An Exhausting Day

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jun 8, 2007 in Family Stuff, Our Goldendoodle Puppies

I don’t know how teachers do their job. I love my own kids (really, I do!), but spending a whole day with LOTS of kids – it’s just so draining for me!

Yesterday, I went on a field trip with my son Matt’s second grade class to the Cape May Zoo. Here are some little monkeys looking at the little monkeys:

We had a good time, but after trying to keep track of so many kids, I was just exhausted by the end of the trip. Teaching is definitely NOT the profession for me.

After the school day, my friends and I decided to get our dogs together for a little puppy playdate. I tried to take some photos, but the dogs were running around so fast, most of my pictures look like this:

The dogs had so much fun! On the left is Zoe, a Newfoundland; in the middle is Daisy, our goldendoodle; and on the right is Max, a golden/collie mix.

My friend Marie has a WONDERFUL pool, and her dog Zoe loves to swim in it. It so funny to be swimming at her house and see this HUGE black dog come in the pool and swim beside you!

We decided to see if Daisy would like to swim with the other dogs. Daisy did go in the pool (with some help from me) and she did swim, but I think it was still a little overwhelming for her with all the kids there. But I’m sure she’ll be swimming right along with her doggie friends by the end of the summer.

It was really a LONG day – in addition to the field trip and the doggie playdate, I also had a church meeting yesterday morning at 6:30am. And after the doggie swim fest, I had to feed the kids a super quick dinner and rush both boys off to baseball practice by 5:30pm. At the end of the day, I was in bed and asleep by 8:15 – am I getting old or what?!?!


Just a couple simple cards…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jun 6, 2007 in Cards

I had just a few minutes today to make cards that I needed in large multiples, so I kept them simple.

I made this buckle card as a make-and-take for my stamp clubs this month…

And I made this card for a shoebox-swap. We’re donating all the cards to our church’s Hospitality Committee to use when welcoming new guests…..


I couldn’t help myself…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jun 6, 2007 in Crafts

I wasn’t going to. I really wasn’t. I was going to be good. I was going to be patient. I was going to wait. What’s a few more weeks, right? But then today I caved…

I ordered stamps, ink and paper from the new Stampin’ Up! Fall-Winter Preview brochure.

It’s the fault of the ladies at SplitCoastStampers, I swear! Some talented ladies already got their sets and have been making incredibly cute samples and posting them in the galleries. They are enablers, I tell you!

Plus, we get an extra 20% off the stamp sets if we order them before June 30th – I had to take advantage of that discount, didn’t I?!?!?

I think I need a 12 step program – Stampers Anonymous…


Finally Finished My Questionnaire

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jun 3, 2007 in Crafts

I finally had time before we left for our camping trip to finish up the questionnaire for my Guest Artist appearance in Take Ten magazine. For those who read me regularly, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at my answers and the photos I included…

Guest Artist Questionnaire

1. Introduce yourself. Tell us about your childhood, your interests, etc.

I have three children, ages 13, 8 and 5 and am happily married to my very supportive husband, Michael. Other than stamping, I love to spend time gardening, camping, and volunteering at church and at my children’s schools.

I grew up in Southern New Jersey in the Philadelphia suburbs. Until recently, I never considered myself ‘artistic’ because I am not very good at drawing or painting (even my handwriting is terrible!). Yet as a child, I loved coloring books and I would spend hours filling the pages with deep, bright, rich colors – I still love the smell of a new box of crayons! Now I realize that there is so much more to art than just drawing and painting.

Right after high school, I went to college and graduated with a BA in mathematics and later received a Master’s degree in Software Engineering. I worked for over a decade as a software engineer and project manager and even spent a few years teaching computer science at a local university.

Although I was an accomplished engineer, I found software to be a very intense industry. After much consideration, I decided to start a new season in my life after my second child was born. When he was not quite two years old, I turned my life completely upside down and become a stay-at-home mom. We had to make many lifestyle adjustments, but now my life revolves around my family instead of my job and I have more time to do what makes me happy.

What are your goals in both life and art?

My goal in life is to make sure my family feels loved and that I spend some time doing what I love each and every day.

My goal in art is just to enjoy the creative process. I love to just sit down with my supplies and play – with colors, with techniques, with stamps, with embellishments – that is when I am the happiest with my art.

2. What interests you about stamping?

I especially enjoy stamping because even though I am terrible at drawing, I can still create beautiful art with stamps. And I love that stamps are really an investment – you can use one stamp in so many different ways and on so many different types of projects from cards, to scrapbooks to wrapping paper to altered art.

3. Do you have a creative ritual you perform when you begin working?

I usually take whatever inspiration I have for a project (stamp, embellishment, etc) and then turn around to this huge rack of cardstock that’s in my craft room. I pull out one color that I feel especially attracted to at the moment and then hold that piece up to other colors until I feel like I have a color combination that expresses the mood I want to create.

4. How do you make a piece – what is the process? How long does it take you?

I tend to work in long, intense spurts (maybe that’s the software engineer in me) – once I choose a color combination, I start stamping and laying the images in different ways on my card. I am a VERY messy stamper – I tend to be inspired to use something, grab it and use it, and then go right on to the next thought without taking the time to clean up after myself as I go. If I interrupt the creative process to put things away, I stop the flow of ideas and the project takes much longer. Generally, I will work in my studio for 2-3 hours at a time.

5. What types of things do you draw inspiration from?

I often draw inspiration from items such as textiles, graphic ads and especially from home design. I once considered a career as an interior designer and I realized that the creative art process of stamping is actually very similar in nature. We use colors to convey a mood or feeling, we come up with a pleasing layout and design and we use accessories to accent our work.

6. What is your favorite technique?

I still love plain old heat embossing! For some reason I still think it is so fascinating when I watch the embossing powder melt and I never can resist running my fingers over the raised image. Plus, you can combine heat embossing with so many other techniques.

7. At what point do you give up on a project?

I’m stubborn – I never give up on a project! I can usually tell when I’ve reached an impasse and I need to take a break from a particular crafting session. My best bet at that point is to just walk away from the project for a while. It always helps to look at it with a fresh perspective and figure out what it is that just isn’t working or what should be added.

8. What was the most interesting or challenging project that you worked on?

Interestingly enough, my most interesting and challenging projects both revolved around men!

I did a men’s class last year where the men came and made cards for their wives for the whole year – a birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and ‘I love you’ card along with a card holder to keep them all organized. I used lots of ‘manly’ tools when designing those cards – punches, craft knives, eyelet setters and embossing tools. The men LOVED the class and their wives loved the cards (plus the men don’t have to worry about missing any occasions or running out to the card store at the last minute).

And my most challenging recent project was to create a series of five masculine cards to give to men for various occasions. It can be really difficult to create a masculine card using no flowers, ribbon or feminine colors!

9. Ideas come at unexpected moments, like when you’re…

In the shower, trying to fall asleep or in the car, driving the carpool.

10. Do you just start in on your elements and see where you end up, or do you plan it out ahead of time?

I rarely plan it ahead of time and even when I do, the project usually takes on a life of its own and evolves into something completely different than what I originally intended.

11. When you have a creative block how do you recharge your juices?

I read crafting magazines like Take Ten or browse galleries online. Or sometimes I just need to take a break from crafting for a while altogether – I don’t want to ever work in my studio because I have to, I want to be there because I want to.

12. What does your work say about you?

Looking at my work, I think it says that I’m willing to try new things. I am a real control freak in most other aspects in my life, but in art, I can just let go and see where the creative process leads me.

13. What advice would you give to a new stamper?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Some of my best work is often a result of a mistake that I made. Sometimes, I accidentally discover a new technique or a twist on an old one after spoiling the one I originally intended to use. Or, in trying to cover up a mistake, my art sometimes takes on a new direction that I hadn’t even considered before. Every ‘mistake’ is just an embellishment opportunity in disguise!

14. Fictional character you’d like to be for a while?

I thought about this question for a while and I realized that there isn’t any fictional character I’d like to be – I’m really just happy being me!



Camping at Otter Lake

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jun 3, 2007 in Family Stuff, Our Goldendoodle Puppies

We just returned from a weekend camping trip to the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains – what a wonderful weekend! We stayed at Otter Lake Camping Resort which was great. The campground is really tucked away in the woods – very secluded and close to nature. In fact, the whole weekend was full of nature! We saw a wild bear very close to our campground and I managed to get a picture:

I was more freaked out by the bear than the kids were! I had never seen a real, live, wild bear outside of a zoo before.

It was also apparently a time of the year when caterpillars drop from the trees by the millions. Don’t believe me? Check out this rock at our campsite:

Those little squirmy things? Caterpillars. They covered EVERYTHING – the ground, the rocks, the trees…and by the time we left this morning, our truck and camper, too. If you sat outside by the fire even for a few minutes, you could count on one or two caterpillars falling onto you whenever a slight breeze went by and shook the leaves above. At one point, Mike was so freaked out by a caterpillar landing on his hand that he flipped his wrist over and spilled his drink (a waste of a perfectly good margarita!). But I guess it’s better that they were caterpillars and not spiders or some other creepy, crawlies…right?

And of course, Daisy, our goldendoodle, had lots of them and other stuff caught in her fur all weekend. It was really hot and humid during the day yesterday, so the kids took turns squirting Daisy with their water pistols. But don’t feel bad for the dog – she LOVED it and followed Matt around until he squirted her.

Then she would bite and chew at the water – it was really funny to watch! Funny, that is, until we had a wet dog rolling around in the dirt…

So, even though it’s not supposed to be good for her fur, I just HAD to give her a bath when we got home. It’s amazing how little dog is under all that fluffy fur…

The dog was exhausted after our trip! On Saturday afternoon, she, Matt and I hiked for about 4 miles all the way around Otter Lake. At one point during our hike, she just plopped down on the ground and refused to go any further – what happened to all that puppy energy!?!

Matt, Emily and I also managed to go swimming in the lake for a little bit – it was really nice…

Unfortunately, soon after this photo was taken, we heard thunder and left the beach. It seemed that thunderstorms were popping up right overhead for most of the afternoon. You know it’s not a Torrence camping trip unless it rains, right?

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