Saturday, September 29, 2012


I am so happy.... I'm now doing up cards for 4 different reasons...

1- Those that are ordered by clients
... and three that are volunteer roles! I'm their official card-maker!
2- Valley Autism Support Team: cards as TY for guest speakers, volunteers, etc...
3- Evangeline Pony Club: cards for various reasons~ Sympathy, Thinking of you, TY...
4- Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association: cards being made for the same reasons as above.

This means that I have more reason than ever to "Batch Process" the card-making steps. Sometimes I make 2 cards at the same time, each similar yet unique.

Here are two new cards:

1. This one was created for a guy who liked cars and "plaid." LOL!
Since we are in NS I used some NS tartan and a portion of a graphic that came from The Graphics Fairy. (TY!) If you saw this in real life you’d notice that the car graphic is “popped up” to make it show up better. Looks very cool.

Birthday card

2. This card was requested for a businessman in our community who did smthg great for a local charity. The cars are one portion of a graphic that came from The Graphics Fairy. (TY!)

Thank you card

Supplies for the above:

Cardstock: CTMH "Grey Wool"
Patterned paper: CTMH "Elementary" paper collection
Ink:  CTMH "Outdoor Denim" (both)
       CTMH Desert Sand (both)
       CTMH "Vanilla Cream" (top card)- this is pigment ink  
Black pearls: CTMH- Licorice "Opaques Adhesive Gems"
NS Tartan: Clearance at local dept store
Ribbon Glue: MM
Thanks Stamp: Inkadinkado
Happy Birthday Stamp: CTMH "Look Who's..." set
Graphic: The Graphics Fairy (TY)

Adhesive foam squares- Forever In Time
Fiskars photo splits
UHU Glue stick

Sure hope you've enjoyed these! Please pop by again soon! :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Travelling the road with you...

Travelling the Road with You
Designed and created by Yours Truly
 Layout #105 in 2012
Pete and I had a hard time getting a decent photo. Sorry- a tad blurry!
This is a layout I created in response to a challenge over at Sisterhood of Scrap (SOS). The challenge was to use the quote you see matted in red.

The journaling reads:

Travelling the road with you…
Noah, we had your Individual Program Planning Meeting with your Team yesterday. We’re very excited because at this point, you are about halfway through Level Three in the STAR program… which only includes three levels.
You have been working on the STAR program as part of your individual programming since Grade Primary. Your Resource Teacher told us that what still remains to be accomplished in STAR Level Three will probably take up most of this, your Grade 4 year.
When you get close to completing the last STAR program level, our Team will, under the guidance of your Resource Teacher, design the appropriate “next” learning steps based on what you need to tackle. How exciting is THAT??
It has been, and IS, a long journey, but you are making a steady progress that is AMAZING in itself, for a little boy who began travelling this road with no language and many challenges. So proud of you, Noah!
Thankful for the STAR program, the premise and practice of “inclusion with support,” and the amazing, forward-thinking school that includes us and Argo as part of your Team.
We’re with you for the long haul!
It’s so good to be travelling with you.

Love, Mom and Dad

Caption lower right:
Journaling by Mom~ September 27, 2012
Photo: Noah and Bryan, trampoline fun- June 2012
**Star Program Level Three chart- inside the pocket.**

Indian Corn Blue Cardstock: CTMH
Outdoor Denim CS: CTMH
Cranberry CS: CTMH
Desert Sand CS: CTMH
Patterned paper: CTMH
Corrugated cardboard oval: CTMH
Ink: CTMH Desert Sand
Ink: CTMH  Indian Corn Blue
Font: Arial, bolded
Lg Blue Brads: CTMH blue assortment
Sml Red Brads: Bazzill
School bus rub-ons: Piggy Tales
"Twill" fabric stickers: Ruby Lemonade

Thanks for coming by, everyone! Have a happy weekend!
I am off to start preparing my Close To My Heart order.
Placing it with the company tonight! :)  YAY!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Travel far, hand in hand...

I think wedding cards are my favourite thing in the world to design! Here is a special one that I created for an upcoming Thanksgiving wedding. It was ordered by some wonderful repeat clients for their son and new daughter -in-law.

Here is the outside:

Wedding Card
Designed and created by Ali MacDonald

The rub-on open hearts on left side (front) were filled with Glossy Accents (Ranger).
Black leaves on right side were coated with Glossy Accents.
Swirly Chipboard (CB) accent on top left was embellished w/ Glossy Accents.

Swirly chipboard piece: CTMH.
Acrylic overlay and cathedral pic- Unknown-  These were together, a sale item (CLEARANCE) at Zellers a few years ago.  Classy, no? LOL
Ink (Desert Sand): CTMH
Flowers: CTMH
Brads: CTMH.
Bamboo CS: CTMH
Pale green patterned paper: CTMH  (discontinued line.)
 Green self-adhesive pearls: Dollarama- "Crafts" brand

Here are some details (in a closer photo):

Detail shot: wedding card, lower right corner
(Sorry shot is a bit fuzzy)

Inside of card embellished with black rub-ons: 

Inside greeting: Wedding card
Oh—that font is Tabitha (a freebie fave of mine). 

Thanks for popping by everyone!!!!! See you soon!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sketch time!!

I am a member over at Sisterhood Of Scrap (SOS) and I love it there. Carla posted a Sketch Challenge for us and I had to try it out. 
Here's the Sketch...
(Carla noted that this Sketch was from Scrapbook Challenges)
...and here's MY interpretation!

Noah's Class trip: Swim Time, June 2012
Journaling reads: Noah, you had so much fun on your Grade 3 Class Trip! You went to Yogi Bear’s Campground, just a few minutes from home. You and Argo were with Mrs. Sabine and you had a blast along with your class. There was so much to do! The swimming was your favourite activity, and it was the first time you wore your new lifejacket. You had grown out of your old one: Getting so big! You can tell by these photos how much you loved the water!
June 2012

This LO was fun to do because I had scored such a deal on the brand name scrapbook papers and embellies. Normally I buy CTMH products and combine those with what I already HAVE but the papers were such a low price that I bought them. In Additionally, they were water/boy themed and were perfect for Noah!


Yellow lettering: Rose Mocha
Green lettering: Glitz Teeny Alpha
Papers & boat/sun embellies- K&Company "Baby Boy" scrap kit made in 2010
Cardstock: CTMH Dutch Blue and Outdoor Denim 
Journaling Block: CTMH Goldrush
Ink: CTMHOutdoor Denim
Parentheses: both styles from CTMH My Acrylix Stamp Set "On the Edge" C1399
Doodling pen: CM fine point, black
Font: Arial Unicode MS

Thanks for looking, I hope you liked the LO and will pop by again soon! :)


Sunday, September 2, 2012


This weekend, I was able to solve a longstanding storage and organizational  problem. I have often said that mothering a little guy with Autism Spectrum Disorder can turn a Mom into a bit of a "hoarder." 

I've solved this issue in one "department" by thinking outside the box, so I wanted to share. 

First, WHY do I  say that I feel a bit like a hoarder????? 

Well, because of Noah's special needs and "quirks", it seems like we need to KEEP HANDY anything that could possibly to help our little guy, who has autism, thrive!  

Here are a few points that will explain how this "is" our situation. 


Our first child, (Kate) just left for college. Noah our child with ASD, is 10 years old. In between, we have Bryan (17) and Daniel (12).  :) 

Due to Noah's developmental delays, we've kept some toys around muuuuuuch longer than we originally would have. Usually we'd pass  things on to others. 

Toys that Noah is interested in do not get put away, sold at yard sales, or handed down. Because he is interested in them, they are useful in helping him learn! 

This, for example, translates into a million Fisher Price animal figures. Noah, true to his name, loves his animals and will line them up, tell us what they are, make them 'speak' to one another, arrange them just so, etc... Because he is fascinated by them, animals have been a way "in" when we were trying to help him  to begin communicating verbally. They're important to him. So-- we keep them handy in his room. 

Noah and his animals
Keeping Noah's animals also means that we also have whatever comes with them- the "Little People", the barn, the ark, the zoo, the animal hospital, and all the little accessories that accompany them! Those include pretend fencing, cars, feed bins, etc... It's quite a batch of toys!


For Noah, books are the same as toys! Books are his "thing" and the ones with animals in them are super-important and much-loved. This explains why Noah is 10 yrs old yet his copy of the hilarious Moo-Baa La-La-La! by Sandra Boynton has never been put away. Yes, we do rotate books but having had one LOST- or not available- because it is in a box in the storage room has caused HUGE problems! Noah has asked and asked and asked for the same book over and over, necessitating a not-always successful book-hunt amid the stored boxes of books. Not fun. Sometimes it can go on for days. It's stressful for the poor kid, never mind the family!

We have even had books that Noah saw 2-3 years ago at school be requested constantly until a community-wide hunt was launched and an educational assistant and friend who had been Noah's preschool teacher came to the rescue. Whew. It took a week of searching and we now GUARD K is for Kissing a Cool Kangaroo! by Giles Andrea and Guy Parker-Rees with our lives! LOL  (Thank You, Lori.) 
Just a note: The teacher who had the book Noah remembered was no longer teaching at our school. Otherwise I am certain she'd have helped us out!


Noah types things into the search bar on YOUtube because he likes to access fave VHS movies. [Example: Joe Scruggs' Deep In The Jungle].  He looks at a video cassette (VHS) and copies the words he sees to get to the show he wants. This works very well for the little guy! You will often see Noah at one of our computers with a VHS tape next to the screen as he types in words copied from the case. He's self taught. Pete and I are very excited to see him recognizing the usefulness of typing by using it to get where he wants to be,  online!

4) "NO TV for me!!!"

That said, Noah will not watch anything on our TV/VCR. He becomes anxious and says "Turn off, please."  He likes to access Youtube on one of the computers and watch things online. He will switch the sound on and off, re-watch the parts he is interested in many times, and so on.  All of this is supporting his visual and auditory needs. Folks whose kiddo or family member has intense sensory issues will understand. (At some point we hope to be able to harness the YOUtube interest to use video-modelling as a tool.)  

So, we didn't dare store or get rid of ANY of the VHS-movies because Murphy's Law guaranteed that Noah would  ask for one that had been given away OR we wouldn't know which box it was in, and that would be very upsetting and hard for him to understand.

5) Perseveration of ideas

Anyone who has had a child with Autism ask repeatedly for something and not understand that it is GONE can relate. Perseverance on one idea or item can go on for days (or longer) for some kids. We have one item Noah asks for ("Numbers and Letters CD") that we cannot get for him and is not here at home. We aren't sure we EVER EVEN HAD IT. It could be smthg he has seen somewhere else, maybe at school.  He has been asking for that CD for the past three years. He is so focused on it that sometimes we go weeks where it is mentioned twenty or more times a day. (For some kids with ASD,  that could be hundreds of times a day...)
See what I mean? It's hard always saying "I don't know where that is, Noah" or "No, we don't have that, I'm sorry." And for three YEARS? And oh- I forgot- you can't always predict what the wanted/needed item will be, or WHEN it will be asked for. You get the picture.  You don't want to risk not having something your little person needs, so it's REALLY hard to get rid of anything! 

In short, here, putting a kids' video into the VCR will simply drive our little guy right out of the room and into a state where anxiety rules. We DON'T want to do that to Noah. He does not watch videos.  BUT... we kept all of them-- FOUR KIDS' WORTH-- because Noah enjoys looking at the movie cases (he is extremely visual, like many kids with ASD) and uses them to guide his typing!

So, here we are, 2012, married 20 years, with this MASSIVE VHS  collection of kids' movies no-one watches. It is messier "visual clutter" than the many books Noah has on hand, and involves more work than caring for his animal toys. But yet, since Noah enjoyed looking at them and using them as typing guides, they could not be "weeded out!" (That would have been my first response! LOL) 

The sight of all the movies in the livingroom on the entertainment unit was getting to me- the movies were getting pretty ragged. Most of the cases were badly damaged (from years of use by 4 kids) and we were really DONE with having them around all the time. We were tired of tidying them up, dusting them, rearranging them, and sorting them- or attempting to. Noah moved them all around a lot. They were getting pretty scruffy. 
We tried rotating the movies for Noah but that created problems with finding movies he suddenly wanted. And, guess what? ALL the movies ended up back in the livingroom no matter how hard Pete and I tried to keep them "corralled" elsewhere!

Well,  thinking about the situation with the VHS collection and how Noah used it made me think. REALLY THINK.

I needed to "reframe."

Noah wasn't "making us keep" a bazillion kids' movies, he'd never even WATCHED them on TV. 

He was actually using the movie cases as a TOOL to help his typing on the computer!!

THAT was a life skill. 

I needed to support that.

Soooo, I decided on a solution.  Noah didn't care about the videos themselves at this point. He just wanted the cases available to LOOK AT and TYPE FROM.

This gave me a brainstorm!! 
So...  here's what I did. 

1) Pete and Bry helped me gather up all the movies from the livingroom, playroom, and basement. This included A) movies with hard cases and B) movies with soft cardboard cases. 

Movies in hard plastic cases 
Movies in cardboard cases 

2) I took all the movies out of their cases and set them aside. Then, I placed the cases near where I'd be working. 

3) I gathered basic supplies: 
Supplies:  1" binder, paper trimmer,  clear 8 1/2 x11" sheet protectors,
strong/sharp scissors, packing tape 
NOTE: You will also need some scotch tape, a few index cards, a pen and a plastic bin or tote with lid. 

4) I took the coloured info sheet out of each movie case.

Movie info sheet being removed.
Damaged plastic case was recycled! 
4 A) The plastic movie cases, many in terrible shape, got recycled. 

4 B) I reinforced any ragged spots on the movie info sheet with scotch tape.

4 C) Using the trimmer, I  took off just enough that the movie info sheet would fit inside the sheet protector. 

5) I slid the movie info sheet into protector.  I placed another one behind  it too. It can be read and seen when the page is flipped. 

6) I tried to keep like characters together, such as Cabbage Patch Kids, Timmy the Tooth, Arthur, Barney, or Magic School Bus. In other words, the order in which I placed them in the binder was not random. 

7) I did the same thing for the cardboard-sleeved movies. The cardboard case was the movie's info sheet and so it was trimmed flat and placed in a page protector (not shown). 

8) I placed each movie info sheet (whether paper or cardboard) in its' plastic page protector, into the binder. 
The three 1 " binders we ended up using were recycled from my two high school kids' supplies, and were still in good shape from the school year just passed! 
9) The VHS movies were placed in a plastic tote bin with lid. As each was placed in the bin, its' title was noted on an index card I had handy beside me. 

This bin held 72 case-less VHS movies when full! 
10) Ready to store! Bin with lid in place and index cards securely taped on top will make searching for a specific movie EASY if it were ever needed. 

TIP: Use stacking bins! 
Noah now has three  1" binders full of flat "movie case" info sheets.
He can use a movie sheet as a typing guide by carrying the binder over to the computer desk, using the book to guide his typing and then watching what he has searched. 

No more movie cases to drag around! 
A BIG PLUS: Noah really enjoys the visual input from the movie information that is now all in a flat "book" format, He flips through it often. This is really great idea for a kid who loves books. 

Noah seems very happy with the change. It was a risk that made sense when I thought about how he was really using the movies. 

The binders take up MUCH less space than 77 movies did. They are tidier and neater, too. 
Broken, damaged, plastic cases were all recycled. (Our Nova Scotia Waste Management Program is the BEST!)
The three-ring binders were reclaimed from last years' school supplies.
VHS movie cassettes were safely stored without cases in a smaller space. 
Storage bins were labelled  for ease of searching if necessary. 
We have reclaimed all of our living room's entertainment unit!   

This succesful reorganization opened my eyes to the fact that I should look at how things are being used in our special situation, and  ONLY keep things that Noah likes and needs on hand. For example, the ark, the zoo and other animal accessories can be stored, as long as we have the animals out! 

Thanks for reading everyone! 
Remember to think outside the "box!" It's sooo worth it!