hello february!

Hello February! I was not expecting to see you so soon. But now that you're here, make yourself comfortable and please stay as long as you'd like...


Seriously, what happened to January? And all my plans, mostly unwritten, starting last year to be a more active blogger? Ugh. Not doing so good, but I have some friends out there who are inspiring me to be better. Once life settles down a bit, fingers are crossed that there will be more time to devote to recording my (our) lives and sharing more here on my blog.  

January was a whirlwind. In a nutshell... we got some snow which resulted in the boys having quite a few snow days, I've had a bout of the winter blues, basketball season started for one of the boys, and we started doing a lot of work on the house which has been the largest source of chaos the during the last month. HUGE deterrent to me being able to play around with my computer. But we are slowly getting closer to being done with all the major projects (paint, floors, and such), slowly things are being put back in place, and soon it will only be a matter of needing to attend to finishing touches and decorating. That, my friends, will be a slow process for sure.

The beginning of the year also brought back my desire to attempt to participate in the 365 Project again. We shall see if I can actually keep up with it this time around. I made it through the whole month of January - one month down, eleven to go! I'm not gonna stress out about uploading them anywhere on a daily basis, but so far I've been (kind of!) good about adding them to Facebook as I get around to it. Here's a peek at some of them...


Even though the wind is howling outside right now, and tomorrow is sure to be chilly, it seems as though the worst of winter may be behind us. *fingers crossed* Soooo looking forward to spring!

I do love February though. Two of my boys, Jared and Jace, have birthdays in February (plus several other family member's birthdays), and then there's Valentine's day, a.k.a. - the day every other woman in the world is showered with chocolates, given roses and cards that make me want to gag myself with a spoon, taken out to dinner, and so on... I, on the other hand, have to settle for whatever candy I can steal ask the kids nicely for AND the only (very sweet I should add) cards I will receive will be from my two younger boys, who fortunately still realize just how amazing of a person I am. Ha! Even though my husband and I had our first phone conversation on Valentine's Day of 1992 (which is worth a day of celebration in itself, huh?!) he still does not take the opportunity to exercise his romantic side. But, I digress... Like I said, I LOVE February! I'm looking forward to the boys' birthdays most of all. We aren't planning any extravagant parties or anything like that, keeping it low key as usual, but birthdays are exciting! My soon to be 9 year old, Jace, has been reminding me about his birthday every. single. day. since. Christmas. Let's get this over with already! ;)  

OK, so here's to a fabulous month of February!!! It's already past midnight here and although I could probably write a few more paragraphs I need some sleep.
Goodnight world!


toot! toot! here comes the SBG blog train!


Finally, it's the day for SBG's "Santa Brings Goodies" Blog Train to stop on my blog. You should be arriving here from the blog of Doodelle Designs, or if you just happened upon this post, go back and check out the wonderful goodies she has to share with you!

I've been having a little trouble finding my Christmas spirit this year, but my boys have plenty, and I have to say... it is kind of contagious! This may be the last year my younger two actually believe in Santa Claus. They are 8 and 7 years old and in the 3rd and 2nd grades. Needless to say, plenty of their classmates are all too eager to tell them that Santa isn't real. But both Jace and Joey claim to still believe in him though, and while there are lots of questions and comments that make me think they are starting to doubt Santa's existence, it is also obvious that both of them still really want to believe regardless of what their common sense (and those obnoxious kids) is telling them. Sometimes I think it'd be easier if they knew the whole truth, but I don't want to spoil the fun for them just yet! Here's a quickie layout I created using a couple of photos from yesterday.

Credits: Santa Brings Goodies Blog Train Freebies by myself, Charlize Creations, Em-Ka Designs, and Flergs
And here is what I know you've come here for, my GOODIE for the blog train...
Hope you enjoy!

The next stop on the blog train is Anna's blog...
If you get lost, just go back to the Blog Train Stops posted on the SBG blog!

Hope you all enjoy the "Santa Brings Goodies" goodies, and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!!!


in hiding

Well geez, it's been a while since my last post. Although I've popped in here and there,  played in Photoshop a bit... "in hiding" best describes my recent behavior; avoiding the internet world as must as possible over the past month. It's hard to explain why. Not only have we been busy as a family, but I've just been overwhelmed. When I'm not busy or rushed and finally get a chance to sit down, there's so much I want to do that I don't know where to start. Ugh. So it is easier just to hide. Where is the fast-forward button? I think everything will be alright if I can just survive Christmas. And Winter.  

Here are some of the layouts I've completed since my last blog post... (lots of images, hold tight!) The images are linked to the layout in one of my galleries.

Credits: Srsly Stoked collaborative kit by Kim Jensen and Kate Hadfield

Credits: Impressions of Time by the Studio Girls; CF-OUAT; The Stitches by Redju

The next two layouts were done for the font challenge I host each month at ScrapbookGraphics. This months font is Rickles. There's still plenty of time to come and join us. It's a super cute font this month, huh?

Credits: Tickle by Studio Doodelle; papers from Impressions of Adventure by the StudioGirls used as overlays; font is Rickles

A card front... that I never printed. At this point, I think I may be better off focusing on sending out Happy New Year cards instead.

Credits: Home of My Heart by Studio Gypsy; Little Buddies (ribbon) by Dianne Rigdon; Font is Rickles by Font Diner

This one was done for one of the weekly PlayDays at SBG. I love when a PlayDay gives me reason to pick out something I wouldn't ordinarily choose. I can't look at this layout, or my silly little dog for that matter, without smiling. So very fresh, if I say so myself!

Credits: Tickle by Doodelle

The one thing I absolutely love about Christmas is Christmas morning. Boys looking cute in their new jammies, opening each gift with excitement, snacking on treats, playing new games, etc... We never have enough time before we have to get up and go again!


I suppose this is a good place to stop for today, as I'm nearly out of time. But on the Christmas note, I have to tell you that you should stop back soon to catch my stop on the 2010 Santa Brings Goodies Blog Train!


My contribution to the Santa Brings Goodies Blog Train will be posted on December 23! Check the Blog Train Stops posted on the SBG blog if you are lost or just now hearing about the train.


my contribution to scrappers give thanks

If I am doing it correctly, above you should see a slide show of the cards I created to contribute to the Scrappers Give Thanks project. Once I got started with these, I had a hard time stopping. Not only is it such a feel good type of project, but it's fun to create something with no pressure involved. If the slideshow doesn't work you can see my set of cards here, plus many other cards from other contributors are in the SGT group.

There's still a little time to create and contribute your own cards!


every little bit counts

The season of giving, gratitude and joy upon us. It is also often a very busy and hectic time of the year, creating a challenge for those of us with lengthy To-Do lists. However, no matter how busy we all get, it really is important to remember that when it comes to charity, Every Little Bit Counts.

To demonstrate this simple truth, a call went out across the digital community to designers everywhere inviting them each to contribute only one element to a charity collaboration for the Sick Kids Foundation.

The end result is an eclectic collection of unique elements, ranging from classic to quirky and everything in between.

The Every Little Bit Counts collection will only be available until the last week of December. 100% of the profits will then be donated to the Sick Kids Hospital Foundation.

Find out how you can receive this very special collection for only $5 and let your little bit count towards this very worthy cause.


bring back my babies!!!

*sigh* time goes too fast...

Dianne's new stuff prompted me to search out some baby pictures. Pre- Joey, all my baby photos are in print, and I currently don't have a scanner or access to one. Actually, I didn't own a digital camera until Joey was about 2 months old (it was an anniversary present from my husband and the photo used in the layout below is the, or one of the, very first digital pics I ever made), but prior to that I would occasionally order the discs that CVS used to offer with their film processing. Speaking of film, I would like to get my hands on a film SLR camera, just to play around. Until I was going through my old photos on CD, I'd forgotten how much difference there is in film and digital. I've come a long way in my photography skills since I last had a film camera so I'd just like to experiment a bit with film. Anyway. I digress...

Dianne Rigdon's Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep kit at TwoPeas prompted me to create these two layouts. I miss these fellas being so little... not to mention seeing the love! *sniff*


And here is another one, in the photo used below Joey was just a few minutes old. And now the baby fever has struck again. I can feel it in my gut.


And I am tickled that Francine from the CraftGossip Blog picked up the above layout to use for her Inspiration du Jour feature. Thanks, Francine!

As seen on CraftGossip.com


coming through... it's-a mario & luigi!

Halloween is over and done with and no doubt everyone is now looking forward to Thanksgiving, but I wanted to come in and finally do my post-Halloween blog about the boys costumes. To have spent so little money and not very much time on them, we were all so proud of how they turned out so I'm also sharing some tidbits for anyone who may be interested in putting together their own Mario and/or Luigi costumes for next Halloween, costume play, a themed birthday party, or whatever.  

Once the boys had decided they wanted to dress up as Mario and Luigi, the first thing we did was to make a trip to Goodwill. Within a minute (!!!) of walking in the door I'd found the first pair of overalls. A few more minutes of browsing through the racks I had found another pair. I took my harder to fit child to the dressing room to try them on, and there was yet another pair of overalls hanging up right there in the room that we ended up buying. Since I have never, ever, in my life had so much luck finding what I need at Goodwill, I knew it must be fate. Haha.


We were all excited about our great Goodwill finds! The kids know me and my frugal ways and kept going on about how awesome it was to spend less than $10 for two pairs of overalls. Jace even asked if he could wear his everyday after Halloween. However, my excitement over the fab find did not last long. I was on a mission and was soon feeling a little weary about putting together the rest of the costumes. We'd found a very crucial part on the cheap, but in my opinion, the most important part of the whole look ... is the hat! No problem finding Mario and Luigi hats online in costume shops and on ebay, but at about $15-$25 a pop, there was no way I wanted to pay that much for something they would only wear out of the house two or three times at the most.

So, I started looking around for ideas on how to make the hats myself, and came across a few ideas involving a baseball cap but still wasn't thrilled with the look. Not authentic enough, in my opinion. After more extensive searching (looking for anything for over 10 minutes feels extensive to me, so this may be an exaggeration), I finally came across this tutorial, How to Make Mario or Luigi Hats by Helen, on the Groovy Kids Stuff Blog. This was the perfect starting point! I was lucky in that the next week, fleece was 30% off at Hobby Lobby so I ended up paying around $4.50 for 2 yards of the most basic cheap fleece I could find, which was more than enough (what am I going to do with all this extra fleece??? Christmas crafts, anyone?).

I read through many of the comments left on the How to Make Mario or Luigi Hats blog post and suited the instructions to what I was visualizing... for the bill I traced the bill of a baseball cap onto a thin piece of cardboard (I used a cereal box) and used that as a template to cut out the felt. Then, after trimming it down a bit, inserted it into the bill for stability before sewing the pieces up. Also, instead of using sticky foam for the circle, I used sticky-backed felt for the white circle as well as the letters. Since I have very little skill in hand drawing anything, I used this Mario & Luigi font by the Super Mario Bros Club as a tracing guide for the "M" and "L" on the hats. I also used sticky-backed felt for the yellow buttons on their overalls.



And finally.... the moustaches. They were a labor of love! Who doesn't love a sweet moustache? On a 7 and 8 year old? Too funny. Once again, because I don't possess the ability to draw or cut anything freehand, I first created the moustaches in Photoshop, printed on brown cardstock, applied a thick layer of glue stick on the backside, layered a sheet of brown felt on top, allowed to dry, and then cut out. You could also use sticky-backed felt, but Hobby Lobby was out of stock. Fake fur may be an interesting look to try (not for my sensitive kids though!) for the most realism, aside from actual fake moustaches. I tried attaching the moustaches with double sided tape, but it lasted about as long as it took me to take the above pictures. Eventually I settled on threading fishing line through the moustaches and making loops to go around their ears, in addition to the double sided tape, which worked pretty well.

If anyone can use them, below are the moustache templates. Please keep in mind that these were very rough sketches that I created in Photoshop using the pen tool. The edges are obviously a little "rough" and are simply intended to be used as a guide in helping you create your own fake moustaches. They are NOT up to the standard set for digital scrapbooking use.

Click the image to download.
(link updated Nov. 10, 2010 it should work fine now. thanks!)


The boys' looks were completed with cheap knit gloves and long sleeved red/green t-shirts, which I did end up purchasing new, but because red and kelly green are two of their "school colors" they will be able to wear them to school, under their polos and button-up shirts.

Dressing up as Mario and Luigi was so much fun for them. They got a lot of attention and compliments, which they loved of course!

I've even done a couple of layout for them already. I saw these cool KGU Famous Frames in Berna's shop and knew they'd be a perfect match for my famous pair! For a full credit list, just click on the layouts to see them in my SBG gallery.  



And with that, I am officially done with Halloween until 2011! Thanks for reading :)