
2. Squirrels are an effective distraction to thesis writing. Just be sure not to leave peanuts on the outdoor table with your laptop still open as they do not understand that it’s rude to walk on a computer.
My squirrel visitor
3. I still haven’t gotten over my math phobia although I’m good at pretending I know what I’m doing.
4. Cocktails have an astonishing way of making the words flow, although increases my dyslexia.
5. The excuse of writing a thesis can get you out of all sorts of things you would normally be obligated to do such as attending boring functions and chaperoning the 8th grade school dance.
6. When left to my own devices to get food, I will just resort to eating cheese.
7. I apparently have a very complex obsession with superlatives.
8. The Beast makes an effective door stopper (email from one of my committee members: I have to tell you that I actually could not open my door this morning due to The Beast. I got it open a crack, had to put down my bag and squeeze in sideways because The Beast did not allow for further opening of the door. Impressive!)
9. Always listen to your advisor, especially when she tells you to say no to something.
10. You know who your friends are through this process - anyone that can put up with me right now is a saint!
Now, since The Beast was so big, I thought it was worthy of its own soundtrack:
It's mostly music that helps reduce Beast-induced panic attacks ;)
The good news is, from where I sit today, I can actually see the light! I defended The Beast on Wednesday, and it went great. Several people that mean a whole bunch to me were able to attend - that was very cool. Following my presentation, I had a big meeting with my committee, and it couldn't have gone better. I even got a star from one of my committee members, who was very sweet and said that everyone deserves to get a star on their thesis, LOL
I have been so lucky to have the most marvelous people on my committee (2 biology faculty and 2 science education faculty) that care a lot about the study I did (I looked at the learning that takes place in the first biology class that biology students take). I am humbled that these professors are open to taking a close look at how the instruction that happens in the class impacts the learning of students.
The good news is, I should be done with all of my edits this weekend and will have my thesis ready to send off to the library. What a relief! To say I am completely *giddy* is an understatement! :)
I wanted to share with you the gift I gave to my committee. I wracked my brain for months on what to give them - I wanted it to be something really special. One day, quite by accident, I found this amazing silversmith in the UK on Etsy, Clockwork Lemur. He made the most beautiful interpretation, in the form of a silver necklace, of Darwin's original sketch of the Tree of Life.
I was smitten when I first saw it. This ended up being a perfect gift given the nature of my study. I actually ordered the necklaces back in March and I absolutely couldn't wait to give them to my committee on Wednesday. I decided to make a special card to match:
It was a nice creative outlet - I can't remember the last time I had a chance to dig into my stamps and be creative. I found a picture of Darwin's sketch on the internet, printed it and distressed it. I used some fun stamps by A Muse Studio (and I'll admit I chopped off the beak of the hummingbird so it would look more, well, finch-like)
So with that I'd like to give a huge shout out to everyone who has been a part of my support system. I want to say thank you to all of my fabulous friends who were so generous and stepped in for me as guest bloggers these past several weeks: Novell, Krystie, Dawn, Tracy, Nora, Sherry,Rachel, Donna, Elena, Mom and the Chiquitas, Cheiron, Jenn, Glenda, Martha, and Michelle. There was simply no way I would have been able to do any posts without these awesome ladies! If you have a chance to visit their blogs and spread some love, that would be wonderful!
I grateful to be at this point in my journey and feel so very fortunate for all of the amazing people in my life that have lifted me up throughout. Needless to say, I can't wait to turn off my brain for a little while and relax! Any recommendations? :)
Today I am defending The Beast - this is a "public" presentation I give on my research, hold a Q & A session, and then face my committee firing squad (actually, probably not that dramatic, they are all great people!) Even though I feel like I know my stuff and I'm told I'm the biggest expert on my study, I'm just a wee bit tense today - eek!
Since I'm hoping that the worst my the work load is over as of today (cross your fingers that I'll only have minor edits), I'll hopefully I'll be back to my regular blogging shortly, although I imagine it will pale in comparison to the fabulous job my wonderful friends have done to share their support and their amazing craft. I hope that you have have enjoyed these fabulous guest blog posts as much as I have.
So with that, I end with a bang as I present one last guest blogger for you today, the one and only Michelle Mathey! I had the pleasure of being on the A Muse instructor team with Michelle where I learned that she is outrageously talented and that she has such a generous spirit. I wish the world were filled with more people like her! I LOVE this post from her:
My super cool A Muse buddy Jill is busy, busy, busy working on her thesis not to mention teaching school full time and mentoring a student teacher. Can we say "super woman"? I'm sending her a bit of encouragement today in card form - do you see the aquarium of fish? Jill is a big lover of all things aquatic but I bet she feels a bit trapped with all her responsibilities right now - kind of like fish in a tank! Get it?? You can do it, Jill - all the stress and work will be worth it in the end!
All supplies are from A Muse|Studio!!
"Fish in a tank"??? How did you know Michelle? :) Thanks for putting a smile on my face.
Top 'O the mornin' to you all and happy birthday to my Mom! I always have a blast making a special card for my Mom's birthday (although, I think my Dad has more fun - he always sends her a flower arrangement and insists that the florist puts a potato in it - seriously - I can't make that up).
In the past, I've made her classic St. Patty's cards for her birthday, but this year I thought I'd try something different. She loves stamps of flowers and plants, so I thought I'd try my hand at using only that on a special birthday card (that I *hope* she gets in the mail today). This isn't really my usual style, so don't be too critical! LOL
It was fun playing with my new A•Muse|Studio stamps on this card! I added some detail to the leaves using colored pencils, and a white pen on the flowers. The little bird makes me happy. The rest of the card is growing on me :) Although there's no shamrocks or leprechauns in this photo - hopefully this will do the trick!
Amidst the craziness of life and the constant roller coaster we all get pulled on (whether we want to be or not), I'm constantly in awe over the little, yet so big, acts of kindness from those around me. These remind me that no matter how challenging the day may be, there is goodness and good people all around.
I love that I've found myself in the position lately where I have felt compelled to say thank you so some truly wonderful people who, in just doing what they do, have made a difference in making my day so much better.
I had the opportunity to take my students on an amazing field trip to the very same aquarium I started teaching at so many years ago while I was still in college. There's no question it was a fabulous day and I am grateful for the team of teachers who came out to work with the kids and had no problem getting their hands dirty. I found a small little trinket for each and had fun making a cute little bag and tag to say thank you to them.
I had so much fun watching the kids apply their knowledge and see the animals we had been studying in their "natural" environment.
I must admit, though, I had just as much fun watching the teachers! I love that our wonderful school counselor was just as curious as the kids, getting on his belly to check out the awesome animals living under the dock :)
And I love how amazed this teacher was looking at plankton for the first time.
It was an awesome day! :)
I also wanted to do something nice to my wonderful 8th grade TA's who worked their tooshies off helping with the organizational prep for the field trip. I fell in love with the sparkly great white shark (YES! It was sparkly!) and knew that they *needed* it - since, you know, I totally love sharks :) I also found them a sweet little twine bracelet I thought they would love.
While sitting there making these little gifts, I also got inspired to whip together a few cards. I loved the look of the sand dollars (which are available in two new A•Muse|Studio stamp sets - click here for info). I went with purple since our local sand dollars have small purple spines on them when they are alive.
The color purple and the sand dollar made me think of my friend Dawn (a total purple fan) who was kind enough to pick up some sand from her vacation for my classroom sand collection. I knew I needed to make a card for her :) I also had a few other people who I needed a thank you card for, so I turned the design around into a card.
So there you have it, a week that blurred by so fast with several great opportunities to say thank you to some wonderful people. I wish you all a beautiful weekend!
Wow! I really thought I'd get to this post a lot sooner - last week was a blur!
I was so honored to be asked to teach a card class to a fabulous group of K-12 Alliance teachers (see previous post). A couple weeks before the class, I got a text asking me for suggestions for a title for the class. I admit, I was useless! I had my brain in *thesis land* and came up with a couple boring ideas. So, apparently the team planning the professional development weekend proceeded to throw out random words, with two words being chosen as the title: Scale and Design.
Perfect for a bunch of math and science peeps!
For the class itself, I had to take on the premise that no one would have any stamping or card-making experience, which led me to keep the cards very straightforward as I really wanted everyone to just have fun. The most important thing to me was teaching everyone to properly ink the stamps (we all chanted, "don't squish!", LOL).
Soooo... without further ado, the cards:
I was really challenged to make a card that was "math" oriented, so after a few attempts this was what I ended up with. I figured it would suit our math teachers well, and would be a cute valentine that the teachers could give to a loved one :)
This card might look familiar - it's one of my favorite designs I did a while back (click here). I love it and I think it's so much fun to stamp on the maple cards. The sentiment, "you make a difference", would be the perfect card to give to a friend or teaching colleague. It's amazing how just one person saying something positive can make a difference to a teacher.
I *HAD* to make a card with the sub!!! *HAD TO* :) I love how this "Swiss Cheese" border punch from EK is the perfect bubbly companion. Speaking of sub, did you know that Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute now has an Alvin Cam!!!!! Alvin, the first "manned" Deep Submergence Vehicle - the first to discover living things at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and famed for discovering the Titanic wreck, is undergoing a multimillion dollar "facelift", enhancing the submersible's ability to explore the ocean depths, and you can peek in on the journey (click here). Because I'm so in love with Alvin, and am a huge advocate of innovative scientific exploration and research, I'll also let you know that you can find out more about the project and even make a donation to this non-profit institution to support oceanographic research (click here).
The final card is this cutie - I love this rocket and *really love* the sentiment. Again, I figured this would make a great valentine. The orange Washi Tape is a nice substitute for ribbon.
So, what do you think? I have to admit, I had a ton of fun designing cards for teachers!
Thanks for your patience in waiting for these cards to get uploaded and thanks to those of you who take a little time to leave comments on my posts - I appreciate hearing from you! :) I'll be back in a few days to share a very special card for my *paper ho's* (I didn't get a chance to mail them until yesterday - and I figure they get first dibs on seeing them! LOL)