Wednesday, March 28, 2007

today was special day

i never thought i would be a mini van momma but i am now - david's parents graciously gave us their old 98 mini van about 2 months ago when they got a new car. i have to admit that it is so much more comfortable getting noah in and out with the mini van.

i have always joked with david and his parents that the gift of the mini van is really a conspiracy - the van has over 120,000 miles on it. so if anything happened to it, i would have to get another minivan to replace it.

well it seems that the mini van didn't like the dallas weather - it was used to the dry climate of NM and the DAY they brought us the mini van it started squeaky - horribly. to the point of being embarrassing to drive. david got it fixed (tensioner for the belt problem) and i thought we were good. but today as i was leaving the w/h to go get noah, the van started to squeak. LOUD.

and it got LOUDER. i was about a mile from noah and suddenly it sounded like there were RATS that were screaming for dear life in the A/C vents. so in a panic i turned off the A/C . well that didn't help. then i wondered if we really had RATS in the A/C (i had heard stories of that - my friend had to sell his car b/c a mouse died in the dashboard and he couldn't get the smell out).

well the mini van decided to tell me it wasn't that b/c i came to a stop sign and the power steering gave out. now for those of you who have not had this happen before, it is like trying to turn to open a jar of pickles that won't give so once you pick a lane stay in it.

great, so i am now about 1/4 mile from home, and of course i come to the school zone and i pray that the car doesn't just die there. luckily the "rats" have stopped screaming at this time and i decide i need to switch cars before heading off to get noah. so anyhow, i wrestle the mini van into the driveway but unfortunately it blocks the other car. as SOON as i turn into the driveway, the "overheat" light comes on and the temp gauge is at the HIGHEST point in the scale.

i jump out of the mini van and look around at it and underneath the van, all this liquid is spewing out. that is never good.

anyhow, it looks like a belt got shredded and we had to tow it to get it fixed.

but even with all the excitement, the reason today was and is a special day is because it is noah's 10 month with us! here is a LO i did of noah when he first met grandma and grandpa LAU.

he was so tiny then. and he is so big now! and so full of personality! we will see how he does with me on our trip out west alone. it could be a long 4 hours of yelling and squawking on the plane - and that is not just from baby noah!

and thanks for everyone sharing your LOs with me from my challenge below. i love to see them all. you all are doing awesome stuff! i check out each and every link and it really makes me smile!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

still up

yeah so i am feeling like this right now at 2 am CST. i am trying to get everything lined up before i head to cali but there just aren't enough hours in the day!

we have some exciting news as our w/h is moving to a new bigger location - this will help us with processing orders faster in the future. i got a chance to do a walk through today and it is going to be awesome! i can't wait to see how it will look when everything is complete!

ok lots more to still do, til later.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

guess who is 32 today?

that's right - my DH david. yes he married an older woman - LOL. he said he had one of the best years ever last year and hopes this year will top it! have a beautiful day, hon!

and here is baby noah who doesn't look so much like a baby any more!

where is all this time going? he is slowly starting to take some steps around the couch. and he does what one of our friends has deemed the "terminiator crawl" (apparently, the terminator in one movie when his leg was injured, dragged one leg along while crawling which is what baby noah does).

make sure you read my post below about the RAK! more to come but buckling down for the week as i am headed out to cali to teach and hang out with deb, david and baby jonathan.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

my challenge (with RAK)

are ya'll ready for another challenge with a chance for a RAK? so see my post below about my style. after looking at my last 10-20 layouts, i noticed that i tended to repeat the same "elements" over and over. so to get my creative juices flowing, i jotted down the top 5 things i saw which were repetitive in my LOs such as:

1. use only 1 photo
2. use noah as a subject
3. use stickers for the title
4. use the same journaling stamp
5. do my LOs in landscape mode

it was time to CHANGE IT UP! so what i did was to pick at least 3 of the elements and NOT do them in a layout. this was hard for me as it required me to truly *think* about what i was doing as a habit and NOT do them.

so here is what i decided to do:

1. NOT use ANY photos
2. no mr. noah in my LO
3. no stickers
4. no journaling stamps
5. no landscape mode

and want to see what i came up with?

a quick LO about my crocs! i just got my new pair of mary jane crocs. and so i saved the tag off of my latest pair to create this LO. the journaling is about how for the LONGEST time i resisted them b/c i thought they were sorta ugly but i am so beyond that b/c now i have 4 pairs of them.

so which of you out there are going to take this challenge to change up your style? list 5 things you seem to always do and pick 3 of them and consciously choose not to do them in your next LO

i have started putting together a box of goodies for the winner of this RAK (will post a picture this weekend)- here are the rules on how you can get a chance to win.

1. post here for a chance to win.

2. visit the MR design team blog and post a comment for a chance to win.

3. if you take my challenge, you will get 20 more chances to win. post me a link to your project!

4. you have until April 4th to post your project and post here for your chances!

the box will be full of ribbons, chipboard and lots of other goodies! i encourage you to take this challenge and do something which is totally outside of what you normally do. when you do things like this, you learn to challenge your mind to expand your boundaries and to grow.

when i see this LO i did, i can still see elements of my style but i now will try to do different things for the title and also try to scrapbook other cool things going on in my life (besides baby noah). it is a great exercise to get out of a rut!

looking forward to seeing everyone's posts!

Friday, March 23, 2007

ready for another RAK challenge?

sounds like ya'll had fun with the challenge so I have one more for you coming this weekend!

for now, i want you to take out your last 10-20 layouts and a piece of paper - write down 5 things that you always seem to do in your LOs - here is a sample for mine.

1. use only 1 photo
2. use noah as a subject
3. use stickers for the title
4. use the same journaling stamp
5. do my LOs in landscape mode

so get a pen/pencil out and LOs and jot something down. i will be back soon with the challenge!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

getting OFF the hamster wheel...

... i admit it, i was in a BAD mood today - it was one of those #$%!#$ moods where it doesn't seem like i could catch up on all of our orders, emails and such. it was like no matter what i did, i couldn't shake it. i consumed a massive amount of chocolate, played with baby noah and even took a short nap but i couldn't shake that mood.

i think one of the reasons i was in a bad mood was b/c i hate the fact that we can't be perfect - or i can't be perfect in the MR sense. when you ship out hundreds of orders a week and thousands of products, there is bound to be one or two orders where things are missing or dented. and as much as i would love to hear that our products never have problems, they do sometimes. and deb was telling me when we see emails like that - it makes her cringe and her blood pressure rise - it does for me too.

you never want to hear that you have "disappointed" someone. did we mean to? no, we are human. and when we make mistakes we try to fix it. sometimes that means me making 3 trips to the post office and mailing something myself but we do it b/c we want to be honest suppliers. in the end, we are only human and i have to accept that.

so enough about the bad karma, i decided the only way to shake this was to go for a run and to pray. i didn't run long but i did do a series of 200 yard sprints up and down the sidewalk outside our house this evening. and i said a prayer and i wanted God to remind me that i have so much to be thankful for - b/c i do.

and here i am - i feel a lot better! and i am ready to start again. and i am happy to also say we found out that deb won HM in the HOF contest! yay!

BUT before i do, as promised, here is the RAK winner - s.patel ! congrats, please email me at info @

and also to celebrate the mood lift, i put together a smaller RAK and picked another winner:
Mel Nunn - congrats to you.

and finally if you would like to see some inspiration for some of our new products, check it out at our MR design team blog!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

here is my 15 min LO

this will be quick as i need to go pick up mr noah - i did this LO in less than 15 mins from start to finish. i sometimes will challenge myself this way to get the mojo flowing again.

i used a piece of beautiful FW paper that i had been saving, some stickers and maya road chipboard and stamp.

this LO was about my baby noah and uncle. my uncle was one of those that you knew loved you but would pinch your cheeks and stuff (and be loud) - while i was sorta scared of him as a kid, noah was not. my uncle LOVED it. he would hold a cold glass in front of noah and noah would rather be fearful grab it and try to drink it. when my uncle clapped and talked loud, noah didn't even blink - so you can see they got along splendidly!

wanna see what a 15 min layout looks like?

well check back in 30 and see! i am about to go and attempt a 15 min LO!

getting back into the game

wow was it really like 4 years ago that this photo was taken? i can still remember those days distinctly - i really didn't have a lot of responsibilities after work and i worked out A LOT. i had entered this race - a dualthon where you run 2 miles, bike 10 miles and run 2 more miles. um yeah - you did that all in a row. i was fairly competitive back then in the road race arena here in dallas - i usually would place in my age group at least and on the rare occasion i would place overall.

for this race, i can remember it distinctly - i had never done a dualthon before. i ran the first 2 miles fairly easily and was able to be the first gal on her bike. unfortunately, i don't own a road bike so i did the next part of the race on my mountain bike (LOL) and a couple of gals passed me. by the time the last leg of the race was here, i had made up some time and there was only 1 gal in front of me. and slowly and steadily, i made ground on her til the last 100 yards before the finish line, i kicked it up and beat her to take first place.

but that was A LONG time ago. i haven't done any competitive racing in about 2 years now b/c i was pregnant and now b/c i have sweet baby noah to occupy my time. but i think about it often. the only thing though is that i need to balance my life. and now, baby noah is so much more important than going to the gym for 2 hours a day.

but i can hear the calling of the race again. it is time for me to get back into shape. these 2 runs a week won't cut it for me anymore. even the addition of a 1.5 hour soccer game every weekend isn't enough. and to motivate me, i am committed to doing a half marathon in september.

i won't be in it to win the thing but this does mean more training and getting back into the game. i am ready. this time though, baby noah will be accompanying me on my runs (til it gets too hot).

it is amazing to me how my priorities have changed! but its cool - i can still look back at this LO and remember that "date stamp" on my life when i had other priorities. and i am glad that i got the chance to scrapbook this to remember.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

a beautiful day...

hoping ya'll had a beautiful sunday - this was from last sunday when baby noah, david, david's sis and i went to the dallas BLOOMS festival.

here mr noah is with momma on the grass - i haven't let him sit on grass before now so i am sure he was like "hmmm what is this?"

and here he is with daddy learning to stand/walk - check out the killer thighs!

we have signed noah up for swim lessons come june so he can be a water bug soon! he loves to splash in the tub and we figured this would be a good thing for him to get used to the water.

and thanks for everyone who has participated in the challenge so far! i LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing what ppl create. and i LOVE to see how people use up their stuff! i think like most of you i tend to hoard things that i might have 1 or 2 of, but what better way to show them off than to use them in a LO? there is no other way to do that piece of paper or embellishment justice!

i will pick the RAK winner on tuesday and post on wednesday (i have to get a spreadsheet out and tally the entries and the ppl with the extra chances and then i will use a random generator to choose a winner!)

good luck!

Friday, March 16, 2007

happy friday

it was time for a new post! i wanted to share some things noah and i created this week:

here he is in his highchair with a flash card i made for him with leftover scraps:

and check out these kewl luggage tags we made with some self laminating tags, some photos, a crop-a-dile, eyelets and bits of MR ribbon! we will be traveling in style from now on!

i love love love all the challenge posts so far, keep them coming!

Friday, March 09, 2007

a RAK (with a twist).

one final update before this weekend... i did one more LO today about baby noah - used up my old alphabet letters, rubons and more (sorry the scan is so bad - on my list of things to get is a new scanner)

looking forward to all the RAK challenge posts and tell you what, you have til SUNDAY evening to post here for the 10 chances if you did the challenge or plan on doing so. so have fun!


*** another update - continued thanks to all participanting in the challenge - i have gone to peek at the links you have shared and they are very cool! i have seen some of the older papers in my stash too!

i found this photo while cleaning out my files last night. it is a picture i took in 1995 and it brought back a flood of memories for me. i was living in belgium and was about 20 years old. i was working there during a co-op assignment in college. my fave thing to do on weekends was to go to nearby cities and visit the museums.

i decided to create this LO to remind myself of how far i have come in the 12 years since then! i was an unsure, insecure 20 year old then (one of the reasons i decided i needed to live abroad a bit) and how time changes everything b/c i am so much older and wiser now!

again, i used some old goodies here - more chatterbox papers and SW rubons - notice i used almost the exact same brands and papers as the LO before and can still make the LO look totally different. i tend to leave supplies on my table and use them up on LO after LO.

so keep up the LOs for the challenge!


*** one more ETA*** - well the box is still getting bigger and fuller and to show that i am game for this challenge too, i took one of my absolute fave pics of mr noah from this past fall and used some older chatterbox papers, scrapworks rubons and created this:

is that expression not priceless? i also added some new MR rubons and some HS letters and BG papers to round this LO out! keep sharing your LOs! i love seeing them!


**another ETA** - i am so happy to see all the ppl who are going to try this challenge. just so you know, there is about 4+ lbs of stuff i have put together (and more to come) for the RAK winner!

and many of you are as busy as i am so to keep with the spirit of the challenge, i am going to complete another LO tonight! i found some older chatterbox papers and other goodies (including some twistel) that needs to get used. so get to it! i can't wait to see everyone's creations!


*edited to add* - thanks so far to everyone who is participating in this! the box is getting bigger! we added some vintage bottlecaps and cool stamps that are no longer sold and even some pieces of MR papers (which we only offer in a special kit).

there was a question about if someone could use a LO that they had previously done. personally i prefer that LOs be done as of this post i made yesterday b/c the spirit of the challenge is to use your old stuff (we all have it). so push yourself! that is how you grow as a scrapbooker and also you might just win this box of goodies we keep adding to!

looking forward to seeing more old stuff used!


TGIF! i am so excited to be spending the afternoon with my baby noah. here he is this morning getting ready to go to ms K's house:

but before he left, we decided that we needed to share the love and give away a RAK. now this isn't a typical RAK. i DID manage to find a "maya roadie" sticker after cleaning out a box from CHA-W. we also decided to make this a big box of stuff perfect for making some spring mini albums with. we added some MR rubons, chipboards (new ones), ribbons (old and new ones), tins and ribbon slides. To round it, out, we also put in some mini albums and notepads and stickers and other cool one of a kind things that are not MR. you see the bag of ribbons? there is like 30 different ones in there from 1" - 12" long in there but those are perfect for doing lots of cool things.

now are you in it to win it? if so, this one comes with a challenge issued by me and mr noah! here are the rules.

1. Post here (1x per person) for 1 chance at this box of goodies.

2. Want more chances? Then take our challenge - use something old to win something new! This morning, i did this LO:

i got to use up some beautiful papers from fontwerks, some chatterbox sticker letters, and some older rubons i had.

now if you do this, you will get 10 chances to win the box of MR stuff. i do plan on putting in some of our new crushed velvet in the box too!

all i need you to do is to post here again and put a link where you have the LO (or mini album or whatever you created). i want to see what you made. so in your comment section, share with us what you have done with at least 2 things old.

of course the question is "how old is old" - for this use your best judgement. i trust ya'll can decide that yourselves!

3. and so you aren't stressed about it, you have 1 whole week to do this challenge. so you can post here for a chance, go off and do your LO (or mini album) in the next 7 days and post to share what older stuff you used and you will get 10 more chances to win this RAK!

we hope you have fun with this RAK and challenge. think of it as a way to jump start your spring and creativity.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

my joy

well the good news is that when i was at the w/h on tuesday, i saw a pile of boxes 6 feet tall and about 15 feet long and 4 feet wide of orders that were going out. the bad news (and good news) is that that wasn't all of it. but the stuff is coming to your favorite LSS! so make sure you ask about it!
along with all of this shipping madness, i have been working on some new classes i will be teaching this year. my first foray into teaching this year will be 2 classes i am teaching out in san bruno, CA on march 31st at The ScrapBook Nook. So if you are in the area, make sure you call Pam up at The Scrapbook Nook and sign up for one of my classes! Here is a small peek at one of the classes I will be teaching using one of our new albums.

I have a definite philosophy to all of my classes - it is to learn how to use our product in amazing ways. I like to hand everyone all the materials and we learn to cut things for each and every step together. Why? B/c I feel that if I hand each person the papers in the class and SHOW them how to cut it and put it together, it then becomes part of their library of how they can springboard off of to apply in other areas of scrapbooking. The more you learn, the better off you are in developing your own style and way of scrapbooking

I am really excited about this trip as I will be visiting with Deb and her family with baby Noah! We have to start planning for CHA-S which seems so far away but there is lots to do. We have big plans for this summer and while I can't let the cat out of the bag right now, I think that both our retailers and end consumers will be very happy with a new program we are going to try to launch!
More tomorrow including a RAK!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


i created this LO in only 30 mins this past weekend. i have come to understand that my style is like the total opposite of deb's style. she is very meticulous in her LOs - her titles are handcut, the journaling is impeccable. the cardstock creations and manipulation is amazing. i am more about the fast and the furious. the faster the better.

but that is the beauty of this hobby, there is no right way to do things when it comes to creating your LOs.

and i guess it is sort of true too in the production and manufacturing of our products. or other ppl's products. remember when i told you about the retailer that told us it was not acceptable that our products weren't ready 2 weeks after the show? to me that doesn't MAKE SENSE. think about it. if everyone had everything ready 2 weeks after the show, that would be a lot of money for a retailer to fork over and pay for at one time. unless you are a retailer with deep pockets, that is very hard to do.

the question was asked how long it takes us to think of an item and actually have it made for a show. the honest answer is that it depends. we often have ideas anywhere from 6 months to a year before a show. it could be just something that triggers a brainstorm (like during a run). and so we jot it down. and we keep a running list. and we sort. and we rank and then we re-rank. that process is repeated each show for all of our products.

from there, we work with the factory to make a sample / prototype. some samples can be made in a week, some take 3-4 weeks. for example most of you have seen our ribbon slides that match our ribbons. those puppies are handpainted and the resin needs about 2 weeks to cure. so that is an example of a sample that takes WAY longer than say a ribbon that is printed.

then we have the samples air freighted over to us so we can look at it. if we have to make adjustments, the cycle is repeated again til we get it right. once we approve something then it can take another month to have the item made, packaged and labeled.

and then comes the part where we are trying to get the items on the container to ship here. i have spoken about this in the past. once you get it on the boat, the travel time is 3-4 weeks to the US (assuming no customs issues).

so when you add that all up, we are talking about a cycle time of 8-12 weeks from a ready to go idea to when it gets here. that is 2-3 months of time from a product we are ready to do for a show to when it is sampled, made and finally here.

that is just a glimpse of ONE of the items we release. now multiply that by the 80-100 we do a show and you can see how this supply chain can get complicated. you can also add into that anything we need to reorder.

reordering can be a tricky proposition too - we have had a retailer ask us why it seems that some of our items are out of stock a lot - there are 3 reasons.

  • 1. um, they sell well (LOL). again, things that we might have had a 6 month restock cycle are now moving to a 2 month restock cycle b/c people are buying a lot of an item at a time.
  • 2. for some reason, some people seem to call right as we are at the lowpoint of our restock cycle (if you called 2 months ago, we had a ton of that item in stock).
  • 3. my philosophy is this - if we ALWAYS have inventory of every item that we have released always in stock, we would be in bad shape. that means we have too much inventory. too much inventory means your working capital numbers don't look good and in the end that is not good business.

i hope this helps those that read my blog to understand better how this business works. deb and i share a lot of the behind the scenes at MR b/c we feel that the more people understand what is behind what they ask for, the less questions there are and a better understanding there is of what it involved to get something out to market.

CHA-W release update - we are shipping our orders out as fast as we can get them out. *most* CHA orders placed at the show should be out by next week so look for them soon at your favorite LSS!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

a day of firsts....

i always thought that i would be giving noah his first haircut. my baby is 9 months old this week and time is flying. his hair was starting to fly a bit too. we had sat down earlier this week and i attempted to give him a trim. alas, he decided he would rather hold my cutterbees than let me cut his hair. so today, we decided to enjoy the process and have someone do it for him.

at first, noah wasn't quite sure that he wanted to be part of this:

notice the suspicion in his face. but then after seeing the cute fire truck chair he would sit in and baby einstein on the TV and momma standing beside him, he decided it wouldn't be TOO bad:

and finally he makes it to the home stretch without any tears:

with that we were done, mom and dad got some great photos, noah got a certificate and a baggie with his first hair cut trimmings!

it was a great day...

i have been buckling down getting all of our orders ready to ship as this will be a massive ship week! and i just want to thank ya'll for that! you (stores and consumers) are the reason we can do what we do. and i am happy to say that some of our chipboard is already on reorder from just the orders at the show. that is truly amazing to me. just 2 years ago, 1 order of chipboard from our factory would last us 9 months to 1 year and now it is selling out in 3 days at a show! that is tremendous!

i do have to admit that one benefit of Maya Road is that i have personally made it a policy that on friday afternoons after lunch, noah and i don't do any MR stuff. we play, we go outside, we run, we take a nap and hang out but we don't do Maya Road - by that time the orders for the week are out and Fedex has shipped that day so we can take a break. that to me is priceless. noah and i plan on making that our friday afternoon ritual!

ok it is back to work so that we can get our stuff out to ya'll asap but i just wanted to share a piece of our weekend with you!

PS, i have done almost 10 LOs this weekend and i will share those with you sometime soon!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

my newest layout

i was so honored when audrey from the asian dares, asked me to be a guest designer on their site! check out my LO here : the asian dares - that is where i used my white staz-on on a transparency technique.

so check it out. i will post some close ups of the LO in a bit.