Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blue Plate Special

One day ONLY!
Fill your treat-bag with all things Halloween and save up to 50%!
No coupon necessary.
Offer ends in the witching hour tonight, so don't wait.
Dig-up all the goodies HERE.

Happy Halloween. . .Croptober #22

Happy Halloween!
I sent off one doctor, who looked too cute - pics tomorrow.  One dinosaur.  One young man dressed for a dance with a nod to Halloween in his purple dress shirt and lime green tie (this boy is getting too big for my tastes!)  One younger man dressed for a class party at a local fun center - his only allowed recognition that it's Halloween, his bright orange shirt (don't get me started on this topic!) 
I've got candy to buy, and a box to find for the 12 y.o.'s costume, but otherwise I think we're good to go tonight.  The 15 y.o. is heading to a party with friends and the 13 & 12 y.o. will probably end up taking the 4 y.o. around the neighborhood.  Time, they are a changin'. And I don't like it.
Grab a little spirit today with this layout by Kristin Perez using her October Bigger than a Breadbox kit - the October Afternoon Witch Hazel line.
Croptober's final challenge/inspiration comes straight from Design Seeds.  Uh, and look at that, the same color scheme that Kristin used. . .Wow.  That would mean you can find these colors in the last couple remaining Bigger than a Breadbox October kits. ;D
Happy Haunting!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It Shouldn't Be So Hard. . .Croptober #21

Okay, so what's with preschool costumes being gory and teen girl costumes being slutty?  There's practically nothing cute and cuddly once you get beyond 12 months old, and absolutely nothing "clean" if you're a teenage girl.  My 4 y.o. wants to be a doctor, he loves Doc McStuffins and Peso (from Octonauts).  Can I find a doctor's white coat?  Nope, unless I want it Zombie-ized.  Sorry, I'm not sending my cute little 4 y.o. out with guts and innards hanging off him.  My daughter wanted to be a hot sauce packet, that's great if I want to see her in a dress cut Daisy-Duke short, tight-fitted, pushed up in front with fishnet stockings.  Really?  I finally found a doctor's coat at Target, and my next shot was dress-up clothes from a toy store.  My daughter - she's going a different way, but I'm not sure I'm any happier with the option.  GRRRR. 

Pretzel Rolls recipe search #1 - check.  I did get to these yesterday.  They actually went together easily - I'm not sure why this surprised me, but it did.  My only issue, was the baking.  They burned on the bottom, though the rest of the roll was perfect - and tasted great.  I rose the dough and put the boiled dough back on the same parchment paper, and I wonder if I should have done fresh paper before popping in the oven.  Maybe the water caused the burn.  I don't know.  I'll play with the recipe or the baking thereof, before I move on to another one.

A little inspiration from Maria Swiatkowski today, using the Bigger than a Breadbox October kit - the October Afternoon line.  I'm a huge OA fan, so naturally I love this layout for that alone, but I love how she dealt with the photo she took at a distance (the circle photo on the right side).  I always crop these down way too small, or leave them out altogether, but sometimes there's so much story in that photo. 

Your Croptober challenge/inspiration comes today via Apron Strings Pinterest board, Color Theory.  I really like the wide variety of colors in this scheme, from hot pink to grape.  So yummy and so seasonal, too.  The rooster reminds me I have farm photos to scrapbook.  I love all the texture in his feathers - makes me think of embossing (dry or glazed), patterned paper with a textured look, or even embellishments with texture like canvas or burlap.  Even the layering on this guy pushes me to try layering on my own layouts (something I can not seem to master.)
Upload your layouts or cards by Sunday evening for your chance at this week's prize, the October '11 All Year Cheer Card Kit.
Be on the lookout tomorrow for a one-day ONLY Blue Plate Special.
Happy Tuesday.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Get Rollin' Monday. . .Croptober #20

Last we left I had a whole 'lotta bakin' going on and more plans than hours in the day.  Let's tune in now and see how that went...
  • Lemon Zucchini Bread - holy quick-bread Batman!  Yum.  Moist, just lemon-y enough.  Make again.
  • Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies - Totally moist and you can totally convince yourself their a health-food choice because, duh, there's oatmeal and pumpkin!  Which everyone knows are totally good for you.
  • Pretzel Roll #1 - yeah, didn't get to that one, but they are on deck for baking up this morning.  When I make bread, I use my machine, so this is a first - making bread without my machine and making pretzel rolls - which involves a water bath.  Hmmm. . .
  • Dinner was made and devoured.  After scrambling to figure out a side, I made a humongous potato pancake (thanks to FoodNetwork and $10 Dinners).
  • Last week's laundry wrapped around just in time to start this week's laundry.
  • Purling and I still struggle, but I'm trying not to hold a grudge against it, since it's one of only two stitches in knitting and I kinda need to get a hang of it if I hope to create anything besides wash clothes or pot holders.
  • Soccer did indeed get canceled this past weekend, so we are looking at make-ups.  The official season closes on the 4th, so we'll see what shakes out.  I was looking forward to starting my no-running season, but it looks to drag out for a week or two until the clubs decide what they're going to do with the plethora of games that need making up.
With the open weekend you'd have thought I'd get more done (and I did think about it). . .but no.  DH and I did get out to see "Argo" and have a late supper.  Movie was great and dinner at the new taco place in Old Town was yum!  I also hit the mall with my mother for a delayed birthday present and walked out with a few fun pieces.

Today's Croptober inspiration/challenge comes from Nancy Longo and her layout using the Smaller than a Breadbox October kit.  I love that she used a memo-style paper to create a layout.  So often I cut these types of papers down to create journaling blocks.  I think it's an awesome use of the paper to support her photos.  How will her use of ledger-style paper inspire or challenge you today.

Upload your layouts by Sunday evening to enter the drawing for your chance to win an October '11 All Year Cheer Card kit.

I'm off to try my hand at machine-less bread making, the remainder of my chores, a dash to find a Doctor costume (yes, I waited until the last minute) and prep for dinner with the in-laws (our standing Monday night dinner service.)  I had hoped to hit a pumpkin patch this year, butI think I may be running out of time.  I could take the boys (the daughter will be at work) tomorrow after school up to the closest patch, or I could hit the local grocer and call it good.  Hey, real life isn't always making it to "the patch."
Happy Monday.

Friday, October 26, 2012

LAST DAY to Scare Up Savings

This is the LAST DAY to get big savings, like 31% savings, on your ENTIRE order.

Stock up on Second Helpings of Paper, or maybe TV Dinners, or a wide selection of Embellishments. Maybe you want to make it super easy (which is what Apron Strings kits are all about) by scooping up some Monthly Kits or Card Kits. Get more out of your savings by shopping the Table Scraps aisles.

With savings of 31% (in honor of Halloween, ya know) you can load up that Treat Bag! Enter: BOO12 when you check out.

Don't wait. Today's the last day!
Offer runs 10-24-12 thru 10-26-12. Discount cannot be applied to previous purchases and must be used at the time of purchase; refunds cannot be given after the fact.

Whole Lotta Bakin'. . .Croptober #19

Today is looking to be one of those days with lots on my plate.  I have a line-up of baking to do:  Lemon Zucchini Bread, Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies,  and now that I'm hooked, I need to save money and figure out a good recipe for making my own, so recipe #1 in the search for yummy Pretzel Rolls.  Being Friday, I've also go dinner to make since this is a night we host the in-laws for dinner (a practice started this summer - two nights a week.)  Add the usual household items:  a little laundry - linens, a little straightening, a little work AND my homework from last night's knitting class (Purling and I are learning to get along) and I think I might have more hours in what needs doing than hours in the day.  Dangit!
Today's Croptober challenge/inspiration comes from Maria Swiatkowski's layout below.  She used the Bigger than a Breadbox October kit - the American Crafts' Pumpkin Patch line (you can find the last couple kits HERE.)  Maria is partaking in Project Life - she's doing her own version, which is just one of the great things about Project Life.  Maria loves her mists, and she adds some great definition to her background by misting over a mask, add her photos, a couple small embellishments and she has a completed page.  Love the simplicity and the done-quickly.  Pages don't need to be extravagant and technique filled to look fantastic!  What will you take away from her example to create your own page or card?
Get your own work uploaded by Sunday evening to be eligible for this week's drawing for Authentique's Splendid line. 
Will the last weekend of the regular soccer season be played?  Snow is still on the ground, temps are still below 30.  My guess is that if we get melting this afternoon, we'll be standing and cheering for a very cold 9:00 am game tomorrow morning (temps near freezing), with another slightly warmer game at 1:30.
With little time in my day for messing around, I'd best get going. 
Happy Friday.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Boo Banner Tutorial

I've said it before, but Kristin Perez is like queen-o'the-altered items.  And she showcases her talent, in all its glory here. . .
Hello fellow Apron Strings Lovers! I have been decorating for Halloween at my house - have you been decorating for Halloween or maybe Fall? I have a shoestring budget so there has been a lot of recreating high end craft store pieces with what I have at my house: paint, glue, and finds from the dollar store, garage sales and thrift stores.Take a look at my witch's corner!
The witch silhouette is just a googled image printed out and placed on scrapbook paper. I glued that inside a frame I found at a garage sale for fifty cents. The "stack" of spell books? A tissue box bought for a dollar with titles created by me! The raven is from the dollar store and perched on a decorated tuna can! The witches hat is a paper mache number painted black - the flowers from the October Bigger Than a Breadbox Kit look fabulous on a witches hat! Just Saying!
To complete my witches corner a banner was in order and I LOVED the October Afternoon Witch Hazel papers and decided they must be on display!
Witch's Corner
A close up of the banner!

Here is how I made my banner -
  • I printed out a template for my banner from here at The Fiskars website. I used the pieces on page four of the document.
  • I printed my BOO letter circles from The Graphic Fairy blog. LOVE her site!
  • I traced the flag pieces on cardstock from the October Bigger Than a Breadbox Kit. I traced the flag topper onto pattern paper from the kit. I used the top of the October Afternoon Star Thistle (ledger side) paper because the words at the top of the paper went along with my theme.
  • After inking and distressing my pieces I thought it needed something more ...

I wanted a smaller piece of pattern paper in the middle of my pennant flag so I marked off a half an inch from the edge of the flag on each side. So I ended up with the following -

I cut the piece out and traced it on the October Afternoon Elixir of Eucalyptus paper. I also fussy cut some of the images from October Afternoon Cauldron Bubble to use on my banner. Using twine from the kit I hung the banner in my Witch's corner.

Here is the finished banner!
Hope the holidays gets you crafty!
You can totally take this idea and run - "Thanks" and "Joy" are just two ideas, along with scraps from your Apron Strings kits.  Thanks Kristin for another great idea!

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Knit 1, Pur. . .Well, Just Knit 1...Croptober #18

This was what we woke up to this morning - a good couple inches of wet, really wet, snow.  Trees with leaves still on them don't look too happy.  But my 4 y.o. is over the moon.  It's a game changer when you stop to really take in how your kids act when they're super-duper excited.  It bubbles, oozes and, quite literally, jumps out of them - they can't help it, cant' contain it.  Funny, how when you look at it that way, instead of being annoyed because they won't calm down and stop bouncing around like Tigger, how it's a bit easier to deal with at 6:30 in the morning.
I mentioned yesterday, I took up a new hobby. . .like I have so much free time now.  But I did.  I, along with my sister, my mom and my mom's best friend are taking a knitting class down in Old Towne.  I love the shop.  One of those quaint little places in our Old Towne district (a couple of blocks that make up the town center and dates back to the 1800's and has been renewed into a vibrant little area).  They offer a knitter's version of a crop and you frequently see a gathering of women knitting away and chatting up a storm.  I had originally looked into classes to get my mother-in-law out of the house (long story for another time) but she said "no."  At the time, I had mentioned the class to my sister, who told my mom, who told her friend and well, here we are.  Our first project is a hat - it's cute (hopefully mine will be equally cute when it's completed) and I'll be working with the colors below.  I did my homework last night and need to do a little more before tonight's class when we learn to Purl.  Knit is the only stitch I know now, and I think, sort of, that I've got it down.  Tension in my yarn is my biggest issue, so if my hat comes out the sized for a newborn, I guess we'll know that tension is still my issue.
Today we'll use my yarn photo for Croptober's inspiration/challenge.  It can be the colors that motivate you, or maybe the texture makes you want to use Baker's Twine or some other fiber (remember when fiber was the Big Thing?)  Maybe the brown bag in the background gives you the base for your layout, has you digging for kraft colored embellishments or looking for chipboard.  Maybe the picture inspires you to create a layout about the hobbies you love, hate, or always wanted to try.  Whatever the inspiration, upload it by Sunday for your chance at this week's prize.
I'm excited that there will be no soccer tonight (it was cancelled last night as well), so the evening stretches out with a relaxed dinner prep and a trip to learn to Purl.  WooHoo!  And snow - it's almost a perfect day!
Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scary Good Deals

No trick - only treats. Save a big-as-a-full-moon-big 31% on your entire purchase by entering: BOO12 when you check out.

It's scary how easy it is!
Use the code to save 31% on this month's add-ons, stock-up on all kinds of goods found in the Pantry or save more by shopping the Table Scraps aisle.

Don't wait. Savings are good for three-days only. Swoop in NOW while the selection is best!

Harry Potter. . .Croptober #17

I would never say I'm a Harry Potter fanatic; fan yes.  Stand-in-line-for-hours-for-the-next-book. . .ah no.  I've read the first two books.  I've seen the first three movies and pieces of the fourth.  But there is something about the story, especially the early ones, that I very much enjoy.  I'm not sure it's any one thing - Good vs. Evil.  Magic and magical.  Possibilities.
Today's challenge/inspiration, created by Tomi Ann Hill using the October All Year Cheer Card kit, reminds me of Harry Potter - it's got to be the hats.  I love that line of witches hats.  But dissect the card a little and it's so simple, yet so effective.  An embossed background, a simple scallop edge, some patterned paper and those hand-cut hats.  Take your cue today from this card and its simple, yet effective design.  Emboss your background - or stamp, or mist, or even ink.  Add a simple border below a row of photos, along an edge of your journaling block or to one of your layers.  Hand-cut a design from patterned paper to make a statement on your layout or cards. 
Whatever you choose, share your work here with us.  Inspire someone else.  It could earn you a bit of ooo's and ahhh's, plus a goodie (which I have yet to dig out. . .).  Share your work by Sunday evening to be eligible for this week's drawing.
Yesterday, I took up a new hobby - uh-oh.  Stay tuned for more.
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Croptober #16

I'm thinking today's inspiration/challenge (which comes from Apron Strings Color Theory Pinterest board) should be a snowman, given our upcoming forecasts.  But I'll cling to the remnants of the Fall season while that last leaf clings to tree.
I love color-mix sites like Design Seeds.  Usually there's one color in a combo that is unexpected to me - in this case it's the eggplant shade.  I also like the photo that comes with today's inspiration.  The carrots sort of speak to late harvests, but the mix of textures can inspire your card or layout too.  The lacy green tops, the dirt "misted" carrots, the woven wooden basket.  Even the wrinkled carrots themselves.  Those things make me think lace trim, plaid papers, wooden or chipboard embellishments, mists or inks, distressing and item or two.  Grab your inspiration and create!
Upload your layout or card by Sunday evening to be eligible for this week's drawing.
Happy Tuesday.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Winners Week 2 & 3

If you haven't looked at past entries, you should.  You'll be inspired.

If you haven't played along, you should.  You could totally win. 

The winner (this could be you this week if you play along) from Week #2 for the Authentique Gathering line is Deanna Deaton. 

The winner (hello. . .this could be you. . .card?  layout? That's all it takes) from Week #2 for the $5 Gift Code is Jessica N.  Jessica, send me your email and I'll forward your code.

Congrats ladies.  See how easy it was?  They played.  They entered.  They won.  Come give them a little competition!  And show us your stuff.

It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween. . .Croptober #15

I had a pretty productive morning.  I cleaned bathrooms.  I cleaned the kitchen and tidied the main floor.  I tidied the bedrooms.   I stripped a bed.  I vacuumed.  I swept and mopped the hardwood floors.  I sorted and started laundry.  I made baked oatmeal for the week.  I planned out the week's menu.  I also finished adding Halloween touches to my already-out fall pieces.  I'm so pleased with myself I could almost skip.

We enjoyed a gorgeous weekend weather-wise and endured watched three more soccer games (next weekend is the end of the fall season - but weather forecasts aren't lookin' too hot. . .literally); two losses for the 12 y.o. and a win - can I get a WOOHOO - for the 14 y.o! I also shopped like a mad woman to find my attire for the fundraiser we attended on Saturday night.  I have a nice new little black dress, heels that killed the balls of my feet and some new jewelry. It was a nice evening, just me and the DH - adult conversations, catching up with parents we barely see anymore, good food - some cocktails. . .and we supported the 4 y.o.'s school. It was good.
Since I'm on a roll, so too should you be!  Today's inspiration/challenge is from PageMaps.  I haven't gone to scrounge around for a prize this week, but I will.  Remember, layouts and cards are due Sunday evenings to be eligible for the weekly drawing.
If you haven't checked out the layouts shared in previous weeks, you should - they're awesome.  To, hopefully, spur more of you to play along - with every layout posted this week, I'll double your entry.
Happy Monday!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Inconsiderate Croup. . .Croptober #14

Croup is an unkind snotty brat.  It doesn't care that it gets you up at 2:00 in the morning.; or that it woke you the night before at the same time.  It is shows no mercy for those heading out in the dark of night to sit on the back porch with your child.  It could give a flying rat patootee about the hideous sounds it creates in your child.  I believe I heard it laughing in my face as I headed for a doctor appointment, and resulting prescription this morning when I should have been home enjoying a morning of checking things off my to-do list.  With any luck, Croup is gonna take a flying leap with a good hard shove from Steroid.
Today's challenge/inspiration comes again from Pinterest, though they linked to an Etsy shop.  I didn't grab the link, I'm sorry to say, because these little things need to come live in my family room.  I'll search Pinterest tonight and see if I can find the original link.  But aren't they adorable.  The colors, the texture.  What will they inspire you to create on your layouts or cards?
Show me by Sunday evening to be eligible for this week's prize: a $5 Gift Card to Apron Strings.
Off to get dinner on the table and keep a 4 y.o. with Croup from being, well, 4.
Happy Friday.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wheezy Pre-Schooler. . .Croptober #13

So Croup. . .it's fun. When my now 12 y.o. was three months old, I was first introduced to Croup.  By the second time he had it I was a veteran of the horrific noise of it and of the midnight ER run, the misty treatment and the ensuing night sleeping in the hospital.  The 4 y.o. has had signs, or sounds if you've an experienced Croup-parent, of Croup.  First, a month or so ago, and now again last night.  As I sat outside on the back porch in the "breeze" at 1:30 this morning, I was trying to gauge whether it was ER time.  Ultimately, after about 10 minutes breathing in the cold air and getting him to calm down enough to hear his actual breathing, I decided to take the wait-and-see-approach, which meant turning on the humidifier in his room and sleeping with him.  Somewhere around 4:30 this morning I staggered back down the hall to my own bed and slept another hour and a half before starting the day.  I see fuzzy, incomplete thoughts and not a lot of productivity in my day - which begs the "how is this any different from any other day" question.

Today's inspiration/challenge comes from Pinterest on my "I Can Do That" board.  First, it's just cute and I love the green.  Then there's the mix of ribbon which could say "use ribbon," or it could say "use more patterned paper."  The smudges say "distress or ink or mist."  The letters definitely say "go big."  How does this speak to you?

Once it's spoken and you've created a card or layout, be sure to post it here by Sunday evening.

I have a hair appointment later today, I hope I don't fall asleep during the shampoo. 

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Toto. . .I Think Kansas Blew Away - Croptober #12

So, yep, a little windy.  I think in other parts of the country, with rain and storm surge we could call these hurricane-force winds.  But we're land-locked and our weather people simply call it "gusty."  Should make putting the trash out fun.
I love Halloween - not the grotesque and gory version - but more like the below graphics.  I like Halloween on the softer side.  I love the bottom photo with the pumpkins tumbling out of the fireplace. . .I would so do this if we had a "real" fireplace instead of a gas insert. It's hard to justify buying that many pumpkins to stack on the hearth. 
These photos are also today's inspiration/challenge and come from Pinterest.  I like the three-color palette of black, white and orange.  I like the stripes and polka dots.  I even love the little tree full of bats (thinking I need to make me one of those.)  Shoot, even the way the photos are laid out - stacked like a photo booth strip - gives you a layout for your page or card.
REMEMBER just completing one layout or card will gain you entry into the drawing for this week's prize.  More just betters your odds and you're getting more done, taking more time for you and using more stash.  Come on, we're crafters and more is almost always better. ;D

Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Naked Trees. . . Croptober #11

I figured yesterday, and said so, that trees would be getting rid of a lot of color.  And as I listened to the wind gust last night and early this morning, it became true.  The trees are quickly shedding leaves, some are now naked.  So I'm doing my best to soak up all the last clinging bits of fall; enjoying the colors so vibrant against our Colorado Blue skies, the bright white of fresh snow as a backdrop against the golden leaves, the sound of leaves racing along the pavement, the crunch of leaves under the kids' feet, that crisp nip in the air in the mornings and evenings, the smell of the garden as it turns over from blooming to sleeping - that rich earthy smell, the smell of people burning wood in their fireplaces (before bans go into affect.)  Deep Breath.  Ahhh.  Wonderful.

This photo, is your inspiration for today's Croptober challenge.  The only thing I couldn't get in the frame was the brilliant gold of the tree that shades this part of the yard.  What will you create?  There are colors, but not in the way you may be used to finding color inspiration.  Will you reach for a more monochromatic palate?  Will it make you want to distress your card or layout?  Will you look to add texture to your work?  Does it make you think of the changes in your own yard that maybe you've wanted to capture?  Will it remind you of a trip taken where the most strenuous thing you did was sit in the sand?  I don't know, but I can't wait to see.
All layouts or cards are due Sunday evening for your shot at a $5 Gift Code to use at Apron Strings.
I got a fair amount of my to-do list done yesterday, but not as much in the cooking/baking department as I wanted, so that's the task for today. . .and finishing laundry.  Skipping off to fill my home with the smells of autumn baking.
Happy Tuesday,

Monday, October 15, 2012

Croptober #10

One good breeze and I think a lot of the color in the trees will be gone - they have that look about them.  Unfortunately, they're calling for wind as a cold front comes in over the next couple of days.  Fall is always too short! 

Had one soccer game over the weekend.  A 4-1 loss; it's been a tough season for the 14 y.o. with no wins so far, though I see some improvement in their play.  The other game, drove 45 minutes south, in the rain, got to the fields to see they were still playing in the cold and falling rain.  Sent the 12 y.o. out to warm up (which seems like an oxymoron given the conditions), got 15 minutes from the start of the game only to have the refs call the game.  Really?  The rain had actually slowed, compared to when we got there.  They couldn't have closed the fields BEFORE I started my drive.  It had clearly been raining like that for some time.  Oh well.  So now we have a make-up at some point.  The shot below - yes, I'm playing with my phone photos  (who'da thought) with an InstaGram-like app (I have a Windows phone).  Fun stuff.  I can see why it's addicting - easy and fast, two things PhotoShop is not for me.  Anyway, this is from the 14 y.o.'s game - which was 180 degree difference in weather conditions in just an hour and a half.  Crazy Colorado.

Long list of things to do today - chores, baking, pull out some Halloween stuff to add to my fall stuff, laundry. . . so let's hit it.  Today's Croptober challenge/inspiration comes from PageMaps.  A sketch on Monday always seems a good way to jump into crafting for the week.

This week's prize is a $5 Gift Code to Apron Strings.

Layouts are due on Sunday evening as usual and remember, any one challenge/inspiration from this week will get you an entry into the drawing. . .more just ups your chances.

Happy Monday.