I met Renee 6 months ago. Right off the bat we became friends. I'm sure the fact both of us working together as Room Moms for our kids' kindergarten class helped in a sense that it introduced ourselves, but really we just clicked. We clicked like we've always known each other forever, and I admire us for that; I love her for that.

To sum us up, we basically joke about anything, everything and anyone. We meet up once a month with a few other Mom friends in our group over some beers at a local bar, and in between we text and talk almost everyday. Except for the days our kids bring home the same vicious stomach virus, in which case there's no talking, but you better believe we bitch about that when we are both off the Porcelain Royal Throne. 

We make fun/bitch about how hardcore Kindergarten is and how the kids need to apply to college next week. There's a handful of ridiculous Moms at school we joke about (I know, I know, terrible, but seriously we'll call a bullshitter out). She vents about details involved with her Girl Scout Troop. I complain about Volunterring in the Caffeteria, and how it's the worst unpaid job (Jesus we're such Moms). We cuss. A lot actually, because we can when we're together, and we "shouldn't" at home (raise your hand if you do though, i do). 

It's refreshing after going on 6 years of being a stay-at-home mom, losing old friends the typical way my age loses friends; don't live near, busy lives, no kids, younger kids, too many kids, marriages, life happens, to finally make a friend whose also a SAHM with a child same age, and experiencing the same newness of school with me. She's just generally a great human who I'm proud and grateful to be friends with. I have very few close friends, and it really is amazing how close we have become. She doesn't realize how much I needed her in my life.

Going back to that "Porcelain Throne Hugging Virus" I previously mentioned.. That was last week. On my turn to get it (seriously the ENTIRE class got it at a birthday party) it sadly occurred on the day Renee and I had the class Valentines Party planned, and damnit I had to miss it. 

Renee offered to pick up the activities from my house, but let's face it one day out of the count left my home... Lets just say a wreck... Tornado damage... Everywhere. So I mustered up the energy to take it to her. And that's when it all changed.

Out of the blue she just flat out said, "I got off the phone with my doctor 20 minutes ago. I have cancer." She stood there teary eyed. I stood there in shock with the word cancer on repeat going through my mind. I felt like a horrible friend at that moment. Horrible because the only movement I could make was a light hug (had a virus and all) and speechless. 

All week I have been going through the emotions I'm assuming are normal for anyone finding out someone you love having cancer? How in the hell do I know, this is all new to me, us, her. Not knowing what's going on is about all I know right now. In fact right now I'm tearing up for the first time. Very first time about this. Must be a new stage of emotions that just struck, since I'm still going through whatever it is I'm feeling. A few days ago I was bitter. I keep going over and over in my head, how I don't think I reacted the way I was "supposed" to. I haven't said what I was "supposed" to say. I haven't asked the questions I am "supposed to ask... I didn't know what I was supposed to do.

I'm not joking, I googled "what to say when your friend gets cancer." True story. I know I'm supposed to let her take the lead. I know I can only be there when she needs me. But going through my own emotions of this I HAD to know what it was I'm supposed to do.

Then the other night it hit me. I put down google searches. I tossed the idea of how things are supposed to go out the window. Nothing about cancer is normal. And there is no norm to cope with someone. The only thing I'm "supposed" to do is not to change. Stay the same me. That's who Renee needs right now. So at that point I determined what I'm "supposed" to do for her is to continue with our joking relationship.

So bringing humor to cancer it is. That's right. I'm going to make fun of cancer. Now, I know cancer is not a joking matter, but the seriousness of this can be left with her dr. Renee is going to think about this every single second of the day. My role is to make sure she laughs by maintaining our joking relationship. Her whole world is changing right now, she won't benefit from me changing also. 

Laughing now is what will get her through scary times later.

I'm going to make her "Cancer Cards." Basically funny cards bringing  humor to her days when she's already thinking about cancer. I plan to do little surprises for her to keep her spirits up and know cancer doesn't have to be scary all day. Know she isn't going through this alone, she has supporters. And most importantly I'm going to keep us the same and make sure she still feels normal.

PS. We nicknamed her tumor "Lumpy." 

I'll post cards as I give them to her.

Cancer Card No. 1

Update: she found her first card in a stack of photos I gave her (I almost didn't think she would ever look through those pictures to find it!)



Maisie, the puppy, decided she was going to bust out in all her toddler-glory-self and destroy some stuff.

Crap. I was pretty much finished too. I just stepped away for 2 seconds to cut just a couple more leaves that it really didn't even need. I more or less just didn't want to be finished. And this is where that got me. Back to start.. And not finished.

Next day.. Round no. 2, and already safely placed in the album.


Doesn't look as good as the original, but close enough. Luckily I was at least able to salvage the original roses. Those are annoying to cut.
I made this by first splattering on some watercolor roughly where I wanted. Attached the photo with corners, then glued down the roses and petals with no rhyme or reason. 

To place the quote, I took the negative of the cut out, laying it ontop of the page, and using a pencil, I stenciled parts of each letter making guidelines. That made it easy to glue each word down while not much thought had to go into placement. Then, I took some spare leaves and glued some down around the quote to help merge the two sides together. 

Finally, I trimmed off 1/4 of an inch off each side of my 12x12 page, and backed it with a pattern border. I always trim just the edge off the pattern pattern (leaving just the outter square). That way all of the center space that normally would be hidden behind the page doesn't go to waste. 

"Though she be but little, she is Fierce." 

I feel like this is one of those quotes that can pretty much sum up most little girls. It just so happens to be one that we've been saying about our Harper Jo since birth, and she's lived up to this quote. She has a whole lot of will and an extra big temper. She'll stand up for herself to anyone, and pretty much always gets her way. She knows what she wants and doesn't stop.. ever. 


The photo I used is one of my favorites out of many. I took it This past fall while we were flying kites in the backyard. Our cat even joined us by chasing the kite tails around. 

I am also gravitated to the fact her kite handle matched her shirt (I'm a dork). Which is why I pulled that color onto the page with a little splattered watercolor. Everything else I wanted to keep a simple black and white to allow photo to pop out. Especially since the background in general is very busy.
Anyway.. Going to give sharing a free cut file out for size. Hopefully I did this correctly. If not please let me know. One thing about the "Little but Fierce" cut out, is that I wouldn't go too much smaller than 6x9 (the size that I have). Some parts of the font are very thin and delicate. Any smaller I can't guarantee that it won't tear.
"Layered Rose" from Silhouette by Tanya Batrak (Design ID #80252)
"Little but Fierce Quote" (free download link above)



Today my son's school was closed due to snow. Even though I've been out of school for x amount of years, I still have that mentality all school closings bring.. not to do much. And that I did. After all, we are stuck in the house with no milk and no will to leave the house. So what better way to spend my time but to watch TV and work on embellishments that I may or may not eventually use. I mean I was hopped up on black coffee due to the milk outage. I had to do something.

So the other day while doing my oh so thrilling Instagram and Pinterest stalking that I can't get enough of. I came across a scrapbook layout done by Emma from "A Title Goes Here" blog and also one by Jessy from JCChris blog that used the most gorgeous flower embellishments that I needed in my life (the colorful embellishments I did shown). After doing research (okay, I was stalking) I discovered they were made with Maggie Holmes flower die cut plates from her Confetti Collection.

CRAP. I don't own nor use a die cut machine other than my Cameo Silhouette. Do I invest in order to make these flowers? Well, I found the plates on both EBay and Amazon for about $14. I also found a cheap little die cut machine made for kids on EBay for $15. But all of that seemed silly to do for just one embellishment. And I wanted to do it right then and there. Waiting for the mailman was not an option (refer back to the last post on how my mind works). So I made my own SVG file of it to use on my Silhouette! (When I figure out how to go about sharing that file I will for those who are also in my position of not owning metal die cuts) It's perfect because now I can make any size I want.

I kind of winged the paper selection, because I don't have a specific layout in mind for them yet. I used Dear Lizzy Documentary Paper Pad (spotted and the window paper) as well as baby pink card stock and washi tape (black glitter and neon green). At first I was weary of it, but once the leaves were glued on everything came together. Without the leaves the flowers by themselves look odd.

The black glitter washi tape really pulled them together and gave that girly touch and texture it needed. I taped down the washi tape AFTER I cut the shapes out. Then I trimmed around the shape using scissors. Ideally I would have used chunky loose gold glitter, but I didn't have any on hand.

So then, I didn't feel "finished." Since bold colors aren't typically my cup of tea, I wanted to make rose embellishments using more of a subtle and classy approach. So I cut out a rose shape from Silhouette called "Layered Rose," by Tanya Batrak (Design ID #80252)

Not a whole lot to say about these. I basically just used white and tan cardstock, cut and glued. Simple enough. I can say as a heads up, the center parts were a pain to get off the cutting mat and also poking the center pieces out, but that could be because my blade is going dull. 

The leaves on this file are AMAZING. I actually look forward to cutting more of those leaves out for other projects. The roses as a whole turned out great. I'll probably do something with those using a black and white photo.

Oh, one more thing. While I was "stalking" Pinterest and the reason why I cut out the rose pieces is because I came across this tutorial on using that cut out to make water color flowers. It uses the shapes like a stencil. I will be trying that out. I will make sure I post about it. I didn't end up doing that this time, because I made the flowers too small.
Flower SVG file I made inspired by Maggie Holmes Confetti Collection die cut
"Layered Rose" from Silhouette by Tanya Batrak (Design ID #80252)

baby pink cardstock
3M black glitter washi tape
neon green washi tape 



So, I'm back. it's been a long time since my short hiatus of trying this blogging thing out. (Talk about a success) Since then I have made so many things that I now wish I would have documented. Crap. The truth is I set myself up. When I started to blog, like usual, I did research on something I knew nothing about. I made blogging difficult. And unfortunately I followed what I read from other bloggers, and never once did I stop to think if what I was learning about blogging worked with me.

Everything I read stressed over and over again...
more planning
setting a schedule
sticking to that schedule.

Now, I'm a creative person by nature and the truth is I don't work or think that way. Actually I haven't met a creative person who does work well under those standards. Except for those who create fancy lists and planners (kudos to you. I can't) I simply make what comes to me at any given moment using inspiration and ideas that come to me at that time. I mentally cannot plan what I will be making a week in advance. So I set myself up. I gave myself unrealistic expectations on ways that I have never worked before.

So, years later I'm claiming a do-over. 

And while I have loads and loads of things I've made from the past years, I'm starting here. Ignoring everything else (for the moment). And I'm returning by sharing a scrapbook page I made this morning.

Today. simple enough.

The past year I have mainly been doing Project Life layouts. I'm still not completely finished with my 2015 album, oy, I have to work on that (repeat to myself, I can do this). Though, one thing that has been bothering me about that album, while I know I'm not finished with it, it's obvious when the time comes and I do finish it, it will not be "full." OCD much? So I started making traditional scrapbook pages to add to the end of album of photos that either didn't make the  Project Life cut, photos I just love, or moments I want to remember. Like a yearly recap section. Now I am no scrapbook expert. In fact I can count on two hands how may layouts I've made. But to me it has been fun and spontaneous.
Anyway, I've been on a watercolor kick ever since I bought the kids new watercolors and I wanted to try them out before they got to them and made a mixture mess of no return with them. I made simple flowers using this YouTube VIDEO. I cut them out to make embellishments.
The first memory that stuck to mind was "that one time" both children took a nap. Silly right? maybe not. It's those moments I want to remember anyway. As simple as it was, it was a Mom Moment for me. Despite me being a major creeper taking 50 photos of my children sleeping. It was special and glorious at the same time. So it deserves it's own page right? It may not be a party, event or milestone. Just a little memory I still remember 6 months later.
I still have to add journaling to the bottom of it, but it's more or less completed. I only put the bright flowers around the photo to stress how beautiful of a moment it was for me. The Holy Grail of naps from children who never nap.
Thank You Children.



I've been away for a while. My bad. Maybe this will explain a little of that.

A few nights ago while watching a video Grace Patton made over on Camp Patton (which she is awesome, go see her. And Grace if you are seeing this, my hat goes off to you). She created a snapshot video referring to the baffling question us Stay-at-Home Moms get asked, "Do you work?" And how Grace puts it, "Well, technically no. I guess not" after showing her video of her morning of "not working."

So immediately the next morning I decided to give this a shot. Surprisingly I should add this particular day was an extremely rare smooth day for us. No plans, no where to be, kids were getting along, listening, and couldn't go outside due to low temps and ice covered everything. The only thing we had going on is a cold we can't seem to shake. Which in turn made the kids just want to take it easy. Unlike today. Today is a real treat. Kids got no sleep last night. And the first 2 minutes of the day I just knew today was and still is a killer.

Before we go on. I just want to add I in no way think working parents have it easier. I know I am very blessed to be home and wouldn't trade it for anything. Matt works his tail end off and I am very grateful for that. This is just my answer to a question I get asked ALL the time, "What do you do all day?" In all honestly I can't sum that up with words, and can barely do with a 3 minute video because like mentioned above each day is different.

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Maira Gall