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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cruise Portfolio Album Gift

So, I've been busy the past month making Christmas gifts and I thought I'd share. (warning: heavy graphics ahead)  Kathy Orta of PaperPhenomenon is an incredibly gifted designer or paper engineer and offers tutorials for some amazingly beautiful and creative projects.  She calls this an "Occasion Folio" and I ended up making 4 of them so far (3 Christmas themed and this one for my sweet mom-in-law of the cruise we took her on last year).  The Christmas albums were given ready for recipients to add their own Christmas photos, but I finished this one for her.  
This project is completely made of chipboard, paper, lots of scoretape, some magnets, a bit of ribbon and a new (to me) great product called Rub 'n Buff which is a tube of waxy gold numminess that dries quickly and leaves a beautiful gilt finish (see edges). It also comes in other colors and I will definitely be using it on future projects. 

Anyhoo, I had so much fun creating these albums and the family members who received them seemed genuinely impressed. Each of the center landscape pockets hold mats for additional photos and there are pockets inside the covers for tucking memorabilia or larger photos.

I'll share another one of Kathy's designs I made as a gift soon. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and area ready for a great New Year!

Monday, December 5, 2011


High school photo of my mom at about 16 years old.

It is a month ago today that my mother passed away and I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting while adjusting to the loss of a dear parent.

As I’ve mentioned before, in May 2010 we brought my mom here from California to our home in Arizona to care for her. We had fun preparing one of our sunny guest bedrooms for her and making it homey with lots of family photos and comforting possessions. Our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations last year were wonderful despite her growing weakness, and she loved being here enjoying family, particularly frequent visits with Lily and Rowan, the great grandchildren. The hospice angels who became part of our family made it possible for us to avoid hospital visits and to keep her at home despite her serious decline in recent months. For that I will be forever grateful.

My mother was fiercely independent and incredibly active. I have memories of her baking bread and cookies weekly and usually sharing a loaf or a batch with a neighbor or friend. She was incredibly generous, kind and loving and I will probably never know all the many lives she touched. Family and faith were everything to her. She lived her life with grace and courage, complaining little and with continual gratitude. Every day as I took her meals to her or helped her change clothes, she thanked me over and over again telling me how much she appreciated the sacrifices and hard work it took to care for her. Honestly, it was a labor of love and an opportunity to give back to a mother who gave so much to her own family and to my little girl self who needed her.

Now I catch myself listening for her call or planning her lunch tray and I wonder how long it will take to really adjust to her not needing me any longer. My faith assures me she is reunited with her dear Stan-- my wonderful Dad, and her parents and brother and sisters who have all gone ahead and there is true rejoicing on the other side. How I would love to sneak a peek.

Verlene Baker
July 3, 1925 - November 5, 2011