“The Family Tree”

The Family Tree…

In the backyard of my childhood home stands a ginormous Silver Maple tree.

That gigantic tree has been the backdrop for tons of family pictures during it’s 40 plus years.

I’d always thought of it as “my tree” because I was the one who drug it up from the woods

and had planted it.  Up until recently, possibly last year, I found out that it wasn’t my tree.

Dad told me that my tree didn’t make it and he had replaced it with this one.   (Sigh!)

One of my favorite pictures was this one taken on Thanksgiving Day 2006.

The guys were out in the yard playing catch with the football and I asked my sister-in-law

to snap a family picture.  The guys lifted my youngest up in the tree, football still in hand.

As we get my parents house ready to sell, it dawned on me that I need to get another

family picture by “my tree” while we still have the chance.

This past week-end, we had one last large family get-together at the home

and took one enormous family picture around that old tree.  (35 in all with only 3 missing.)

We also took this one of my family…Just as we were, sweaty and all.

It was a beautiful evening spent celebrating family.

It was also a little bittersweet as I know Mom and Dad would have loved it.

For my Xyron Design Team project this week, the team got the opportunity to pick any

collection we wanted from Photoplay Paper.

The moment I saw the Memory Lane Collection I knew it was perfect for my pictures.

I received the collection which included 12 sheets of beautiful double-sided paper and a full

sheet of beautiful cardstock stickers and a package of the ephemera cardstock die cuts.

Everything went together smoothly with the help of my trusty Xyron Mega Runner*.

“This is a sponsored post.  As a member of the Xyron Design Team I have been provided product and compensation in exchange for my creative ideas.  The views and opinions are my own.

*Disclosure:  This blog uses affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!

The Old Willow Tree

Is it silly to be sad over losing a tree?

This Willow tree was a beautiful tree, in its time it had a canopy so large it was like a secret room.

We used it’s large branches as a swing set for the last 10 years.

Lately it has lost so many of it’s big branches and is in pretty bad shape.

We took the swings down this year.

I couldn’t bear the thought of a branch crashing down on one of the kids.

Today it comes down and a little bit of me goes with it.

The only silver lining is the tree trunk slices they saved for me.    (future project?)

*Disclosure: This blog uses ads and affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog. Thanks for your support!

My Little Soccer Fan

Now that Spring Soccer Season is upon us and both big brothers are playing soccer….

this little guy finds himself spending a lot of time sitting on the sidelines.

Or running off onto the field.  (he really gets into the game)

He needed a “Game Day” shirt to support his big brothers.

Are you a Super Fan…Do you have your shirt ready?

With Joy® Iron-on Embroidered Letters you’ll be ready for Game Day in no time.

 To make the “Little Soccer Fan” shirt you will need:

  • Iron On Embroidered Letters – Cooper White
  • Iron On Embroidered Letters – LetterShop White
  • Cotton T-Shirt
  1. Set iron to cotton setting, approx. 350°, or follow garment care label.
  2. Remove letters from sheet.
  3. Remove protective covering from the Cooper White letters then position on the t-shirt.
  4. Cover letters with a fine cloth.  With firm pressure, iron over the letters for 30 seconds.
  5. Turn t-shirt inside out and iron the back of the letters for 30 seconds.
  6. Allow to cool for 1 minute before handling.

Look for Joy® iron-on embroidered alphabet letter sheets at your local craft store.

My “Little Soccer Fan” shirt was created for and sponsored by Joy SA.

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*Disclaimer:  This post uses ads and affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!

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a boy and his cars…

I have this sweet boy in my life that loves cars.

Hotwheels to be exact.  (he’s very brand loyal)

Whenever he walks in my house he puts out his hand to show me the car of the day.

“Grandma, I have a new car to show you, you’re going to love this”…

This one’s Split Vision.  He’s aerodynamic and he goes really fast.”

I imagine he’s going to be a Race Car Driver or something equally cool when he gets older.

This kid always has a car with him wherever he goes.

I watched him at his big brother’s Spring Concert roll his car along the bleachers,

checking to see if it would fit under the boot heel of the guy sitting next to me.

To him… everything’s a potential ramp or tunnel.

For my Deflecto Design Team project this month, I decided to “think like he does” and make

a Deflecto 12″ x 12″ Clear Craft Picture Frame* into a “super cool” ramp for my grandson.

(*Affiliate Link)

I gave the Deflecto Frame* a light sanding with an extra fine sanding block to help the paint

adhere better.  Then, I painted the frame with Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Black Spray Paint*.

I used my Silhouette Cameo* and Glitter Vinyl* from Tape Technologies to create

the words and stripes for “our” new ramp.

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And… because you always need more storage for your cars.

I made him a new car box using a Deflecto Stackable Cube Organizer*.

“This is a sponsored post. As a member of the Deflecto Design Team I have been provided product in exchange for my creative ideas, views and opinions.”

*Disclosure:  This blog uses ads and affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!

Shop Amazon Scrapbooking Supplies*

In Case you didn’t Know…

Last year, I was asked to do a Contributor Spotlight for Craft Ideas Summer Issue. 

As intimidating as it felt, it was an honor to be asked for a featured interview.

Unfortunately, my interview was also the last interview. 

The Summer Issue was later decided to be their last issue.

I’ve had several projects featured in Craft Ideas throughout the last several years.

I always enjoyed working with them and was sad to see it end.

I’ve never shared the interview on my blog after it was featured in the magazine…

I thought I might as well share it now for those of you who don’t know.

 1.  How long have you been creating and how did you get started?  

When I was a kid, I loved doing all kinds of crafts.  On Christmas, Mom liked to include a craft kit as part of our presents.  Every year, there was a new craft for me to try.  At a very young age, I even had a thriving candle business for a while (or at least I thought I did).  In High School, I took every Art class available, but never considered myself artistic.  It was just fun. 

I was surrounded by people that loved using their hands.  My Mom loved to paint and decorate cakes.  My Grandma was a seamstress and the “ultimate crafter/craft hoarder”.  My Dad, I believed, could fix anything.  He was always tinkering on something, even the neighborhood kids would bring things for him to fix.   

I didn’t get into crafting seriously until after I opened a gift store in the 90’s.  I had attended a Gift Trade Show in Chicago and saw a rubber stamping demo.   I was sold after watching the wonderful melting gold embossing powder.    After that, I brought rubber stamps and paper-crafting into my gift store and learned to stamp.  It grew from there (any boy did it).   While I had my store, I taught classes, hosted events and guest artists.  The customers became friends and were the best part of owning a business.  

2.  Are you a full-time designer? What design teams do you belong to?

I am a part time designer creating for magazines, manufactures and teaching classes.    After closing my store in 2002, I started designing for manufacturers.  I’ve had projects used in packaging, websites, magazine ads and trade shows.   I currently belong to Xyron, Deflecto Craft Solutions, Tape Technologies and Creating with Joy Design Teams.

3.       Tell us about your blog. How did it get started? What have been some of your most popular posts?  

I started blogging sometime in 2008 after my favorite stamp store closed.   I was regularly teaching classes there and really didn’t want to give that up.   I started my blog
“Sue’s Creative Workshop” to be able to connect and communicate with the regulars offering workshops and ideas.  
I re-branded my blog 4 years ago to www.sueeldred.com and started blogging seriously.  I blog about paper-crafting, DIY, up-cycling and general craftiness.

My most popular posts are the projects I do with my Grandson.   My “Creating a Garden Stepping Stone post, which he helped me with, has had over 450,000 views.  Everyone loves a cute kid. 

4.       What mediums do you enjoy working in? What techniques do you dabble in?

I used to consider myself mostly a paper-crafter, enjoying cardmaking and scrapbooking.  Now I’m more of a general crafter.   I love creating things for my home.  I love a good thrift store find that I can up-cycle into a great treasure.  I recently used an old bird bath base, saved for just the right project, along with old broken plates (left over from “Creating a Garden Stepping Stone”) and created a Mosaic Table for my garden.  

See post here Trash to Treasure Love Story.

5.       Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere:  in everyday life, in stores, on television and especially online.  I usually get my best ideas while lying down at night trying to sleep. Occasionally, I get lucky and I’ll see a complete picture of what the project will look like.  When that happens, I’ll get up and sketch it out.   (I love it when that happens.)

6.       I know organization is your forte. What tips do you have for staying organized?

My best advice would be to create a “home” for everything and put it away as soon as the project is finished.  Some people find inspiration in seeing all their “pretties” out on a shelf.  I’m a fan of closed door storage; I don’t work well in chaos.  I have an extremely small work space, so I must be organized or things can easily get out of hand.  I like using baskets, crates, mason jars and old drawers for storage.  Keeping it visually fun and appealing helps me want to keep it clean.   

Whenever I work on a big project, I create a gigantic mess, it’s part of the process.  Sometimes the mess lasts for a few days but as soon as the project is finished I try to put everything away.  I find it therapeutic. There’s nothing like making a major deadline by the skin of your teeth, catching the last Fed Ex truck and coming home and clearing the chaos.  It helps me put the stress of the project behind me.  It clears my mind and puts an end to the deadline.  

7.       What advice do you have for other creators?

 Just have fun.  Enjoy the process and don’t fight it (which is sometimes easier said than done).   

8.       What trends are you seeing in the crafting industry?

I see so many trends right now:  rustic wood slices, home décor, knitting, painting, up-cycling.  I like how Social Media plays a big part in creating a community of sharing and inspiring.  It excites me to see crafting growing in popularity again. 

9.       When you aren’t creating, what do you enjoy doing? (Hobbies, leisure activities, etc.)

I love taking pictures, treasure hunting at thrift stores and estate sales, reading, playing with my grandsons and just being with my family.  In the summer, I love growing flowers, vacations and lazing by the pool.  I’ve got a good life.

10.   List some all-time favorites: book, TV show, movie, song, travel destination, etc.

I’m a hopeless romantic and love reading sweet love stories.  (nothing trashy) I’m a big Debbie Macomber fan.  My favorite movies are “You’ve got Mail” and “The Holiday”, I watch them every time I find it on television.  (My husband always reminds me I own them on DVD.)

 My favorite, can’t miss shows, now are “This is Us” and “Fixer Upper”.  (And… I’m still bummed that they ended “Parenthood”.)   My favorite song is “What a Wonderful World”, sung by Louie Armstrong.

One of my favorite things to do is to sit on the beach under a beach umbrella, listen to music and read a book.  

11.   Tell us about your family. Do they share your love of crafting?

All three of my kids are creative in completely different ways.  My oldest son, is in web design.  My daughter is involved in fashion and my youngest son loves music.  My grandson and daughter-in-law are my partners in crime.     

That concludes the interview…for those of you who didn’t know, now you do.

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*Disclaimer:  This post uses ads and affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!

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Remembering Dad…

When my Dad passed away a few months ago I wanted to write a tribute to honor him.

I wanted to share just how special he truly was.

Every night when I’d lay my head down, the words (and tears) would flow.

I never wrote them down, the feelings were still too tender.

The other night, I had a dream about him that was so real I didn’t want to wake up.

I still miss him!

I grew up in the middle of a family of 7 living in a small 900 square foot house.

What the home lacked in size, we made up for with love.  

This past month, we  started the tedious task of sorting through all of the “memories”

and stuff stored in our childhood home for the past 58 years.

As challenging as it feels,

we always stop, share and get excited by the little treasures that we find.  

This home holds a lot of memories.

My Dad was a hard-working man…

he worked on the railroad as a Switchman for over 40 years.

Recently he told me that on his last day of work he was supposed to turn in his switchman key.

He decided to keep it for a souvenir.

He kept it in his pocket as a keychain for the next 21 years.

Growing up in a house with 4 girls (and one boy) we did a lot of “girl” things with Mom.

As we grew older it was not uncommon for us to be shopping with Mom, talking

on the phone, having lunch out, going to the movies.  Having a Girls Night.

It wasn’t until after my Mom died, when Dad started coming over regularly for dinner

that our real closeness happened.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved my Dad,

I just never really had one on one time with him until then.  Mom was always there.

During those years, Dad and I had our shows that we watched together (a lot of NCIS)

and when my husband was out of town he’d take me to dinner.

I’d never had a father/daughter date.

My Dad was a man of faith.  He believed with his whole heart.

Being a quiet man…it took me a little off guard, when during his

cancer struggles last year, he became very vocal in his faith.

I never tried to stop him, but I must admit I squirmed a bit at times.

During one of his visits to the University Hospital he was attended by a new doctor.

As the appointment was ending, I was sitting there thinking to myself.

Hmmm…he’s not going to do it.

As the doctor was leaving, his hand on the door, he looked over and said…

“you look like you have a question to ask.”

Dad smiled and said “Do you know Jesus?”

At times, it was apparent he made some feel uncomfortable…

while others told us how wonderful and sweet he was.

Some even told us he made a difference in their life.

I had to remind Dad often he was planting seeds.

He felt like over the last year… with all the many doctors, nurses and

technicians that he met, during the course of 3 surgeries and radiation,

that it was his mission to spread the word.

In his last month of life, after a bad fall,

he spent 2 weeks in the hospital and one in a nursing home.

While none of us were totally prepared, he gave us 3 weeks to say good-bye.

He told me not long before his fall…”I’m 86, I won’t be here forever”.

“When I die, you will grieve for a while,

then I want you to be happy, because I will be happy”.

On the night that he died, when he took his last breath,

he opened his eyes, a smile on his face and a tear in his eye.

I believe he is happy.

Sue and Nick’s Deflecto Craft Caddy Challenge

Deflecto Craft Caddy Challenge…

When I worked in the Deflecto Booth last January at the Creativation Show,

each day of the show Deflecto held a Craft Caddy Challenge.

The challenge was to see who could fill their craft caddy the fastest.

It quickly became extremely competitive.  (but fun!)

The challenge looked like so much fun, I decided to create one of my own.

Of course, I wanted to race someone closer to my own speed.

Nick enjoyed the caddy challenge so much that when my nieces came over to swim later,

he challenged them.  He was a lot faster by then.

Here’s a quick video I made last year showing all the features of the caddy.

 

The Deflecto Caddy Organizer* is made by Deflecto Craft Solutions are available at Amazon

and now in Target Stores.

 “This is a sponsored post. As a member of the Deflecto Design Team I have been provided product in exchange for my creative ideas, views and opinions.”

Shop Amazon Scrapbooking Supplies*

Disclaimer:  This blog uses ads and affiliate links.  If you choose to make a purchase using one of the links, I receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) that helps offset the costs of maintaining this blog.  Thanks for your support!