Thursday, July 31, 2014

#100HappyDays - Day 30

Day 30/100 - Happiness in a box.

Be Happy.

Adventures in Purging - Part 4

You can find Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

We're all guilty of it.  Buying something for a project we saw and just have to do.  Seeing an item and thinking, "I can totally make that for cheaper," and then you go prove it to yourself by purchasing all the necessary items.  The paper you bought because of the photos you wanted to take.  For the "I'm gonna decorate for (fill in the appropriate holiday or event)."  Because it was too good a deal not to buy it (I may have some stamps I bought when Archivers was going out of business that fit this scenario.)

Look around your supplies and ask  yourself, "Do I have a clear project in mind? Do I know immediately what I’m going to use the item for?" 

In the case of the Maya Road tins (mentioned HERE ), I had plans to slide notecards or tiny treats in them for teacher or holiday gifts.  That never happened.  Like ever.  The tins and I have said "sayonara."  That whole Archivers buying trip. . .I picked up a pad of paper (and I don't like paper pads) with Classic Winnie the Pooh on it.  My plan then, and still is, to use it for my, now, 5 y.o.'s baby book.  I decorated his room in Classic Pooh and I did my best with his siblings' books to use paper that reflected their nurseries.  So, while it still sits, I have a plan. 

This goes for the big(ger) stuff too. . .did you buy a border punch because you were making a mini book and wanted a static design, but the book hasn't quite yet come to be?  Did you pick up a Binder because you were making calendars, and we're mid-2014 and there are no calendars and the Binder is propping up your books?  

Big or small, it can be hard to let go of a plan and the products you bought to achieve that plan.  In the case of papers and such, do they still speak to you?  Maybe not for the project you had in mind, but are they good for your everyday crafting?  In the case of bigger ticket items, it's tricky because they aren't consumables, so they aren't necessarily an "every project" type of thing.  We won't mention the whole "money spent" guilt.

In the case of the punch, it can be used on any number of other projects.  Set it out with your everyday scrapbooking/cardmaking and make a point to use it on your next card or layout.  For things like the Binder, you're going to need to weigh the reality of using it and you're going to need to be honest with yourself.  Are you ever, really, going to use it?  If you don't know how it works, make time, and soon, to learn it and then make a concerted effort to actually use it.  If you can't even bring yourself to learn how to use it, it might be time to find a friend to sell/give it to, list it to CraigsList or eBay, or find a swap or local scrapbook store's garage sale.

We seem to heap a lot of guilt on ourselves for purchases made with good intentions, yet the plans never quite make it to fruition.  Let go of the guilt.  Crap happens.  And, if you can't re-purpose the products, it's totally okay let go of the reminders.

Find three items that were project-bound that never quite made it to completion and let them go.

Go. Purge.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#100HappyDays - Day 29

Day 29/100 - Temps so cool you don't mind being napped on.

Be Happy.

We Are

  • We are capturing the rainbows, which means there was rain, which means it cooled down! This one was super bright and ended up a double.
  • We are in a stare down.  I never new wild life could pull off the "double-take," but this rabbit sure did when he caught sight of our dog.
  • We are enjoying a cool evening in the park after dinner.
  • We are using the dreaded "s" word . . . school.
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

#100HappyDays - Days 25 - 28

Day 25/100 - The smell of freshly baked bread, or in this case rolls for dinner.

Day 26/100 - One if the only good things about summer is that the heat keeps your stash of salt water taffy nice and soft. (This was also a submission in The Phone Photography Project for the assignment on Lines)

Day 27/100 - Pulling homemade jam from last season out of the freezer.

Day 28/100 - Iced coffee when it's NOT so hot that that's all that sounds good. Ahhh, to cool mornings. 

Be Happy.

Rain, Rain Comes Today, Sketch Solutions - Lesson 10 Layout and Two Cards

There is rain, a lot of rain (like 2+ inches) in the forecast for the next couple days; we've had flood advisories beeping away since yesterday.  There are . . . wait for it . . . temps in the 70's in the forecast, too.  We may not even get to 70 tomorrow.  I'm more excited for that than I am for Christmas, I think.  Not that I like rain that much, I mean I do like rain, but it's more about how much I hate the heat!  The forecasted weather has me thinking about baking and wearing shirts with sleeves, short sleeves, but sleeves nonetheless.  I may even have to dig out a pair of capris or wear closed-toed shoes. . .or just shoes in general.

We had a quiet, pretty uneventful weekend.  Hubby and the boys took to cleaning the garage and unearthing hubby's wood shop.  They moved a fair amount of stuff around and made room to build a cart to keep all the sheets of wood he has contained, as they take up a large space.  The end goal is to get the shop working again so they can assemble and finish a couple sets of Adirondack chairs that have been hanging around for a few years.  Once they've tackled that, I've got a long list of other projects for the wood shop.

My daughter spent the weekend prepping her room for painting, which she can hopefully start painting and/or taping later today. Once she's done it's the boys' turn.  Their rooms will also be switched around in the process.  If the clutter in the upstairs hallways during this time doesn't drive me insane, I'm not sure what will.  The heat?

The cooler weather motivated me to deal with the basement, yet again.  I moved stuff into the larger store room, dragged my Xpedit shelves from IKEA into a new configuration and tidied my scrap area.  All the while ignore the amassing pile of scrappy items on my cube tops that I don't feel like dealing with.  I did complete another Sketch Solutions lesson and pulled photos and papers for another, which I think leaves me two more.  The class ended a few weeks ago, but Super Stash Busters starts on Thursday.  Hurray!

I also took up my cross-stitching again - my first hobby.  I've got several projects going, that like hubby's Adirondack chairs, have been languishing for some time.  I finished up one ornament on Saturday night and started another on Sunday.  I forgot how much I enjoy counted cross stitch. I also noticing my eyesight isn't what it was the last time I picked up my stitching, which means I probably need glasses.  Well, a different prescription as I already have glasses that I wear now and then.  Crap.

This isn't the Lesson I worked on over the weekend, but one I completed a week or so ago.  The lesson was about mirroring, something I have down pretty good - it's the flipping and turning I tend to forget about.  I stayed true to the original sketch, which was all about the grid.  Grids are awesome.  Where I have six square graphics, the sketch showed spaces for four 2 x 2" photos.  I couldn't trim any of my photos that small, so I went with images from the patterned paper.

I used the Bo Bunny Surprise line found in the Smaller April '13 kit.  I trimmed down a diecut card to put my journaling on.  Can I just say that I wanted that card on the layout.  I also knew I wanted to journal on it, but dang, I couldn't for the life of me work in on the page.  Seriously?  I did wish in the end I had a little supply of washi tape, as I'd liked to have placed a strip of it along the top of that journaling card to help draw the eye to it.

I also popped out two cards from the scraps left from the kit.  Outside of some trim, there wasn't anything left of this Bo Bunny kit.

Here's to hoping today, after folding laundry, I'll get another page done.  Or maybe some more stitiching. :)

Happy Tuesday,

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Sketch Challenge

The end of July means there's still at least a month of this heat to come.  It means school isn't far off.  It means I'll either be at Target cooling myself while my kids run around getting school supplies, or I'll be in my basement working on the newest challenge from the Super Stash Busters class I'm taking.

If I'm scrapbooking, I'm more likely than not using a sketch to get me going.  Have we established that I'm a sketch girl?  This is the exclusive sketch provided by Becky Fleck over at PageMaps that went into each of the July scrapbook kits this month.  The sketch has spots for seven photos.  I helped break down your options for more or less photos HERE

Here Jennifer Halleck stuck (almost) to the sketch.  She used one less photo, and instead put her journaling (in strips) where the 3 x 3" photo would be on the left side.

Here Kristin Perez also stayed true to the sketch, though her photos on the right side are altered just a bit in size to accommodate the subjects in her photos; cropped them in closer.

Maria Swiatkowski had one less photo for her layout and opted to move the framed 3 x 3" photo down on the left side and put a large sticker where the framed photo was on the sketch.  Her framed 3 x 3" is actually smaller and she's utilizing a frame from the kit.  She also squared her vertical 4 x 6" photo on the right side.

Finally, we have Nancy Longo's layout, which is spot on with the sketch's layout.

With it being the last week in July, hopefully you've at least broken into your box.  If not, take a moment to collect a few photos, grab your sketch and pick a line of paper.  Then sit down, crop and keep your cool.

Go.  Create.

Friday, July 25, 2014

#100HappyDays - Day 24

Day 24/100 - Handwritten, surprise notes left on my dashboard.  Totally made my day.

Be Happy.

REMEMBER: Christmas in July SALE

It's July 25th - the six month mark in the countdown to Christmas.  Besides that triggering thoughts of cooler temps, there's also the Apron Strings Christmas in July Sale. 

Head over to the website and down the Sale Aisle to snag Christmas/Winter themed goodies and save (what else) 25%!

Go. Shop.

It's Just About Food

I wish I had more for you today than just food, but I don't.  I do have a lot of food though.  Food that's quick and won't heat your kitchen and will get you back to scrapbooking or card making in no time.

I said last week that I'd be plucking recipes from Pinterest this week.  My requirement was that I wanted recipes that didn't heat up my kitchen, anymore than it already was.  And so I did.  I picked more than I needed, so half my menu for next week is planned too.  Love that.

  • Fresh Cherry Scone Recipe - I'm a sucker for anything with cherries in the ingredient list.  So when I had cherries that needed using and a sweet tooth that needed soothing, I went with this for a quick weekend morning addition.  I got to mixing and found the batter was way. . .WAY. . .to wet for a scone; it was more like a cake batter.  I ended up adding at least a half a cup (probably closer to a full cup) more flour to the batter, and it was still wetter than I'd like when I finally just threw it in the oven.  The recipe also has a "what?" moment when you get to the salt. . . I believe it should read "1/2 tsp," as two teaspoons would be too much.  I added turbinado sugar to the top, too.  In the end they were good; light and moist. I'll make the recipe again, add more flour (and do so before adding the cherries so my batter is blue) and enjoy.
  • No Bake Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars -  And no-bake they were.  I probably could have done the stove-top part in the microwave, but it didn't take long and I set them up early enough in the day to not worry about being too hot.  These were delish. . .totally addictive.
  • Lemony Tortellini Bacon Salad - I picked this for a dinner, but worried it might not be enough for a dinner for us six.  I would have made some type of bread, but it was too hot.  I did double the recipe, but not the recipe for the dressing - turned out there was plenty of dressing and plenty to feed us.  It was really good - creamy with a bite of lemon and, hello, bacon.  I served it on lettuce and we even had leftovers, probably enough for a lunch.
  • Coconut Cloud Martini - If it's gonna feel like the tropics, but you're land-locked, you might as well sip on something that is tropical.  I mixed this up for hubby and I the other night.  It was very good. . .I will add more cream of coconut and a little less alcohol next time; I can't drink that much alcohol anymore.  #gettinold.  I also didn't take the time to garnish, but with this one, the toasted coconut will be worth it!
  • Butter Dip Biscuits - I'm always looking for a quick biscuit.  This one with butter, lots of butter, sounded interesting.  It was fast to pull together, and even though it used the oven, it was only on for a few minutes.  The biscuits were light and slightly chewy (in a good way.)  These would be awesome for breakfast sandwiches or with jam.
  • Bourbon Brat Skewers - Another winner; hubby was on board when I said "bourbon."  The kids even ate the veggies, since the grilling and the glaze made them sweet.  We (everyone but hubby) don't eat mushrooms, so I did grape tomatoes I had on hand.  I also used smoked kielbasa instead of the Johnsonville brats.
  • Chicken Pasta Salad - This one had me worried with the amount of apple cider vinegar.  I mixed it up early in the day - doubled the recipe since I was cooking for the in-laws - and by the time we ate it, it had mellowed.  I'd tasted it right after mixing and the vinegar was a bit much for me.  If I had to serve right away, I'd cut down the vinegar.
I've got a coconut cream pie in the 'fridge and Hawaiian BBQ in the slow cooker, I just need to figure out a side or two.

Here's to hoping I can get something done over the weekend.  I need to - my sanity needs it.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Christmas in July Sale - an Eve Peek

It's July.  It's hot.  It's six months until Christmas.  What better way to escape the heat than to think of fluffy white flakes of snow and the guy with the jelly belly.  Or better yet, come shop at Apron Strings and pick up all kinds of Winter/Christmas goodies while saving 25%!

I've put all things Christmas/Winter in Santa's Bag, aka the Sale Aisle.  You'll find sparkly embellishments, tickets, journaling tags, paper packs, TV Dinners, full-sized kits and more!  All of it is ready to help you document your memories of Christmas-Past.

Shop on the Eve of the sale to get the best selection and re-live some cooler memories.

Go.  Shop.

#100HappyDays - Day 23

Day 23/100 - It was supposed to be 97+.  WooHoo and thank you God for cool temps brought by, however brief, rain showers.

You can follow me on Instagram for #100HappyDays (and other postings.)

Be Happy.

A Geek and What's Left Over

First, can I just say I am a dork.  As you know, I'm taking The Phone Photography Project 2 and we get assignments about three times a week.  I'm participating and shooting and sharing (both on Instagram and in the student gallery on the website.)  I enjoy getting comments on my pictures, maybe more than I should, but I do.  I'm happy when other students comment, and I totally get excited when a teacher "likes" or leaves a comment on my work.  But yesterday when Stacy Julian left several comments on my most recent photos I didn't know what to do with myself.  She doesn't know me from Adam, but it was so cool!  And dork that I am, I'll screen shot the comments and put them in my Project Life® albums.

Anyway, on to today. . .

When I post photos of what kit I'm playing with, I like to share what I have left when I'm done with a kit.  Hopefully, it gives a sense of the usability of the kits.  I generally try to make a card or two to use things up, but then, as you know, I'm pretty much done with a given line of paper and it goes away, one way or another.

I thought it would be interesting to see what the designers have left.  Kristin Perez used the Smaller than a Breadbox kit for July; she created six pages - two 2-pagers and two single pages.  Kristin usually makes cards and tags from her scraps.  She's been known to cover books, make note cards and even table decor with her scraps.  She told me she sorts and saves her scraps.  Here is what she has left from her July kits.  Not a lot, and she didn't make anything extra this month.  Or at least not yet.

Maria Swaitkowski used the Bigger than a Breadbox kit this month; she created eight pages - two 2-pagers and four single pages.  Below is what she has left and there's not a lot left here either.  She has already made two pocket-page cards to use at a later date; Maria does Project Life®, in addition to traditional layouts. She says she does hold on to scraps (using an old kit bag) for the larger pieces.  Smaller pieces she keeps in an old embellishment bag, which sits where she can see it on her desk.  She says the scraps, more often than not, go for Project Life® cards or she'll make birthday cards. 

Jennifer Halleck used the Smaller than a Breadbox kit and created six pages, all of them 2-pagers.  Looking at her layouts, I'd say she didn't have much left over either.  She's not always one to make cards - she's told me they aren't her thing.  Having scrapped with her before, I know saves scraps.  I've seen her take mine when I put them in the throw-away pile, LOL.  She uses her scraps for other altered items like notebooks, clipboards and notecards.  She also makes mini albums.  Most of the items are teacher gifts, but she also makes items for her daughters, their coaches and friends.

Nancy Long worked with the Bigger than a Breadbox kit, created eight pages (all double-page spreads) and tells me she used almost everything in the July kit.  She only keeps scraps of papers from lines she really likes, otherwise she gets rid of them.  She told me she's not a huge fan of ribbon and that she'll keep that for pretty-ing up packages or she'll donate it to the craft boxes at school.

If you want to see what the designers made with their July kits you'll find them posted on Facebook or you can see them in the July newsletter.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#100HappyDays - Days 19 - 22

Day 19/100 - Our blackberries are ripening so we are freezing them in daily-batches to enjoy them later.  This was also a photo for The Phone Photography Project 2's lesson on Lines.

Day 20/100 - At Play.  This photo was also a practice in the Phone Project lesson on lines.

Day 21/100 - My boys.

Day 22/100 - Finding this means mama gets a Coconut Cloud Martini tonight to fight the heat with.

You can follow me on Instagram for the #100HappyDays.

Be Happy.

We Are

  • We are happy to have worn down the people with driver's licenses with our constant requests to go to the pool
  • We are flashing back to last year, when going down the slide wasn't going to happen
  • We are holding our breath. . .
  • . . .We are proud of it
  • We are wishing this was sand under our toes, but we'll take the pool
  • We are thinking we know who's really running this show. . .and not just with his older brothers
  • We are thinking when it's still mid-80's at 9:00 PM we're going home wet in the hopes it keeps us cool
Happy Wednesday,