Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 2, 2010 -- I know it has been forever!

Just a few random photos of Lucia and Stefano's trip for you to view.

This is Stefano coloring an art sheet in my classroom on November 30, 2010. He was coloring with a student (Patrick). This photo was taken on Petit Jean Mountain in Arkansas on Saturday, November 27th. We were at the Automobile Museum. You see Lucia and Austin on the left and Jenny and Stefano on the right. It was a beautiful day!

This closeup of Lucia and Stefano was taken at the top of LOOK OUT POINT on Petit Jean Mountain, Arkansas on Saturday, November 27th.

Bruno and Cody preparing the pork loin with garlic and rosemary on Thanksgiving Day in my kitchen.

I have few photos of the trip so far. Jenny and Lucia seemed to be the ones taking the photos, but I did want to share a few with you.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

July 10, 2010 Still moving

As you can see, the new gas stove is finally here. I need to take a new photo of the kitchen/dining room now that the corner hutches, the dining room table and chairs, and the refigerator are in the house. I had Miss Tish put my apple themed items above the kitchen cabinets. That stereo to the right is NOT staying there. It is there for the week so I have something to listen to while I work. All the cabinets are filled now with my household goods.

You can see I have all my pots and pans in this fantastic shelf cabinet. Love that the shelves pull out so you can see them all. Also love the tile floors!
This cabinet was empty when I took the photo last week. Now it is full of all my can and box food goods. The upper cabinet has the canisters and lots of other stuff. That box to the left is residing where the refrigerator is NOW. It is full of things I am taking to my classroom kitchen.

My pride and joy! My scrapbook work area in the sun room. It has also slightly changed. The small cabinet with paper on the left is gone. I added 4 more of those white cubes for paper. The stamp bookcase on the right is now filled with all my current stamp sets. The retired stamp sets are going to be in my office (the smallest bedroom) on four bookcases. Also my computer is moving to the office. This room above will have my big worktable in front of that chair with the paper wall behind me. Then it will have a round table for people to come and sit and play/scrap. Also I am going to put Bruno's cabinet he built for my Mom's old alterations store in this room. It will store the Big Shot, and all my dies as well as the Cricut and all my cartridges.
All the photos were taken last week on Saturday, July 3rd. I had signed the papers for the house at noon on the 30th, so this is only 3 full days later. I will take more photos today. The kitchen furniture is all here and most of my bedroom furniture. The actual headboard and footboard to my sleigh bed has not arrived. So the bed is on a frame for now. Then the couch, loveseat and recliner are in the living room but not in position. Have to wait until after the movers come with "Luica's bedroom" and my office desk. They will need room to move items to that side of the house.
Speaking of movers, they will arrive here at my rental house on Thursday, July 15 at 8:00. I think we will be out of here and fully moved into the new house by 11 a.m. I have to still do the following:
* Pack the remaining scrapbook room. My friend Lisa is coming today and helping me move the storage drawers in the scrapbook closet to the office closet in the new house.
* Pack the breakable items in my bedroom.
* Pack the little remaining items in my kitchen pantry.
* Pack the last items on my kitchen counters (the toaster, can opener, knife block, crock pot, that sort of stuff)
* Clean off and pack the kitchen table.
* Pack the videos in the video cabinet
* Take the shelves off the entertainment center and store the hardware in my ziplock bag so I do not loose any pieces.
* Finish the laundry and move the clean items to the new house
* Get the luggage out of my master bedroom closet (that is all that is left in there)
* Pack down the master bath on Thursday morning after I shower.
* The garage .... oh my goodness.... the garage. I have to pack the shelf with the tupperware, pack what is in the old metal china cabinet of Mom's, and pack the school items I had UNPACKED.... at least most of my garage is still packed (including all Mom's alterations shop materials). That is my Monday and Tuesday job.
* We still have 8 bookcases, an entertainment center, a recliner, an end table, 3 nightstands, a queen size bed, 3 chest of drawers, a cedar chest, a computer table, many many table chairs, a computer, my tv's, washer, dryer, my old refrigerator (Bruno will get it), Mom's old metal china cabinet and her old metal desk (both going in my new garage for extra storage), Bruno's cabinet he built Mom for her shop (now going in my scrapbook room), 3 plastic bookcases, my Christmas boxes (and there are several of them). I have plenty of work for the movers! Remember I moved here with 2 - 26 ft. moving trucks.
I have given alot of things away -- like 6 boxes of books of mine, a set of Mom's Understanding Human Behavior books, a set of Mom's art books, and a set of Mom's History books. Gave those all to 3 teachers I work with who can use them. I gave away my old couch, corner chair, ottoman and piano to Miss Tish. She loves the idea of new "hand me downs". God bless her soul!
Okay I will get some new photos today, but don't expect a post until Sunday morning.
Have a great day. It is 5:49 a.m. here on Saturday morning and I got to go get busy packing in the scrapbook room.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 30, 2010 Today's the day

Welcome to my new home! I sign the papers and take delivery of the keys at a 11:30 closing this morning.
This is where I will be busy working today. Got all the shelf paper already loaded in the car. After closing, I am heading to deliver my 30 day notice letter to the landlord of my current house rental. Then off to my ****NEW HOUSE**** to unload my car. Then back to the rental to load some kitchen boxes, a radio and a chair. Then back to the new house to unload and put the shelf paper on the shelves, so I can unpack my kitchen stuff and re-use those boxes again. :)
Prior to all this occurring before closing today, I still must:
* Finish packing the kitchen this morning
* Take a shower and dress
* Load the SU catalogs in the car (they are all in envelopes already addressed and ready for mailing)
* Head to the post office to send out the catalogs
* Head to the furniture company to check on the scheduled date of the bedroom furniture delivery.
* Head to the bank and empty out my savings account in order to have my cashier's check for the closing of the house
* Be at the title company prior to 11:30 for the closing.
It is going to be a very long day today. LOL.... In fact, it will probably be the first of MANY long days in the next couple of weeks.
Have a great day!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

It is getting to close to closing on the house. Today I went with the realtor and did a walk thru on our "fix it list" that the seller has to complete. There are 3 items left on this huge list:
1. Put new seals on the front door --- it is cracked and not airtight.
2. Spa tub in the master bath needs cleaning. Apparently it was wiped out only. Tonight we filled the tub and turned on the jets. Still needs cleaning. More gunk appeared (not as much as when the inspector tested it) so it still needs to be addressed.
3. The master bedroom carpet to be replaced (which will happen after closing on Wednesday).

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I will get the time for the house closing, which we are asking for Wednesday morning. I am so ready for these details to be completed.

Wednesday at an unknown time we will do the closing, and I will hand over a HUGE check and get the keys to my new and first home. :) :) :) :) :) I have the first load in my car and my trunk to be unloaded. Hope to move 2 more loads on Wednesday.

Thursday morning I have to be at the new house by 8 a.m. The man is coming to install my gas stove (which you have to have a licensed installer to do). Then after he leaves I am coming back for yet another load of boxes. I have to be at the house from 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursday to have the new refrigerator delivered. So I plan on unpacking a few boxes and putting together the white cubes for my paper storage in my scrapbook room.

Friday through Sunday, I will move several loads over each day. Monday I will pack more here. On Tuesday, the man is coming with my 2 storm doors for the new house. I bought one for the front door that is very decorative (glass with a nickel finish arch in the glass) and the back door is a full glass storm door with a screen at the top only. My furr balls will love laying at the back door and watching outside. That door is reached from the sunroom/scrapbook room to the deck.

Tuesday morning I also have my new bedroom suite coming. I broke down last week and bought a California King size sleigh bed, a set of mattresses for that bed, a dresser and 2 nightstands. I also bought 2 corner curio cabinets for my kitchen to put all my china/crystal and the beautiful things Mom got for her wedding years and years ago.

Wednesday and Thursday of next week I will be back and forth between houses and packing. I want to carry as much with me as I possibly can before I call the movers to come and get the furniture and appliances. I hope to have the truck and men here to move these items either on Thursday, July 8th or the following Thursday, July 15. Whatever day I have the moving men and the truck, then my babies have to go the vet the night before until we get all the furniture moved. Can't have them going outside at either place. So they will go get their shots, an overnight stay at the vet and their nails trimmed. Then when I pick them up, they will go directly to the new house.

On Friday of that week I have a chemo cycle, so I will not be doing alot of packing or lifting. I figure I will stay at the new house and unpack and set up a few things.

So much to do and so little time!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 1, 2010 The House

Okay, the seller rejected my offer. They counter-offered. I accepted the counter-offer. I get all closing costs paid, new bedroom carpet, and a home warranty. I spent more than I wanted, but I got $8,000 in concessions (which is great since the $8000 tax credit is no longer applicable).

The home inspection will happen by the middle of next week. Closing is set for June 30th. Will keep you posted. I am still not believing that this happening.

Went by the house today and took measurements of each room. Marked them and the locations of each phone jack, cable outlet, electrical outlet and light switch throughout the house on my house plan. That will help me determine what will go with me and what gets donated to Civitan (it is an agency that works with the developmentally disabled and they have a resale or thrift store).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

As you know I have been out house hunting. I have seen over 35 homes. Today I went back out and saw my top picks again. This is the one I have decided upon. It has 1,719 square feet of liveable space. This afternoon I wrote a contract for the house. My offer is much lower than the asking price. So I am betting that the seller will counter-offer.

It is a brick home with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. It has an electric stove in it now, but it DOES have gas hookup for a stove! That makes me a very happy camper. I love a gas stove. Above you see the front of the house. The two windows you see on the left are the two extra bedrooms. The master is to the rear of the house behind the 2 car garage.

This is the living room (or great room). It has a gas log fireplace. It is about 16 ft. x 20 ft. The double doors open onto the sun room. To the left you see the bar of the kitchen and the dining area.

Notice the bar in the kitchen to the left? You saw it from another angle in the previous photo. I will have to replace the electric stove with a gas stove, and purchase a refrigerator. Those cabinets on the right are a pantry storage. The bottom cabinet has deep drawers that pull out that will make it easy to find what you are looking for. There is a dishwasher that you can barely see on the left close to the sink. This room (the dining area, the sunroom, and both bathrooms) are ceramic tile. The rest of the house is carpeted.

This view was taken from standing in the kitchen at the sink looking into the living room. That is a gas log fireplace. The sunroom is off to the left through the French doors.

A view of the sunroom. The plans suggest it be used for a sunroom, a formal dining room or a study. This will be my scrapbook area to work. I plan on using the smallest bedroom for scrapbook and stamp storage. There is a bank of windows across the back wall of this room to view the sunlight and backyard.
There is a small deck out back (you go out thru the sunroom to the deck) but if you know me, I don't stay outside long. But I love, love, love windows. And this has windows!!!!! I can work and actually get alot of natural lighting. I can already say I want to plant some gardenia bushes outside that set of windows! LOL
Will let you know next week what they counter offer..... I have a bit more breathing room to use for this house.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Morning, May 16th, 2010

Finally! This is my new classroom area in the NEW Middle School Building. We were given the keys on Friday. I can now come and go in the room and begin to get organized! The students will begin the new school year in this building. What you see above is the massive amount of room for my classroom space.

On the wall with the red fire alarm will be a SMART BOARD.... it is an amazing piece of technology where I can show students lessons from the Internet. It makes the lessons enlarged for the entire class to view. That gray rolling computer stand is for my *hopefully* digital camera and new laptop. Off to the right you can see one bulletin board... further down that wall is a wipe board to write on in class.
Now this side of the room is opposite of the WHITE BOARD. As you see I took the photo before moving tables or the rolling computer stand. Will take more photos this week to share. My desk is now in the middle of that bank of windows. Behind it and centered to the windows is my black bookcase. Makes it easy for me to turn around and grab something and then turn back to my desk. My computer will rest on the right side of the desk and the printer will be on a computer stand next to my desk (can't move these until school is out!).

Ahhh! A kitchen! We can finally teach a few simple cooking skills to the students. It is a galley kitchen style. Love the buttery yellow walls. Floors are concrete and then stained. There will be no tile to deal with in this building. That door you see at the end of the kitchen opens into my storage unit.
Now I love the fact the storage unit came without shelving. LOL... Yesterday, Wayne, Laura and I took 7 sets of bookcases to the school. Wayne assembled them and we got them placed inside that storage unit. I am moving one more bookcase in that room from my current classroom. But finally I will be able to properly store, organize and find materials! Each bookcase is 31 inches wide and 76 inches tall with 5 shelves. So I have 40 shelves!!!!! I already have my plan on how to fill these shelves. One bookcase will be strictly for Science books and materials. Another for Social Studies books and materials. The next is for Independent Living materials (Life Simulation, Drivers' Education, Independent Living books). Next is the Reading/Language Arts bookcases (yes need 2 of them!)... and so on. Am excited that I will be able to walk into the closet and grab the right book without having to drag out boxes and check out each one. My current storage closet is smaller than my kitchen pantry.

Now the other side of the kitchen. The wonderful bank of windows! I am going from a tiny, tiny room to this wonderful room. Going from a single window to 2 huge banks of windows. For me it is great because I love natural light.

Today I am cleaning the scrapbook room (and currently as you see taking a break). I have to stamp some images for a trade I did with a lady. Then I have to begin prepping for my June 5th card class. Today I am going to work on the Father's Day card, which is so cute. I saw an idea on the web and then have played with it and changed it a bit. I am going to use that stamp set called Totally Tools. Can't show you until the 5th of June because my class gets to see it first!
So I better go put something into the crock pot for dinner tonight, and get back in here to finish cleaning. I have alot of stamping I want to happen today. Yesterday was a dud day for me. After I got back from the middle school I ended up propping my feet up all day.
I went out to dinner with Tawanna and Lisa on Friday night. I know better than eat Chinese food, even though I love it. The sodium kills me. My ankles were sooo huge. They were much much wider than my feet. Oh and they ached! I was walking (or rather shuffling) because it was so painful. Thought that I better keep them up and not stay in a sitting position any longer. Went home and took a fluid pill and of course, drank water by the gallon and was constantly in the bathroom.
But today, they look more like ankles. But am taking another fluid pill ..... something about the combination of heat, humidity and then add sodium and my poor ankles and legs fill with fluid. The doctors call it "idiopathic (unspecified) edema" --- basically they cannot find out why this occurs and it has been happening since my late teens. My ankles look like elephant feet.... ugh ugh ugh... that is why you NEVER see me in dresses..... and I only wear shorts around the house.
Hate people seeing my horrible legs. Now add the psoriasis that the chemo gave me.... I look like a patchy, scaly set of elephant legs.... Even have almost quit wearing short sleeve shirts for the same reason. The psoriasis is bad in red scaly patches on my legs, but both elbows are hard white patches and sometimes it appears on my hands and face.
Yet, I cannot complain too much. After all the chemo is also what has kept me alive. So it truly is a small price to pay. Life with psorasis versus death without psorasis.... hmmmmm rather be alive. I think my mission in life or on earth is not finished. So here I am!
I will get off my soapbox now. You all have a great day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday morning, May 5, 2010

Good morning! Here is the 4th and final card from Saturday's stamp camp. The stamp set is called Sweet Scoops. The cardbase is the retiring Pixie Pink. The first mat is the retiring Green Galore. Then I took a 1/4 sheet of White cardstock and ran it thru my BIG SHOT with a wooden rectangle frame I purchased at Michaels. By putting this frame at the back of the Square Lattice Embossing folder when going thru the Big Shot, I created the negative rectangle on the white mat. The rest of the mat had the embossed design of the Square Lattice. Then I trimmed it to be 1/4" smaller than my Green Galore Mat.

I used a More Mustard Marker and my stampin-ma-jig to center the ice cream cone on the rectangle space. I stamped 3 ice cream scoops on White cardstock, using a Pixie Pink marker, a Green Galore marker, and a YoYo Yellow marker. Then I came back with the striped stamp (looks like ripples in the ice cream) with a Pink Passion marker to overstamp the Pixie Pink ice cream scoop; a Garden Green marker to overstamp the Green Galore ice cream scoop; and a Summer Sun marker to overstamp the YoYo Yellow ice cream scoop. Then you cut out all 3 ice creams scoops. In any order you like, place 2 scoops on the cone using adhesive. On the top or 3rd ice cream scoop, add a dimensional to it to make it pop up!
On the inside I added a white mat and stamped the cherry using a Chocolate Chip SU marker for the stem and a Real Red SU marker for the cherry. I chose to stamp in the lower right corner. Then I inked up the sentiment, "Have a sweet celebration!" with the Chocolate Chip marker. I centered the sentiment in the remaining space at the bottom of the card to the left of my cherry stamping. Viola! You are done.
Today is supposedly my next to last chemo session. I go back May 26th for a supposedly final chemo session and my 3 month scans. I say supposedly because until we get the results of those 2 scans, I will not know if this is over or not.
Supposedly we are moving into the Middle School building this week. All we are waiting for is the occupancy certificate. We already have a OPEN HOUSE scheduled for Tuesday night, May 11th from 5 -7 p.m. I won't be around work for the remainder of the week during the move due to my chemo cycle. Now I did not plan this. We have been supposedly gonna move several different times for over a month. This time I believe it because we were given the Open House date.
Okay I must get moving.
Have a great day!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday morning, May 3, 2010

Yet another card that I taught at Stamp camp on Saturday. This one makes me think of Micki, who loves Hawaii and Lucia who loves the beach. It is a double flap card. On the top flap I stamped the palm tree from SU Tropical Party in Chocolate Chip and Old Olive ( I used the SU markers). I made a mask with a torn post it note and then sponged in Close to Cocoa for the sandy beach/island. I took a dauber in Tempting Turquoise to create the water. This was matted to a Old Olive mat that has a 1/2 inch scored flap (it fits under that white base; between the white and turquoise cardstock).

Now the inside flap. First I stamped the coconut with SU markers in Close to Cocoa, Yo Yo Yellow and Rose Red. Later cards I changed from Close to Cocoa to Chocolate Chip for the coconut and liked it much better. This is matted on a Old Olive Mat and it hides behind the upper flap of the card when close.... sort of a surprise treat. The inside flap is So Saffron cardstock. I used Versamark ink to stamp the tropical flowers over it to give it some texture/depth to the card. This flap is also scored 1/2 inch from edge to be attached between the white and turquoise mats. I used Old Olive Grosgrain 1/4 ribbon for the bow.

Now the inside, which has a sentiment from Sincere Salutations in Old Olive Ink centered on the mat. The DSP (Designers Series Paper) Island Oasis are strips 1/2" x 4" placed at the top and bottom of the white mat (which is 5 1/4" x 4"). This is mounted on a piece of Tempting Turquoise cardstock (5 1/2" x 4 1/4").
Here it is Monday morning and I am up at a strange hour..... it is only 4:35 a.m. Well I am going to go do a load of laundry and wash a few dishes before I go shower and dress for work. I seem to have most of my energy between the time I wake up and 1:00 p.m. After that I slowly go downhill.
Tonight I am going out to dinner with my family. Today happens to be a special day... ssshhhh ... it's Wayne's birthday and we are going out to steak dinners at Colton's Steak House.
Happy Birthday Wayne!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Evening, May 2, 2010

Wow! Two posts in one day! Here we are again with another card from Stamp Camp. This one features a motorcycle stamp. I used Stazon Black for the motorcycle, then used Basic Black, Sahara Sand and Real Red SU Markers. I cased this coloring from a card I saw created by Melissa at I used Crystal Effects over the red part of the motorcycle to make it shine! Makes me think of Gas, Ilaria's hubby. Maybe I better send this card to him.

Now Melissa also used the texture plates with aluminum foil, but I changed the design to suit me. She deserves all the kudos for the design, I just took it and went a new direction. The real kicker to this card is the lower front. It is alumimum foil that I ran thru my Big Shot using a textured plate. Don't you love that metal effect? Just a word of warning.... always apply the adhesive to the cardstock and not the foil (you will rub out the embossing otherwise).

Hope you enjoyed this peek at our May 1st Stamp Camp cards.

Sunday Afternoon, May 2, 2010

Yesterday we had the May Stamp Camp. This is one of the cards that we made. It is a gift card holder. On the front of the card we used the stamp set GO GRADUATE. The cardbase is Brilliant Blue, which is sadly retiring (still got to stock up more of it because it is the school color for sis's school!). The mats are Basic Black and Whisper White. All designs were colored in with SU markers. The black ink is Black Stazon.
Now the inside of the card. The upper part of the inside is a single SU stamp called Graduation. Again on Whisper White and matted in Basic Black. The bottom of the card used more stamps from Go Graduate. Again on Whisper White and matted in Basic Black.
The opening of the gift card holder is made with the Word Window punch used 2 times. Then use a circle punch to create the opening. You can slip in a gift card to anywhere using this trick.
The base of the card is 4 1/4 x 11. Score at 3", 5 1/2" and 8 inches on the 11 inch side of the paper. The center fold is a "peak fold" and this is where you create the actual pocket for the gift card. You do the punches along the center fold. After all the punching is out of the way, turn it where you can add a thin strip of red line tape to the outside of the punch area. Do both sides. This prevents your card from slipping out and also creates the final pocket. The other folds at the 3" and the 8 inch positions are called "valley folds". Just think about a mountain going up (that's the peak fold) and the valleys going down.
I have 5 more cards to post from Stamp Camp, but am going to do them one at at time, so I will start blogging more often.
School, home and medical life for me is very hectic right now. We are moving into the new building this week at school. I have chemo this week. House is a disaster and I have started packing a few boxes in anticipation of actually moving out of this rental in June or July. My mortgage is to be approved in June. So late May, I am going out house hunting. On top of all this, my teeth are giving me fits. The chemo has damaged the bones.... and I already had a course of action/treatment planned with my lovely dentist before I started all this chemo. I have not been able to do any of it since I have been on chemo (basically 3 years). Anyway, about a month ago a tooth fell out.... simply fell out. Long story short, I am going to have to have all the upper teeth removed and a denture only on the uppers. Now get this, I cannot have any work done until chemo is finally over (and probably a month out from the last chemo). So I am getting many toothaches and earaches (from the tooth issue). GRRRRR......... life on antibodics and on pain pills as necessary.....
See you later! I have a pile of housework to do. I started deep cleaning the living room this morning. Three hours later, it is immaculate. Now off to the kitchen/dining room. That is my limit for today. Hallway bathroom gets done this week. Next weekend I am hoping on my closet. And finally the following weekend the master bedroom and the master bath. That will leave me only my scrapbook room that is in constant flux between clean and messy.... LOL

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010 Hello Little One

This is the cover page for a chipboard book I made in a chipboard book swap. Mary (the girl I was making this for) asked for something feminine, soft and with pinks, and purples and a baby theme. Well I finally got it finished a week or so ago and now was the time to share it.
Well I hit feminine, pink and purple as well as the baby theme in this chipboard book.

First thing I did was use my BIG SHOT to cut out the chipboard in this square scallop shape (although the die says rectangle scallop -- it looks square to me). Then I took 12 x 12 white cardstock and my old retired stamp set ROSES IN WINTER and made one sheet wonders.

A one sheet wonder is simply a page of stamping in any direction. Later you cut it apart to use as you wish. I needed a floral, feminine background, so I created my own with the one sheet wonder.

I used the retired Pink Pirouette ink, then added Regal Rose to create the roses. The smaller flowers are Lavendar Lace and Almost Amethyst. The greenery is Certainly Celery.

I used Lavendar Lace, Pretty in Pink, Certainly Celery and White cardstocks to create all the layers. As you see, I sponged all the edges (I did go back and remove that baby bottle and sponge the edges there too!)

I used sizzix dies, quickutz dies, several punches (ovals, oval scallops, circles, lace edge, etc) as well as many, many dimensionals (pop up dots). I stamped many, many images from various Stampin Up baby themed stamp sets I own.

I even used vellum on this final page for the title PICTURE PERFECT.

I tried to make each page unique and in this book. There are hidden pockets, tags, and various mat styles. Even added some bling to a few of the diecuts (like the baby rattles on one page, and the heart on the Princess page) as well as letter beads to spell out PRETTY.
I also sent along some embossed butterflies to add to the pages. They were cut out of Lavendar Lace cardstock. Figured that would give some embellishments AFTER the photos were placed in the chipboard book.
Hope you enjoyed this.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 Goodbye Zio

At 11:30 p.m. Italian time (4:30 p.m. Central Standard Time) our Zio Corrado (also known as Zio Qua Qua, and Zio Diablo) left us. This photo of him at Christmas 2009 is most appropriate. Beside him is his nephew Fabio Taddei. Fabio was with Zio in his final moments.

Zio Corrado found out in late December that he had terminal brain cancer. I got the pleasure of going back to Marina di Pisa and staying with him for 12 days. The hardest thing I have ever done was to say goodbye to him that final morning. I knew I would never see him again on this Earth and here he was telling me he loved me and in June we would travel together to Assissi

In January, he received radiation treatments for his cancer. It did reduce the brain tumors, but it was also found that the cancer had spread to every organ but his heart. I guess his heart was just too strong for something like cancer to take root in it. I know he shared that heart with us all.

Two weeks ago he went to hospice with pnuemonia. He managed to survive thru several crisis with his breathing and his lungs. His body may of been willing to leave but his mind was determined to stay. Finally in the past 2 days, it got to be too much. He was given morphine to take the pain away and be able to slip quietly away from us all.

Goodbye Zio until we meet again. I love you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My sister, Jenny, is anxious that I post a new blog post. She says it "spooky opening up the blog and seeing a photo of herself!" I really ought to leave her photo at the top just to play with her, but being a good sister (okay only THIS time) I am not going to be mean. So let's get going on this post and get Jenny off the top of the page.

This is a photo of the card we did at Stamp Camp on Saturday. This one is of my own design. I used the following cardstocks: Old Olive, So Saffron, White and Chocolate Chip. We used the scallop edge punch to create the cute scallop frame. The DSP is Tall Tales Designer Series Paper. Then of course, it is Well Scripted for the font and Animal Stories for the elephant design. Inside the card (which you don't see) is a white mat with another little chocolate chip elephant.

By the way these neat plastic cases came from OH MY CRAFTS when sis ordered a bunch of embossing folders. She saved them for me and I use them to display cards in my Stamp Camps. That way each table gets one to refer to and I can keep my card clean.

This is a card that we did at Saturday's Stamp Camp. I saw it on Gretchen Barrron's blog. So I want you to know that I DID NOT design this card and those honors go to Gretchen Barron. She has a wonderful blog that I visit often. Please go by and check her blog out at I love how she used Soft Suede with Bermuda Bay. She used a strip of Thoroughly Modern DSP, Well Scripted, Garden from the Heart and the new scallop edge punches. Now I did not do her trick with DSP paper on the ribbon of the hat, instead I watercolored it instead.

Now at camptime, we all had problems getting the punches to work. Not sure why. I told the girls I would work on the problem and we could try it again free.... So while I am out from work (got chemo today) for the next 3 days, I will tackle this problem.

I am having a bit of trouble typing today. Seems Mr. Socks (my tuxedo cat) has decided to sit his big fat butt on my left wrist and then the matter of his tail brushing my hands occasionally. So today blogging is an interesting and challenging thing to do.

I hope to have some layouts to post this week. I just have been so busy at work. The State Department of Education comes to my school today. It is time for a Special Education Monitoring of the programs and student records. This will continue for the next 3 days. I turned in my paperwork, records and the student files they requested from me yesterday. They sent out a list last week (maybe Tuesday?) of whose files would be monitored. Thankfully I do not have to be there during the stress of the monitoring. Instead Dr. Baltz has me scheduled for my 3 month scans to see if I am still in remission and also for a round of chemo. We are doing monthly chemos for my uterine cancer until May, as an insurance policy. I have been doing this since August 2009, when I got my 1st scan back showing I am in remission. And this was schedule on Feb 3rd, well before the SpEd Monitoring was announced on Feb 16th. So it is NOTHING I personally pulled together to miss this visit. Let's just say the ladies at work will have their stress slung over 3 days, and my stress will be today (as well as the chemo roller coaster for the next few days). All and all we have alot going on here.

There are 2 more weeks to finish our alternate assessment portfolios too. I am going to throw a pizza party for my students when they are completed! The kids have been so wonderful as I work with them on portfolios, either with work samples or captioned photos of them doing the SLE (Student Learning Expectations). This is hard on them and myself. It takes away alot of precious teaching time for me -- I end up having to do review for some skills while I work on new ones for a certain portfolio group. Then it will be Spring Break time and I can regroup.

This year we will do Annual Reviews in late May for the next school year. While it is alot of work at the end of the season, it will be best in the future. At least next school year I will only have to come in and set up the room and teach. I have had to come in and also get new Annual Reviews and IEP's completed the first month of school. Whew!

Then also the week before Spring Break we are moving! There was a room designed for me at the new Middle School, which is adjoining the High School. So my class is getting a really large classroom, a bathroom, a nice kitchen and a huge storage closet for ourselves in the new area. It is simply a walk out the door on this floor (3rd floor) that opens directly to the High School building across the street. And this street is closed to thru-traffic, so going back and forth is not a problem. They do that now with the PE complex and the Middle School is beside that. So my older kids can go back and forth to classes easily. I will still have the 7th to 12th grades, although I may pull a 6th and 5th grader for this coming year. It is hard when there is only one self contained program (and it came into existance 4 years ago when I arrived). In the future there will be a need for one in the lower grades, but we do not have the population to support it yet.
That is changing.... our little school is getting bigger and bigger.

Okay, I need to go and shower/get ready/etc. for the morning. Aunt Chuck is coming to take me because I had to have some pre-meds for today and driving over to sis's house and her picking me up there is not a good idea. I try to avoid driving situtations when they give me premeds --- one of them is benadryl and I get sleepy fast on it. So for YOUR SAFETY, I do not

Have a good day. After my scans I will take a nice nap at the beginning of chemo (I get another shot of benadryl and for about 1 1/2 hrs, I tend to sleep/or at least am so groggy I cannot keep my eyes open).

See you later!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday, February 21st, 2010 Stamp Camp

Jenny with her WANTED SIGN!

At the table in the foreground are Angie (in gray), Lisa (in yellow) and Trish (in white). In the background, Micki (in the burgundy), Aunt Chuck (in black sweater) and Ann (in beige).

Foreground is Micki eating HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRIES that Kathy made for class. In the background is Trish (in white) and Aunt Chuck (in black). I have a tiny tiny classroom as you can see... it even has 3 doors to my 2 lane bowling alley of a room! We are moving to the new room in the new building in less than a month!

Jenny (in blue) and Amie (in pink) working on their cards.

Kim (blonde hair) and Kathy (brown hair) working on their IN THE GARDEN cards.

Laura (in blue) and Ann (in beige) working on their IN THE GARDEN cards.

Angie (gray who is also one of my 2 downlines) and Lisa (yellow) working on their WANTED cards. Can you tell SONIC is a favorite drink place for all the ladies. Heck, yesterday I was given 2 Route 44 cups of ice (I prefer water over soft drinks) and that meant I had one there and one to take home! It lasted thru the evening for me. WOOHOOO!!!! Thanks Aunt Chuck and Jenny.
Yesterday I had 11 people at my February Stamp camp and 4 of them were new stampers for me. Thanks for coming Kim, Amie, Trish and Ann! Then I had my regular ladies: Laura, Jenny, Kathy, Micki, Angie, Aunt Chuck, and Lisa. Nita and Tanya had other committments and could not be with us.
We have been meeting in my tiny classroom. That will change really soon. Right now my room looks like a 2 lane bowling alley with a door to the hallway and 2 doors adjoining the other bowling alley rooms. They are tiny! We are wall to wall full. During mid March I am moving to the new Middle School building (even though I teach 7 -12 grade self contained) because they built me a DREAM ROOM! I have never had a new room in a new building before! My classroom will be a bit larger than a regular classroom and in addition I have a full bathroom, a decent size gallery kitchen and a huge storage room attached to my room. Just cannot wait to be able to spread out and not be all boxed up in this tiny room.
We made 4 cards yesterday and a project. I designed 2 cards for the class using Abundant Hope and Animal Stories. Then I surfed the net and found a lovely card by Gretchen Barron using Garden of Hope and cased it. I also cased Lisa Sommerville for her Wanted card and I modified her 2 test tube candy box to fit one LARGE 1 1/4 inch test tube. We used speckled jelly beans in the test tubes , Tea Party DSP paper and the Curly Label sentiment in Eggcoutrements.
Turns out sis was talking to her table about scrapbooking and I have 5 people wanting to have a once a month scrapbooking camp like our stamp camps. Wow! So I have to work on that for Jenny, Laura, Kim, Amie and Kathy. I need to also talk to the the other girls and see if anyone is interested in joining us. I have 4 more scrapbookers that I know of in the group.
Okay it is raining cats and dogs here. Thank God for such a nice day yesterday as I had to move things from home to the car; from the car to my classroom; from the classroom to the car; and from the car to the house again. It made a world of difference. Hate getting drenched.
News regarding my uncle. Time grows shorter and shorter. He was conscious in the morning ICU visit but not on the afternoon visit. Please say a prayer for his soul. Thank you.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Night, February 20th- Zio's Cards

I do not know if I showed you these cards or not. I made them for my Zio (Uncle) Corrado. They are somewhere sitting in a box in Italy right now and the box has not been delivered. I am not sure he will even ever see these cards.
This morning he had an epiletic crisis.... he is in ICU now. His brain cancer tumors did get smaller thanks to the radiation, but the cancer has spread to all his organs but his heart. His time on Earth is very short now.
He is beloved by many nieces and nephews. It is a shame he never had children of his own, because he would of been a great father. I am so sorry that my time with him was very short. I had 8 months at the beginning of my life with him. Then I did not get to see him again until July 2008, and I lived with him at Marina di Pisa, Italy for 3 weeks. He was supposed to spend Christmas 2009 with me here in Arkansas. But the illness struck in November and his plans had to change. As most of you know, I went there for Christmas and started this blog to record my travels. So I got the additional 2 more weeks.
I often wonder how he could of stolen my heart in 5 weeks. Although I met my other aunt and uncles too, he is the one I refer to as the Beloved Uncle and the Uncle of my Heart. I call him many names... Zio Diablo Qua Qua (Devil Duck) since many of the cousins call him Qua Qua for the duck sounds he makes to babies... he calls me Diavolina (Devil) Arlene or Angelica (Angel) Arlene and sometimes Regina (Queen) Arlene. What a great cook he is too! I love his spaghetti carabone (I probably misspelled that).
He even scrapbooks! Well he scrapbooks only photos of naval vessels and aerial (planes). He has a separate book for each. It is his hobby. I use photographs of families and he does the boats and the planes. That will explain more about why I made him the boat card. He has a big fat cat (think Garfield on red meat and not lasanga!) so I made a cat card. He was telling me in December to plan on returning to him in June, once he got the "frogs" (his term for the tumors) out of his head. Thus a frog card. Finally, I see him as a playful monkey... so a monkey card was appropriate.
We carried on a many a conversation in broken Italian on my side, broken English on his side, and lots of gestures and drawings. Oh how he makes me laugh and then makes me cry. He is so funny with the biggest personality you could ever imagine. And he loves to hand me something special and watch me cry over it.... Once it was a set of small expresso cups and matching saucers and he knew I do not drink coffee. It was a set of his late wife's. He wanted me to have it. I want to get it put into a shadow box to hang on my wall. At Christmas he gave me 3 beautiful items: a leather purse, a pair of gorgeous earrings and my most treasured is a jewlery box with a plaque in it... the plaque was to commemorate his trip to the USA. I cried buckets of tears when I read the final 4 words, With Love Zio Corrado.
Tomorrow I will try to finish a layout of the two of us I started on Thursday.
If you can, please say a prayer for our Beloved Zio. Just pray he goes quietly without pain. He will be sorely missed by those of us who love him. The most important thing I can say is that he is a good man, who knows Love and gives Love.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Okay here is card 2 for today's Stamp Camp. It was designed by Lisa Somerville and I spotted it at under the stamp set gallery WANTED. I just love how she did this card. I needed something that was more masculine, so this is what I decided on doing. Lisa is very talented and has some great cards and gift ideas. She also has a website so go visit her! In fact, I duplicated two of her ideas for today's class - this card and a test tube project. When I wrote my directions down, I gave her all the credit for the designs.

Here it is 5:10 a.m. on Saturday morning and both of my furr balls (the cats) have already been fed. Socks is in his normal position on my computer desk as I type. His motor is running on a loud speed. He loves to mess with me in the morning. He just talks and talks (meow meow meow) and then when he gets settled the talking stops and the motor sounds begin (his purring).

Julie sticks close by for her food, then she eats and goes back to her perch on the back of the sofa (or my bed pillow) until she thinks it is time to mess with me. She is more active later in the day. Socks loves to announce it is morning Mom! Time to feed me! Time to love on me! LOL

Apparently I am lucking out today. The rains that were scheduled for yesterday and today will not start until this afternoon (the weatherman says after 2 p.m.) That is good for me. I can get my Stampin Bag and my 2 plastic boxes into the car and they will stay dry. Then I can move them into my classroom, have class, and move them back out without getting rained on . Heck, if I come home directly after class, then I can also unload them without getting wet.

Already plotting and planning my March class. Know I have a card organizer box for the main project. Saw a viewmaster card I want to use too... Now 3 more cards or perhaps 2 cards and a scrapbook page. Going to ask the ladies this morning which they prefer. Also got to remember to take my camera. I want to get some photos of the ladies at work! Would make a great scrapbook page for me.

Well it is time for some breakfast for me. Hope you enjoyed today's card image (designed by Lisa Somerville) as much as I do.

Have a great day!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's time for Stamp Camp again! I have 4 cards and one special project all cut and ready to pass out to 12 ladies tomorrow morning. I have 8 returning campers and 4 new campers. Going to be a fun day. So tonight I start posting all the cards and the project -- but only one per post. This way I am sure to post more this week.
The above card is made with Abundant Joy. It is an easel card, so it stands up when you open it. This model does NOT have the sentiment HAPPY EASTER on it. I left 2 of my 4 models without sentiments. Have something else in mind for them.
Speaking of models. I have prepared 4 model cards for each card that I am teaching tomorrow. That means I come home with 16 finished cards too! I will have one on the board and then one at each table of ladies (three tables with four ladies each).
It has been a very busy week. I am in the last few weeks of my Alternate Assessment Portfolios for my students. And of course each grade does it differently per State Department of Education rules. I have one 7th grade portfolio in Literacy, Math and Science (and I lack the Science to be finished). Then print her captioned photos and ALL her entry sheets.
I have three 8th grade portfolios in Literacy and Math. For one child I need to print off a sheet of captioned photographs for the SLE (Specific Learning Entry). I have to print one more entry sheet for this student and am finished with him.
For the other two students I have to take photos of them working a Geometry activity on angles. Good thing I found my Geo board and just need to grab some yarn to get finished. Then print them. Also need to type out 3 more entry sheets each for this pair.
I have completed the entire portfolio (all entry sheets and work) for the 9th grade Math portfolio (only have 1 of them).
I have completed the entire portfolios on both 10th grade Biology portfolios! Woohoo!
Then the 11th grade Literacy portfolios.... I have to print entry sheets for one child. Then the other transferred into our high school 3 weeks ago... On his, I still need to take one more set of photos, and then print 2 different sets of captioned photos. Afterwards, I still have to type out the entry sheets for him.
Plus, since I do not have enough paperwork, I had to do an Annual Review Conference and then a Transfer Conference in the past 2 weeks. I am simply drowning in paperwork! Still have to teach, take grades, make lesson plans, etc.... LOL
To top it all off, we were told last week that the State Department of Education - Special Education Unit is coming next Wednesday to monitor our Special Education Records. Thankfully only 2 of my folders were pulled and both are in good condition. They will be around Wednesday through Friday. But I will NOT be there. I have my 3 month scans and my chemo round on Wednesday. So I am out the rest of the week.
Okay I am worn out tonight. Got all my things packed and double checked for tomorrow's class. Plan on getting there between 7:30 - 8:00 a.m. and set up. Then I will work on some of my paperwork til the ladies arrive at 9 a.m. I just hate to be rushed when I am presenting a class. Rather be all prepared, set up and ready to go... then I can relax and enjoy it too.
Have a good night and expect another post tomorrow afternoon or evening...