Animal photo love

Tonight I totally staged this photo of our bearded dragons. William put them in the windowsill. OK, that wasn’t my idea. But it was my idea to put their little claws on top of each other and look like they were looking toward a long life together.  Haha. I’m so not above a cute staged photo.

Here’s one, though, I didn’t stage.  Dexter was seeing a weird shadow in the canvas. At one point he was totally standing up on the back of his hind legs. I wasn’t quick enough to that party, but I was able to capture him contemplating his work of art.  I like to call him “Pawcasso”.

And here’s a typical Pixie look.  She and Dexter have a love/hate relationship. Most times it ends up with him chasing her, her violently screaming and him jumping on her. This picture is funny cause she has that little tinge of fear in her eyes at the site of him, knowing he could come chase her at any minute.  You wouldn’t think the black cat would be the scared one, but she is.

I take more photos of these little demons (yes, I called them demons) on my Instagram account. If you have an iPhone or Android, I’d love it if you followed me for other daily random snippets from my life. My user name is Swelldesigner.

So do you take way to many photos of your pets? Or is it just me?

Until next time Swellions!


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Some of my random holiday memories

Tree through the spiral staircase

Everyone has them. Those indelible memories that stay forever stuck in your mind from holidays of past. I have some ups and downs and I thought I would share a few with you, my loyal Swellions! By the way, the pic above is of the tree and spiral staircase at my childhood home. Many of my Christmas memories have happened in this spot!

1) My biological mom’s side of the family (she passed away when I was 6) always used to have these gigantic shindigs each year at various Catholic recreation centers. Well, they would usually involve all the cousins getting into some kind of crazy mayhem…see my grandparents had 13 children, so there were a LOT of kids around. I remember one year us having a big pinata that we broke open. Since I was like 3 or 4, I wasn’t the first one to get to the candy and when I finally did, all I remember was that there were just red disc candies left. I really am not a big cinnamon candy fan, and apparently I wasn’t back then either. I cried and cried. I think one of my cousin’s ended up giving me some of theirs.

We also ended up playing Red Rover in one of these rec centers as well one year and I remember how much it hurt when I held on so tight as my cousin broke through my arms. My arm stung so bad. To this day, I still HATE that game.

2) Two of my cousins that I loved being with during Christmastime were Miranda and Bethany (they’re sisters). They were a hoot…I always laughed so hard when I was around them that my stomach ended up hurting! We are all around a year apart so we always had the best time on holidays. I remember for several years, they had this special McNugget promotion at McDonald’s where you got like 20 nuggets with fancy dipping sauces in a holiday box. For some reason, we thought this was so cool! It’s funny how such little things like that make your day when you are a kid.

3) When I was 14, I had a yellow cat named Kitty (I know, very original) that was a stray that had just showed up one day. Well, he was an outdoor cat and honestly, he didn’t like me all that much. I remember he always scratched me alot. I always wanted to love on him and wanted for him to like me, but I think he was more annoyed by me than anything. Well, in toward the winter month he had been acting really strange. He would jump on cars and fall off. We took him to the vet and she said it was something to do with his inner ear. Well, he never got much better and continued to act strange and make moaning noises. Well, since he was an outdoor cat, he liked to climb up in the attic of my dad’s workshop where insulation was and sleep where it was warmer. Well, a couple of days before Christmas, I pulled down the attic stairs and went up to check on him. He was laying there sleeping. I thought, “Aww, Kitty’s sleeping!” Well, when Christmas day rolled around, I still hadn’t seen him, so I checked on him again. He was in the same exact position!!! I ran inside and told my dad and brother and they checked on him. My brother found some kind of stick and poked him and said, “Yep, he’s frozen solid!” I was mortified. I cried and cried! I’m really not trying to be morbid (he was an outside country cat, and subjected to the elements…I’m afraid he probably got some form of cancer we weren’t aware of).

Even though it was very sad, a few hours later, while we were opening gifts, I looked out the window and saw a striped Tabby kitten running down the hill in the snow. I fed it some food and that cat stayed with our family for over a year. So, even though it was sad, it was still bittersweet to get a new kitten that same day as a special gift!

4) I remember being really sick one time on Christmas day. In KY, it snows on Christmas day like 1 year out of 5 and this was a year with snow! My whole family got bundled up and went out in the snow and my dad pulled the sled up the hill for everyone with his tractor. I swear, all I could do was look out the window and wish I was outside! I was really, really bummed!

5) We had a little lady neighbor who lived in the trailer across the street who would bring us the best baked goods each year on Christmas Eve. I remember her name was Mrs. Renfrow. Well, she would always make two of my favorites: peanut butter pie or Pumpkin cream cheese roll! My mouth is watering as I write this! She was such a sweet lady. I think that she had been in a car wreck, so she had trouble speaking and walking and it made her appear older (along with her hair in a bun). Up close, she had the most beautiful face and clearest skin. It was so weird, because you wouldn’t know that if you saw her from afar.

6) I was always in church plays as a child and they were always kinda cheesy. One year, it was about a group of hoodlums who got locked up in jail, cause they had vandalized a nativity scene. Well, as payback, they learnt about the true meaning of the holiday and had to participate in a live version of the nativity scene. There were a couple of funny things that I remember about this performance: A) I had on high waters and I mean high water pants! and B) My crush (his grandmother went to my church) was in the audience. At the end of the play, I had to be Mary and wear a towel on my head. After the play is over, everyone comes and congratulate you on a job well done. Well, I took that towel off of my head as fast as I could and stood mortified when he came walking through the line. I’m sure I mumbled something to him (if I said anything at all, believe it or not, I was shy back in the day)…I was the most awkward teenage girl EVER! It was pretty painful!

And on another random note, here’s some of my favorite gifts I got over the years!

– pogo stick (I never mastered it! One of the many world records I did not achieve).
– keyboard that had the default song of “Wake me up before you go go” by Wham!
– Mickey Mouse watch that played “It’s a Small World” (my grandmother still asks me if I wear it)
– A Christmas tree for my first apartment.
– Contacts when I was 15. Geez, I wanted them so bad back then and wore them religiously. Now, I HATE wearing them.

Do you have any funny Christmas stories to share?

Hope everyone has a joyous season. Next week, I may be away from the blog for the holidays. My friend Zach is also going to be updating my computer, something it desperately needs, so it will be out of service. Thank goodness for my trusty Iphone!

Until then Swellions!


A truly crappy post


If you don’t know me well, let me just tell you that while I may be really good at whipping out the crafts, I’m not that great at cleaning them up or much of anything else. I would like to say that I’ve got it all together, but I do not. Not to say that I never clean (most of my mess is just unorganization, not filth), but one of my all time least favorite jobs is emptying the litter box. I’m sure I’m not the only one. It’s not the most pleasurable of things to do for anyone, but I just found something that is the HOLY GRAIL of kitter litter cleaning, the Sifting Cat Pan Liner!

See, it works like this…you open up the box and inside are 11 large flat sheets of heavy duty plastic. All but one of them have little holes in the center of them for the litter to fall through. There is one sheet that is without holes and protects the cat pan from the crappy remains of the litter. Well, you put them in your litter box and then wrap a large rubber band around the entire thing. The cat does his/her business and you simply take the rubber band off and pull up the first sheet into a bag. It automatically sifts through, leaving very, very little clumpage and no mess. I just transferred that bag to a trash bag and I was done. Afterwards, my cat, Pixie, even stuck her little nose in there to see the results. She even meowed in amazement and gave it two paws up!

So, just a word to the wise, these things are the bomb. You can get them at Wal-mart, but not sure about other places. On a side note, I really have to be careful who I mention Wal-mart to people…people get kinda angry when I mention I go there. But anyway, yeah, check them out. You WON’T be disappointed!

Photo Box Purse

My latest project…



I did this over the past 3 nights. This is a photo/digi design purse I did for Carey (she doesn’t read my blog -or- atleast I hope she doesn’t get a wild hair and decide to peruse it this week before I see her – but I highly doubt she will).

Anyway, I designed the images (her cats, Puzzle and Waffle) in Photoshop. I had this great distressed sign image that I incorporated into the images of the cats. I wanted the images to be grungy and kinda gritty looking- but colorful. If you can’t tell, Waffle (the yellow cat) is laying in a sink and quite content. Anyway, I took the wooden purse apart and painted it all with Decoart paints and a stain. I then adhered my images (that were printed on a Laserjet color printer – this is key so that they don’t smear or get blurry…inkjet images do this when coated). I then taped off the sides and mixed up Envirotex Lite (my new favorite craft medium) and poured it on top. I let the Envirotex lite cure for about 48 hours, then I pulled the tape off (drips pop right off the tape). I sanded the sides, inked them, then added another copper stain to the sides (it is reddish/coppery looking in nature with distressed qualities). I then created the beaded handle using heavy duty wire and random beads. This is the only part of the process I’m a bit concerned about. The purse came with a bamboo handle, but in an attempt to unscrew it from the box, I accidentally stripped the hole, so I couldn’t put the original handle back in. So, I have wire in place. I tried to jam it in there good and tied where it won’t pop out and I tried to even super glue and glue gun it in place, so hopefully Carey won’t be walking along and suddenly the handle pop off. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

This is my first attempt at using the Envirotex Lite and making a custom handle, so I def. have some things I learned, but overall, I think it turned out cute. Next time, though, I will leave the handle on so I don’t have to worry about it.

If any of you guys are interested in a purse like this, I will make a one-sided purse for $40 and a two-sided purse for $50. I think this would be a neat idea for a vintage photo or childhood photo. I would like to do one of me over the years in different stages of my life. I think that would be a conversation piece. Everything…design/manipulation, construction will be included, so think about it…Mother’s Day is right around the corner and I honestly think it is so customized that someone will just ooh and ahh over it.