Sunday, September 09, 2007


Yes you read that right. I am now separated (day 10) and happier than I've ever been in my entire adult life. Good thing I don't have time to ramble about how incredible it feels!!!

Oh yeah, and I've also had those tests done and the neuro doc is saying I have Multiple Sclerosis. And, as I suspected, serious back problems from buttbone up to the base of my skull. But all that is nothing compared to the challenges I faced the last 15 years. Yowsa.

I am in heaven. Seriously giddy. But I do gotta go now... I guess there's no internet access in heaven. I'm still a "friend of the library". ROFL.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Safe, but not necessarily sound

Hello world! It's been a long time. I've been missing you... in the 3 or 4 months since I was last here. Not long in the big picture, yet somehow it feels like an eternity. I've got lots of catching up to do that's for sure.

First, I was NOT on the 35W bridge when it collapsed. The bridge is less than 10 miles from me and I have been stuck in traffic on it countless times, fortunately not this time. I keep imagining the sheer terror everyone must have felt... how I would've felt/reacted if it'd been me and my kids... and it's worse than my worst nightmare. Could anyone really conceive of this happening?! For some reason it is striking me harder than might be rational, especially considering that all "mine" are safe. I know I'm not the only person that gets anxious crossing over bridges now. I feel so deeply for the victims/survivors whose lives will be drastically changed forever due to this tragedy. The long-term repercussions are staggering.

Secondly, for those who might have been wondering, my plans and dreams for DSFX are not dead, although the site has obviously been put on hold way longer than I ever planned. When I acquired the new server and the store didn't transfer over correctly I got extremely frustrated and basically gave up for a while. I couldn't afford to hire someone to fix the site and real-life stuff kept getting in the way of doing it freaking usual. My husband also decided that internet access is a luxury rather than a necessity, and refused to pay for it anymore, which caused my work to come to a grinding halt. It felt like once again, circumstances were so against me that my digiscrappin' dreams were not meant to be. (Which is exactly what he wanted... the fact is he feels threatened by my online ventures...more about that in a bit.)

I sincerely apologize to anyone I may have let down. It wasn't my intent to drop off the face of the planet, but I do tend to withdraw when I don't have anything positive to share. I'm a private person and I prefer to keep my burdensome "real" life issues to myself, rather than projecting them onto others. Unfortunately, the magic day never came when things were suitably "better", and the longer I stayed away the harder it was to come back. But here I am, again, giving it all another go. What else can I do?

Life hasn't been ALL bad. On the positive side, I reunited with a dear friend back in January, and he's become my rock these last several months. Without him I'd probably be serving a life sentence in the loony bin (or jail). He has an amazing way of soothing my soul when it's wounded or weepy, and he never fails to make me laugh when I want to scream. He helps put things in perspective, and somehow fills me with the strength I need to keep on keeping on. It's because of his encouragement and support that I've decided give my goals one more shot.

Soooooooo.... in September (when Amaya will finally be in kindergarten, and I will have internet again - yay!) my top priority will be to get the website back in action. I've sooooo missed creating, sharing, and interacting with y'all... I really truly have.

Another positive thing is that some of my long-term medical issues are finally being dealt with. In April my back began hurting much worse than usual, so I called my clinic. This time I had the good fortune of being scheduled with a wonderful, experienced dr. who speaks English, asks lots of questions, takes lots of time to listen - and get this - he actually seems to care and want to help!!! He noticed in my file that I've had back and neck issues ongoing for 7+ years with increasing frequency, severity, and duration. And that, along with his examination of me, troubled him. Huh! Imagine that! Every other dr. I've ever seen for my back took precisely 38 seconds to say I pulled a muscle, ice it, pop some Advils (which caused an ulcer), and to "take it easy" (like that's possible with 4.5 kids to care for!).

THIS dr. said enough is enough and ordered a lumbar MRI test. That's when it was discovered that I've got 4 severely herniated disks, degenerative disk disease, spinal stenosis, arthritis, and a benign tumor on my spine (he believes my thoracic/cervical MRI results will be similarly abnormal). He also suspects fibromyalgia, and based on what I've learned, I think he's right. It sure would explain alot!

So why is it good news to be told I have some serious health issues? Because it proves to my husband and his clueless but judgmental family that my chronic pain and weakness is caused by REAL debilitating problems. It's NOT all in my head like they've always chosen to believe. Yes, this diagnosis validates me; and after what they've put me through it's a huge mental relief. The truth is now known, and although I'm sure people will continue to believe whatever their egos want to believe, I'm done making MYSELF crazy over it... wondering all these years if I really AM the lazy, worthless, mental case they've always made me out to be. Fuck 'em. I know better now, and that's all that really matters (and I don't care how self-righteous that sounds).

This definitive diagnosis also finally allows me to do something more pro-active than "try to take it easy". My dr. has prescribed Robaxin and Percocet which help quite a bit, and last week he added Lidocaine patches and Clonazepam to the mix. I'm going to a chiropractor and physical therapy 1-2x/week, although neither have been too helpful up to this point. I received my first round of epidural steroid injections on July 3rd, which was a hellish procedure but semi-helpful for improving leg function. I've also got a wheelchair for when I'm at my worst but still need to accomplish things, and a handicapped parking permit too - both godsends that I feel kinda weird using because my mind hasn't quite accepted the "disabled" part of all this yet. Lastly, I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon tomorrow (8/7) to discuss surgical options that could restore strength and permanently alleviate much of the disk pain. I can actually see a light at the end of this tunnel - and I'm working my way towards it!

Physical issues aside, those of you who know me personally also know I've had marriage and depression issues for a long time. I've alluded negatively to my husband in this post, but the bottom line is he's an emotionally abusive, controlling, narcissistic jerk. After 15 years of trying, I'm done dealing with HIS demons and anger and rage. He treats us like we're inferior idiots put on this earth solely to serve him (seriously, we're talking Dr. Phil's Man Camp material) and nothing we do is ever up to his standards or expectations. He has continuously done everything in his power to control our every move and prevent me from achieving any of my goals, because it threatens his perceived role as the "man" of the family. Of course he also realizes that when I become self-sufficient financially I won't need him for anything and will leave him.

Anyway, I've realized we will never be truly "ready", so I've put my pride aside, called an abuse shelter, and asked for help. My kids and I don't need to be miserable just because he chooses to be. We deserve peace, love, and happiness, and I'm finally ready to do whatever it takes to make that happen. The gig is truly up.... it's just a matter of figuring out the logistics! I have been uber-busy packing and looking at places for rent so we can move out by August 30th (need to be moved before school starts).

So that about sums up where I'm at. Lots of stress, but it's no longer a burden I carry alone. There's finally hope, which is something I've been sorely lacking.

The kids are coping unbelievably well...
  • Britt has blossomed into a smart, responsible 16 year old - no trouble from her for a long time now. She's decided she wants to become a CNA and will be attending some college classes in the fall to get a headstart on that goal. She's got 2 jobs now - calling bingo at the VFW, and a seasonal job at the MN Rennaissance Festival.
  • Noah turned 14 last Thursday. He recently got the last of 4 casts removed - from breaking his wrist on Memorial Day weekend. He starts his first job in about 10 days at the MN RenFest with his sister. He's extremely excited, and seeing all sorts of dollar signs of course. I wonder if that'll change once he actually has to DO the work. LOL!
  • Joe just turned 11 and he's been at friends' houses more than at home this summer it seems. He is really looking forward to starting school again.... my sweet little brainiac. This coming year we've decided to enroll him in an online academy, which will allow him to work on a much more advanced level than is possible in the local public school system. I see so much untapped potential in him and can't wait to see him thrive in a more challenging educational environment.
  • Amaya is 5 now and as I mentioned she will be in kindergarten this year. No online schooling for her... she can't wait to ride the bus and make friends! She's never been in daycare or preschool (too expensive) and her playmates to this point have only been her siblings. She is extremely social though, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.

Yowsa..... this post has gotten way too long...and there's not even any pics or anything to break it up... sorry! I still don't have internet access at home (and the library's internet kinda sucks).... but I do try to check email at least once/week or so from a friend's house. If you've actually read this far feel free to email me! If I still have any fans... I could surely use some ideas for new products to create as freebies or for the store (what's hot in the scrapping world? I'm sooooo out of it....ugh!).

Even more, I would love to hear from my long-time internet friends... you know who you are... I think of you quite often and wonder how you and your families are doing. I know I am a sucky friend, but I hope you can understand the reasons for my self-alienation. Seclusion sucks. I miss you. :(

Tata for now.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Happy Friday the 13th!

I'm finally back online at home, nobody in my household is puking anymore (although now we've been invaded by chicken pox), spring break is over, it's sunny with temps in the 50's, and DSFX has returned to the top of my priority list. Things are actually looking up again lol!

Speaking of DSFX, I made a major mess out of the server switch... ai yai yai. At least now I know what I have to do though... too bad I wasted so many hours attempting things I didn't realize were impossible. I couldn't just follow directions. Oh no! I had to prove my way(s) wouldn't work. So I guess in that sense I accomplished something, right? LOL! I really look forward to being D-O-N-E with all the technical crap so I can get back to the business of designing digital goodies for y'all.

Which reminds me... there will be an April freebie kit - but I'm planning to put it in the store this time instead of on a free server. Once we're up and running smooth again I'll post here and on the website, and send an email announcement to subscribers - probably in about a week or so. I sincerely appreciate everyone's patience, and I promise it'll be worth the wait! :)

In other news.... I had an awesome Easter weekend - it was actually one of the most amazing Easters my family has ever celebrated. We had planned to go to my sister's house, but some of us weren't feeling 100% up to par, so we stayed home instead. My daughter had 4 of her close friends over (who all happened to be male...which is a whole 'nother post lol) - and it turns out none of them had any idea what Easter was about, because they're all Muslim immigrants/refugees. Now, I admit I have some very strong opinions regarding U.S. immigration/refugee policies - BUT - I also have an open mind and I love to learn about other cultures. So Easter weekend that's exactly what we did!

These boys (ages 16-18) shared stories about their own religious beliefs, customs, etc. - all of which was extremely interesting. They also told stories about growing up in their various home countries (Egypt, Kenya, Somalia, and Nigeria), which shocked and brought me and my own teenagers to tears. I won't repeat their stories here out of respect for their privacy... but I will say these kids have seen and felt more horrors and oppression than most of us could even fathom. We constantly see stories on the news about terror/poverty/etc. abroad, and like most of us I've become desensitized to all the media coverage. But to listen to these kids - KIDS! - share so many firsthand tragic experiences - not just occasionally but as a way of life(!!!!)... to see their physical battle scars with my very own eyes... wow... it was beyond mind-boggling, and it made me want to hug and love them forever. How they can be such happy-spirited, respectful, terrific human beings after all they've been through I'll probably never understand. It makes me feel like a total baby for ever whining about my own petty issues...sheesh. I truly didn't realize just how good I have it here in "the land of the free". Wow. Some of their "coming to America" culture-shock stories were freaking hilarious though.

Anyway, we in turn, shared our Easter beliefs and traditions with them, and that was an absolute blast. For the first time in 15+ years I didn't have to fill and hide a million eggs alone in the dead of night - I got to supervise instead lol!! You should have seen those boys' eyes shine as they learned about, and then got to play the role of "The Easter Bunny". Appearance-wise they kinda look like a bunch of gangsters, but they acted like a bunch of giddy 6 year olds! LOL! Watching them delight in filling those eggs, giggling like little girls as they sampled jelly beans and Peeps for the first time, whispering and creeping around the house hiding the eggs by flashlight... it was just too cool for words. And then they wouldn't go to sleep because they didn't want to miss out on watching Amaya and Joe hunt for them at the butt-crack of dawn! As each egg was discovered I don't know who got more excited, my 5 and 10 year old kiddos, or the teenage boys who hid them. ROFLMAO!! Seriously, you would've had to seen it to believe it!

Sunday we decided to skip the traditional ham dinner (because Muslims don't eat pork), and instead I baked a big old pan of taco dip which we munched on all day along with cheese, crackers, jello, candy, etc. We had 4 kinds of yummy pie to stuff ourselves with too LOL. It turned out to be quite the cultural event - totally unplanned but totally memorable! (I'll add pics to this post when I get around to downloading what's on my camera card. My haircut pics I mentioned a few posts back are still on there too lol.)

After everyone went home I did a bit of reflecting on our Easter experience. It was so out of "the norm" yet for some reason it felt more meaningful, and something has sorta been bugging me since then. Why do societies feel so threatened by differences in beliefs? I mean, wars have been fought and are continuing to be fought over religion. Why?! Although my family's beliefs are vastly different than those of our Easter guests, we all got along beautifully. They respect our beliefs, we respect theirs, simple as that. If kids can so easily accept and embrace such differences, why can't adults who run entire countries do the same? Why is peace such a hard concept to understand? It's not rocket science!

OK... off my soapbox and back to work now. I'll update again soon.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Just another lil update...

I'm having some headache issues dealing with the new server. The cPanel is set up differently, I don't seem to have the same PHP and SQL permissions, the software versions are different from the old server, blah blah blah. I won't bore you with all the details... just know that I am actively working behind the scenes to get DSFX up and running! At the moment I just happen to be pulling my hair out... lol. I can't WAIT to be done with all this yucky web stuff so I can get back to doing what I love... creating scrap goodies.

So yeah. I'm hoping the website will be all well and good by Friday night, cuz then it'll be Easter weekend and working won't be an option... which means next week. Noooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!

If you're reading this, please send lots of good technical geeky vibes!

Ai yai yai! All I can say is stay tuned....


Thursday, March 29, 2007

We're Moving!

It's time for the big server move! I'm busy transferring everything over as I type this. I will update when the move is complete - probably about 72 hours.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dreams of Dublin Freebie Kit!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
I'm pleased to offer March's freebie kit, Dreams of Dublin. It's an often-requested kit from designing days gone by - totally revamped of course!

All I ask is if you like my kit please consider purchasing something from my store. I've marked everything 50% off this weekend, so check it out!

Here's the download links:
Alpha 32 mb
Paper 37mb
Elements 23 mb
(Please note: If you get a time-out error when trying to download it's because of too many connections - please try again later.)

In closing I thought I'd share a lil' bit of Irish logic with ya:
When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to Heaven. So, let's all get drunk and go to heaven. Here's to green beer!

Friday, March 09, 2007

I Think I'm Getting Old

Did you know you're not supposed to pluck your nose hairs because you could literally yank out chunks of skin and get a yucky infection? I excavated this nugget of nasal knowledge last night as I was working up the courage to eradicate a dozen or so of the unruly buggers (vs. boogers) with a set of fancy-schmancy tweezers purchased for this very purpose. I was curious why it hurt and made my eyes water sooooo effingbad.

I didn't find my answer but I was sort of stunned to learn that apparently I'm the only woman with this problem. Huh?! This site is one of many that suggests nose hair grows because of the male hormone DHT. "This explains why women don’t have to deal with the issue." Color me confused! Last I checked there wasn't anything dangling between my legs, yet my nose hairs could hold their own in any male competition. Perhaps I should take pics so I can blow the DHT theory out of the water? Nah. I wouldn't wanna gross you out and besides, what if I'm wrong, and further tests show I'm part-guy, triggering a massive identity crisis? Yikes. Might explain a thing or three tho. Hmmm. :P

I suppose this is just another example of how ignorant I am when it comes to "personal care". I'm not a disgusting slob, I shower and shave and all that on a regular basis (eeew! geez!), but I've never been terribly conscious or concerned with the overall image I project to the world. I make an effort to mostly match and be clean but I don't usually indulge in primping much further beyond that. The fact is I've never been much of a girly-girl.

My sister thinks I'm hopeless because I've never used an eyelash curler, never been tanning, never had a manicure, never been to Sephora or Ulta, and I get my hair cut the same two days of the year I get my teeth cleaned. I am more comfortable nude than in frilly get-ups, I think my agate collection is more interesting than a horde of precious gems, my watch is a timepiece rather than an accessory, and the most expensive pair of shoes I own cost about $25 (and they're certainly not heels).

This sane sister also has a tendency to "guide" my clothing choices before we go out together, and gives me the evil eye when someone compliments me on my shirt or necklace or something in public and I proceed to tell them it only cost me a quarter or a buck. hehe She can't comprehend that I really truly LOVE to shop at thrift stores because they have stuff you'll never find anywhere else (and cheap - how can you beat it?)!

So you can probably guess who pointed out my very first nose and chin hairs - not long after she discovered them on herself. lmao Gee I love you Kel!

Having said all that, I don't think I fit in the she-belongs-on-What-Not-To-Wear category. I will have you know that there was a period in my teen years when I chose my rock t-shirts with great care, and I experimented with lotsa purple eyeshadow, black eyeliner, and Aquanet. I even dyed my hair green, and shaved it in a checkerboard pattern (yep I was one of THOSE kids). Since then.... eh... notsomuch. I'd guesstimate that I've spent less than $1000 total on makeup, clothing, haircuts, etc. for myself in the last 15 years. Shocking, huh?

My attitude began changing when I hit 35 tho. Personal grooming products and services have somehow morphed from frivolities into necessities within my budget. Lately I look in the mirror and wonder who that old person is staring back at me. NOW I understood why makeup was invented. And now, a bottle of $6.99 Covergirl foundation seems woefully inadequate.

I want a professional to decide what colors/products are best for me, and I'm nearly ready to plunk down a significant amount of cash for a few little jars of prettiness potions. And then I think why stop there? A little Botox would go a really long way, and for that matter, I've always been a little self-conscious about my neck/chin so hey.... why not go under the knife? My lips are kinda thin too now that I think about it.... oh the possibilities.

Why did it take me this long to realize the world generally sees my unique characteristics as flaws to be fixed? Is it a bad thing or good thing to finally be coming to my senses? Does the fact that I'm actually starting to care mean I'm having a bit of a mid-life crisis? Do I really look as old as the mirror says? Have I crossed that chasm between "young adult" and "middle-aged woman"? Please tell me nooooooo, it's none of the above (even if you have to lie). Not that I have anything against middle-aged women, I'm just not ready to be one. Yet.

So anyway.... yesterday I decided to try to reclaim a bit of my youth by getting a fairly drastic haircut. And I think I like it! I'm not done tho... tonight the kids and I are going to play with hair dye. The end result should be light blonde and pink highlights against my natural dark blonde color, but with Britt orchestrating there are definitely no guarantees. LOL I'm also looking forward to seeing Noah with his naturally light blonde color again. It should be loads of fun... as I'm sure they'll want to mix it up a bit, and we all know I'm the last person to curb anyone's creativity!

I'll post before and after pics when we're done. Prepare yourself to be either awed by my beauty, or flat-out amused. hehe

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Technical Difficulties

The technical difficulties started when the ac adapter for my laptop decided to die last Friday. Of course a Dell adapter is not something I can run to Target for, so I have no laptop til I can order a new one online (and they ain't cheap...ugh).

Which led to the next issue. I now have to use the kids' desktop pc to do anything, which has the newest versions of Mozilla and IE, and I am not used to them! Plus all my settings, bookmarks, outlook express accounts, etc. are missing on this pc and I'm having major withdrawal symptoms. Eeek! Not to mention that NONE of my passwords are saved on here, and I don't remember 88% of them. (I can't even post to my own forum! argh!)

Which brings me to the technical issues I discovered around 3am this morning. SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THE WEBSITE!!!!! I think? I keep getting "page cannot be displayed" errors when trying to access the store and forum. Also, none of my gif images (like category buttons, etc.) are showing up - even though the files are exactly where they should be. I changed nothing! WTF?!

So I did some investigating, and I think what happened was my webhost forced an upgrade for the store and forum, which messed everything up. I'm not 100% certain though, and I'm not sure how many more hours I want to spend trying to figure it out. I think the time has come to make the move to a new server. I've been procrastinating because I was afraid I'd mess everything up in the move, but since everything is messed up already, what's to worry about? LOL

There is some good news... I've got about 20 or so new products done, including March's freebie. Stay tuned for the previews and download links...

That's all for now. I've got errands to run but will tackle the website issues again tonight.
Just wanted to give a head's up :)

Monday, February 19, 2007

And the winners are...

Sonia (saab) and Rebecca! Congrats ladies! I've contacted you both re: prize info. Thank you to all the rest of you who entered... I loved reading your connection stories!

I'd post more... but a ferocious virus has our household in it's grip. Ugh.
I just didn't want y'all have to wait any longer for the contest results. :)

Ta-ta for now.... I hope to be up and at it soon.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Lil' Blog Contest

Is anyone up for an easy little blog contest??? :) Here's the scoop....

Simply leave a comment below that tells about a connection you've recently made, or a connection you hope to make in 2007. It can be personal, business, spiritual, or ANY other kind of connection.

You'll then be entered in a random drawing for a $5 DSFX gift certificate, plus I'll choose the comment I like the best and that person will receive a $10 DSFX gift certificate. Okey dokey?

The contest will be open until my next blog posting, which could be 2 days from now or 22 days or anywhere in between. lol Make sure you leave your email address if you comment anonymously... remember... it's all about connections!

If you're in a shopping mood, I uploaded about a dozen new Virtues
paper packs to the store, and marked them 50% off this weekend only. Here's previews of my faves:

That's all for now... I'm headed out of town for a couple days! Wooohooooo!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Connections Old & New

January seems to have been all about connections for me, on all sorts of levels...

I received access to the designer area at DST in January (thanks Shannon!), where I've made some interesting new connections on a professional level. I've also connected with lots of sweet new fans and customers through my blog and DSFX. It's been wonderfully uplifting reading all your positive comments/emails and seeing some of the beautiful layouts you've created with my art - I can't help but feel somehow connected to you!

On an even more personal level, I unexpectedly connected with 6 different people who I haven't heard from in half a decade or longer. Each time it was like...wawawaWOW...and after the fourth or fifth time it got downright freaky! It's all good tho, in fact two of them are people I've missed tremendously, and look forward to (hopefully) resuming a close friendship with.

I can't help but wonder if all these connections are just some odd coincidence, or if it's happening because my life and mind are finally OPEN to connections. Either way, it feels good. :)

Laura and I and the rest of the crew have been connecting plenty too... developing some exciting things for DSFX in the months and year to come. Really, TRULY, cool ideas and innovative products that I can't talk about yet even though it's killing me to keep my lips zipped. Eek! There's a couple site-related things I can tell you though....

1. I received an email this morning informing me that my
Retro Valentines will be spotlighted on the Dishin' the Digi - Coast 2 Coast show on DiSc Talk Radio which will run from tomorrow January 30th through February 5th. I even got this really cool blinkie:

You can click on the blinkie to listen in (it's free). To celebrate my excitement, I'm marking the Valentines 25% off for the entire week. So if you've been eyeing them, you'll be able to get all 4 sets for $6! Plus, the $5 RESOLUTIONS promo code is still good through the end of January... so... what a deal, eh?

2. We're going to be launching a "Define Yourself" series of mini-kits, complete with thought-provoking blog challenges (new blog coming too!), fun freebies, and cool prizes for those who wish to follow along. The purpose of this series is to create an entire album about yourself, because really, isn't it time to connect with and celebrate YOU??? Look for more details about this after Valentine's Day.... I think it'll be a lot of fun.... and worth all the work involved! lol

Oh! Speaking of Valentine's Day, if you came here for free Love 'N Stuff, you can find it

That's about all the news I've got for the moment.
Cya! ;)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Astrology Insights

Astrology has always fascinated me, and today I found this email in my box. Those of you who know me on a personal level will totally get the "wow-ness" of this:

Sagittarius Year Ahead 2007
Sagittarius: (Nov.22-Dec. 21): Jupiter your ruling planet, the planet of luck and largesse is transiting your sign for the entire 2007 year! When we think of Jupiter we always think of luck, prosperity, personal philosophies,travel to exotic places and things done in a big way! it will be hard to curb your enthusiasm and hold yourself back when taking on new projects this year. Your positive attitude and go get it philosophy will simply scare the other Sun Signs! There will be those close to you who will say, "stop, not so fast, slow down, and wait"! You probably won't listen until Jupiter retrogrades and you are left to pick up the pieces! Most likely you will thumb your nose at anyone who doesn't go along with your large scale plans this year!
A desire to finally break free of a restricting family situation or relationship will be prevalent this year. You've out grown so much, and it's time for the bird to leave the nest. Moves are a real possibility this year! Too many Sagittarians have simply had their wings clipped in stifling relationships and family situations, this is your break free year!
If ever there was a time to start a new business, go back to wok, begin a new career, and sell your skills and services it's now! Saturn father karma in your solar 9th house lends a double dose of luck. The 9th house rules publishing and I am sure there is a novel inside every Sagittarius! Put your hand to writing and who knows, success could follow. Thinking about going back to school, learning something new, or traveling to exotic locales? Many of you will do just those things! In Lawsuits of any kind you should be favored as well as finding yourself a new philosophy to live by or new religious training. You simply will not be happy sitting idly by and letting life pass you up this year! If you are completely set on changing your life and it requires any kind of courage this year, you will be blessed with strength and moral courage to always do the right thing!
The eclipses in 2007 prepare the way in your solar 4th house of home and family and your 10th house of career and reputation, Preparations are in effect right now and the inner stirrings of far off places is calling. This suggests that early on in 2007 you are restless emotionally, and may dream of moving and will rebel against a confining situation. Beginnings and endings are already starting!
Mars transits through your solar 1st house of freedom and independence to your solar 8th house of joint resources. Part of your struggle to free yourself involves dividing up the goods! Divorce could be indicated for some of you or a break up of shared resources, inheritances and money.

Interesting, eh?
You can get your own free 2007 forecast here.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ooh the Nerve of People!

I am rejoicing with the rest of the nation over the amazing rescue of Ben Owenby and Shawn Hornbeck. And like everyone else I have questions, especially in the case of Shawn.

My intense fascination with this miracle does not mean I'm an insensitive dolt who derives a sick thrill out of a juicy story. I think that's safe to say about most people. It's human nature (which parenthood only compounds) to be curious and almost desperate to learn the whys and hows of something as stupefying as Shawn's story is turning out to be. Our safe little world of denial has been seriously unsettled; we're forced to face the undeniable fact that Shawn could've been our own child. Naturally we crave the details so we can somehow, some way, devise a perfect prevention plan to preclude ourselves from ever having the Akers' and Owenby's shoes double-tied on our own feet. AND THAT IS THE CRUX OF THE AKERS' MESSAGE.

Where then, do so many people get off thinking they have ANY right to pass judgement on Shawn or his parents?! The decisions they make for themselves are their own to make, and it's really none of our damn business if they want to spread their message through Oprah, Larry King, The View, American Idol or even Jerry Springer. Let them shout it loud and proud! And listen to them for cripes sakes! They are graciously sharing their story with us and we thank them by suggesting they are fame-seekers?! Ugh.

How can [collective] we say what we might do differently? Very very few of us have walked in their shoes. Almost none of us can comprehend the anguish and pain these families have suffered. Only THEY could ever understand their own motives and methods of coping, and I find it absolutely abominable for anyone to question or criticize them.

Personally, I am in complete awe of this family. Despite the atrocities Shawn may have faced for over 4 years, he did what he had to do to survive, and never lost hope that he would one day be reunited with his loved ones. That doe-eyed cutie has shown amazing strength, obviously stemming from a deep-seated faith his parents instilled at a young age. (I hope this serves to save him life-long agony.) He was a terrified, innocent child who was taken against his will. How dare we expect him to defend what he did or didn't do to outwit the twisted grown man Michael Devlin is [alleged to be]? Instead we should be up in arms, demanding to know how this nefarious crime was allowed to happen right under our noses. Several people went so far as to ask Shawn if he was Shawn! How could so-called friends fail this child so miserably by not coming forward with their suspicions?

As for Pam and Craig, how can I not admire them? They adopted a magnificent cause in an effort to cope with the anguish of not knowing where their son was, if he was dead or alive, if he was being mistreated, etc. I can not even begin to fathom what they went through then or now, much less how I might react myself. In the midst of enormous tragedy they selflessly dedicated themselves to searching for ALL missing children; working tirelessly to save parents everywhere from having to endure the same wretched pain they were bearing. Searching for the lost and preaching prevention is all they have known since Shawn disappeared. This cause means the world to them. I think they're courageous and brilliant to take advantage of the massive media attention to spread their message.

Bottom line: We have NO RIGHT to judge them. We are NOT entitled to answers. We are not Pam or Craig or Shawn. What they do or don't do is up to them alone. We should be grateful that they care so much about our children to put themselves "out there" like they have. We ought to be inspired by them and heed their message. Instead of speculating, second-guessing, and slamming these victims we should be standing and applauding them.

Thank you Pam, Craig, and Shawn from the bottom of my heart. Your tremendous sacrifices, your critical message, and the power of your hope have not been lost on this mom.

On a related side note: I want to share a picture of a boy from my hometown who has been missing for 17 years. His name is Jacob Wetterling and his information can be viewed by clicking here.
This young man went to school with my sister. I was a teenager at the time and I think it made me grow up faster than I might otherwise have. His disappearance drove home the realization that evil is real, and we never really know where it's lurking.

Now, I can't help but see similarities between his case and Shawn and Ben's, but then, there's never been another case I wanted so badly to be solved. What happened to you Jake?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Love N' Stuff

Yay! I got January's freebie kit done a day earlier than planned. It may look kinda familiar to a few of you because it's a kit that I designed a whole year ago.
I debated for days about re-releasing my old stuff or not. On one hand, I have gobs of old kits done and ready to go so it would free up my time to work on store stuff. Plus many people have requested the old stuff. BUT, when I look at my old designs I sorta shudder, because my skills and style have changed soooooo much from back then. The designer in me wants to re-do everything! But time constraints dictate otherwise. :sigh:

So yeah. I present to you Love N' Stuff.

It's a little revamped but mostly the same as the old XO kit. You can download it from 4shared if you like it! The only catch is that you MUST keep in mind that these re-releases are by no means my best work, so please don't judge the quality of my work based on this one kit. I hope you'll check out the store to see what I've been working on lately!

Download Links:
Alphabet (46 mb)
Elements (23 mb)
Papers 1 (25 mb)
Papers 2 (24 mb)

I check every day to make sure the links above are good, so if you get a time-out error the server is likely busy - please try downloading again later. (soon I'll be able to put all the freebies on the store server so there's no more download issues... until then... sorry!)

Oh, and if you didn't see my previous post, there's another small Valentine freebie you can download from the store.

Don't forget, bloggy love rocks! ;)

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Retro Valentine Freebie

Here's the freebie add-on for my Retro Valentines series, now available at DSFX.

You do have to register to download them. You knew this was inevitable right? Eventually all the freebies will be on the store's server. This will also cut down on the number of people who aren't able to download from 4shared. I am sorry to those of you who can't get the mega-kit(s) - but I really don't know what else I can do. All I can suggest is to try downloading another time? :(

Oh, and do not confuse this retro freebie with the free January mega-kit. I am revamping an old kit and I will be releasing it here on my blog in the next couple days. Check back!

Friday, January 12, 2007

In a Day's Work

I'm back from vacation - the time went by much too fast! I didn't get to do much touristy stuff, but it was a nice break. Got a few pics to scrap too.

The store is now open - yay! At least, we're pretty sure it's all working correctly! Go check it out - we've got a New Year's special during the month of January if you should decide to shop.

Laura will soon be adding my latest products. Here's what I did today:

I found these super cool retro valentines at an estate sale about 5 or 6 years ago. Just took me this long to scan 'em in and clean 'em up! LOL!

Keeping this post short so I can finish January's Freebie kit. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Revelation of Sorts

First things first - several people have mentioned having a problem downloading the element pack for my In The Spirit kit. The file appears to be fine on the server, but I re-uploaded it anyway. Here is the new link:

Elements Download

Christmas came with chaos as usual. It was fun, but sorta stressful because I soooo didn't have my crap together this year. UGH. Usually I'm done shopping in October, but this year has been crazier than most. So it was 6pm on December 23rd when I finally *started* my shopping. Nice eh? FYI: I do not recommend this!

Traffic was at a standstill within a 6 block radius of the mall. They were letting one car in for each car that left, and oddly, nobody was leaving. So being the impatient person that I am, I detoured to Linens N Things. Even that place was a zoo - not a good scenario for a crowd-hater! After much perusal, I ended up buying goofy gifts like a crane game, smores maker, slippers, and stuffed snowmen. Uh...none of it was on my list, but at this point I was all about crossing names off and calling it good.

Then at 2am on Christmas Eve morning I went to Walmart and picked through their limited selection to finish up. (Have I ever mentioned how much I like Wally World in the middle of the night? There were only 8 cars in the parking lot - even on Christmas Eve! No unaccompanied minors to trip over, no dumb-ass comments to overhear, no lines, no clueless employees to deal with. Nobody gets in my way, rams into me, asks me for help, or otherwise pisses me off at that hour. It's just me, miles of merchandise, and that sweet sweet self-checkout scanner. Ah peace!)

Once the wares were wrapped, I spent the next 10 hours until our family get-together hating myself. Somehow these "obligatory" gifts didn't hold a candle to the handmade items, photo calendars, and/or albums I've become known for giving my loved ones. I've heard tawdry tales of families who scoff, snicker, or sneer at handmade gifts, but my family appears to cherish them. And nothing is more fulfilling to me at Christmastime than seeing my parents, grandparents, and sisters laugh, cry, and repeatedly gush over the gifts I created just for them. My art is the truest expression of my love for them, and their happiness is worth all the work I usually put into their gifts.

And this year I had the nerve to show up with slippers? WTF? It was so impersonal, ya know? I was REALLY hating myself. So I whipped up some quick photo magnets to give to them. Everything was well-received, and all's well that end's well I guess, but I was still very disappointed in myself. Why? Ugh.

As far as the kids and dh, I thought I fell short there too - in both my intentions and in my [perhaps warped] expectations of myself. I've always gone all out - I can't help it - I love Christmas and I love to make their wishes come true. Usually each kid gets 10-12 gifts and loads of goodies from Santa, and dh gets something he wants. This year. Eh. Notsomuch.

We gave Britt cash and the red sheets she wanted, Noah got a bobblehead, binoculars, and a cell phone. Joe got a microscope, guitar strings, and a cell phone. Amaya got Sing 'n Doodle w/bonus Flip 'n Doodle, a Doodle Bear, a generic dolly, a new bike which I won in a drawing downtown (woohoo!), and a cuuuuute Gymboree outfit. Dh got a nice pair of gloves, a box of chocolates, and a custom coupon book. I got a trip to Florida (more about that in a minute!), and Monopoly Here & Now was the family gift.

Santa was simplistic this year as well. Stockings held nothing more than a small amount of candy (non-Christmas candy cuz it was all sold out oops!), Lip Smackers, gum, stickers, and school supplies. That's IT. Everyone got a few relatively useful gifts - NOT categories and collections and entire series of gifts like in most years past, kwim?

And you know what? When that magical rip-and-squeal moment was finally upon us, the only one who noticed and fretted over the massive scaleback was me. Huh. The kids loved what they got, and not once did I hear the words "That's it?" that I'd mentally prepared myself to hear. Then it also struck me that this entire season nobody has mentioned us not decorating every inch of the house or baking or doing any of the other things I somehow feel pressured to do in the name of "creating traditions".

All these years I've been putting the holiday stress on MYSELF. Why?! Sure, this year I was frazzled for 2 days, but it's better than an entire month of stress and being out a huge wad of cashola.

A revelation? Call it what you will. But wow.

Even Christmas "dinner" was drastically understated. We dined at home on cold turkey sandwiches and munched on an array of yummy appetizers that my awesome sister sent home with us. No cooking! No cleaning! No dishes! We lit a lovely little fire in the fireplace and lazed around watching Christmas movies. It was simple, peaceful, and so very nice. Needless to say, I've definitely rethunk and redefined what Christmas means to "us".

Now...on to the most exciting part....
I'm leaving tomorrow for Fort Lauderdale, FL to spend a week with my mom!!! Yahooooooo!!!!
It was dh's Christmas gift to me and I am thrilled beyond belief! Of course I couldn't help but think of the million other things the money could've been spent on - I'm just a budget-minded kind of girl like that, but ultimately, I realized I deserve a break, and in fact, I really need it!

So.... as I write this I'm waiting for my spring/summer clothes to finish drying and then I'm packing and tomorrow I'm leeeeeeaving on a jet plane (provided my plane isn't delayed due to the blizzard in CO.) I hope to do a whole lotta nothin' for the next week. Then when I get back all tanned and relaxed, the kids will be going back to school, and I can get DSFX transferred to the new server and we'll be on our merry way!

OK....gotta go. So much to do and only 18ish hours left!!!! Wheeeeeeeee!

I hope everyone had a safe and peaceful Christmas! Here's wishing you a prosperous and meaningful 2007!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I honestly didn't expect so many downloads and comments on my In the Spirit freebie kit. Needless to say, I am thrilled and very encouraged by all the love!

I wanted to take the time to address some things and answer a couple questions that came up in comments and email:

1. Until DSFX opens, I will use 4shared for file hosting. For those unfamiliar with 4shared, when you click on the link, a new page comes up and towards the middle/bottom is a blank area and it will say "Loading File Info. Please wait...", then a few seconds later you'll see the download link.
I apologize to those who had a difficult time with the first set of links I provided for In the Spirit - I had no idea zupload would be so slow.

2. No, I had not planned on re-uploading freebies posted here in the past, but I will consider updating them and rotating them through the freebie section when my website opens.

3. No, I do not curently sell my designs anywhere. It's been my plan from day 1 to sell my designs only on my own website. I understand that as a general rule, designers start out at a consignment store before going solo, but I never claimed to be a rule-following kind of girl did I? hehe I'm not saying I'm completely opposed to selling elsewhere, I just want to put all my efforts into my own website right now.

What y'all don't realize is that DSFX has been a vision in the making for quite some time and the website is like 93.2834% finished! And that's not because of me. Without the help of my ultracool digi-friends - mainly Laura, Meghan, and Gary - DSFX would never be soooooo close to becoming a reality. It's not easy being an artist with 4 kids to support, and at times it seemed like the obstacles were so overwhelming it would be much easier for me to give up on the whole project. But they didn't let me. To have friends who believe in your talents THAT much, who do as much as they've done to support MY dream, to continue encouraging me even when I know I was letting them down...well.....that kind of friendship and support is something not too many people are blessed with. I'd be a darned fool to turn my back on them and call it quits. So, I guess my point in this whole snippet of sappiness is that if you enjoy my designs, you have Gary, Laura, and Meghan to thank just as much as me. They are MY inspiration.

4. I intend to offer a full-size monthly kit and other random freebies here on my blog (and later at DSFX) for a long time to come because I feel it's the least I can do to "give back" to the digi-scrappin' community. Although I've never been very public when it comes to posting in forums and galleries, I can assure you that I have downloaded and used PLENTY of freebies from many fabulous digi-designers over the last couple years. This is my way of paying it forward.

5. I not only welcome but truly appreciate constructive feedback on my designs. So feel free to shoot me an email if you've got some thoughts about my creations, questions, or anything else, okey dokey?

I think that covers things for now. :)

Before I go, here's a little peek at an old-fashioned Christmas kit I'm cooking up.... I love Christmas, can you tell? hehe

St. Nick
Toodly doo!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

In the Spirit

Work on the DSFX site and store continues behind the scenes, and suddenly the busy-ness of Christmas is upon us! For the month of December I am pleased to offer all visitors this FREE "In the Spirit" digi kit. I got a little carried away, so it's pretty big. This gift is for old fans and (hopefully!) new fans alike, and to let people know I'm back in action after a 6 month leave of absence.

Here's the previews:

All items not shown in preview.

In The Spirit kit includes:
16 papers, each slightly distressed and textured
3 complete alphabets + 1 set of numbers (& some punctuation)
30+ fun embellishments

If you download, please leave a comment below. And of course if you like this kit, I'd appreciate if you'd refer others to my blog or my website so they can download it for themselves.

Here's the download links: Paper (31 mb) Paper2 (29 mb) Alphas (26 mb) Embellishments (15 mb). Links updated 1/9/07.

Have a safe and exciting holiday season!

ETA: I am thrilled to see that so many will enjoy this! Thanks so much for all your wonderful comments! I changed the download links above to a faster file-sharing server.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hi!! password actually worked this time.
Gotta whip my blog back into shape.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Vintage Finds....

Well, in the 2+ weeks since my last post (oops!) I went to Two Harbors for a week, got DSFX almost ready to open (home page has changed!), planned a bachelorette party, got bronchitis, and lots more stuff...aside from the usual mom-bligations.
But this post is all about my super-cool finds in an antique shop in Two Harbors. I found some really fascinating vintage books, mags, photos, and postcards, and a couple waaaay cool kid's books. Love 'em!!

The b/w ad pics below are just random pages I flipped to, but every single page of the mags are like that - full of amazing artwork (to me anyway)!!! Ooooh the possibilities!! And the articles are some of the best reading I've had in a while....I will share some of them here soon too.

So anyway, here's the pics, you can click to make them bigger...

That's it for now....back to work.