Tuesday, June 30, 2009


So thanks to all of you who commented on my pictures. I went ahead and submitted 1 & 2. While I did like 3, I see what some of you were saying. ^_^

My personal favorite was the 2nd one. With that vintage action applied to it, it just really spoke to me. It brought different shades and moods, whereas before it was just green and green. I like it!

And, because Christine gave me 5 questions as well, I will answer them here. If YOU want to answer questions, let me know and I'll post some random ones on your blog. ^_^

1. You're very crafty. What is your favorite craft to make?
Aww, thank you!! I think my favorite currently is digital scrapbook layouts. All the coolness, less expense and no mess! I really like how I can stretch my creativity. However, I also like to make costumes and while they can be a pain, I love to make cloaks. They're just so elegant and regal. (And fun!)

2. Have you ever received any negative reactions from people when they learn what your religion is?
The most negative reaction I ever had personally was when some Jehovah's Witness came to the house when I was still in high school, and they were impressed that I knew the answers to their questions and asked me how I knew so much for being so young. I told them what religion I was, and I immediately saw one of them put up a wall. The other one seemed a little more interested, but after I offered to give them some pamphlets in exchange for some they were giving me, they promptly left. I DO think overall that there is a stereotype applied to Mormons that people just take at face value and don't bother finding out more. I wish more people would ask questions, rather than make assumptions, or worse, go looking in the WRONG places on the Internet. Mormon.org is a great place to find out those things we believe in.

3. Do you believe in ghosts?
I believe in spirits, but not ghosts as in my dead grandma is haunting my house. I do believe that some people have been visited by loved ones, perhaps in a brief touching across this life and the afterlife, but hauntings and other things like that I believe come from evil spirits (you can ask me privately what I think an evil spirit is, if you want -- too much to get into here ^_^).

4. What is your fondest childhood memory?
Sitting on the beach at Jaco Beach, Costa Rica, around a bonfire, after a full day of swiming and eating, with my family and friends whom we had invited out, watching the night fall, with shooting stars coming down. Best day, EVER. (Even though I DID get so sunburned I had to wear my older sister's nightgownto bed so I would be more comfortable. ^_^)

5. Where do you see yourself in twenty years?
Honestly, I would love to be back in Costa Rica. House on the beach. Maybe still working, reading books. Or hey, maybe writing about traveling in Costa Rica. But, either way, I will be with my Brian-chan, maybe a couple of almost-grown kids, and hopefully maybe still my cats (who will be old, but may still be around). I just would love to have a relaxed life with the important things like family time being a priority. Who cares about having the latest and greatest when there's fun to be had playing a long game of Monopoly or Scrabble?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pictures: Sunday in the Park with Gabby

Mallon Park (Closing In Shot - Vintage)

Mallon Park (Where Trees and Benches Cross - Vintage)

Mallon Park (Play Area - Vintage)

Okay, okay, so it's really ME taking the pictures, not me IN the pictures. I actually took these at a park near church. These are some of my favorites that I added a little vintage action to. If you want to see more, you can visit the set of pics on my Flickr page.

I need your help! I am trying to take part in a photo challenge at one of my favorite digiscrap places. This week's theme: "The Road Most Traveled." It was to take a photo of something you see every day. Since I don't get out every day, I figured this would come close, as I see this park every week on my way to church. HOWEVER, we can only post two pics, but I love all three above.

So, which one is YOUR favorite out of these? Can you guess which one is my absolute fave? It will help me narrow it down. (Or, if you go to the set and see one you like better, let me know.)

I need to post these within the next few days, so your prompt help is appreciated.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

5 Questions Game

Sami got this game from someone else, so now I'm joining in on the fun! She left me 5 random questions which I shall answer shortly.

IF you want to join in on the fun, leave me a comment letting me know, and then I'll comment on your latest blog post with the 5 Random Questions I have come up with (which you then have to make a post about).

SO, on to the questions:

1. I love your cats names! Where did they come from/why did you choose them?

Would you believe that they came with those names?! I adopted them from a rescue organization (I found them on petfinder) and not only were they exactly what I was looking for (Siamese kittens that were siblings), but their names seemed to be something that I might name them. I didn't have to think twice about keeping their names. I think it was all meant to be, as Yanni (which I've only heard of the singer having that name) means "gift of God" or "the Lord is gracious" (it's a variant of John, apparently). And, Yuki is "snow" in Japanese, though I think it can also have "happiness" or "lucky" attached to it. I love their names too! ^_^

2. If you could live in any state in the US, which one would it be?
Ooo, tough one. I actually sorta have two for this answer. I'll be honest and say I haven't been to too many US States. However, I recently discovered Missouri. It's so green and lush (at least, when I was there). I heard some of the winters can be harsh, but I don't know, it really struck me a chord with me. (I'll be visiting again next month, so we'll see if I still feel the same way. ^_^) If money were no object (and I could get used to the humidity), I'd choose Hawaii. I just LOVE, love the tropics and warm ocean.

3. What do you think is the best way to be frugal?
I don't think my answer will be bold an innovative, but it's actually a combination of things I've learned. First, spend less than you make, and make sure that you're putting money in savings before doing anything else with it (mostly). Second, ask yourself if you really need something, as opposed to want. Doesn't mean we can't spend on wants, but be conscious of them. (If I find something I want, I usually take several days to think on it. If I still want it AND have the money to pay for it, then I can think about getting it. Also, for example, say you need a new car, but do you buy the economical car that will work just fine, or do you buy the fancy car you've been wanting -- is it really worth it?) Lastly, for now, I think we have to think about what we're spending our money on, and make sure we're getting the best deal. Places like Craigslist can be great for finding gently used items that you can use, instead of buying it brand new. (I just got two AWESOME chairs for less than I would have paid for 1 brand new.)

4. What's your favorite light, summer meal?
I don't think I have an actual MEAL, but I do have a recipe for a great little chickpea, cherry tomato and feta salad that requires very few ingredients, but is so good. (And I bet if tossed with some cut up steak or grilled chicken it would go from salad to meal very easily.) I'm actually making this tomorrow. Here's the recipe:

Chickpea, Cherry Tomato and Feta Ssalad (serves 1)

• 1/4 cup canned chickpeas
• 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
• 1/4 cup crumbled feta
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• Ground pepper

1. Rinse and drain chickpeas.
2. In a bowl, combine chickpeas with tomatoes, feta, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt, and a pinch of pepper.

Note: Wait until just before serving to combine ingredients. For some reason, it doesn't seem to keep as well if refrigerated for long periods of time.

5. What is the fanciest event you've ever been to?
Probably the fanciest event I've been to was a Mardi Gras party held at a hotel. It was a fundraiser and my then best friend was able to get us in for free (she worked with the organization). It was formal, so I had to dress up. I honestly don't remember all the details, but that's probably it. It was okay, but there wasn't anyone I knew, so while it was fancy, probably not the most fun. (ONE day, my answer will change, as I will have given a masquerade ball. I hope. ^_^)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

3rd Wedding Anniversary

Happy Anniversary (2009)

Brian and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary yesterday. (I made him the card seen above. I really like the button! ^_^ Well, I guess button no more as I had to cut off the shank.)

The day started off with me cooking him breakfast. Nothing fancy, just the yummiest potato and egg breakfast tacos (with these new tortillas we found which are raw and you just cook them on the skillet yourself). We basically then hung around the place and watched movies. Then we exchanged gifts. We try not to go overboard with spending on anniversary gifts and we usually give each other a limit. Right now it was a little smaller than usual (we're thinking of maybe buying a new TV soon so trying to save elsewhere), and I got him the new Sanderson single-shot fantasy book, and he got me two sets of scrapbooking pens. I know, you're thinking sarcastically "ooo, pens," but, see I had a set of these pens once, and it went missing. Brian used to borrow them to mark his scriptures (because the set has many colors) and he thinks he may have accidentally left them at church. So, he got me a larger set with the many colors, and then a smaller set with black and primary colors (which he will borrow from time to time). To give you context: I now his gift cost more than mine. Hah!

I did want to comment that Brian wrote me the SWEETEST letter, instead of a card. He says that he knows I hate wordy cards (I do), and that his one attempt at making one was cheesy (his words) and so he thought heartfelt words would be better. They were! Melted my heart. *dreamy sigh*

ANYWAY, we then went to one of our FAVORITE restaurants for dinner: Tokyo One. It's an all-you-can-eat sushi (and more) restaurant. It's awesome! And, we ate SO much last night, we were stuffed! Even though it's reasonably priced, it's still a bit more than we spend out, so it was a treat! So yummy! (I especially love their white tuna ... mmmmm .....)

It was such a nice, peaceful day, full of loving. I can't believe that it's been 3 years! Sometimes it feels like it hasn't been that long, and other times it feels like we've been together for many more. My Brian-chan is the sweetest, most adoring husband, but better yet, he's my best friend and he completely gets ME. *hearts*

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sewing Craft: Bib for Dad

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there (though I think there's only one who actually reads my blog).

I just wanted to share the gift I made for my dad, since it's crafty. With my dad being almost completely blind, he tends to get a lot of food on him when he eats, especially eating out. My mom sometimes picks up extra bibs like one can get at a seafood place, like Red Lobster. So, when I came across a pattern for an "adult" bib (no lie), I knew it would be perfect for my dad. I thought about making it out of vinyl or plastic, but I've never sewed that type of material before, so I just decided on a dark denim. The nice thing about this, is that it's reversible and washable. (And the denim is very soft -- and the closure just has Velcro, so easy on and off. I actually made two because, One, it's always my dad's birthday today, and Two, I had enough fabric and hopefully one's always available while one is in the wash.)

So, here we are! (Sorry about the creases, as I needed to iron it again.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thrifty Finds

I recently found an awesome person and site -- Sarah, the Thrifty Decor Chick. What I love about her, is that some of her decorating style is similar to mine, but more importantly, she tries to be very thrifty about it (from inexpensive moulding that makes her home look like a million bucks, to thrift store finds that she re-purposes).

She finds a lot of her home decor items at thrift stores and she does amazing things with spray paint (no lie!). Since I'm trying to make home more homey I decided I would try this out. I have ventured to a few stores, but so far my luck has been slim. Either there wasn't anything really worthwhile (although it could just be I don't have a keen eye like her and some of the other bloggers she reads), or the stuff was a little overpriced.

But, I managed to find the following 3 things at Goodwill. I admit, some I prolly overpaid for, but, eh, I totally saw a use for them right away. I'll be posting the "AFTER" pics and posts of what I ended up doing with these items some time soon. But, for now, you get the BEFOREs.

For $1.99 ...

I got this black, distressed frame that fits a 5x7 photo. What I liked was that it was already distressed, and any extra nicks and scrapes from being in a pile of frames just adds to its character. This frame will be going in my kitchen, as another item to complement my valance.

For $2.99 ...

I got this little shelf. All wood and never been painted. We've been looking for a short shelf to put in our bathroom because we lack immediate vanity storage. Everything I found at hobby/craft stores was too long (and MUCH more than this). Some paint, and it'll be good enough for now!

For $3.99 ...

I got these drapery holdbacks, WHICH I'm actually going to use as something different, as soon as a give them a new color. Interestingly enough, I saw these were from Target, and apparently they are still on Target's site for $9.99. So hey, not a bad deal, eh? (Apparently, Target sends a lot of their clearanced-out items to Goodwill -- people have been able to find brand new items from Target for just pennies on the dollar.)

So, that's it for now. Brian has off next week (since our wedding anniversary is coming up and he hasn't taken a decent vacation er, well, ever), so I plan to hit a supposedly really good thrift store which is a little farther off, but we shall see what I find. Honestly I don't really have too many things I would like, although my dream find would be a set of parson's chairs for my dining room table (I found one at one resale shop, but they only had the one, argh!). We shall see.

How about you? Do you like to go thrifting? Any good stores near where you live?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hybrid Craft: Glass Gem Magnets

Glass Gem Magnets (Green, Brown, Turquoise)

I had seen these type of magnets before and thought that once I moved into a house I would make some for my newly decorated kitchen. However, we ended up moving to another apartment, instead. I have been trying more (smaller) things to make this place feel more like home, so I finally decided to make fridge magnets (because ours don't hold up much) that match a cute valance for a window in the kitchen that I bought shortly after moving in. Besides, I knew it would give me practice to work on a new craft. Overall I like them, but definitely see ways to improve how they're made. But hey, they're just for me, right? (Oh, and there are a few missing from the pic because I ran out of magnets. Oops!)

In case you're wondering, I printed digital scrapbook paper, along with some digital elements and digital stamps, so this is a hybrid craft. ^_^ (But easy to do with regular scrapbook papers, or fun pics from magazines or the newspaper.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hybrid Craft: Father's Day Card (2009)

Father's Day Card 2009

Papers and Elements (except for bubblewrap paint): "Tropical Popsicle" Kit by Miss Mint (Peppermint Creative)
Bubblewrap Paint: "Wild Weekend" Kit by Miss Mint (Peppermint Creative)
Font: Kashmir

TWO posts in one day?! *gasp* Well, I had to do a quick card because I have to mail these Father's Day cards and almost didn't have time to finish! I printed this on some new luster photo paper. While it takes ink nicely, unfortunately it doesn't take to scoring too well. Ah, well. I can use it for plenty of other projects. But I love the fun color -- and the font (which I had some fun with). ^_^

Lovely Blog

My friend Sami tagged me with an award!!

You know, in my 8 years with my previous blog, I don't think I ever received an award. Not that I'm saying I need one, but, just saying. ^_^ Thanks, Sami!

You're supposed to pass the love on, so I award this to:

Charles (If you don't want to post the flowery award, I totally understand. ^_^)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hybrid Craft: Family Sign

Framed (and Final) Version
Rains Family: Established Sign (framed)

Digital Version
Rains Family: Established Sign (digital)

1 Crafty item down, 2 to go (if only Reva would get me her favorite colors!). This was for my friend Christine. Sort of a combo crafty/housewarming gift.

I've seen the "family established" signs all over the place lately. I've seen them on rustic boards, to nice beveled pieces of wood. I've seen a few framed, and thought that I could give it a little bit more character by making it a digital craft. I first found the frame and then made the digital print based on the size, then had it printed at scrapbookpictures.com (which it came out BEAUTIFULLY) and shipped to me. I did have to cut it down to fit the frame (which I knew I would have to do and planned it that way). Then just mounted it on the cute, scrolly easel.

The actual item looks closer to the digital print, as far as colors are concerned. I didn't have a lot of time to take a picture of the item, so I had to have Brian go out and take the pic for me in not-so-great light. But, it still looks nice. Most importantly, Christine likes it. Yay!!! ^_^

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hybrid Craft: Graduation Card

Graduation Card

Digital papers (polka dot on card; stripe on envelope liner): "Party Pants" Kit by Miss Mint (Peppermint Creative)
Black card stock: The Paper Company
Grad Caps/Mortar Board Elements: The Paper Studio
Glitter chipboard letters: Paperbilities (Westrim Crafts)

Font (not shown): ITC Esprit Std

This card is for my niece that's graduating from high school on Tuesday (I know, it's a weird day to graduate). I wanted something that was obviously a graduation card, but kinda girly and fun (and it actually matches her gift, which, on the off-chance that she happens to read this, I won't mention what it is). What I like is that the polka-dot paper wraps around a little to the back. I was too lazy to include all the detail shots. My friend Stephanie helped me out with the design, and then I realized it looked a little like my last card made with these digital papers (seen here) -- hah! But that's okay, it's still a cute design. And, I just can't help the glitter! ^_^

Friday, June 5, 2009

First Friday Fanfic: Dream Giver (Part 4)

Parts 1 & 2 Here, Part 3 Here

(Author's Note: This fanfic takes place sometime during Season 7 of the show -- just in case anyone didn't want any spoilers. Not that they're huge. Well, maybe.... You've been warned. ^_^ As always, constructive criticism is welcome.)

Dream Giver
(a Stargate SG-1 FanFic)

Part 4

Shortly before updating Stargate Command on the situation, the team discovered that their radios weren’t working. After some quick diagnostics by Sam, they concluded that something near the village was causing electromagnetic interference. Once in proximity to the Stargate their radios seemed to work fine. Clear that there was no danger, they settled in for a meal in one of the common buildings, along with a few of the town elders, the Abaris, and a few of his eldest children—with a noticeably absent Elpis.

“So is it just me,” Jack murmured to the others at the dinner table as the meal was ending, “or is ‘one of these things not like the other’?” His eyes rolled a little, his last words trailing in a sing-song voice.

The Abaris looked in SG-1’s direction and called out to them, down the long table. “What was that you said, Colonel?”

Jack looked around at his team, but Daniel jumped in before the question could be answered.

“Abaris, one of your daughters mentioned drawings. Could I see them, possibly?” He looked around at the team. “It might help us understand a little bit more about what you believe me to be.”

“Of course, Daniel. They are housed in our simple museum but one building over.”

The Abaris led SG-1 next door, and they made their way through large rooms housing paintings and drawings, with a few stone sculptures and artifacts dug up through the years. Normally Daniel would have been interested in these, but he held close to the Abaris, intent upon seeing these drawings that supposedly depicted him.

“After the first drawings, we had many people attempt to copy the likeness, and so we put the small collection of the best likenesses in this small room.” He stepped into a side room, leading them to a main wall that stood in the middle of the room. Hung cautiously without frames and drawn on rough-hewn, canvas-like pages, were striking likenesses of Daniel.

Daniel stared at the images. Logically, he knew this couldn’t be possible. There was no way that some woman he didn’t even know, light years away from home, could possibly know him, much less what he looked like. But in front of these images his heart told him differently. Soon after they were mentioned as existing, he knew it had to be true. Her warm emerald eyes had held recognition, and he knew that it was his lack that caused her to turn away. She knew him. But how?

“It is indeed puzzling, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c answered.

Daniel did a double-take and looked at Teal’c, finally realizing that he had spoken his question out loud.

Jack tapped on the wall, near the pictures. “Well, the clothes are different,” he said, trying to be helpful in pointing out discrepancies.

In the portraits it was hard to distinguish, but in the few full-bodied images, the Daniel in the pictures was shown wearing clothing similar to the locals of this town.

“And the glasses are missing,” Sam pointed out.

Daniel crinkled his nose and merely nodded.

“Who drew these,” she asked, turning to the Abaris.

“These were the first, and were drawn by Elpis herself.” He smiled. “She is quite talented.”

Almost as if he hadn’t heard the previous few comments, Daniel turned to them, eyes wide and throwing his hands out to the drawings. “Besides the fact that someone had a dream that had someone that looks like me in them, and they put that likeness to paper, why the shrine at the Stargate? Why the copies of the initial likeness? Why a whole wing dedicated to this Dream Giver! What makes him more than a dream?”

Sam, Jack and Teal’c looked at each other, then to the Abaris. With drooping brows, the Abaris looked softly at Daniel.

“While we call you, uh, him,” he said, pointing to the drawings, “the Dream Giver, it is only because he always appeared in dreams. Elpis claims that he spoke with her, almost as if he were with her. He helped her guide our village. He helped explain cures to simple ailments, helped us with ways of going about our daily lives in this village, and taught us how to guard against any who would come to us through the Chapa’ai. It was as if he were our protector.”

Daniel’s shoulders slumped, and he closed his eyes briefly, running both hands through his hair. “I need some air,” he murmured, making his way through the simple maze of halls and rooms.

Stepping outside, he let his eyelids slide to close and took a deep breath of the cool evening air, exposing his face to the sky. Slowly opening his eyes, his peripheral vision caught the last vestiges of light on one side, giving way to the inky night sky, which gently took twinkling stars into its embrace. He blinked. He was used to unfamiliar stars after traveling to so many planets, but he was surprised as he looked at these. These seemed vaguely familiar. He shook his head, took another deep breath, and started walking slowly around the village. Very few people were out—most could be heard in their homes, enjoying their evening meal.

Almost to the edge of the town, he was about to turn around and go back, when he heard singing. It was hard to make out at first, amidst the gentle coo of birds settling down for the night, and the evening sounds of crickets and cicadas floating through the night air. He walked toward one of the larger homes on the outskirts of the village, the song becoming louder, and clearer. He knew that song! Well, perhaps not the words—those eluded him—but the melody was quite familiar. The house sat right before a downhill slope, and at the back a large garden was surrounded by a stone half wall, with an impressive wrought-iron gate. In the middle of the garden, built up on more stone, was a gazebo that looked out to the plain and the mountains beyond. And in the gazebo, upon a marble bench and surrounded by ensconced candles, sat Elpis singing the hauntingly intimate tune.

He watched her from beyond the gate, transfixed upon her gentle song, filled with a heartbreaking hope, sung in a clear soprano. His breath caught as her face turned slightly toward him and he saw tears on her cheeks glistening in the candlelight’s glow. His jaw clenched slightly as he watched her sorrow from the shadows. In the darkness he whispered, “Who are you?”

Her fingers wiped at her tears as her song trailed off.

Daniel paused for a moment and turned silently to go.

“I am Elpis,” her voice chided softly, gently carried to him.

He turned back to the gate, sure that she didn’t mean to speak to him.

“But the question is,” she continued, as she rose and approached the gate, flickers of candlelight catching the green in her eyes like fireflies, “who are you?”

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