Why I’m going to force my teenager to use the phone

I am like many of you.  My home is plagued with a strange inhabitant. A human being at the most pivotal, tumultuous time of their life. I have a teenager.  And my teenaged-human is not just any teenaged-human, this one is a 15 year old girl in her first year of high school.

Rewind to September 2013 when all of us, my husband and I included, were nervous and excited for the start of a new chapter in her life. We were ready.  We had spent the summer (and honestly a large part of grade 8) having the “talks”. Sex, drugs and even rock n’ roll.  We were on the same page, except for the rock n’ roll part.  We considered ourselves experts on the topic seeing as both of us successfully (but not with out issues) survived those years and made it out to the other side generally unscathed.  We prepped her on the types of people she would meet (jocks, nerds, jerks, drama queens, shy kids, cool kids etc.) and on how to pretend to be confident. We let her in on a little secret we had gleaned from our experiences at school.  No one felt confident in the beginning.  Not even the cool kids, they were actually just faking it.

As she entered school things seemed to be going really well. Not only did she manage to “fake it” but she also realized that her parents knew what we were talking about.  All the types of people we described were part of her high school experience.  She started to trust us in a new way. We found out that nothing had really changed in the 25 years since we first entered high school and we felt pretty damn good! We had helped her successfully negotiate the first few months of high school.

We would soon learn how wrong we were.

Although school itself had not changed much, there were still cool kids, not so cool kids, nerds, jocks and burn-outs, technology had changed it immeasurably.  Teenagers still exist in all their glory, but now they have new strange ways of communicating.

We gave our daughter a cell phone for Christmas in grade 8.  We waited for many reasons but as she got older we realized that they were becoming a vital tool in her ability to effectively socialize with her peers and we didn’t want her to be left out.  Part of me wishes I knew then what I know now.  Our children are regressing.  They are missing a critical skill since we started giving them cell phones.  They stopped talking. To each other, and to us.  We thought phones would help them talk more but in fact it had the opposite effect.

You could argue that they talk more.  They text constantly.  My daughter sends and receives upwards of 20,000 messages a month.  That’s a lot of talking.  Ever read what they say? Most of it is meaningless babble over-run with smiley faces of different emoticons.  And truthfully, although there are many emoticons to choose from, they don’t accurately represent the full range of emotions that humans are capable of.  Read their communications and you will learn that they also say things that they would likely never have the guts to say to someone in person.  My daughter for example flirts overtly with a number of boys at a time.  Many of whom she has never said one word to in public, and likely never will.  And don’t forget the issue of cyber-bullying and how easy it is to say hateful things anonymously using apps like “Ask.fm” and “Hot or Not” that is another topic entirely. This concerns me greatly.  This should concern you too.

Parents of these strange humans need to start a movement.  We need to force our children to stop texting and start talking.  Real talk, in person and on the phone.  I for one am going to start making my daughter talk on the phone to a real person each night.  If she is interested in a boy and he is interested in her, it will be a requirement that they talk on the phone at least 2 times a week.  If he is uncool with this arrangement then he is not worthy of my girl.  Real talk allows us to build meaningful relationships because we can hear emotions that can’t be communicated by text and emoticons. We can hear laughter, sadness, loss, anger, stress and the full range of emotions we possess.

Cell phones can be wonderful tools for communication, but they can’t replace genuine face to face and voice to voice interactions that we humans crave. We as parents need to start teaching our children to speak with their voices.  Let us all work together to force them to use the tools we gave them in a better way.  Please force your teens to use the phone.

Life as a mom, trying to juggle it all……….

Hello blogland!

I know, it’s been FOREVER! Life has been………… well……… LIFE! Busy, crazy, hectic, event filled, over-simulating, wonderful!

I have been taking a major step back from my SU business.  I just couldn’t give it the focus that I wanted to.  But, I didn’t want you to think that I was buried under stacks of card stock and stamps!

In truth I haven’t done much crafting. My mind is always dreaming about things that I would like to make, and I am hoping to bring you some of those things soon.  First however, my craft room needs a MAJOR clean up! And lately the focus has been on back to school.  My son started grade 1 this year, and my daughter grade 9 (at a new school of course!). And because both my husband and I work in the Toronto/Mississauga area, we have a long commute on our hands, so making dinners & lunch quick and easy has been my latest obsession.

If you are anything like me, then you HATE (with a capital H-A-T-E) making lunches.  I don’t know why……. but for some reason I would rather birth a 1000 children (at the same time-without drugs) than make them. Then one of my wonderful Facebook friends posted this: {A Weeks worth of Lunches in a day!} and already my life has changed.  The mid-week rush has been rushy, but a lot less stressful. And everyone has had a healthy, tasty lunch everyday since school started!! Note: The kids always had a lunch everyday, not always exciting, but nutritious. My husband and I on the other hand…. not so much. I subscribe to the “do only as much as you HAVE to do” philosophy sometimes.

Now one of the things I have found with following this, “do it all in a day” method is that you need to plan ahead. You need to have all the ingredients, and you still have to change it up to keep them coming back for more. And because I was planning lunches, I started planning some “have on hand” easy to make breakfast food, and easy to make meals for dinner. That found me looking for a printable meal planner/shopping list.  So I hit my favorite haunts like Pinterest and Google and started looking.  There are a ton of them. But none of them were exactly what I was looking for. We like some flexibility in our lives and weekend cooking is often inspiration based and free form.  And most of the planners didn’t include a spot for other things like breakfast & lunches.

So, if you can’t find what you want……… create it! So once again MDS (My Digital Studio by Stampin’ Up!) to the rescue!

Meal Planner-001

  Feel free to save it for your own use. If I can help just one of you get more organized, then I have done a good thing!

I am also thinking about making a matching full sized shopping list to organize the actual list you take with you to the store.  This one is for the items you need for the meals.

Here’s wishing you a happy and less-stressy school week.


Pinteresting, my latest obsession and rubber stamping

I like to fancy myself a bit of a Martha Stewart type, admittedly, I rarely come up with my own ideas. I am however, quite good at executing an previously devised idea. Martha, unlike myself, has a staff of amazingly creative individuals who’s primary job is to create & source new and exciting things to publish. I have a staff of 1. Me, myself and I. So, with a desire to impress all, have the greatest hostesses gifts known to man, host the most amazing parties that people will be talking about for years to come and to provide you, my readers with innovative crafts & inspiration I have look elsewhere for aid in my most desperate creative moments.

Enter Pinterest. If you have never heard of Pinterest, then you might have been living under a rock. Most of us creative types have been hooked on it for a while. But make no mistake, Pinterest is for anyone. In Pinterest’s own words:

“Pinterest is a tool for collecting and organizing things you love.”

And it is really that simple. Find things you love and “Pin” them. As long as you have the “Pin it” add-on on your browsers tool bar you can Pin anything cool you find while you wander through the net. And as you do, anyone who “follows” you on Pinterest will also see the awesome things you Pin. As the people you “follow”  find and Pin awesome stuff, you too will see it and can add it to your now growing list of awesome things to try, do, make, bake etc. In fact, its so damn distracting that while writing this blog post, when I simply “popped” over to Pinterest to copy the short-cut to my Pin boards, I couldn’t help but to be drawn in to for a couple of quick pins. I just added 5 more pins to my already full boards. And lately I have found that many of my sentences start with “I saw this awesome thing on Pinterest……”

If you have stuck with me thus far, you might be asking, the following:

“But Blair, what does this all have to do with Rubber Stamping?”

And if you have ever read my blog before you would know that I am a Independant Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator from Canada who’s primary crafting focus is Rubber Stamping. Friends/followers/strangers abroad, you might be interested to learn that Pinterest has been my number one source of inspiration for months! It would seem, that people Pin (for the most part), the best of the best. And the quality and type of Pins you see when you log in is based on those whom you follow. I follow A LOT of Rubber Stampers, and therefore, I am presented daily with LOTS of fantastic cards and rubber stamping projects to inspire me. I have been on a creative upswing as of late, and I am blaming Pinterest directly.

But make no mistake, I don’t just pin crafty stuff. I also pin food. Lots and lots of food. I love to cook and bake. I am always looking for new and  yummy things to add to my repertoire. So, I thought I would show you a few thing that I have made lately.

The Pin that I found:

The Card that I made:
Secret Garden Card from Pinterest
I didn’t have all the same products that were used in the project I saw on Pinterest, so I improvised a bit, changing up the ribbon and the sentiment but the basic look and feel of the card was the same. This is one of the cards we made in one of my month VIP Stampers Club gatherings.

Here is treat pin I found:

And here is a picture of them from this weekend:
Oreo Pops Edit 2Yes, I made these!! And they were super simple and delicious!! Even those who do not covet Oreo’s thought these were yummy!  Just a couple of notes on making these. The Pin does not direct you to instructions.  If you continue to follow links you get to more detailed instructions. The sticks do not fit into the cookies, you need to take the cookies apart, place the sticks in and “re-glue” using some of your melted chocolate. I then put them in the freezer for a few minutes (5-10) to firm up the chocolate before dipping. I placed the dipped cookies on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and then sprinkled the sprinkles on.

Thank you Pinterest for making me look awesome. Thank you everyone who’s orininal ideas I have CASE’d (Copy & Share everything) as I don’t have enough brain power left after working a Full-time job, running a part time business, raising 2 kids, organizing a household, managing a relationship with my husband, taking care of my elderly father, ensuring that the 2 dogs & 1 hamster are fed and taken care of, and finding time to breath and otherwise maintain my sanity, so that I can continue to pretend to be the crafty, domestic goddess of my dreams. And while I am at it, thank you Martha Stewart for setting the bar so damn high! :P
Feel free to “follow” me on Pinterest too. Hopefully the things I Pin will inspire you to do awesome things too.

Paper Pumpkin April 2013 Un-boxed

Today is a happy day!!! It’s Paper Pumpkin day!!!! I couldn’t wait to get home from work to see what awesome surprises were waiting for me inside my new Paper Pumpkin box!!  Want to see what awesome project was waiting for me? View my official un-boxing video and watch me discover this kit for the very first time!

The stamps are: “Seriously”, “You kick booty” and “love your guts”
Correction: The silver buttons are available in the Spring Catalogue :)

Canadian? Interested in getting in on the action for May? Visit My Paper Pumpkin today to get started!

My This and That Epic Day Smashbook comes to life

I adore Stampin’ Up! Any one who knows me, or who reads my blog knows that. I always get excited about new products, but there is something special about our new “This and That” line that has me really fired up.  Maybe it’s because I love the vintage/grunge look but find I am not very good at creating it, so when I have products that do all the work for me, I can get the look without the stress.  Or Maybe it’s because recently I have had a renewed interest in my first papercrafting obsession, Scrapbooking and this gives me the perfect excuse to deal with some of my photos.  Or maybe it’s because it has Washi tape, a fairly new Paper crafting product that I have been watching from the sidelines (with a tinge of jealousy in my eyes) because Stampin’ Up! did have any.
Perhaps its a combination of all those things.  Or maybe I am am over analyzing it (as my husband would say I am ALWAYS guilty of that!).  “This and That” IS a fantastic new line up for Stampin’ Up! and the Epic Day collection is uber hip, uber trendy and oh….so………. COOL!That being said, I actually got some time last night to sit down and play around a bit.  I thought I would share with you how my cover looks at the moment.
This and That cover I think I am pretty happy with it.  Over time I may add something to it. I love that it is flexible and can be whatever I want it to be. I loved the hexagon shape (such a popular shape these days) that was already embossed on the cover.  So I didn’t to cover it up fully.  I cut hexagon out of the patterned paper that comes with the kit (on page already has them) but I did have to do some trimming to make them fit (how cool would a hexagon punch be right now?!?).  Because I have decided that I will putting all my pictures and mementos from the Stampin’ Up! events I have attended in it, I used the “Love what you do, Share what you love” stamp that I purchased because I am a demonstrator from our supplies list.  This was stamped with Stazon Black ink on a piece of DSP from the collection that I adhered to a piece of chipboard that I found lying around on my desk.  I also added a few adhesive rhinestones for some bling.  Because the colour palate for the Epic Day collection is Calypso Coral, Pool Pary, Daffodil Delight, Gumball Green and Basic Grey, I thought I would hit my ribbon stash and add some texture.  I used Daffodil Stitched Grosgrain, Very Vanilla  Seam Binding and Pool Party ruffled ribbon both tied to the spin and under the tag.  Oh and I can’t forget a little flower from the flower trim in the Spring Catty (love that stuff!).   I also took some time and found all of my mementos from Leadership in Nashville & San Antonio and the Regional in Hamilton.   I can’t wait to start “smashing” all this stuff in my new book!! I will share with you the progress, as well, I might even do a few videos for you :)  Stay tuned.  Want a better image of all the AWESOME “This and That” products in the bundle?  This-and-That-Epic-Day-Journal-Rotary-Stamp-Stickers-and-Washi-Tape-copy-1024x885Each product can be purchased separately, or you can get all of them for only $40.67!!!! Order this weekend and get FREE shipping!!!! Wow!!!
To place an order simply go to My Online Store and when prompted enter the hostess code: VEURFQ2C.
Everyone who places an order of $25 or more from April 6th to 8th will be entered to win the HOSTESS BENEFITS!!! And, for every $25 you spend, you will get an entry!!!! And because I like it so much, if you purchase the “This and That” Epic Day bundle you will get another chance to win!!!!!  And don’t forget…….. FREE Shipping!!!

Introducing This & That Product Bundle

Demo_B1_THIS-AND-THAT_NAI wanted to share something really exciting with you today.  It’s called This & That.  Its new. Its from Stampin’ Up! of course!  First of all, I want to explain to you what it is, what it does and why you need to have it!

This and That is a new product line from Stampin’ Up! that will fully debut in the New Stampin’ Up! Idea Book & Catalogue on June 1st, 2013.  It’s a Smash book product line.  It is super exciting.

Let me start out by explaining to you what a Smashbook is. Stated simply it is a way to capture memories and life moments. The concept comes from the roots of scrapbooking when people made simple memory books. They stuffed them full of memorabilia, photos and mementos.  Scrapbooking has become a bit of an art form in recent years. Smash books combine Scrapbooking with keeping journals and will prove to be a quick and easy way of capturing what is going on in your life.  You can quickly add journaling photos, and memorabilia on the fly.  You simply “smash” it into your book.

I have to admit that I have been watching this trend from afar.  However, seeing as I have so little time in my life these days (due to work, kids, life etc.) I really only get time to play with my Stampin’ Up! goodies.  And seeing as I have so many of them, I rarely purchase other companies products, and lets face it, Stampin’ Up! is the best in the biz, so why would I shop any where else?? But now, I can join the Smash book craze too!!!  Thank you SU!!
So without further ado, I am introducing you to the This and That product Bundle that is available BEFORE June 1st when the full product line is revealed!Thisandthateditwithwords
This bundle is available as a group for only $40.67!!! And includes everything you see in the picture!!!  A Journal, Stickers, Washi tape, Designer Series Paper and a new and VERY cool Rotary Stamp!!  I will detail each of these items as I get a chance to play with them myself.
Like what you see?  Contact me to place your order today!

Another Paper Pumpkin video

DEMO_B1_Paper_Pumpkin_LogoHey there Crafters,
I thought I would share with you another video featuring the Paper Pumpkin Welcome Kit. In this video I show you how easy it is to make the card from this month’s kit showing step by step instructions.

Like what you see?  Want Paper Pumpkin in your mailbox each month?  Visit My Paper Pumpkin to subscribe!
Let me know what you think, and have a fabulous week!

Paper Pumpkin Alternate ideas from around the web……

L4_Paper_Pumpkin_Logo_Demo_Jan13_USI hope you enjoyed watching my Paper Pumpkin Un-boxing video earlier this week.  I hope to get another video up soon of me making the card from the kit.  But in the mean time, I though you might like to see some of the awesome Paper Pumpkin alternative ideas I have found out and about on the net.


I will continue to put Paper Pumpkin ideas that I find in there.  So feel free to follow me.

Canadian? Interested in signing up for Paper Pumpkin? Let me know!!

Last few day to Sale-a-brate!

SAB Card
I know I have not posted any previous messages about Sale-a-bration, but we are in the home stretch so I thought you might want to know about it.

What is Sale-a-bration?  Its the BEST time of the year!  For every $60 (in Canada) you spend, you get to choose a FREE item from exclusive Sale-a-bration items.  Look at all the fantastic things on the SAB flyer.

Because there are only 3 days left of the most awesome sale of the year, I thought it would be fun to have an online class!!!  Place an order of $30 or more to be entered into a draw for all the hostess $$$$ from the class!!  Every $30 you spend earns you an entry in to the draw.  Every $60 you spend earns you a FREE Sale-a-bration item and 2 entries!!

And………….. because it is a Online Class, I will send you the supplies & instructions to make 3 cards using the SAB products!!!!!!

The best part?  All the products will be sent directly to your home!!!!  When placing your online order simply enter the following hostess code when prompted:
Hostess code: VEURFQ2C

So grab a coffee (or a glass of wine),  sit back and shop!!  Visit this link to get started and click on SHOP NOW.


Let me know if you have any questions.  And don’t forget, the deadline is Friday, March 22nd.

Happy Stampin’,


Paper Pumpkin!!!

I am super excited to show you Stampin’ Up!’s latest offering, My Paper Pumpkin!! It’s a monthly crafting escape.
Paper Pumpkin is a monthly subscription based crafting kit.  Each month it will feature exclusive Paper Pumpkin only products.  The box contains everything you need to create the projects (with the exception of adhesive).  Even if you have NEVER crafted before, you can create with Paper Pumpkin.

The cost is only $24.95 (Canadian dollars)  a month.  This price includes tax and shipping!!! And in the first month you will receive a FREE Acrylic Clear block size “D” (a $11.50 value!).

You can cancel at any time, or even put the subscription on hold.  You will get to manage it yourself. You can even order multiple kits if you wish to give them as gifts.
Subscribe with me, and I will email you additional project ideas, and if you are local to me (I am located in the Guelph area) then you will also be invited to my monthly Pumpkin Party so that we can work on our kits together.
Check out my March 2013 Un-boxing video (and my first ever video at that!)

And see how quick and easy it is to make a Paper Pumpkin project:

April 2013 “Seriously” Kit

Like what you see?  Order before the 10th to get started with Paper Pumpkin this month!
Visit My Paper Pumpkin to get started today!!
Contact me if you have any questions.
Doesn’t everyone deserve some happy mail now and again?