Thursday, September 30, 2010

YAY for Buddy !!!

Fabulous news to share!

I took Buddy for a check-up at the cancer clinic today. Everything is FINE, he is doing so well !!! We are THRILLED and so THANKFUL !!!

His doctor and the staff were glad to see Buddy so happy, active, playful. So are we!

Buddy is an inspiration to others at the clinic ... today in the waiting room we met a Dog Mom and her pooch, who was just diagnosed with leukemia, and she was beginning treatments today. She was so encouraged for her dog after hearing Buddy's story of beating cancer, and was clearly touched.

We gleefully got our seatbelts on in the car (yep, Buddy wears one too!) and went home to CELEBRATE with Aruba & Sal !! Buddy & I were so emotionally exhausted from the stress, we both needed a nap.

And this was cool ... on the way to the clinic, I was behind a car sporting this message:


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

a weekend of celebration!

Hey there ... long time, no blog right? Life has been so busy lately ....

Hope you had a great weekend ... we spent ours with my family ... CELEBRATING my Mom's birthday (a little belated).

Mom & her gift bag ...

... and, as always, Buddy is right there to help her open her gifts (he LOVES presents and thinks they're all for him, so precious!)

As you can tell, he likes to be silly !!

We had some outdoor fun during the weekend too ... Sal and I took my parents' kayaks out for a spin at beautiful Indian Rock Beach (where the sand is SO soft and white!).

My Mom and I let Sal & my Dad bring the kayaks to the beach for launching ....
A couple of birds stopped by, apparently they wanted to go kayaking too!

We also had a relaxing picnik lunch at a park with this as our view -- complete with frolicking dolphins! --- a gorgeous day!

I even managed to get Aruba to look directly into the camera, that's so RARE !!! She and Buddy had tons of fun with "Grandma & Grandpa" !

We had buckets of rain during the drive home, but this was our reward when it let up ... a full-arch rainbow, stunning!

I'm still SO behind on some other events that I've meant to post here, way back from August, yikes! ... like our visit to St. Augustine, my Creative Escape Day 4, etc. Will get them up here soon!

Have a great week,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

it's my Mom's special day !!

Happy birthday today to my Mom !!! She lives in Seminole, Florida.

Enjoy your day, Mom! We look forward to celebrating with you soon! :-)

We love you,
Susan, Sal, Buddy & Aruba

Monday, September 13, 2010

Creative Escape 2010: day 3

Hey there, hope you enjoyed the weekend? Geez, it went by SO fast, unreal !!

Finally ... I'm back ... ready to share "day 3" of my Creative Escape 2010 adventure. Thanks to all who've enthusiastically let me know that you're excitedly awaiting the details, I'm happy to share them!

So this brings me to Friday, the first day of CE classes. The day began with a delicious breakfast (the food served to us by the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort is phenomenal, btw!), which they begin serving as early as 6:00 AM if we want! (now you know why I was too tired/sleep-deprived to blog from Arizona, I was having fun from sunrise til the wee hours of the morning, LOL !!) Classes begin at 8:00 AM sharp, so that means an early AM wake-up.

But before I do a show-and-tell of the classes I feel compelled to mention the "drink stations" that are outside the classrooms ... all the soda (and ice!) you could possibly desire, including my fave, Dr. Pepper! We are so PAMPERED at CE!

My first class was with Claudine Hellmuth. Although she's primarily a collage artist, she taught us some amazing and fun techniques with paint (I love to play with colorful paints!) that we can apply to our scrapbooking craft. We made a "tile" with each different technique, and assembled the tiles onto a canvas to showcase our collective work of "art".
Me and Susan from Atlanta working on our canvas projects:

(In my Friday photos, you'll notice that I'm wearing a shirt that says "ESCAPE The Ordinary, CREATE the Extraordinary * AZ 2010" ... isn't that fabulous?!?!)

Next it was on to Pam Black's class ... we made a mini-album that's attached to a "display stand", meant for your desktop so that you can enjoy seeing the project/photos often!

It was filled with tons of cool techniques and details, and one that I especially loved was a "yo-yo flower" that we made from fabric (the polka dots). Oh so cute!

After a delicious lunch (and they never forget us vegetarians ... we were treated to a marinated vegetable wrap, yum!), it was on to class # 3 with Maggie Holmes. She gave a presentation on photography techniques for scrapbookers, and then we made a cute mini-album to compile all of our "fave photos":
And the surprises continued during Maggie's class with a visit from the Prize Patrol !!! The CE staff made unannounced visits to classrooms ... rolling in a cart of scrapbooking goodies to pass out to everyone, it's great fun!

My day of classes wrapped-up with my favorite scrapbooking teacher/designer, the ultra-talented and creative Heidi Swapp. We made a wall hanging, complete with ruffles and bling, with a mini-album attached to it via a binder mechanism. So you can just "flip" through memories anytime!
Notice the "ribbon roses" at the lower right corner of the project? We made them! Take 2 strips of ribbon (we used a shimmery organza fabric and a wispy tulle) and twist them together length-wise, then glue it down, an inch or two at a time, onto a piece of cardstock, all the while shaping it into a circle or "flower" shape. Add a pretty embellishment to the center and voila!, a ribbon rose, gorgeous! And simple! I must give a shout-out to the volunteers who were with my class group throughout the event ... so kind, and always assisting us with a smile!

Then there was a short break after classes to relax before being served a gourmet sit-down dinner! And of course, the veggie option was delish ... tofu enchiladas! (yes, only scrapbookers would photograph the food too!)

Another fun surprise during dinner was when I unexpectedly saw my friend (and former CE '09 teacher!) Debby Schuh walk by! Neither of us knew that the other was attending CE this year ... like me, she signed-up at the last-minute.
So after we devoured a gourmet cheesecake dessert, it was on to the Friday Extravaganza. We all reconvened with our class groups for an "extra project", plus more goodies, of course! We made a "Simply Imagine" hanging magnet board designed by Heidi Lynn Schreiber in the gorgeous event colors:

And while we were enjoying all of the Friday night festivities, the CE and hotel staff was busy delivering even MORE goodies to each of our rooms! What a TREAT to walk back into your hotel room, on the verge of collapse from all the fun, and see a pretty package of delights waiting on your bed! The gift included a stunning charm bracelet (with turquoise & black beads and silver hearts), a pad of cardstock, a magazine, a gourmet brownie, and custom-color, limited-edition glimmer mist made especially for CE in the event colors ("Navajo" turquoise for 2010, and "Piglet" pink and "Parakeet" green for the previous years)! So. Much. Fun. !!!! :-)
After the Friday evening CE festivites, the night wasn't over! Heidi and the gals from her digital scrapbooking design company, House of 3, aired their weekly webcast in front of a LIVE studio audience - us! Right from the Crop Room at CE !! It was quite exciting! And the excitement grew for me and my friend Susan from Atlanta when Heidi called me and her up to be LIVE ON CAMERA (!!!) and talk about CE, whoa! We were stunned and nervous and thrilled all at once! You can watch a recording of the webcast HERE ... Heidi invites us to join her on-camera about 5 minutes into the broadcast, if you want to fast-forward past all the CE giddiness, LOL !! Did you check out the funky GIGANTIC balloons decorating the CE Crop Room? I think they were about 3 feet in diameter!

As I've said, CE is NON-STOP fun !!! :-)

I'll be back soon with the 4th and final day of CE goodness, and my farewell to Arizona. Thanks for stopping by!

Have a great week,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

remembering 9/11 .....

Wishing peace & comfort for the survivors and families of the September 11th attacks .....

Friday, September 10, 2010

heading to Hotlanta !

My Creative Escape pal, Susan in Atlanta (waving hello!), invited me to join her for some classes that celebrity scrapbook designer Teresa Collins will be teaching at an Atlanta-area scrapbook store, a special event in March. I just took my first-ever class with Teresa at CE '10, and loved it! (more on the CE classes/teachers/projects soon ... sorry! ... I've been so on-the-go since I got home from AZ)

So, I'll be heading up to Atlanta in March to join in the fun with Susan! Registration just started and I've signed-up for all 3 classes, and they *might* add a 4th ... last I heard, they were already half full (yes, 6 months in advance!).

Sal will be going to Atlanta with me (yay!) ... he'll have some university business there, so it'll work out great for both of us!

Teresa has some terrific designs, and is really into bling --- hey me too! Her new line of sparkly, bling-y baubles and dangles for scrapbook albums is called Blingage and is just too much fun!

See you in Atlanta, Susan!

Enjoy the weekend,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

everyone deserves a second chance.....

Hey there!

I'm taking a break from blogging about Creative Escape (I still have 2 more days of CE fun to share!) because I want to highlight a special event coming up this weekend (Sept 10-12).

PetSmart will be hosting its annual "Second Chance for Love" National Pet Adoption Weekend at its USA and Canada stores.

If you've been wanting to invite a new furry member into your family, please consider adoption rather than buying from a store or breeder. Please! PetSmart is teaming-up with local shelters to bring animals available for adoption to their stores ... to go home with you! These innocent and lonely animals will be forever grateful for their loving new home.

And did you know? We adopted Buddy during an event like this, and even got to meet his "Foster Dog Mom", courtesy of PetSmart and the Indianapolis Humane Society. We cherish him!

Thank you,

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day, Florida style!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Creative Escape 2010: day 2

It'S sO mUCh FuN to re-live Creative Escape 2010 through my blog, thanks for joining me to reminisce! The incredible "CE vibe" is still with me and I'm sure will stay with me until CE '11 when I can get another "CE fix" (Sal is wincing right now, I'm sure, LOL)!!

So I'm back to share more of my CE joys, there were SO many! Thanks for joining me for "day 2" at the event, which was actually the official first day of CE, Thursday. I was busy all week catching-up on work/home/life (thanks for your patience!), but tonight I'm hopped-up on a highly-caffeinated Starbucks chai tea so I'm up for a long post..... ready?

But first, I forgot to post about the clever way that the
Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort welcomed the hundreds of arriving CE'ers ... such a beautiful display of stones/pebbles, meticulously shaped into the words "Creative Escape", so very "Arizona"!

My 2nd day at CE got off to an early start ... got my breakfast "to go" so that I could eat it while waiting for the on-site "CE store" to open. Yes, I wanted to avoid the disappointment of missing out on special CE-themed, one-of-a-kind goodies. Turns out I overestimated how early I needed to arrive there --- I was FIRST in line, LOL !!! You can see my black bag marking my place at the head of the line of happy CE'ers:
A Phoenix scrapbook store called Scrapbooks, Etc. (which just happens to be the LARGEST sb store in the southwestern USA, whoa!) comes to CE and sets-up a "store" for us right in the convention center. We all go absolutely GAGA in there!!! All sorts of great sb'ing supplies ... many unique, and in the colors of the event (this year they were turquoise/teal/aqua/black/white --- such a gorgeous color combination, and so sophisticated). So the doors opened and the FUN began! Look at all that FABRIC too! Scrapbooks, Etc. has expanded their inventory to include sb'ing AND fabric, and they kindly brought tons of fat quarters to the CE store.
After shopping, it was time for the event to officially open ... the fun begins at the Registration Desk (those teal balloons look just like the ones Sal and I had at our wedding --- fond memories!!),
(Notice how even the signs at CE are embellished so beautifully?) No detail is overlooked ...

There we picked-up our tote bags, name tags (complete with gorgeous damask ribbon lanyard), and class project booklet (which CE calls our "inspiration manual", I love that!).

After donning my fab nametag and tote, I was off to the Technique Boutique ... a series of "stations" where we either pick-up essentials for our classes, or do a "make-n-take" that will be used in one of our classes. One of the best stations was the mini-class taught by Wendy, the creator of glimmer mist herself ! ... as the name implies, glimmer mist is a spray ink in the most amazing array of shimmery colors, and you know how I love bling so it's a favorite product of mine!

At another fun station we picked up a fruit bar, offered in lots of fruity flavors, yum!
And another station was set-up for us to have the event photographer snap our "official" event photo: Next it was off to the Trunk Show, which was a meet-and-greet with the 8 teachers and a chance to see lots of their projects and art out on display. My fave among the teachers is always Heidi Swapp, scrapbook designer extraordinaire and founder of Creative Escape. I always love meeting up with her and chatting, and spending time at her project table, in awe of her incredible creativity and talent!

This is a STUNNING "Italia" mini-album that Heidi made after teaching in Italy some months ago ... after admiring it on her blog, it was terrific to be able to see it in person, and look through it page-by-page. So glad she brought it to the Trunk Show, it's a work of art!

You might have noticed that in all the photos I'm wearing what I call my "Heidi necklace". It was designed by Heidi for Creative Escape 2009, and I loved the style and CE symbolism of it. Details of the various charms are in my September 7, 2009 post. It's a special piece of jewelry!

I continued around the trunk show, chatting with all the teachers, getting autographs, enjoying the creative scrapbooking displays. One project in particular, by teacher Pam Black (more on the teachers in my upcoming "CE: day 3" and "CE: day 4" posts), was a scrapbook page that captured my recent excitement over the book & movie Eat Pray Love --- how fun is this ?!

So after all the festivity of the Technique Boutique and the Trunk Show, it was time to wrap-up the day with the Welcome Ceremony. All 400+ of us gathered to hear about specific event details and for an introduction to the teachers.

After each teacher was introduced, she was given a special gift ... a handmade craft apron, gorgeous! Made from sparkly aqua and silver fabrics ... which were available at the CE store, of course!

(photo courtesy of Heidi's blog)
Then it was off to enjoy dinner and relax with friends and sleep (what's that ???) to be rested for an early wake-up on Friday morning to begin classes. I was exhausted, but oh-so-happy! :-)

I'll be back soon with "day 3" and "day 4". Stay tuned, and thanks for sharing my CE journey!