Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh My Heck. . .I'm on a roll

It's true.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my kids were off all week, I managed to get several projects started.  The down side is that none are complete.  But I'll take the start on them. 

Got the tree up on Sunday. . .fluffed it out; no ornaments (which is just as well, there's quite the chunk of lights that are out.  Pulled together the fall decorations and got them put away (except the wreath on the front door I just noticed.)  Re-started the reorganizing of my studio/office; still piles that need dealing with, but less than before.  Tackled the cupboard of stamping stuff down here that annoyed me over the summer.  Put away more of my personal kits and papers; but somewhere along the way the top of the cubes are piled with piles.  Continued my back-logged paper work spree for AS - that is one of the piles on my almost clear desk and it still seems like a ton to do.  My laundry was not only started, but finished by Sunday evening.  Shoot we even made an impressive dent in the leftovers in the 'fridge!

All this brings me to a pile or two on (or near) my desk.  I sorted through several sets of magazines - Scrapbook Trends and Paper Crafts.  I've used or otherwise noted what I found inspiration in for both these magazines, but the getting rid of is always the hard part; especially the Scrapbook Trends.  So, if any of you would like to claim dibs on them, I'd love to send them off to another home.  All I ask is that you pay flat rate shipping ($10.44).  I can send you PayPal invoice to pay through, even just paying shipping makes the per cover price far below the $14.99 newsstand price.  I can't remember how many ST magazines I can get in a box, but I have enough I could split them between a couple would-be takers.  The same can be said for the Paper Crafts.  Both sets of magazines are intact and in good shape.

Leave me a comment, with your email address, or contact me directly if you'd like them (

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

December Daily

Some kind of snot-runny-nose crap is infiltrating my house.  I've got the almost-sick-scratchy-throat, two of the boys are stuffy/coughy and the others are remaining unscathed; I figure it's only a matter of time though.  Even the dog is yacking up her food, when she actually eats it.  Fun stuff.

I mentioned one of the things I took time to do over the holiday week was to put together this kit, that I'm ashamed to admit I've had for too long.  However, I'm not sure what to do with it, maybe you have some ideas. The kit/album (last year's Paisley & Polka Dots December kit), as it is, only holds 12 photos - small ones at that. I could use it for my December Daily, though with that number of photos (and little to no room for journaling) it wouldn't be "Daily." I thought about supplementing the album by tracing some of the shapes of the pages (as you can see it's a mixed shape album) on to coordinating cardstock and using some of the left over stickers to tie the pages into the album. Option #2, I use one of many remaining Christmas kits to create a 6x6 December Daily album.  As if I don't have a large enough stash on my own, my arm was twisted to purchase two seasonal kits this year!

Below is the album:

What to do. . .what to do??

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Monday After

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving weekend was great - relaxing, filling, fun!  We enjoyed a quiet day, actually a week (the kids are off school for conferences Thanksgiving week).  But Thanksgiving was pleasant.  I did the cooking for our little family and my in-laws came for dinner - so no extra cooking, no double or tripling recipes to feed everyone and, best of all, leftovers in amounts that are manageable!

Friday was a recoup day - my legs were killing me from two days of prep and cooking.  My husband and two older boys took off for the Eastern Plains to do some pheasant hunting - they were out by 5:00 am.  Saw a couple, one just five minutes into the morning, but ultimately came home empty-handed, but with great memories!

I slept in, but awoke to the sound of water running in the kitchen.  I went down to find the three y.o. fixing himself breakfast.  "Mom, I hungwee.  I make-a-myself brakfast."  And he had.  He had the cereal, that one of his brothers had left out earlier, poured into one of his bowls.  He had opened a banana and sliced some on top of his cereal.  He was washing his hands, he told me, because he had banana on them.  The mauled banana lay on the counter as evidence.  He was so proud of himself.
Friday I took about half the day to assemble the Christmas Kit album I had gotten last year - I'll show it off later this week.  After Xyroning the wrong side of one of the papers (everything was precut, so creative thinking was required) I finished what I could.  There are several pieces that will go on once photos are in the album.  It felt good to craft and felt good to finish something.

It was a productive week - I'll tell you more about it later.

In the meantime, get your creative juices flowing with a little altered project from Kristin Perez, using the November Bigger than a Breadbox kit - the We R Memory Keepers side.  See more of Kristin's work on her blog HERE.  So cute, a great re-use of an item AND if you did something similar in Christmas papers you wouldn't need to wrap it!

I'm off to make my rounds on the Internet.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

May your home be filled with the people you love and
your heart overflow with warm memories.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gobble Up Second Helpings

Isn't gobbling down things fun! Have you picked up anything yet?

In just a couple days it's all about the Second Helpings; pass the Sweet Potatoes please! Today, have as many Second Helpings as you want without fear of the calories or of adding unnecessary jiggling to your various parts.

In case you need them, here are 10 Reasons why you need Second Helpings of paper: 
  1. Because you can get more of the paper you love 
  2. Because you can get paper you missed
  3. Because they're beautiful and frame-worthy. Easy Home Decor! 
  4. Because the kit you received has those papers and you can't decide which side of the paper to use. Thanks go Second Helpings now you won't have to make that choice. 
  5. Because you have a mini book in mind and the Echo Park Summertime is perfect for it
  6. Because you love making cards. 
  7. Because you want to make a Recipe Book with the Crate Farmhouse papers ;) 
  8. Because you picture a "Thankful" banner using the Bo Bunny Forever Fall line hanging on your mantel 
  9. Because you have some plain frames and the Oxford line would dress them up perfect for you kids' school pictures 
  10. Because today, Wednesday, ONLY you'll save 40%!
Whatever your reason for stocking up on Second Helpings of Paper, you can find them all HERE

Remember quantities are limited and prices are only good today. 

Turkey, Pumpkin Pie and a Layout

Thanks for all your suggestions on my recipe-habit; it's always nice to know you're not alone in your addiction.  I'll be looking for some divided page protectors to mix in with full-sized ones.  I wonder if 8 1/2 x 11 divided protectors are hard to find?  I do frequent and have recipe boxes on a couple sites - I just don't have my computer accessible most times I'm in the kitchen, so I don't refer to them often. :D

As usual, I bought my turkey late; I thumped it today and it's still frozen.  My pumpkin pie is still in can-form.  I have a list of things I need for my Thursday menu, but so far, that's all it is . . . a list.  It'll all come together and if something is missing - I'll be the only one to know.

Here's someone who's gotten something done . . . since yesterday was a total bust for getting anything done.  Sous Chef Maria Swiatkowski has a cute layout using the November Smaller than a Breadbox kit, the Fancy Pants Summer's End line.  I love the white space, the hand-cut pices and the adorable heart filled with brads and rhinestones.  Maria was a master of mixing all the kits in the Smaller kit since they coordinated so well.

Well, heaven knows I've got plenty to do and plenty to choose from.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gobble Your Way to Homemade Goodness

So we've gobbled down savings the last couple of days; why should today be any different.

Today we're looking at big, one-day savings on All Year Cheer Card Kits.  This time of year may be chaotic, but there are weekends. . .perfect for doing a little creating.  Load up on a several card kits to create a stash of go-to cards for use during 2012.  Have kids in school?  Create the cards, include an envelope, and tie up four-to-six in a pretty bow for teachers (who love handwriting notes home.)  Know someone who is more hand-written than electronic?  Do the same for them.

Today, Tuesday, ONLY. . .you'll save 40% on All Year Cheer Card kits.  You'll find them HERE.

All Year Cheer Card Kits come with complete color instructions for at least six cards.  The designers tell me they usually have plenty of left over to repeat designs or get creative all on your own.


I have a problem. . .and I hear admitting it is the first step in solving it. 

I love recipes, cooking magazines and cookbooks.  The irony is I only have a passing interest in cooking (I'm no foodie).  It's the kind of interest that lies in having to prepare meals for my family or we'll go hungry.  I guess I sort of enjoy it 9 months of the year - one more reason to hate summer - heating up the kitchen when it's already fires-of-hell hot.  What I do like doing is eating.  My collection shows the kind of cook I am. . .fast, 30 minutes or less, semi-homemade, freezer pleasers, pre-prep, easy, no-frills, down home, comfort food kinda cookin'.  Me and my slow-cooker have a close relationship in the cold months.  The grill and I have a love-hate in the heat.

My problem comes from I'll clip almost anything that sounds good - I have a pretty decent sense of what should taste good just from reading a recipe.  For the most part I've succeeded there; there are always a couple, "Well, this didn't work."  I'm also a strict recipe follower.  It annoys the crap out of me when people want me to add more of this or that.  I can alter things once I've followed the recipe, but it needs to be followed once to see if it's any good.  Chances are, though, if it's good, I'm not touching it. 

All this leads to the picture below. . .a giant binder of recipes I've printed, snipped, cut and generally collected.  Behind the binder is my collection of cookbooks - though that's only a portion.  My pantry has a full shelf dedicated to cooking magazines and other cookbooks.  I rotate seasonal ones and keep my baking and specialty cookbooks in there.  The good side is I use a large portion of my collection.  The bad part. . .if I make a good recipe, especially from my magazines or this printed mess, I forget where it is. 

My question. . .what's the best way to deal with this?  The binder that is.  Nothing is even in the binder rings, it's just all shoved in there.  I need a way to store them (I, at one point, actually attempted to rewriting them into the provided pages, hahahahahahah) and they're all different sizes:  full pages, 4x6, 5x7.  I can sort them into categories, but it's still a mess of papers.  What do you do?  What would you do?  Don't tell me to transfer them to cards.  Please, have you seen my posts lately?  That's just another "to-do" I can't deal with right now.  LOL

And now we're heading into the season of cooking.  The magazines with mouth-watering photos, sweet treats, coupons with recipes.   AAAHHH!!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Gobble 'Em Up Savings on Monday

Hopefully you grabbed a Combo Kit while they were on sale on Sunday.  If not, I'm hoping to be able to get a couple more specials up this week. . .LOL, we'll see what the reality is.  But I have one for today!

Are you toying with the idea of doing December Daily?  Want to dip your toe in the world of mini-books this holiday?  Maybe you're shopping for a scrappy friend. Or maybe you just want to treat yourself and stock up on holiday goodies. Today only, more gobble 'em up savings on a plethora of holiday themed goodies:  Soup for Ones, TV Dinners, Second Helpings of Paper, Glittery things, all are on sale at Apron Strings.  If you're thinking album, grab what sparks your creativity, add a grab-bag of cardstock (let me know if you want the cardstock to coordinate because you're making a December Daily album and I'll do what I can to coordinate the cardstock to your papers.)

You'll find all the goodies in the Blue Plate Special section of the website and your savings will be 40% - today, Monday, ONLY!

Gobble yours down now before they're gone.

Sort of Productive

I had a pretty good weekend, productivity-wise:
  • I had a ginormous pile of product that needed loading to the website and now, well. . .go shop, lots of new things up there!  ;]  I can see my floor next to my desk.  I have to say, it's kinda freakin' me out.
  • Cleaning up the floor led to the store room, which was in pretty good shape.  But putting things away led to straightening up a little more, which led to condensing, which led to the uncovering of some delish goodies - giveaway time will be good times!
  • My personal kit stash was running out of its containers and getting stirred up with other things.  I had some vendor samples mixed in, which only made things worse.  Now it has now been sorted through.  The stash there is now just mine.  Not yet purged so much, but there are piles of "vendor," "keep," "thinking over" and "giveaway."  The three containers that couldn't hold the kits are down to two and an empty cube drawer is now being utilized, though it still has room.  I just need to figure out what to add to it.  It currently holds manufacturer craft kits.  The anal side of me doesn't want to mix things up.  The no-wasted-space girl in me, says "use it!"
  • I managed to keep the house looking okay while I devoted the time in my studio/office.
  • I didn't get to putting together my Christmas kit that I am pretty sure I'm going to use for my December Daily this year.  It didn't stop me from brainstorming on it though and I realized there's another way I could have gone.  Simply cut 12x12 cardstock down to 6x6, add Christmas papers and embellies and punch a whole for either a paper ring or ribbon to bind the album together.  I've got a couple mini albums on paper rings and they work just fine.  This idea, combined with my productivity led to another - see the post later for the fruition of that idea!
And then I hit the wall.  I'm not sure if I got overwhelmed with what I'd done, what still had to be done, or if I got excited I was getting things accomplished and then didn't know where to go next.  Going through my stash got all my creative juices going and I want to craft, but then I got too many ideas.  I lost my focus and had a hard time finding my previous groove.  I hate that.

So, I did what any good scrapper does, I grabbed a handful of candy, turned on Pandora, entered my "anything that sounds like Poison" request and grabbed a stack of invoices to deal with.  It's kinda organizing - there are piles of paper work that rival the piles of product I dealt with.   I little work before play.

Moving onward today into chores and then more work in my office.  I'm determined to move at least one stack of stuff on my desk today.

Happy Monday,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Whew. . .Friday

First off - Kimberly C., please send me your mailing address so I can send out your goodies.  I always love hearing people are being inspired - and that they're cropping because of it!

So what's up with my mind rolling in 30 different directions?  Is it the thought of a week without school, without shuttling to school, without homework to oversee, without dragging people out of bed, including myself?  Is it the Thanksgiving dinner to plan?  Is it the nagging thoughts of Christmas shopping?  Or have I had too much coffee?

Let me focus on something. . .how about some inspiration to crop this weekend. Here is Sous Chef Sarah Fleming's layout using the Bo Bunny Forever Fall line in the Smaller than a Breadbox November kit.  I love the photo. I love the colors.  I love the layered elements in the center.  Beautiful.  You can check out more from Sarah at her blog HERE.

I have high hopes, LOL, of getting the Christmas Album kit that I've had for a year, done this weekend.  Whether I end up using it for December Daily or not remains to be seen.  I haven't done anything crafty in a good long while and I really, REALLY, need to.  So I figured something pre-cut and pre-planned was just the place to start.

I'm also taking a class, Your Story Matters, over at  It's all about capturing your/my story.  It's got fantastic prompts and when I joined, even though the class is geared toward getting layouts done, I knew I would most likely just journal.  For now.  While I've read all the prompts, I haven't taken the time to actually sit down and write my thoughts, and I'd like to do that this weekend, too. 

Then there's the whole planning meals for next week and sketching out the Thanksgiving dinner, making a lists for the grocer, blah, blah, blah.  I have a few orders to place for Christmas gifts.  And then there's all the Apron Strings work that needs doing or catching up on.

So yeah, big plans, high hopes and clearly not enough days to the weekend or hours in the day.  Wish me luck!

Have a great weekend.

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winners. . .Finally

Isn't the saying "better late than never?"  When you're a winner, it's great no matter when you find out.  Right?

My apologies for the long delay in posting these, but here we go.

From September's 4 Sketches/20 Days (there were great layouts posted, if you haven't seen, do go and look.)
  • Week 1 = CJ
  • Week 2 = Deanna D.
  • Week 3 = Jengd
  • Overall Winner = Deanna D.
From Croptober for the Embellishment Challenged
  • I've made an executive decision to award the ladies who played along in October.  So Deanna D., Teddra and Kimberly C. (new to sharing her work her) Congrats!
Congrats ladies on not only your completed pages, but your willingness to play along and inspire others! Contact me ( with your addresses and I'll get your treats out to you.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesdays Are The New Mondays

As I continue to find my footing and navigate to a new normal, I am finding Tuesdays my new Monday. Confused?  Me too.

I'm to the point where I can, safely, lift my head and look ahead a little bit.  Like yesterday I was updating my day planner with some upcoming appointments and realized that Thanksgiving is next week.  WHAT?  Seriously, I had to double check.  I thought for a minute I was on the wrong week.  Nope.  It's next week.  Dangit!  Which made me think of Thanksgiving dinner (I'm cooking, though just for us, but still) and then to December Daily and Christmas Shopping and Christmas Decorating.  (See, this is why looking ahead. . .not always so good, LOL) 

The December Daily part actually gave me a little excitement zap. . .crafting, papers, kits, scrapbooking.  Hurray!  Then I realized I need a plan.  If you don't know about December Daily, go to Ali Edwards' blog and read up on what she does.  There is a different take on it for just about everyone who does it.  There are no rules.  No "right" way.  It is what it is for you.  Some people make only a layout.  Some make an album.  Some do just a scattering of photos.  Some take a photo everyday.  Some collect ephemera from the month.  Some stick only with words.  It is one thing:  SUPER FUN.

I've done it two years now, this will be my third.  I choose to do albums.  First year was an mini, altered album from a kit.  Last year was a 12x12 using stuff I had had for a while.  This year, I have a couple choices - I have a mini album kit that needs putting together that I'd have to add some pages to, or pulling a previous December Apron Strings kit and getting an 8x8 album with page protectors.  I did learn that I won't be doing another 12x12 for this project.  Too big for the number of photos I use, since I did a page a day and I don't collect ephemera.  So while I'm working around the house, I toy with my choices.  The mini album kit would be quick - the pieces are all there, it just needs assembly.  The extra pages would just be cardstock, I think.  I will also be taking Journal Your Christmas by Shimelle.  I took the class last year, but started late.  It has great prompts for photos and journaling and I think it'll a nice way to see the same things differently.

December Daily also means chaos-time with shopping and decorating.  Eww.  But I saw this adorable Christmas Planner on eighteen25 and loved it.  I love anything that's organizational.  I already have a perpetual Christmas Planner I made during a BPC class, but I downloaded the free graphics and will keep this one on file - you know just in case I need two.  Though I can see a mini version of this for my purse.  It's inexpensive, a great use for scraps and, did I mention, it's all about being organized.

It's time to wake the 3 y.o. and head out for the daily round-up of children.  I'll go with visions of Christmas papers, planners and mini albums dancing in my head!

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

No-Soccer Weekend Monday

It's true.  We are officially done with the fall season of soccer.  I had a week of no practices and a weekend of no games.  I hardly knew what to do with myself.  Neither of the boys went out for the basketball team at school this year and so I'm looking at a winter without sports.  OMGoodness - I can't tell you when the last time that happened.  My mind spins off in all directions at the thought - I'm giddy, really.

I'd like to say that I spent my weekend enjoying something of my own pursuit.  That I tackled my office (it's gone downhill in a bad way.)  Or that I had a purge moment and thinned out my closet.  Or that I simply sat and read.  Alas, such was not the case, it was spent buried in shipping boxes, invoices and sales receipts.  Sigh. . .But you know, it's okay - kits are out and I'm determined to get back on track.

Since your kits are winging their way to your doors, here's a little Monday inspiration to whet your appetite to create once your kit is in hand.  This is from Sous Chef Kristin Perez (you can follow her on her blog HERE), and she used the Bigger than a Breadbox November, the We R Memory Keepers side.  She used a sketch from Sketch Inspiration, where Apron Strings was a recent sponsor.

If you're fingers are itching to get going, but you aren't a current autoship member, you can purchase a kit outright - you'll find them HERE.

If you need additional inspiration, you'll find challenges and an Apron Strings prize over at Cookin' Up Creations (you'll find the sponsor information on their blog and Facebook page, as well as in their newsletter.)
I just got a call from a boy who forgot his gym clothes, so I'm off to dash across town.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Is It Friday Yet?

Is it?  Are we close?  I really have no idea at this point. . .someone throw me a lifesaver.  Better yet, just toss chocolate, and I'll just go down happy.  LOL

It's kit billing and shipping time and thanks to some major shipping issues it's more chaotic than usual - but I will prevail!  In messing around with the kits last night I noticed a couple fun things,
  1. The We R Memory Keepers in the Bigger kit and the Crate in the Smaller go together excellently.  If you love mixing, matching and getting more out of your kits, pick-up a Second Helping of either of these to go with what you'll already be getting.  If you want the embellies, grab a TV Dinner
  2. I've looked at the November kits A LOT over the past few weeks and while I can see they have an Autumn Feel to them, don't discount off-the-page ideas to use them up.  I mean I love Autumn, but I'd be hard pressed to do that many pages about it:  Crate's papers would be great with Summer activities - we headed out to the Strawberry Farm again this year, and this line would be totally cute for that trip.  The colors in the We R Memory Keepers line are great for more masculine layouts - remember they're double-sided!  Bo Bunny's rich color pallet would also work for Christmas-themed layouts.
  3. I love Elle's Studio tags and whatnot's.  They're just so fun, but if the theme on the front doesn't suit your layouts or themes, they are blank on the back and thus become the perfect blank page for journaling blocks, stamped images or words.  You can also tuck the "offending" words up behind other elements, cover them in lengths of ribbon or simply cut them off.
I may not be creating physically, but my mind is always working with my kits.  Now I just need to get into the habit of making notes about great ideas and sticking them with a kit so when I sit down I'm not doing the, "Now what was my fabulous idea about these papers?"  I hate that.  I need to be a walking sticky-note.

The Sous Chefs have been working their little butts off this month.  Amy's always a font of inspiration, and her layout below is no exception.  Love the little owls with the park theme.  Amy's used the We R Memory Keepers line from the Bigger than a Breadbox November kit.
Well, I have a full day of chaos and a half full cup of coffee.  It's time for a refill and getting my shoulders into the work.

Happy Thursday!

Friday, November 4, 2011

November Already?

It seems like just yesterday it was a brand new year and here we are in November already.  Crazy.

I'm still trying to find my sea-legs after a crazy, sort of life shifting events of the past couple months, but I'll get there.  Eventually.  Definitely not something I could see or even anticipate at the beginning of this year. . .so thanks for hanging in there.

I will get to the entries for the Croptober challenges and get a winners list posted.  I also saw the winners from September never posted, so I'll have to find that or repost it as well. 

We've got a new month with new yummies headed your way if your an autoship member.  Below you'll find a little bite of what can be created with this month's kits, by Maria Swiatkowski using the Smaller than a Breadbox kit, the Crate Farmhouse line . . . or you will later today when I can get the photo uploaded...story of my life lately, LOL. 

Happy Friday.