Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Heat is On

The heat is back - ick.  I knew I shouldn't have enjoyed the reprieve so much.  BUT my chores are done for the day - even cleaned the blinds in the family room.  Gross.   Wait, almost done, I have plans to straighten up down hear.  I think it's why I can't concentrate when I'm trying to work -- the clutter!  Yeah, that's it, it's the clutter's fault.

I baked a Butter Braid at 6:30 this morning to avoid heating the kitchen.  I thought about a retake of the cookies, but felt that it was too late; the kitchen was already heating up.  I may look for a no-bake recipe later.  For now I'm ensconced down in my office, with the toddler, who is looking innocent, which means he's guilty of something I've yet to discover.

Before we close out August, I need to show you the last of Kristi's fantastic work!  Thank you so much for the wonderful inspiration.  Kristi is great at mixing elements from one month's kit, and this layout does that.

From Kristi, "This is the last page I got made and mixed up the kits...again."
  • Put stickers on paper and cut out...then pop them up with a 3D glue dot!
  • I also like to use the page inserts that come with the page protectors to glue my scrapbook page too when I sew. I use Fabritac glue and place a little on the back of my page (especially on my stitches) and glue down. I feel that this gives my page strength and protects the stitches. You will notice that I also round my corners on the outside of my page sometimes when I do this.
  • This page has a long story attached to it about how my husband saw this place on that TV Show "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" and the story was just too long for a journaling spot so I wrote it on a full sheet of notebook paper and attached to the back of the page.

The heat is also on for a number of deadlines that are suddenly upon me. Dangit! So, nose to the grindstone today. Wish me luck.

Stay tuned starting tomorrow for September's month-long challenge:  4 Sketches, 20 Days.  Pages. Fun. Prizes.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Inspiration

In this corner freshly baked, homemade, chocolate chip cookies.  And in this corner, one far too inquisitive, far too tall, five month old puppy. . . LLLLEETTT'S GET READY TO RUUUMMMMBBBLLEEE! 

Five dozen cookies go in. . .only two dozen come out.

Puppies and Cookies shouldn't mix, it wasn't going to be pretty.  The mixing up of these two species makes for one very angry, very fouled-mouth baker.  Enter, Hydrogen Peroxide and "the watch."  A few minutes later the puppy is better, the baker is still in a foul mood!

To perk up, the baker is checking out the fabulous work of the August Guest Designer, Kristi Bergin-Smith.

Kristi has these tips:  "On this page I really wanted to cut out part of the patterned paper to encircle the 'birthday' word on the other piece of paper so I decided to "fill" the hole left with more paper...then I traced around with a white pencil."
  • Add your own journal lines to a piece of pattern paper that already has a shape to create a nice journal spot. 
  • Lightly ink your corrugated pieces for a weathered look.
  • Draw crazy mixed up lines and patterns on your alpha letters (these are Thickers) to make them different.

Hope your day is going better!

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, August 29, 2011

WooHoo - Monday

First full week of school for the kids and I realized this morning, taking the boys, that I didn't snap any "First Day" photos.  What the heck???  So, I snagged the boys this morning and will have to get my daughter tomorrow.  I'm sure, being a 14 y.o. high school girl will make her super excited at 6:45 in the morning to have her picture taken.  Don't you?  I also didn't get any of them in their traditional spot at the front door - that's gonna be a little trickier since my daughter leaves a full hour before the boys do.

We also have the first official "back to school cold" in the house.  My daughter left sounding like the Snufulufagus and has texted me she needs drugs.  I'm prepping myself for the rest of the house getting sick as well.  You know, just in time for the 3-day weekend.

We enjoyed four soccer games over the weekend, three losses and one win.  WOOHOO for the one win. We had a mini volleyball tournament early Saturday morning.  We had volleyball fundraising  . . . or rather I had lots of pushing to get the daughter fundraising.  I'm starting week two of the "get on the cleaning wagon."  Took a little more self-talk to get me moving this morning, but the daily chores are done.  Another WooHoo.  Now, if I can just get caught up on the rest of the list.

On the bright side, I took myself out on Friday and completed nine pages and a 12 page mini book using Big Picture's Big Idea Festival class.  The theme was "Words to Live By" but, dork that I am, I didn't realize that when I was planning what to do (see this is why you should READ.)  I was planning on doing more a "I enjoy when you Share blah-blah-blah."  As I pulled photos and then started writing, it actually came out as words to live by.  Guess now I can print out the cover "Words to Live By" that I just found on the website today.  (See, again, the whole reading thing.)  I also don't know if I'm going to leave the pages this simple - I contemplated adding some stitching and and played with some embellishments, but nothing seemed to either fit or look right.

Okay, almost time to start the daily running, homework and dinner dance. 

Ready to get some pages of your own completed.  Stay tuned on September 1st for "Four Sketches, 20 Days"  It'll be good!!

Happy Monday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I'm Stuck and I Can't Get Back Up . ..

Or something along those lines.

I think I'm stuck.  Or I hit the wall.  Or I've spent too much time sorting.  Or I just don't know what to do next.  Every been here?  Cruisin' along just great on a project and then WHAMO, a squeal of breaks and the smell of burned rubber and BOOM. . .you're at a dead stand still. 

I'm sitting here looking around me at a semi-complete studio space. . .Goal #5 on your score card. . .and I've tried to start back up and in and I just end up spinning.  I move things around here and there.  Push some stuff.  Pile some stuff.  Attempt to resort or whatever and yet nothing has changed.

Here's what I see, maybe you can help crack the code and get me moving. . .I feel SO close.  Starting on my right I have my kits, in two crates and a basket that need to be sorted - some have been used and I don't think I'll squeeze anything else out of them, so I'll toss the paper and sort the embellies.  I have those partially used - same thing, pull the unused and sort out the rest.  Then there are the never touched, or yet to be touched.  Next my cubes, they've been cleared, cleaned and re-purposed to hold kids' memorabilia.  The top is mostly cleared off, save a layout that needs a title.  I have one large drawer that used to hold hanging folders that is totally empty.  I have one cube holding empty albums and one cube holding kits (see above in terms of kits.)  My spinner-hanger-thing is filled with stickers sheets and alphas and has been gone through.  It sits on top of a 3-drawer unit that holds completed layouts which need to be taken upstairs in put into their respective albums - or maybe just shoved into any album at this point - the drawers are F-U-L-L.

Behind me a couple of baskets filled with photos, which I'm hoping and praying are in the "layouts done" category so the pictures just need to be filled into storage boxes - I see this as blizzard weather activity.  Also behind me is my "tech center" or so it's become.  My printers, scanner and inks sit there.  Nothing needs to be done except make it prettier.

Deep breath in. . .slowly let it out AAANNNDD. . . to  my left, my main work station.  I have a way too large pile of AS paper work that needs doing.  It needed doing a long time ago, but I hate paper work and so there it is.  I have my small cubbies which hold all my containers of embellies - these were resorted, relabeled and refilled as I cleared off the desk top.  Next are several piles from the last sort. . .stamps that need selling or they maye they just need to go.  My Project 365 that needs pictures printed to complete, or do I just stop where I stopped and be okay with that.  Maybe take a big red marker and put the circle with the slash through the "365" part.  Next pile, Christmas cards started . . . what . . . three, four years ago; they could go out this year they just need a sentiment.  Next a big stack of frames and some loose photos (I'm afraid to look at the photos for fear they are the un-scrapables.)  A small carousel that holds my pens just needs a quick going through to see who still works and whose a dried up old hag.   A couple small drawer units that hold misc. office supplies that have been gone through.  On the floor is my giveaway box - at this point it's so full I don't think I'll even mess with eBay, I'll let the kindergartners have at it.

On top of that large work space I have a couple cupboards, one that holds my stamps and all that crap (which I've already said needs more work cause I don't like how it's jumbled in there) and the other holds old photos and other memorabilia boxes.  Both have been cleared and cleaned.  On the top of the cupboard I have my magazines that need going through - most will probably go, my perpetual card files (LOL, like I make cards!!), and a metal frame that used to hold a recently finished page I could admire for a while.  It's a tad dusty and sits too high to enjoy something anyway.  I also have stashed up there family memorabilia, which EPIPHANY, I think will go in the large unused drawer.

So there you go.  That's it.  I feel so close to done and it looks 1,000 times better (I'll have photos later), but it's still cluttered.  I have a feeling part of my problem is that I need my shelving unit to put my sorted kits into.  To put my knick-knacks and small gadgets on - like my Zyron and Bind-It-All.  But I still feel it should be more. . .finished.  I should be working here.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ah. . .Another Review

It's another day, my boys' first full day and my daughter is in her first "Blue Block" day.  It's amazing how quiet it is and how much less whining there is by the toddler when he's by himself.  Hmmm. . . .It's also supposed to be another scorcher.  SURPRISE!  not.  Which means it was another day up at 6:00 a.m.  Lunches were made, chores were done (I think.  I need to check my list) and I was dressed by 9:00 a.m.  I don't expect this to last, but it is nice for the time being.

Over the summer, while I didn't post about it monthly, I did keep my 2011 Goals in the back of my head.  Let's see how I did - and since August is almost to the end, I'll include it too. 
  • Eating/Meal Planning - as I predicted, with the lack of chaos in our summer schedule there was no meal planning.  Add the heat that sucked any appetite right out of me and there wasn't a whole lot of thoughtful cooking either.  I'll have to get back on track right quick though, people working hard at school and sports get more hungry than lazy slug people.

    As for my own eating - eh, some weeks were better than others.  Luckily the same heat that makes it too hot to make meals also means it's too hot to make sweets.  Well, except for the luscious homemade ice cream that was almost a constant in our freezer.  That alone probably undid any effort I made at healthy eating - the top four ingredients?  Cream, Heavy Cream, Full Fat Milk and Sweetened Condensed Milk, which when combined with ice cream toppings (what?  Ice cream without toppings?) and well, there you have it.  I mean if you're already up to your neck, might as well dunk all the way under!
  • Walking -  I believe I've mentioned the heat.  And the humidity.  If fall comes quickly I may be able to salvage this goal.
  • Organizing - little bits and spots over the summer.  Sold off a lot of items on eBay, which cleared a spot, or sort of cleared it out, in the basement.  I've hit a couple cupboards in the kitchen.  The dishwasher's leak (did I mention the new one we got a week ago is already broken) forced the cleaning out of that cupboard.  Unfortunately, a broken valve on the water heater that sprayed down the big storage room in the basement undid any progress on organization in there because we just grabbed things being sprayed and shoved them out of the way.  Since the valve has been fixed, I haven't been back in there.  The big peninsula counter in the kitchen has been cleared and is mostly staying that way.  Kids' bedrooms are about 50/50.  The moving of the toddler from crib to twin bed sort of forced the cleaning of his room, though his closet is a disaster.  The older boys' room was also rearranged so that they could actually make their beds - they now have even less floor space so they have to keep up on the room.  My daughter's bed went to the toddler and she has a new full.  Unfortunately, I can't say this has made her room any better.  Anyone with ideas on how to get a teenager to clean their room?
  • Me Time - I made my way out for a little cropping here and there.  Escaped behind my iPod.  Sat down to eat breakfasts and enjoyed flipping through the stacks and stacks of magazines I've got in the family room.  Otherwise, summer is a tricky time to try and get personal space, let alone personal time.
  • Studio Space - I didn't spend a ton of time down here, but I did make a fair amount of progress when I was working on it specifically.  I weeded down the piles I made from the top of my desk and then sorted those out and either put the items away, trashed them or set in the giveaway box.  I brought down some work stuff that will live here now.  I have semi-clear desktop and cube tops.  I sorted out both the cupboards above my desk; one will continue to just be storage of memorabilia, odd photos and calendars (I keep my yearly calendars) and the other holds what few stamps I do have and all that paraphernalia - though I don't like how it is in there and need to figure something out.  My kits await me - EEK.  And I have giant box of giveaway or eBay stuff.  I feel pretty good about it - though it doesn't look so great right now, but I see the progress and the open spots of desk.  IKEA is now open here - can I get a WOOHOO - and so Phase II can now commence.
It wasn't a bad summer in terms of getting things done.  I have a little more than four months to either get in the habit or get it done!  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Where in the Wide, Wide Web

Today, shoot this month, is a flustered, frazzled, forgetful kind of thing.  I have too many thoughts, lists and other fluff spinning around in my head to make any sense of it, or anything else for that matter, at the moment. 

So keeping it simple for my tattered brain you can find Apron Strings sponsoring here:  Sassy Lil' Sketches (love their sketches - all August-long and Let's Scrap (fantastic challenges) starting next week.  If you're already scrapbooking or looking for a reason or inspiration to do so, check out both these sites; you could win goodies.

And second, because I'm feeling slackerish, I'm sharing a layout from the "Night of 10" that I completed a few weeks ago.  Based on a sketch from a Big Picture Class I took a few months ago.  Looking at it reminds me I can get something done. It appears, however, that I cannot get the two sides of this one layout to sit side-by-side in this post!  Pretty much says it all.

I'm giving up for today - I'll be back tomorrow!

Happy Monday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day of School!

The end of summer - at least as far as my kids are concerned.  It's the first day of school.  Bring on the early morning starts, the making lunches, the shoving, pushing and nagging to do any number of tasks - get your lunch, get your backpack, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth, get your shoes on, go to the car - not necessarily in that order, but guaranteed to be heard every morning from now until Christmas Break. 

I headed off with my 9th grader this morning for her first day in High School.  She was excited, though a little anxious she wouldn't find her classrooms or get her locker open.  I told her by the end of the week, she'll wonder why she was worried.  She also starts volleyball practice every day after school.  I figured it out, on practice days she's at school for 11 hours, on games days 12.  I'm sorry, that's just insane.  I then came home and grabbed the two older boys to head them off to their first days - one 7th grader and one 5th grader. 

I'm still processing the whole, High Schooler, Junior Higher, Elementary Schooler - deal.  The two different schools-deal.  The having a toddler with all this - the math on that alone causes me to shut down.  The where did the time go - deal.  There's too many deals, maybe I'll just get my coffee and go back to bed.

But before I go curl up in the fetal position, check out what Kristi did with Augusts' Smaller than a Breadbox kit, the Echo Park line.  Kristi's tip:  repeat a stamp over and over on your page for some added emphasis.  Great layout, Kristi - thank you for the inspiration.

The boys only have a half day, so I guess I should figure out how to take advantage of the time.  Chores?  Laundry? Sleep?  I'm not sure. . .check in again to see what I did.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Geez. . .2 Weeks?

I did mention that month-long challenges do take their toll, but I don't know where two weeks went!  Sorry 'bout that.  Though I have thought of another month-long challenge that will more than likely start in September.

Let's see a short recap:  soccer practices in full swing, older boys at various but separate sleepovers, a son - a scooter - a crash, a dishwasher and water where water shouldn't be (in my studio), new daily chore: hand-washing of dishes, volleyball two-a-days, sorting-billing-shipping, one soccer tournament - two boys - three days - eight games, too much driving, too much running, too much heat, too many chores left undone.

And now here we are on the last week before school starts.  Before I have one kid in elementary school, one in Jr. High and one in High School.  High School?  Crap. . . am I really here, with a kid in High School?  If I really want to get myself going I have a High Schooler and a Toddler and a couple in between.

I need something less freaky to think about.  How 'bout the August kits.  If you're already on autoship you should see your kit today or tomorrow.  If you aren't on autoship, I have a couple left, and there's one with your name on it, just begging to come live with you; simply buy it outright.  Or buy at the autoship price which will enroll you in autoship so you're sure to get September's kit.

Just take a peek at what you can do with the Smaller than a Breadbox for August.  Guest Designer Kristi Bergin-Smith created this fun layout using the Lily Bee line and the Recipe for August.

I need to get my butt back on track - so before the volleyball tryouts, before the soccer practice, before shopping for school supplies - I need to get my chores going.  So, I'm off.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Out With the Old, In With the New

Blogger has been giving me fits - seriously.  The Week #3 Winner post never went up, so I'll just combine it here with the LIST O'WINNERS. . . (chosen using
  • Week #3 Winner:  Jengd
  • Week #4 Winner:  Teddra
  • Christmas in July Giveaway Winner:  Patchi
  • Grand Prize Winner (chosen from anyone who entered during the Series):  Shelly V.
Little bits of info from the Series:  79 layouts were created, eight people shared their work (thanks to those who took the step and shared for the first time), I think the oldest kit I saw was four years old,  naked chipboard was used, there was a lot of old stash hauled out, great photos circa '80s were used, some even discovered it was time to let go of stash that no longer held the magic.  And finally, not only can I NOT count, I also can't proof - and nobody said anything about my titles being totally messed up around day 14!!

Thank You to all who participated, both those who shared and those who kept their work close to their hearts.  It was a great month. . .plans for the next monthly series are in the works.  I'm thinking September - these things take me a month to recover.

Prizes will be shipped out when I do kit shipping in another week or so.