Flat Cards


How many times do you receive a homemade card for your birthday or as a thank you and then think, “What will I do with this?” I know it sounds harsh but do you store all those cards? Leave them displayed on the mantle or taped to the door? Do you quietly feel guilty as you throw them out, not wanting the clutter? The solution to this dilemma is flat cards.

Flat, or non-opening, cards are becoming more and more popular. They can be easily framed for displayed or stored flat in a scrapbook. Yet they still have all the creativity and design of their hand-crafted cousins.

The card in the image was created using 5×7 card stock, 5×6 card stock textured with a BigShot (Stampin’ Up), card stock remnants, assorted kitchen themed cutouts and stickers.


LinkedIn app adds calendar

LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. It’s designed to help people meet and recommend each other professionally. The site strongly cautions against adding people to your network that you don’t actually know. LinkedIn came out with a mobile phone application some time ago and more recently added a tablet application.

When the tablet application was released they updated the new features to mobile application to match. The application opens to a new home page. At the top of the screen you have a LinkedIn logo, which provides more options via a drop down menu, and search bar. Beneath that displays 2 boxes. On the left is the LinkedIn Today which mentions various articles. Tapping this button will open the News page. On the right is a new feature. Calendar integration.

The calendar feature syncs with your phone’s calendar, in my case my Google Calendar. The box itself displays the most recent event on your calendar. This brings me to my first issue with the integration. It doesn’t just integrate your calendar, it integrates anyone who share’s with you. My husband and oldest Spawn both have Google Calendar’s which they share with me. On the Google Calendar these are listed in nicely colored boxes so that I know who is where. LinkedIn calendar integration does not make that distinction. My LinkedIn Calendar shows that I’m at GiGSE, which I’m not.

Tapping on the calendar box brings you to a day by day calendar, displayed vertically. On the days when you have no events there is a stating such with a whimsical line drawing. On days when you do have an event it lists the event with the LinkedIn avatar of any guests that were invited. I can see how this would be helpful if you used the calendar to plan only business related items but my personal events become bogged down with the default avatars if I haven’t added all the event guests to my LinkedIn account.

The calendar opens to today’s entries. If you scroll down, one day at a time, you will eventually get to where you want to get back to today or the top. You can scroll up but if you do you have to carefully watch to stop on today’s date. It doesn’t pause at today, it just keeps going into the past. It’s very easy to swipe to long and suddenly end up in last year. A button in the header will jump to today’s date but I would have preferred a slow scroll rate or forced stop when you got to today. Before you think I’m just being picky remember that this calendar displays everything from any calendar shared with you. In my case I have to scroll past 3 entries on the same day, with the same little avatars, because I have a standing dinner date with friends after work and it’s on all of our calendars.

For good or bad this is a view calendar only. You can not make entries, edit entries or even change the options. There is no settings option. I’m not really sure what purpose this serves other than to be able see the LinkedIn avatars of the people that you have invited to an event using your calendar.

Under the two boxes, LinkedIn Today and Calendar, displays the Recent Updates. Recent updates are the twitter feeds, activities and other announcements made by your network. These can be interesting to browse through.

This review was done using an Android phone (yes the original Android) and Google Calendar. Click here to see my LinkedIn profile.

Wedding card


I made this at a make and take event a few weeks ago. I decided to modify the directions and placed the ribbon in a semi circle to get a basket effect. 

The Non-Parent Problem

You have to love the non-parent. Their children will be perfect. That’s right I said will be. The non-parent is that person who doesn’t have kids yet but knows exactly what’s wrong with yours.

My youngest child has always been a challenge. While I’m not sure what is compelling his behavior I do know that non-parents have even less of a clue about it than I do. When he was 2, and completely non-verbal, we visited a church while out of state visiting family. The Sunday school teacher, a non-parent who had met my child for the first time only an hour prior,  informed me that he wasn’t pronouncing his “phonomes” (pronounced “F0 – Gnomes”) correctly. She said this with such pride that you would have thought she’d found a cure for AIDS.

She apparently failed to recognize that I majored in Speech Pathology in college. I’m also fully aware that phonome is not a word, medical or otherwise. It was wrong but there was a sadistic glee in signing to him that we were leaving and watching her stand there nodding, like she was waiting for him suddenly start talking. For the record he did start talking, 3 years later, after having speech therapy.

I have discovered over the last few years that the best way to deal with non-parents is by using humour.  Humour disarms the non-parent who is completely prepared to try to convince you that they know best, despite being a non-parent. The trick is to be subtle, as in the example above. This allows you to defuse the need to punch them without starting a verbal altercation. Often they either walk away baffled that they missed some obvious sign of the problem or they stand there trying to pretend that they “knew it” all along.

Please feel free to share your non-parent stories in the comments.

New Mum Advice Cards

There are several popular comments about how children don’t come with a manual. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a wealth of information out there for the new mum. A y mum to be and her mother arrived in my studio to look over images from a maternity session. After the young mum left her mother asked me if there was a way to use the images to create advice cards. I immediately thought of Moo Cards.

Moo is a custom printing company most known for their multi-image business cards.  The mother and I picked a few images from the session that she loved for the front of the cards.
I then created a back for the card that could be filled out by the baby shower guests.

The cards were mailed with the shower invitations. Guests filled them out and then brought them to the shower. The cards were all hole punched and tied with a ribbon, making a cute gift for the mum to be.

Help Your Photographer Help You

Professional quality digital cameras are now available to anyone with a few thousand dollars to spend on one. Decent consumer cameras, known as “pro-sumer”, are available for a couple hundred and are available at almost any place that sells electronic equipment. Many of you reading this may even own a DSLR camera and most likely have taken a few “oh cool” images. While these images are great for Facebook or scrapbooking, it doesn’t take long for most people to realize that there is more to photography then an expensive camera. There is lighting, posing, style and, in some cases, the ability to use professional editing software. Although a lot of the technical things are handled by the photographer there are things that you can do to help make the images of you or your family great.

One of the most important things is to know what you are looking for. That’s not to say that you need to plan the entire session yourself but it does help the photographer if you have a basic idea of what you want, what you like and what you need. Take a few minutes and write a short list of things that are important for your session. This could be anything from wanting the child in multiple outfits, a specific editing technique or for a specific purpose. Knowing in advance what  you want allows the photographer to be more creative and use the time you have together more efficiently.

Before the photo session you should sit down with your photographer and your list to make sure that their creative ideas and style of photography will produce the images you want and need. Most retail chain studios do this step in the few minutes before your appointment. The downside to this is that you have no time to get personalized props or clothing that might be suggested during the consultation. I find it best to do this a few days before the session so that everyone is on the same page and understands what is to be expected. If necessary this can be done over the phone, as long as you are certain that the style of images is what you like. The worse thing to do is set up an appointment with someone whose style completely different from what you like and then expect them to change it.

Photography is as much an art as a service. There are many styles, personalities and points of view. With hundreds of new photographers flooding the market each year you should be able to easily find someone that suits your style, needs and budget.

New Stamps!

I’m so excited today. My new Stampin’ Up! stamps and punches came in. Because I mainly do cards I wanted small stamps that would fit on my pages. I picked up the Petite Pairs set, which has several phrases for major occasions. I can see myself using those alot. I also got the Elementary Elegance set, which is also sized to work well with cards.

I’ve never had punches before but discovered that I kept wanting to be able to create circles. After several days of tracing and hand cutting using scissors I decided that I really just needed a punch. Why make the job harder than it has to be? I purchased the 1 3/4″ punch as it seemed to be a good general size. I also purchased the 2 2/3″ Scallop Circle after seeing it used at a friends workshop. I have so many ideas for this stuff.

I wanted all the inks too but decided to wait on those. I have lots of markers and 2 pads of black that I can start with. No point in going overboard. Besides what will I buy at the next workshop if I have it all now?

Simple Learning Games for Kids

Even before I homeschooled I was always trying to figure out fun ways to help my children learn. These games don’t require a degree in education or a need lot of money to do. Most don’t even require any preparation. Most of these games were originally designed for younger children, but a few simple modifications and the games can continue to be used with older children.

Alphabet/Word Game

This game has no physical items and can be easily adjusted to your circumstances or child’s ability. The basic concept is to pick a letter and have your child tell you when they find the letter or an object that begins with that letter. As the child gets older you can run through the alphabet one letter at a time instead of focusing on a single letter. With older children you can have them pick words were the letter comes at the end or have them spell the words that they pick.

War Card Game - Battle

Image by PlanningQueen

Math War

The card game war is a childhood classic. It requires two players and a traditional deck of cards.

Basic Rules:

  1. Each player should have a half of the deck. Keep the cards face down.
  2. The players turn over the top card of their deck at the same time.
  3. The person with the higher card wins both cards and places them on the bottom of their deck
  4. If both cards are the same then you “declare war” by placing 3 cards upside down on the played card, then play a fourth card right side up.
  5. The person with the higher value card wins all the cards in play.
  6. The player with all of the cards is the winner.

Math Rules:

The only difference here is that the cards in step 2 are added or multiplied together. The player who correctly solves the math problem first wins the cards. Steps 4 and 5 are eliminated in the Math Rules due to the math problems being solved. In this version face cards are worth 10 points. So a King and 4 would be 14 or 40 depending on if you are doing addition or multiplication.

Pass the Pigs

This game can be found in toy stores for about $5. I always keep this game in my purse, even now, as it’s a great way to pass time in restaurants while working on math skills. The game consists of 2 plastic pigs and a score pad. The pigs have a dot drawn on one side of them. The pigs are rolled like dice and points are given based on how they land. If they land with one dot up and one dot down then you have a “Pig Out” and you lose your turn.

We have modified the rules to eliminate the score pad. Instead we continue rolling, and adding, until someone pigs out. The pigs are then passed to the next person to see if they can beat the previous score. I prefer this method as it gives the child practice with adding bigger numbers and the game can be easily ended when food arrives at the table or the doctor is ready to see us.

How to Make Boo Boo Bunnies

Boo Boo Bunnies

Boo Boo Bunnies are cute little bunnies with a hole in the center for an ice-cube. The bunnies make cute gifts for baby showers or as a project with older kids for the spring. They should not be used with children under 3 without modification to remove and/or secure the small parts. Modifications are listed at the end of the instructions.  It is not recommended that the bunny be stored in the freezer. Instead store the bunny in a dry place and only put the ice into him when it’s needed for a “boo boo”.

These are very easy to make and require only a few easy to find items.

Items needed:

  • 1 – 12 in. X 12 washcloth or piece of terry cloth with finished edges
  • 1 – rubber band
  • 2 – googly eyes
  • 1 – small white or black pom-pom for the nose
  • 1 – large colored pom-pom for the tail
  • 1 – 14 in. piece of ribbon
  • 1 – pair scissors
  • 1 – bottle standard white glue
  • 1 – plastic ice-cube (optional)


Layout the washcloth with one point towards you. Fold the bottom upward to make a triangle.

Starting at the bottom (long side) of the triangle roll the washcloth upwards into a tube.

Fold the tube in half.

Holding the tube flat, fold the ends up and back to the first fold.

Secure the second fold with a rubber band. (The ice cube will go into the space behind the ears where the finger is in the image above)

Adjust the ends back up to make the bunny’s ears.

Glue on the eyes, nose and tail. I like to use the same color ribbon as the tail but you can mix and match however you like.

Tie the ribbon around the rubber band to hide it.  For more variety you can use multicolored or patterned washcloths.

Under 3 Modifications

Replace the googly eyes with pieces of felt sewn down or draw the eyes using a Sharpie.

Instead of gluing the tail and nose, sew them securely to the bunny.

Thank you to my dear husband for holding the bunny still for the pictures. While they are simple to make they do require both hands.

Survived Week 1

Yesterday marked one week since my surgery. I’m doing better than I thought I would be so I guess that’s something. I went in on Thursday morning at an hour that must have been chosen for it’s “not awake enough to panic” qualities. Westerly Hospital was great. They took me up to my room 313 and I had a fun chat with the nurses about superstitions. I was calmed by the thought that I was in room 13 on the 3rd floor. These are 2 numbers which always signal a good energy for me.

I was also happy to know that this would be my recovery room as well. It just made unpacking my stuff so much easier that way. I changed into the hospital provided gown and laid in bed waiting. My husband sat next to me in a chair. His presence was reassuring. The nurse came back in to play find the vein. She ended up with the needle in my right wrist which made signing the paperwork entertaining. Thankfully, I’m ambidextrous so I was able to just sign with my left hand. It wasn’t her fault, it’s hard to find a vein on me. The nurse then began impressing my techie husband as the bed weighed me and took some other measurements. There was a steady stream of nurses, assistants and anesthesiologist that came through with their own questions. Before long it was time to go to the surgery room.

The nurses transported me in my bed. No switching to a wheelchair or stretcher. The also left my husband ride down in the elevator with me. That was nice because I think the panic was starting to set in. When we got to our floor he was instructed to go out the doors on the opposite side of the elevator from the ones we went out. I squeezed his hand one more time and took a deep breath.

We stopped just in the corridor next to a set of doors. The nurse offered to get me a warm blanket which I was grateful for. I think it was my nerves or maybe the IV fluid but I was getting cold. After that she didn’t leave my side. There was something comforting about that small gesture. The anesthesiologist came by again to check on me, and later Dr. Greenlee came by. I don’t remember leaving the corridor but I must have.

I woke up back in my room. My husband, reading his book, by my side. It was good to see him there. I dozed on and off. At one point I was awake enough to ask for my glasses. That was when I realized that I had an oxygen tube in my nose. It suddenly became a huge irritation and I asked to have it removed. They said it was fine to remove it as I was breathing on my own pretty well. It wasn’t long before I dozed off again.

I fell into a rhythm of sleeping for 4 hours at a time. I was given pain medication every 4 hours. So when I opened my eyes because of the pain there was usually a nurse just checking in with more meds. In one of my half awake states I saw the doctor talking to my husband. He mentioned that I had lost a lot blood. I vaguely remember thinking that this must be why every round of pains meds required a blood pressure cuff. Around 4pm my husband had to go get the kids. He squeezed my hand and kissed my forehead before he left. The hospital brought me soup and Jello for dinner. It’s been a long time since I’ve had Jello. I went back to drifting in and out of sleep, waking every 4 hours, all night.

By the morning I was waking up more and able to stay awake for longer periods of time. I was finally sent home on Friday at 5pm. The ride home was hard. It’s a 20 minute drive and we need to get my prescription for pain medication filled.  The wait at CVS seemed to take forever, mostly because my earlier dose was wearing off. I took two pills as soon as we got them and then agonized as we drove home, waiting for the pills to take effect.

My husband was a real sweetheart. He set up the hide a bed with my phone charger, laptop and TV remote. It became my own little recovery command center. I stuck to the 2 pill every four hours regimen until Saturday evening. Then we switched to a “pain level 3” system which was working out to 2 pills every 5 or 6 hours. Saturday night I managed to sleep in my bed, which freed up the living room again. My command post was moved to a corner of the couch as I was still not supposed to be doing anything. I was more agreeable on Sunday, since I had managed to get 7 hours of sleep before the pain woke me.

On Sunday we also switched to a 1 pill at “pain level 3” and introduced heat backs to help relieve the pain in my back. Progress continued as I relied less and less on the pills and more on the heat pack. By Wednesday I was feeling up to going to a friends for dinner. It was a quiet affair but it was a hurdle managed – I left the house. On Thursday I decided to try no medication for the pain. I also decided to do some shopping and go to lunch with a friend. In hindsight I should have picked one hurdle or the other – not both in the same day.

I survived the adventure. We had lunch and only hit 2 stores, I can only watch so many reruns of CSI and Criminal Minds before I’m stir crazy. I came home tired and sore but not really in pain. it’s weird being able to feel the stitches. They don’t hurt but they are definitely there.