For the love of the game


These photos of me in my softball uniform are from 1977 and 1978.

As a kid I was always very athletic…in my head. In my mind’s eye I made dazzling shoe-top catches and hit long shots over the fence, but in reality I was pretty awkward. I tried really hard, don’t mistake me, but my efforts usually produced boringly average results.

Even so, most of the time (except for the occasional bouts of ennui I experienced at softball practices) I loved being involved in the Willoughby Baseball League. For one thing, my brother was on a boys’ team during that same time, and I liked that we both had WBL uniforms, practices and games down at Todd Fields. I also loved having my family come to my games. If I close my eyes and really put myself back…in my uniform and mitt, hands on my knees in the outfield, sun on my back and feeling silly chanting “Hey, batter batter!”…I can still feel a little of that nervous aliveness that comes from performing in front of loved ones. That feeling that, even though you know they will tell you how well you did no matter what happens, you yearn to do something spectacular for them to see.

I don’t remember how many years I played in the league (these photos are from 1977 and 1978), but I do know that I gained a lot by being part of it. I learned to get along with a different group of girls than those I went to school with, to practice even when I didn’t feel like it, to care about contributing to the team’s success and to overcome my nervousness enough to play my part in that success. Yup, team sports can do all that!

I based this layout on the following PageMaps sketch from February and used papers from the BasicGrey “Oliver” 6×6 pad:

The PageMaps sketch I referenced while making this layout.

Hush little baby


I gathered up all my baby dolls one day and created beds for the whole lot.

The photo in this layout makes me laugh because it reveals a little bit about what I was like as a child. My parents had bought something that had packing material in it, and seeing its potential I used it to “build” beds for all my baby dolls. I’m sure I felt very pleased with myself once I had worked out all the necessary design decisions and finally had everyone tucked in for a nap.

Isn’t it wonderful that my mom snapped a shot of this? Thanks Mom!

I used this great sketch provided at the Artful Delight blog to inspire my layout:

Artful Delight sketch

Tickling the ivories

The March Sketches with a Twist sketch and design team sample layouts are now live on their site. I am very proud to have created the sketch and really in love with all the design team’s samples based on it!

Sketches With a Twist is a new sketch challenge site where each comes with an extra requirement (for example, this month’s twist is to use 3 identical embellishments somewhere on your layout or card.

Here’s a little peek at my new sketch:
A peek of the new sketch

And below is my design team layout based on the sketch. Please head to their blog to get the printable version of the sketch and play along (there are two prizes available each month).


In this first photo I was 6 years old, and in the second I was not quite 10.

I was very fortunate that as a child I took piano lessons. My mother had always wanted to know how to play, and I think her enthusiasm for the idea must have made me want to do it, too. When I was really little my parents would walk into a room and find me sitting sideways in an overstuffed chair “playing” the arm. I think they must have told Santa Claus about this because in 1972 he left an electric organ (that’s what they were called then, instead of keyboards) under the tree! Boy howdy, was that a great gift.

The whole family played the organ, but perhaps I played it the most because when, in 1976, my parents finally fulfilled my mom’s dream of owning a piano, I was the first one to get lessons. Eventually Phil and Mom also took piano lessons from my teacher, Alice Shimmels, but I took lessons the longest (until I was 18, I think). Unfortunately, at that point in my life I didn’t think I had time in my busy teenager schedule to continue with lessons and practice, so I let them go.

It’s a lovely thing to have had music lessons in my past; it’s such a great skill to have and is a practice rich with opportunities for developing personal discipline. I now have that piano in my home, and I love to play carols in the winter on a cold evening when I’m full of Christmas spirit. So, another debt of gratitude is owed to my wonderful parents for filling my life with the ability to make my own music.

The farmer’s market experience

Celebrate Blogtoberfest with me all month!

Blogtoberfest Day 17

I created the layout below based on a sketch provided at the Pencil Lines blog because I wanted to spotlight these beautiful photos I took at our Austin Farmer’s Market this month.


It means a lot to us to support local farmers, especially in light of Texas' drought.

What is it about going to the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning?

  • We have to get up early on the weekend to get the best selection.
  • We have to drive several miles farther than the one-mile trip to our regular grocery store.
  • We have to pay for parking.
  • We have to be satisfied with whatever selection the farmers bring to town that day.
  • And we sometimes have to pay more for our purchases.

So, if it’s such a pain to go to the local farmer’s market, why do so many of us do it?

  • Perhaps because being out early on a Saturday morning feels like you’re really starting your weekend right—getting a jump on your to-do list (if, like me, you live by your lists, even especially on the weekends).
  • Or it’s that driving farther just to buy fresh produce makes it feel like an outing—a fun little jaunt you’re making with your partner or partners in crime, hot coffee in hand and hopes high for what you’ll find at the end of your drive.
  • I’ll admit that it’s more difficult to put a positive spin on having to pay for parking… but what if paying that fee makes you feel good about supporting your city’s economy?
  • And if you’re “stuck” with whatever the farmers bring, you’ll always be eating seasonally! By shopping at the local farmers market, what you get is fresh and ripe. This is a great way to increase your overall health because food that is picked before it has ripened suffers from decreased vitality.
  • You can find a variety of fresh, organic produce at more affordable prices than in a supermarket. Not to mention the fact that even if you’re spending a little more, you’re paying it to a fellow human being who lives and gives locally instead of to some massive agribusiness.
  • Shopping in the fresh morning air and talking to some of the people who grow these fruits and vegetables can really provide you with a deeper connection to and appreciation for your food and the nutrients you derive from them.
  • Last but not least, ripe and seasonal produce and flowers are gorgeous! They’re masterpieces. I’m sorry to say, but food just doesn’t look that good at SuperTarget.

So, if you’ve never been to one, or it’s been a long time since you last visited, I urge you to get thee to a farmer’s market. It’s such a satisfying experience!

Celebrating a little princess

I was recently talking with my friend, Heather, who mentioned her daughter’s current fascination with all things princess. That sparked a crafty idea in my brain, so I made Sydnie this banner for her bedroom.


I hope my friend's daughter likes her new princess banner. :-)

I cut the base pennant shape and the lettering on my Silhouette. Then I embossed the background to give it texture and mounted these darling Pebbles Everafter glittered patterned papers on each flag. I topped it with a scalloped strip I punched and tipped each point with a star.

I know a true princess doesn’t need to be reminded of her status, but it doesn’t hurt to remind her subjects. 😉