Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween and Final Croptober

One of the great things about kids, especially the younger ones, is their pure enthusiasm and joy in the magic of special days. . .well every day, but to be sure on holidays.  My older kids are growing out of that; the magic is shifting for them, which makes the 5 y.o.'s exuberance all the more fun.  

I went in to wake him up this morning and after my usual nudges, pokes and tickles he popped up, crazy hair poking out all over his head to announce with a big grin, "It's Halloween!"  "Yep," was my reply, "and trick-or-treating tonight."  More big grins and a snuggle reflected this pure joy.  I told him to get dressed, and put on his "sparkly" Halloween shirt and come find me.  He came bounding into our bedroom dressed for the day, all smiles and ready for whatever magic he'd find in today.  He'll enjoy a class party later.  His older brother, dressed in black slacks and black dress shirt with an orange tie and orange ombre shoes, has a dance this afternoon.  His older sister is dressed as a hockey fan - she could go over the top with the hockey apparel she already has, but I suspect she'll be more reserved.  His other brother, well, I think he's just himself - the most reserved of the four of them, I don't believe he is even nodding at the holiday by wearing orange.

Tonight hubby will head out with the 5 y.o., the 16 and 14 y.o.'s have asked to have a few friends over for either trick-or-treating as a group, or watching scary movies, or apparently there's some big work due on Friday for the 16 y.o's circle, so they may just study.  A trip to pick up pizza will be added to my list for the day.  There is a definite shift in traditions that I'm not sure my heart is ready for.

Today is the final day for Croptober.  You'll have until Sunday to get your work for the month linked up.  Remember any one challenge completed will get you in the drawing for the prize.  This week, any two completed challenges will get you an additional goodie.

A final search for Halloween Layouts on Pinterest netted me this one, followed to Hand Stamped Style's blog.  I love the circle, which can be scaled bigger if you need, as can the banner with the photo block.  Easy to create a two-pager.  Easy to convert for a card.  Another great place for stamps to be used - in the pumpkins on the top and the shoes on the bottom - shoot even the title block!  Take your pick.  Then be sure to share it in the comments.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Foggy Morning, Foggy Mind and Croptober

I woke up to pretty dense fog outside the windows and a pretty foggy brain, that so far, no amount of coffee is burning off.  Usually, behind that house (above) you can see the foothills and the mountains beyond that - they are just a stone's throw away, though you'd never know it today.

In years past, I'd be in final, sometimes frantic, prep for Halloween.  But with only one trick-or-treater this year (we will avoid the ache this causes my heart) prep is pretty easy.  He's had his costume since it was given to him as a birthday present - Fireman - thanks Grandpa who thought he'd love it; he does.  They no longer do dress-ups at their school (well, they do, sort of, but I'm boycotting - long rant would ensue, so again, we're just going to avoid the topic all together.)  The candy was purchased a week or two ago and is waiting for the giving.  The remaining two pumpkins were carved right after school yesterday.  Two others were carved with significant others over the weekend.  Decorations have been out - I just rotate a few candle-lit ones out to the porch on the actual night.  So yeah, I'm ready.  The 5 y.o. is ready.  Bring it.

With Halloween tomorrow, I thought I'd look for Halloween inspiration for today's Croptober.  And I found this one via Pinterest which led me to Wee Inklings.   Besides just being a cute, totally customizable idea for a card, I love the duo-color combo.  But mostly it made me think how easy it would be to incorporate my stamps into my scrapbooking (something I always tell myself to enable the purchase of yet another cute set.) Seriously though, stamp an image, mat it and hang it on a banner along the top of my layout.  Cute. Cute.  This card also makes me think I need embossing folders - and I do, right?  What does the card inspire in you?

Link up your creation to the comment section for a shot at the October drawing.  If you complete two or more of this week's challenges you'll get a little extra treat from me.

Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weekly Recap and Croptober

Today dawned grey and misty.  It looked like someone laid vellum over the city - you could still see the rich colors through the mist.  A stark contrast from last week's sun and fairly decent temps.  

Lots of color in the neighborhood that seems to be hanging around longer than usual and I love that!

The garden is covered in leaves.  I plucked the remaining cherry tomatoes and plopped them in the pantry to ripen.  I'll probably end up freezing them in groups to use in place of canned.  There are strawberries here and there in the patch, but not enough heat or sun to ripen them.  I found a Pin about getting a better crop, that I'll hopefully remember next spring, to improve our harvest.  

Hubby is really a big kid, so when my sister's husband presented him with a salt-gun (looks a lot like a Nerf gun) for shooting at flies and then a behemoth of a fly got in the house. . .well. . .put two and two together.  What genius thought of this?  Now there's salt all over my floors.

Speaking of hubby, he and his dog headed to Nebraska on Saturday night to hunt all day Sunday.  Other than a small quail brought home, not much was spotted.  The dog slept all day yesterday - guess the hunt was good for her.  

Anyone else noticing the holiday commercials and totally annoyed with them?  I get the ones for lay-away programs, but come on!  Our Kohl's was already decorated for Christmas last week!  The only place I want to see the coming holidays is in my magazines for planning, cooking and baking.  And maybe my Hobby Lobby because I understand having to craft for the holidays has to start early or it's not getting done.  But this Christmas-push getting earlier and earlier is a huge pet peeve!  HUGE.  I know when Christmas is people.  I've been shopping since early summer for gifts, thanks.  I don't need the reminder or the commercials to get me to shop.

Finally, we had our family portraits done on Friday night - for the most part they turned out well.  There was a shot of hubby and I, and some weird turkey-skin-thing was going on with my neck.  Ewww.  I asked my daughter to get me a shot of she and her brothers, and this is what she sent me.  :/  Thanks.

We're in to the last few days of Croptober and I found this totally cute layout on Pinterest which led me to Weeds & Wildflowers gallery, but it looks like it hasn't been updated in a while and the original photo is missing.  Besides the ultra-cute photo, is the simple design.  It's all about the embellishments.  A scattering of stars, brads, jewels and bats.  That's your challenge today, minimal on the paper, heavy on working the embellishments.  

Link up your creation to the comment section for a shot at the October drawing.  If you complete two or more of this week's challenges you'll get a little extra treat from me.

Happy Tuesday,

Friday, October 25, 2013

Recipe Round-up and Croptober

This tree, in our backyard, is full of gold.  And set against a brilliant morning blue sky it's amazing.  It truly brings peace. 

Below the tree is a carpet of leaves.  I was tempted (may still try) to hang out of our upstairs bedroom window to really try to capture the carpet of leaves in our backyard.  I love it.  I'm sure it won't last long, as hubby will be blowing/raking them up soon.  He's hunting on Sunday, so maybe tomorrow they'll be gone.  Once the lawn is all cleared of leaves, it's just not the same.  I wait for, and watch, as more leaves to drift out of the tree to re-carpet the yard.  That is fall!
This week, and last, I cooked almost solely from the I Can Cook That Pin board.  I scrolled all the way to the bottom (no small feat) to pull out some of the pins that have been there the longest.  If you're looking for recipes for the weekend there are a couple that are quick to pull together and set out for the family while you do some crafty things.
  • We are huge Chinese Take-Out fans.  When I found this Orange Sesame Chicken recipe, mashing two of our favorites, I pinned it right away.  Made it this week and it was great!  The one change I may make next time is doing the glaze separately, but only because I like my chicken crunchy.  Cooking in the glaze definitely imparted a lot of flavor.  A lot!
  • We are also pretty big Thai fans and this Pork with Peanut Sauce was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  The sauce alone was worth the recipe.  I always worry when cooking with pork loin, they can get overdone quickly and become dry and blah.  But this was great.  Moist.  Tender.  Maybe because I butterflied it.  Or maybe because I did it on an indoor grill.  Who knows, but it was good.  Served with fried rice and the next day made wraps with the rice, pork and sauce.
  • Snickerdoodle Bread - this was the epic fail last week when I tried to just make one loaf.  I don't have eggs in the house, but will be making this again when I have them - hopefully this weekend.
  • Cheese Enchilada Casserole - this too was good and fast.  Perfect for leaving on the stove for late arrivals to eat.  I used corn tortillas, but would try the flour.  I also thought about using corn chips or tostada shells between the layers for some crunch.
  • Crunch Wrap Supremes - This is a repeat recipe and the family loves them.  I used my most recent homemade taco seasoning and love it (still have another couple to taste test.)  I don't bake the corn tortillas as in the recipe, I fry them in a little oil.  For us baking leaves them too chewy.  You could also use tostada shells.
  • I also made Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal for a week of breakfasts and Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake, both are on the I Cooked That board.  Both are amazing.  The oatmeal feels more dessert-y and I really should cut the topping recipe in half, but it just seems irreverent to mess with butter and sugar that way.  And if you like Gooey Butter Cake, then you've got to try a Pumpkin version.
It always feels good to move things off one Pinterest board, even if I'm moving it to another board.  Now I just need a way to organize my printed recipes from Pinterest - or we need a touch screen computer in the kitchen, because the tower of recipes is getting out of hand.
I have many plans for my day - and I may actually be able to tackle a few since I'm not cooking our standing dinner tonight.  We have family pictures scheduled and will be grabbing something out afterward.  I would love to be able to play a little if I get my must-do's done.  I would love, love to do something like this, but instead it'll be your Croptober inspiration.  Found on Pinterest, but I followed it to CreateExpectations Etsy store - such cute stuff!!

What to choose from though - the mix of papers?  The colors?  Using glitter or something glittered?  Using one letter to create a monogram on a layout or card.  Or even as a home décor piece?  Using several lengths of various ribbons?  Tying bundles of berries or leaves or just knotting the ribbons on the layout or card?  Creating the look of berries by scattering buttons, brads or jewels across the page or card.  My mind is a whirl!  AAUUGGHH.
I think that's enough information for one post. 
Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I'm not a gruesome, bloody, horror-flick type of Halloween decorator.  If you saw my mantle yesterday, that's pretty clear.  So it's no surprise that today's inspiration (from, duh, a Pinterest search) caught my eye.  The Pin led me to Kelly Panacci's blog (a long-time "name" in the scrapbooking world).  This cute little banner has lots of things to choose from to inspire your creation today - and bonus, there's a tutorial to pleat washi tape today!  See it's meant to be.  Choose what you want from the piece below to translate to your project for today.

Link up your creation to the comment section for a shot at the October drawing. 

Go.  Create.

Halloween Party Decoration Tutorial

Today, I bring you a tutorial - this one by Kristin Perez.  She took the October '13 Bigger than a Breadbox kit - the Pebbles Thirty-One side and used it to create some of the decorations for her Halloween party.  Check out all the things she did!  And genius move with the letters!!
You are cordially invited to a

Spooky Soiree

Complete with Terrible Treats and Spirits Galore!

Halloween is a favorite holiday around our house. Graveyard on our front lawn, home décor replaced by witchy goods and creepy apothecary jars filled with ooey gooey yucks, and a party for neighbors, friends and family.

I used my Pebbles Thirty One line in my Apron Strings October Bigger Than a Breadbox kit to create a drink table and food signs for my terrible treats and spirits galore.
I wanted to share with you these party ideas and a tutorial for a washi tape ruffle.

Costume Contest

I used the Countdown paper and the number strip on the reverse side of the barcode strip on the Hocus Pocus paper to decorate my skeleton statues. I cut out the numbers on the number strip and used them on the skeletons’ banners.

I used the Mystical paper for a frame for my contest rules sign.

Terrible Treats Table

I used the Dreadful paper as a background for all of my creepy food labels. My daughter Amory loves skulls and wanted me to save the paper for her - another paper saver like her momma. I could not be more proud!
Spirits Table

This has to be my favorite set up!

I created the signage from the Mystical paper with clever sayings printed out on my computer. For the straw holder I used the Witches Brew paper and a spider cut from the Countdown paper. The sparkly swirl in the embellishments was the perfect finishing touch! I created a wrap for the water bottles from the Witches Brew paper and the Countdown paper. If you are worried about your pretty paper being destroyed by ice or water wrap a piece of clear shipping tape around the bottle over your pretty paper. It is the perfect width and super simple to apply!

And the Spirits banner was made completely from the Pebbles ThirtyOne line in my Apron Strings October Bigger Than a Breadbox kit.

Spirits Banner
My banner was fun and simple to make.
I used the two sheets of light orange cardstock in my kit and cut it into eight squares - 6 x 6” each. I trimmed one side by one inch so I now had a 5 x 6” rectangle. I cut a notch in the bottom to make my banner shape.

I used some very old Basic Gray letters in my stash to spell out Spirits. However the snowman, holly and flowers printed on the letters were not very Halloween. I used the ink pad in the kit to color my letters. I attached them to some scrap cardstock and rubbed the ink pad all over to make them the aged brown/black color that was perfect.
I used the reverse side of the barcode strips, the Hocus Pocus paper, the Dreadful paper, the washi tape, brads and orange crystals in the embellishments pack to create my banner.
Now I would like to share with you how to make the washi tape ruffle.
Washi Tape Ruffle Tutorial
  • Take the washi tape from your kit and tear, or cut off two fairly long lengths of tape depending on how long you want your ruffle to be. I found that I cut 1 ½ times the length of my ruffle it gave me enough (and a little more) to create my ruffle. My finished ruffle needed to be 5 ½” long so my strips were 8 ¼” long.
  • Take the two lengths and adhere them to each other sticky sides together. This will make it easier to create the ruffle without it sticking where you don’t want it to.
  • Simply fold over a little section and staple it as close to the top as possible, and repeat it over and over creating a ruffle. Staple as close to the top as you can so that you have lots of the ruffle showing since the stapled part will be hidden under a strip of patterned paper. 
Thank you for stopping by! Apply these party ideas to any party - spooky or not!

Awesome work - looks like a yummy and fun party.  Lots of great ideas, thanks so much Kristin.

Croptober will be posted separately.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Croptober Treats - Week #3

Now I said, if you created from two or more of last week's challenges, I'd get you a little something.  Two ladies did so.  If you haven't checked out their links, you're missing out, they created some great cards and layouts!

  • Charlene Becker - I'm not sure I have your shipping information anymore - pop me an email to
  • Deanna - yours will be in your November kit. :).
Congrats ladies!

Go. Create!

Recap and Croptober

It was a fairly productive weekend for us.  We did manage to hit the Pumpkin Patch on Saturday.  I think the drought early on in the year, the floods and finally the earlier than usual hard freeze all really took their toll on the pumpkin crop.  Lots of green pumpkins, lots of rot, lots of really sad pumpkins.  But, we managed to find five that will be great for carving or painting or whatever decorating each child chooses.

I managed to also scratch off sorting my shoes and shirts out of my closet.  Didn't seem to get rid of a lot of shoes, but had a few shirts that I didn't wear this summer, so off they go. 

I did some pressing Apron Strings stuff, but not the inventory loading I had wanted to start on.

I did a ton of baking on Friday and had one epic fail recipe that was all me.  The recipe called for making mini loaves and I didn't feel like messing with four pans of bread, so I threw the batter into one loaf pan.  As I was hefting the too-full pan to the oven, I knew it probably wasn't going to cook through before it burned; the batter was way to thick.  I should have listened to my gut.  At the very least, I should have split it into at least two pans - another gut thought I ignored.  What managed to bake - the middle was totally raw - was good.  When I'm feeling up to dealing with the mini pans I'm remaking it; maybe this Friday.  

I also managed to finish my mantle for Halloween, and pulled out a few other Halloween-specific decorations for the rest of the house.  I still want a banner for . . . the mirror  . . . under the mantle . . . I don't know, but I want one.  I also want to paint that hideous white (well, not white, though it looks that way - it's kinda taupe) wall, it's on my list for someday.

I didn't get the crafty time I wanted, but the decorating kinda-sorta helped with that.  Today is another shot at crafty-time and today's Croptober inspiration is too cute not to inspire you.  I searched Pinterest and found this adorable card which led me to the Creative Market and Morgana Lamson's awesome cards (you buy and print them yourself!  I love the grid.  The colors.  The pumpkins.  The leaping cat.  Whatever it is that makes you reach for your supplies create a layout, card or other project today.

Link up your creation to the comment section for a shot at the October drawing. 

Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

30 Days and Croptober

It's probably not widely known that I enjoy making mini albums.  I don't make them regularly, but I've made a few:  a Halloween super mini done back in '06 (my third child was so young, the 5 y.o. thinks the photos are of him - I had to ask the 5 y.o., "Do you remember dressing up as a knight?"  To which he replied, "No."  Okay then), my December Dailies, tribute albums, an album my hubby took when he traveled a lot, and a few others.

Last year I took part in a new photo project by Cathy Zielske - Thirty Days of Thankful.  I simply shot a photo of something I was thankful for on that particular day and shared it on the blog - some were "serious" and some not so much.  Looking back at last year's I feel the need for a mini album creation.  Something super simple, with pockets!  It'll be super fast, the photos just need to be printed and I have the writing done.  Boom-baby.

Cathy Zielske is hosting another round of Thirty Days of Thankful this year.  If you haven't ever done a mini or a project of this type - try this one.  You may find a new addiction.  This type of project is good for the soul and is a great reminder of the good things in life.  This year, I'm hoping to engage my children and maybe have a day or two where they snap me a photo of something they are thankful for, with their words.  I might even be able to engage hubby - though it'd be my photo and his words (hopefully.)  We've had a few rough spots this year as a family and it would be good for all of us.  Having it in a mini, out for everyone to see, would just reinforce the blessings in our lives.

After two hours with my two youngest getting their "Well Checks" at the doctor's office, and one freakin'-break-my ear-drums-piercingly-loud-blood-coming-from-my ears scream emitted from the depths of the 5 y.o.'s soul (booster shot time) I'm in need of some crafting time.  Or at the very least a hearing aid because I'm deaf in at least one ear now.

Today's Croptober challenge comes from a Pinterest search that lead me to PSA Stamp Camp.  I love the photo strip, the non-traditional colors for a Halloween layout, the tilt of the main mat and the details (the stars along the title block, the little scalloped strips, the stitching detail, the pumpkin "O."  What grabs you?  Use it to inspire your layout, card or other project for today.

Link up your creation to the comment section for a shot at the October drawing. 

Happy Tuesday,