Thursday, June 27, 2013

10 Things I Can (Sorta) Live With

I said yesterday there are few. . .F.E.W. . .redeeming qualities to Summer.  I wrote that and then wondered if there were ANY, so I decided to see if I could think of something.  Surprise, I did:
  1. No running kids to and fro.
  2. No nagging about, checking or various repeating phrases about homework and the getting it done.
  3. I get to wear skirts without freezing.  I love skirts.  I actually wish fall/winter skirts felt as casual as summer skirts do, but they always feel more dressy.
  4. Iced Coffee - Caramel.  Mocha.  Homemade. Starbucks.  I don't care, just pass the ice and cream!
  5. I can hide down in my studio under the guise of staying cool.
  6. I can serve salads for dinner because "it's too hot to cook."
  7. Drinking beer is infinitely more enjoyable - current fave is ShockTop Honey Crisp Apple Beer
  8. Laundry piles are significantly smaller - no uniforms, no school clothes, no soccer gear PLUS shorts take up half the space.
  9. Sitting on the front porch in the (it had better be) cooler evenings.  Last night it was still 81 at 10 pm. :/
  10. Ending the day in a bubble bath - a nice cool one.  My tub is my best friend in the summer.
And I actually could come up with a few more things but I'd hate for it to appear that my loathing was thinning.  Because it's not.  It's ramping right up there with the climbing mercury.

So to the basement I return with the hopes of taking some time to play with a kit and today's sketch.  I snagged another sketch off of Doodlebug's PageMaps week.  I'm a big fan of circles in layouts, so this one caught my eye.  You could totally replace a couple of those circles with other photos.
Remember, use all this week's challenges, share the link to your work in the comments and receive a Gift Code to shop at Apron Strings.  Bonus, each entry earns you an entry at winning the June Prize Pack.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

10 Things I Hate About You

Yes, YOU, Summer-time I hate dislike you intensely.  You are my least favorite season.  At the bottom of the list.  Numero Quattro.  You possess few redeeming qualities.

Here are the top 10 (though there are so many other reasons) to abhor Summer with a fevered passion.
  1. It's flipping hot.  Dry heat be damned - it is stinkin' hot.
  2. I can only take off so many clothes in an effort to cool down before I can't go out in public or leave my bedroom, for that matter.
  3. I have to shave my legs every day.
  4. I have to keep up on my pedicure.
  5. I don't like to sweat and any movement made produces buckets of sweat.
  6. The unrelenting harsh burning white light of the sun.
  7. I still have to feed my family and cooking in the kitchen is like cooking in the fires of hell.
  8. Our air conditioning can't get our stupid house cooler than 80 degrees - on a good day.
  9. The whole house fan is LOUD and runs 75% of the time.
  10. I have no energy to do anything - the heat has sucked it out of me
Okay, so maybe #10 happens at other times during the year, but the fact that it's happening during the Summer just makes it seem so much worse.

So, join me in escaping the heat the best way you can and take a kit, some photos and today's sketch.  Doodlebug has been a longtime fave of mine - the colors are so bright and cheerful - and so I follow their blog.  They have paired up with PageMaps, another fave, and this sketch caught my eye last night.  I love the example; that little bit of mosaic.  Another page that can be mirrored, flipped or have more photos added to it.  Also a great idea for a card.

Enter ALL the sketch challenges from this week and not only will you receive a Gift Code to shop at Apron Strings, but you'll automatically be entered into the June Prize Pack drawing.

Patchi and Deanna I sent you your gift codes for playing along last week -- let me know if you didn't receive it.

Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I feel like I had a rather productive weekend - and I can't always, say that no matter how much I get done.  I blame it on steam cleaning the carpet in the family room and half the stairs.  (I only did half to use the water in the tank - eventually I'll need to finish.)  It was one of those items on the check list that I could see (and see the BIG difference) whenever I walked in there.  Clean carpet is good for the soul.

I did make it down to my studio and got a good start on it.  The surrounding area, aka the kids' space, is in good shape.  My own space, I cleaned off my work table which was no small feat in itself.  I started making piles on my desk.  I did some needed updates and paperwork.  

The baby birds who were nesting on the front porch have left, so I hosed down the railings, floor and scrubbed the winter dust from the chairs and table and it is now ready to enjoy cooling evenings on.

I also had two kids who did some moving of things around in their rooms, so that added to the productive vibe going on.

Saturday night we enjoyed our first "Outdoor Movie Night" that my younger sister hosts about once a month during the summer.  We gathered on the back lawn, snugged up in blankets with our BYOS (bring your own snacks) and watched "Clue," under the Super Moon.  I had never seen the movie, and it was good.  And I didn't do any better at figuring out who-done-it than I do in the game itself.  Next month - James Bond!  Nothing to figure out there. . .Daniel Craig is hot.

Monday was over productive.  It was one of those days where I was cruising and thought, I'll have 30 minutes between this thing and the next thing to get that blog post done and then something filled in that 30 minutes and before I knew it time was gone.  So, sorry about that.  But today dawns bright and will soon be heating up, so you can grab this sketch, an Apron Strings kit and head to cooler places.

Today's sketch comes from a Pinterest search - surprise.  Not.  Which led me to SketchSupport, an Allison Davis site (who sketches I have used before).  The blog itself is on a break of unknown length, but there's plenty of content to browse and be inspired by.  I like the option of adding four or five small photos over the background blocks.  Continue the blocks and the photos across two pages.  It's also a great template for a card.

I think for this final week of June, I'll reward ya'll the same as last week - ANYONE completing all the challenges this week and then sharing them in the comment sections will receive a Gift Code to shop at Apron Strings.  All the entries are automatically entered into the drawing for the June Prize Pack.

Since I'm on the productivity roll, I'm gonna go see what I can tackle today.

Happy Tuesday,

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday, Food and Non-Freaks

It was so great to read your comments yesterday and know I'm not a total freak in need of help!  LOL

Deanna, glad that you concur ;D - and yes, many people should join in the challenges; I concur with that! 

Ruth, I'm not creeped out at all.  And just come jumping over here whenever there's a line you want to dance around about - I'm with you there!  CHA is just a couple weeks away!

Wendi, okay, since you follow Elise as well, were you stalking her for information?  I know I was relieved to see she'd finally delivered. . .and how sweet is that little peanut!  Love the name they picked too - so unique.

Since Fridays usually start with some sort of I'm-scrapping-tonight-here's-some-food-for-the-family, I'm sharing the dessert I made for our weekly Friday Dinner with the In-Laws.  I got it from my Taste of Home subscription, but found the recipe on their website.  I'm not great at crusts, so we'll see how this turns out - it looks good.  I took a cue from Pioneer Woman and used my Cuisinart to pulse the crust together.  The cream cheese base made more than would fit on the crust, which might be because I used a pizza stone instead of a pan.  So I'll be making another crust tomorrow, maybe with a rhubarb topping since I snagged a few stalks of that this week.  I used the cherries we picked last summer and omitted the food coloring; I didn't see the point.  I also won't be doing whipped cream, since I'm out.

Today's sketch comes from My Creative Sketches, after just doing a Bing search.  The blog has some awesome examples of the sketch in use.  If you're not a one-photo scrapper, you could totally do three or four smaller ones within the circle - layer them or do a larger photo horizontally and tuck two or three vertical photos in behind it.  

Now remember I changed the rules for this week.  ANYONE who enters all the challenges for this week will get the $5 Gift Code.  Deadline is Sunday night.  Entering this week automatically enters you into the drawing for the June prize pack at the end of the month.
Well, I swept the wood floors, vacuumed and steam-cleaned the family room.  I sort of tidied.  Got chicken cooking for my enchiladas, and the dessert is done.  I need to find a side or two for the enchiladas, but it's time to move myself down to the basement for some serious cleaning.  It's supposed to be stinking hot this weekend and I see myself living down there with my iced coffee.
Happy Friday.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cyber Stalking or Just Interested Party?

You'd think I know her personally or something.  Here is a woman I've never met.  I found her blog via her "appearance" on a podcast that I listen to.  I like her stamps and mini albums, and while her decorating style is not mine, I like how she approaches her spaces.  I appreciate what she snaps photos of, they inspire me in my everyday photos.  

Her name is Elise Blaha and yesterday she announced she was headed to the hospital to deliver her first child.  Her husband is deployed and the past few months were a guessing/praying game that his leave would allow him to be home in time to be with her for the birth; he arrived before baby made her appearance - hurray!  So after her initial announcement via Instagram that she was in labor, I would hear my phone ping and wonder "Was the baby here?"  "Is it an update?" "Is it a baby photo?"  Crazy!  There were a couple updates, I assume by her husband, but it was otherwise quiet.  When I got up this morning I checked to see if there was an update and it made me realize that the Internet is a crazy space where these cyber-connections - sometimes one-sided connections - actually make you feel, well, connected.  My next thought was "I hope she's had the baby." I've done the 12 hour labor thing and, yeah, I'm just hoping they're enjoying being new parents.

I experience the same thing with the members at Apron Strings.  Some I may have an email exchange with,  some I see their layouts, cards and projects and some the only contact is seeing their kit roll through my hands every month, but it's a connection where it makes me feel I know these people.  Maybe you feel the same thing in the blogs you follow, or maybe it's just me, in which case professional help may be necessary.

Let's move into our own connection - connecting to your photos and creating layouts, or maybe a card.  Today's sketch is also from a Pinterest search, which again led me to the Scrapbooks Etc. site.  It's like a box of chocolates. . .you never know what you're gonna get.  It's another easy-to-mirror for a 2-pager.

Uh, and lookie-lookie. . .Maria Swiatkowski's layout using the Smaller than a Breadbox June kit is a take on the sketch!  Love it when that happens.

I know it's the 12th hour, but I'm changing things a bit.  ANYONE who completes each of this week's sketch challenges will receive a Gift Code to save at Apron Strings.  This next part hasn't changed though:  enter any of the month's challenges and be entered into a drawing for the June prize pack.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

December Daily, Part 2. . .aaannnddd DONE

So I said yesterday that our little annual trip to the lake is usually quite productive for me.  In the past I've completed layouts galore.  Read through books.  Stitched up a storm and more.  This year, with two totes - one with my tools, and one that held an assortment of kits and paired-up photos, along with my December Daily project, my One Little Word project, my Project Life and my Take 12 project - I settled in to see what would strike my fancy.  NOTE - my totes are normal-size; no two wheelers or fork lifts necessary.  Dang, I love kits!  We're talkin' a Creative Memories Tote and a bag from Archiver's that I got free with purchase - you know those "green" shopping tote kinda things.  

Anyway, I decided to finish my December Daily.  This is my fourth year and I again paired it with Journal Your Christmas by Shimelle Lane.  This year I also didn't include photos beyond Christmas Day, in the past I have gone through the 31st.  Are some of the photos repeats of past photos?  Sure.  I have past tree photos.  I have photos of cookies.  But I don't care either, there's always something new about them - either new cookies, or new stories to go with them.  Or at the very least they show the tradition, the "this is around every year" view.

Now to move on to the next project. . .what to do?  What to do?  Cleaning my shared Studio/Kid Space currently filled with stuff from the trip might be a good place to start.

Here, however, is your next challenge, found via Pinterest and followed to Scrapbooks, Etc. (I loved their magazine.)  I like this one because it gives you an idea what to do with those diecut papers.  It also has room for two more larger photos, and at least one or two smaller ones in that upper block.  Flip it 90 degrees and mirror it and you've got a ton of space.  It's even a good layout for a card.

Remember, enter every challenge this week for a chance at winning the Apron Strings Gift Code.  Your second chance comes with completing any challenge this month to be eligible for the June Prize Pack.

Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday Fog (of the mind)

I woke up late, which is never a good start to any day.  The whole family is still on lake time (we slept until 8-8:30 up there,) I suspect, but it's time to get back to our regular lives - work, chores, projects.  So, I'll sit with my coffee, try to grab some focus and figure out where to start my day.

Speaking of projects I mentioned yesterday that I finished up my 2012 December Daily album.  I have to deal with the blank, naked chipboard cover (anyone have any ideas???) and slip on bigger binder rings - my book is a bit fat; sorta like me after a week of s'mores for dessert and bacon at every meal.  Here's a look-see at half of what I completed.  I'll share the other half tomorrow, or this post would be huge.

Now it's your turn to shake the fog of the morning and get something creative completed.  Today's sketch comes from a Pinterest search, which led me to a general Google page, so I'm not able to link back to the creator's site.  But I love the sketch.  I love the multi-photos on the one page (perfect for Project Life) and the simplicity of the other elements.  Yet another easy-to-mirror layout, simply move the top or bottom photo corner to the other page.  This way the photo corners still bracket the photos, they just do so over the entire layout.

I have created a Sketch board over on the Apron Strings Pinterest Boards, but I'm going to have to populate it carefully and slowly, because frankly I could Pin every sketch ever sketched.  It's an illness really.

Remember, enter every challenge this week for a chance at winning the Apron Strings Gift Code.  Your second chance comes with completing any challenge this month to be eligible for the June Prize Pack.

Happy Tuesday,

Monday, June 17, 2013

Winner . . . Week 1 & 2

Now, don't get me wrong I love our winner.  She's been part of Apron Strings for forever and participates all the time.  But I'd sure like to spread things out a bit with my other followers/readers.  I know you're out there!  I know you're reading.  Now, to just get you sharing and inspiring others to do the same.

Deanna - Congrats! I'll send you your codes to go shopping at Apron Strings. 

And if you haven't checked out Deanna's links, you can see all her layouts for this month's challenges, and her other work, on her blog.

Around the Lake

So sorry about last week's challenges. . .we were on our annual week up at Taylor Park and it was a struggle to get and/or maintain Internet access.  I thought about setting up the posts before leaving, but never found the time, and frankly I didn't expect the connectivity issues.




Our annual trip whisked us away to enjoy cooler, much cooler, temperatures.  We, well not me, but others fished.  It was a good week to be a fish, not so much if you were the fisherman.  We streamed Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals (my daughter's favorite teams are head-to-heading it and she's torn as to who she wants to win) and we watched, clumped around the laptop waiting anxiously through the "buffering."  We went up to Crested Butte to wander, shop and do a tasting at a Rum Distillery.  We played games that made you want to tear your hair out.  We wandered up to the mining town we discovered last year and did some more fishing - this is where the only fish were caught by our family; my daughter, my son and hubby were the lucky ones.  We enjoyed "fried to order" donuts that were gluten free and you'd never know it.  We watched Saturday morning cartoons via DVDs on the laptop.  We crashed. . .in the perfect way.  Awesome.

I, while others enjoyed the boat and the lake, enjoyed quiet time where my biggest problem was figuring out what to do.  I knitted.  I finished yet another book - I think I'm officially out of reads.  I worked on a cross-stitch ornament.  I did a little work when I had Internet.  I finished my 2012 December Daily album.  Can I get a woohoo?  And I discovered, when I went to set up Project Life photo sheets, that my computer rebuild of a few weeks ago, left me without my photo files. . .ah, honey!  HONEY!!!

So while I wait for hubby to find and restore my photos, you can work on your next stack of photos.  This week's comes again from Nuts About Sketches.  Follow the link and you'll get amazing examples to get you running.

Playing along with all this week's challenges gets you entered in a drawing for a Gift Code to Apron Strings shopping savings.  Play all month and you're entered in the June Drawing for a prize pack.


I managed to get unpacked, wash all the dishes from the weekend, sort and start laundry and get almost everything put away.  It's amazing what still needs doing.  Storms are rolling in, plants need a good soaking, coolers were washed last night  and are ready to be stored away.  Totes awaiting cleaned dishes need to be put away.  Various bags, shoes, totes and other items need to be dragged to their final destinations.  Then the daily-life activities need dealing with.

Happy Monday,