Monday, December 25, 2006

A Christmas of Sadness and Joy

Definitely a Christmas of mixed emotions for us this year. Christmas Eve-afternoon Chris got a call that his grandmother was not well. She's had some rough times lately. His brother called in the afternoon to let him know that his parents had been told to come down to the nursing home to say goodbye. Around 9:30 he got the call that she had passed away.

Very odd celebrating as a family. I imagine even more so for his family in Georgia- seeing gifts under the tree this morning with Grammy's name on them, etc. Her body will be flown up to New Jersey with the viewing on Thursday and the burial on Friday. We knew the time was coming. I just wish it hadn't happened at Christmas. I can't even begin to imagine how hard this time of year will always be for them in the future.

Other than that news, Christmas was nice. It felt a bit rushed to me, since we had to travel from house to house and get Andrew to work, etc, but overall a nice time. Hope all of you had a great day!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Wishing you peace...

Yes, it's 4:21 on Christmas Eve, and our stockings have already been filled. Santa stops early at our house. There are four stockings since my mom and Andrew will be over at our house tomorrow.

This second picture is of the Christmas Forest in my craft room.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Funk

So normally I'm really into Christmas- the decorations, making cards, entertaining, etc. This year it all seems like such a chore. Not really sure why. I've just felt like I have so much going on that I haven't had a chance to do half the stuff I want to. Our house has been a complete mess. Been too busy to clean. Started decorating at the beginning of December- brought all the boxes up from the basement, started decorating, and then the boxes have sat around for three weeks. Finally finished getting all the ornaments on the tree this morning. Still need to finish a couple little things.

As to cards, Chris has been an incredible help this year. In the past he has always helped me make the cards, but usually just with mundane things- the cutting, etc. Well last weekend when I was finishing up the cookbooks I asked him if he could work on the cards. I had already cut all the paper to size, so that was a start. I put him to work stamping, coloring, and doing the "snow" technique. And he did that for all of our cards- about 80 or so of them. Yesterday I helped assemble them, but really this year he did all the creative part of them. Way to go Chris. I told some of the gals at work that Chris had been working on the cards so when I gave them their cards yesterday they told me to tell him that he did a great job. And he really did! This morning I gto them into the mail, so people should be getting them on Tuesday or Wednesday. Again, I normally get these out at the beginning of the month. I hate being this late, but life got in the way.

I was out finishing up my shopping today. I was exhausted. I called my mom to ask her what color pants she wanted. (She had previously told me, but I think I threw away the paper with that info.) I sounded really tired and dragged down. She could obviously tell this. She told me to stop and go home. "Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time." Yes Mom, you're right. Luckily I only had one more stop. When I got home I put the groceries away and then read for a little bit and took a two hour nap. Tons of stuff that maybe I "should" have been doing, but I needed that break.

Anyway, I hope that all of you are finding a bit more joy in the season than I am. But now maybe I can relax for a few days. Tomorrow evening we're celebrating with my dad, Liz, and Hanna, and then going to the 11:00 service (our equivalent of a midnight mass) at our church. Andrew, Chris and I will spend the night at my mom's, and then Christmas morning come back to our place to celebrate Christmas. Tuesday Darlene and Steve are coming over for a while (not sure what we'll do with them, maybe board games?) and on Wednesday Tami and I are planning to meet up. Then I'll have either Thursday or Friday off. I have a ton of work to do, so I'll be going in one day next week. And if your'e lucky, tomorrow when there is better light, I'll post some pictures of my Christmas decorations. I have a forest in my craft room. :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Yankee Swap

So yesterday we had the holiday party for my department at work. Overall it was a good time. People seemed to like the food and had fun with the game (I gave people marketing slogans and they needed to name the company/product).

We also had a Yankee Swap. I gave a mug and some hot chocolate. Value was around $18. The suggested value for the swap was $10. I was ok spending more since I wanted to give more than just the hot chocolate which was $10 (the tall container in the picture). There are two diff size mugs and I went with the larger one. I also included a gift receipt, so worst case someone could get whatever they wanted. Overall, I thought it was a good gift.

Well, it's swap time, and the first person to choose picked my gift! She opened it and everyone seemed to like it. I picked 4th (out of 20) and I chose a set of beer glasses. I didn't need them, but there wasn't really anything I wanted to trade it for, so I kept them. I figured I could give them to Andrew, or maybe try to return them. Unfortunately my luck was going to run out. Later in the game, someone opened this and traded for my beer glasses.

Some crappy WWF game. Great. What the hell am I supposed to do with this? I don't think I even know anyone who would want it. I guess that's the nature of a Yankee Swap. You never know what you're going to get. But why would you even buy such crap?

I will say, for the most part the gifts were good. Really only two "bad" gifts- this and an ant farm. But the ant farm is at least somewhat better since there's an office joke around it.

Better luck next year, right?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Introducing the Cookie Baking Cookbook- scrap edition

It took me two weeks, and it is now 2am, but I'm done with the creating phase and on to the printing phase. With a slowish printer and about 10 copies to make, this will take me a while.

The complete album is viewable here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Productive Evening?

It was a productive evening, just perhaps not on anything I really would have been wanting to work on.

I'm in charge of organizing the holiday party for our department and I had information to convey to them. And someone today asked me if I was going to be getting it out soon-either by email or dropping something off on people's chairs. Basically her way of saying I should do something soon.

And then last Friday we had the baby shower and my boss was impressed with my creativity.

So, I decided to make some invitations for people. Really the only new info for them is about the Yankee Swap, but at least they're kind of fun. And once I got going they were pretty quick. I used a bunch of different papers from the Christmas Stack. My only delay was that in the midst of making these I decided I wanted the Crop-a-dile. I called Ms to see if they had it. Very quickly I was told no. I called ACM. After 4.5 minutes on hold my phone dropped the call. So I decided I might as well drive and see. No luck at ACM, but Ms had 3 in stock. When I was checking out I complained the the check-out girl (in a nice fashion- more informing her than compaining) that I had called and been told no when obviously they had them. I would have told a manager but I wanted to hurry home to work on the invites and I didn't want to have to ask for a manager.

So these are all done- almost 30 of them. I didn't get to anything else like my Cookie Baking cookbook, but that'll be tomorrow's project.

Oh, and if you have any suggestions for games to play during the party, let me know!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Things that make you go hmmm….

So a sales person calls up and wants to email me some info. Fine. I give my email address- cbreecher@.... He then addresses me in the email as Kris. If my email starts with a “C” don’t you think my name will also start with a “C”?

I’m also amazed at the number of people who want to make it Cris without the “h”. I’ve seen a few people spell it that way, but the majority don’t.

Guess I don’t have such a simple name after all!

Monday, December 04, 2006

A packaging question...

As I mentioned in my last post, we're planning to give the mom-to-be gift certificates for house cleaning as well as from various restaurants. So how to I wrap/present these in a fun and creative way? The house cleaning GC is in a #10 envelope (the normal long sized ones) and the 3 restaurant gift cards are all normal sized with minimal packaging. However, I also picked up take-out menus that could also be incorporated.

The one idea I had for the restaurant GCs would be to put them in a Chinese take-out box. Any other ideas? How about for the Merry Maids one?

Anyone up for cake?

I made this for a co-worker for her baby shower on Friday. So easy to go crazy buying things to include in it. I kept it pretty simple though since her main gifts will be some GCs for house cleaning and various restaurants. Still need to pick those up later this week!

Very simple to make, and even Chris was pretty impressed with it. I don't think he had ever heard of a diaper cake before though. I just hope the mom-to-be likes it.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

As requested...

As requested, here's the picture of my ass that Hanna took.

I posted this in the comments on my previous post, but thought I would also put here for easy reading.

Mel- I LOVE the picture of Hanna in the bathroom mirror. One of my favorites. So glad I didn't let her go back and delete pictures (gave her a second memory card instead) since I imagine she would have deleted that one because she would think it was silly.

I'll have to see if I can share the Hanna pic online. Many years ago Liz didn't want me posting pics of Hanna online, so anything I have posted I've blurred her face. But this is just a really neat picture.

Tami- The cookies are divided up between 3 main groups and then again into some sub-groups. So initially my brother takes some, we take some, and my dad/Liz/Hanna take some. Andrew usually takes only a few. We take some for our works, my mom, Chris' parents, and a few other friends. Plus some for ourselves. We generally give ours out right away, but I think my dad/Liz are planning to give some of theirs away in a couple of weeks. I think they just store them on their porch which is pretty cold this time of year.

And Brit- very odd that the pages got returned to you. I have forwarding set up from my old address, so the pages shoudl have been sent on to my new address. Oh well. I'll get them soon enough.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

We Survived Cookie Baking!

Eight plus hours and 14 recipes later...

I started off by making two recipes last night and then today we made 12 more recipes.

For those of you unfamiliar with the tradition, it's known as "Cookie Baking Weekend" however lately it's just been a day-long event. Participants are Chris and I, my brother Andrew, my dad, his partner Liz, and her daughter Hanna. Each person picks two recipes. I have a hard time picking just two, which is why I made 2 more last night.

This tradition has been going on for umpteen years now- probably since 1999 or so. And in 2002 I started to make an annual cookbook with the recipes from the year as well as pictures of the bakers and the recipes. It's usually been a pretty simple cookbook- designed in PowerPoint. This year, however, I think I want to make a "scrappy" cookbook. However, since I need to make at least 8 copies, I think I'll just make one and then make color copies/scans of it for everyone else.

I was thinking I had to include this picture of Chris, but he just told me I couldn't. And then he told me I couldn't put it here on my blog. Hah! I mentioned I was going to post it to get opinions on if it should be included in the cookbook or not, and he relented to allow me to post it.

I have lots of pictures to choose from this year. However, many of them are not so good. When you don't use the flash and you let an 11-year-old use the camera, many of them turn out blurry. You also get lots of pictures of the cats, the ceiling, my ass, the trashcan, etc.

Stay tuned to see pictures of the actual cookbook!

Oh, and what did we make? Carmelitas, Easy Oreo Truffles, Truffles, Chewy Noels, Gingersnaps, Chocolate Mint Squares, Tree Cookies, Mommy Breecher's Brownies, Pumpkin Cookies, Brownies, Congo Bars, White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies, Forgotten Cookies, and Scrumptious Bars. And for those wondering, 6 of these recipes are included in the cookie recipe swap. (Just waiting on 2 more and they'll get mailed out.)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hub hits record heat mark, but it'll be cold soon

By Raja Mishra, Globe Staff

Boston reached a record high temperature this afternoon, breaking a mark that had stood since 1881.

The official thermometer hit 69 degrees at 1:43 p.m., surpassing the previous record for Nov. 30 of 68 degrees, the National Weather Service said.

National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson said the balmy weather was the result of a cold weather system stalled above Alaska, which for complicated reasons has prevented the typical early winter jet stream from carrying cold weather to New England. Into this gap, a high pressure system brought in warm air from the Gulf of Mexico.

"We've been stuck in this pattern on-again, off-again all month," said Simpson.

But he said the warm times were nearly over: "We could get snow by Sunday."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cookie Recipe Swap

I finished up my pages over the weekend. Just waiting on two more and I'll be able to send them out. Hopefully those will arrive soon.

And of the ones that have arrived, we'll be using at least 3 of them in our family's annual cookie baking day this weekend.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving review

This photo shows an interesting Thanksgiving tradition of ours. Actually, I’m not sure if we have it every year, but I know it is served every other year- when we celebrate at my Aunt and Uncle’s house. Besides the typical apple cider, everyone is served a glass of tomato juice. Anyway, this was shortly before we all sat down. This is a table for 26 people!

The group shot was taken after 3 people left (they had other gatherings to go to) and my cousin’s boyfriend took the picture. But it has most of us! And looking at everyone there definitely are some family resemblances.

And finally, here are some birthday scrap supplies. Mel had given me a gift card, so here’s what I bought- 35 sheets of Bazzill (crazy low on green and grey), some fall patterned papers, some clearance QuicKutz dies (the store is no longer going to carry them) and I also got some Heidi Swapp journaling spots which I forgot to include in the picture. The store had everything 20% off over the weekend which allowed me to get much more bang for my buck. Thanks again, Mel!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cats and more glasses

Started this one over a month ago and finally finished it up. Not 100% happy with it, but it's done. I'm not one for agonizing over a LO to make it "perfect". Very rarely, but for the most part I just go with what I've got.

Next up, more school photos. Here we have my third pair of glasses. These are from 7th and 8th grade. In the first one my mouth is closed because I'm trying to hide my braces. In the second, not sure why I'm still wearing my purse. Both of these seem to be showing off my abnormally large adam's apple.

But I can tell you, once I got my replacement glasses later in 8th grade, improvement was in sight!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A second post for the evening

So I mentioned yesterday that I would need to continue with photos of my evolution of eyeware.
Yesterday's photo, as you can see, contains some rather large specs. Not entirely sure what I was thinking when I picked them out. Probably just liked their blue/green color.

Now, I have to mention, I wasn't the most careful child when I was younger. It actually is kindo f handy for me now, because I can date my middle school photos by may glasses. That's right, a new pair every year.

I'm not entirely certain if it was this first pair or the replacement pair, but I remember one day I was chasing Andrew down our back stairs. He got to the bottom before me and he slammed the door at the bottom of the stairs. He slammed it on my face, which happened to be halfway throught that doorway. Glasses broke.

So here we have the replacement pair. These were selected, not because I liked them, but because they were the exact same size and shape as my previous pair so that the same lenses could be used.

Oh, and Mel, if you ever meet my mom can you mention to her that you've seen old pictures of me and I did, in fact, need braces? She seems to think that I only wanted them because Andrew had them. Um, no?! Andrew's teeth were much worse than mine, but mine were pretty bad.

110 photos on a LO

Took pictures of 115 cows, but somehow when I was photoshopping them I missed a few. I'm ok with that though.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Beauty School Drop-out

After seeing the picture on Julie's blog of Mia's new haircut, I thought I should post a picture of my haircut. It was September 1987. I was almost 10 years old. I definitely should have known better!

I remember standing in our downstairs bathroom trying to trim my bangs. And they were uneven, so I would then trim them a little more. Still uneven. Another trim... As you can see, I ran out of hair to trim. I think I was trying to cut across the whole forehead at once rather than doing it in little bits.

And as a side note, aren't those glasses fabulous! :) Maybe this week we can take an evolutionary look at my eyeware. Most were just as special as these.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Craft Fair Success

The craft faire yesterday was a success. Even more so since afterwards I went to my dad's house and Liz bought a bunch of things from me.

However, today I went shopping and most of my money is now gone. I've really been needing some new clothes for work as well as socks. Pretty much all of my socks have gotten holes in them.

And it was a good birthday too. Low key, but nice. We had gotten up at 5 since we had to get to the church early to set up for the fair. Needless to say Chris and I were rather tired. So we had an early dinner at Outback and then I think I was asleep by 8. I slept in this morning, so now I am well rested.

Time to go bake so that I can make my recipe pages for the cookie recipe swap.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

My obituary

'What will your obituary say?' at

Hmm... not sure sure I agree with this obituary, but if that's what the quiz predicted, it must be true. Right?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

All CKU locations finally announced

  • CKU-Detroit: April 19-21, 2007
  • CKU-Anaheim: June 14-16, 2007
  • CKU-Nashville: August 23-25, 2007
  • CKU-Orlando: October 11-13, 2007

  • Is it just me or does it feel somewhat anti-climactic? Do I want to go to CKU, Creative Escape, nothing? Orlando in October could be fun though! That's the end of Clumbus Day week, so I could always take the beginning of the week off and hit Disney for a couple of days.

    What do other people think? I'm pretty flexible and would go with the majority decision to be with friends. :)

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    Another Christmas Album

    Made this album last night, but had to wait for the glitter on one page to dry before I could scan it. All of the papers are from the Christmas Stack.

    Anyone have the AMM Bauble Gums? They're really cute, but I can't figure out how to adhere them to the page. I used one on my other Christmas album, but I was essentially able to tie it to the page. I wanted to use another one in this album, but no hole in it and glue dots and Zip Dry didn't work. The back of them is very rubbery and slick.

    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    Album making machine...

    I'm an album making machine! I bought 9 accordions and now have made 3 albums. I doubt I'll get all nine done. I'd like to make a unisex baby album and would like to make a couple more Christmas albums. I picked out the paper for 2 more, so we'll see how much I get done. I'm hoping to take a personal day this week and work on stuff.

    This one was pretty easy to do because when I bought my papers I bought a lot of duplicate boy/girl stuff, so I just used the same designs.
    Another album finished!

    But then also some unfortunate news. Add me to the ranks of those whose eBay account got hacked! I had the pleasure of deleting 85 auctions for really ugly hoodies. Hopefully it will all get resolved soon.

    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    Three posts in one day!

    Started this a week or two ago and finally got around to finishing it up. It's for an 8 x 8 accordion chipboard album. The page with the flower- the scan didn't work so well. It's a striped paper on top with storks on the bottom and velvet stickers next to the flower that say "heaven sent".

    I'll try to get a photograph of it later which will show it a little better.

    I think I'm going to include some precut mats and journaling blocks to go with it. I was hoping to find a stamp with lines for the journaling blocks, but none of the local (and not so local) stores have any. I think I may just use my Karen Russell Fontwerks stamps instead. I have three different ones- square swirly, round swirly, and brackets. Yeah, I know, great descriptions!

    New Hair and craft projects

    So I walk in the door and Chris first comments that it's shorter. Yeah. It's also a VERY different color!

    Next up, a bunch of pictures of items for sale next Saturday.

    Hurricanes- Three different ones: fall/Thanksgiving, Snow, Christmas

    Christy, thanks again for getting these for me. Here's two of them. Still need to work on the rest.

    You've seen these before, but here are some better pictures of them.

    Posting as promised.

    How many different products from Making Memories' Halloween line can you find? No, I don't have a problem, really I don't!

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Thursday update

    * The heat is back to normal. But I really hate our boiler!
    * I've been at an offsite meeting with work for two days. Really dislike the long hours. Glad it's over.
    * Scrapped my halloween pictures last night, but the scanner is having some issues, so will post that later.
    * Feeling slightly overwhelmed at work. Too much to schedule for my boss when her calendar is packed!
    * Looking forward to the weekend, but have too much to do. Hopefully it will be nice and productive.

    Hope you all are having a happy Thursday!

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006


    Something is wrong withour boiler. Again. I came home from work and realized there was no heat or hot water. And then I also discovered that one of our radiators was dripping water. They're covered so hadn't realized this sooner. But when I was in the basement I heard water dripping from the ceiling. So I took the cover off the radiator and put a container underneath to catch drips. I just pored a couple of cups of water out of the container.
    To make the situation worse, Chris and I are tied up in work the next couple of day sunable to get away to meet the oil company. Not looking forward to another cold week at home.

    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Happy Thursday.

    First of all, CSI. Anyone watch it? Ok, so I love Alan Tudyk. Got his autograph last year when I went to see Spamalot. So he was on CSI tonight. As a pedophile. Chris and I were so upset to see him playing such a bad character. The whole time we were hoping that he didn't do it. :(

    Secondly, thanks for all the pricing advice. Once he gets a couple more things finished I'll be posting for some more procing suggestions.

    Thirdly, got a photo order today so was able to play! Finished up my garden journal for this season. (A way for me to remember what I planted where, what did well, what didn't, progress, etc.) Also through this LO together. It's the second half of an upcoming Becky sketch. It goes with the page I posted last week (weekend?) of Chris' birthday. Not sure if they'll like the sketch being used as two separate layouts, but that's how it worked out for my album.

    A rainy blah day...

    I want to be creative and productive, really I do. All day I sit at my desk thinking how I wish I were at home playing. And then I get home from work and although I want to be doing stuff, instead all I do is lounge in front of the TV.

    At least last night I resized some pictures for a LO and placed the order. No waiting to get a bigger shopping cart. Otherwise who knows when I would get around to ordering those pictures. So now I have two photo orders on the way. Maybe this weekend will be a productive one.

    The church craft fair is sneaking up on me. Only 16 more days. I have a pile of stuff to work on for that. Must get cracking! I think I may need to take a day off from work next week or the week after so that I can crank out some stuff. Although I would rather take a day next week, it’s a pretty busy one at work.

    I was looking through a catalog last night and saw something kind of cute for Chris to make. What do you think? How much would be a good price? I know what the catalog charges, but just curious for some other ideas. (We would not be including the lollipops.)

    Stay tuned to see creativity in action…

    Tuesday, October 31, 2006

    Living room

    Loving all of my decorations all lit up. The house looks great and I was commenting to Chris that we should have a party. He suggested a dinner party this weekend. So, whoever is in the area and interested, come on over! Consider yourself officially invited.

    Monday, October 30, 2006

    As only a true scrapbooker would, I changed into this shirt solely for the pictures that I knew would be taken...