Monday, February 28, 2011

It's My Party - I'll Celebrate When I Want To

Did you know Apron Strings turned six on February 1st?  No?  Not surprising given that I only mentioned it once.  On Facebook.  LOL.  And I think I even said "five" not six.

But that's the nice thing about your birthday - you can call the shots; case in point my sister's mother-in-law's birthday is Dec. 25th.  At noon, it is no longer Christmas and is all about her birthday.  So I am..  Calling the shot, that is.  March will be all about the celebrating.  I'll celebrate six fantastic years and thank you for making them possible.  I'll celebrate the start of my seventh year in business and thank you for helping me continue doing what I enjoy.  And I'll just plain celebrate 'cause it's fun to do so.

What's on the menu?  Oh, big sale on the website.  Bargin Boxes.  Weekly specials.  Challenges here.  Presents galore.  I have a couple of the cutest Doodlebug totes that I'll fill up with some goodies for some lucky challenge-players, plus other little treats.

Go, dig out some photos, stretch those fingers, rev-up your creativity and let's get ready to party.

Monday - Do-over

As was obvious, I was over-run last week as far as blogging was concerned.  I just wasn't able to get back on.  I wish I could say I was well accomplished in other areas, but such was not the case.  It was more recovery and getting back into the swing of things and a couple steps back before finally heading out forward again.

Here we are at a new week with exciting things to come for the month of March - which oh my gosh, is tomorrow!  More about that later.

I missed a few days of the LOAD.  Okay, I missed a couple weeks!  I had big hopes for what looked on the surface to be a sports-free weekend.  It filled quickly and I just couldn't push myself to sit down to play.  But Sunday I twisted my own arm to complete Day 27 - seen below.  One more day, and I'd like to finish the month active.

The weekend wasn't totally sports free.  My 12 y.o. had a preseason tourney down in Pueblo (2 1/2 hours south of us) so he and Daddy packed up and headed down after my 10 y.o.'s last basketball game on Friday night.  The 10 y.o. and his team took 4th in the city tournament against the other 4th grade boys team from their school.  Nothing like losing and then losing against your classmates and having to listen to them on Monday morning.  The team and their trophy can be seen below.

The 12 y.o. son and his team took 3rd place in their bracket.  The third place came down to an off the field tie-breaker.  It was a good start to the coming season.  Tourney #2 is this weekend a little closer to home.

No challenge today, but stay tuned to get the low down on the coming month.

Happy Monday!

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Bluff Was Called Monday

So apparently viruses don't listen to me any more than my kids do.  I tried ignoring it, working around it and through it, but it didn't work.  If I didn't know better I'd think it was my version of morning sickness. . .but I know better and it's not.  Whatever it is, though, it sucks and I want it gone.  Soon.  I had big plans for this four-day weekend and sitting the majority of the time, sitting that doesn't involve scrapbooking, wasn't one of them.

Feeling well or not I had things to do - my son's games - one winner and Consolation Round Champs, WOOHOO - Way to go Tom!  And the first loss for the other, by one point, moves them to play for third next weekend.  

Check out February Guest Designer, Deanna's final layout for the month.  She used the October Afternoon Modern Homemaker line in the Smaller than a Breadbox kit and the February sketch from Becky Fleck at PageMaps.  Deanna used the line to highlight a Chinese dinner on a cruise she took.  It's adorable and totally out of the "Homemaker" box.  Thanks, Deanna, for a fantastic month.  You can keeping getting great inspiration from Deanna on her blog HERE.

Deanna's Tips:  I used a Bazzill Stitching Template for the circle. Added Doodlebug Alphas, Black Floss and Ink, Black CS for my matte, and Jillibean Soup Journal Spot to the kit.

Drawing from Deanna's layout for inspiration, kick off the week, Monday's challenge is use stitching on your layout - real would be great, but rub-ons or pen work fine too.  Upload by Sunday evening.

A little housecleaning:  Cookie Jar Treats will be heading to Nitasha (Week of Jan 31st) and Patchi (Week of February 7th) and Carolina Girl (Share the Shame-Stamps).  Congrats ladies.

I'm off to see where my energy is for today and work with it while I can!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Five on Friday

I started to get those pre-sick feelings yesterday, at least I think that's what they were.  Sort of light body aches, couldn't get warm and intense feelings of exhaustion - the just let me lay down kind.  As moms know we don't get sick days, so I'm just pushing on and I refuse to acknowledge any remaining not-well-feelings.

Plus, I don't have the time to be down.  My kids are out of school today and Monday.  Hubby and I have a date at the home show.  My sister is coming in for an extended weekend.  My boys have their games - one semi-final and one final.  We have a family birthday party with said in-coming sister.  My daughter has some blow-out of a birthday party to get primped for.  Hubby's heading out hunting on Sunday.  Plus all the regular stuff that goes on in families on weekends.  See no time.  I'm pretty sure if I just ignore the warning signs they'll go away.  Right?  They wouldn't dare mess with me!

Let's see . . . 5 on Friday. . .5 on Friday.  Ah, here ya go:
  • 1 sheet of cardstock - neutral colored
  • 1 sheet of double-sided patterned paper
  • 1 set of fabric/felt embellies
  • 1 something bling-y
  • 1 set of naked chipboard - it needs to stay naked.
Remember outside of journaling and title, the above list is all you're allowed.  Upload it by Sunday evening.

Alrighty, time to go see why the toddler's screaming, who's bickering, how long someone's been on Facebook and go, no run, to my happy place.  Have a fantabulous weekend.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sketches on Thursday

I was a lazy blogger yesterday - I thought about posting but never when I was around my computer.  Doing some wrap up stuff with shipping, starting to think about April products, calming the romantically distraught, breaking up bickering wars, and general domestic stuff of everyday life took up my time.

First things first, Sketchy Thursdays has the most adorable sketch up for this week, so I just had to grab it.  You can see the sketch and the awesome work of their design team HERE.  Plus it's totally translatable to a double-page layout.  Upload your layout using the sketch by Sunday evening.

On Monday my mom swung by to deliver Valentine's for the kids and a deliciously, fudgy brownie for Chris and I to share.  Because Matt was down sleeping she offered to pick up the kids.  Fantastic!  Anytime I don't have to wake him, life is good.  After she left I finished up something I was working on and then looked around and realized I had 30 minutes that I didn't have something to do or somewhere to be.  I decided to be naughty and scrapbook a layout based on one of the LOAD challenges.  I don't often scrapbook when the sun is up - I felt like a vampire caught out after sunrise - a little nervous.  But I grabbed my challenge and the kit I'd paired up with photos that I took with me last weekend and in 30 minutes I created the layout below.  The challenge was to use buttons.  I am a happy camper with buttons, but in all the ways I use them I don't remember ever using them as a border - duh!  So that's what we have here.  I used the Bella Blvd papers from the January Smaller than a Breadbox kit.  Holy cow!  How many current kits is that?  Three?

Did you see the adorable little mailboxes in the newsletter or the scrolling images at the top of the blog?  Sous Chef Kristin Perez created them with scraps from her kit.  She was sweet enough to post a tutorial on her blog HEREGo check it out.  I know Valentine's has passed, but you can keep the idea for next year, or change the papers and use it to leave little notes to your kids - especially if they love getting mail.  Decorate it for Christmas for letters to and from Santa.  Slip chores in it, and have the cleaners pull out what they'll do that day - more fun than a hat and cuter than a bowl.  Decorate it as a piece for your home decor.  Lots of good ways to take this great idea and make it yours.

Off to find something to do.  Have a scrappy Thursday.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Let's start the week off right with some inspiration.  We'll start with February's Guest Designer Deanna Deaton's layout de Jour - isn't it the cutest thing?  Hopefully it didn't escape your notice that she made three pages with this one Echo Park pack from the Smaller than a Breadbox kit!  Way to go - and isn't her Granddaughter the cutest?  Her page makes me think of cake. . .frilly lace, like icing, the delish colors make me think of a layered cake.  Seriously, I think I need to make a cake.  Go check out more of Deanna's fantastic work at her blog HERE.

So let's see. . .today's challenge is to create a layout using those traditional Valentine's colors; red, pink, white OR create a layout about something you love.  Upload it by Sunday evening.

Now, it's my turn.  My boys had a great weekend in basketball - the 12 y.o. and his team are heading off to play for third place next weekend with their win this weekend against a team who hadn't been defeated in three years!  My 10 y.o. and his team are heading into the semi-finals for the championships with a one-point win this weekend.  Really, the coaches should tell them not to do that to their mothers.  Way to go my boys!!

On Friday, I made the last minute decision to head out to Archivers to crop.  For the sisters who are reading this, it WAS last minute, like at 3:00 I called to save my space for a 5:00 crop.  In the couple hours I had, I needed to get dinner ready and then figure out what to take with me.  I'd used up my stash of items during the last crop I went to.  Basically, I was snatching and grabbing having no idea what I was taking.  I was just trying to match up photos to kits to LOAD challenges.  In the end I had a mismash of stuff, my iPod and my shoulder tote bag.  I grabbed dinner on the way to have no interruption in my time.  I popped my earbuds in and started working.  In the end I finished nine pages which equalled five layouts and caught up all but one of my LOAD challenges.  Of course I didn't get any done over weekend, so I'm behind again, but still. . .  And if you'll note, there is one layout using this month's Fancy Pants (holy cow) and one using last month's American Crafts (dang).

This LOAD challenge thing has been so fun.  I know she's handing out goodies every now and then, but truly, the thrill is getting so much done and I'm hoping it helps solidify a "habit" to scrapbook more often - it is a 2011 goal after all.  The above layouts represent an "intended" journaling challenge, a five item Friday challenge, a "feeling" color challenge, an inspiration challenge (which I don't collect inspirational items, so it was just a sketch, LOL) and a challenge based on a magazine page.  Like I said I got all but one, a button one of all things - I can use buttons no problem - caught up and then this weekend's challenges I didn't get to since I was swimming in boxes.

So I'm off to get chores done, get a nice dinner planned and maybe bake that cake, so I can play again later today.

I hope there's a touch of cheery red and pink in your day,

Friday, February 11, 2011

5 on Friday and Classes

I missed a few days of the LOAD Challenges but I'm still plugging away and I've printed off the missed challenges to do them, hopefully, this weekend.  I did take just 40 minutes, yep 40 which for me is pretty good, to do the layout below.  That includes picking the papers and photos.  All I can say for myself is, wow!  It does need a title in the upper left, but otherwise it's done.  Day 10's challenge was using a sketch, and we all know how great those are.  This layout also includes a first for me - I sewed on it! Granted it was only stitching on the buttons, but it's sewing.

I'm also taking "Embracing Imperfection" over at Big Picture Classes.  The FREE class started yesterday. She has some great advice so far that I think in one way or another encompasses almost every scrapbooker. 

I'm clicking away on my goal of making more me time, this week I'm finding it in scrapbooking with help from the LOAD class and the BPC.  To make sure you get some "you" time during the weekend, here's today's 5 on Friday:
  • 2 sheets cardstock
  • 1 set of round embellishments
  • 1 set of chipboard
  • 1 sheet of stickers
  • 1 set of fabric/felt embellishments
Remember outside of journaling and a title, no other items can be used in this layout.  Upload it by Sunday evening.

We are in round two of City Tournaments, and my son's team who were in a do-or-die situation (it was two losses and out) won last night; he'll play again on Saturday morning.  Son #2 will also play in the afternoon on Saturday.  So that along with the whole shipping extravaganza make up my weekend plans.  Well, and getting caught up on LOAD.  Oh and maybe tackling more of my studio.

Hope your Friday is fantastic!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Ironed For You

Domesticity.  If you had asked me when I was little what I wanted to be when I grew up, I'd have told you "a mom."  Ask me out of High School, I'd have said the same thing.  There was nothing that pulled at me that I wanted to do as a career.  I tried.  In college I gave accounting a go.  When I hit Cost Accounting in my Junior year, well, accounting and I decided it was best if I stuck with my original plan; being at home.  Now that I'm "livin' the dream" does that mean I'm lovin' it too?  Oh my gosh no, not every day.  There are parts of homemaking that stink - oh, like, say ironing. 

There really isn't much about ironing that I like.  There once was a stack of clothes on the dryer waiting for ironing for over a year.  Now, I was pregnant and nauseous during the some of that year. . .people in the house were lucky to have clean clothes. . .but it was pretty easy to just ignore that pile.  So it goes without saying that me and ironing, or lack there of, is well documented here in the house.  So much so that when I pulled out the iron and ironing board today my husband, looking dumbfounded and doing a double-take on the items I was handling, asked with hopeful confusion, "You're ironing?"  No, I'm not - I'm working on kits and showed him the mound of white lace that should have been nice and flat, but instead looked more like rope - all twisted and folded.  I'm not sure what genius thought wrapping lace on a card was a good idea, but it so was not.  I couldn't include something that looked like that in a kit.  So, for you, my members . . . who I love. . .I ironed.  I ironed yards and yards of white lace so it was nice and flat and usable.  If you don't use it, I don't want to know.

Another daily duty of the homemaker is hunting.  Oh, not as in dinner on the table, but more the "Mmmoooommmm....where's my shoe?"  Usually, it's where they kicked it upon entering the house, but their selective vision won't allow them to see it.  So, to save you the trouble, I've hunted down today's sketch.  From Becky Fleck for Apron Strings, you can see more of her sketches at PageMaps.  Upload your layout by Sunday evening.

So, those stamps I mentioned yesterday - I've sold half the sets I listed. Can you say "studio decorating money?" Guess I better keep pluggin' away at the purging-organizing thing, but today is billing day, so the studio will be on hold for a little bit while I immerse myself in that process.

And finally, check out the Scraps of Color blog HERE.  If you register to get the eZine and answer a quick question about Apron Strings you could win.  The eZine is huge and FREE!! If you haven't check it out, and the article in it that feature Apron Strings (pages 8-12), go and gather inspiration.  How can you lose?

Okay, then I'm off.  Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Share the Shame. . .of Stamps

Two drawers in my cubbies held stamps.  47 stamp sets, plus four roller stamps; almost all Stampin' Up!  Ashamedly, nine of them had never been mounted or cut and at least five while mounted, had never been used.

Now, I have one empty drawer - soon to be filled with a child's memorabilia (I need three more drawers) - and nine stamp sets that I'll be keeping, in the other drawer with hopefully whatever stampin' paraphernalia I plan to keep, as well.  Five other stamps I'm keeping are  for sentimental purposes; I used them to create my two oldest kids' baby announcements.

I also have a binder of The Stamps of Life acrylic stamps - I have used those.  Those, and the ones I'm keeping are on the list of 2011 goals for using stamps/creating cards.

I listed 23 sets on eBay where they can go live productive, happy lives, will give away the remainder and have one set aside for someone here, on the blog.  Earn it by sharing your purging during Share the Shame.  You don't have to be dealing with your stamps but you do need to show what you worked on to get it.  Upload "before" photos if you have them, but "after" photos for sure by Sunday evening. 

I'm off to tackle yet another drawer - the stamping accessories drawer.

Monday, February 7, 2011

DONE! and Monday Do-Dads

Welcome to Monday!  I hope your weekend was a good one.  We had one win and one loss over the weekend, one birthday girl, two friends and one bummed out boy over the loss of the Steelers.  Two cheesecakes, 40 cake pops and take-out Chinese.  One more layout, eight filler-photos and one completed December Daily album for 2010!  The layout above used the LOAD challenge, Lain's own version of 5 on Friday - sweet.  I'll have to play catch up on challenges five and six; falling asleep way too early on Saturday killed getting that one done and then the birthday girl's party and the subsequent cleaning afterwards has left me with no time for day six.  Back on track with it tomorrow.

Here we have February's Guest Designer, Deanna's layout for this week using the My Mind's Eye Alphabet Soup pack in the February Smaller than a Breadbox kit.  Isn't it the cutest?  If you like this one, check out her blog HERE for more.

Deanna's Tips:

  • I added a bit of a white edge around my photos by using a sanding tool.
  • Use border punches to create decorative edges to your layout.
  • I used the backside of the 'Zoofari' paper for my curvy journaling tag.
  • Don't forget to mix your kits too. I used the dark grey cardstock from the Echo Park kit for my photo matte.
  • Everything from the kit except for the American Craft Foam Thickers, VersaMagic Black Ink.
Hmmm. . .challenge, challenge.  Something for Monday.  AH!  Use something on your layout today that you've been putting off.  Like. . .oh. . .stamps.  Say you have a ton of stamps that just sit, pull them out and use them.  Oooorrr. . .punches.  You know the ones sitting and collecting dust.  Whatever it is - find it, get it, use it.

Off to get my week off to a good start so I can play later ;)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Scrappin' Away and 5 on Friday

As I mentioned earlier this week, I was looking into a couple classes to keep my scrapbooking rolling for this year.  I decided on the LOAD challenges (LayOut A Day) by Lain Ehmann.  Unfortunately, I'll miss out on the end prize package because I didn't read the "upload daily" portion of the FAQs until I'd missed two days.  But I hold out hope to maybe win something else along the way --- not the Cosmo Cricket goodie package, because I didn't read about it until after the deadline; the same day I discovered the whole "daily" thing.   I seem to see some kind of reading-theme here, or a problem with reading.  Hmmm.... Oh, well, the end prize really is the number of completed pages at the end of the month.  Wow, can you even imagine, 28 pages?  28 completed pages? 

Below are the five layouts I've done so far, plus one more I didn't photograph, it's awaiting photos.  So six in 3 days!  They are all part of my December Daily, and as of last night I have only the 31st to finish.  Well, and print the filler photos.  I did incorporate the first three LOAD challenges into the layouts:  a favorite photo, which wasn't so much as "favorite" as it was "next."  Then a song lyric or title, which is my Day 30 - the White Christmas that came 7 days later.  And one more, which I liked so much I may have to use it here - with all due credit going back to Lain and her LOAD challenge.

It should be fun to see what I can get done this weekend to go with the next challenges.  We have the beginnings of the boys' City Championship Tournaments kicking off this weekend - it's a three week event.  My sweet baby girl will be turning 14!!  Flippin' 14!!  OMGoodness, help me!  So, we'll be celebrating that this weekend.  And there's a Steeler fan in the house - I can only think he inherited it from his uncle who was a Steeler fan as a boy as well - so we'll settle in with finger foods, football and SuperBowl commercials.

Now, you'll need to kick off your scrappin' for February and/or the weekend, so here is your 5 on Friday to get you going.  Drawing from my own work above, which when looking at them, look very "five products."
  • 1 sheet cardstock
  • 1 sheet patterned paper
  • 1 set felt embellishments
  • 1 set epoxy embellishments
  • l length ribbon
For those new, or if you just need a reminder, only the above listed ingredients are allowed on your layouts.  You may add journaling and a title.  Layouts are due Sunday evening.

Alrighty, I'm off to Parent Appreciation Day at the kids' school - where fun and tears are always on the menu.  Nothing says, "Thanks, Mom & Dad for sending us to this school" like the poems, cheers, and songs presented by little round-faced kiddos, that leave bleachers-full of parents bawling.  Should be fun.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

2011 Goal Review aka How'm I doin' so far?

In order to keep myself on track and accountable, I figured I'd see how I did in my first month for my 2011 goals - LOL, we'll see how long this lasts.

  • Eating - or better eating anyway and menu planning.  Started out strong, then the stinkin' Brachs Cherry Hearts came out for Valentine's Day (those close to me know my issues with this candy) and there was a day or two of "slide."  But the not feelin' too hot sugar rush put an end to that binge.  Now it's just a matter of control, because there are still two bags of those little devils and sugar rush or not, I still love them.  The menu planning, is not necessarily written out but I  have cooked every night.  So that's something.  It's just a matter of sitting with my cookbooks and planner on Sundays.
  • Walking. . .hmmm.  Yea.  Not so much on the walking.  I'd like to blame the cold, but really the cold only settled in on Monday.  That would be just lazy on my part.  Once the cold snap breaks I'll have to try a little harder at this one.  Okay, try at all.
  • Organizing.  I am back on my regular cleaning schedule thanks to Motivated Moms - love that system.  Actual organizing is going okay.  I rearranged my family room and moved toddler toys into our unused dining room, funny how they take up no space there, but seemed to fill every nook and cranny in the family room.  I've tackled the kids' space in the basement and dealt with the top layer of clutter in my scrap space. 
  • Me Time.  Took myself off to a crop - super-duper.  Read a chapter in one book - great.  Actually did a little sewing - awesome.  Have gone through two magazines, which unfortunately is barely the tip of the iceberg.  Overall, not bad.
  • Studio Space.  Covered a little bit about it above and have plans to tackle some more this week.  Have an idea growing in my head as to how it should look.
All in all not a bad month.  Good start.  Feels good, too.  Stay tuned for February, LOL.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sketches on Wednesday and a Little More

Ah, yeah, so we have snow now.  Only a couple inches, if that,  unlike our friends to the northeast who are about to get hammered, it is snow.  And it is cold!  We had a high yesterday of -2.  It's not lookin' a whole lot better today.  AND, AND, my kids have had two snow days.  Really?  I mean I know it's cold and that the roads are frozen under the layer of snow, but really?  They're thrilled though or they were until I reminded them they had to get up early for dental cleanings.  hehehehe

I looked back at the goals I set for myself just a month ago.  We all know I accomplished my "one page a month" - with 11 in all for January.  I'm looking into two classes to help me continue that solid trend for the month of February:  Big Picture Classes has May Flaum's Creative Retreat - I did really well in her last class; the prospect of winning prizes certainly helps.  The other is Lain Ehmann's LOAD (Layout a Day) class.  I have never taken one (she does two or three a year)  but have heard great things about it.  That's where I'll be attempting to get pages done this month.

And to be sure I do my best to help you accomplish your pages-per-month goal, you'll find a Becky Fleck sketch below.  This was one for Apron Strings, but you can always find more at PageMaps.  Do it, load it and link it by Sunday night.

Where in the world is Apron Strings?  You can find Apron Strings at the following:
  • Scraps of Color eZine - click on the cover photo of the magazine to access - you'll see Apron Strings kits featured under "Sketch Inspired, Kits Desired."  But check out the entire 78 page publication for great ideas.
  • Cookin' Up Creations - I couldn't find the post with the information, I think it's for the blog, but their site offers a large amount of options for inspiration.  Apron Strings is the February sponsor.  So when I find the post, I'll update the link.
  • The Paper Variety blog - Apron Strings starts a week-long sponsorship.
So with all those options for inspiration, I shall leave you to deal with cabin-fever kids.

Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sharing the Shame. . .

Time to share the shame. . .Hello, my name is Lori and my scrapbook space is a disaster.
One of my goals for 2011 was to make my cropping space, my studio as it shall be known, is to make it a place I actually WANT to go to.  My dilemma is that I work in my studio space - don't you love the sound of that word, "Studio?"  Sounds inviting.  Sounds like a creative space.  Sounds like an oasis.  Anyway, I tackled the surrounding area, which is "Kid Space," toys, Legos, Wii, train set after train set, etc.  The Kids' Space is in better shape after dealing with it over a couple of days last week.  The problem is now it makes my space really look bad. 

As I stand in the middle of my combined Apron Strings mess of paperwork, invoices, sales receipts and products,  plus my scrapbook stash of kits, loose papers, scraps, photo stacks (scrapped or not is the question), and stray embellishments it's overwhelming.  Where do I start?  How do I begin to dig in when I don't know where I'm going to start and I know it's gonna look worse before it gets better?

Well, follow me and we'll figure it out together.  If your space looks like this, or maybe worse, though it's hard to imagine. . .

I (we if you're willing to share your shame) will be sorting, purging and organizing to make my studio look like the picture in my head.

There will be encouragement and "encouragement" along the way.  Start by taking and sharing your photos - I warn you, what your lens sees is far scarier than what your eye sees.  Whether you work at your kitchen table and photograph the totes, cupboards or drawers you store you stuff or you have dedicated space, sorting, purging and organizing is a good thing.  Really.