30 before 30: #17 Send a card for each family birthday

I used to love getting the mail around my birthday as a kid. I loved opening that box and pulling out envelopes with my name on them. My great-grandmother, Grammy Bula as she was known to my family, was the queen of sending cards and it was something I loved about her. She made it so that we were aware that she was thinking about us and to this day, it stands out in my childhood memories. So for my 30 before 30, I wanted to create a small amount of that foresight and consideration in my family as a way to preserve Grammy Bula’s memory and to give me a consistent creative outlet. I have found that carving out space for a creative outlet is imperative for my mental and emotional health. Here are a few of the birthday cards I’ve sent so far!

Darin's Birthday card exterior

Darin’s Birthday card exterior

Darin's birthday card interior

Darin’s birthday card interior

Grandma's exterior

Grandma’s exterior

Grandma's interior

Grandma’s interior

Auntie Shelly's exterior

Auntie Shelly’s exterior

Auntie Shelly's interior

Auntie Shelly’s interior

Jayelle's Exterior

Jayelle’s Exterior

Jayelle's interior

Jayelle’s interior

Ellie's exterior

Ellie’s exterior & envelope

Ellie's Interior

Ellie’s Interior

30 before 30: # 18 Add another Continent

I have been off work this week and so have a brief moment to update the ole blog! I wanted to give you guys a bit of an update on some of the #’s in progress. So far I am happy to report on the following works in progress, the scarf #14, is a little over 2 feet long, #11 memorize the sermon on the mount, I have 5 more verses to memorize in chapter 6 and then I’m on the home stretch through chapter 7. #15 Donate my hair, I am almost at the 8 inch mark necessary to donate with Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths wig program.#25 Switch careers : I started assembling a website, created a facebook, twitter and instagram accounts for Front Porch Events, my new event planning company. I hope this will help me in the transition out of my current position sometime in the coming year.

So to cross off # 18: Add another continent to my list of continents, here’s the brief on my recent trip to Scotland! I was lucky to take part in the amazing process of dropping off my boss’ daughter and sister from another mister, Ellie, at the University of Edinburgh.  We flew direct from Portland to Amsterdam and then landed in Edinburgh in early afternoon after flying for nearly 18 hours. We spent the week enjoying downtown Edinburgh and shopping in the UK for all the necessary dorm items for Ellie. Here are a few photos from the trip:

Edinburgh Castle where Mary Queen of Scots had David I

Edinburgh Castle where Mary Queen of Scots had David I


The entrance to Edinburgh Castle

The entrance to Edinburgh Castle

The clock tower at the Balmoral Hotel where we stayed

The clock tower at the Balmoral Hotel where we stayed

Those were just a few shots from my trip! I’ll keep you updated on the progress of the 30 before 30 and I hope I can get them all done!

Peter’s card

Exterior of the card

Exterior of the card

Wanted to throw up a quick post about one of my recent cards! Here is the card I made for my boss Peter who is very into film/photography etc. 

Initial opening of the card

Initial opening of the card

I really wanted to do somewhat of a theater type curtain for the front but couldn’t manage to get the valance part of the curtain to work so ended up just doing the red curtain on the front. For the first opening I was hoping to mimic the Hollywood sign, you’ll have to tell me how I did. Finally the hollywood sign lifts up and revels the inside and my favorite part of the card!


That little buddy, the projector, took me a while, as did the projection of “happy birthday” but I think it really makes the card! 

Greyhound Social Justice

My dear friend and former roommate Jen called me and told me that she and her new husband, Ismael, who is a man from Niger, (I just learned how to differentiate a person from Nigeria and a person from Niger: Nigerian= from Nigeria, Nigerien=from Niger.) were buying a car in Portland. She told me that Ismael, who lives in Mt. Vernon, WA would be riding down on Greyhound and  she would be flying in from Las Vegas, where she is teaching, and could I pick her up from the airport and him from the bus station? Of course I said yes because that’s what I do. You call me? I show up.
To add some background to this story, I happen to loathe the Greyhound Bus company. I am not alone either, just google “greyhound sucks” and enjoy.  I am certain they exploit those who can not afford other means of travel by offering false departure times and available space on their buses. They force those who are “fortunate” to get on a bus, to ride in conditions that are often below those of city bus standards and use bathrooms that have not been cleaned in this century. Their stations are often in disrepair and their employees are anything but helpful. I hate anyone and anything that takes advantage of people due to their economic status.
As part of my theology, I believe that salvation isn’t just about a future in heaven but also about redemption for today. I believe Jesus cares about our situations  and it’s our job as believers to get involved to help make their plight less difficult in the name of Christ’s love. Social Justice is a blanket term that was coined based on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas. It is an overwhelming problem and difficult to determine where and how to be involved in a solution.
So back to Jen and Ismael, on the day they were to arrive, I received multiple text messages from Jen regarding Ismael’s arrival time. It went from 4 pm, to 10 pm to 9 pm , then 12 am. As I picked Jen up from the airport at 10:30 pm, she told me that poor Ismael had left at 9 am from Mt. Vernon, had gotten onto a bus bound for Seattle and had been waiting in the Seattle station since 2 pm. He had been forced to buy an additional ticket, due to the fact that the ticket he originally bought, on a bus that would have had him arriving at 10 pm was full when it arrived and they wouldn’t allow a transfer to another bus even though it was Greyhound’s mistake that there was no space on the bus for him. He had been waiting in the Seattle station for 8 hours to get on a bus. Now Ismael being Nigerien, English is not his first language. Being that he is an exceptionally smart human being, English isn’t even his second language, it is his sixth language. So here is poor Ismael trying to make the 5 hour trek to Portland and it is taking him almost 14 hours. When I picked Jen up from the airport she told me that Ismael would be arriving at 4 in the morning in Portland. That is nearly 19 hours of travel time for trip that should ideally only take 5-6. My innate sense of justice was fuming and I looked at Jen and said, “We’re going to get him.” She protested and I explained to her that it was ludicrous that her poor husband who she hadn’t seen in months, would have to wait two more hours to get on a bus at midnight that would deposit him in Portland at 4 am when we could drive up and back to get him in the same amount of time. So that’s what we did, we headed to Seattle and intercepted Ismael at a bus station in Centralia after chasing him down the freeway because his bus driver wouldn’t stop for him in Olympia. His poor nightmare saga would end with him purchasing a car in Portland so that he will hopefully never have to deal with Greyhound again.
I tell you this story to let you know that you don’t have to make large sweeping changes. You just have to make changes. You have to stand up and say, no this isn’t right, in the situations that the Lord puts you in. Find ways to right the wrongs that have been accepted by our culture and do it in the name of the love that never fails.

Tami’s deluxe 45th

So I haven’t posted for a while but I wanted to put up a post about one of the things I’ve been busy on! My boss and good friend Tami turned 45 last monday and since I have set the bar VERY high in terms of cards that I give her, I had to up the ante once again. This card is part inspiration from my pinterest page and part paper engineering which I think I might create a separate blog with my cards, you’ll have to let me know. Regardless, for my boss’ birthday I wanted to create something special so I created the following card.

ImageThis is the front exterior of the card and it measures about 8.5 inches square.ImageThis is the rear of the card and where you open it.
ImageWhat you see when you open the card.
ImageThe note on the card says “Before untying bow, prop up card with stand” which meant that the tan piece got propped up with a piece of matte board.
ImageThis is the engineering piece where you prop the card up with the two paper hinges I created.
ImageThe exclamation point is actually a pocket and that piece pulls out and has a brad that allows for the pieces to swivel for the sentiment in the card. Finally, here is the opened piece and the part I stole from pinterest.
ImageSo that’s the card I created! I hope you enjoy!

30 before 30: #9 Learn how to Ski

Crossing of things on my 30 before 30 list has been a lot of fun lately! Today’s entry and Number 9 on my list was learn how to ski. I grew up in Northern Idaho so am used to snow but never made it up the mountain to learn to ski as a kid. A significant number of my family members love to ski and spend time on the mountain each winter so it seemed like it was weird that I never learned.
My good friend Ally who grew up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and spent winters in high school and college as a ski instructor, graciously offered to teach me to ski. This past weekend using my gift certificate from John and Barb, I went up to Mt. Hood Meadows and finally learned how to ski!



It was such a ball! I guess that the conditions were pretty good on Saturday so it made it that much more fun to have really good snow to learn on. I spent all day either “pizza” or “french fry”-ing! I didn’t venture off the buttercup hill but only fell down six times as I learned to shift my weight and carve turns in the hill! I’m so grateful for my friend Ally who spent time teaching me! Here’s a picture of us getting ready. Image

It felt funny to be on the hill with a bunch of kids learning to ski and snowboard but I wasn’t the only adult up there. I met another woman who was quite a bit older than me that said it took her almost her whole life to learn and she said it best when she said, “It doesn’t matter how old you are, it matters that you have the courage try something new and not be afraid to fail.” So even though I have lived 28 years before learning how to strap a pair of skis to my feet and feel the rush of slicing back and forth down a hill, I’m glad that I had the courage to try something new! 

Stay tuned for more 30 before 30 and here’s a little sneak at my progress on my scarf! Image

30 before 30: # 19 Take a Road trip with a friend….

I had to add an ellipsis to the end of this title because number nineteen on the 30 before 30 list’s title is actually:

#19. Go on a road trip (longer than 3 hours) with a friend for no other reason than they’re going and you can.Image

sI met Tiffani three years ago and she was one of those friends that immediately stuck. We instantly bonded over our hilarious and amazing fathers who have ruined us for other men, a love of live sports and music, a love of good food, and the sheer amazement at what would and could come out of the other’s mouth. She is, and will be, someone that I always hold dear not only because we have lived together but because she is an invaluable friend in terms of her honesty, integrity, deep love, compassion and her overall amazingness. I consider myself lucky to be in her life.

So, when Tiff said she needed someone to drive a U-haul with all her stuff down to Richmond and then back up to Auburn, California, number 19 was all but crossed off my list. Dear readers, I doubt you can deny the value of a person that you can literally spend HOURS in a car together and not feel like you want to gouge your eyes out with a spoon. So this number was almost too easy to accomplish. I plotted many weeks on playlists and agonized over which CD’s to bring because knowing our love of music, TIff splurged and got the truck with the CD player. So 7 am Saturday January 14th we rolled out with the last physical tie Tiffani had to Portland and set off for the land of the gold rush.


The Sunset from the truck headed south


Mt Shasta


Yep, definitely driving and taking a picture... this was after we started to lose it.

The goal in crossing off number #19 on my list was to spend some time in the passenger seat. I spend most of my life whether for work or personal reasons, driving from one place to the next crossing off my to do lists or catching up with friends. It is a rare privilege to turn over the keys to someone and let them be in charge of getting us safely to our destination. There is nothing quite like hours in the car watching the scenery fly by you to get your mind moving towards things you may or may not want to think about. So number 19 was all about sitting back and enjoying the ride.

No subject was left uncovered by the time we arrived in Auburn and I had a mild case of vertigo brewing but I’m glad I went and encourage you to find a way to get in the passenger seat for a long time soon.