Friday, August 21, 2009

Halloween Chills ’N’ Thrills Album

Halloween Chills ’N’ Thrills

I just finished writing an article called "Which Craft" for a national lifestyle magazine. My article focused on how those with limited hand or body movement can continue to craft by adapting or using certain tools. While researching for this story, I called several companies in the scrapbooking arena to find out what tools are available for this craft. Making Memories graciously sent me a Slice machine plus oodles and oodles and oodles of goodies so I could make this Halloween album. Fiskars sent spring-action scissors and punches that take less strength to operate; and Scott and Lisa at sent me a 7 Gypsies Binderie.

Can I tell you how much I love the Slice??!? I've purchased several more design cards, the embossing tools and lay away at night planning my mini-albums and ATC cards around what die-cuts I can make.

The Binderie literally takes a push of the button to operate but I've got to practice getting the holes where I want them. I've started making mini notebooks with cardboard covers — they're so cute! And I'm lovin my Fiskars scissors and punches — they are my new favorite hand tools.

I learned something new about ordering online. After I placed an order through 7 Gypsies website I got a call from "Mike" at BlueMoon Scrapbooking. He explained that suppliers such as BlueMoon bid on the orders placed on manufacturer's sites. I was a little hesitant at first but super-nice Mike explained that it's completely safe, and in the future I can just order from Blue Moon. That's when I asked if he knew of any products that would fit my story. He put Scott on the phone and we talked for about an hour. Scott is the real deal and also a super nice guy. If you haven't watched BlueMoon's technique and new product videos, you must! His wife, Lisa shows techniques now and then and they have a designer named Kristin that shows really cool painting techniques. But when Scott and Lisa show new product it's a hoot — they are so adorable. Check them out at YouTube or at

For info on the Slice (LoVe IT!!) go to or check out their vids on YouTube by searching for makingmemories123


Friday, August 14, 2009

Dad's Dinner Bucket

For as long as he worked, six days a week, my dad used one of these lunch pails; he called it his "dinner bucket." When I was little, I'd pass on my afternoon snack just so I could eat half a jelly sandwich that he saved for me in his dinner bucket. They were warm and sweet and it didn't matter that it sat in his locker, in his dinner bucket, all day long.

Dad worked for the Northern Pacific railroad and during his summer vacation he'd bring me and my sisters to the shops so we could visit with his buddies, run around the trains, and sit inside cars, pretending to be on a long journey in the Orient. He worked for 30 years for the railroad and near as many years part-time at Montgomery Wards in the car service area. He worked long and hard hours until he was 60! I can't imagine how he did it day after day, taking only two weeks off all year.

I wanted to honor my dad's memory and keep all of his momentos in a safe place. When I came across a lunch pail on Ebay, I knew I found exactly the way to hold my memories. I decorated the pail with a picture of my dad sitting on a woodpile at the house where he and I grew up. He's wearing his favorite uniform of "dungarees" and achambray work short. My dad was never without his ubiquitous blue (or red) cowboy handkerchief. Unfortunately, we didn't think to keep any of his, so for this project Bill donated one of his, which I tied to the handle.

My dad died when I was 22 and when the song by Mike and the Mechanics, "In the Living Years" came out a few years later, I felt the pain of the words in my heart. I still choke up every time I hear it. It's about missed opportunities with our fathers while they are alive, about generational differences, and about how easy life can be if we just listen. On my dad's scrapbox, I've included a couple of my favorite lines from the song; the ones that give me hope that he now knows how much I truly loved him.

While my father's adulthood wasn't easy, nor was his childhood. My grandfather passed away when my dad was 13, so it was up to this little boy to help support his mother, brother and little sister. He did this with a paper route covering miles of our old neighborhood. As an 18-year-old, he met my mother at Phalen Lake, near where he and I grew up, they married and at 27, went into the Navy. My mom had their first baby, my brother, while dad was based in Guadalcanal during WWII. His letters home to mom, only reassured her that he'd be home soon so they could be a happy family -- but he reminded her to ration and not spend money.

Inside Dad's Dinner Bucket I've placed his notebook of addresses from his paper route, his dog tag from WWII; letters to my mother from Guadalcanal; a Northern Pacific matchbook and train schedule; his tie-tack from Montgomery Ward; his President certificate from my grade school's PTA; and of course pictures of my loving, calm, sweet, funny, and smart dad.

Dad's Dinner Bucket