Monday, October 31, 2011

Croptober #13

Happy Halloween!!!

I'm sitting here waiting to hear the cessation of noise coming from the 3 y.o.'s room that signifies he's taking his pre-trick-or-treating nap.  So far. . .not so much the quiet.

Next to Christmas, this is probably one of my most favorite nights of the year.  I love all the little goblins that come to my door, I love listening to all the kids' voices echoing in the streets, I love seeing families wandering around and the excitement of the littlest ghouls jumping and skipping as they move around the neighborhood, and I love the flicker of candles and the decorated porches of the houses nearby. 

This year will be a little bittersweet, as I initiate another trick-or-treater to the thrill of the hunt, I think my group shots will be getting thinner and thinner.  This year may be one of the last a couple of my older kids will dress-up.  They've himed-and-hawed about it for a couple weeks.  Ultimately, I think my daughter will join up with a couple friends and semi-thoughtful costumes to collect candy and my older son will dress up more to take the 3 y.o. around than get candy (though I'm sure he'll go out with bag in hand.)  This is just the beginning of such changes coming for my family.  Up next, Santa.  Is he or isn't he?

Today is the last of the embellishment challenges known as Croptober.  Today, find a kit with a little bling, a journal card, ribbon and some chipboard.  Remember group smaller items to keep them from floating off like a Halloween Ghost, odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye and layer when possible.  Due date for this final layout is Wednesday evening.

Ah. . .is it?  Could it be?  Silence.  I'd better run to my next task while it appears to be so.

Happy All Hallows Eve!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Croptober #12

Crazy busy day and it's still got plenty of time until I crash.  I'm trying to beat the incoming snow storm, which I heard will drop more snow than what fell in November, December, and January combined.  So Matthew and I were picking  all the remaining tomatoes and cutting all the basil.  I have a grocery  bag full of mostly green tomatoes and two enormous piles of basil to strip leaves from and do something with.

Today lets get you doing something with some embellishments.  Find a kit with ribbon and some good-for-cutting patterned paper.  No kit, no problem select from your stash.  Combine your ribbon with strips cut from your patterned paper to create a border or frame around your page, a focal photo or along an edge(s).  BONUS:  Be a new poster to get double entries in this week's drawing.

I'll leave you with the following inspiration from Sous Chef Kristin Perez, though it has nothing to do with today's challenge - except for the fact it was created with October's Smaller than a Breadbox kit, the Lily Bee pack.  Plus it's adorable!

Happy Wednesday (though I wrote this on Tuesday).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Croptober #11

I must apologize for the missing posts last week.  I have had some things going on here the last couple months that, at times, are all consuming and are causing major interruptions in my life and time.  I am hoping things will stabilize for my family and I soon; the sooner the better.  Please hang in there as I try to find a new normal.

The weekend was gorgeous, again.  As I was hauling our butts from the north side of town for one game, down to the south side for another, I was reminded again how much I love this time of year.  I love the wind (and we've had plenty) tossing the leaves out the trees.  I love the blue color the sky is this time of year.  I love that early morning crispness - Hey, when you have a field arrival time of 8:15 am, you can't help but notice the crispness.  Makes that mug of coffee all the better.  I love driving through the neighborhood and watching the leaves dance along behind the car.  I love topping hills and seeing all the color in the city stretched out below.  I love that both boys' teams pulled out wins - WOOHOO, makes that getting up at 6:30 on a Saturday worth while.

We also are prepping for our first snowfall, expected later in the week.  We'll see if it really arrives, but it had the kids out raking (and the toddler un-raking and jumping into) the leaves in the yard.  I was pulling ripened tomatoes from the bushes - I'm running out of ideas of what to do with these things!  I've got a salsa recipe to try to make later this week.  I pulled the remaining jalapenos off the bushes - some for roasting and some for that salsa.  I cut the rosemary and have it drying in the pantry.  I cut the tarragon and dried it in the oven - smelled like a licorice factory in the kitchen.  I'll pull the basil and oven dry it later today.  If the temps fall like expected, I'll have to glean the rest of the unripened tomatoes and brown-bag-ripen them - there are still too many out there to let them fall to the frost.  I even made a batch of cupcakes that were supposed to resemble candy corn (which I hate as a candy) but the colors mixed too much.  But shoot, it's a cupcake, how much time can you admire it before you just have to eat it?

So fairly productive for me. . .were you?  If not, let's give you something more fun than figuring out what to do with 20 pounds of tomatoes.  Since Croptober is banishing our fear of the embellishment. . .let's create an embellishment.  Making your own embellishments are a great way for using scraps and pieces.  Today create a tag and embellish with leftover buttons, ribbon, paper scraps or those odds and ends and then, of course, use it!  Depending on the size you choose to make, it could be the only embellishment you need.  If you make smaller ones, group it with other elements:  ribbon, photo grouping, journaling block, title space.  Layouts this week are due Saturday evening.

Here Sous Chef Anet Tietjen created great tags using the Fancy Pants Oct. 31st papers from the Bigger than a Breadbox October kit.  These kinds of things are great for your layouts or cards, but given the time of year, would be cute on treat bags too.

Alrighty then, I'm off to deal with household stuff and Apron Strings stuff.

Happy Monday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Croptober #10

We are officially into Indian Summer. . .our first hard freeze was last night.  Everything was covered in a pretty good layer of frost this morning.  But as the sun came up that brilliant light filtered through the colors in the trees.  I love that light.  We have a Green Ash in the back yard, off our bedroom, and Aspens off the front porch that are tall enough to be seen through the daylight window in the hall, both trees are filled with gold leaves, and when the sun filters through those trees the light it produces is . . . magical.  Brilliant bright gold covers everything beyond those windows.

Let's produce a little embellishment magic of our own.  Find an Apron Strings kit that has a journaling card of some kind, something metal or chipboard and then a pattern paper that you can hand-cut some designs from.  (If you don't have a kit, pull those items from your stash.)  Papers with hand-cutable (is that a word?) are a great way to use up scraps and get some custom embellishments.  Papers with small designs are great for cutting or punching generic shapes, like pennants, butterflies, circles and triangles.  Remember when using your patterned papers, look for contrast so they don't blend into the background, (or pop dot them up) and give them something to help give them added weight - grouping or anchoring on tags, journaling cards, envelopes, etc.

Inspiration for today's challenge comes from Sous Chef Sarah Fleming's layout using the Bigger than a Breadbox October kit, the October Afternoon side.  You can enjoy more of Sarah's work HERE on her blog.  Outside of the fact that Sarah's little man is just the cutest - I love babies in onesies - I want to know how it is she's scrapping him and her other kids. . .he's two month's old!  At two month's post-partum, I think I was finally starting to do laundry; scrapbooking was nowhere on the radar.  My youngest, as well documented, is three and doesn't have a page to his name.  /=(

There's still the frantic screaming of paperwork echoing in my office, but I temporarily drowned it out with banana chocolate muffins this morning.  I love baking in the fall.  Later tonight, we'll be cheering on the RV Volleyball girls to pull out a fourth win over rivals Arvada West (hubby's alma mater.)

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Croptober #9

It was a weekend of great Colorado weather: deep blue skies, crisp air, and colors galore.  It was also filled with a haul north for a soccer game of cheers and goals - final winning score of 7-2!  Woohoo!  Then it was a haul back south to our home fields and cheers. . .unfortunately for the other teams' parents in a 8-0, or 9-0 (we lost count) loss.  ="(  Being 11 y.o.'s, this is their first experience with competitive play and so this fall season is all about seating the teams.  We play some teams that are equal to, under and, unfortunately, far above us in play and skills.  Taking some liberty from Scarlett. . .Next weekend is another weekend.

We also hit the pumpkin patch over the weekend, snagging an assortment of shapes and colors of pumpkins.  There are six soon-to-be full of character pumpkins sitting on the hearth.  If they had their eyes it'd be kinda creepy.  There are fat ones, skinny ones, small ones, flat ones; it'll be fun to see what the kids carve out.  I was craving the caramel apples they had at the stands. . .until I found out they were $4.50 a piece. . .without nuts.  So hubby and son took a trip to the supermarket and snagged some Granny Smiths and a tub 'o caramel for a dipping fest for about a third of the cost.  No I just need to find a good caramel apple recipe to make.  Don't get me wrong, the dip and apples will do the trick, but there's something about caramel covered fruit on a stick that says "fall!"

Speaking of carving. . .it's time for you to carve out some time to create this week as we continue our Croptober for the embellishment-challenged.  Let's see what to do this week. . .or today even. . .Let's mix some textures.  Find an Apron Strings kit that contains ribbon, chipboard and rhinestones; if you don't have a kit, pull the items from your stash.  Make life simple, keep your chipboard naked.  Because of the potential smallness of these items, remember grouping gives them an anchor and more presence on the page.  Layouts are due Saturday evening.  BONUS:  To my never posters. . .share a layout from today's challenge and get a double entry in this month's drawing.

I've got practices for two of the four kids, dinner of leftovers to heat up and taxes due in a couple days and there's a stack of paper work to be done before filing that is screaming my name.

Happy Monday.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Croptober #8

"Oh, CWAP" as my 3 y.o. says far too frequently.  Don't you just hate when you hear yourself come out of your kids' mouths!

I didn't mean to miss two days of posting - actually on Wednesday I thought I'd posted; I had to think about it and realized I hadn't.  I should just learn to include with the challenge info, that the week of shipping all bets are off, LOL.

Today, let's play with pen detailing.  Pen detailing is simple and easy, whether you're drawing straight lines, dashed lines, faux stitching.  On your layout create some kind of pen detailing - draw zig-zag stitching between two papers, straight stitching around a block of photos or around the edge of the layout, add dashed stitches to naked chipboard or diecut letters.

I've gotta volleyball game to hit tonight - dinner to make, people to get to a major league soccer game, and then AS work to do.

Happy Friday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Croptober #7

The Ralston Valley girls scored a win last night - way to go girls! 

My productivity level stayed fairly high yesterday. . .today, eh, not so much.  But that's no excuse to let yours slide.

Today we're going to play with flat elements.  Today go dig out an Apron Strings kit with some flat elements like ribbon, or a journaling card, maybe some tickets or diecuts, even paper flowers or leaves.  (No kit?  Snap up elements from your stash.)  Layering and grouping flat elements will help anchor them to the page (instead of floating around, getting lost, in the background) and the layering will give the illusion of height.  Running a length of ribbon through the grouping will give some added texture; weave the ribbon through, instead of just over your grouping.  Remember, odd-numbered items are aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  Your challenge here, layer, overlap and group at least three flat elements - no pop dots allowed.  BONUS:  Calling never posters - post with this challenge today and earn an extra entry.

The October Smaller kit has some good flat embellishments - the star diecut, the sticker words, the journaling cards.  See how Sous Chef Kristin Perez created a nice grouping of them, using the Doodlebug kit, and in the end created a super cute layout.  Did you also note, this Doodlebug kit is more Halloween-y, yet she created an adorable Birthday layout with it!  See more of Kristin's great work on her blog HERE.

Happy Tuesday,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Croptober #6

We had a semi-productive weekend.  We had snow and rain on Saturday - yep snow down here (and in the mountains) and about 40 degrees, maybe a little colder.  You'd think this lovely combination would cancel soccer, but you would be wrong.  Half-wrong anyway.  One game was cancelled.  One game was not.  So we layered, we planed for more layers, we went water-proof and we loaded up and headed for Boulder 45 minutes away.  Driving through the rain all the way.  Sure enough, upon entering the gates of the fields soccer was in full play.  It rained the whole time.  We huddled under our super-sized umbrella and watched the boys play hard, but ultimately lose 2-0.  We also watched the Rugby game a field over - my 12 y.o.'s response - "Rugby's a violent game."  Yeah it is, those men are nuts!

Sunday over a Big Breakfast of pumpkin pancakes with buttered maple syrup (deemed a winner by all), bacon and orange juice we chatted as a family, something hard to come by these days at meal times.  After back-and-forth and "wishes" it was decided that the boys - the older two and dad - would head for the hills (with the dog) and do some bank fishing.  The daughter, the toddler and the mom stayed home.  The daughter played lounge lizard all day.  The toddler did what he does, moving from activity to activity.  The mom roasted another batch of tomatoes and sent them to the freezer, chopped and froze in cubes the jalapenos that were picked and roasted earlier in the weekend, started laundry, decorated the house for Halloween and got a pork loin roast (another hit) in the oven for a very late dinner.  The boys came back muddy, but had a blast, even without a fish hooked.

Monday is starting early, with a 4:00 am wake up call from the toddler.  So up and making lunches and getting chores done and now getting AS work done.  So you're not left out of the "being productive" vibe I've got going, here's your first challenge of the week.  Select an Apron Strings kit with at least three patterned papers (all kits have these, so that's easy enough :D) and ribbon.  Today you're going to create a pseudo-scallop border using at least three different patterned papers and top the straight-edge of the border with the ribbon.  What's a pseudo scallop border?  Super easy and super cute.  Simply cut or punch several circles.  Then lay out the circles to form a border.  Cut them in half if you aren't slipping the edges under another paper block, so you just see half the circle.  You can just have the edges of the circles touching or you can slightly overlap them.  Adhere a length of ribbon over the straight-edge of the circles or where the circles slip under the paper block to give a finished look.

I'm off - I have a huge list of things that NEED doing and only so many hours in the day.  Soccer is on the agenda tonight, as is a volleyball game, so I need to get rolling.

Happy Monday.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Croptober #5

Well, after driving around for the first set of the volleyball game because my stupid phone had me in the wrong area, I missed the best set of the match - close, they lost by two points, and then totally fell apart during the second set to lose the match.  Oh, well.  We got to drive through our first hideous weather of the season - 40 mph wind, sideways rain, super fun stuff and then 20 minutes later blue skies.  Still had the wind though.

Today is cold, but sunny and field day for my 5th grader.  Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and rainy - just the kind of weather sports parents love.  NOT.  I'd like to think I could cozy up with some scrapbooking this weekend, but billing and shipping are on the horizon, so not gonna happen.

It will for you though, with today's challenge.  Today let's layer some relatively flat items.  Find an Apron Strings kit with ribbon and a pre-cut border (no kit, the round up items from your stash.)  You'll also want to trim some patterned paper to create another border - use a border punch if you'd like.  Layer at least three different elements (combo of ribbon, pre-cut border and trimmed pattern paper) to create a border around the outside of the page or around a focal-photo. Overlap the pieces for dimension.   All layouts from this week are due Saturday evening.  Don't forget the BONUS entries from this week, if you qualify.

Okay, it's time for me and the 3 y.o. to head out to pick tomatoes, jalapenos and some herbs to get roasted, frozen and processed before the freeze comes this weekend.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Croptober #4

The girls pulled out a win last night - though it wasn't pretty.  They play again tonight up north.  Tonight is packed with soccer as well.  They're calling for high winds in the area - red flag warnings and we haven't had those in months.  Depending on the winds, soccer may get cancelled.  The fields the boys will be on are up against the foothills and the winds are horrendous out there and have been know to blow the goals over. . .on top of players.  Since this can be frowned upon by the parents, the club has taken to cancelling when the winds are high.  We'll be in wait and see mode.

No need to wait and see for you, my embellie-fearful friends.  Today we're gonna play with levels. . .as in pop it up levels.  I love putting some elements flush on the paper and then popping up a few things here and there.  It's such a simple thing that makes a great impact.  This is a great technique if you have a grouping of flowers - a few on the page and then one or two popped up.  Also works well for hand-cut elements like circles or squares that you scatter along a border.  Pop a few of those guys up and it's a whole different look.  Have a title, journaling block or label, lay the the words flat and pop up a heart, flower or other shape over or near the words.  Instant eye-catcher.  Today, select an Apron Strings kit (if you don't have a kit, collect your goodies from your stash) that includes embellishments that have a few flat pieces and a few dimensional pieces - a good pattern on a paper will work as well (flowers, circles, squares, characters - for hand-cut work).  Make a simple grouping or border and pop up a couple of the elementsBONUS:  Today's a day for those who haven't shared in a while to earn an extra entry into the drawing.  I define "a while" in you haven't participated in the last month.

Apron Strings is a sponsor this week over at Let's Scrap.  They have a great community over there, lots of sketches. =D

Hmmm. . .seems like there was something else, but now I don't know.  I know I have stacks of paper work, stacks of mail and stacks of sorting - too many stacks and only little me to get through them.

I remember. . .if you don't have pop dots, simply cut some small squares of cardstock, glue a few together into a little stack and attach the stack to the element.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Croptober #3

First - I added the link to yesterday's post so you can upload your layouts.  Sorry 'bout that.

For my embellishment-challenged folks, hang on, today we're gonna do a grouping.  Start by grabbing an Apron Strings kit with at least five embellishments in it - Smaller kits will have this amount, Bigger kits will have give you more choices.  (If you're not using kits, collect from your stash as necessary.)  Create a nice little layered grouping of three or more embellishments.  For those who are challenged, this type of grouping looks good in the center of, say, four photos, near a title, or on the corner of a journaling block or focal-photo.  Make the group tight, with uneven numbers - so say a small journaling tag, layered with a small bloom and a scattering of small buttons.  Maybe a diecut shape, layered with a length of ribbon and a stick-pin tucked into the knot.  Just know that this group will help anchor the small pieces within it and give it some weight - the pieces will feel like one element and will draw the eye to what it is near, hence the focal photo, title or journaling.

Got volleyball and soccer tonight - but just one soccer practice and with dark coming earlier and earlier, practices are shorter.  Doesn't sound like much, but it is.

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Croptober #2

So yesterday, I started this month's challenge with a brain cloud (can you name the movie) or something because as I was writing the challenge I kept thinking, "this isn't what I was thinking. . .what was I thinking?"  But all I could see was my leaf chair, and that's what I went with.  Today, I went for my notes and had my "ah-ha" moment.

Today, and the rest of this month is about overcoming being embellishment-challenged.  I know I have frequent issues and have documented them here.  Whether you have issues or just need to think beyond what you currently do. . .it'll get tackled and in the process you'll be scrapbooking and completing pages!  WOOHOO.

Using an Apron Strings kits, find one with ribbon and buttons (if you don't have an Apron Strings kit, draw from your stash), use the ribbon and buttons in a new way for you.  Maybe the buttons are strung on the ribbon for a border or frame, maybe you knot ribbon through the buttons, maybe the buttons are centers of paper flowers.  I don't know. . .that part is up to you.  NOTE:  You'll use the rest of the kit as is, so you may find more inspiration with the remaining ingredients.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 3, 2011


Welcome to Croptober!!

This is a month of scrapbooking.  A month of using your kits.  A month of showing your work - remember showing your work?  How many of us really got any credit for showing your work when the end answer was wrong?  (chirp, chirp, chirp)  Exactly.  This month, here, showing your work will net you chances to win!  It's all about showing your work.  Sharing your talents.  Inspiring others.

Let's get started. . .I'm looking at the leaf chair in my family room.  Not leaf shaped, but leaf patterned, with maples leaves, overlapping in various sizes in greens and rusts and a touch of gold.  Today dig out an Apron Strings kit (if you don't have a kit, go dig out some papers from your stash that meet the challenge) that has those colors, a leaf pattern in the papers or, if you're lucky, both.  BONUS: If you've never shared or posted before and you do so on today's challenge, you'll get a double entry in the drawing.  Layouts from this week are due Saturday, October 8th.

Happy Croptober Monday!