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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Photo Tips


Scrapper alert! The season is upon us... are you ready to take those special photos that will rock your scrapbooks? Be sure to include:

Pumpkin carving - guts and all - how about some drama?
Make up application - the transformation process can be fascinating.
Group shot of your favorite family members in costume and poses.
Shots of any awesome decor accents.
Bucket or bag full of candy.
Party pics if applicable.
Focus on the details.
Try to change the perspective - straight on is not always the best view.
Don't forget to charge your camera battery BEFORE the big photo shoot.

Remember, it's better to take too many shots and throw out (or not print) the ones that don't work, but once the moment is passed, it's too late!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Recovered

It seems that once school starts again for the year, you're on the speed track to the end of the year. My date book is getting fuller and fuller. This weekend passed like a whirlwind. I had a booth at a charity crop to help raise money for mammograms for women who couldn't afford one at Sentara Careplex in Hampton. Met some great ladies and had a lovely day with them. Melody and Kyle drove me over and helped with the set up and tear down of the booth. During the day, though, I sent them off to their own agenda since this was a small venue.

While they were out, it appears they visited a jeweler and got an engagement ring! WOW! Their relationship seems to also be moving rather quickly, but they seem to have a good rapport. It's nice to see how they influence each other. I think their furniture for the new apartment is being delivered today. Margaret and I are heading over for dinner in their new place tonight to check it all out.

Sunday, I went to the Stamp and Scrap Art Tour (convention) in Hampton with my good friend Laura and her sister-in-law Lisa. There were only 17 vendors there and not as many shoppers as I'm used to seeing at these events. I was able to refrain from a lot of temptation by being strict with myself and didn't spend very much at all. We had a late lunch at Lonestar then headed home. Laura was driving her husband's convertible BMW with the top down and the afternoon was gorgeous, so those moments in the sun were golden.

Once I got home, I watched one of my shows on the DVR, then buckled down and completed my paper for my business class (that was due on Sunday before midnight). Even found a bit of spare time for some computer games before it was time for TrueBlood and Dexter.

Yesterday, I ended up going back to the dealer - exchanged the Nissan for a 2009 Toyota Corolla S. Now I need a new phone that has bluetooth capabilities - that is a nice feature - it will make my chatting while I drive much easier in the future.

Hard to believe it's already Tuesday. I have another charity crop to work this Saturday, so I guess I'll do my quiz for class on Sunday, but maybe I'll manage a bit of a day off. Hmmm - I could be disciplined and actually take the quiz one evening during the week and actually take Sunday off... what a novel idea. Thanks for stopping by - I'll try to get some layout shots up and posted. I actually have done a bit of scrapping lately and would love to share it with you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

On Motherhood

It's amazing how many different flavors the word motherhood contains. I guess I am somewhat of a traditionalist. When my first daughter was born, I was on active duty in the Navy and because I had taken a re-enlistment bonus, I was committed to complete my contract with an additional year of service after her birth. Before she was born, I thought it would be no big deal. Moms take their kids to daycare daily all around our county and the kids somehow grow up okay.

Then the day came, I even went in that Saturday for some planned maintenance but had to leave due to the pains escalating. My daughter was born. I was changed. After getting home with her, I found out the waterbed didn't work well with my c-section repair, so my husband was sent of to the exchange to get a Lazy Boy. I spent many hours in that chair with a pillow on my lap. I would spend hours with no tv on, no music, no people - just the quiet and this precious child, and I'd just stare at her in amazement and wonder.

My maternity leave ended way too soon. We had chosen the wife of one of my husband's friends for our baby sitter - she was a lovely Christian woman with several children of her own in school. Each morning, I'd drive my darling to the sitter, drop her off, then go out to my car and weep in grief at leaving her. Initially, I'd go to the sitter's house on my lunch break to nurse, but it was too hard for me to leave, so eventually, I'd go to my own quiet house for a pump session and then accomplish some house chores so I'd be free to focus on her in the evenings when I was done at work.

Like most moms, it became a bit easier in time to leave her as I became convinced that she'd probably be fine when I got there for her after work and the anxiety decreased, but for me, I knew motherhood with babies would not be a part time job. Once my enlistment ended, we bought a house in Virginia and I left the Navy.

I ended up having 3 daughters, each abour four years apart and spent a good 10 years out of the work force nurturing my girls. Now, my baby is 13 and the oldest soon to be 21 and once again, I'm dealing with separation anxiety as my oldest is moving out and the middle daughter is in her senior year and planning her college and future life.

Life changes, the love we have for our children endures.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Doing it all

It seems the faster I go, the behinder I get! There are so many things to accomplish in a day and I'm having trouble getting them all done. Super achievers, how do you manage to do it all? Do you give up sleeping? Quit watching tv at night? Skip exercise? I'm really challenged. Hope some of you have some good advice for me - I need more hours in my days...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shop-A-Thon

Have you checked out Tip Junkies yet? It's one of my daily feed reads and she's always got fun new ideas to share. This year, my store is participating in her holiday Shop-A-Thon. Tip Junkie readers can get free shipping on their orders now through November 30 with coupon code TIPJUNKIE. Be sure to check this out (link in right hand column. Lots of great Mom-preneur shops with fun stuff and great deals.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Team Building at Busch Gardens

My group from my day job are all heading up to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg for the day. With the way the economy is lately, we didn't think we'd manage an event this year, but they were able to give us tickets for the park admission, so we're good to go. I'm bringing my Bonine and plan to hop into the fun with both feet. Josie and I will probably stay a bit late so we can catch a little of the HallowScream fun at the park. The traffic at the end of the day in that part of the world to ours is horrendous, so there's no reason to hurry home at 4 or 5. Ought to be a good day - sure hope it doesn't rain.

Tomorrow is another big day for me - I'm off to an all day crop with a bunch of local scrap friends. I don't know how much I'll get done since I have yet to plan or pack anything, but what the heck - just spending the day with lady friends and sharing creativity is always revitalizing.

I'm bringing my camera to both events, so I'll try to share a few shots with you either Sunday or Monday here on the blog. Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tempus Fugit

Time is just screaming past. Even this morning, as I try to catch up on my boards and email, I can't believe how fast it's going by. My calendar is slam packed with things to do and accomplish by year end. Each day seems bursting to the seams where even my new TV addiction is starting to be challenging. The thing is, life is so short, you have to grab it with both hands while you have the opportunity for none of us know what tomorrow holds. (well, assuming I make it to tomorrow, we have our team building event with my co-workers at Busch Gardens Williamsburg tomorrow - hope it doesn't rain!)

When I was in Stampin' Up! one of the recruiting responses to "I'm too busy" was that busy people seem to be the best organized and accomplish so much. I rather find that true. Since my life has gotten so busy, I've had to start keeping a pocket calendar with my commitments. I keep a small desk calendar that I write my morning weigh in weight each day to keep me on track with that (it's too easy to lull yourself into complacency with only weekly weigh ins.) I'm thinking I'll have to start getting up 30 minutes earlier to give me more online time since I have less of that at work nowadays. Some days, it's hard to remember which end is up.

What do you do that helps you stay organized and on top of your life? I'm looking forward to the day when I can re-organize my life to hopefully change the pace a bit, but for now, running it as efficiently as possible is my best option.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Election Day around the corner

It's tough being a busy woman. There is so much going on this time of year with my kids, my life, my work, my business and now the elections. As a rule, I don't have much for free time for news or staying on top of the issues, but I really need to get in the know before it's time for the ballot. I'm pretty much decided on my big votes, but I need time to research the smaller ones - our mayor, any issues they might have - gosh, I need more hours in my days - maybe if I could give up more sleeping?

Where do you find most of your info that influences your voting choices? Wish I could rely on the internet or media to tell me truthfully the candidates and their issues, but I feel strong bias in what they offer.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

GOP Rally Update



Melody and I were so lucky - in our ignorance of what the milling crowds around the convention center meant, we somehow cut in line and ended up getting in rather quickly - enough that we were able to get a bleacher spot six rows from the top, although to the far right of the candidates on the stage. The acoustics were not that great and understanding the speakers wasn't the easiest, but being part of that
energy was amazing. Estimates of attendance were between 12,000 - 25,000. There were just two small bleacher areas and everyone else was standing room only.

I was sitting in front of a row of church ladies from another city and they were disgruntled at how little our local press had promoted the rally. I've got to say I'm with them - I only discovered it myself by dumb luck from an internet friend.

Representatives Thelma Drake and Randy Forbes gave opening speeches followed by Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell. Country music singer Hank Williams, Jr. sang several of his songs starting with "All My Rowdy Friends." Then came the main event.

Cindy McCain introduced Sarah Palin - she spoke well and I didn't catch a single maverick. Then, John McCain spoke briefly. As a former Naval aviator, he found a lot of support as we're one of the largest military (particularly Navy) community in the country. We like his political experience, his military experience, his straight shooter personality, and the core values the party represents.

I got past my crowd phobia to attend and have no regrets. I'm really looking forward to the election and praying that the conservatives are just being overlooked as usual by the liberal media and have decided to just quietly show their support at the poll.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sarah Palin is coming to Virginia Beach!

Bright and early Monday morning! I'm so looking forward to seeing her in person. I was able to get tickets for both myself and my daughter Melody. I've never really been political, but always thought it would be fun to be part of something like this. When I heard she was going to be in town and that tickets were free, I was pretty excited. What a great opportunity to see her for myself. Wonder if I'm allowed to bring a camera? Sure hope I can overcome my crowd phobia for the cause. How exciting!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October Updates - 2 Scrappy Chix Designs

Sent out my customer newsletter today, but my site has the lamest text only editor in the world - it won't even allow paragraphs! So, decided to put the info here on the blog for your convenience.

Sorry to be so long in getting this update out to you – the October kits – yes, I said kits! Are now in the store and ready for you. Check out the link below for a colorful description. I’m working with my web designer to get a better email module for my site so I can send the pretty newsletters you know and love, but in the meantime, this is our solution.



Also, I have a few other fun things to share with you. My daughter, Amanda, is studying graphic design. If you ever thought you wanted a watermark of your own to protect your art from being shared inappropriate, Amanda is now offering custom designs to your specifications in case you’re not really into graphics and want to tackle your own. For more information, check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/4b29bx

We still have a few Love Elsie idea boxes in the store - http://tinyurl.com/5ogejo

And I’ve also partnered with Scrapbooks Etc to bring you a new service – awesome hard bound custom albums. We Are Family Retail Exclusive Book with **FREE SHIPPING**
What’s in a name? Define what family means to you in the We Are Family photo book – a scrapbook Retailer Exclusive offering. When you order this limited time title and have it shipped back to our store for pick up Scrapbooks, etc. will pay for shipping. So order now, and come in for your book and all your scrapbooking needs.
To get started simply follow these 5 easy steps:
1) Go to http://stories.scrapbooksetc.com/
2) Create an account
3) Go to the Retailer Exclusive book
4) Enter in my store code 225CEZPBUA
5) Enjoy!

And finally, if you’re just ready for a browse, the store location is http://www.2scrappychixdesigns.com/zencart

I appreciate your feedback and ideas – email me at rizamerk@cox.net

Thanks for taking the time to read my latest update – please feel free to share with any friends who may be interested.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Life is Hectic, but at least it's not my job to save the humans

Back to my new TV addiction - last night was Sarah Conner Chronicles - John gets some formal training while getting dragged deeper and deeper into his role as savior of human-kind against the machines.

I can't figure out exactly what it is that appeals to me about this show, but it's definitely on my DVR list so I don't miss it. I guess the evolution of thinking machines and AI is just one of those kind of believable concepts that catches my interest.

Sunday night was TrueBlood and Dexter. TrueBlood is kind of interesting, but I still can't figure out why producers think we need that much sex to make a show enjoyable. I wish the story line would stick a little closer to the novel line. I don't recall reading many sexy details in the book - just enjoying the interaction with the other and the humans.

Dexter is wonderful as usual - I'm always amazed by how he's about to get himself out of these very sticky situations. Very good liar. It's kind of off beat, but I get it and I like it. The girlfriend has definitely thrown him a curve - I wonder how that will work out...?

Apparently Big Brother is watching more closely at work so I have to do most of my personal computer usage at home (rather than in between my standard stuff on the job). The last thing I want, though, is to be fired for something like that, so I'll do better. It's not like I spend the day looking at pornography or anything, but I do have a busy mind and need some variety in my day. Guess I'll bring my text book with me and if I have any open time, I'll read some of the class material (International Business Environment). Off to catch up on my emails. See you tomorrow!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

MerkInk Graphic Designs

My daughter, Amanda, is in her second year in an academy program at school learning graphic design. She's really blossoming with her talent, so I've decided to work with her with my store to give her a place to start offering some of her designs to the public. For more information, please click the blue MerkInk logo in the right margin.

It's now almost 11 am and I've been up since six, working on updates to my store and blog. Updated some of the links - let me know if you find any glitches. I've really been enjoying my journey into this massive cyberworld. Twitter and Twittermoms have exposed me to a wonderfully diverse world of people and I am learning so very much. I've joined all kinds of online communities and am learning about everything from health and fitness, saving money, technological advances, politics and more.

My initial foray into the world of computers was a zillion years ago, when my husband and I bought our first Commodore 64. Back in the day, it had a tape drive and a 300 baud modem. We had to type in basic programs by hand and execute them and we were thrilled seeing even that simple bit of computer success. Through the years, we've gone from that basic computer and black screen BBS formats, to PC's, to AOL where I worked for a number of years as a chat host and message board monitor, to this brave new world of lap tops and high res graphics. I'm amazed with all the incredible things my computer can do, but then again, the interfaces have so removed one from the minutiae of DOS that I no longer really recall how to do the basics like play with file structure or even add in new chips or boards in my computer.

What about you? Do you have any once upon a time computer memories or are you one of the young ones who take this all for granted?


Friday, October 3, 2008

Private Practice

I'm behind on my TV viewing - this new season has brought out so many shows, I'm having a hard time watching all the ones that catch my interest. Yesterday, I got to watch my DVR'd copy of Private Practice. Glad that wasn't the season closing episode or I would have thought they decided to drop the show. Naomi was definitely challenged and overburdened - nice to see her husband step up to the plate. They actually addressed the ethical thing with cord blood - a man and woman conceived a designer baby so they could use the blood to save their dying 7 year old son - the drama happens when the son gets to crisis while the growing baby is only at 6 months. In desparation after being turned down for early delivery by Addision due to concerns for the viability of the infant, the woman breaks her water with a knitting needle to force them into action. Through the miracle of tv, all the characters survive the harrowing experience.

The problem is, in the real world, where do we draw the lines to determine who lives and dies? Why are custom children even an option like in this story? I know many people are all about the stem cell research, and yes, in most cases, the placenta, cord and other byproducts of delivery are mostly considered waste, but what happens when we go from just doing normal delivery left overs to abortions for these things? Does human life really have so little value that we would grow babies for their organs or other parts? Stand by - brave new world is here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

October Project Kit - Spellbound



This fun, seasonal project kit is a perfect way to keep the happy memories alive and is wonderful for sharing with friends and family. Makes great grandparent gifts of even personal keepsakes for the kids in your life.

8 double sided, printed 12 x 12 sheets of Moxxie’s awesome Eye of Newt line paper

12 x 12 cardstock frames and accessories sticker sheet

12 x 6 cardstock embellishment sticker sheet

Halloween words rub on sheets (3 assorted)

Coordinating buttons

1 yard green felt rick rack

Little Yellow Bicycle’s Haunted House Chipboard Album

Check out our gallery for more great project ideas using these kit parts.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fall Into Cool - New Kit for October

This month’s offering is something bold and beautiful – a bright and exciting collection including lots of the new Moda Bella line from American Crafts. Be sure to check out the gallery for some of the great new samples from our Design Team. They’re really exciting and this embellishment heavy kit is an awesome challenge to your creativity.

Kit includes:

10 sheets of 12x12 acid free, lignin free, 100% archival quality paper – pattern on one side & coordinating solid on the other.

AC Gray embossed cardstock sheet

Bazzill black scalloped circle

AC Remarks Fashion Accents 1 Multicolor 25+ clear-back accent stickers

1 package Black Thickers Jewelry Box Chipboard Letter Stickers

I package Black Thickers Vera Accents – vinyl shape stickers in lovely flourishes and flowers

1 package AC Details – adhesive layered embellishments

1 yard Haute Glamour 5 ribbon

1 yard Haute Allure 4 ribbon

1 yard Haute Elle 1 ribbon

Tin DVD box for your creative pleasure (would be great for an accordion album or stationary gift box.

Check back tomorrow for my specialty Halloween project kit - my photographer needed to do a re-shoot of that one and we'll also be changing out this product pic then as well. Are you ready to get creative?