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.