Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pay It Forward

My darling blogger friend and fellow sassy mommy, Melissa, received a little gift from a friend of hers and was asked to share in the spirit of "Paying It Forward". She chose 3 names randomly (or I should say, her sweet daughter Pea did the drawing! so cute!!) and I was one of the names! YAY!! Thanks Melissa!

So now it's my turn!! If you'd like to play you need to do 2 things...

1. Leave a comment on my blog revealing one thing about yourself that people may not know! (only if you're comfortable doing so!! *wink*)

2. Agree to participate by "Paying It Forward" on your blog/site by passing on a little something to 3 people. It can be purchased, made, found in your home, re-gifted...whatever!

It's the perfect time of year for this because everyone in everyone - whether you live in a cold climate or not- is cooped up and a little ray of sunshine in your mailbox is always fabu!!

Thanks Melissa for 'Paying It Forward' and for being such a great 'virtual' friend!!!

I almost forgot...I will choose 3 names out of a hat on Sunday night!!


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

An Inconvenient Truth

oh and my darling hubby and i finally watched An Inconvenient Truth...if you havent seen it...RUN. to get it and watch it now...seriously...and tell EVERYONE you know to do the same...

and ya ya i'm hopping on a won't be my first time! but this bandwagon is going to change this planet...or so we hope...and it's changed me forever...which is indeed the point...changing the person at a time...

a few months ago i switched from the grocery bags that they give you at the store and started buying the reusable ones. i have about a dozen or so from various markets and i keep them bundled in the back of my car and i bring them into any store i go into - grocery or not. i mean...what's the difference??

and you should see the looks that i get when i go into any non-grocery store, like CVS or AC Moore. like i'm some crazy madwoman because i want to use a bag that i already have versus a plastic one that i don't need! wonder al gore (who by the way is a very handsome man!) has such a hard time convincing people!! i can't even use a recycled bag without getting funny looks...jeesh!!

my hubby and i agreed that when we run out of any HABA product we're going to seek an organic - preferably in a recycled package - product to replace our conventional stuff. it'll take some seeking out i'm sure, to find the stuff that we like that won't completely break our one salary budget. going to Whole Paycheck (Foods) isn't the option, really. They're just SO expensive. But I know there are plenty of alternatives...perhaps on-line is a better way to go. If anyone has any great organic products (HABA or otherwise) please let me know!! I'm treading into VERY foreign territory here!! I'm used to going to MAC and Bobbi Brown...not so much organic those brands...*sigh*. That would make life easier! i do use Mrs. Meyer's lavender all purpose cleaner and i LOVE it!

ok...i'll climb down from my organic soap box now ;)

not 100%...but better...

my headspace is so clogged with stuff it feels like it may split open!! so much, so much. some bad and thankfully some good!!

my son was hospitalized mon into tuesday for dehydration due to the dreaded stomach flu. we're home now and he's much better. but i'm kind of scarred...not just by the hospital but the entire last 8 days. i'm hoping that after a good nights sleep for all of us tomorrow will bring a better day...a better week. i know it will.

i hope that everyone is having a creative week and that you're all doing well...

Sunday, January 27, 2008


i MISS creating...

but my entire household - myself included - have been sick. really, gross, icky, sick. the week started with a sinus infection for me sun-wed and the dreaded stomach flu for my husband mon-tue. he went back to work wed. wed night at around 930 both of our children (3 and 22 months) woke up and proceeded to projectile vomit every 20 min until about 5 am. and so it went - off and on - until we decided to take them to the hospital yesterday because they still couldn't even hold down water.

THANKFULLY they weren't as dehydrated as i feared so they did not need IVs. but they did receive anti-nausea medication which allowed them to finally hold down baby sips of water and frozen pops.

but im telling husband and i are spent. every single towel, tshirt, blanket and sheet in my house has been washed in excess of 3 times each...buckets have been scoured, every surface disinfected, sprayed, wiped and sprayed again. my hands - which are usually cracked - are now cracked and split beyond belief from using so much hand sanitizer. my kids are better...not nearly themselves...but definitely better. they still sleep a lot and when awake my daughter is content to do quiet activities like puzzles and dolls but my son wants to do nothing but lay on me.

and this is just a virus will move on and we'll be fine...

i couldn't imagine having a child who is *really* sick...i know it may sound a bit melodramatic (you weren't here with us this week...i promise you it's not) however i have a whole new perspective on parents who have children dealing with any kind of long term illness...they must have wills of iron...i mean i lost it in the ER seeing my children in those tiny backless nightgowns - jonnies. it was the saddest sight ever...

anyway -i'm hoping to blow the dust off of my studio this week and get back to it...

i hope everyone is having a more creative weekend than i am!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

This is a card that I've made for my in-laws for their 40th wedding anniversary. I posted one the other day that I made for my SIL to give to them using chocolate, vanilla and red. So I wanted to do something opposite of that. I used SU! Tempting Turquoise, Whisper White and the new Bali Breeze designer paper - it's GORGEOUS!! I've had the larger SU! envelopes in 6 1/2 x 4 3/4 lying around for a while now - never I figured I'd try a new size. I LOVE how it turned out!

I used a double matte with the BB paper and then I created another image for the right side using the WW with another double matte of the BB using different patterns. For an accent I used the photo corners punch (love that thing!) with double tiny brads (making memories) in each one. It still looked a little blank on the left side so I finished the card with the Purely Pomegranate double stitch ribbon. I used the new "For A Friend" hostess set colored in with white gel pen and red sparkly Sakura pen.

I hope that everyone is having a very creative Tuesday!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Play Along!

I've never really been one to conform. It's not that I'm against being a team player or anything like's more that when I can...I like to march to the beat of my own drum. With that said...I think - like anyone - inspiration is sometimes difficult to find within yourself.

I like to think that I'm good at color selection and pattern matching - or as I like to call it 'mismatching'. But I'm still learning about layouts and how to best arrange a card or scrapbook page. I attend 2 different stamp clubs monthly to learn, learn and learn!! (and to hang out with my girlfriends and drink wine) And I've seen the sketch challenges all over the place and I think I was just a little too intimidated or thought that I haven't done a good enough job if I use another person's idea. But I just had to get over it because the layouts that are out there are just so fabulous - especially from Beate! - that it was silly not to take inspiration from others and run with it.

So here's what I've come up with by using the sketch that she put forth. I actually found it and became inspired to participate by my friend Joanne. And thanks Jo for the really cute trick using the corner rounder!!!

This particular card is for my SIL to give to her parents (my in-laws) for their upcoming 40th wedding anniversary!!! Can you imagine...40 years! It's just so wonderful.

I hope that everyone is having a creative weekend!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Easy Peasy!

My Grandmother (known as 'The Doctah' to those of you who know her...or me) loves beige. Beige house, beige clothes, beige accessories, black car - beige interior. We're headed down to visit her this morning and I've whipped up these ridiculously easy, 2 second, monogrammed notecards for her.

The base is Very Vanilla, with a River Rock matte and I chose the striped pattern from one of this years holiday designer papers (the name is escaping me right now and i'm in a rush!). I stamped her M (for marilyn) in Chocolate Chip on Very Vanilla and matted it with a scallop punch in River Rock. They are blank inside so she can use them for anything. Simple, neutral and easy. She'll love them!!

Hope everyone has a creative weekend!!!


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Great Finds - Paper!

Is this not THE cutest paper for a card or scrapbook page for a child? I love it!! I also bought this at Border's. Such a great selection!!


Happy Birthday Erica!!

My darling friend Erica and I have been friends for something like 28 years now. She's been there with me through everything...good and bad. I love her madly and am EXTREMELY grateful that she's in my life. We met, along with our fabulous friend Patrick, at the new Cheesecake Factory at the very ostentatious Natick Collection (whoever came up with that name for the mall is a moron, i mean seriously...get over yourself - but i digress) last night for dinner.

Her birthday is Tuesday so I made her a few cards and a fun frame (thanks for the inspiration jo!!) as a little gift. She LOVED the colors and I couldn't be happier!! YAY!

I used the new Ginger Blossom paper from SU! and it really is stunning. I paired it with River Rock and Regal Rose cardstock. And for a little embellishment I used the Guava double stitched ribbon. I used the Wild West Alphabet for her monogram.



Great Finds!!

For Christmas my SIL gave me a sticky note pad that says "Less is not's just LESS!" and it cracks me up every time I use them! And if you know me, you know that it couldn't be more true as far as I'm concerned.

I am ALWAYS on the hunt for new stuff, new products, new bling, new papers, new embellishments, new EVERYTHING! So when I find new fun things it thrills me to no end! I am going to start posting under 'Great Finds' to share my treasure hunt finds with you!

I found these awesome bulldog clips and teeny-itty-bitty clothes pins at my local borders. They have an awesome section of Paperchase brand items. All kinds of embellishments, pre-made scrapbook kits, raw journals/boxes/albums, stickers, papers, and other fun office supply kinds of things.
I especially love the bulldog clips because they have a hole in the top for ribbon, twine, twill tape or whatever!!

Enjoy and I hope that everyone is having a creative day!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Little Brother

My little brother is turning 26 on Tuesday. It's amazing to me that he's 26...cause that means I'm 34!!! YIKES! =) I remember the events of his birth as if it happened yesterday. He really shouldn't even be here but there was a miracle going on that day - the 15th of January, 1982 - and it was all for my brother.

I have to preface this all with the fact that my mother was a raging alcoholic and drug abuser. And being pregnant didn't stop her. Oh and she smoked Marlboro Reds...just to add insult to injury.

She went into labor roughly 9 weeks early and in 1982 the technology was not nearly what it is today. My dad was out for the evening (with no way to reach him seeing as cell phones really hadn't been invented yet!!) and I was home drinking a chocolate/banana shake that my mother had made for me in the blender...they were one of my favorites as a kid. She was on the phone with a friend when her water broke - she thought the refrigerator was leaking.

Thankfully and surprisingly enough she was sober and able to drive me down the street to a friend's house and drive herself to our local hospital. They took one look at her and decided that the best decision was to airlift her to The Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston for the type of care that she (and my brother) were going to need. They tried to stop her labor - and kept her in labor for roughly 72 hours. Nothing they could do was stopping him from being born. He was born somewhere in the ballpark of a couple of pounds and proceeded to lose weight until he was about a pound and a few ounces. He was so small that he fit in the palm of my dad's hand.

He received the BEST care possible and I am still thankful to the entire staff that worked at the Brigham back then for saving him and keeping him healthy. He had to have 6 hernia operations due to the stress of being born so early, he was fed intravenously through the soft spot in his head because his veins had not fully developed yet and he lived in an incubator for weeks covered in tubes, wires, sticky nodes and all kind of tape.

And although the memory is fuzzy for me (I was only 9 at the time) I believe he was in the hospital for a couple of months.

The gravity of the situation didn't hit me back then and it didn't truly occur to me how lucky he is to be alive until I was an adult. But it really hit me when I became a mother myself. My anger at our mother rose to my surface with a vengeance and I just wanted to rage at her for doing what she had done to him in utero and causing him such potential and life threatening harm.

My Mother with my brother - maybe around his 1st birthday...probably a little before...he may have been 10 months or so here:
When I had my daughter my mother was about 49ish. She was in a long term care facility in a vegetative state where she'd been for the previous 15 years due to the effects of drugs and alcohol. (too long of a story to get into the details) But that wasn't the time for me to rage against her for it was too late.

She died 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my son. She was buried on her birthday, January 26th...she would have turned 52 that year.

But my brother and I are - in my opinion - the spitting image of her. I look at him and I see her, I look at her in pictures and I see him. I look in the mirror and I see her all the time. And I look at my son and I see her...I see her in his eyes...all...the...time. So I know that all of the good things she had and embodied are with us. (including my craftiness!! she LOVED art, crafts, and fun projects)

My Mother with my brother - he was probably 5-6 months old here: (this picture lives on my fridge and always has)
Her antics, her bad behavior, her demons and her pain all went with her.

Here's a shot of my brother and I 5 years ago at my SIL's wedding:
Celebrating with me at my 30th Playboy Mansion Pajama party:

Wow...this post didn't quite go where I had envisioned!!! Sorry about the intensity of it. It started with this beautiful card that I've made for my brother!! He means as much to me as my husband and children. He is a part of our core family unit - here - in this house, he is a part. I talk to him 2 or 3 times a day. He is almost a daily part of my children's life - which is a must. I want him to truly know them and visa versa. It killed me when he lived so far away...I didn't know how much so until he moved home last February. I sobbed (happily) when he told me that he was coming back. Having him here and in our lives is worth everything I own and then some.

Having just flown in from NOLA to come to the hospital to meet his niece for the first time:
Being a brother to my husband - who has only one sister...
Along with my SIL my brother is teaching my daughter to play skee ball at our Aunt Mary's house on Christmas's a tradition...

Being the best Uncle that my children could ever have...

Ok...sooooooo enough, enough. =)

Card details!

Everything I used is SU! except the fleur-de-lis stamp. I got that a long time ago at the Paper Source. Oh and the hemp twine I got at Michael's. I used the following cardstock: Real Red, Creamy Caramel, Close to Cocoa, and Whisper White. My brother went to Tulane and I think of NOLA whenever I see a fleur-di-lis image and that always made me think of him when he wasn't around so it was an easy go to choice for this card. I stamped the image in Versamark and then covered it in SU! red embossing tinsel. I heated it with my heat gun and set the images.

I then scrunched up the Cocoa, Caramel and White to give it a distressed look. I ran chocolate grosgrain ribbon and the hemp twine around the caramel layer and tied it all on the left side just so it would pop out from the edge. I punched the open photo corner punches on the caramel so that I could thread the white through. But before I did that I ran my SU! chocolate inkpad over the entire sheet of both caramel and white to distress it even further.
I am so happy with how this all came out!!!
I hope that my brother has a WONDERFUL birthday and the best, best, best year ever! He deserves all the best that this life has to offer.

I love you little brother...always...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Thinking Of You

My darling SIL is in need of a few 'Thinking of You' cards for a dear friend of hers. They need to be quiet, muted and reflective. I think these cards fit the bill nicely.

I was talking to my girlfriends in our stamp club meeting the other night at my friend Joanne's house and I was saying how the art of papercrafting - in my opinion - is very whimsical, frilly, fun, cheerful, light-hearted, and fanciful. So when it comes to creating cards or gifts for a more 'quiet' occasion or for the men in our lives it can be a bit challenging.

My 'go-to's' for anything tend to be bold and boisterous. Including wild colors, lots of patterns, ribbons and embellishments...but those things are definitely not appropriate for situations that require a more pensive and meditative feel.

However, I am very pleased with these and I think she will be as well.

And now for the administrative stuff. Both card measurements are the same - just about 6 1/2" x 4 3/4" and they all say 'Thinking of You' on the inside using the sentiment from the Three For You punch box set.

I based the first card in SU! River Rock followed by mattes in decreasing size in Bravo Burgundy and Very Vanilla. The DP is from Cosmo Cricket - pattern is Love Notes - Darling. I then used a very pretty fern stamp that I bought at the Paper Source years ago - stamped in Chocolate Chip onto a River Rock scrap matted onto True Thyme. I used a scrap of olive ribbon from a spool that I bought at JoAnn's to wrap around the True Thyme. It's popped up on SU! dimensionals.
The second card is based on SU! Kraft with mattes in decreasing size in True Thyme and Very Vanilla. The DP is Basic Grey from the Stella Ruby line - the pattern is called 'Tea With Jane'. I used the 'friend' stamp from the Three For You punch box on True Thyme punched out with the SU! word punch. I used the same olive ribbon as the first card tied around simply in a knot.
Along with these cards comes thoughts of strength and love and white light for my SIL's friend. She's a fabulous and strong woman and she will be ok.

Pretty Mama!

I'm headed to a baby shower of a good friend tomorrow. She's an AMAZING young woman who has been through more than she should ever have to go through in her very young mid-twenties life. She's grounded, solid, strong, loving, and above all nurturing. She's married to a WONDERFUL man and are sharing a blessed life together. Now they are about to welcome a baby girl into their world and I really can't think of 2 more deserving people.

I papercraft because I love giving beautiful things to all of the beautiful people in my life. I work hard to create something unique and special every time I sit down at my desk...but this one felt close to my heart and I really tried hard to make this extra, extra special for her.

I can't wait to meet her little bundle!!!

And now or the administrative stuff!! I used the '06-'07 In-Color - SU! Cool Caribbean as my base pulling from the shades in this Basic Grey DP that I had and was dying to use!!! It's from the PHOEBE collection and this print is called Haight Street. I then chose my textured Purely Pomegranate ('07-'08 In-Color SU!) cardstock and created a 'belly band' around the middle of my 5 1/4" x 5 1/2" card. I was dying to use my pregga-Bella stamp! I paper pieced her outfit using the same Basic Grey DP as I used on her shirt and I used the Cool Caribbean as her jeans. I colored her hair dard brown - same as the Mama to be and colored her belly and face using my Prismacolor markers. I used my Sakura stardust pen in dark pink for her sneakers and to put a few shiny streaks through her hair.

I stamped her in Staz-on in Jet Black on Shimmery White SU! cardstock. I layered her with the complimentary colors Purely Pom, Cool Caribbean and a little pink polka dot scrap that I had lying around. I felt that the stamped image needed 'something' and tried using an SU! rhinestone brad but the back prongs were too long and stuck out from the edges of the stamped image so I decided to create a row of equal holes and thread this adorable tiny-dot light pink ribbon through. (it reminded me of the lacing cards that I do with my daughter!!) I finished the card with some light pink 5/8" SU! grosgrain ribbon and I popped the entire image up on SU! dimensionals.

The sentiment on the inside says "So happy for you" - from the new Nursery Necessities set. (thanks Sarah!!!)

I really couldn't be happier with the way this turned out. I hope she loves it!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I don't know about you but I have a hard time creating anything really masculine. I mean, I can pick a color palette or appropriate papers but even when I go with all dark/cool colors it *usually* comes out looking...somehow not masculine enough.

HOWEVER!! I think I got it right on this one! I just ran it by my husband and brother and they both agreed that it was 'guy appropriate'. And they are both all boy!!!

I went with Old Olive as my card base - I just LOVE this color!!! The 5/8" grosgrain ribbon in Old Olive is just stunning! I then used the retired SU! Enchante paper as my first layer. I then used a couple of the retired Spring Showers DP from SU! (the dark strip as well as the blue circle). I stamped the 2 circles from the So Much set and used my Warmest Regards (surprise, surprise!) as the center for Happy Birthday - all stamped in Chocolate Chip.

I then used my corner punch (I love that thing!!! - really...such a great touch when you need a little extra embellishment) and used the retired Oxford paper and Linen Prints as the corners in alternating color arrangements.

I finished this off with a few twists of hemp twine and 2 jumbo SU! rivets on the bottom.

I hope that everyone is having a creative night!!

Oh - I have 2 of the basically same photo - one with flash, one without. I couldn't decide which one looked more true so I posted both. If I have time tomorrow I'll snap one in natural daylight - that's definitely the most 'true'.

Monday, January 7, 2008


This is the first of a pack of cards that I'm making for my friend Alison. It's a girly, wintery birthday card. I LOVE how it came out!! I used the SU! Winter Bright Simply Scrappin' kit. And just because Christmas is over doesn't mean that all of those fabulous wintery pinks (pretty in pink), reds, and greens (certainly celery) have to go away!

I used the SU! scallop and tab (?) punch to add some interest to the opening of the card. I used all coordinating papers but making it a little 'messy' my having it be not TOO matchy, matchy.

I used a coordinating solid color on the inside of the scallop and punched a jumbo SU! rivet through the middle of it with my Crop-O-Dile. I used the same solid color on the inside of the card where I used the sentiment Happy Birthday from the Warmest Regards set. I liked how the Certainly Celery peeked out from the inside of the card.

I finished the outside with the Celebrate Everything stamped in Chocolate Chip (who doesn't love pink or light blue and chocolate together??) mounted on Pretty In Pink textured cardstock popped up on SU! dimensionals..which allowed enough room for me to sneak some super fun pink with red polka-dots.



My Dad is turning 60 in a few weeks. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't rushed at all when making his card so I completed it over the weekend. I'm really happy with how it turned out. I was inspired by a card that one of my oldest and most darling friends Joanne
made for my daughter as well as a card that I recently saw on her blog. Thanks for the inspiration love! ;)

It's a 5 1/4" x 5 1/4". I love this size. I feel like it's a card size that really makes an impact. It's not often that you see a square card. The solid paper is all SU! in both River Rock and Blue Bayou. The DP is by KI Memories and is in Alpine Socks (argyle) and Alpine Fashion (winter hats). I loved the very subtle sparkle that this paper had and since my Dad has a winter birthday I thought it was perfect.

I also LOVE that Joanne lead me to this wonderful blog which is where I learned how to do the 'starburst' made from the SU! scallop punch. (thanks Jo and MJ!!) So darn clever!!!

All in all I'm REALLY happy with how this came out. I hope my Dad does as well!!

Enjoy and have a creative week!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ribbon post - addendum!

One more thing that I just realized is that in the corner of one of the photos that I originally posted about my new ribbon set up is a 16 year old photo of my husband and I after we'd only been together for a little over a year!!! LOL!! It was taken at the Hotel Northampton during my first sorority formal in 1992!!! I was a funny.

I LOVE the picture and have always had it either in my office (when I used to work out of the house), in my home office or by my just seems to travel around with me.

I just felt that it was relevant to mention it since I was going on and on about how much I love my husband! HAHAHAHA....

Here's the photo!!

In case you're thinking that I'm SUPER tall...(which I'd LOVE) alas..I am not...I'm only 5' tall but my DH is 6'3" so I'm standing on a chair here! I just can't get over how young, thin, and full of hair (him) that we are!!

Updated Room!

Ok so not to annoy everyone or be "sickengly" husband is just the BEST. Those of you who know him know that I'm right. He's supportive, interested, encouraging, motivating, and all in all totally 'into' whatever my passion-of-the-moment tends to be (especially when it's him *wink*!).

I think he's finally realized that THIS (paper crafting/scrapbooking) is the passion. Not my passion of now to be forgotten tomorrow or next month (candle company consultant, tree frog, bass guitarist, make-up artist, etc, etc) but this is it. So - without getting you all gagging...hehe...he came up with a WONDERFUL solution for my ever growing ribbon collection.

I just love the ribbon. I love holding it, looking at it, mixing and matching it and using it for all sorts of reasons!! I find the colors, textures and designs as inspiring as designer paper.

He bought dowels measuring 3/8ths of an inch (he took the measurement from the middle of the smallest spool of ribbon that I own) and found simple hardware that the dowels sit easily in. He then trimmed the dowels down, leaving enough room on the ends so that I can hang my small collection of punches. I can't thank him enough...seriously. They were just stacked up on my tables, sitting in baskets and large was an unsightly mess. And I couldn't find anything quickly when I needed it! This is an awesome use of my space!! YAY!! Thanks honey!!
And - my MIL/FIL gave me a very generous gift certificate to Michael's for Christmas. I'm one of those people who wants to go out the day after Christmas to spend any $ that I received. I can't wait...what can I say.

So...when I was shopping I happened to literally stumble upon this AWESOME shelving unit from Making Memories. It was 90 on sale for 60!! I was THRILLED!!! It's able to hold about 60 spools of ribbon and tons of assorted stamps and embellishments. Before I had my little jars and bottles just perched precariously on my windowsills just waiting to fall and wake my little ones at any moment while I worked at night. But this was a true find!! And thank you again to my darling husband who carefully and safely mounted this last weekend. (because if it were up to me I'd have hung it on 2 tacks shoved anywhere into the wall...HA!)

Just when I think I love him as much as I can...everyday I fall a little more in love. (i know, i know...SO corny!)

I hope that everyone is having a creative night! HAPPY FRIDAY!


I have a few birthdays coming up for the boys and men in my life. So, quickly, here's what I've done!

My dear friend and SU! demo Sarah recently gave me a GIANT bag of of the wonderful things in it was the SU! set Celebrate Everything. I couldn't wait to bust into it!! It's a wonderful all around set. (THANKS SARAH!) I used the Simply Scrappin' kits that were the hostess option in this past catalog that includes Wild Wasabi and River Rock. I had some of the DS ribbon in Wasabi left (just enough!) and a few tags from various past projects. I took one of the 12" stickers that came with the kit and sliced it so that I could use 4" of it on the 3 cards that I made. I think it just added that little *something* that seemed to be missing. I also used a colorful paperclip as an embellishment to hold the tag firmly in place.

I hope that everyone is having a very creative start to the new year!!