Saturday, June 30, 2012

July Pinterest Challenge

So, I'm addicted to Pinterest.  What can I say.  It's the first electronic thing (I'm a serious paper girl) that I've actually set-up, used and returned to use again and again.  I cook from it (a lot), create from it and am inspired by it (my "Spring" mantel was the result of inspiration I found.)  I've logged into it from my phone to get an ingredient list for dinner; accessed sketches when I'm at a crop and looked up materials lists when I'm at Hobby Lobby.

This month, I'll be using it to help you scrapbook.  Am I recruiting future pin-aholics?   Could be, but in this case it just multiplies the inspiration.  If you don't already have a Pinterest account, you can go get one HERE, then be sure you follow Apron Strings' boards, although you don't need to create boards to follow along; but I dare you NOT to pin or repin anything. ;D 

All month long, I'll be referring Apron Strings' pin boards to create the challenge o'the day.  Daily posts will give you the info required.  Prizes?  Yep, there will be prizes.  I want to see lots o'participation and lots o'completed pages!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Peeks, Grab Bags and Inspiration

I start this with a request for your thoughts and prayers for those who have lost their homes and loved ones in the dozen fires enguling my home-state of Colorado.  And prayers for those who are out there fighting the 12 wildfires, including my brother-in-law who is among those on the front lines.

I've been a homemaking fool this week.  I don't know what's up, but I love the feeling of accomplishment I've got going - canning up a storm, pitting and freezing lots of little red orbs, baking bars and muffins and making dinners nightly. . .all in the lovely heat wave we are having.  I even baked up a cherry pie for dinner.  What other kind would it be?  I mean when you have 30+ pounds of cherries they're bound to show up in a recipe or two . . . or 10. 

Forecasts for the weekend seem to indicate that we'll have more heat - the triple digit kind, so I'm guess I'll be seeing a lot of my basement.  I'm hoping to clear off the spaces in my studio space since I owe you "clean" pictures.  We're heading to dinner with my sister and her husband on Saturday night - but otherwise I'm planning to enjoy the downtime. . .soccer will soon be part of my daily vocabulary once again.

If luck is on my side, I may be able to scrap a little, because Kristin Perez's layout has my fingers itching to play.  She used the Bigger than a Breadbox June kit - the My Mind's Eye line.  I love the simplicity of it.

Peeks of the July kits are up and they're super yummy, bright and just summery!  Make sure you pick-up an add-on  or two while you're checking out the July kits.

Finally, the Grab Bag Sale is almost over; sale ends on the 30th.  These Bags are an economical way to get lots of goodies for a small price.  Like the Patterned Paper Goodie Bags are over $22 worth of papers for just $11.25!  Go Grab up your savings!

 Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Processing Today

viewing  the blank spot where our May Day tree used to be and thinking how empty the kitchen window looks

thinking  about my boy who's at the doctor with his dad

cooking  a batch of raspberry/cherry jam, Blonde Chocolate Chip Brownies, and Pulled Country Ribs in the crock-pot

wearing  my slightly bohemian blue & white skirt, blue t-shirt and flip-flops

creating  Christmas ornaments in counted cross-stitch, pulled out after several years of it sitting

planning  what needs doing tomorrow

reading  The Dare

listening  The Catholic Foodie on my iPod

realizing  the kids' bedrooms need a good clean-out and not really wanting to do it

trying  to juggle it all and make it look effortless

feeling  good about what I've accomplished this week

inspiring  Jennifer Halleck's layout using the Smaller than a Breadbox June kit; the Lily Bee Handmade line.  I love the fresh colors and her layered embellishments!

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cherry Pickin'

A couple Saturdays ago my daughter and I headed out east to do some Pie Cherry Pickin' at a farm we have been to in the past for strawberries and raspberries.  My boys, all of them, were also headed east - to Nebraska and Cabela's.

We left early to try to beat the heat and the crowds.  We had never been cherry picking before, but I LOVE cherries, so I needed to get some.  I had big plans for cherry jam.

After an hour we had two flats full of bright red little cherries weighing almost 13 pounds.  I had a lot of pitting ahead of me. . .

I managed to crank out six pints of cherry freezer jam over last weekend and it is so good!  I have several trays of cherries freezing individually and need to get them bagged.  I have another flat needing to be pitted before they go bad, that I'd like to get into a Raspberry Cherry jam.  If the weather is willing, which I doubt, I may be able to get that done today (it's just hard to can in 100+ heat).  Dear husband came home that same Cherry Pickin' day with 15 pounds of Bings and Rainier cherries.  Those will just get frozen until the weather gets cooler and I can stand over another vat of jam.

Now, here's the scrapbooker in me. . .I know the papers that would be great with this layout. . .the KaiserCraft Nan's Favourites from last September's Smaller kit.  LOL

Happy Wednesday from the land of cherries and fire.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Apron Strings Member Project

Apron Strings member, Melinda Montgomery, sent me a photo of what she's been up to.  She created these altered notebooks using Apron Strings kits ("Dream" on the left used the Bigger than a Breadbox March '12 kit; on the left used the Bigger than a Breadbox April '12 kit).

I love how they're so cheerful, they actually beg to be used. 

This just highlights, for me, what I sorta hoped I knew:  the versatility in Apron Strings kits . . . layouts?  For sure!  Cards?  You bet!  Altered items?  Clearly.  Mini books?  Totally.  Home decor?  Heck ya!  

Looking at these notebooks reminds me that my 15 y.o. daughter loves to customize her school notebooks and she does so using my kits.  She's even altered her locker "gear" to coordinate her color theme of the year.

Have something you want to share?  I'd love to see it and share it.  Drop me a line at

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Studio or Natural Disaster

First, you must know the following photos where taken on several different occasions, separated by months and months, but each show a different state of hideousness.  The first batch, and most comprehensive of looks at my space were taken back in January, when I initially embarked on the cleaning and purging extravaganza.

Kits, kits and more kits.  Seriously, I have very little other product.  When I got hooked on kits, I stopped buying ala-carte.  Kits held all I every needed to complete a layout.  I live the Apron Strings motto. . .what can I say.

The below is the perpetual horizontal catch-all.  The infamous "cube tops!"

Ah . . . shameless confession, the clear plastic drawers hold completed pages and even in January they were FULL!

I know there is a scanner under there.  Otherwise. . .I don't know.

The cubbies hold all the odds and ends I have left over from kits.  In front of that is a whole lotta crap.

Said crap. . .looks like completed pages and kids' school work.

This is work-work space.

More stuff.

Hanging stuff.

Stuff on top of stuff.

Ah. . .yeah.  This is my scrapbook desk.  This is where brilliance should happen.  Looks like not so much.

This is a separate photo shoot - probably from March/April.  There is clearly, or maybe only clearly to me, some sorting going on.  One of those boxes contains purged papers and goodies going to the Kindergarten.  And I can make out sorted piles on top.

Scanner has been moved to make room for a new printer and the giant pile of crap in front of the cubbies has been replaced by Apron Strings paperwork.

You can ALMOST see the top of the corner of a cube, but the pile is still heinous.

Another view of the same thing in an attempt to distract from whatever is going on on the floor.  Sorting?  Storage?  I don't know.

These are from the most recent photo shoot - just a month or so ago.  This looks from my scrap-table outward toward the kids' area.  See how inspiring it is?

And this mess, of course, in no way hinders my getting to my scrap table, the leg of which you can just make out in the upper left corner of the photo.

Ah-huh. . .you know, I'm a much better housekeeper than these photos would suggest.

Things I have learned:  You're never done cleaning or organizing.  It's not a done and move on kind of thing - on the flip side it shouldn't be all consuming either.  Some systems will work for you and some won't.  And, therefore, there will always be a level of tweaking.  The key is not to get bogged-down into the "I can't work until my space is organized" or fall into the constant work of organizing as a way to avoid actually scrapbooking.  Both are deadly loops that will kill your scrapbooking attempts.

Also, keep in mind, what one person find works for them, may not work for you.  One system that someone swears by, may totally mess you up.  The key is trying different things,paying attention to how you work, and not being afraid of taking bits of one way and pieces from another to make it work for you!  There are no rules.

I know my work flow.  I know what kind of storage works for me (semi-open or sheer containers; it can't be behind closed doors and it can't be completely out of sight).  Knowing these things makes cleaning and purging and organizing much easier.  I highly recommend finding a copy of the Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker.  Working through the workbook sections will really help you discover how you work and how best to set up your space to help you work.

More tomorrow.

Happy Monday.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday, It's Stinkin' Hot & I Have OLD Winners

The odd Saturday post.  But I had a few things I needed to let you know about.

Number one:  It's flippin' hot here; our second day with temps over 100.  We're looking at a solid week with temps well over 90, and very little rain in the forecast; not good for anyone including those fighting the fires all over our state.  ICK!!  So I spent yesterday's 102 degree day in the basement cleaning.  If we had a kitchen down here, I wouldn't leave!  Well, and if the futon was more comfortable.  I'm excited to say it's actually livable down here!  Even my studio space.  I know!  Scary, huh.  I'm so happy with my progress, I'll share pics next week!

The kids' space beyond is no longer pig-friendly.  I think I actually heard the pigs moving out yesterday.  Looking at their space doesn't kill any inspiration I may have.  Oh, I have a couple horizontal spaces to deal with. . .like the top of my cubes, but I should be able to tackle that in a matter of minutes.  I also have odds and ends on my desk from used kits that I need to deal with.  Sorting them made me wonder about how I currently have them, but it will require some thought. 

How do you deal with the little bits and baubles of left overs?  Sorted by color, by type (brads, buttons, ribbon, tags, florals, etc.), or by material (metals, acrylic, epoxy, etc.)

Number two:  It has come to my attention that the winners from March's Scrap Your Stash post never appeared.  I checked it out and, it's true, for whatever reason it never posted.  So after a little searching I found my original notes and have the following winners to post.  My sincere apologies for not noticing it myself.
  • Week #1 - Deanna D.
  • Week #2 - Rebecca - Send me your contact information and I'll get you a goodie
  • Week #3 ($10 Gift Code) - Deanna D.
  • Week #4 (Pink Paislee Goodies) - Deanna D.
Number three:  With the super high temps and my deep aversion to them, I will be spending the day in my studio refilling The Pantry.  Come shop this weekend and saving 10% on your purchases.  Enter code BLOG10 at checkout.

I'm off.

Happy Saturday.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Father's Day

Father's Day we headed down south to take the train through the Royal Gorge.  I had wanted to take DH and the kids to the Rockies vs. A's (A's is a childhood favorite), but tickets for a "premium" game were close to a house payment (plus the Rockies aren't so watchable these days), so I canned that idea.  I saw an ad in the paper a few days before Father's Day for the Gorge and thought that might be fun.  DH seemed to like the idea so I booked the tickets.

We drove the two and half hours down to Canon (pronounced Canyon, but I can't find a ~ to put over the first 'n') City.  Matthew was totally psyched - driving on the highway and a train!  Just seconds after we snapped this photo the train blew it's horn and freaked us all out.

At 100+ degrees it was great that the cars were air conditioned.  The train offers concessions as well as a three-course meal, which for the six of us, was akin to the Rockies game.  So we enjoyed overpriced sodas in "collectible cups" and a leisurely ride up the Gorge; two hours round trip.

It's been ages since I've been to the Gorge.  My previous trip as a young child was up on top, going over the high suspension bridge.  Not enjoying bridges, let alone single-lane bridges, or being able to see through them, it wasn't the best experience for me.  They have since added some "rides" that swing you out over the Gorge, including a ZipLine, which my 15 y.o. daughter wants to do, with a father who is willing to let her do it.  Ahhhh . . . hun, can we talk?

The river that runs through the Gorge, the name of it escapes me now. . .Arkansas?. . .is ranked as a Class Four for rafting.  There were tons of rafters heading down the river, but because of the extreme drought and higher than average temps early in the season, the run off is far from Class Four this year.  My husband rafted down this river when it was running at its peak and let's just say I'm glad I didn't know what it looked like before he went.  He has pictures and the river looks nothing like this.  Comparatively, now it's a lazy stream compared to when he went; the rapids were pure white, the water was much, much higher and you could tell was running fast.  F.A.S.T  Still it looked like the rafters were enjoying themselves and were grateful for the frigid water given the temps, even in the Gorge.

The sheer walls of the Gorge, and its narrowness made me wonder not only how they managed this rail link through it, but why!  Why would they pick this route to get to Leadville?

These giant rocks, would be completely submerged in a normal snow-pack and run-off season.

A wooden pipeline built in the late 19th/early 20th century, can still be seen along the opposite side of the Gorge.  How they managed to get that there, I have no idea!  Engineers are nuts!  And add gold-fever to the fuel and it's insanity!

It was a wonderful, relaxing trip and I'd love to come back down in the winter when they run the Santa trains after Thanksgiving.  It would be cool to do the evening run and then stay overnight, given the drive time and the navigation of possible snow.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gettng to Know Maria Swiatkowski

Maria has been a long-time autoship member and Sous Chef with Apron Strings.  She has a great way with the monthly kits - her layouts always seem easy, clutter-free and fresh.  Plus, she's a multi-photo scrapper, even when she's doing just a one-pager.  Plus, she's a Michigander and gets to be near my favorite beaches!

Bigger than a Breadbox June '12 kit - KaiserCraft Rock Pool
About me:  I am married (John), 10 years as of November (I always tell my husband it's the best 10  years of  his life!)  We have beautiful daughters, Alexa (8) and Ava (5) who are the subject of 95% of my scrapbooking pages right now.  We actually live in a rural area, just outside of Detroit, on a little over 3 acres.  It's not unusual to see deer or wild turkeys in our backyard, especially in the winter.  For the last 11 years I have been working for our local health department as a public health educator.  I spend my days guest speaking in schools and am a Certified Child Passenger Safety Instructor - basically I educate and help parents install car seats correctly (80% of them are used incorrectly!)  In my former life (pre-marriage and children) I actually played college softball.  Now I play once a week, for fun and a few hours of adult conversation, unrelated to work!
Why I scrapbook:  I have close to 20,000 photos on my hard drive.  While pictures say a 1000 words, there was no way as the years passed that I could actually remember what happened at those events.  Scrapbooking has become a great way for me to tell our story.  The big stories, like Disney World for the first time with the girls, and little stories, like the funny sayings or phrases our girls have come up with.  I didn't want to flip through photo albums and think "what was this about again?"   And, in a small way, scrapbooking taps into my creative side.  It's fun to play with paper and glue and "make" something. 
What's your scrapbook style:  I would say my style is very clean, and probably rather linear or balanced.  I love patterned paper, journaling cards or labels and border punches.  I love looking at artsy, collage style layouts with a bunch of layering and techniques.  But, when I try that?  It looks like I dumped my stash on the page.  Apparently, my brain just can't make that work.

Describe your scrap space:  I actually have a pretty good sized area in our basement to call my scrapbooking area.  It's definitely not the prettiest scrap area (I'll never be in a Creating Keepsakes magazine showcasing it!) our basement isn't finished, but it's functional.  Over the years we have repurposed items - my husband found an old drafting table top at a garage sale for my scrapping desk.  It sits on a big handmade table (came with the house).    I have our old bathroom cabinets for storage and additional desk area (my sewing machine sits there).  There is an armoire for storage as well.  One of my favorite things is actually from Harbor Freight - a 47 bin storage rack.  It holds so much stuff - inks, small embellishments, punches, chipboard, washi...the bins are removable and I can just turn around and get what I need as I'm working on a layout.

Favorite technique/something constantly in useRight now, my favorite technique is probably misting every thing I can get my hands on.  Or almost everything.  (Lori can attest to that!)  I love how a light spray of mist on cardstock can give it a different look, or a few masks can give it a pattern, or create a border with some scraps of paper.  I also use mists as my go to way to color chipboard or wood embellishments.  My "constant" technique is to print photos with a border.  I think a white border just gives photos a quick "pop" with out having to mat every single one.  I started scrapbooking back when double and triple matting photos was the norm. I'm pretty sure that scarred me for life.  ;)

Thanks for all the great inspiration, Maria!

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mirror Lake

A little wrap up on our trip a couple weeks ago. . .has it really been that long? 

When I was out this morning at 8:30 it was already 78 degrees, which makes me long for the highs of the mid-70's at the lake!  If you've followed me for any time you're well aware of my intense dislike for the summer heat.  It's not even officially summer and we've already topped 100 and the rest of this week will be in the 90's.  YUCK!!!!

So I will try to go back to the crisp, cool blues of this high mountain lake.  This is the lake we drove up to one afternoon - about 5 miles up and out of Tin Cup.  The kids did a little fishing, a lot of rock throwing and a little cairns building.  The dog went nuts running all over and swimming, if the kids threw a rock she tried to fetch it.  DH spent some time chatting with his brother, while I just sat on the rocky shore and took it all in.

I'm heading for the cool recesses of the house in an attempt to 1) clean said recesses to make them more inviting to where I actually want to be there, and 2) escape the oppressive heat - dry or not, it totally stinks!

Happy Tuesday.