Friday, December 30, 2011

Celebrating 50 Years- A Scrapbook of Sentiments

Recently, the Founder and CEO of our small start up turned fifty. This milestone can be a little tricky. Big enough not to want everyone to ignore it especially when your co-workers are looking for a reason to celebrate you. This year, we took the opportunity to collect warm thoughts that expressed how much we appreciate her in an album that she could take out and flip through anytime the blues got a hold of her. Speaking of blue- since that is her favorite color- we started with this lovely The Perfect Scrapbook fabric covered book:

The flowers, courtesy of Michaels' Recollections Boutique Fleur flower set, on the outside cover were adhered to the cotton cover with some simple hot glue. The insert in the page made with some Prima paper flowers and a little Viva Decor Pearl Pen for the centers.

A beautiful paper pack of coordinating Basic Grey papers became the foundation for each sentiment. Everyone made their sentiment to express their own unique relationship. The thoughts ranged from the most simplistic and accurate to sweet and thoughtful. Some of them were laugh out loud funny and others truly captured the personality and charm of their author. Either way, they all communicated the respect, care and love we all felt.

Throughout the book I scattered die cuts and embellishments that either matched or accented the written words. Here are a couple of Quickutz dragonflies over a Cricut Paper Lace cart cut glittered using my Zyron sticker maker.

Some of the sentiments were very simple and to the point!

Some of the pages were adorned with quotes from the famous and obscure, but all were intended to encourage, enlighten or simply to entertain.

This two page spread was inspired by a coworker's marriage this year. These cute pearl buttons were created with the Viva Decor Pearl Pen. Really nice details... and great accent for this page which needed a little sprucing up.

Some pages were accented by cutting out images from another portion of the 12 x 12 patterened paper. Here I glittered the edges of this beautiful flower and adhered it over the wallpaper of this page using foam squares to create dimension. This is my favorite page and was reserved for her parents heartfelt, loving tribute.

All of these pages were made while I wasn't feeling especially well. As I've mentioned before, papercrafting is an outlet for stress and a recuperating activity for me. I took extra time and attention to each of these pages in large part because I needed the recovery and couldn't think of a better project to pour out my recovery on. I hope she brings it out to look at often and always finds encouragement there..


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It's here, finally here.  I hope your day is full  of joy... the kind found in celebration, in the quiet moments and in the everyday tasks which seem just a little special when friends and family join together.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Anticipation and Advent

I grew up in a really small town in Minnesota.  When I say really small town, I mean it as there were only 625 people in the entire town.  We had to travel 10 miles (wow!) to the nearest big town (of approximately 12,000 people) to get groceries, gas, and anything that might resemble a Walmart.  At Christmas time, our church celebrated Advent with a reading and lighting of a candle each Sunday for the four Sunday's preceeding Christmas.  We didn't always have or go to the Christmas Eve services and the meaning or significance of the Advent season wasn't exactly clear. 

I enjoy candles.  My husband says I don't have people over I have "candle lighting opportunities".  He's not wrong.  So, it comes as no surprise that the idea of Advent would be something that I would be drawn to.  When the children were little, their Gram and Papa would bring home Belgium or Swiss chocolate Advent calendars from trips abroad.  We rarely remembered to open a window each of the 24 nights, but the kids thought that was alright since splitting a 3/4 inch piece of chocolate four ways was never too much fun.  As they have grown older, the celebration of Advent waned and didn't have the same emphasis.  I've toyed for several years with making a crafty Advent calendar like this one.  Nothing seemed to express the right sentiment or capture the not-fully-formed idea in my head. 

Our current wreath
When our Sunday school leader, Liz, decided to have each class focus on Advent last year, I approached it as one more activity.  But once I started shopping, I found that I wanted to make an Advent wreath for our family.  Then, I found that reading a passage from the Bible and lighting the candle at dinner was fun and refreshing while it drew us closer as a family.  This meant more dinners at the table where we heard the voices of the kids instead of rapid inhalation of their dinner as they moved on to other things.  This year, Advent has been a constant reminder to slow down, enjoy the season and reflect on the things that matter.  Jesus came to save us from bustle and strife.  Why would we celebrate him just one day this month?  Why wouldn't we want to stop and think of what He gave up to come here and save the world?

It just so happens that Brandy's Christmas card this year was also an Advent celebration.  The smudge of tomato sauce on the #1 is proof we've actively used her card.  It sits here on our refrigerator.  We've been decrementing the small white cards all month.  She really did a fabulous job and I didn't know if we could get her to post here, so I posted for her.  One of the many blessings for which I am thankful and reminiscent of this Christmas.

It's almost here.  Just one more day.  All the anticipation and preparations will be consumed, enjoyed and savored.  This year I thank God for His work in me, for those around me which constantly prove a blessing, and for the ability to recognize all of it.  It's almost here.  Just one more day...


Friday, December 16, 2011

So Soft Homemade Baby Blanket and Smalll Gift Card

This will come as no surprise to you all.  I come from a long line of crafty ladies.  My paternal grandma, Della, taught me to knit and crochet.  My maternal grandma, Mabel continues to crochet to this day- well into her eighties.  Grandma Della would sit and crochet while watching her stories and talking to us kids who had rode down on our bikes for a visit.  She knitted and crocheted Barbie doll clothes that my daughter Katie played with.  Grandma Mabel crocheted shawls Katie has also worn along with slippers and mittens to keep us warm in the winter.  When we visited Grandma Mabel as children, one of our favorite outings was to the craft store.  Preferably we would go to the local Hobby Lobby in Broomfield, Colorado.  They had many different kinds of craft supplies and we never seemed to notice that we didn't actually get to buy something, but were enthralled by what grandma bought for her own crafting activities. 

Therefore, it is in my blood and no less than a compulsion that I love to crochet blankets for newborn babies.  The softer and the more lovely the better.  So, I was ecstatic when Hobby Lobby moved in a little over a year ago.  They have the best prices and the best selection on yarn that I can find.  I recently made this blanket for the daughter of dear friends whose baby, Virginia, was born last month.

The blanket was made out of a variegated green and brown 100% cotton yarn called I Love This Cotton! The tight yarn is easy to work with and goes together in a snap.  I've been using a criss-cross stitch in my blankets for the last few years alternating between a row of half-double crochet and a row of criss-cross stitches.  A quick shell stitch around the edges and this blanket is done and ready for the most precious of us to envelope in it's warmth and soft love.

I made this cute little gift card to send along to Au Claire, Wisconsin. This little chicky was cut using Cricut's Straight From the Nest cart using my Adrianna patterned paper scraps. Grandma and grandpa, our close friends, delivered my gift just days after Virginia was born.  As it turns out, green was her mama's favorite color too!  May God bless Virginia, her mom and her dad. 


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cards from the Play All Day Event

One last post on the fun Play All Day Event given by Embellish It! These amazingly simple cards were part of the Picadilly card kit.  The colors are so amazing, the designs were simple to put together, but look cheerful and sweet.  As I've mentioned before, check out Embellish It!  The Play All Day event was definately worth it.

Here's a fun card parade!



Not my typical favorite color scheme- but I think this is my favorite!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Orange Day 2011

Where did the month of November go?  I can remember thinking, "November, my birthday month, Katie's birthday month, Grandma and Grandpa coming to town... Hooray!"  Now it is not only gone, but the month of December is well along its way (only 19 days left??).  Still, it is not too late to post a little "Orange You Glad Jesus Loves You"!  I posted about this tradition at our family church (Faith Church of the Valley right here in Chandler, AZ) last year.  The post marked my first post ever and, boy!, what a fun year it has been.  Crafting and then sharing has become a source of great release from a stressful job and the general busy life I tend to plan for myself. 

Anyway, we've been blessed by our participation teaching the 2nd graders for Faith Quest and this year was no different.  So much fun to see their little minds grow in the understanding of our Great God that we seek to serve.  My prayer is that they will look back at this time and think how they were shaped and molded by the super fun time of learning and growing in the love of Jesus.  This year, I took a similar approach as last year and here's a fun look before things got messy:

The making of the flowers for young girls is probably my single favorite step.  This fun Recollections white polka dot printed on orange paper was a great find.  The flowers were cut using the Cricut cart Mother's Day Bouquet.  I bent the flower petals in half right down the center and created the dimensional effect.  A little Gimmer Mist to make the paper shiny giving the petals that cool curl and those young ladies thought they were stylin' for Orange Day. 

I can't possibly leave out the boys.  Buttons declaring their joy at knowing Jesus and headbands that did the same helped these young men to participate as well. The buttons were printed on a sheet of orange cardstock and cut with the Cricut.  I didn't get the balence exactly right this time, so each of the medallions had a decided lopsided tilt.  I'm not sure anyone noticed.

Here's hoping I'm still blogging next year to celebrate Orange Day with you again.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Little Stitches by Laurie Mangieri

Have you noticed how sometimes the most touching relationships that we develop in our lives aren't exactly sought after, planned or even expected?  As an example, you can read here about how Brandy and I became friends and ultimately shared our papercrafting "disease".  From a simple invitation to join her at a scrapbook convention began a friendship that grew over the past decade and is only stronger as the days go by!  Today I want to promote the craftiness, no... maybe the addiction of another dear friend.

Laurie Mangieri was my children's 1st grade teacher.  I had the pleasure (extreme joy I might say) to be able to volunteer to help Laurie in the classroom.  In 2002 my son, Timothy, was in her class and I worked full time outside the house.  I would stop by Laurie's classroom around 4:00 pm and she would give me a stack of papers to copy in the school copy room.  These papers included math worksheets, craft activities and other various and assorted 1st grade work for the students.  I would happily copy for an hour or so and return with a cart full of copies, a smile on my face and receive such gratitude that I desperately wanted to come back.  Laurie's strict, but loving teaching style was a perfect compliment for my hard working, serious first born and I believe that Tim developed his deep love of learning that year in her classroom. 

In 2004, my daughter Katie had the great privilege of joining Mrs. Mangieri's classroom and I wasn't working full time.  I volunteered to be the Friday mom helper.  I was able to enjoy classroom favorites like the spelling test (grading spelling- what fun!), Laurie's cooking time where the kids made a fun math or color oriented snack, and, best of all, ran the reward store.  Each day the children were given opportunities to earn "bucks" for good behavior, completing tasks and on the rare occasion were required to return the bucks to Mrs. Mangieri for unacceptable classroom behavior.  It was a great reward system to teach these young kids about responsibility and accountability.  On Friday, each child was given the opportunity to shop at my store and spend their hard earned bucks on fun toys and candy donated by parents.  I would set up shop and call each child up individually.  I cannot honestly say what else I would like to do if I were to retire immediately than to be Mrs. Mangieri's teacher's assistant!

Laurie, much like Brandy and I, took up a hobby and seems to have caught the bug.  She has opened an Etsy store:

Laurie creates fun, beautiful accessories that are geared for little girls all the way up to the little girl inside of us grown-ups.  Mainly consisting of flowers and bows made out of ribbon and fabric, these adorable accessories are ready to pin in your hair, to your hat, handbag or lapel or even fun adornments for your flip flops.  I recently picked up some pink stuff for my Katie Lynn:

Flip Flop Bows attached to a $3 pair of black flipflops
Katie's new favorite footwear
Ribbon with bling center
Katie mostly wears this in her hair

Please patronize this lovely lady's Etsy shop and bless her with the opportunity to indulge her creativity and continue to make these beautiful adornments.  Visit Laurie at Little Stitches and just see if you can resist a quick splurge.  Your little girl (or the little girl inside you) will appreciate it.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Card Peak

It's been too long without much posting.  It's not that I haven't been crafting, just life being too busy to craft and post.  I had previously mentioned that Brandy and I worked on our Christmas cards in September.  Well, here's a sneak peak of the work in progress.  Two months later, they are more together, but not yet finalized for me and Brandy has not only finished hers, but mailed them out.  I better get on the ball!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Second of Two Play All Day Layouts

As mentioned in the previous post here, Brandy and I attended the Embellish It! Play All Day Event here in Mesa, AZ.  This layout was the second of the two layouts that were a part of the event.  Shelby Dredge was a wonderful hostess and these layouts went together in a snap.  The fine detail on the product sold by Embellish It! makes them one of our new favorites.
I am usually not to big a fan of the black and white look- just a little too stark for me.  However, the touch of baby blue and the odd cream embellishment and I really like the final product.  If you get a chance to participate in one of Embellish It!'s events, both Brandy and I recommend it.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Layouts from the Embellish It! Play All Day Event

Both Brandy and I had the great pleasure of attending Embellish It!'s Play All Day Event in Mesa, Arizona this past October.  I can't believe a month has gone by.  Our lack of posting about the event doesn't represent our enthusiasm for the fun we had and/or the quality of the activities provided.  Shelby Dredge, Embellish It!'s owner was our host. 

As an aside- I am notoriously naive regarding websites.  As I was trying to locate Embellish It!'s website, imagine my chagrin when I realized how in appropriate that particular website name would be (i.e., http://www.embellish**.com/).  They can be found at!

We spent eleven glorious hours paper crafting, chatting, snacking and generally enjoying each other's company.  The day was set up to revel in friendship while inking our papers (and our fingers, and the table cloths, oh my!), gluing down strips and trying to finish our Christmas card projects.  In the meantime, Shelby had some fun planned for us.  The first activity started just before lunch when we were given a layout kit.  Shelby walked us through the layout and gave some real handy tips.  I don't consider myself a paper crafting expert (that's Brandy's role in our friendship), but Shelby had a few things to teach me too.  Here's our first two-page layout using Basic Grey papers:

All page embellishments (except the ribbon) came from a sticker page or a cardstock sticker page provided with the kit.  This isn't my natural scrapbooking style, so I find it interesting how a few sheets of patterned paper and some stickers can turn out to be such a wonderful product.   

I have plans to add a couple of pictures of Katie to this beautiful layout.  Brandy finished her pages that day with pictures of family for inclusion in her mom's scrapbook (Brandy adds pages throughout the year to this scrapbook to keep her mom up to date on pictures of her, her son, her niece and nephew, etc.). 
What do you think?  We first really became enamoured of Embellish It! at this year's Creating Keepsakes scrapbooking convention in Mesa.  Ultimately, it was their selection of Basic Grey product that drew us in.  Now, we will be looking for their next Play All Day Event here in sunny Arizona.  Don't be surprised if we go again and consider this an endorsement for you as well.