Monday, December 10, 2007

Silent Night

What a beauful night! It has rained for several days and the wind has cleaned our skies. The sunset was amazing, it was a crysal clear night... cold... perfect to turn on all the Christmas lights, enjoy a fire in the fireplace and cuddle. Sit back and enjoy some sights from our holiday home...

"Stockings Hung by the Fire..." Mom hand made each of our stockings... each just as special as the next...

"Dad's 'Charlie Brown' Tree... " We have decorations for two completely different Christmas trees. The kids call my tree the "Department Store Tree." Gold and red glass ornaments, white twinkle lights, handmade ornaments of glass, dried flowers, paint and glitter, a random spray of gold decor for the tree topper and rich ribbon decorate my tree. Jeff's tree starts with colored mini lights and includes an assortment of needlepoint ornaments made by his Grandma Julia, antique glass ornaments dating back to the 1920's, an assortment of large hand blown glass ornaments and a hodge podge of miscellaneous, gift given, kid made ornaments... topped by the angel made by Grandma Julia... this tree is PERFECT!

"Windows with a view..." I just love this picture of our china cabinet filled with pieces of our Spode collection, Irish and German china that my Grandfather sent to the family when he was serving in Europe during WWII, and other special pieces.

"Away in a Manger..." I have always adored my Mom and Dad's nativity set. My Grandfather mailed this paper mache navity home from Germany. My grandmother put it in storage and it was severly damaged due to water damage and rot. My Mom rescued it and had it professionally repaired to its original glory (she actually did many of the repairs herself.) The tall figures stand over 12" tall and the animals laying in the snow are up to 12" in length. I have always told Mom that the one thing I would like as an inheritance is this nativity. Mom decided this year that she didn't want me to wait until she was gone to enjoy the nativtiy, but instead wanted to see me enjoy this precious gift. I can hardly believe that this set has come to stay in our home and I am so thrilled to be able to share it with you! Woo Hooo!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

What a PICKLEICIOUS Weekend!!!

This was the weekend that 5 Rusty Pickle Chefs and Mr. Pickle himself (owner, Lance Anderson) took over Ever After Scrapbook for a weekend of classes, Make and Takes, the Saturday night crop and a TON of fun!!! I was one of the Chefs in attendance at the SOLD OUT crop on Saturday night and I created and taught my VERY FIRST MAKE AND TAKE!!! You can see a picture of it here... using cardboard boxes from Costco, I made these table decor items for your annual Santa Picture. I also taught the scrappers how to easily turn my make and take into a mini album to house ALL of their annual pictures! Great way to watch the kids (and Santa) grow up!!! :-)

I had a great time chating with the Chefs (Ann, Candice, Kristan, and Casey), telling stories, sharing secrets and getting to know them all better! Links to each of the talented ladies' blogs are listed on the panel to the right. I also had the opportunity to crash Lance's class on Sunday and watch the pro teach. As a new teacher, it was great to pick up some tips from Lance and learn how to handle different situations as they come up in a class!! (Thanks, Lance!)

Thanks to Candice for organizing such a great weekend and to Camille (owner of Ever After) for the wonderful goodie bags that she gave to each Chef for participating in the event!! What a GREAT way to start December and the holiday season!!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

OH MY GOSH... I'm the ScrapStreet Designer of the Month!!!

I just have to start with the link...
For those of you that don't know what an ezine is (my family)... it is a full sized magazine that is published online... you purchase a subscription (some are free) and read the magazine online... as you would a print magazine, only you download the magazine to your computer and read it over a cup of coffee... :-) I am THRILLED to be the December up and coming Featured Designer of the Month for ScrapStreet Magazine!!! I have been holding this secret for several weeks (sorry!) and am SO EXCITED THAT I CAN FINALLY SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOF TOPS! HOLY COW... THAT IS ME!!! And, I can finally say... I CAN CREATE!!! :-)

Here are a few samples...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Elf Yourself...

This is one of the funniest things I have seen so far this year... I just had to share this "Elf Yourself" link that my friend Pam sent to me. Here is the Locher family doing, "THE ELF..." :-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Big Rusty Pickle weekend in So Cal!

Just a reminder that this weekend is the Rusty Pickle Grinchmas Event at Ever After Scrapbooks in Carlsbad, CA!!! Friday, Saturday and Sunday... classes, Make and Takes, crop with 5 Chefs and a special appearance by Mr. Pickle himself, Lance Anderson! Lance will be teaching a class with the new acrylic flower album... as a Valentine swag!!!

Here are links to Ever After Scrapbook and the Rusty Pickle Blog for more information! Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!!! :-)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

"It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas..."

It's that time again... time to get the 50+ boxes of Christmas decorations out of the attic. YES, I said 50+ boxes!!! Decorating for Christmas is a BIG EVENT here at the Locher house and we always start decorating the day after Thanksgiving. Decorating (including the inside, outside and the tree) usually takes about 2 weeks to complete, but we have some special friends coming for a visit in just 5 days, so we are in speed mode this year!!

Here are a few sneak peeks...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My 3-year-old... A SCRAPPER! Woo Hoo!!!

I just HAD to brag about this one!! :-) Anna is a scrapper. As you can imagine, I spend quite a bit of time in my garage studio doing my work, so I have a table set up for Anna... sitting right next to mine... where she can do her "homework" as she calls it. She draws. She colors. She LOVES to cut paper into a million little pieces with her "Baby Anna scissors," pick up the pieces and INK the edges with my Tim Holtz ink pads. :-) She loves to play with my Herma tape runner. AND she has finally put all of these things together.

I created a mini album for my Uncle Paul's birthday. Anna decided that she needed to create something for him, too, so she started cutting, inking, taping... she found scraps of trim and she spent a LONG time searching through my 10 pounds of buttons to find the PERFECT ones... she even pulled out my mini glue dots and started applying them to the back of my buttons (as she as seen me do a million times!) Anna has 2 funny habbits when she scraps... when she is concentrating very hard, she doesn't realize it, but she sticks out her tongue. She also becomes deaf... (as many of us do when we scrap... we get so involved with creating that the outside world ceases to exsist sometimes). Yep, Anna has that trait COVERED! :-)

Pictured here is the final effort... this is actually her 3rd "layout." The first one she made for Santa because, "I want to make him happy with me so he will bring lots of presents." The 2nd was for her BFF, Catalina. Anna is sharing her layout with Papa (Jeff's Dad in the cream) and with Uncle Paul in the sweatshirt.
Can I have a "Wooooo Hooooo!" :-)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

We are blessed...

I just had to post quickly tonight because I just saw this post on the blog for Ever After Scrapbooks. I am on the Design Team for this store in Carlsbad and Camille, the owner of the store, just posted the most touching comments about my newspaper article and my work that I just had to post a link here... I am still in tears (happy tears) after reading Camille's comments. You will need to scroll up to my layout and the title, "I'm so proud..." to read the post.

Kiss your family tonight... that is one of the things that makes me say, "Wooooo Hooooo!" :-)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm in the news!

A quick post with the link to the newspaper article about the Cruise Out Cancer layout contest I won last year. Jeff and I had so much fun with the journalist interview and the photo shoot! The actual paper also had an 8 x 8 copy of my layout and a teaser picture of me on the front page! TOO MUCH FUN! This is one of those things that makes me say, "Wooooo Hooooo!" :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tea, VARSITY NEWS, Spirit...

I have heard the complaints that I haven't updated my blog in almost 2 weeks (sorry, Dad!) :-) We have been INCREDIBLY busy... football season wrapping up, basketball season starting, I have taken the Chair position on the Grad Nite Committee and am already in full swing as the high school's Australian Exchange Program coordinator (on a volunteer basis, of course!)... but there are always opportunities for pictures, so here are a few...

We celebrated Catalina's 3rd birthday last week. Cat is my Goddaughter and Anna's BFF. Cat had a "Princess Tea Party" and her Mommy, Penny, did an AMAZING job setting up for this event... real bone china cups and saucers, finger foods, "lumps" of sugar, fresh flowers... it was BEAUTIFUL! Even Baby Robbie dressed up for the occasion and looked very handsome! Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

And now, for the sports lovers out there... we have some BIG news here in the Locher household... CHRISTIAN MADE FIRST STRING VARSITY BASKETBALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is the only Freshman on the team, not to mention on the starting team!!! We are sooooo proud and excited for Chris. The weight training he was doing for football seems to have paid off as he is hitting "3's" like nobody's business and he is doing GREAT! We can't wait to see what this new team will do when the season starts! CONGRATS, CHRIS!!!

"We've got spirit... yes, we do... we've got spirit... how about YOU!?" That was one of my favorite cheers when I was a Varsity Songleader back in high school. Jessica and Theresa are part of the school's "Rowdy Crowd" and are pictured here showing off their "girly" face paint. They were on their way to the final football game of their senior year... oh... where is the time going!?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy Halloween!

HAPPY (day after) HALLOWEEN!!! We had a wonderful "fright night" here in Escondido! All day Anna and I ran last minute errands and set up the final decorations. I cooked a huge pot of my special homemade chili and cornbread with honey butter, lit the candles and got our little Princess dressed. Anna was NOT happy about the curlers in her hair, but she LOVED getting a little bit of makeup... "like the REAL Princess Belle!"

We always overdo the decorations (can you imagine!). Yes, we have Halloween lights along the eaves of the house, Jeff builds the HUGE spider web right in front of the kitchen window so I can see the 4' big spider everyday while cooking. We even had a few real spiders take up residence in Jeff's web this year... YUCK! Jeff has built a few tombstones for our haunted graveyard... complete with a vacant grave and a "Space Available" sign on the tombstone, and skeletons popping out of the other graves... one even lights up... scary!!! Jeff's new toy, his fog machine, was GREAT last night and kept a nice layer of ground fog hovering around the graveyard!!! Since Jeff will be finishing up the yard construction soon, this will be the last year of the graveyard with dug up graves!
Anna's favorite decoration is the huge (8 feet tall) blow up ghost that lights up... she calls him, "Ghosty" and hugs him everyday when he turns on.

I am guessing we had about 130 people trick or treat here last night. For the first time, both Jess and Chris had plans, so I stayed home to pass out candy and Jeff took Princess Anna to trick or treat. Anna had a great time and stopped to "oh and ah" over every baby that passed by!

Now, although I didn't dress in a full costume last night, I got in the spirit... the Rusty Pickle spirit. Hey Chefs, recognize my bandana? :-) Hope you all had a fun night... now, time to get the lists started and get the credit cards limbered up... less than 8 weeks until Christmas...

Monday, October 29, 2007

...and life goes on...

It has been one heck of a week around here! The kids are still home from school, but the schools hope to open again tomorrow. It is still pretty smokey, but we can see (some) blue skies. Yesterday we decided that we just had to get out of the house and carry on with our Halloween traditions, so we went up to Bates Nut Farm and enjoyed our annual pumpkin hunt. Mom and Dad joined us this year as did Chris' girlfriend, Hanna (in the blue). It was a bit strange to be standing in this beautiful and expansive field full of laughing kids, parents with cameras, dad's struggling to carry all the pumpkins, my Dad looking around saying, "I think this is the most sincere pumpkin patch I've ever seen...", then laughing my rear off at my cute Dad looking for the "Great Pumpkin", ... and then looking up and seeing huge plumes of black smoke continuing to rise from behind the mountains adjacent the farm... very weird! We had fun and were glad to get out and do something "normal."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Things are looking good!

After a long night, things are looking much better (for us) this morning. The fires from yesterday have moved on and we are currently safe. There is a new fire that has started behind us that we are keeping an eye on, but we are fine now. We stayed here all night... the evacuations stopped a block from us.

The top picture is from this morning looking out from our front door... the smoke rising from the new fire. The bottom picture is the sun rising in the smokey sky above our neighborhood.

We have learned a lot about packing for an evacuation and I have a lot to do to better prepare in case we ever have to evacuate again. I'm going to update our emergency supplies at the same time... something we all SHOULD do, but never get around to doing because we never think this will really ever happen to US.

Thank God for watching over us and for your prayers and love!

Monday, October 22, 2007

San Diego Fires...

So many WONDERFUL people, both family and my scrappy family have been emailing from across the country wanting updates on our status with the fires. We are currently packing... evacuations have started within a block of us.

I have faith that we are going to be fine and that our home will be fine, but we are taking precautions. Here is a picture we took several hours ago of our tree in our backyard and our orange sky. I will update here if anything changes. Thank you for your love and prayers! :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I've been TAGGED...

I read about being "tagged" on a new friend's blog a few days ago (Hi "msgrace" - Laura!) and thought it looked like fun! Sure enough, I woke up this morning to see that my friend Debbie, owner of Crop Addict, Days Off Travel and Scrapbook Cruises tagged me last night. Debbie and I met when I won the first annual "Cruise Out Cancer contest" sponsored by Days Off Travel. Debbie was on the weekend cruise to the Bahamas that Jeff and I enjoyed back in March. (I think I see a "flashback" cruise blog entry coming...) This is the winning layout and hidden journaling. (You can get a bigger pic of the journaling by clicking on the image.)

So, here are the rules of this tagging gig...

1. Link to your tagger, and also post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

So, here we go...

1. I played the violin for about 10 years and was Concert Mistress of the MVHS (Mission Viejo High School) orchestra. Our orchestra competed (very successfully my senior year), was hired our (as a quartet) for private parties, and played the music for the annual musical put on by the drama department.

2. I was a Varsity Songleader, dancer and choreographer. I choreographed the competition routine for MVHS the year after I graduated and the team went to STATE FINALS for the first time and took 10th place overall! I was the student Director of Choreography for our local Jr. College and was hired by schools to choreograph different pieces/variety shows. FUN!! :-)

3. I have run 2 marathons... The LA Marathon and the Rock and Roll Marathon (San Diego) in 2000. My best time for the 26.2 mile race was 4 hours 55 minutes. I look forward to runing more marathons in the future!!!

4. I do a "happy dance" or "board-package-is-done" dance that is soooo bad (but soooo entertaining) that it is requested when I see old friends... right, Chris! :-)

5. I used to love to play "school" on our front porch with my little sister and our neighbor EVERYDAY during summer vacation...

6. I LOVE music... yeah, big stretch there with music from the Muppets to Bobby Darin to Culture Club listed in my music gallery to the right. My FAVORITE group was Duran Duran... oh, Mr. Lebon!!! I still have my DD collection in a box in the attic. I also (hate to admit) that I know all the words to all the Spice Girls songs (thanks to my kids), I loved Tiffany and Debbie Gibson, I had a crush on Shawn Cassidy, the first rock and roll that I heard and rememberd thinking, "I am a big kid now listening to THIS kind of music" was ELO from Xanadau, I am a Jimmy Buffett fan and have been attending concerts with Jeff since we started dating (8 years now), I LOVED watching "Donny and Marie," I think I own every issue of "Tiger Beat" from 1981-1985, play the theme song for "Star Wars" and my automatic response will be to start looking for first snow (long story regarding annual drive to Mammoth for our ski vacation.)

7. I am a dork and darn PROUD of it! :-) (But pretty shy in person... and have been told that I am more fun on the internet! LOL!)

Alright... TAG, YOU'RE IT... (Kari and Gina... Ever After friends) (Beckie Dryer... very cool Rusty Pickle Chef from the UK) (Kathie Davis... RP Chef... check out her Hawaii pics!) (Brenda Neuberger... RP Chef and SO GENEROUS with her ATG tape! ) (Becky Chabot... yep, I have a scrappy TV star friend!) Christine Revels... owner of TallyScrapper and "Love Boat" fan!)

Alright ladies... I can't wait to see what you are all going to reveal in your list of 7 secrets!!! :-) Actually, I am a little worried about what Christine might reveal... :-)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yep... I'm a tease... AND GETTING PUBLISHED!

FIRST PIECE OF GOOD NEWS... I am going to be teaching my FIRST CLASS!!! Here is the ad
that is running for the class...

“2007 Christmas Memory Keeper”
By Rusty Pickle Chef, Tracey Locher

Christmas time is almost here… again! Do you feel the holiday sneaks up on you, then races by and all you are left with is a bunch of torn wrapping paper and credit card bills!? Not this year! Rusty Pickle Chef and Ever After Design Team member, Tracey Locher, will take you through the steps to create this darling memory keeper for the 2007 Christmas Season. Using the brand new “Snowflakes and Mittens” line by Rusty Pickle and the Rusty Pickle large monogram numbers, this memory keeper will be home for your special pictures and journaling about the holiday, as well as the treasured cards and family pictures you receive from your family and friends. Yes, ALL of your special memories will be in one place!

Do you like techniques? You will learn a bit of everything in this class! Inking, painting, decoupage, making hidden journaling pockets, using transparencies to create the suspended Christmas ornaments and a “hidden” tag holder, using your exacto knife, sanding and so much more!!! We will also be playing with some of Tracey’s favorite embellishments… ribbon and buttons!!

Have you played with Stickles Glitter Glue by Ranger yet? You will love this product and will be receiving your own bottle of “Christmas Red” Stickles in your kit so you can take it with you and use it to decorate lots of other projects at home!

Tracey will also be giving away some yummy RUSTY PICKLE GOODIES! Come join the fun! Register today!!

SECOND PIECE OF GOOD NEWS... This project is going to be PUBLISHED IN THE DEC/JAN ISSUE OF "READY, SET, CREATE!" WOOOOOO HOOOOOO!!! So, needless to say, I can only tease you with samples of the project since I am not allowed to post the complete project on-line until after it is published.

If you are in the Southern California area and are interested in taking the class, email me for more info! I would love to see you there!!! :-)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hey look, it's ME!

Alright... I have to admit, I think it is kinda weird that my name and picture are on a flyer for an event... but it is pretty cool, too! :-)

If you live in the Southern California area, this is going to be an AWESOME weekend of classes, cropping, Make and Takes, and FUN! Come join us from Friday, November 30th - Sunday, December 2nd for a Pickleicious Christmas Party!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Juneau Where Mom and Dad Were?...

Ha, ha, ha... sorry, I couldn't resist!!! Mom and Dad went on an Alaskan cruise a few months ago and they LOVED IT!! They have cruised all over the place and decided it was finally time to take the Alaskan cruise. Dad fell in love with Skagway and their city tour on the Yellow Street Car! Mom and Dad even became card carrying members of the "Arctic Brotherhood!!!"

This was their first cruise in quite some time for just the two of them... they ususally go with family or friends. But they had such a good time that they have already booked a longer Alaskan cruise for 2008 to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary AND a 2-week cruise to AUSTRALIA in 2009 to celebrate Dad's retirement!!

The top picture is Mom and Dad on their recent cruise... they are just toooooo cute! :-) The bottom picture was taken on a family cruise over 20 years ago... 1985, I believe. I am on the left... about 15 years old... puffy bangs, water stained satin, ruffles and a sash that was so tight I couldn't eat much! :-) WOW... look at Mom and Dad... va va VOOM! And my little sister, Mary, is on the right.

Mom and Dad... check out my new music listing... there is a song on there just for you (alright, me too... because it was the 2nd song played at MY wedding)... More... :-) (The slower traditional version of the song is THEIR song!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"You're the One That I Want... oh, oh, oh... HONEY!"

With Halloween fast approaching and the final costume choices imminent, I have been thinking back on our recent Halloween events. For the past several years, a large group of us (Mom and Dad, my sister and her family, our best friends the Mackies, and my cousin) have traveled to Vail Lake in Murrieta, CA for their annual Halloween Extraveganza! Yes, this is camping... no, it is not regular tent camping!! The beautiful campground has a main social area and shops they call "the town" that they COMPLETLY DECK OUT with AWESOME Halloween decorations. They have haunted hay rides, a haunted house, vendors, live entertainment, costume contests, dancing, food and drinks... everything you could ever want for an INCREDIBLE family Halloween event. Each camper decorates their site for the decorating contest. There is trick or treating from camp site to camp site. You will see TONS of blow up decor, mechanical goblins, huge spiders and lots of spooky music. A few years ago we met the guy who designed the "pop up" ghosts for Disney's Haunted House ride... he brought several of his pieces to decorate his site. There was also the lady who LOVED spiders and built a HUGE glass display case for about 30 different LIVE SPIDERS... IN HER CAMPSITE... ACROSS FROM OURS... THAT freaked me out... I have a "slight" fear of spiders... :-) Anyway, the entire weekend is amazing. We prepare appetizers with spooky names, have spooky drinks, play with the kids and, of course, we all dress up! We have done a large group costume for the past several years and have won 1st place for the past 3 years. We are not going to make it to Vail Lake this year, so from now until Halloween, I will be taking you on a trip down memory lane of our past years.
This is 2005... We made a traveling jukebox on our wagon complete with the soundtrack from "Grease" playing, lighting to make the disco ball, glitter and cellophane sparkle, safety railing for the girls, balloons, streamers, pom poms and 2 of the cutest 50's chicks you have ever seen!!