Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter 2009

...brothers and sisters...

Mom and her sons - Roy and Richard

Mom and her daughters - Susanna, Peggy and Laura

On Christmas Day we only got pictures of the adult siblings as a group-shame on us for fogetting to put all the cousinz together! We were kinda busy trying to fit everything in before the weather turned icy and made driving off mom's mountain treacherous. These pics were in Grammy's kitchen at the farm in Charles Town celebrating mom's 75th birthday. love ya, Mom!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well, can't believe today is almost over. Some much anticipation, hard work, baking, shopping, silly secrets, drawing names, wish lists and on and on.

The funniest part of the past week or so was the kids wrapping items from their room or toy boxes for us using actual giftwrap and tags. I thought they were real gifts till Grace told me they were using things they were done with or tired of like old books or toys....omgosh-that cracked me up! Certainly helped fill out the base of the tree with these recycled gifts! John was actually quite serious about his gift giving and told me he DID NOT want his gifts back when I tried to return a toy plane that was sticking out of the top of my stocking (a week ago!!).

Another funny was last night before bed, Grace was helping me write hint tags for gifts which is a tradition from the Bohall-side of the family. So for a set of tennis balls for Dad, Grace thought up "you'll be making a racket with these!" and for a beautiful mug from a local potter Grace came up with "teaheehee-see you in the morning". Yep, she's a Bohall all right!

We have established a few traditions which work well, so far! Christmas morning Grace and John are allowed to open their stockings and any gifts on the fireplace ledge before Mom and Dad are up. Brian buys and wraps the biggest box of their fav cereal he can find (which of course way over-exceeds the family sugar limit) and adds these monster cereal boxes to the Open Now collection. John was up as his usual crack of dawn and Grace managed to struggle out of her room by 730. By 8am I had a fragrant cup of coffee in our bedroom and a little girl whispering Merry Christmas in my ear.....and away we went! Instead of the mass hysterical shredding of giftwrap we used to do when they were itty-bitty, now at age 8 and 3/4 we TRY to observe and enjoy each gift as it's opened. So we kind of do a round robin and everyone gets a turn. Extra-special gifts are wrapped in one certain patterened paper that we can easily identify. This year it was purple penguins in snow suits (thanks, Target) so the morning rule was you couldn't open 2 purple penguin gifts in a row (this was to stretch out the BIG gifts!)and it worked well. The kids didn't complain and we were really happy this worked!
John's big gifts included an electric aquarium w/images of water and fish-about 2 ft long-really cool-looking and a Razor Scooter which shoots real sparks when you ride the brake. Grace got a camera-which we know she'll share with John-and of course tons of books. I love my watch from Brian and the huge stash of dark chocolate which is mine...All Mine! thanks, honey! I also got a beach chair I had been coveting for a few years-too bad it was delivered with a full description and actual picture of the chair on the outside of the box! heehee! I hate surprises so this was fine by me!

The afternoon was spent at my mom's farm in WV with all of my siblings and spouses and children 9 adults and 6 kids!! Celebrated Christmas and mom's 75th birthday-love you, mom! Lots of fun-our first soup and sandwich holiday meal and quite a success so I hope this becomes a tradition-so much less work and still so yummy! Another first was the adult gift exchange. Happy to say I got mom's name so I ordered her a beautiful hand made hoodie from a Close To My Heart consultant (thanks Nona!-ordered one for my m-i-l and me too!!). My brother Richard got my name and gifted me a very generous gift card to Costco-yay! May save this for Spring and see what comes up in their garden area. :) We all did stocking stuffers for each other, sister Susanna made cd's of family pics-many of which we had never seen from my parents stash of negs-lots of work to this gift-thanks Sissy! Finally home to a huge mess which everyone pitched in to hellp straighten out-some dinner and playtime with gifts and finally---bedtime for Brian and the kids.

Tomorrow evening Brian's brother Rob and wife and 4 kids arrive from Ohio to spend the night then we will all drive down to Fairfax Sunday morning after breakfast. Brian's parents are hosting a meal and get-together and his other brother Ken and wife and 2 girls are already there, so that will be one full house! 8 kids and 8 adults-woohoo! It is really special to have the gang from Ohio come back to VA for Christmas. We only see them in Aug at the beach, so it will be great for the cousins to hang out while the rest of us catch up!

THe house is quite again and I have a chance to breathe and realize how blessed I really am. Today is the anniversary of Jesus's birth and my mom's birth. My family is warm and safe in our home near the Blue Ridge Mtns. The only thing I am missing is my Dad - Roy Alexander Fry. He would have been the life of the party at the farm-great sense of humor and a wonderful family first kind of man. I know he was there in Spirit.

Thank you, God.
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hey, Santa!

This card was fun to make because it highlights one of my favorite Christmas stamp sets from Close To My Heart - "Santa's Helpers" retired. I don't own a lot of cutsie stamps but I love this one because I use the CTMH waterbrush and inkpads to color in the images. All of the papers are CTMH and I used real sheet music as an embellishment along with some CTMH Prisma glitter. The punches are all SU except the biggest scallop. That is a new one from Marvy Uchida which I adore! The body of the punch is pale green, which I guess is their new size. Worked out perfectly for this card!
Did some last minute shopping for DH with the twins today. Asked for their input, sent them around the corner for specific items and generally included them in the shopping experience instead of the usual dragging them along behind me. They were so busy with their assignments that there was little or no fussing-yay!
Now to get some wrapping done. It's supposed to get down to 15 tonight which will help "firm up" the sledding trail for tomorrow's guests. Hot chocolate will help warm up frosty fingers and we may even light the fire pit -we'll see!
night, all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chistmas Card Countdown

I had a lot of fun making cards this year. I didn't put any restrictions on myself (i.e. using certain products exclusively)and pulled out embellishments I hadn't seen in a long while. Then I realized how hard it would be to send some of the more flamboyant cards so I had to minimize sad!
This card uses "Graphic 45" paper-love the weight of the paper and that it has different but complimenting patterns on both sides. The felt is Martha Stewart and the bird image is "Crafty Secrets" Heartwarming Vintage. The stamped message uses Close To My Heart letters which of course are my fav and SO easy to use-love acrylic!!!!
So, simple card with a simple message - handmade from the heart.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blizzard Crash Taters!

We are in the middle of Blizzard 2009 in VA. It's gonna be a White Christmas!!
Started last night around 9pm and hasn't stopped yet! We are at 16" approx and it's still STEADY coming down. We know this isn't unusual for our friends up North who live with lake effect snow, but this is real rare for Virginia!! The kids have been outside 3x today helping Daddy clear off the vehicles and do some shoveling and rescuing sleds from a previous snow. We are so excited about sledding around here cause we have awesome rolling hills out in the back field. The firepit is full and covered (if we can find it!) for hot chocolate and sledding friends tomorrow!
In the meantime, I have been cooking and Grace was a big help getting our Crashed Taters in the oven for lunch. Found this recipe on -thanks Ree! and they are awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!! To me, the key is the olive oil. You just can't use too much! Wish I had some fresh herbs but Mrs Dash Spicy worked well plus lots of fresh ground Sea Salt-yummy!


Prep Time: 30 MinutesCook Time: 25 MinutesDifficulty: EasyServings: 6

12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher Salt To Taste
Black Pepper To Taste
Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste
Preparation Instructions
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.
On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.
With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.
Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)
Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Holiday Bazaars.......

are a way of life and I love em. Especially around here in rural VA. Everything from handmade soaps to sock monkeys to fresh turnips pulled from the cold garden beds to kitchen handtowels with prayers sewn inside. Our church is no different. Along with handmade crafts there are tables GROANING with baked goods including oatmeal pies and double-layer coconut cakes and snickerdoodle cookies and the last of the summer's perserves which will be perfect on the Thanksgiving table. And then there's the homemade soups we sell by the cup or the quart plus turkey and ham sandwiches and more desserts by the slice followed by super sweet home brewed tea. Hungry? Crums Church Bazaar is on Nov 6th at the Enders Fire Hall from 8am-6pm!! I will contribute a few crafty items made using mostly Close To My Heart products. Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 12, 2009

October Stamp of the Month

This is what we have been waiting for! New program for purchasing the Stamp of the Month-yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stamp of the Month Customer Program FAQ

1. What is the new Stamp of the Month program?
Under the old program, customers were able to earn the right to purchase the Stamp of the Month at a 25% discount by making a qualifying purchase of at least $25. Under the new system they can do that and more-they can actually choose their own discount (including getting the stamp sets for free) as shown in the following charts:

US Dollars
Spend: Qualify:
$0 to $24.99 Full Price $22.95
$25 to $49.99 25% off $17.21
$50 to $74.99 50% off $11.48
$75 to $99.99 75% off $ 5.74
$100 or more FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2. Can a customer buy the Stamp of the Month with no qualifying purchase?
Yes, the new program allows a customer to buy the Stamp of the Month set at full price with no qualifying purchase. The more they buy, however, the bigger their discount gets.

3. Can a customer buy more than one Stamp of the Month set?
Each customer is only allowed one free or discounted Stamp of the Month set per order, but they can buy as many full price sets as they want.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

All About Me

I'm afraid to see how long it's been since I've posted to my blog. Life has been soooooo crazy the last few weeks. So this weekend I am leaving town with some friends to get some serious scrapping done. I plan on working on an album "All About Me" for my focus. That's me in the picture. My maternal grandparents were tenant farmers in Clarke and Loudoun counties, so I got to chase calves when we visited, then go home to Fairfax where life was quite different. But no matter where we were, my father took a camera-thank goodness. Must be where I got my love of photography. I wish I could ask my Dad about some of his impressions of country life. He was born and raised in New York City but loved the idea of raising a family as close to rural areas as possible. Miss you, Daddy.

have a great weekend, everyone, and I promise to share some artwork SOON!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

IT'S HERE...IT'S HERE!!!!!!!!!!!
Go to my website to see inside!!!!!!!
Just click on Products and you will have your hands on the 2009 NEW Autumn/Winter Idea Book. Scavenger Hunt date with great prize to be nnounced soon!

Monday, August 24, 2009

.......something different........

Today I want to post something different from my usual images.
This card includes stamped images from, assorted vintage ribbon and lace and everything else is CTMH. I dyed the flowers using CTMH reinkers and used our distressing tools on the edge of the stamped image. This card is for a sweet friend that I missed at an event last night so I'm just dropping her a note to say I missed her. Hi, Katie!

We are just getting back from the most wonderful vacation at Rehobeth Beach, DE. You would think it would be extremely chaotic with 8 kids and 8 adults, but this year that didn't happen!! The kids ages range from 13 to 7 with our set of 8 yr old twins and all the cousins got along beautifully. This photo was a lucky shot since it's so rare to get the 8 of them to hold still together!! The weather was incredible at the water's edge all week-temps in the low 80's. Up on the boardwalk was a DIFFERENT story-almost felt like 900 degrees instead of the posted 96 degrees!
Just gotta add this...while we 4 Bohalls from Berryville were packing the van last Sat morning to start our vacation, one of the kids bikes fell off the top of the van and hit daddy in the head! Had to go to Urgent Care in the next town and Brian got 4 stitches! So after a short rest at home we were on the road by 5pm and at the beach by 930pm-yay! The FIRST day on the beach poor daddy burned his feet on the sand! So he was suffering injuries from his head to his toes and he is 6'4" so that's a lot a hurt! :D) The rest of the vacation was smooth sailin' ....cept for me gettin rolled by the waves 3 different times! Thankfully there were lots of helpin hands and nothing popped out of swimsuits unexpectedly -another yay!

(sorry about the pics not sequencing with the messages-still gotta figure that one out!)

anyway...we're home and school starts wednesday and there's tons of laundry to do and the new Close To My Heart Idea Book will be made public on 9/1 and I start subbing again and I can't wait to get back on my bike and on and on and on.........

talk to you soon!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

just a glimpse...

I just wanted to show a quick glimpse of a soon-to-be available stamp set! This is a 6x6 card I created using the Close To My Heart Sept Stamp of the Month "Treasures". I can't begin to tell you how much I love this stamp set. I'm sure it will be in a lot of my work in the near future. The papers used are from "Perfect Day" paper pak although their colors didn't scan very well at all. Let me assure you this is a beautiful collection of patterned coordinated papers! The crocheted ribbon from CTMH is one of my favorite products of theirs as well as the chocolate ribbon, clear buttons and chocolate waxy flax. Creating is so Fast~Simple~Easy when everything is so beautifully coordinated for you. Thanks, Close To My Heart!

more to come later!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


13 years ago Brian and I decided we wanted cats and knew that 2 siblings would suit us fine. When we went to Ellen and Troy's farm to check out Miss Lucy's litter we had plenty of beautiful choices. First we chose Bluemont because he was the only black cat in a basket of stripes! Then we chose Dulcenea because she had the most beautiful huge eyes and tiny, sweet meow. The entire time we were making these choices, this one kitten kept hopping out of the basket and insisting on attention. I remember because I had to put him back in the basket each time. He was so persistent and playful that we knew we NEEDED him as a good offset to the other two kitties. On the way to the vet we came up with names based on a play we had seen "Man of LaMancha" and this kitten ended up with the name Pedro-named after a loyal fellow. It didn't really sink in what we had done until the vet told us we would get a discount for having 3 cats in the family! It didn't matter because Pedro was so worth it! Not only was he the biggest of the three and of course the alpha cat, he had the biggest purr, the biggest heart and was the only lap cat in the family. One of my favorite things about Pedro was that he would love to run the length of the house at full gallup, and with his tremendous size we had to make sure everyone was out of the way!! There were many times he almost knocked me off my feet and we quickly learned to get the kids to move when we heard him coming. I think it was just a fun release for Pedro because at the end of his run he would stop, look around like "what's all the fuss about?" and then find a quiet place for a nap. Yesterday we had to let Heavy P go home because of a severe illness.

Rest in Peace, Pedro.
We will miss you forever, sweet boy.

Friday, July 31, 2009

2nd Peek at Aug Stamp of the Month

The more I play with this stamp set, the more I like it. I think that's probably true for lots of stamps I own. I either fall madly for a stamp or I "see" something in it that sparks my imagination. Once I take the time to play with it, the ideas just start rolling!

There are actually 26 seperate stamps in this Stamp of the Month-wow! To qualify for this set you simply order $25 worth of product and earn 25% off the retail value. Place an order for $50 and earn 50% off the stamp set. Pretty easy! And the discounts just continue all the way to earning this set for FREE-wheeee! Go to my website for more details or to place your order after Aug 1.

Have a great weekend~L

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Aug Stamp of the Month 1st Sneak Peek

Stamp Set: CTMH It's Your Day
B&T paper: CTMH Paper Garden
Glitter and Ink: CTMH
Punches: Martha Stewart
Ribbon: Assorted
Flower Soft

card measures 4" x 5 1/2"

When I create cards, I try to do multiple cards at one time. The image is never the same but the materials are usually similar. I like to get as much use out of 1 sheet of 12x12 paper as possible-love my paper! So, my card fronts - or at least the first layer - is cut at 4" x 5 1/2" instead of the standard 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". This way I can save paper and no one even notices the 1/4" missing!

It's raining today and we have swim lessons at 10am so the water and air will be chilly-poor kids! But we really need the rain so there is a bright side...for some of us!!
have a great day~Laura

Sunday, July 19, 2009

a bit of fun....

I found this on the very talented Bren Yule's blog

You can play this too, just copy and paste, delete my answers & add your own response to paste into your blog or an email to friends…

One Word:
you’re feeling: disappointed
to your left: Books
on your mind: my sister's health
last meal included: fried zuchinni
you sometimes find it hard to: focus
something you have a collection of: birds' nests
a smell that cheers you up: rose oil
a smell that can ruin your mood: car exhaust
how long since you last shaved:a day or two
the current state of your hair: needing color!
the largest item on your desk/workspace right now (not computer): assorted paper
your skill with chopsticks: miserable
which section you head to first in the bookstore: Crafts
…and after that?: historical fiction and then southern lit
something you’re craving: dark Chocolate anything
your general thoughts on politics: thank goodness she's not our VP
how many times you’ve been hospitalized this Year: none, thank God
a favorite place to go for quiet time: I forget
you’ve always secretly thought you’d be a good: Master Gardener
something that freaks you out a little: Heights
something you’ve eaten too much of lately: veg lasagna
you have never: Cheated
you never want to: be Helpless

Mini-albums and a Journaling Chat

Here are some more images from this album I have been working on in between life, children and summer. The cover says "trip to dc" (as in our nation's capitol-yep, we live close!). All products are Close To My Heart-easy choice there! Used "Emporium" paper which works so well with ANY event, any focus like boy, girl, family, etc. If you click on the image, you can read the journaling. I spoke at a local woman's club a few years ago about the "Art of Journaling" and try to apply it to my own life daily. Hence, the art blog, Facebook, personal journals and scrapbook pages. I usually favor 2 different methods of journaling - either the 5 W's - who, what, where, when, why and will write them out in bullet form. Pretty easy and descriptive. The other method I like is called "story telling", as if you were describing the photo to someone who had no idea who or what was in that photo. Easy to use 1st person or third person speech and can be accomplished in a paragraph or two.

For my mini-albums, I start with 1 page of story telling since it's usually a single event and then add in random comments per picture or page. This will change with the album focus or theme. I plan on doing a few albums like "Top 10 Loves" and "Our Cats" and these won't need as much journaling. Well, maybe...we'll see!

I haven't stopped doing the larger size albums like 9x9 (my fav) or 12x12 but the quick reward of completing a mini album in a day is SO worth the small scale version of a scrapbook!!

One more quick note about journaling. This is a tool you can use especially when you don't have PHOTOS to tell a story. I have very few pictures of my father but I have a few vivid memories that I really need to get written down to save the story . Please consider doing this version of scrapbooking without photos too. You can still use all your tools and resources to come up with a permanent keepsake without pictures.

happy Sunday!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


my friend Melissa, who met a personal business goal a YEAR early!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHOA!!!! Melissa just recently promoted to Director level with Close To My Heart and deserves a thunderous round of applause and lots of hugs and notes of congratulations!! Director level with our complany "equates to a lawyer making partner" and Melissa has worked her patootie off to reach this goal. Please take a minute to visit Melissa on her blog and let her know you heard her wonderful news.

You deserve all the accolades and much more, M!!!!
love ya, gurl!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mini Album

I have started working on a mini album using my favorite paper from Close To My Heart called "Emporium", the stamp set "April Word Puzzle" and the "My Creations 3-Ring Binder". Love this size as it measures 5 1/2" by 8 1/2" and is a great size to complete quickly. Can't wait to finish this project and share it with you. Just need to work around 2 different swim classes, my son's taekwando, playdates and sleepovers and all the other fun stuff summer brings. Since there's no routine to our days, it's REALLY hard to get some scrappin and stampin time in for me! The title of this album will be "Trip to DC". Hopefully I will finish this before our next adventure downtown!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I cannot post a link today! what is the problem???!!!!!!!
here are the links I mentioned in my previous post.
I am NOT a good blogger-might as well go out and mow!
sorry, ladies!

Tresa Black -


A Lovely Award

Oh My Gracious! I have received a "Lovely Blog" award from Miss Fabulously Artsy herself - Tresa Black!

You must check out her blog-she is the creator of the most Fabulous papercraft cupcake. Her work is dreamy! I have followed her blog ever since I met her (quite briefly) at last year's Close To My Heart convention in FL. Thank you, Tresa!

I also want to specifically point out another blog I follow DAILY -my friend Melissa. If you want to meet some one ON FIRE this is the girl to go to! Her creativity knows no bounds and she is the most focused business-woman as I have ever met. Melissa graced me with a blog award a while back and I was really lax about following thru, but not today! Check this firebrand out!!

So now I get to post a few more blogs that are new to me and I follow....hope you will too! We really must support women artists - for ourselves and for our children.

much love~L

Debra-my personal tech support and friend!
Rachel-you inspire me, girl!
Mary-you are "VIRTUALLY" a genius!
Jean-you 'Color my World'!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

another Sneak Peek - July Stamp of the Month

Yep, another 6x6 card-really love this size! My inspiration was from the new card design book "Wishes" from Close To My Heart. I liked the look of a design called "Pieced Together" and just flipped the design on it's side to make it work for me. I used paper from the "Moon Doggie" Level 2 paper pak and of course the stamp set is the FABULOUS "You've Got Flair" stamp set. What I like is how easily I can create patterned paper with these stamps as well as an eye-catching focal point. Next I want to work with CTMH's watercolor pencils and blending pen to highlight some of the great detail work in this stamp set.

Hope you will enjoy this stamp set as much as I do. Just hop on over to my website after July 1st to purchase this set at a discounted rate, based on your total purchase!

have a great week!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Dad

My father, Roy A. Fry, was born in 1928 in New York City to a very Catholic-based family. He had 1 brother and 1 sister and very interesting parents of English and Irish heritage. Roy studied in the Seminary, fought as a Marine in the Korean War and finally realized he wanted to be an educator. While working as a 6th grade teacher and the principal at the same time at Waterford Elem in VA, he met his soon-to-be bride, my mom Barbara Cooper. They married and moved to Fairfax County where they both worked as teachers and started our family. My father and a few others created the Fairfax School Employees Fed Credit Union and he worked there 1/2 days as the Manager/Treasurer and taught Social Studies in the local high school. Roy was very outspoken about the importance of desegregation in the school employee field, and I now understand better one of the attractions between my parents - their strong feelings that everyone was an equal and should be treated as such. This was a difficult stance to take in the 50's and 60's in the education field-especially this close to the South.
Quickly our family grew to include 5 children in 10 years, and my parents were so very happy. We lost my father to an early death when I was 10 and my youngest sister was 3. I have a few wonderful memories, like when he took us kids out on Burke Lake in his rowboat-aptly named for my mom, the "BarbaraAllyn". Or when he would introduce me to his Credit Union cronies at the summer picnics as his "Laurie-Annie". Then there were the few times when he knew I had sipped from his beer while he was mowing (yucky!) but he never scolded me. I remember leaning out of his parents' sky-high apt in NYCity and him holding on to the back of my shirt. My favorite memory is going to the World's Fair in NYC-just me and my dad-and he let me steer the car while we rode through "It's A Small World". Although I have very few memories of my Father I know he left us a wonderful legacy to live up to as a man of conviction in his beliefs of equality for everyone. This is my legacy to my children, and for that, I thank my parents.
I miss you Daddy and love you very much.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sneak Peek July Stamp of the Month

This card is designed as a 6x6 sized card, so I can include a nice long message inside. I used the upcoming Stamp of the Month from Close To My Heart called "You've Got Flair #D1351, available July 1-31 only. Lot's of wonderful patterns in this 8-stamps set. I also used a new paper pack for the summer - Moon Doggie Level 2 and I LOVE the colors! All products on this card are CTMH and you can order them thru my website
Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Boy

Decided to pull out a few stamps I haven't used in a while. The background is by Cornish Heritage Farm and the boy is Artistic Outpost. The sentiment is CTMH and the crewel work is from a stash of mine from years ago. All inks and paper are Close To My Heart which for me are the best on the market-even if I wasn't a consultant! The ink choices for this card are Honey and Chocolate (umm..yummy!) and the paper is White Daisy and Chocolate. Somehow the very top quarter inch of the scan didn't make it in this picture. Sorry! My forte is NOT working with tech equipment-that's for sure!
Can't believe it's summer around here. The temps are still averaging "Springtime in VA" with lots of rain the last few weeks. That's a good thing since our county has been drought-scared the last few years around this time. Just did our first bush-hogging out in the back field because the grass was soooo tall. The advantage to tall grass is that the wild turkey families can move their babies around sight unseen but the tick population increases like crazee.
Anyway, the warming temps reminded me about this stamp set and I'm glad I found it to share with you.
Have a great day!

School's Out!

WOW-School's Out! Can't believe John and Grace have graduated 2nd grade. It's going so fast...for me. It feels like just yesterday my girlfriend possee and I were planning playdates at the toddler park EARLY in the day so everyone could get home for lunch and naps. Ah, sweet naptime. :D)
So for now, no more reviewing the school lunch menu for choices on packing or buying, no more remembering to wear red on Fridays for school spirit day, no more standing at the end of the driveway waiting for the bus. No more homework, no more field trips, no more calls at 6am asking if I can sub for a sick teacher.
No more puzzling over "new Math", "a different kind of phoenics" or "Listen to what I learned in Music today, mom"!
No more class parties, no more coming up with a potluck dish for the monthly teacher's lunch, no more waiting in the car-rider line catching up with the other moms.
Hey! School's Out??!! What?! 2nd grade went by so did that happen?
(I still haven't gotten the hang of inserting photos exactly where I want them so some 'splaining will have to do. The pic of the kids without glasses is the first day of 2nd grade 8/25/09 and the other pic is the last day of 2nd grade 9/11/09. See much difference? Grace has gotten a bit taller over the past year, that's for sure!!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

True Happiness Again!

Here is another card using this cool stamp set! This card reminds me of looking out my kitchen window at the Blue Ridge Mountains and all the lovely trees and fields. Can't wait to start incorporating the clouds into scrapbook layouts. All the details for purchasing this set can be found in the previous post.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

True Happiness

Just got this stamp set from the Close To My Heart Summer Idea Book and love it already. Called "True Happiness", this stamp set includes 8 images in acrylic for only $22.95 or $17.90 with your consultant/hobbyist discount! You can find this set on page 57 #D1365. If you order through my website you will get a FREE gift in the month of June. Check out my site for more details

This card uses CTMH "Boom-Di-Ada" paper with chocolate and tulip ink. I picked the ribbon up at an outlet in Hagerstown, MD which I hope to visit again soon.
I love this set because it includes scenery stamps like clouds, mountains, waves and grasslands plus 2 different sentiments-yay!
I will post more pics using this stamp set soon-see you then!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Heartfelt Whimsy Die-Cuts

Heartfelt Whimsy such a great name for this Close To My Heart product! I am TOTALLY enamoured with these felt die-cuts #Z1145 $9.95 You get three 11 1/2" x 11 1/2" sheets, 1 each in Buttercup, Garden Green and Tulip for only $9.95!!!!!!
I know!! Love it-thank you CTMH!! So I challenged myself to come up with something fun using felt and this was the result. Please accept my apology for such bad pics of this layout. If I had a 12" scanner, life would be so much easier!! I will try taking pics again to get the details but I really wanted to share this. I love using brads on this felt (I used Bitty Brads #Z1051 $5.95) and layering with Edge Anchors (I used "Cottage" #Z1035 $5.95) -cute! I found that I really prefer a wet adhesive to insure the felt sticks to a surface like the Bonding Memories Glue Pen #Z553 $4.50
The paper I used is from "Emporium" paper pak-one of my all time favs, mixed with some "Paper Garden" paper. Isn't it great how so many CTMH papers coordinate with each other?! YAY! Love to save $$ this way so I have more to spend on stamps!!
Oh yeah-the title was created using Color-Ready Alphabets #x5749 $3.95 which are actually perfect for chalking, inking, sponging, etc. but for this layout I wanted something simple so this was a good choice for me. Thanks again, ctmh!
If you read about anything you just have to have-check out my website It's kinda fun to shop from home and have your goodies delivered right to your front door. Or, e-me at and I will place your order for you!

hope you had a great weekend~L

Friday, May 29, 2009

......a bit of fun......

I saw this on Karen Pederson's blog and had to do it! FUN! If you would like to participate, just copy and paste this list of questions and change to your answers and post it on your blog with a link to mine. ( Then be sure to comment here and let me know if you have done it and include your blog address so I can come and learn more about you.

Here's ME:
Age: 50
Bed size: King
Chore you hate: cleaning the cat boxes!
Dad's Name: Roy
Essential start your day item: ice water
Favorite actor(s): Robin Williams, Meryl Streep, Angelica Huston
Gold or Silver: Silver or Platinum
Height: 5’8"
Instruments you play(ed): Flute
Job title: mom, substitute teacher, scout troop leader, Close to My Heart Manager
Kid(s): Grace and John ~ 8 yrs old
Living arrangements: own a home in Berryville, VA in the shadow of the BlueRidge Mtns near the Shenandoah River with my sweet man Brian and the kiddos
Mom's name: Barbara (Grammy)
Nicknames: Shug (only my DH can use this)
Overnight hospital stay other than birth: multiple hernia repairs after the twins were born
Pet peeves: biogtry
Quotes you like: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle" ~ Plato
Rightie or Leftie: Rightie
Siblings: Peggy, Roy, Richard and Susanna
Time you wake up: 6:30 a.m. can't miss the school bus!
Umbrella: naw, unless I'm waiting at the bus stop
Vegetable you dislike: where do I begin...brussel sprouts!
Ways you run late: browsing art blogs and cat naps
X-rays you've had: both ankles, right wrist
Yummy food you make: baked chimis-shared this on Jeanette's blog-ahhhh!
Zodiac: Gemini

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

the Lemonade Award!!!!!

How exciting! I received my first blog award from my sweet friend Melissa. She is such an incredibly creative person and I am always peeking at her blog for inspiration. I would love for you to check her blog out, and tell her I said Hey!

I am going to list a few blogs here that I peruse almost daily.
However, will be a couple of days before I am able to do this! I am in the middle of a marathon substitute teaching gig finished off with a family trip out of town, so most of my life is on H-O-L-D while these things are going on!
more later!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

June Sneak Peek Time!

Have I mentioned I'm involved in a 'virtual' card swap? I love it! The paper and stamp set are pre-determined and I only have to make one card (as opposed to 8 or 18 or 80!).

For this card we were to use Close To My Heart "Animal Cookies" from the new Summer 2009 Idea Book and the June (a 'la sneak peek) Stamp of the Month "Tender Tags". I wouldn't normally have paired these 2 products together, but since I was committed to the swap, I worked on this for a few hours and this is what I finished with. What do you think? The paper is hysterically fun for doing kid layouts and actually might work on a "cheer you up" kinda card. The tags I adore and you will be seeing a lot of these in future layouts.
Have you received your copy of the new Idea Book from me yet?
Just let me know and I will get one to you. Or, you can view the online version and place an order on my business website

Have a great evening!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

This is a card I made for my mom, Dr. Barbara Allyn Cooper Fry. My mother is the most gentle, patient, giving Southern woman I know. Her family comes first, no matter what. The biggest thing my mom taught me was that we are all equal, no matter what our differences -social, religious, physical or racial, to name just a few. I value this lesson and try to live by it every day.
Mom was born in Loudoun County, Virginia during a time where there wasn't much diversity locally. Her parents were simple tennant farmers who decided they wanted more education for their children then they had received, so mom spent a lot of time studying at the kitchen table by oil lamp in addition to daily farm chores. She was able to attend college by working her way through on-campus jobs and returned to the Loudoun area to pursue her dream of teaching in the local school system. It was here that she met her soon-to-be husband, my father Roy A. Fry, who was also an educator. My parents moved to Fairfax County, Virginia to take advantage of the high-quality schools and to begin their own family. It was in Fairfax, growing up with children from different ethnic backgrounds that I began to learn my mother's valuable life lesson of equality. It was in the way she treated everyone alike-with respect, no matter who they were. And believe me, I had some extremely different type friends! When I was a teen, I attended one of my mom's PTA meetings where she was the elementary principal. She had to make some tough decisions regarding a school matter, and some parents were very angry and disrespectful. My mom never raised her voice back to these adults. She showed so much restraint that eventually everyone calmed down and listened to her reasoning. Once we were home I marveled at how she didn't lose her temper or hold ill will against the parents. She told me that everyone deserved to be treated with respect, equally, even the angry ones! This was just one of the many ways my mom showed me that I should treat everyone the same-no matter what their differences. I hope to instill this same value in my own children and eventually they will pass the lesson to their children.
thank you, mom, for everything.
love ya~L

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sympathy Card

Sadly, I have had to create some sympathy cards in the past few weeks. I decided to use "Unforgettable" which is a beautiful line of paper from Close To My Heart and 2 stamp sets that are always within reach. I didn't want to create "make a statement" type cards like I usually do, so this card in particular is pretty pared down.

The paper is "Unforgettable" Level 2 #x7106B and the stamp sets are "Faith" #B1201 and "Comforting Thoughts" #C1088. These products can be ordered from my website or email me

...we will miss you, Georgia.....

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Open House!!

Want your own copy of the NEW 2009 Close To My Heart Summer Idea Book? Want to play with new products and make a cute card or a layout? Want to see samples of upcoming workshops? Come to my Summer Idea Book Open House!!!!!!!!
May 15 - Friday Night - Crums Church 7pm-10pm
2832 Crums Church Rd

See you there!

Friday, May 1, 2009

...just some really cool news....

Carol Ann Duffy has been named as the new Poet Laureate, the first woman to be appointed in the 341-year history of the post.
Duffy, 53, who takes over immediately from Andrew Motion and will serve 10 years in the position, says she will give the £5,750 annual payment away.
The author, who is best known for her collection The World's Wife, is also the first Scot to be named Laureate.
Duffy said she felt "very honoured and humbled" by her appointment.
'Truly brilliant'
The poet told BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour she had thought "long and hard" about taking the appointment.
"I look on it as a recognition of the great woman poets we have writing now," she said.
"I've decided to accept it for that reason."
She added: "Poetry is all around us, all of the time, whether in song or in speech or on the page, and we turn to it when events, personal or public, matter most.
"In accepting this Laureateship, I hope to contribute to people's understanding of what poetry can do and where it can be found."
She has said she will donate her yearly honorarium for the new post to the Poetry Society to fund a prize for the best collection of the year.
The job also comes with a payment of a "butt of sack" or, in modern terms, about 600 bottles of sherry.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Check out this link for a fantastic giveaway! Debbie Doncaster of the UK is super excited about her blogoversary and so am I! Her art is meticulous-ridiculous and her blog is full of good tips!

Friday, April 24, 2009

another sneak peek-May Stamp of the Month

This card was fun to create. I used all CTMH products including a few tools I haven't used in a while like the corner rounder, long reach punch and piercing tool.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

....sweet morning...

today is the 14th anniversary of the day my DH (dear husband) proposed. Brian mentioned this to the kids today at breakfast and they were a bit wide-eyed about the event. :D) Grace and John kind of looked at us differently for a few minutes while their Daddy went on about how Mommy was speechless when he proposed and how all she could do was cry. And then this special little family moment passed, daddy headed out the door, we cleared up breakfast and the kids left on the bus.

I am still reliving that moment 14 years ago. We had mentioned getting married and finding a home (not a rental) and starting a family (not anytime soon) but I was certainly surprised by his timing and the proposal itself. Me, speechless? Hard to imagine!

What a good reminder to myself that I need to journal about that special day 14 years ago, maybe find a photo of the 2 of us around that time to add to the memories. Ah, thank goodness for the art of scrapbooking, the act of preserving memories and our stories and the ability to save these special family moments forever.

In the meantime, I think I will add a picture of the 3 most important people in my life from last weekends hike.

Have a great day-Record a special memory while you have the chance!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another Sneak Peek

This is a 6x6 card made using the Close To My Heart May 2009 Stamp of the Month called "Be Yourself". All products are CTMH and these colors coordinate with a beautiful new paper pak called "Bella". The colors are Smokey Plum, Olive, Hollyhock and White Daisy.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My First Family (BIG) Hike

Since we live at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we have plenty of places to trail hike, quite close to home. Today we went to Sky Meadows State Park in Paris, VA for my first BIG family hike. My 8 yr old twins and DH (dear husband)have done other trails but I always had something to do. Not today! We opted for a "moderate" level of difficulty with one major steep grade and a fantastic view of the surrounding valley. This was really challenging for me but everyone's help, I made it! I am NOT a great outdoors person but love my family and want to do as much as possible with them, so I am quite happy with the outcome. Plus this was a great chance to check out the park and find a good trail for my Brownie Troop. Oh yeah - I'm going back!
I didn't get to take as many pics as I usually do (probably too busy trying to catch my breath at the top of each trail rise!) but I got a few. I can't wait to scrap these using the NEW Close To My Heart paperpak "Back Country". Here's a sneak peek at the papers and embellishments that I can't wait to use on our Family Hike!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Last Night........

I was lucky enough to get to see a local production of "The Vagina Monologues" with some very dear friends. The lucky part is that this play would never have received local government support or much area acknowledgement as I live in a pretty rural area. Granted, we are only 1 1/2 hrs West of D.C. but come on, in May our kids get a day off from school to attend the Apple Blossom Festival and some of the 'stars' invited to attend include Erik Estrada and Bo Brice. We are the home of Patsy Cline, for gosh sakes! Regardless, a wonderfully progressive local woman formed a theatre company designed to raise funds for the benefit of social causes. Most of the profit from the 3 performances will benefit a local woman and children's shelter-Amen!
I had seen the HBO presentation of "The Vagina Monologues" several years ago and it was so raw and wonderful and eye-opening and soul-lifting. Last night was just as rewarding with the added bonus of attending with friends. We went to a new restaurant first for sushi and asian-fusion inspired dinner-yummy! Drinks afterwards and I had my first chocolatini-whoa!
Last night..........was so memorable.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Happy Spring, Ya'All! is one of my favorite sites to visit daily. It's a fun place to post your artwork, through groups like stamping using specific companies products. 2 of the groups I belong to on this site are (of course) Close To My Heart and Heartwarming Vintage Crafty Secrets.We offer "challenges" to each other to inspire as well as share ideas. Here are a few cards I came up with based on a HVCS challenge called "Shades of Purple". I love Spring so these cards were so rewarding to create. If you click on the photo you should be able to see a bigger image.

I am blessed to have a few days to myself while DH (dear husband) and the kids are out of town visiting cousins.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mini Spring Baskets

Found the pattern for these cute baskets online and wanted to try them immeaditley! Great way to use up scrap paper and embellishments, and what cute packaging to tuck a gift card or note into! I think the kidz teachers will love them. These would make a very easy workshop, too. Interested? I might just have to schedule something one afternoon!