Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dad/Grandpa...and soon-to-be Great-Grandpa's 75th Birthday!

So, if you read my last blog post I hinted at another project that I actually completed...YAY!!!  Well this project was really fun and I am proud to have been able to present it as a gift last my amazing father-in-law, Marion, from myself and ALL of his kids, his kid-in-laws, and his 10 beautiful grandkids!  (There was even a little gift from his soon-to-arrive Great-Grand-Daughter!)

Pinterest really isn't a waste of time...well, okay, sometimes it is...but, I found this idea "pinned" on an idea board on Pinterest and knew that it was something I needed to pursue for Marion's 75th birthday!

So, it September of 2011, when most of the Ryan family was together in Boise to watch a BSU game, and just have a little party, we began to brainstorm (and did a lot of reminiscing) about all of the people Marion has had, and still has, in his life.  It was not entirely an easy task...because, well, he has truly lived life! 

From his childhood in Missouri, to adolescence (and finding his love) in Payette, Idaho...then his Air Force days...back to Idaho, then to Prosser, Washington...up to St. Maries, Idaho to build a cabin in the woods, and now, a traveling man, spending summers in the Tetons and winters in the warmth of the southwest sunshine or the warmth of his kids' homes...he's been around the block a time or two and he has met a lot of really lovely people along the way!

We gathered up addresses and sent out a request, to as many people as we could locate...a request to share a memory.  And then we waited...  Every so often a note or two would come in the mailbox...or in my inbox...  From December on, we watched this gift create itself note by note, until finally, the week of his birthday, we had 75 envelopes, with 75 memories! 

The memories ranged from funny to sweet but we seemed to have tears in our eyes most of the night as he read them aloud.  Tears of laughter and tears of joy!  We were up until midnight and he only made it through a couple dozen letters, as each one brought more memories to mind.  It was so fun to watch the smile creep across his face as he was recalling a funny moment with a friend and so sweet to watch him tear up at all the love and admiration everyone shared with him. 

There were consistent themes...his joyous dancing, his great hugs and how much he loves his wife and family...  I wish the whole family had been able to be here to share in the evening, but I am certain he will be carrying his box around with him and eager to share it with those who helped make his birthday gift so special.

Happy 75th Birthday Dad!  As you can certainly tell from all of those are loved!




Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Okay, so there is something you should know about me.  I collect stuff.  No, not like "hoarders" kind of stuff, though I am certain that is what the people on "Hoarders" say also...but small, memorable collections of significant items!  Heart rocks, for example, I collect heart-shaped rocks...and sea shells.  And, oh, I love projects!  I am sort of hopelessly hooked on taking on a variety of projects, in fact!  I have a room dedicated to those projects in my home.  Sadly, it is where some of those projects have gone to die!  Basically, what I just admitted to is that I collect projects?!
I am not alone in this addiction of never-ending projects.  I know I am not...pick any person on Pinterest and you will find an assortment of boards entitled "to-do" or "creativity" or "someday" or, my favorite, "when I have the time"!  And within those pin boards there are imaginative photos to take, slipcovers to sew, furniture to stain, crochet patterns to learn, books to read, stories to write, recipes to try (there are lots of those on Pinterest!), rooms to decorate, gardens to plant and parties to plan! 

What we crave, I am convinced, is not only the creative, but the time to dedicate ourselves to creative pursuits.  It makes us feel accomplished, alive and utterly unique!

So, it's Valentine's Day!  Happy day of love to all of you! 

Awhile ago I found a great little art project on a blog I love to stalk,  Deb Schwedhelm.   She is an amazingly creative woman and I am always finding inspiration in her words and in her art.  The first picture in the collage below is hers...a creation she made with her kids.  And, I loved it so much I decided to create my own!
So, every morning, for about a week, while I drank my coffee and watched the morning news programs (and yes, I like a little coffee with my cream!), I sat with scissors and old magazines and began cutting and collecting...letters.  Lots of letters!  At first, it was I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U...V's being the hardest to find, by the way.  And then, I decided to personalize my collage, with a few of my favorite quotes about love...and then a few special things we say to each other...  It was a LOT of cutting and a lot of sorting!  But kind of fun, like a scavenger hunt!
And then, on an old canvas I already had (a different project!) I began arranging and re-arranging, building a puzzle/collage...and then adhering the letters on with mod podge...line by line, section by section!  I do remember thinking, at one point, that I should've chosen a smaller canvas, but gradually, it filled in!  Then, layers and layers of mod podge...a canvas frame, I ordered online...and, in plenty of time for gift-giving on Valentine's Day...ta-da!!  Completion!!!!  It always feels good to complete a project!  Especially good because I made it for Mike for Valentine's Day...and he really liked it!  No, really, he DID! 
It's hanging in our bathroom now...fits perfectly on the wall over our tub (I think I originally bought that canvas for a project for that wall?!)...and it looks really nice...over my collection of seashells and rocks!

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!  You are loved!

(Oh, and stay tuned...I have another project completed that I am dying to tell you about...!)

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Okay, it's someone commented, on my Facebook wall..."Ashley makes pregnancy look glamorous!"  Yes, she does!  If you could hear the daily groans about her aches and know, the ones that come with growing a human being inside of you...well, you would empathize, along with me.  Pregnancy really isn't all that glamorous, but it IS incredible! 

Baby is growing and doing great...Ashley is feeling pretty good and looking pretty amazing at 35 weeks!  And, the belly button is almost popped, just like a turkey timer!!!  :)

Now, if baby Harper can just hold on for at least 3 1/2 more weeks, I'll be back from Africa and be able to take some amazing 1st day pictures to share!  I can't wait to meet her!


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ashley...and Harper!

Okay, I know, I am pretty biased...but, seriously...isn't she lovely?!  Just over 5 weeks to go! 

We are so excited to welcome her little baby girl into the world!