Silhouette Cameo Craft Night

I love my Silhouette Cameo 2! I just purchased it this past summer and with leading pretty busy lives in our house, I didn’t have a ton of time to play with it at that time so I could figure out all the yummy goodness it has to offer. I ended up putting it away for a few months but this week I pulled it out of storage (really storage is just in the other room) and I set out to find a design to cut out of vinyl. (I prefer using the Oracle 631 & 651 vinyl because it cuts well – you can find some on Amazon HERE).

Like I said, I hadn’t used my Cameo in several months and even at that, I’ve only had it less than a year, so I still have a LOT to learn with utilizing all of its features and tricks. So after not using my Cameo for months what do I decide to use as my first image back into cutting? The pretty intricate owl I found online, that’s what. An owl? Yes, an owl. I think they’re pretty interesting creatures with their huge, wide eyes gazing outward at you and their feathers are so pretty. Plus they’re little fat creatures that look all cuddly, so yes, I chose an owl. This owl in fact. 1867d5ffcff26f91cc9f3f9b852584f6.jpg

Now that I found my image, I downloaded it into my Silhouette Design Studio so I could turn it into a file that is cuttable. After tracing and resizing, this is where I’m at.

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Now I’ve got my design ready to cut so I switch over to cut settings and choose the proper settings for cutting this intricate design onto vinyl. (I used a metallic silver vinyl from Michaels – I can’t remember the brand, sorry!) I set my blade depth to 1, my speed to 1, and my thickness to 10. Before I hit the big red button, (it’s actually not a big red button but the effect worked so I went with it), I crumpled up some aluminum foil and stuck my blade into it a few times to sharpen it. Reinstall my blade into the Cameo and now I’m ready for the moment of truth.

I hit send and waited. Anxiously.

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Sweet Success! It took about 15 minutes for the design to cut out but it worked like a charm! Oh how pretty it was!

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Now I have to weed it. Ummmm…yeah. This is going to be fun. There’s a LOT of itty bitty little pieces that have to be removed to reveal the design. Guess I better quit wasting time and get to it.

First I removed the outer excess vinyl and then I set about weeding out all the itty bitty little pieces throughout the design.

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For the next little-over-an-hour I bent over my kitchen table and continued to weed away, revealing 6 inch by 8 inch, this very pretty owl design. I used a reverse weeding technique so I had to place the backing paper underneath so you’d be able to properly see the design. Otherwise it’s on a clear transfer paper on my brown kitchen table and you wouldn’t see it very well. That’s why you see a shadow.

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Now that I so smartly reverse weeded it (said to myself sarcastically) what am I going to apply it to? I wasn’t thinking that I could just put the backing paper back on and wait until I found what I really wanted it on. Of course I wasn’t! So now I needed to figure out where to stick this bad boy so I could enjoy the design I spent and hour-plus long getting an incredibly sore neck and shoulders weeding out the design.

I know! I’ll put it on my Cameo! I’ve been trying to figure out what to put on it for decoration. This will be great! Except that I have to put it on sideways, but that’s OK. I don’t mind at all!

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I absolutely LOVE how this turned out! I posted it on a Silhouette group I’m part of on Facebook and it got so many positive comments! One lady even introduced me to Zentangle. It’s basically doodling but repetitively. I think she may have unleashed another artistic monster in me with that recommendation, but that’s another post for another day.

Ramble on ~ Missy

 

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2017 – A New Beginning

It’s finally 2017! I mean, it took the exact same amount of time for 2016 to pass as it did every other year before, but it was almost as if we were waiting for 2016 to just end already. And it finally did.

Recapping our year in my mind, it was a pretty eventful year. As always. We started 2016 off with our house fire on January 4th. That led to living for two months in a hotel, a nice hotel with great accommodations, but a hotel nonetheless. Coming home we found that our contractors didn’t finish the job (Mark and I ended up finishing it), our hot tub was broken by a plumbing company who refused to fix it, and we had car problems that lasted more weeks than we care to remember. We had one kid go through a glass window on the eve of his older brothers 18th birthday, gashing open both arms requiring upward of 12 stitches (I think). We had one kid turn 18 and jump from a perfectly good airplane to memorialize his special day. What an AMAZING experience skydiving was for him, but his little brother had to miss it due to spending the night in the ER getting stitched up. We had two kids get their drivers license and both bought their first cars. One near car accident resulting in a very bruised nose.

But we had tons of great days out floating the canal and river on our boat, we saw a concert in the harbor from our boat, we flew all over the sky in our Piper Cherokee, swam in our pool and even brought our pooches in to swim with us. We spent days at the dog park letting our dogs just run and play with other puppies and swim in the water. We watched two kids get their drivers license (yes this is in here twice because it was a big moment for all of us). Had a super fun birthday party with lots of friends and family as kids turned 18, 17 and 15 – I’m so blessed to be their step-mom! Promotions and raises were earned, camping trip was taken, music was performed and enjoyed by many, books were written, new school was started for one kid, new friends were made, new skills were learned and LOTS of love was given and received!

2017 is here. Can’t wait to see what this year brings us.

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Knitting Season has begun

Knitting Season? Yes, Knitting Season. It basically coincides with cold weather and winter months. I mean, who wants to knit in the summer, right? I haven’t knit anything in a couple years, and only then it was scarves, but this Knitting Season I’ve ventured into knitting a blanket. A big, chunky, lacey blanket.

Due to my thoracic outlet syndrome, I have a hard time holding small objects for long periods of time, or gripping anything for more than a few minutes at a time without my hands being in pain, so that’s part of the reason I haven’t knit or crocheted in a couple years. Knitting is far easier than crocheting though as I’m able to hold the needles much looser than I do a crochet hook.

Normally I like to use knitting needle sizes 11, 13 and 15 because they are on the larger size and easy for me to hold. For my big, chunky, lacey blanket, I’m using size 50 needles! Holy cow these things are huge! And purple. But that’s neither here nor there and doesn’t actually make my blanket any better than if I’d gotten blue needles. But these may just be my new favorite needles to knit with for a couple reasons. One, they are SUPER EASY to hold. Two, my blanket is coming along super quick and I love that! Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t have a very long attention span for projects, so I like ones that are quick moving and where I see results very fast. My big, chunky, lacey blanket is one such project.

I’m two nights in working on this, a couple hours each night, and I’m already 6 skeins in with 3 left to go. Can’t wait to use this soft blanket that I’m making with lots of love. It’ll keep us all warm and snuggly on these cold winter nights.

I’ll just have to keep the dogs and cats from stealing it as their own.

After I finish my big, chunky, lacey blanket I think maybe I’ll venture on to some boot cuffs. That is, if I can figure out how to read a pattern and hold much smaller knitting needles. Stay tuned!

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Who Am I?

Some days I’m not sure who I am.

Well, I KNOW who I am, obviously, but who am I supposed to be? I KNOW I’m a good person. I’m loyal, dependable, hard-working, trustworthy, loving, helpful, caring, generous, (humble) :), passionate, compassionate, inquisitive. I try to be funny, but mostly I’m not really. I get hangry, I’m sensitive, and I’m not perfect. I’m a woman, an artist, a singer, an office manager, a divorcee, a wanna-be entrepreneur, a very amateur photographer and a crafter. I’m a girlfriend, a (step)mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter, an aunt and a cousin. I’m a fur-baby mom, a horrible garden grower, a great co-pilot and I’m pretty good at following my senses. I love my boyfriend, my family, my (step)kids, my animals, my friends and a lot of what I do. I try and do my best, give my best, in everything I do. I don’t always succeed.

So, who am I?  I’m a success. And, I’m a failure. But that’s how we learn, through our failures.

I don’t love everything I do. But, who does?

Are there things I’d like to change about who I am? Yes. And I’m working on those things. Every. Day. Of. My. Life. Because I’m also controlling and that is a destructive quality. I’m learning to let go. To let go of control. Let go of my fears. Let go of past hurts. To let go of things that are beyond my control or don’t need to be controlled. I’ll live if I’m not in control. I’ll even be happier and more at peace I’m sure. Because then I won’t be a worry-wart, which I also am.

Am I afraid of death? For me, not really. But I am afraid to lose the people I love. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve had it happen. It’s irreversible. You don’t get another chance. For anything. So, I say I love you when I MEAN it, and never if I don’t. I say it when I come home and I say it when I leave home. I say it when I go to sleep, and I say it when I wake up. Even if it’s not heard by anyone but me sometimes.

I’m a work in progress. This life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. I try every day of my life to be the BEST person I can be. Not only for myself, but more importantly, for those around me. THEY deserve my best. They don’t deserve to pay for my past. They don’t deserve to receive the ickyness I sometimes feel when I fall into a funk. Yes, they love me, and they support me, but they don’t deserve it nonetheless.

Every day I wake up and I’m thankful for my life. I’m thankful for the love I’ve found and I’m grateful that I get to have all I get to have.

So who am I? I guess I’m all of these things and even more, because I’m not done living yet. I’m only 45 years into this crazy life!

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Greenthumb-ish

Growing up we always had a HUGE vegetable garden in our backyard. I remember many summer days picking beans then cleaning and snapping them in the kitchen sink (maybe a few didn’t make it into the bowl….). Since then, I’ve always wanted to have my own vegetable garden. This past week, I finally started one in our boiler room. It’s dark and warm in there so the seedlings could grow. And grow they did!

We bought a small cold frame greenhouse at the Tractor Supply Co. out in Batavia, it’s 8′ x 3′ x 3′, and we put it together on Saturday. Most of the seedlings grew very rapidly in the boiler room and were already outgrowing the container they were in, so I transplanted the strongest on Saturday, leaving about half still in there incubating.

We’re attempting to grow vegetables that we will actually eat. We planted Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Strawberries and Sweet Banana Peppers. Still have Carrots, Onions and Organic Lettuce incubating and will plant those when they’re ready. We also have some Cilantro growing, along with one of the strawberry plants, in an outdoor container in the backyard. This strawberry plant is already yielding small strawberries as well!

I always forget to take pictures along the way when we’re doing a project, but I remembered to do it this time, and I’m going to outline it below. 🙂 (Just in case you were curious as to what we did).

I checked them this morning and they’re all looking good! We even have some small strawberries on our 2 plants already. 🙂

First things first, get a power drill and put a 1/2″ drill bit in it.

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Next, select the totes you’d like to use for your container garden. Thanks to our recent garage sale and Salvation Army donations, we had several unused totes already laying around, saving us money. I used two 30 gallon totes and one slightly smaller tote. Drill drainage holes in bottom of each tote.

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Once drilled, place totes inside greenhouse.

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Next fill totes approximately 1/3 of the way with either stones or mulch (we used the old mulch from our backyard since we have to replace it anyway. Saved us a TON of money!) Don’t skip this step! You need to have proper drainage so the roots don’t rot. Fill the rest of the way with potting soil. Thank You Mark for doing the heavy lifting!!!

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Next, start planting. Using a black sharpie marker, make sure to mark each row on the container so you know where you planted which vegetable. Don’t forget to water after planting!

Close up the greenhouse when you’re done to keep the heat inside to help the plants grow with the greenhouse effect. You can leave the vents open during the day for more air and close at night to protect your plants from any colder weather. Water as needed.

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As our vegetables continue to grow, I’ll keep you updated on their progress. Hoping to have a lot of yummy goodness for the summer!

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More hours in a day

Boy do I love 3 day weekends!

Spent this 3 day weekend running ourselves ragged, in a good way. Seems the weekends are always far busier than the week. We set up and held a garage sale, had our tub re-glazed (the guy was there for 7 hours but damn does the tub look good!), cleaned, laundry, ran kids to work and practice, grocery shopped, fixed a few minor things on the airplane, Mark took Caleb and his best friend, Holden, as well as Zia and her best friend, Ally, flying. I videotaped and took pictures of them. I love taking pictures and stopping time with our memories. And we got to finally enjoy our new hot tub last night almost exactly 4 months to the day from the last time we got to sit in our old hot tub (before our house fire).

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE MY LIFE! I wouldn’t change a single thing about it!

Except…..

…..maybe I’d add more hours in the day. Or an extra day a week. Just so we can come together, all of us, as a family and enjoy each others company without running around. I’m really thankful summer’s coming so we can start planning our weekend camping trips, spending time out trolling the canal on our boat watching the kids and Mark do crazy tricks off the back into the water, taking our pups with us on our outdoor adventures, spending lazy afternoons in our backyard oasis surrounded by flowers and jumping in the pool, cooking out on the grill yummy Chivetta’s chicken, hot dogs and hamburgers, laying on the concrete pavers soaking up the sun and drying off after a dip in the pool to cool off, planting flowers and wearing shorts, a tank top and flip flops.

At the age of 45, I can honestly say that I have the life I’ve always dreamed of!

I couldn’t ask for anything more.

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Surviving a house fire

Surviving a house fire is more than making it out alive. It’s a very long process that can creep up on you when you least expect it.

It all started on Monday, January 4th with an electrical fire in our kitchen ceiling, directly underneath our daughters bed in her room. Thankfully, we smelled the electrical burning, got the kids and animals out and the firefighters opened our ceiling up and extinguished the fire. The damage was so much more involved than we originally thought.

We lived in a hotel for 7-1/2 weeks.

That’s 7-1/2 weeks of school & extra-curricular activities for the kids, work for us, not having our animals with us, not having our couch to chill on while watching a cooking show, not having our regular shower, not having a stocked refrigerator and cabinets whenever we got hungry, and everything else that we all take for granted on a daily basis.

Even after we moved home there was still work that needed to be finished. It’s still not done. But we’re close.

Thankfully everyone is safe and healthy and that’s what really matters, but it was a stressful time on all of us.

We have lived through this fire for going on 13 weeks now. That’s a solid 3+ months of living through, stressing over, coping with, and surviving a house fire and everything that comes with it. Dealing with insurance companies and a multitude of contractors is extremely time consuming and taxing on your emotions.

I thought I was on the other side of this life altering event.

Until the other night when the kids were at their Mom’s, Mark was at work and I was home alone and a breaker tripped. I tried to turn a fan on in our bedroom after turning the overhead light and a small table lamp on when I was going to bed. I do this every night.  Same routine. Every night.

Except, tonight it was different. Tonight, a breaker tripped.

At first I thought I blew a lightbulb and that my cord was unplugged on the fan. But then I realized neither of those were the case. That’s when I ran downstairs and checked the breaker panel. Sure enough, a breaker tripped. In our brand new 150amp huge breaker panel that was installed after the fire. I calmly (sort of) reset the breaker and went upstairs to see if that fixed everything. It did. Then I text Mark to let him know what had happened. He is always so much calmer than I am and has such a level head, especially in a normally panicked situation. Meanwhile, I’m on my hands and knees feeling the floor for heat. Checking inside the closet for any smells. Mark calmed me down (for the most part) and I tried to sleep.

But sleep is hard when you’ve just survived an electrical house fire three months prior and you trip a breaker by turning something on. I was thankful that night that the kids were not at our house sleeping. If something were to happen, at least it would’ve only been to me. But even that, we have all brand new smoke/carbon monoxide hard wired detectors in every bedroom and living space, so I would’ve been just fine.

But sometimes, rational thoughts don’t come. Sometimes, panic and irrational thoughts come instead.

PLEASE – change the batteries in your smoke detectors AT LEAST once every 6 months. If it’s at all possible, have them hard wired into your houses electrical system.

I know I’ll get over this entire house fire thing. I guess I just have to take it one day at a time.

 

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Evabelle’s Closet

Sometimes I wish I had just a couple more days each week so that I could fit in all the things I love to do. Obviously I have Monday through Friday when I work during the day, then the weekends are for family, housework and fun. Now I just need a day to do photography & photo/video editing. A day to get caught up on all administrative tasks for Angel Gowns of WNY, Inc. A day for staying on top of fitness & nutrition. And a day for creating jewelry for my shop, Evabelle’s Closet.

I started Evabelle’s Closet back in 2011 as an outlet for my creations. I’ve always enjoyed creating – music, art, drawing, photography, knitting, jewelry, etc. If I go too long without creating something, I feel it in my core. It’s a part of what makes me who I am.

I like to try different media outlets, expand my knowledge base of materials and techniques and as always – create something out of nothing. This process feeds something inside of me that is hard to explain. I just know that if I go too long without creating, it affects me.

I’m excited to be participating in my first vendor show in many years this November 18th in the Butterfly Moon Holiday Extravaganza at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Union Road in Cheektowaga, NY. I’m currently working on creating my inventory for the show, whilst filling custom orders from my online Etsy shop.

At any given time, I may have items such as necklaces, polymer clay creations and scarves in my online shop. Like my tagline says….

‘You never know what you’ll find in Evabelle’s Closet.’

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Where I am today

September 8th has been an eventful day in my life.

I closed on my first house on September 8th, 2000.
I got married on September 8th, 2001. (I left in 2003, divorced in 2006 – I tell you this because that was the BEST decision I’ve ever made)
I received Incorporation status for Angel Gowns of WNY September 8th, 2014.
I received 501(c)(3) Charitable status for Angel Gowns of WNY on September 8th, 2014.

On September 8th, 2015 – I RESTART MY HEALTH GOALS!

I am RECOMMITTING myself to a healthier lifestyle! Summer vacation is over, kids are back in school, a more regular schedule will be established once again and fitness & nutrition are making it’s way back into my recently slacker life.

I start today with a better mindset, Shakeology with a scoop of Digestive Health, and a plan to work out tonight with Autumn Calabrese! A huge salad is on deck for lunch.

I’m still at 154.4# without clothes and that makes me happy! I’m down from 166.5#! 🙂 I wasn’t planning to lose any more weight, but I’ve decided I want to get below 150#. I think for my age and height that’s logical, attainable and sustainable.

I’ll never be a skinny mini, nor do I want to be. I like having curves and breasts and hips. I like looking and feeling womanly. I feel good. I feel sexy. I feel strong. I feel confident. I laugh loud and whole heartedly again when something strikes me. I like feeling my light shine out through my blue eyes because I feel this way inside. I feel like I can give more to the ones I love because I love myself more now.

Did I love myself before I lost weight and became healthier? Yes, just not like I do now. I’m not disappointed in how I look anymore. I’m not comfort eating because I feel bad for how I look anymore. I’m not sneaking a salty snack when nobody’s looking anymore.

Am I perfect in my workouts? No. Am I perfect with my nutrition? No. But I’m BETTER than I ever was before, and that’s what matters to me.

I’m a work in progress, and I’m enjoying the journey!

This is MY Fit Journey – What’s yours?

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My Journey….this far anyway

My Journey – and I capitalize Journey because it’s important to me – has been a long and winding one. Ups and downs. Good and bad. Light and dark. So many experiences, choices, decisions, and moves have brought me to where I am today.

I’m happy to say that I’m happy!

I have a wonderful life full of love, music, creations, offerings, laughter, fun and joy!

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

This is my life. This is my love. This is my happiness. This is the life I’ve been working toward my entire time on this rock.

I’ve not always had it easy. Nobody has. I’ve had bad things happen to, and around, me. I’ve been shattered and beaten down. I’ve been broke and broken.

But I’m not a victim.

I’m a Survivor!

I picked myself up every single time, put that smile back into my heart, and moved forward in love and light. I leaned on the people closest to me that lifted me up. The ones that held me down, are no longer in my life.

That’s by my design.

I have grown to have zero tolerance, or room in my soul, for negativity, drama or bullshit. Take that crap somewhere else. It’s not welcome here.

My Journey has only just begun. I’m 44 years young and I have a LOT of life left to live!

One thing that is super duper important to me is to always try to be a better person than I was yesterday. I refuse to go backwards, only move forward in my convictions and beliefs.

My life isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect for me! You have to find out what’s perfect for YOU! Maybe that’s working a 9-5 job day in and day out. Maybe it’s being a stay at home parent. Maybe it’s being your own boss. Maybe it’s being a scientist or astronaut. Or maybe it’s just being mediocre at tennis.

Only you know what your perfect is. Search it out. Look inside your heart, inside your soul. Listen to what your gut is telling you is right for YOU! You can share your perfect with others, so long as they lift you up and not hold you down.

I live my perfect every day, but it changes as I change. I grow older, wiser (I hope), stronger, leaner, smarter (again, I hope), healthier and happier every day.

This is my Journey. What’s yours?

~ Missy

PS – this is a quote from Maya Angelou that I have had on my refrigerator for 12 years. It’s inside my soul and something I now live by.

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