Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I'm back!

It's been several years since I've blogged but I have never stopped crafting!  In fact, I have just been spending more time CRAFTING than blogging, because with my now 15 month old daughter at home, crafting time is almost as precious as time spent with her!  However, I'm going to attempt to reenter the blogging world because I have surrounded myself with talent in Facebook swap groups and have become addicted to several new types of art--and have had the pleasure of becoming part of design teams for two up and coming companies--The Crafty Pickle on Etsy and Honey Bee Scraps!  I have found that even with the demands of work and mommy-hood that crafting keeps me sane, and that it's not about having time, it's about making time to do the things that I love.  And I love creating art and my friendships with these talented ladies-- because that is the type of fulfillment and acknowledgment that keeps me ticking!  I love being part of the groups and part of the team!  I hope you will enjoy following me on their blogs as I unveil new projects each week using their awesome products.

Melissa Hewitt of Honey Bee Scraps has developed, and continues to roll out amazing, made in the USA, clear photopolymer stamps of the highest quality...they stamp perfect right off the cling sheet ladies!  No seasoning required--and even the smallest images give a clear impression every time!  The stamp sets are so versatile that they are perfect for use in planners, Project Life cards, traditional layouts, greeting cards, gift tags...and I even used them to make polymer clay jewelry, a ransom note for my husband's birthday card, and my own DIY planner clips!  (Check out the Honey Bee Scraps Blog for past posts!)

Taniesa Vlasak of The Crafty Pickle has awesome flair sets, flair singles, planner clips, sequin "relish" mixes, washi tapes, and more.  She even offers custom flair options so you can design your own flair pieces for your paper crafting projects!  That means the possibilities are endless and her lower profile flatter flair pieces don't add too much bulk to your scrapbook pages.  Her shop is currently closed while she catches up on custom orders and stocks it with the newest releases--check back on August 14th for all the newest goodies!

Both of these women have built up an amazing team behind them, and have used each other for support to help each other grow which is so awesome to see.  I am so proud to be part of their business ventures and so excited to see what the future holds!  Here is a sneak peek of my blog post for Saturday over at Honey Bee Scraps using the "Life Right Now" stamp set!  Thanks for checking in with me today!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Celebrating 29!

"Today is my 29th Birthday!
To celebrate,
I’m doing 29 nice things
For 29 random people…
YOU are one of them!

Please enjoy this tiny gift—no strings attached!
Thanks for helping me celebrate my birthday!"

The above, was the note I left as evidence of my acts of kindness throughout my birthday....
I was recently inspired by an idea that I saw on a blog that I found through was someone celebrating their birthday by doing random acts of kindness for others (one act of kindness for each year of life).  I thought to myself that with my family living out of state now, and Jeff working late most nights, what better way to spend my birthday than by making others happy (thereby making me feel good!) instead of sitting home on a weeknight wallowing because I was lonely and missed my parents and sisters?!  

And it was a really rewarding birthday!  I spent a few days planning my schedule and purchasing little gifts and supplies, baking goodies, and make notes and cards, so that on my birthday I could just go down the list of stops and bring some surprises and smiles to my unsuspecting victims.  The first of which, was my mailman.  I left a handmade thank you card in my mailbox along with a goody bag that included a note pad, a set of pens, and a keychain flashlight.  

Next I went to work (I'm a TA at a local school district) and brought the custodians a box of donuts.  I had to find their office in the "dungeon" and they were surprised to see me down there, and even more surprised that I came bearing breakfast!  I got an appreciative reaction and I'm happy I thought to acknowledge them.  

Still at school, I brought in a bag full of post-it pads with little notes attached and gave them to the secretary to randomly put in staff members' mailboxes as little surprises  (I think there was 23 notepads in all--kinda wish it had been 29!).  Even though I didn't sign my name to the note, all day long co-workers sought me out to say Happy Birthday and thanks.  Most people thought it was such a neat idea--others thought I was nuts to be giving THEM something on MY birthday.  LOL.

Our school's media specialist and one of the reading teachers recently rolled out a new reading incentive program where students will earn "bucks" for logging the extracurricular reading that they do in order to "buy" prizes.  I donated 2 handmade hair accessories and a pair of earrings for them to use as prizes.  The media specialist was surprised and pleased because she has just asked me the previous week if she could buy some stuff from me for that purpose--which gave me the idea to donate a few things instead.  

I made myself a strawberry birthday cake to share with the co-workers I eat lunch with every day, but it turned out that the reading teacher I've been working with made me cupcakes too!  I spent my free period in the afternoon doing cake deliveries to classroom teachers and support staff throughout the building.  Everyone loved it--in fact, one teacher was so inspired she even wrote a blurb to be read during afternoon announcements about how it reminded her to do nice things for others more often.  

My friend Jamie wanted to do my afternoon kindness projects with me, but she had to work, so her 5th grade daughter Meaghan was her stand-in.  I picked her up from school when I got out of work and she drove around from place to place on my list with me, excited by each stop.  Our first destination was a local restaurant where her mom and dad eat lunch about once a week on their lunch break.  I decided to buy the servers cute new pens and just walked in with Meaghan to present them to the hostess at the door.  I explained I was doing a RAK project for my birthday and that I wanted to acknowledge the girls for the good service we always get when we go there. She smiled graciously and was delighted to take the Zebra print pens to share with her co-workers.  Meaghan and I were giddy leaving the building and sighed a sigh of relief that girl didn't look at us with 3 heads.  

Our next stop was the Dollar General.  On the rainy afternoon we decided we'd help out the people that worked in the stores in the plaza by bringing a few Dollar General and Save-A-Lot carts to the corrals by their front entrances instead of leaving them where customers had left them in random parking spaces in the lot.  Meaghan was an awesome helper!  

Once inside the dollar store we searched for a few $1 toys to tape a note and a dollar bill to.  I picked out this cute little doll and while we were searching out toys, we overheard two little boys in the next aisle over asking their mom if they could buy something.  Instead of taping the dollars to more toys, we went around the aisle to offer the money to the kids.  I wanted Meaghan to give it to them and then meet me at the front of the store, but she wouldn't let me chicken out--she said I had to give one boy a dollar and she would give the other boy a dollar.  I agreed that was only fair, so we turned the corner and explained our project to the kids' mom.  She was thankful even if the boys ran off to pick something out before saying thank you themselves!  Meaghan teased me all the way out the door that I had tried to leave her alone to give them the money.  Okay, okay, I deserved to be teased!

Meaghan was most looking forward to stopping at the pediatric ward of our local hospital to deliver the stuffed bears, coloring books, and crayons that I had bought at Walmart the previous day.  Her grandfather had recently gone to the hospital with a heart attack and she explained to me how scared she had been waiting, and how nice it will be to help other kids in situations like hers with having something to do while their loved ones are being taken care of.  We also hoped that sick kids stuck in the hospital would enjoy a little something to play with or comfort them when they didn't feel well.  She touched my heart by being so excited with this stop and by making a connection to her own life with it.  I was a proud to be in the presence of such a compassionate and sweet young woman!  We asked the lady at the front desk who we should drop our donations off too, and she directed upstairs to pediatrics.  We were excited in the elevator to see the nurses' faces when we got to their desk with our presents.  Sure enough, the two young women we met thought it was a nice gesture and said they already had a child in mind who had been admitted who would like the toys.  Yay!  We left it to her to deliver them (because again I was a chicken and passed the buck a little).  I think both Meaghan and I were good just knowing they had someone to give our surprises to.  

We decided to stop at McDonald's next to get a few drinks and buy a heart for the Ronald McDonald House.  I also put the change from our drink purchase in the Ronald McDonald House donation box under the drive-thru window.  We found ourselves giggling again because when we drove up to the window for our drinks after paying and signing the heart, the girl at the window said we kept the marker cap--sure enough, I looked down and it was in my lap!  Oops!

At Hannaford we taped quarters and notes to a whole row of vending machines to surprise little kids on their way in/out of the store.  Of course I had to buy Meaghan and I a gumball too!  Then we went shopping for a few things for dinner tomorrow night as a cover for my real purpose: to buy one of the checkout baggers, Barb, a bouquet of roses.  
The flowers caused the biggest hiccup of the day.  While Barb went to get a bag to put the flowers in, I quickly taped the note to them after I paid.   When she got back with the flower bag I smiled and told her they actually were for her, to thank her for doing a nice job whenever I'm in the store, she looked so happy and pleased but then her face fell when she told me she wasn't allowed to accept them.  I told her I'd speak to a manager and he confirmed what she said, that she wasn't allowed to accept them, and that I could write a comment card on her instead.  He proceeded to tell me that he also wouldn't blame me if I wanted to return the flowers.  I said, "No, I don't want to return them, I want to give them to her."  He finally agreed that I could as long as I also filled out a comment card.  Okay, then Hannaford!  Sheesh.  When I returned to give her the flowers she looked stunned, and said, "He really said I could keep them?"  I said, "Yup! Have a great day Barb!"  I winked at her, and then left with Meaghan and my small bag of groceries.  It was a little bit more of a battle than I expected to do something nice for someone, but hopefully she was able to enjoy them without feeling guilty about it.  

Next, we stopped back at my house to drop off the few groceries and ran next door to my neighbor to deliver a little package containing 3 packets of vegetable seeds for her garden this spring, and a little handmade card to say thanks for being a good neighbor.  We chatted a minute and then Meaghan and I were on our way to our last stop: to visit her mom at work.  

Our last stop of the project was the post office where Meaghan's mom works. We brought her and the postal workers a box of chocolate chip cookies, and I mailed 6 handwritten notes to various family members to brighten their day when they receive them!  

 After Jamie and her husband got out of work, Meaghan and I met them at the Chinese buffet for an impromptu birthday dinner.  They had plans that fell through so I was able to spend my actual birthday with someone after all!
Best of all, even though he was exhausted from a long day at work, Jeff was able to join us to and hear the tale of my adventures with Meaghan!  Happy birthday to me, and to everyone we touched with our acts of kindness.  

P.S.  The whole day (not including dinner) cost me about $65-70.  Not bad at all considering I probably helped bring a smile to at least that many people's faces!

Remember that no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted!  Make someone's day today!  

xoxoxo, Tabitha  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm (Finally) Engaged!

On Sunday, December 18th, 2011 Jeff and I took the train from Albany to Penn Station to spend the day in NYC. We saw the Rockettes, had lunch at TGIFridays, wandered and shopped, and then made our way back to Rockefeller Center when it got dark to see the Christmas tree. We settled on a bench across the street to look up at the twinkling lights and just enjoy the moment of being there together right before the holidays. It was here that he slid off the bench and down on one knee to ask me to marry him--and of course I said YES! To read the full details of our engagement day story, visit my new blog, which will chronicle my wedding planning adventure .

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Super Simple Sculpey Snowman Ornament

Last Friday I visited my grandma at her apartment before work, and I got to see her little Christmas tree all set up. She could include very few ornaments on this much smaller tree in her much smaller apartment this year, but she included a small Sculpey snowman ornament that I made for her over a decade ago. It was so sweet in it's simplicity and has such an adorable homespun look that I had to try to replicate what I had done all those years ago to give as special gifts. Hopefully my boyfriend's family members will enjoy them for years to come as my grandmother has.
To make your own gang of snowmen cuties you will need:
  • White Sculpey Polymer Clay
  • Acrylic paint in orange, red, and brown or black
  • fine detail paint brush
  • round tooth picks for noses
  • scissors and/or wire cutters
  • eye pins or small metal paper clips for hooks
  • whole cloves for "stick" arms
    1. Paint the pointy ends of round tooth picks with orange acrylic paint and leave out to dry while completing the other steps.
    2. Roll two small balls of white clay, one larger than the other and squish them together. The larger ball forms the body and the smaller ball, the head.
    3. Push an eye pin or paper clip cut to size down into the top of the snowman's head to form a loop so it can be hung on the tree with a hook or ribbon. Hint: I like to leave my eye pin almost the full length of the head and body so that it keeps the two pieces together and there is less risk that it will come out of the clay after baking.
    4. Push a clove into each side of the body ball of clay down at an angle from the top to form the snowman's arms. (These smell great while baking!)
    5. Cut the painted end off one of the toothpicks (it should be dry by now) and push it into the head ball of clay to form the carrot nose.
    6. Bake the snowmen on a glass baking dish that you have dedicated for use with polymer clay according to package instructions (I baked my snowmen for 17 minutes in a preheated oven at 275degrees).
    7. After they have baked, take them off the glass and put them onto the counter to cool.
    8. Once your snowmen have cooled, use the brown or black paint and a fine detail brush to add dots for eyes, mouth, and buttons. Also, paint the year on the "butt" of the snowman if desired.
    9. Use red paint to add a small heart to the bottom right of your snowman's body for a sweet little touch.
    10. Allow to dry and add a hook or ribbon and package for your lucky recipient or adorn your tree!
      Happy Holidays! Enjoy!

Sappy. Sentimental. Surreal.

My last graded assignment for grad class.
The rose my professor gave me on the podium in the Lally Forum at the College of Saint Rose.
Well, after a long journey, my grad classes finally came to a close this evening. I don't know if it's even really sunk in yet. I am almost officially a certified Literacy Specialist for grades 5-12, and I almost officially have a 4.0 in my program. My professor is amazing, and she was sensitive to the anti-climatic nature of us finishing off the course with presentations and just going on our way until the graduation ceremony in May--so she bought us all roses. A classy and fitting token to acknowledge our completion of a program at the College of Saint Rose.
It's bittersweet of course, because I'd like to celebrate my degree by putting it to good use in a classroom full of students ready to absorb my newly gained knowledge, my passion, enthusiasm, and creativity--but teaching jobs where I live in upstate NY are far and few between. To be honest, I've spent most of the last year questioning whether or not I need to choose a different career (although, if not a teacher, I have no clue what else I'd be). I'm worried that if I can even manage to bite and claw my way into a school somehow that I will be chewed up and spit back out trying to manage a sea of politics and negativity with little support or resources. I'm worried about what education has become, and that I'm not prepared for what I will need to become in order to survive it.
And yet, after over a year of feeling this way, I volunteered in a friend's 5th grade class today to help with a holiday project and I felt a renewed sense of purpose. I worked with some of her students last year as a TA, but stepping into a classroom for the first time this school year, and on the very same day I completed my grad program, I felt alive again. I felt like that was where I was supposed to be. I felt like those students looked to me for a hug, to answer a question, to give them a moment of positive attention--and in those moments, I felt I mattered--like I could make them smile or laugh, make them feel good about themselves, and make their day--and of course by doing so, they make mine!
With my rose-colored glasses on, that's what I feel teaching should be about: helping the students become better, more well-rounded people so that they can not just function in society, but contribute to it--helping them to develop a passion for learning and a zeal for knowledge and exploration--and helping them to develop compassion, creativity, and a positive sense of self.
My heart aches as I write this, because I have worked so long and so hard (and spent so much money) on my own education, so that I can have this opportunity to work with students, and it feels like my day will never come. So while it may seem that I should be celebrating my accomplishments--they may not have sunk in because the real celebration can happen only when my career begins with a teaching job and a classroom of my own.

I usually utilize this blog as a place to showcase my creative endeavors, but tonight it needed to be a journal. I needed to tell the world that passionate and qualified teachers are being forced to sit on the sidelines because of cuts to education. I'm wasting my degree by working in retail, and those students are in class sizes of 27--and worst of all, I feel powerless to do anything about it. I could vent about bureaucracy, and I could certainly continue to feel bitter, cynical, jaded, and defeated...but tonight driving home from my final grad class and thinking back on today in that classroom--I have a spark of hope left in me after all. Maybe it was rose, but I'm betting it was the hugs.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

12 Tags of Christmas: Mission Accomplished

The Inspiration by Tim Holtz
My versions of the 12 Tags. Wow! What a wonderful burst of inspiration and creativity Tim has provided these past 12 days. I'm so proud of myself for keeping up and pushing myself to adapt what I have and to make them my own for the most part. I hope you enjoyed witnessing my journey!

12 Tags of Christmas: Day #12

My version utilizes gold tissue for the flower, and a cherub print tissue for the background along with distress Rock Candy Stickles and frayed burlap distress inking. I used a vintage button and tinsel, a piece of paper lace, silver embossed a snowflake chipboard element, and stamped and embossed the wings and crown...
Perhaps the coolest part is I made my own frozen Charlotte doll to use on the tag. I have a real doll that I want to save for another project so I created a mold out of it using Amazing Mold Putty, and then made the duplicate out of translucent Sculpey clay and baked it according to package directions.
Once all the elements were hot glued or stapled into place, I printed, inked and glued on the "all is calm" phrase and added the dot border of Patina Stickles. This is one of my favorite, if not my favorite tag. I love the elegance and charm.
The inspiration: Tim's Tag #12--you can see more at
LinkClose up of my handmade Frozen Charlotte doll.