Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sad News

It is with extreme sadness, and a whole lotta disbelief, that I let you know our own Sous Chef Anet Tietjen passed away.  Anet was just 39, when she died on Tuesday from an unknown heart condition, leaving behind her husband and two small children.

I am having a hard time understanding this and think a lot about the family she has left behind and their sorrow at this time.  I try to find comfort that Anet was a scrapbooker and her legacy of stories and thoughts are in her albums, holding comfort for her family in her absence.

If you feel so moved to leave a note for her family, you can find a guest book set up by the mortuary HERE.  If you're a member at Willow Traders they are taking a collection for flowers and any leftover amount they are hoping to send Visa cards to use as the family sees fit, or they were talking about getting them dinners from a local make-your-own-dinner places.

My prayers go out to her family.  May she rest in peace.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Eek. . .2 Days. . .

and 12" of snow are not conducive to speeding around the suburbs outside of Denver on a shopping mission.  Instead it sucks up precious shopping time with shoveling.  Well, I'm not actually shoveling, but the people that need to go out with me are.

So while I wait, toasty indoors, I realize I should be planning the meal I'm hosting on Christmas Eve.  It's always nice when you invite people over for dinner that you actually have a dinner. . .take-out pizza probably won't cut it.  I should also finalize what's left to get.  With DH's help yesterday we did manage to take care of a big chunk of stuff - though I'm sure in his helping me, he is himself further behind in what he needs to take care of.  The boys even wrapped a few gifts for me last night, so that helped as well.  I also, after two starts and stops, baked up a batch of Spritz cookies (my faves) and mixed up dough for cutter cookies to do later tonight or maybe tomorrow.  Though, I'm sort of reserving tomorrow for the dashing through the snow.  Literally.

If you're still on the hunt, or you know someone who's still on the hunt for the perfect gift. . .send a gentle reminder about an Apron Strings membership...the gift that gives all year long.  There are several pre-pay options available on the website.   A more budget-friendly way is to just sign-up with the recipient as the ship-to person, then you just let me know how long to run the membership for.  There's also a gift card option (in increments of $25.) 

Today, because I can't find my camera cable to upload photos of the snow, or the cookies. . .I leave you with this inspiration, from Sous Chef Jennifer Halleck, using the Smaller than a Breadbox kit, the Echo Park line (I just love, love this line.)  She also used the December Sketch.

Off to pick up the mounds of wet outer gear that I'm sure, despite my asking them not to, the boys have tossed in huge wet piles in the laundry room.

Happy Thursday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Five Days and Counting

I have decided I will be one of those hair-on-fire, get-the-heck-out-of-my-way shoppers come Friday - and I'm embracing that.  I will no long fuss or fight the fact that, once again, no matter how much I wish otherwise, I am a late shopper.  I do, however, have a couple positives - my side of the family is not celebrating on Christmas Day, as usual, we will celebrate a week later.  So I'm holding off on that shopping (sorry, guys if you're reading this ;))  And my Secret Santa gifts on the other side of the family are purchased and shipped, as are gifts for my sisters kids in Kentucky.  So I guess that's something.  The rest will come as it is supposed to.  If your in the western suburbs of Denver. . .look out, I'll be on a mission.

Last night, because my days are crazy, as I was tossing together dinner, I thought, "I'll make cookies."  My annual cookie bake will most likely not be happening as more than half the family is gone. . .so I thought, I'll just make a couple batches over a couple days.  Sounded good.  I even had the pound of butter sitting out and softening.  Then I made the mistake after dinner, to sit for a moment. . .bad, bad idea.  The thought of getting up to clean the kitchen from dinner, let alone stand and bake cookies, was just too much.  So, I'll give it a go again today.  Maybe if I start earlier.

Or maybe a look-see at this adorable layout, from Sous Chef Amy Crockett, will inspire me to bake later, because clearly the thought of my favorite cookie isn't cutting it, LOL.  Her layout captures all the joy of Christmas Morning and I love the throw-back feel of the photos (whether that was intentional or not, I love it.)

Actually, all that's doing is making me wish I had an hour, shoot 30 minutes, to sit and create a page.  Hmmm. . .that's not a bad idea either. . .

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday. . .I'm Pretty Sure

I'm pretty sure it's Monday.  Unlike last THURSDAY, when I titled my post "Friday. . ."  Ah. . .yeah, like I need to lose a day, you know because I'm so caught up I can afford to lose a day. . .sha, NOT.

The weekend went quickly and it felt like I was doing things.  Only time will tell what I did and what I forgot to do.  Christmas, it seems, won't be stopped or even slowed down.  I did a little online shopping; now the come the positive thoughts that the mail trucks don't get slowed by the storm, or product not in stock even though they said they were in.  You know, all the fun things you think of when you place an order five days before you need it to be at your door.

I'm needing some serious time with some paper and adhesive, paper and adhesive that isn't related to wrapping presents.  If you're in that space too, go take a peek at Sous Chef Maria Swiatkowski's December Daily album on her blog.  Well, the cover and an inside page - loving the cover!!! 
Sous Chef Amy Crockett has several pieces in the the Cricut magazine, but in December issue she's got the cover, too.  Apron Strings was her first design spot and look at her now!  And while it may be a little late for this year, you could certainly make one for next year using up scraps from creating with your December kits ;), but check out her cute countdown calendar.  Shoot, you could alter it to countdown to a birthday, a big vacation or things-to-do-over-summer-break.

Now maybe it's because my own cards sit unfinished on my desk (actually they're in a drawer. . .sshhh), or simply because they're just cute, but these cards made from scraps of the December Bigger than a Breadbox kit, the Bazzill Holiday Style line, by Sous Chef Maria are just to adorable.  I love the simplicity of them. . .I mean a block of paper, a strip of coordinating pattern, a punched circle and a punched mat for it - she used a stamp, but you could find a digital image, create your own image or use left over embellies.  Quick and easy!  Love that.

I'm off to try to figure out my day - there are way too many options.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Friday Inspiration

Ah, a bright, crisp day.  10 days and counting. . .eek!  I see a last minute dash to complete my shopping in my future.  Oh well, for me it wouldn't be the holidays if I wasn't running like a lunatic anyway.

I was out and about early this morning, driving kids to and fro, and listening to one of my podcasts, PaperClipping Roundtable.  It's one of my favorite scrapbook podcasts - lots of ideas and thought provoking talks, hearing the voices of some industry leaders like Stacy Julian and Ali Edwards.  So, imagine my surprise to hear, during the email segment, the hosts mention Briel Schmitz. . .could it be the Briel?  The Apron Strings member, who also frequently shares her work here during challenges?  I think it might be!  I love hearing or seeing people with an Apron Strings connection out in the "real world."  So fun.

Add to the fun by sharing another layout using the December Bigger than a Breadbox kit, the Authentique side, from Maria Swiatkowski.  I love Maria's layouts lately because I can tell she's big into using her mists, which seem to "mist"ify me!  LOL, sorry, it's been a really looonnnggg week.  But she uses it so simply, just dusting the backgrounds of her pages.  So simple, such a great affect.

Well, one more day of school for my boys - and a half day at that.  Today my daughter wraps up her first go-round at finals - or as she says it F.I.N.A.L.S!  She did amazing though, once I talked her down from the ledge.  We're trying to settle back into our regular routines after having dear husband working a "Catastrophic Failure" over the last four days - I think we counted that he slept about 12 hours over those four days.  We'll get there.  Presents will be bought and wrapped.  A batch of Christmas cookies may even get made.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Goodbye. . .Hello to Come

Good Morning.  Did you know there's only 11 days left until Christmas?  Really, just 11.  I'm not really sure how it happened upon me so quickly. . .I mean I was just carving a turkey for crying out loud!  I need to do some serious shopping and it looks like I'll be paying the crap-I-waited-too-long outrageous shipping fees.  How's shopping on your end?  And if you're one of those who finished before Halloween, you can just be quiet.

On a super-fun positive note, Sous Chef Laura not only has a card picked up for Paper Crafts magazine, but she's got a "Cover Shot."  Way to go Laura!!!

Speaking of Sous Chefs, the 2011 team of wonder designers reign is over.  I'd like to take a moment to thank them for the fantastic work over the year and their loads of inspiration that they share with us all.  Thank you to:
  •  Amy - who will be leaving us after many years designing both cards and layouts. She's got a full-plate of things she's doing - it won't be hard to find her work.  Her wonderful creativity will be missed. . .as will her constant push to get me to use my Cricut.
  •  Anet - whose wonderfully clean lined layouts speak to me, and to others who enjoy a less can be so much more approach.
  • Jennifer - a great multi-photo, multi-page designer (after my own heart) and a good ear over coffee or Chick-Fil-A
  • Kristin - whose energy and spirit shines through on her pages loud and clear
  • Laura - who will also be leaving us after many years designing cards.  Laura, as you can see is on to great things - keep your eye out, because you'll see her everywhere.
  • Maria - whose adorable layouts are only made cuter by her little pixie girls.
  • Melanie - an extremely talented card designer, who is also an amazing paper crafter. 
  • Sarah - an amazing designer whose layouts seemed effortless and whose turn-around time is insane!  Made only more insane when you know she's a mom of four, one who is just a couple months old, and was in mid-move on her last rotation!
Thank you ladies, one and all!

I'm off to try to figure out what to do about this Christmas-shopping-day-shortage I seem to have come up against.

Happy Wednesday,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

2012 Sous Chef Call

Are you a Sous Chef in the making? 

I'm looking for two more designers to round out the 2012 team.  If cards are your passion, you could be my gal.  I'm also looking for one layout designer.  Sous Chefs will be required to meet the deadlines and produce a specific number of pieces (depending on the kit you work with), work exclusively with the kit ingredients, provide high quality .jpgs or scans of the pieces, share their work and "chat up" Apron Strings on their blogs and or message boards.  I welcome tutorials for the blog here, just tell me what you've got.

From me, you'll get your kits to work with for free and a 20% discount to be used throughout the year. 

Send examples of your original work to (you don't need to create new work, or work with an Apron Strings kit.  I mean I won't stop you, if that's what you want to do, but the deadline is a short one) .  Include three or four examples of your work (cards or layouts or both), your blog address and any boards you are active on, as well as any other design teams, by Wednesday, December 14th.  Given trouble I've had this year with getting kits to my international designers, I'm sorry to say that I have to limit my search to those living in the US.

I look forward to your submissions.

Another Peek

With shipping of the December kits set to take place here soon, thought you'd like another little nibble of the December kits.  Today it's from Sous Chef Maria Swiatkowski and the December Bigger than a Breadbox, the Bazzill line. 
I love the theme of the page. . .we have an Elf, Abbott, who gets into more trouble than the kids; today he had his head stuck in the cereal container -- I'll have to recreate for the photo.  His first year with us, a letter was written to Santa telling him that Abbott hadn't done his job very well.  LOLOLOL. 

On Maria's layout can you see she misted the cardstock an that she has pen stitching.  Love those little touches.

Long day ahead.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Round Up

And no. . .not the tumbling/gymnastic type of round up, I could never get my limbs to cooperate on that.  I mean, seriously, a jumping-jack was a scary sight.

However, last week, in my review of how my 2011 goals went I mentioned The Round Up, an Ali Edwards idea that comes from another blogger, Katie Nelson (whose blog I intend following, just need to click that button. . . )  I'm looking for ways to incorporate more of the everyday stuff, a 2012 goal.  I'm not sure I necessarily want to scrapbook it per se, but incorporating notes from a given month or day on a page wouldn't be out of the question.  This type of journaling is also something I've often wished I had when I have pictures that don't necessarily have a theme, or they're another birthday, holiday, school deal, or just a photos that don't have a particular story. I think writing down these kinds of thoughts, lists or ideas would be a fun way to put the words and photos together.

With that, here is my November Round Up: 
  1. What books and/or magazines did I read this month?  No books.  :(  Magazines, I continued my two fold reading.  1) to clear out my excessive stash of unread photos, and 2) slowing down for a moment over breakfast and taking a little me time.  With that I read back issues of Memory Makers (yes, I told you it was old!), Creating Keepsakes, Real Simple and a Woman's Day (I think, it was from my mom.)
  2. What movies, television shows, plays, etc. did I watch this month?  No movies really.  We DVR almost everything we watch. . .so Walking Dead!  Hello, this is a must see for us.  My sister and I usual hash it out after the episodes, but have been known to call during one.  Dancing With the Stars, Chopped, and the new show, Hell on Wheels.  Why are those dark, smoldering, fault-laden characters so darn gorgeous!!
  3. What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?  Met a friend at our usual haunt, Chick-Fil-A, for lunch.  Celebrated my son's birthday.  Cooked and enjoyed Thanksgiving.  As for fun. . .hmmmm, sadly I'm hard-pressed to think of something fun that I was involved in.  That can't be good. 
  4. What gifts did I give and/or receive?  We're still on the hunt, no pun intended, for Tom's hunting boots.  Having a tough time finding a style and size.  Oh we'll find the style, but they don't have his size.  Or they have his size, but the boot won't work for conditions in hunting.  Sigh. . . .
  5. What special or unusual purchases did I make?  This would mean I went shopping. . . LOL. . .this is too funny.  I have not been shopping for non-essentials in so long, I can't tell you.
  6. What illnesses or health concerns did I have?  Thank God, none
  7. What were my accomplishments this month?  These are well documented in previous posts.  No need to rehash it.
  8. What were my disappointments this month?  For now, I'll keep these private, save-to-say, I can't think of something fun I did with my family.  That's just disturbing.
  9. How did I do on my goals for the month? (Or any current short or long term goals)  Again, well documented in a previous post.
  10. Anything else noteworthy to include?  Not this time around.
Ali (and Katie) also include the following monthly tasks.  Some are more of a big deal, for me, than others, but I'll list them all in case you're looking tools to help you get organized in 2012.  I started on the photo thing, and then got side tracked by a panic attack when I thought of other things more pressing. 
  1. Upload all digital pictures to my hard drive and clear off memory cards in camera. Place all photos for the month in a computer folder labeled with the month and year. Make a backup copy of the photos from the month on my external hard drive and a dvd. I also upload all photos to my flickr account (you can use any offsite photo storage site, but here is why I love flickr). Ideally, these activities should be done every time you process any pictures through your computer so you don’t lose any precious files, but if you have lapsed during the month, now’s the time to get it done!
  2. Choose photos or digital layouts to be printed out and get it done while I’m thinking about it.
  3. Backup any other documents or files as needed. I use an external hard drive, I also upload many documents to Google docs. I don’t like to lose stuff.
  4. Backup my blog. It’s easy to do if you have one, just use Typepad backup or blogger backup.
  5. Clean off my work area, empty my inbox, and clean up my computer files. Here’s a link to my digi organization post.
Go, round up your November and start in on those monthly tasks.  It's time we got organized instead of just playing.  ;)

Happy Wednesday.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bright and Cold Tuesday

It's snowy.  It's clear.  It's even sunny.  But it's downright cold.  It was 2 last night.  I think it's 10 now.  And break out the shorts, it'll be mid-20s for the high.  Actually, it's great weather to hunker down and decorate or bake or start a nice big pot of potato soup, or shoot, just to craft away.  Now, how do I thaw my fingers enough to manipulate a pair of scissors?

St. Nick visited our house this morning to fill the shoes outside the kids' doors.  Naturally they are dad's shoes as they hold more.  ;)  St. Nick is a nice fellow, bringing new holiday pajamas and then gifts that remind us about being a family and sharing or doing things together, and more so when the kids were little, our faith.  This year he lugged up a new desk chair, so mommy isn't having hers stolen (hey, I didn't say I had to share), the Cars 2 movie - load up the butter on the popcorn tonight, a water balloon pump (clearly not for this time of year, unless we're looking for ice balloons) and a Mind Games book (which is already being taken over by one child - again, share?)  Dealing with St. Nick and his goodies always throws us off on school days, but he's a nice thing to wake up to.

Looking for something to get you rolling today?  How about this adorable layout by Sous Chef Anet Tietjen.  Anet is using the December Bigger than a Breadbox kit; the Authentique line.  I love this line for its traditional colors and vintage feel.  I love the glimmer velvet ribbon in there. . .nothing like a little tinsel!

Chores will keep me warm, but they're not near as fun as playing.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Morning Q & A

It was a fairly nice weekend, if you don't count the sub-freezing temps and snow.  Some stuff was finished - the tree.  Some stuff was started - laundry.  Some stuff was continued - decorating the rest of the house continues, book-work continues, kit sorting continues, and my Thanksgiving recipes are tossed back in the pile o'shame.  Which had me refer again to ya'lls suggestions about my binder with the following questions: 
  • Briel,  you had the great idea of putting the recipes you like in the cover of the book they came out of.  Do you do anything else to know which books hold which recipes or do you just flip open the covers until you find your notes? 
  • Kristin, it's a glorious mess, but yes, time consuming when you're shuffling through them every time to find what you need.  Do you purchase pre-partitioned pages or do you make your own by sewing them? 
  • JLP - I did realize as I was searching for my sweet potato recipe, stored in the offensive binder, that there were probably quite a few recipes that I have either made and didn't like or weren't really appealing anymore.  Now, did I toss them as I was looking?  Heck no, that would have made sense.  So go you for tackling that one! 
  • HEY Beth!!  I like the tapping smaller notecards to full sheets of paper - money saving too. 
  • Patchi - I like the scrapbook idea - I'd like to reuse the binder I have, it has dividers as well; at least until it's full.  It's 8 1/2 x 11, and I do have some spare protectors hanging around.  I agree, protectors are good for spills and flour and spoon marks. 
And then there are the answers to questions like, "What can I do with this month's Smaller than a Breadbox kit?"  Well, just take a peek at what Sous Chef Amy Crockett did here with the My Little Shoebox portion of the Smaller kit.  Too cute!  See more of Amy's fantastic work on her blog HERE.

Catch Apron Strings sponsoring this week's sketch challenge over at Let's Scrap.  If you're looking for a jumping off place, sketches are always a fast easy way to get rolling.
Happy Monday,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Month-end Round-up

Ahh. . I really like Ali Edwards.  Her blog is a constant source of information and inspiration.  One Little Word.  Simplify is my 2011 word.  December Daily.  Week in the Life.  Various posts that drill home, "there is no perfect or right way."  Engage.  Be Present (this is a constant work in progress).  And so much more.

Now I have this:  Monthly Round-up.  I think it'd be a fun way to track what's going on on a monthly basis.  Now if I can combine it with her other "monthly-to-do" items in that post, I'll be golden.  Actually, I did start to mess with my digital photos - I have some coupons and credits to use up.  But all of this comes about because I'm starting to look at my 2012 objectives and this will be added to my list.

As we come up on this last month of the year I'm looking back at the goals I set in January.  I was posting monthly updates on my progress with them, but I think the last post was in August. . .though I kept on top of the goals, I just haven't posted.  I have to say, laying it all out for everyone to see has definitely kept them in my mind all year and I think I was more productive because of it.
  • Eating/Meal Planning - I just wanted to make my life easier by planning our meals around the schedule of the week.  Cut down on our eating out.  I did pretty go overall.  We definitely ate home more often.  Though I didn't start out strong with menus for the week, I have definitely ended that way.  For the past few months I've mapped out weekly meals; life is more simple when I do.  Tonight - turkey noodle soup. ;)
  • I wanted to improve my eating.  This is sort of the reverse of meal planning.  I started out strong with eating three meals and snacking healthily.  The last few months and the changes within them have cause my good habits to fly right out the window.  I'm working on getting that back on track as well.  Some days have been better than others.
  • I wanted to incorporate some worthwhile movement into my life.  I was doing plenty of walking, stair climbing, bending and lifting, but I've been told household chores and chasing the 3 y.o. doesn't count.  So I was going to walk.  I had moments that were good.  Overall, it just didn't happen.  I'm not surprised, since no matter what I called it, it was exercise - my feelings about exercise are well documented.  I'm not giving up on it, and will take another swing at it in 2012.
  • I wanted to get my house (or disorganized pockets of it) and my chores under control and back on schedule.  The house cleaning is back, more or less, into a routine.  I made decent dents in various cluttered spots over the year - the kids' rooms (though they seem to need another go through), a couple closets, a few cupboards, some drawers.  Plenty of items have been given away, but it must multiple overnight because it seems there's always more to deal with. 
  • I wanted to really carve out Me Time and I think I did pretty good.  The last couple of months aside, I got out to crop once a month, I read three books and have been plowing through magazines.  The magazines are double-duty, falling under the heading of both "Me Time" and organizing.  I read them over breakfast and I had a huge back-log that I have a nice dent in.
  • I wanted to wrangle my Studio Space into something that was more inviting rather than the terror-of-doom it had become.  Overall, it remains a work in progress.  IKEA was put on hold.  But it is 1,000 times better than it was at the start of the year.  It definitely ebbs and flows with clutter, but it's certainly much better.  I'll continue working on it here and there and over Christmas Break I really hope it's in a more "working order" condition.
I think I'll save the actual "Round-Up" part for next week.  How did your year wind up?  Did you make progress or take giant leaps backwards?

Happy Friday!

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.