Friday, April 25, 2008

Oh My -Milestones!!

For both the child and the parent(s) - there comes a defining moment when you realize you can no longer think of your youngest child as "the baby". These past few days have been that moment(s) for our family. Our daughter has been excited about "experience kindergarten" day for weeks, and had her clothes laid out on Monday for this day.

Yesterday, she had her first REAL haircut - meaning more than a trim. This was probably most difficult for my husband, who loves her long hair. Our daughter, is excited, however, about her new look and feels very grown up. Below is a "before" photo.

During the haircut she sang made up songs, and the stylist and I could barely carry a conversation - it was too cute. We put the hair, freshly washed the night before, into a pony tail and we will mail it to Locks of Love, an organization making wigs for children experiencing disease that includes hair loss. There was no way our little girl could keep growing her hair until the required 10" pony tail- that would have trailed well past her bottom and I was not willing to deal with that.(LOL) But the 7" gathered tresses can be used to make bangs for wigs, or can be sold to help fund the making of wigs for children in need. Here, with a beaming smile, our daughter holds her pony tail.

The climax of this week, however, was today. Abby woke up, came to find me her hands clapping all the while with the biggest smile. She was so excited for "experience kindergarten" day. This is a day our elementary school sets aside for children entering kindergarten in the fall. The grade is split into morning and afternoon classes and they spend a couple of hours getting familiar with the school, classrooms, and really just having fun! Abby could not WAIT to go! Here she is - all set and ready to head out the door an hour before we had to be there. (LOL)

What threw me for a loop, however, was the very unexpected trauma that set in moments after we got in the door. She happily put on her nametag, but as soon as strangers (aka adult kindergarten aids) started talking to her she became quite shy and hesitant. I walked her to the classroom door where she absolutely balked at going in, and would not until her friend arrived that she attends pre-school with daily. Thank goodness they had paired the girls together!

Suddenly I had a child clinging to my leg and tears started to roll... the teacher came over to talk to her and encouraged her to join everyone else in a circle. Her friend was already there. Being a weeper, I could feel my own eyes welling up and I needed to get out of there! I am sure Mrs. B (who is wonderful and taught our son in kindergarten as well) noticed and explained to Abby that I needed to get to the parent meeting and she would be fine.

So off I went to the auditorium with a plethora of emotions! I felt silly - surely the only parent with teary eyes, from what I could tell anyhow. I saw a friend, who works as an aid, on my way out, and asked her to check on our daughter. Shortly after I rolled into work my friend called to say everything was absolutely fine and told me how cute all the kids were being. When I picked Abby up the teacher told me the tears stopped the moment I left the room - I figured that would be the case, but it did not make leaving her any easier. Abby was excited about her coloring projects and both girls had lots to share about their morning experiencing "kindergarten". Ah yes...they do grow up, don't they?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fun With Cardstock!

For a patterned paper lover like myself, being assigned projects utilizing only cardstock can be a challenge! But ya know...get past the initial few seconds of thinking "what now" and the mojo sets in! Get out the inks, punches, micro-tip scissors and get creative.

Our son loves canteloupe - so when melon colored cardstock was sent to me I immediately knew I needed to chronicle our son's most very favorite food. I also noticed that my favorite coffee cup huggies reminded me of the texture of a melon - and had fun creating a vine with torn cardstock leaves.

Here are some ideas when creating a page about your child's favorite food:
1. Set up a shot - take a good photo of the food only. I keep a burlap sack around just for use as a photo prop. It made a great background, and in Photoshop I used a font that gives a stamped appearance to make it appear as though the bag was stamped for the purpose of shipping melon. Don't be afraid to use your photo editing software to try some fun techniques on your photos!

2. Visit the USDA web-site and copy the nutrition facts on your child's favorite food. Print it on a tag or piece of cardstock to include on the layout.

3. Create art to replicate the food. For a pizza a triangle "slice" dotted with circles punched from red would make fabulous pepperoni pizza! Fruit is pretty easy to replicate - think geometric shapes and alter your circle and square punched pieces to create your own fruity artwork!

On a personal note... today is the day our 5 yr. gets a real haircut for the first time, as in - more than a trim. Her hair is not long enough for Locks of Love, but we do plan to send it in to be used in creating bangs for wigs, or sometimes it is sold to help fund the making of wigs for children battling cancer.

Tomorrow she "experiences kindergarten" and is so excited about going to her future school - these are both milestones in her young life, and I admit - makes me a little sad to realize that my baby is definitely not. I mentioned this morning how I missed her being my baby and it made me a little sad to know that soon she will be going to kindergarten. She asked me why, and I said...because my baby girl is growing up and soon she will be in kindergarten. She said, "That's ok mom - I will still come home once in a while to visit and play with you" - now doesn't that sound like a kid going off to college? geesh! But it was cute how she put on her best consoling voice - kids are so fun, enjoy them while they are young!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It's Earth Day!! Are you doing anything to recognize this day? Earth Day is a good time to remind your children about the importance of good stewardship of the earth God gave us to care for. We are conscience of living for the earth everyday, but there are always improvements that can be made in our habits to help better care for the earthly resources we have been given.

As scrapbookers I think we are already of the mindset to analyze an item before it is trashed, to see if it might be recycled into a cool embellishment. I'd tell everyone to go DIGITAL and save trees, but hey - I love my paper, paint and chipboard as much as the next traditional scrapper. (LOL) Today's layout, however, is all digital and was created using a quote from my April inspiration challenge at This time of year I love to observe nature as it wakes up from winter. Green plants start to emerge from the brown ground, trees bud, and some of our favorite songbirds, such as bluebirds, come forth from their winter time refuge. The children are eager to spend time outdoors - Abby has been running up and down the slope near our garden a couple of times a day, just because... (LOL)

Our family has an acre to care for, and we thoroughly enjoy the birds and animals around us and do our best to help provide for them. Our wooded hillside behind our home has some bushes with dying branches. Many people would be eager to cut these out, but the branches provide an excellent refuge for small animals and birds. We do not use chemicals on our lawn - a few dandelions never hurt anyone and the flowers are good for the butterflies and bees. We also plant flowers and bushes that specifically benefit the animals for food, shelter and nesting. With the valley around us being turned into homes for humans, and the farmland behind our place on the brink of extinction for 182 homes, we do what we can on our little piece of God-given land to help care for His creation.

We became environmentally conscience more than 20 years ago when my husband and I raised parrots. Toxic cleaning chemicals were not allowed in our home - as the fumes could easily kill our birds. We turned to homemade cleaning solutions, with my husband's favorite window cleaner being made of a bottle of rubbing alcohol, 2 T. of dishwashing liquid and water. If you are interested in eco-friendly cleaning solutions for your home (which will benefit the well-being of your family as well) visit Ecocycle for ideas and recipes. We still have two parrots in our home, but we also have two children and I would much rather use safe, non-toxic cleaners around them than risk the many hazardous materials available off the store shelf.

Today the kids and I donned some green in recognition of earth day. I filled the bird baths early this morning, and we set out the "toad abodes". As I gave the flower bed in front of our home a spring cleaning yesterday our daughter discovered a toad that had come out of winter hibernation. It has become "tradition" that a toad found becomes an overnight house guest. So we added damp leaves and such to an ice cream bucket, DS found some worms and bugs, and we fitted the bucket with a screen top as Mr. Toadie spent the night in our son's room. Before school the kids released him near where he was found, with the kids both hoping he would go into the terracotta abode. (LOL) Later on we plan to hike the school prairie and pick up any trash we find, however, a spring storm is threatening our afternoon plans at this point.

Enjoy earth day - and every day be aware of electricity consumed, water usage, and trash produced. Think about one thing you might do differently. For me, it would be to make use of the canvas grocery bag a friend gave me - I need to store it in my car so I actually have it when I go to the grocery store.

"GO" digital elements used:

Sande Krieger – Embrace Life kit
Black crumpled paper, stitched green and stitches: SNT Cheryl from DigiShop talk
Alphabet – Sande Krieger and BVT Designs
Fonts: Dirty Ego, Carolyns Print

Boots for puddles, birds singing spring songs, bright flowers breaking through the brown ground - these first signs of spring tell me that winter is over and spring is a GO!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Livin With Dream Street

Livin' With Dream Street
For a week anyhow…as I created a “week in our life” mini album this past week using products from Dream Street’s Forget-Me-Not collection. I had won Dream Street’s chipboard album and matching die-cut sticker sheets quite some time ago in a contest. As the sponsor for the Scrapbook Playground for April, I thought it was a good time to break that prize out of my stash and use it for the “week in our life” challenge posed by Stephenie at Fiskars. The challenge and product were just the motivation I needed to create a little treasure for my family.

I admit, I need to do mini albums more as I love them when I am done. Forget-Me-Not is one of my favorite collections from Dream Street – I HEART orange and aqua as a color combo! I altered the sticker die cuts a bit to get the look I wanted for the front cover, and added embellishments. Dream Streets stickers and chipboard letters make titling easy as pie! I used Glimmer Mist by Tattered Angels on the white chipboard letters – for the very first time. It was not exactly what I expected, but then I read directions and saw that I was supposed to shake well. OOPS! I will admit my “mistake” to you, but to be honest I love the mottled letter coloration, pale to darker orange with bits of shimmering gold – I think it adds interest! I shall stand by the “there are no mistakes in scrapbooking, only art happening!” motto. (LOL)
I also used Glimmer Mist on my Bazzill cardstock strip punched with my much loved Fiskars “Threading Water” punch. As you may notice, I am finding all sorts of ways to use my favorite punches. One other spot I used Glimmer Mist was on the RAW chipboard – which when sprayed onto raw gives a totally different look than when sprayed on a white coated surface. The raw chipboard really absorbs – the shimmer is muted, but it is there in a subtle way and looks really nice in person.

Here is an idea you may want to latch onto – ever have a package of paper flowers where some of the flowers are torn, destroyed and simply not viable as a flower any longer? I had one of those – and decided to salvage the two good petals by folding them in half and using them as wings on my bird. Just an idea for ya… I also dressed up my flower petals with some Stickles – gotta love me Stickles.
A few other ideas: I scanned in the monthly calendars from my Weekly Planner and duplicated 6 "Aprils" to circle the corresponding day and used as a page embellishment. I used the computer to print my subject title for each day, as well as the "Key Happenings" sub-title on cardstock, and used my Fiskars "Round and Round" squeeze punch which allows me to see exactly where I am punching the circle.
I would love to share more about other details in my album, but since I want to share it all with you I better stop typing and get my pictures loaded. I hope you enjoy this little peek into our lives. I would like to do this yearly and note how our schedules and lives change as the kids get older and get more involved.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Embrace Your Journaling

Lately I have been embracing my hand-writing, and I believe I owe much of this to the use of cute journaling blocks that are available. I have stamps to create a spot for journaling, some manufacturers are actually making die-cut journaling blocks, but I admit I am loving creating my own as well.
I love to find dingbat fonts and create blocks that match the theme of my page. Since my background is graphic arts - laying out and designing my own blocks is a piece of cake. Someone once told me I ought to sell my journaling block designs- but I am seriously just havin' fun with it. (LOL)
A few weeks ago I came upon another idea while creating the two pager above, Soaking Wet. I wanted to use the tone on tone blue design patterned cardstock by Upsy Daisy for my journailng. I also wanted to have it print within a circle shape that split across the two page seam - which was a bit more challenging than all being contained on one, and easily done on the computer. My resolution was as clear as can you have one of those Sakura clear glaze pens? (if you do you are probably loving it like I do to make things glossy on your page)
I decided to use my clear pen for another purpose, and using a straight edge I drew lines on my circle halves to use as a guide for hand-writing my story. You can barely see the journaling lines on the finished layout, and it looks like I am skilled in writing in a straight line- believe me, I am not! So the next time you want to hand write and fear the inevitable downhill penmanship - get out your clear pen and make your invisible "cheat marks". (LOL)
Another tip - use a complimentary color in a fine tip pen or marker, and make your journaling lines a part of your design. I love this look too, and I must say, my family is quite happy that I am embracing my hand-writing while creating...this one computer household usually has a line up of people waiting to "get on". Hmmmm. I think I may have just come up with a topic for a new layout!
Would you like one more tip? Instead of using a ruler as a straight edge cut a piece of cardstock, or chipboard, in a width that matches the space you are comfortable writing in. Approximately 1/4" works well for me, but if I have a lot to say in a small amount of space I may cut my strip a bit smaller. Draw your first line with a ruler to ensure you start out straight, and from then on use your straight-edge cardstock strip, line it up to the ruler line and step down (or up - your choice!) your journaling lines. I always tend to have skinny strips of cardstock on my workspace, so this was a "grab it and go with it" idea a while back, and has also become a regular technique. I hope you find these tips useful - happy hand-writing!
Can you see it now? (LOL)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Apple of His Eye

What is it about daddy's and their little girls? They will do almost anything for them. As I listened to Abby laughing and giggling tonight as her dad came home from work and played silly games (ya know...kiss the piggies, allow her to squeeze his face to make funny noises...that sort of thing) I realize how important daddy's are to their daugthers. Right now it is all games, play and some discipline. Oh, and daddy is the only one Abby ever really wants to comb her long heair...

Daddy's lift their little girls high in the air to touch ceilings, or in the case of today's shared layout -reach an apple high in an orchard tree. They lift them up for protection when a strange dog approaches too fast, and someday... and it will come, this daddy will be scrutinizing the boys she brings home. As fast as time seems to fly these is not that far off, and I suspect this daddy-O is going to be pretty protective. (LOL) But right now I just enjoy the laughter and the blessings that fill this home when we are all together.

Upsy Daisy papers were used in "Apple of His Eye" - yes, these are some older Daisy papers, and I did not even realize they are no longer available until I was visiting their site last week. I admit - I love this layout and I am loving my newer Fiskars tools, aka the coveted "Threading Water" punch.

A friend suggested I try out for their DT call - scary thought. I have not tried out for a mfr. team in what seems a year - after so many disappointments I have more or less developed the attitude of "let them come to me" - and although it may not happen that way with a manufacturer, that is how I landed on the three design teams I create for and it is such a blessing and honor to be asked.

So back to Upsy Daisy - one needs to use UD product. Well, I found out about this last week and there was absolutely no time to order. However, I love the three projects I did create and although not new product, I am hoping that my use and designs will make all seem fresh and appealing. I wish I could share them with you, but for now have to keep them under wraps. Wish me luck - or better yet - lift a prayer up for me! One of my biggest dreams is to design for a manufacturer, but not just any one - only those whose products truly inspire me. As I reviewed Upsy Daisy's product line I found myself in want BIG time, and the new lines coming out have birds and butterflies - oh be still my heart!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Happily Exhausted

It is finished - at least for now! I have just spent the past two weeks creating a digital scrapbook album for my parents 50th anniversary. Let's just say I need toothpicks under my peepers as I type this - not even 6 p.m. and I am nodding at the computer. Too many late nights, or should I say early mornings?, but I have managed quite a few pages. There are more candid photo pages that can be added - but for the golden anniversary party on Saturday there is plenty for guest viewing.

The plan is to run a slideshow CD in my sister's laptop, as well as on my folks digital photo frame...if I can figure out how to download onto the frame. I don't seem to have a computer hook up and the manual is not that helpful.

Mom, dad, and siblings - hope you can view these slide shows. Let me know if you see anything to edit. I know I need more copy from several of you for your individual pages. Thank you to my mother and Teresa for scanning the photos and sending more images the past few days, especially since I left a folder behind containing pertinent photos!

I look forward to seeing all of my family and many old friends at the open house on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dream Street Contest

Don't ya just love Dream Street? I just thought I would offer a little teaser for the April 5th upload at Scrapbook Plagyround - which utilizes another one of my favorite Fiskars border punches. Dreamstreet is sponsoring the Scrapbook Playground designers this month and of course there is a Dream Street contest too! You definitely want to get in on it!

To enter: Submit one layout/altered item using mostly Dream Street products into the proper gallery (link below) by April 30th. Rules: One entry per person Must be your own work - no class layouts or lifts You can not win back to back contests - but please enter each month, we love to see your work! Winner will be determined by the Scrapbook Playground Design Team and will be announced in the May 5th newsletter. The winner will receive a Dream Street prize package.

On April 20th you will see the design team flood the gallery with gorgeous work. I am slightly concerned that I have only one project done to date for this upload. I cannot wait to get done with my parent's anniversary album so I am free to create other things. The album is turning out great, but the project is simply too huge to accomplish in a 10 day span. It won't be perfect for Saturday, but I csn tweak after the event before it is put into book format.

I am itching to work on my Dream Street projects. I actually created a boy layout with the gorgeous paper collection I was sent - go figure! Just shows how versatile Dream Street Products are.
A while back I had won a Dream Street contest and the company was very generous with their prize package (did ya hear that? You HAVE to give the SBPG contest a go!). They sent me their Square Chipboard mini album package as well as some pre-done cardstock stickers that "peel and stick" for a perfect background. I have a "Week in Our Life" album all sketched out, journaling done, most pictures taken - and I really just cannot wait to assemble this project for the 5th. The stickers are perfect for those who don't have a lot of time to scrapbook, but want a pretty finished project. Since I will be short on time to get 3 more projects done for the 5th these little shortcuts will be handy. My album will be 16 pages total, and I only have 4 sticker pages, but an entire package of coordinating papers in my winnings - it could not get easier - I am sure of that! I look forward to sharing it with you all.

In the meantime...I had to take a breather from my digital album project yesterday. If I am too tired I just nod at the computer, so I needed to move to my traditional scrap space for a while. The PaperCrafts card call deadline was yesterday, and darn did that sneak up on me! I really had wanted to create some cards with my Fiskars products for the call and managed to whip out a few. Kimberly Polson, for Fiskars, has this incredible line out in gorgeous colors featuring brown and teal- some of my favorites. I also was dying to try my new Butterflies 2 Ultra ShapeXpress template - and walah! Here are a couple of my "break time" card creations, the second features Cloud 9 Designs.

Of course my cards may not get picked for publication, but that is ok. I am really just trying to build a Fiskars portfolio should they, being headquartered down the road, ever be looking for a graphic artist or designer down the line. What a fun day job that would be, huh? (hint, hint Fiskars - I am for hire!) (LOL)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Simply Cardstock

Over spring break I scrapped - A LOT! I have been so eager to share my cardstock layouts with you, but needed to wait until April 5th and the upload date for the design team at the Scrapbook Playground. Check out what other designers have done!

Simply Cardstock was our sponsor and they provided a generous amount of Bazzill Cardstock in gorgeous colors. They also gave us some office style tags, gorgeous die-cut edge tags that I am dying to know who makes, and pretty ribbons. Thank you Simply Cardstock!

My favorite layout of the entire break was one made of, you guessed it, simply cardstock - and adorable Magistical Memories birds that I just love to use. Making the nest was so much fun - gathering the skinny scraps off my workspace and cutting them into short strips to weave into a nest. I felt very much like a bird! (oh, never mind!)
Anyhow, "Tree Climber" features photos taken over several years - but of Kyle always doing the same thing. I certainly did not want a layout about tree climbing in every annual album, so by combinging them it makes a powerful statement of an activity he likes to do - when the tree is just right.

I want to share my other cardstock projects - I created three layouts total and three greeting cards. As you can see, I am making the most of my Fiskars border punches. I have used "Leave it to Weaver", "Threading Water" and "Lacy Days of Summer" in these projects. Enjoy!