Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We all have a secret set of “go to” actions that we know we can pull out to solve concerns. Whether the concerns are how to quiet a screaming child, how to get that rust stain off a steel sink, or, as in my case, how to create paper art—your upbringing and education often has an answer.

If you’ve attended my classes and workshops you’ve already heard many of these tips, and they are by no means the “rule” or the only way to great art. These are guides, tips, and perhaps reminders of how to get things done. After all, as I’m also fond of saying, “It ain’t rocket science here.”

For 2009 I’m creating a series of articles and tutorials called Works Every Time. These are the answers to frequently asked questions from old and new artists alike. You’ll find simple tips and techniques to try to keep you creating without stress or self-criticism.

Please keep emailing me and making comments. That’s how we all get better. I know many of you have said that you’d rather write me then comment on the blog, but it helps everyone when your comments are public.

And now, without further ado, I present the first article in the WORKS series called Color First Stamp Second. Discover the joy of using large collage style stamps quickly and easily by using a direct to paper background technique. This technique appealed to me early on because I quickly tired of stamping and coloring in the images. Coloring is fun and relaxing and I won’t ever completely stop, but it can also be time consuming and tedious.

So pull out your collage stamps both large and small and have some fun trying or revisiting this technique today.

Wishing you an artful and abundant New Year!
We all have a secret set of “go to” actions that we know we can pull out to solve concerns. Whether the concerns are how to quiet a screaming child, how to get that rust stain off a steel sink, or, as in my case, how to create paper art—your upbringing and education often has an answer.

If you’ve attended my classes and workshops you’ve already heard many of these tips, and they are by no means the “rule” or the only way to great art. These are guides, tips, and perhaps reminders of how to get things done. After all, as I’m also fond of saying, “It ain’t rocket science here.”

For 2009 I’m creating a series of articles and tutorials called Works Every Time. These are the answers to frequently asked questions from old and new artists alike. You’ll find simple tips and techniques to try to keep you creating without stress or self-criticism.

Please keep emailing me and making comments. That’s how we all get better. I know many of you have said that you’d rather write me then comment on the blog, but it helps everyone when your comments are public.

And now, without further ado, I present the first article in the WORKS series called Color First Stamp Second. Discover the joy of using large collage style stamps quickly and easily by using a direct to paper background technique. This technique appealed to me early on because I quickly tired of stamping and coloring in the images. Coloring is fun and relaxing and I won’t ever completely stop, but it can also be time consuming and tedious.

So pull out your collage stamps both large and small and have some fun trying or revisiting this technique today.

Wishing you an artful and abundant New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Getting Everything Done

About those holiday cards
The time has come to admit holiday card defeat. We really wanted to send a card this year with a wedding photo on it. I created two designs plus package tags (as shown-click to enlarge) and up until about 10 minutes ago I believed they would happen.

In the spirit of positive thinking, I won’t call it defeat any longer. I got it out in that first paragraph for dramatic purposes, and now, I’m calling it a tactical retreat to fortify the troops. There’s always a New Year Card or even a Valentine’s Day card. All these options are a few mouse clicks away.

Photo Greeting Cards for all Seasons
I’m no stranger to alternate holiday cards. Everyone else is just as caught up as we are and getting cards every day…the “afterwards” ones often seem more thoughtful and give more time for reflection too.

I updated the photo greeting card feature page on my web site to include the digital holiday cards and other ideas. Check it out if you are considering the alternate holiday card yourself…smile.

Time to be kind

Now is the Time to focus on what we have done and over come this month.. Now is the Time to relish in the wonder of the season. Now is the Time to share the love with others and with ourselves.

One of the most important lesions I took from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is that being kind to myself makes me strong. Being strong makes me a better wife, friend, family member, teacher, artist, and everything else. Trying to do everything you want to do isn’t always the best course of action. Today I will do fewer things, do them better, and nurture the kindness.

Friday, December 12, 2008

10 minute post

Finally, I have become a member of Facebook...I feel so hip. Now if I could just figure the darn thing out...but there is always time. Did my research and realized Facebook is the 7th most visited site today. It used to be exclusively for students, then students and certain companies, and now, apparently, they let anyone in....smirk

I updated the web site gallery this week with some black and white invitation ideas.

Also revised my career counseling page after receiving some inquiries on these services this week.

Finally, three more cards from the simply stamping session are posted for viewing.

I'm off to Sir Henry's company dinner for the holidays and then a fun weekend of moving assistance, cropping, and wrapping gifts to mail. HUGS!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Simply Stamping

Browsing my mind
I’ve been a bit out of focus all week. There are all these things I want to work on, and I don’t seem to get any of them done…While browsing a thrift store Friday with my friend Jill I picked up a 2001 Stamping book called GREAT Rubber Stamping by Judy Ritchie and Jamie Kilmartin. I confess to adoring and hoarding arts and crafts books—I appreciate them all, even if I don’t want to do the techniques.

I’ve only flipped through the first few pages of the book, but it reminded me of a great concept--:simply stamping. Lately I feel like every thing I make has to have dozens of textures, layers, and techniques. I’m frozen looking at all my supplies and tools.

My “new” book led me to some important conclusions:
Set priorities—in my case the priority was thank you notes to family for a great holiday visit.
As I say in my classes, “it’s not rocket science.” A simple card with a simple image is still lovely to give and receive.
Creativity heals the soul and art de-clutters the mind.

I grabbed a few images and a couple word stamps off my giant wall of wood mounted stamps that I hadn’t visited lately because my unmounted stamps are closer. I sat down determined to use only products within my reach which is still a substantial amount of stuff.

In just over an hour, I created these four cards using some tried and true techniques and products. Even though I was working with simple stamping in mind, my style is not clean and simple. Therefore, my cards still have that collage look I tend to favor. Click to enlarge all images.

The How-to
The base paper for all stamped images is photo paper. I keep scraps of it from trimming photos for my scrapbooks. On the Sea Faire card I used a Memories™ multi-color ink pad in summer shades. I matted in turquoise and put a turquoise ribbon behind it all before securing to a dark purple card base.

The other three stamped images were created by making an inked background on the photo paper. I just swiped the ink pads directly on the paper using Tim Holtz Distress Ink™ in Concord Grape and Linen. Next the Tim Holtz™ stamps were layered onto the background using rich black ink from Ranger™. All three cards also use strips of scraps for design elements and there is copper metallic thread wrapped around one strip.

Edges everywhere are inked either liberally or scantily depending upon my mood for a nice finishing touch. I like using dark cardstock for card bases in fall and winter to add to the design. Inside writing can be done with a gel pen or just glue a piece of cardstock inside.

Now I have the thank you notes I wanted plus I have a renewed sense of wonder for my art. Turns out you can go back to basics or renewal in a lot of things. Now if I could just recall basic house cleaning….

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Home again, Home again

Thanksgiving was abundant and busy for us as we traveled to Virginia. Our action packed trip was made in Henry's car, affectionately known as Bruinhilda because she can be a bit witchy at times. Recap: 1200 miles, 25 relatives, countless hugs, extravagant feasts of the traditional and shell fish variety, and ridiculously cold weather for this Florida flamingo... We are grateful for a safe and happy journey.

Kaleidoscope Your Layouts
Thanks to digital manipulation we can create scads of gifts and projects from layouts already assembled in our scrapbooks and photos we have on our computers. The samples above show a layout from my scrapbook inserted into the Kaleidoscope Kreator 2.0 and transformed into a completely different layout.
The generous folks at KK gave me a copy of this software when I was active as a designer in the industry. They now have a new version scheduled for release in January. The software was fun and easy to use. They usually use just photos in their samples but I loved the look of doing an entire layout. Plus I feel like I get more bang for the effort since I can keep one and give the other away.
Other gift ideas
My friend Paula sent me a link today for I have no affiliation with this site but I immediately loved a couple cool things there. First they have a fun Christmas contest/promotion going with prizes and great deals.
There's also a great blog entry about making holiday gifts from scrapbook supplies. I really love their photos and the instructions make it seem doable.
Hopefully we'll clean and decorate our place this week. We had every intention of starting before Thanksgiving, but just couldn't put that in motion. Our neighbors up the street have already done scads of outdoor lights, blow up figures, and other festive regalia--we just can't get going that early. Perhaps we'll leave ours up until Valentine's

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving with digital...

I greet you with an attitude of gratitude. Lots of creative adventures around here as we prepare for the oncoming holidays.

Today Miss Betty mailed me some of her creativity—what a joy. I got a handmade card and an adorable magnetic note pad. I hope to scan, but I don’t have time at the moment. Thanks!

I’ve been wrapping gifts for folks I won’t see again before Christmas. I just love getting those ready early. I did finish my “special project” for gifts, but I’m still not spilling the beans about it since the recipients will be reading before it’s time to open.

Photos are of more digital projects I’ve had fun putting together:
Left layout is of my brother's family at Christmas last year and the layout on the right is from our wedding in August. Sir Henry's brother, sister, and daughter are featured. The ditial tools on these layouts came from Prima digital, Spellbinders, and Designer Digital. I love combining different items digitally just like I do in the studio.

If I started counting my blessings now, I could not finish in this lifetime. I am so grateful and wish you an abundant holiday full of uncountable blessings.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My first grandson page

I wonder how old fashioned my digital layouts will look by the time my grandson grows to be a man? Regardless of their appearance, I just want him to feel the love that pours into every element.

My feelings about digital scrapping are mixed. I’m exploring them in a series of articles I’m working on now. At the moment, I’m just trying to keep a sense of wonder and a sense of humor about it all. Like many things, the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know.

Digital is defiantly right for certain situations. In the case of this layout, I had access to photos sent online and I didn’t have the right paper or ink quantity to begin the hybrid process. Plus, I wanted to finish this in an hour or two for posting and emailing to family.

As with any scrap process I don’t want to spend days completing—I worked from a sketch. Technically, it was a digital layout posted to the gallery of Designer Digitals. The majority of my digital downloads come from Designer Digitals -- they are just the easiest for me to use from the vast array of choices out there. I think I discovered them initially by referral from the amazing Jodi Kennedy of Pink Tomato/Creative Caffeine fame.

The background paper on this layout came from the first (and possibly only) Digital Die Cut Fusion set by Spellbinders. www.spellbinders.usa

I had a great weekend full of wonderful people, adventures, and ideas. I’ve tried to make notes and hope to post more soon. I’ve finished the majority of our wedding guestbook which was designed in scrapbook format. I really do like it. That was my project for the fun crop I attended on Saturday. There’s nothing better than paper, adhesive, and friends….

My primary efforts for the next month will be holiday gifts and cards. My plan at the moment will be a similar gift for everyone so I can’t write much about them yet. Maybe I’ll figure out some code words….grin. For now I wish you moments of joy.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Now Back to Regularly Scheduled Programing

Well, almost back....I'm a GRANDMA! My 24-year-old step-daughter and her husband had a baby boy November 30th. Plus I'm best friends with a married woman! My precious Nanette got married on Saturday November 1.

That's the personal stuff. Now here's the related art stuff. The gold card above is one that I created using a Tim Holtz stamp for the new family.Also used Wizard and flower die plus Technique Tuesday swirl stamps. I sent one of the Autumn birds with a pre-birth gift box that included sock monkey socks which just cracked me up. The autumn birds are cut on the Wizard using one of the newer big Sizzex dies.

For the wedding gift we gave a gift card nestled in a cool black and white print box purchased from Micheals for a dollar. It was wrapped with a 2 inch paper ribbon and garnished with a big Prima flower plus an Elvis die cut and Wizard cut tag. Sorry I forgot to photograph it....sigh

I'm going to a crop on Saturday so I hope to post wedding and more honeymoon pages after that. In the meantime, enjoy the moments. There's nothing sweeter than hugging your best friend who's newly married and your new (just home from the hospital) grandson in the same weekend.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Image Overload--Home from Virginia

Yikes, I'm away for a few days and apparently there were massive technical advancements because I hate to admit that I could forget so much in so little time....I train people constantly to write their blog posts in Word and then copy and paste. Did I do that this time? Of course not. Did I lose a post that took 45 minutes to compose? You bet I did! -growl-

Short synopsis from memory:

  • Loved visiting family and attending reunion. See photo link below for more.

  • Such a funny experience to look around a room full of people at a party, think you know someone, and then realize you know them all from 25 years ago....

  • Indicators were amazing, apparently musical talent holds up as well as college degrees.

  • Publishing two "before" photos that match one "after" photo and then a photo from the band because I loved them. More photos on my web site:

  • Also NEW on the homepage--a blog feed is there now for easy viewing. You will still have to come here for archived portions, but the latest posts with active links are there.

  • Coming soon to this very blog: More creative arts and adventures with Norma Anne & Henry. My pups are each nestled against on of my feet as I type. I'm glad I got to go and even happier to be home. I'll be posting topics like invitations, holiday cards, and, of course, more wedding and honeymoon scrapbook pages.

  • There are so many old friends that I connected with or reconnected with and I'm truly grateful. Please email me and stay in touch. I really meant it when I invited you to visit us--we truly love having old friends come and stay a while.

  • From my brother to Bridget and Sharon to Gary and and Charlotte to Dr Bob to the Intrepid Andrew Cain and the others I didn't see (yes, I even mean you and I do remember you), please know that I couldn't walk across the campus without thinking of you and smiling.
  • To Linda Gibson--you are a star in my life dear woman, thanks for getting in touch.
  • Oh, and by the way, I did yell to bring back Jim McGuire, but it's just not the same with only one

Thursday, October 16, 2008

When the photos pile up--sketch them away

Stretch with a Sketch

I love sketches for many reasons. A sketch along with a select group of papers and elements can I love sketches for many reasons. A sketch along with a select group of papers and elements can streamline the process of creating scrapbook pages. Sketches are my crutch when I have more photos than I can envision scrapping within the next 10 years...wry smile

Sketches provide the scrapbook artist with boundaries yet they enhance and stretch your design skills at the same time. I often create sketches on 3" square sticky notes--just a rough idea of placement that works as a guide for what I want on the page. However, when gifted with an overwhelming number of photos, I resource the professionals.

There are plenty of sources for sketches in magazines, books, and online. One of my favorite spots is the Gettin Sketchy blog for sketch artists. Most often, I cruise through their entries and use one from months past to jump start my pages, however, this month I actually used the current sketch to make my two page layout. I'm even entering this in their monthly contest.

Check out their blog and give sketches a try yourself. Plus, as an added bonus, they have cool music playing if you keep the blog open.

About these layouts

These two pages utilize the same sketch which I flipped to fit the direction of photos. I've been using another "photo overload" tool which is keeping the majority of supplies within a single product line and color scheme. I used K and Company papers from a tablet along with textured card stock from WorldWin papers, Stickles glitter glue, and green vellum. Sakura pens were used for journaling and Ranger's Adirondack Ink was used for distressing. Rub-ons were from a little word book by Art Warehouse. Tools included the Wizard for the circle die cuts and the EK Success paper crimper. My wonderful friend Lynn Barwald made the title words with her klick-n-kut tool. The world is so much brighter when you have friends, isn't it?

There are always a few things the scans don't show and these two layouts are no exception. The glitter that came on some of the papers and that was added on others barely shows. I love my glitter so you can be sure there's more there than you can see. The other thing I did that I hadn't done in a long time was cut out portions of the photos and layering to make 3-D areas on several photos. Since these layouts were about food on the cruise, I popped out the food in three photos.

Tons of photos

I am the proud owner of almost 500 photos from Aug. 2-Aug 11. We had a great wedding and honeymoon and we both love to take and view photos. The professional wedding photos from Palm Beach Photography are still up and available for viewing at I haven't posted a link in a few weeks so I thought I'd move that to the top. Tonya and her staff gave us some wonderful views of our special day as part of the CBS 12 Dream Wedding. If you need a talented and cool photographer, I recommend her wholeheartedly.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Deeper Meaning Pages

Dear Halloween Fairy God Mother,

This year I want dress as a 19-year old lady of the evening. I know, it’s not good to glamorize a profession that is usually demeaning for women, but it’s only make believe and I wonder what I would do with that look and this spirit. I’ll gladly turn back into the 40-something, slightly overweight, wrinkle cream wearing, fabulous cook, gifted artist, currently unemployed, loving newlywed that we know and love today. But just for one night, this is the costume I want.

(click photos to enlarge)

Pumpkin carriage, magical mice, and Leslie Ann Warren’s singing voice not required.

I’m about to embark on a 12,000 mile journey to attend my 25-year college reunion. The reunion has put me into a reflective frame of mind. I’m so glad I am who I am and I fully appreciate that the choices I made in college have had a tremendous impact on today’s Norma Anne. I haven’t keep a lot more than photos and journals from my college days, but the one thing I do still have is that leopard print backless dress from the photo you see. And just in case you haven’t known me over 20-years, yes that is me….

The gentleman with me, affectionally known as Mr. Last Laugh, went on to graduate law school and is living and working successfully in New England. I"m not sure if he'd want more information than that released, but if he's reading this I send my genuine affection. He's certainly made doing laundry more enjoyable over the years....

College was one of the most intense times of my life. After years of “thurapy” and the proper medications, we now see clearly that the intensity of my experience was directly related to the fact that I was Bi-Polar I living without diagnosis or treatment. Before you run and change your phone numbers or email address and lock your doors, I’ll just qualify that I have been in treatment since 1995 and I am the poster child for taking your medications—even when those medications have to be tested and tired and changed four times a year to be effective.

I’m actually grateful for the diagnosis and even the disorder because it has allowed me to do some magnificent things, passionately love some incredible people, and draw closer to my Creator. My only regrets are the relationships I couldn’t maintain and the people I hurt or neglected in process of understanding my mental health.

Deeper Meaning Pages
What does all this have to do with a creative arts blog you ask? Well, journaling and scrapbooking have been an incredible outlet for healing in my life. Creating what I call my “Deeper Meaning Pages” (yes, this is a class I’ve taught repeatedly and is available currently—just email me) has been a lifeline for me.

The page shown here is called “Still” and it shows my senior college photo from 1983. We were able to choose a quote and mine came from Alexander Pope, “Woman’s at best at contradiction still…” The journaling muses over how obvious it is now that I lived at both emotional poles then. I have resolved that, still, I am grateful for the path I was given.

When you scrapbook and take photos, don’t let them all be sugar-coated memories. Explore and understand that who you are now will always relate to who you were then and who you will be tomorrow. Blessings to you from me and Sheena of Jungle circa 1981.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just Do It

I have written at least three posts in Word for my blog and I have the greatest of intentions, however, posting has just not happened. So, I'm starting fresh with today....

I've had the glorious pleasure of being a part of a Pine Cone Press Book club that meets at the home of the talented Lynn Barwald. This group is really fun and for a while I was whipping out those monthly projects quite regularly. Then I slipped "off the wagon" and I have several unfinished kits in my studio. However, just like posting to the blog, I can only begin again from today. -wry smile-

Last month's project was a darling mini album featuring snowmen die cuts and papers. I've already forgotten the paper maker, and the paper really makes the kit. However, in the spirit of not letting anything get in the way again I will simply post the photos of the album and....drum roll please....I actually sat and used up the scraps to make cards and gift tags when I was done! I love it when it works....
As usual, you can click on the photos to enlarge. The out of box experience for me on the book was leaving white on the pages in the album. Normally I would stamp background images and ink liberally, but I really wanted to test myself and keep some space true white. The sample didn't even have much ink around the edges and I couldn't resist that part, but I did leave the white. I think this album will be a holiday gift for a special family that might read my blog so I won't divulge any more.--wink---
Speaking of gifts....what are you making this season? I've recently lost my cool job with the tutoring company which means the budget for gifts has decreased but the time for making them has increased so I'm sure it will all work out. I'm trying to come up with some "stash friendly" ideas and would love to hear about your adventures. I'm also curious to know about the best hand made gifts you've ever received, that would be inspiring.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Artists, start your scrapbook engines

The honeymoon scrapping has begun. I'm so excited. I make a layout and then run to show Henry so we can smile and laugh all over again at our blessings. This is a trip (and I don't just mean the cruise) we never would have imagined possible. Thank you for sharing this journey with us.

I was a bit rusty from my scrapping layoff during wedding planning. My only creations in 2008 prior to this were framed scrapbook art and a few digital pieces that I never got around to making into Hybrid pieces.... I did a ton of stuff for the wedding and designed more than I used, plus a fun PowerPoint presentation and several cards but no real pages in months.

This layout is from our Nassau photos and features all the musical elements of our day. I really got a jump start in the design by using layout sketches. I want to thank the talented people at Pencil Lines. com for getting me going.

Other worthy credits for the Nassau layout today go to:

My Mind's Eye-Tres Jolie reversible stripe (flower left, background layer right)
Worldwin-linen texture green card stock (base, both sides)
Green natural paper-Ellie Poo
Print Vellum-Cathy B by EK Success--it's raised and glazed
Shimmer scraps orange and yellow--not sure
Glittering die cuts--K & Co.
flower die cuts-Spellbinders
silk flowers-Oriental Trading Co.
brads-Creative Imaginations
Grosgrain ribbon-Offray (previously used in wedding decor)
Wizard-for die cutting and embossing
happy together stamp: Studio K
Circle cuts right page-Colluzle
Gel Pens-Sakura
Paper Krimper-EK Success
Circle photo finish-PhotoShop Elements 6.0

Thanks for stopping by. I've finished 10 pages (five 2-page layouts) and I'm excited to be back in the game.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The photos are here, the photos are here...

We're doing the happy dance this week because all the gorgeous photos from Palm Beach Photography have been posted for viewing (and purchase) online. Try the link for PBP or paste this in browser:

If the over 300 photos there aren't enough for you, then by all means stop by my albums and see all the candid photos from friends of the ceremony plus our honeymoon photos. My user ID there is ode2sun and the albums are clearly marked wedding and honeymoon. You do have to register with their site if you have not done so already.

Wow, I had better stop blogging and start scrapping. Blessings of peace to you all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Scrap Magic

Henry and I were honored to be invited to visit with the Orlando SDV (Scrapbook Dream Vacation) scrappers this weekend. We wanted to personally thank 700 voters for their part in our winning the Dream Wedding.

Nancy Boher, president of SDV, put a notice in her newsletter announcing the contest near the very beginning. We were in third place until her newsletter went out and suddenly we moved into first overnight.

There were those who thought that there couldn’t even be more than one message board for something like scrapbooking. There are still those that dismiss us as “scissor people.” If they could have seen what we saw Saturday night, they wouldn’t feel that way. Nancy put us up in front of all these great people and we told our story again. I cried, they cried, it was beautiful.

We met some others who had picked us up from the Cricut Board, Jen Lowe’s group, Two Peas in a Bucket, and others. We asked them to take back a big thank you to everyone. We are so grateful.

1. Buffy, from Cricut board, who still uses the tag “Scissor People” on her blog.
2. Nancy Boher, the mastermind behind the East Coast’s largest and oldest Scrapbook Getaway company, Scrapbook Dream Vacations with Norma Anne.
3. Video of our visit, when you see this-- you will believe. This is just one of over a dozen events hosted every year by Nancy and Dale.

Vendor Updates

****Check out Hot & Tasty Cakes for their Dream Wedding review including a photo slide show.
If you haven’t picked a baker for the Martha Stewart Wedding contest please consider giving them your vote. I must tell you that our cake was not only gorgeous—it was exactly the design we chose and it was incredibly delicious.

****Many of you have asked about the photos from Palm Beach Photography. They have not gone up yet, but they say they’re coming soon. I’ll let you know when they’re up

Monday, August 18, 2008

We've docked back at home

Wow, what a wonderful joy and blessing to experience this Dream wedding package. To win such a fabulous wedding (with your incredible help) and then follow that up with a fantasy honeymoon is just so amazing.
We're home now and trying to adjust to our real world lives. I keep feeling a rocking motion and it is a bit disconcerting. Henry, of course, has none of that.
It was so great to see our dogs and our neighbors when we arrived back in West Palm. We wouldn't trade our home for all the cruises in the world, but we sure would jump at the chance to go again!
Several of my pre-cruise investigations led to the topic of food and I must say we did enjoy some great culinary experiences on this trip. The two photos above are of us in the ship's private dining room called Scarlett's. You do pay an extra charge to dine there, but your meal is worth several times what you pay. It's a small private room with all the elegant appointments plus a four-star menu and service. On the first night I had surf and turf (fillet Mignon and lobster) and Henry had Dover Sole. On the second night I had lobster and Henry had fillet Mignon. The dishes were artfully arranged on platters and there were lots of courses and tastes. That lobster just melted in my mouth and didn't even need butter.
Yes, we did gain weight--smile. We averaged about seven pounds each. We also ate heartily and often greedily several times a day in addition to enjoying cocktails like the umbrella drink shown with me in the third photo.
I've got a few more photos and a video to share from the cruise and wedding before I take this blog back to it's original paper art format. I have been collecting lots of good stuff to help document and appreciate all these joys. I'm still journaling my pages every day and thinking of lots of great ways to infuse life with creativity. Thanks again!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ahoy Mate

Ahoy Mate

We’re aboard the Carnival Valor enjoying the honeymoon portion of the CBS-12 DREAM WEDDING. This is so cool, we’ve never cruised before but we sure hope this isn’t our last.

The whole adventure is just a sensory explosion. So much to see, touch, taste, hear, and inhale. We have heard incredible live music, played bingo, danced, counted stars, been on a sunset cruise, eaten lobster, filet mignon, and ordered room service whenever we wanted….We toured each island destination by car or boat, Henry went snorkeling, I shopped the cool duty free places for “shiny things” and we both enjoyed parasailing for the first time in our lives.

Photos are just a few of the great shots we picked up. We’re on the stairs in the ship’s dining room, parasailing, and doing the “titanic pose” on our sunset island cruise. We’ve been sneaking around the Valor all week looking for a spot like that on the big ship, but no luck so far on that….

I won’t write long or post blog replies and respond to email until we return because we’re low on minutes and we’d rather use our ship dollars for umbrella drinks—grin. Thanks and blessings to you.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Video Highlights Aired this Weekend

We were on our way back from dropping my parents off at the airport for their trip back to Virginia when we got pulled over by a police officer. Henry’s registration expired the day before the wedding and he just hadn’t had time to send in the renewal….

The officer was strict but cordial and listened as we explained we’d just gotten married and lost track of the details. Being the chatty folks we are, we mentioned that we really did just get married and that he could see it on CBS-12 TV locally. He brightened immediately and peeked further into the car to see our faces. He then said, “That’s you? I just saw you dancing a waltz this morning.”

We hadn’t even watched the news this morning, but we have been taping all week and our efforts were rewarded with this video. Fortunately, we just got a warning about the registration and not a ticket since we were within the grace period. We’ll take happy endings great and small these days---smile.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dancing on air and cruising on water

We really didn't think it would feel that much different to be married--but we really do. We're just reveling in the glow of all this and appreciate everyone that has made it possible.

Our cruise is coming up soon and we even have a way to share that with you. Just copy and paste or click this link:

You'll get a cool video of all the fun that's in store from us. Susan Sarno, our agent, has been super in helping us get ready.

The station sent me a file of Saturday night's broadcast before our wedding. The picture doesn't upload well, but you can hear the words so I thought I'd include it for you.

Blessings of joy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hello from the world of marital bliss. We’ve had such a marvelous experience start to finish-- and we’re just glowing. The dream wedding was just a dream…thanks to so many being so wonderful.

My camera got a bit lost in the shuffle, but we’ll be posting shots as they come in. Please do email me all your “captured moments” since I’ve got a lot of scrapbook to fill—smile. The photographer’s photos will be posted in about 2 weeks and that will be like Christmas all over again I’m sure.

My exceptional God-daughter Brittany came in on the Monday before the wedding, and Henry’s loving and ever-supportive family came in on Friday to stay with us over the weekend. My incredible parents have come back to our home to stay with us until we leave on the cruise, so we’ve still got a house full of love and I may not post as often as I wish, but I will keep going.

You know how you have those friends and family who become wedding obsessed while they’re planning and can’t talk about anything else? Well, brace yourself, because I may just be after-wedding obsessed too! Seriously, we’re working on ways to blog from the cruise…smile.

The photo above from the first camera I could reach today for blogging. It's from the altar during our first kiss as husband and wife. That handsome minister there is my 83-year-old Daddy, Norman Chattin. What a joy to marry the man I love and have my father perform the ceremony.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

But Wait there's more

The 6pm news on CBS 12 had more footage from vendors and clips from our morning interview.

We were on-air today-Sunday 7.27.7

If you blinked or slept later than 7:50 am you might have missed us --so the talented Sir Henry figured out how to get the footage from our DVR to here and I'll be carrying it around on my I-Pod too.

We're told there will be additional footage of the wedding and perhaps more of the vendor footage that we shot over the past month. We saw one edited version of the vendors and it was very nice. We'll keep you posted as we go along.

And now back to my regularly scheduled programing which is list making and checking Thanks so much!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ya'll Come Now, Ya Hear?

RSVP or “répondez, s'il vous plait”

Remember when it was patriotic to remove all things French from the language? It makes me wonder why no one went after RSVP. I’m glad it’s okay and I’m even happier that people are doing it. Unless you have called or emailed or agreed to be in the wedding party—we don’t know you’re coming. Please let me know as soon as you know. Email me at

We only had just over a month from winning to wedding so the invitations were marked to call or email with your reply. If you didn’t get an invitation, we only had 100 and they were rushed out—I can almost guarantee we meant to send yours. So please, just RSVP if you want to come to the wedding. You know we’d love to have you. We have discovered a couple that were addressed wrong already, but there are probably more.

Musical Delights

We met with MThree productions last week and Kelly Voice over there was fabulous. She was gracious enough to meet us at night so Sir Henry could attend too. They are doing all the music for ceremony and reception and we’ve picked out some favorite tunes for them to play. I can’t wait to hear “Time in a Bottle” and lots of other great songs that have meaning for us. We picked out a special first dance song that made me cry when I heard it again.

Flowers Finalized

North Palm Beach Flowers contacted me this week with the final flower delivery information. We’re going to be carrying and wearing some lovely blossoms that never would have been possible without this gift. You will be seeing a lot of mango callas like the one pictured above. They match the pretty linens we’re getting from Lulu’s. My Mom and a few other honored attendees will be wearing orchid corsages which I know are going to be gorgeous.

The centerpieces are a combination of fresh stems with my vintage liquor decanters so they speak to us and add beauty to the décor. I love that. We’re so grateful for the volunteers that are creating additional items to go with the decanters and jazz things up a bit on the auxiliary tables. Annette, Lynn, and Brittany are really jumping in everywhere that’s needed to create displays. The glass ornaments filled with sand and other treasures pictured above will be hung from a sand colored display tree on the registration table.

I gotta have Friends

Whenever I thank friends, I’m so worried I’ll leave someone out and when I do leave you out, please forgive me. This wedding would not be possible with out the generous support and assistance of some great people who are working tirelessly to get this all done.

Lynn has splashed right into the punch project with great ideas, she has loaned two more liquor decanters, given us a gift for arrangement displays, volunteered to pick up and transport the cool favors from A Design Just for You, and she’s working on a sweet surprise.

Annette has finished the amazing programs that match the decorations; she’s working on the gift table display, and volunteered to assist the planner with set up. Both these ladies will be arriving earlier, with husbands, to help set up.

Jill is creating the “room kits” for bride, groom, and restrooms. My God-daughter, Brittany, is coming in on Monday to work here on table cards, place cards, signs, displays, shopping, cleaning, hair and make-up, etc.

Paula has become our “seamstress detective” and is working diligently to help us find someone to fix the dresses that haven’t arrived yet….

If it weren’t for Jen the initiations might still be sitting here in the house. She’s always ready to jump in and work. Because she’s next door, she’s been so helpful with last minute jobs and just letting me talk things out.

Sir Henry and I are also so happy to be hearing from friends and family members that we haven’t seen in a while. I truly wish I was better at stopping and savoring each moment, because I’m so happy in my heart with all that’s happening. Thanks to everyone that’s calling and emailing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Moving right along

We’re moving right along and things are falling into place. Here’s where we are now:

They have arrived and they have departed. Whew. Celebrations did a great job with these, but unfortunately the manufacturer had snags that made them arrive late. If you are coming to the wedding, please let us know as soon as possible since we need the count and time’s flying. Thanks!
The photo above shows my messy dining room table after my bridesmaid and neighbor Jennifer and I rushed these out.

Last week I picked the linens which are more Vegas than Martha Stewart—so naturally I love them. They are mango orange crinkled fabric with a shimmer.

Timeline and floor plan:
I worked with the wedding planner and have a better idea of the timeline and placement of things. Our wedding guests will be seated at round tables of 10 for the ceremony and the reception. We’re naming all the tables and that is how we’ll have you sign the guest book (really it’s a scrapbook) and be called to dinner. Only the first two tables are reserved for family and ceremony participants. The rest is open seating. There are no bride and groom sides.

Cake:Photo above is from my visit to the bakery. When you enter Tradition Hall, you’ll come in from the parking lot side and the cake will have a place of prominence in the center of the room. It’s going to be so yummy with all the tropical flavors we’ve selected. Visit Hot 'n Tasty Cakes by linking here:

We have signed an agreement with Café Catering to manage the food and bar services for our wedding. What a relief to get that settled. Shawn, the owner, was wonderful to build a proposal that we could afford including “real plates” for dinner and open bar serving beer, wine, and rum punch. Lynn Barwald, our catering coordinator and precious friend will be making the punch. She invited us into her home to meet the caterer for the tasting since our house is chaos central at the moment. She and Bob helped us ask good questions and sample the food. We’re so pleased. The menu will include appetizers with a bit of a tropical flair, Hawaiian chicken, Caribbean pork, seasoned rice, potatoes, vegetable medley, salad, and rolls. The photos on this post are from our meeting at Lynn and Bob’s house.

Tanya from Palm Beach Photography will be giving us 5 hours of photography services. We will exit the building for photos outside and then return before the end of the cocktail hour. We’ve asked her to take photos by table that will be perfect for the scrapbook. When you hear your table name called make sure you are there for the pictures. All wedding photos will be available online at their website and we are not putting any password there so everyone can come and view them. They should be up 2 weeks after the wedding (it takes that long to airbrush a couple our age you know, grin) and guests can even order prints if they wish.

Dress Alterations:
We did not receive alterations in our package with the dresses. We have a tiny bit left over from the amount allotted (less than $100) that can go to alterations, but according to the quotes we’ve received that won’t be enough. They say it will be about $80.00 per dress. If you know of a trustworthy seamstress in the area, please email me at Every dress needs alterations and the price at the store is just too steep for us. We are going to need a quick turnaround on services too. We have three adults and two children to fit. Thanks!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Focus Bride Focus







Floor Plans

Oh my....

Welcome to adventures in VerChat Wedding festivities.

Henry and I are not changing our names legally--but we have combined portions of our last name to refer to everything from ourselves to our computers and our wedding. Do you think Brad and Angelina will be jealous?
This week we met with more fabulous vendors. I met with the florist who will be using mango calla lilies, antherium, lilies, and a few Gerber daisies in our colors of sunshine, fuchsia, and tangerine. We'll use my collection of vintage crystal and glass decanters along with smaller ones in green for the guest tables. It looks tropical, relaxed, and grown-up. The photo above is of a daisy arrangement I put together for wedding number one. Most of my bottles are different, but they will look very cool like this. The florist is North Palm Beach Flowers, it's a very soothing, lush, store full of creative listeners.
Henry went into to the Tux Shop for a fitting and transformed himself into James Bond...He selected a white dinner jacket with white pleated shirt, black bow tie and black pants. There are advantages to having a bride who isn't wearing white. He's crazy about the look and the floor sample fit him perfectly so he really knows what he's getting.
The favors from a Design Just For You are spectacular. I sent the owner some digital scans of scrapbook designs and she was able to transform them into water bottle labels, candy bar covers, and mint books. They will work beautifully. She has lots of pretty designs in her catalog and we truly appreciate her using our artwork in combination with her clever ideas.
I updated the website to include a wedding counter on the home page and updated the gift registry page too. 29 days to go!
If you're thinking you haven't gotten your invitation, it's because we haven't gotten ours either! As soon as they arrive we'll get them out, I've been working on the labels (bit tacky I know, but we're just too short on time) and I've got the stamps ready to stick.
This is getting way too long and I still haven't talked about the catering or other ideas we had this week. We're trying not to lose sight of living in the moment and appreciating our lives and each other. Henry and I volunteered to dog sit for his boss over the long weekend and you can see the 80-pound love pup pictured above. We already have our two dogs and we live in less than 1000 square feet now, so what's one more? -smile- Levi has been a treat and he's let us know that if he stays any longer we'll have to expand the dogie door.
Joy and blessings-
Norma Anne

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Love the smell of weddings in the morning

And we're off on our Dream Wedding adventure. Would someone please point my brain in the right direction? This is so exciting and so fun. I've been making appointments with every vendor on our list plus trying to find a few missing ingredients like food, beverages, and hotel rooms for out of town guests. We are meeting with every single vendor on the prize list and filming our time with them.
Pictured left with Henry and me is Ross from CBS 12. He's been with the station since college and has a wonderful sense of humor. We obviously don't have his gift for seeing the right lighting for photos...grin.
On the right is me at the bridal dress shop where I tried on gowns Sunday with my best friend of honor Nanette. I'm going back to the shop later this week to fit the "mini-maids" and we have to submit measurements for my out of town attendant.
My dress choice is a two piece number. The skirt is a trumpet flare long skirt and the top is most likely a sleeveless one with pleating on one side that makes a faux bow. I might go with a portrait collar top instead, but it's not as comfortable. The color will be champagne.
The attendants will wear that new two color style and I can't wait to see those since they are wearing pieces in fuchsia, kiwi green, and tangelo orange...It will look very summer, hot, Florida, festive.....
I see the florist this week and will know more about what we can do for tables, ceremony area, and such. I love these hot colors we're working with--it's just too fun.
We are so grateful for everyone and everything. Our lives are blessed. Joy to you!
Norma Anne