You know what I love? When you discover you have more in common with someone than you originally thought. For example, you're talking to someone you've known for a while and the conversation turns to books. All of a sudden, you realize you've read the same books, like the same authors, etc. Then one of you says "oh, have you read....?" and you both end up adding a whole bunch more books to your Must-Read List.

Books I read in 2012:

  • The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (highly recommended)
  • Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple (highly recommended)
  • Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  • The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (highly recommended)
  • The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons
  • The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
  • The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
  • The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
  • A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson (highly recommended)
  • House Rules by Jodi Picoult
  • The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
  • Cute Little Store by Adeena Mignona

Here's what's on my Must-Read List for 2013:

  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • The Middlesteins by Jamie Attenberg
  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  • Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

What were your favorite books in 2012? And what's on your Must-Read List for next year?

It's about time...

I've been thinking a lot about this blog. I love it, but sometimes writing it becomes a chore. Not so much the writing -- I love writing, and it comes easily -- but the pressure to share fresh ideas -- creative stuff! -- can be a little overwhelming.

The truth is: I don't have the opportunity to create a new layout or project every day. I wish I did...someday I might. Just not right now.

I still scrapbook. Quite a bit, actually. But much of my work is assignment-based, and lots of times I can't post the things I make until weeks or even months later. By that time, the excitement has passed and it seems like old news.

There's plenty of other excitement in my life:

a new house that needs renovating

kids that want to tackle projects of their own (with my help, of course!),

a husband that needs his share of my attention

friends I want to catch up with

recipes I want to try

the full-time job that pays my bills...

the list goes on and on.

I can bend your ear for hours on any of these topics, but they rarely appear on this blog. I use Facebook for quick updates on what I'm thinking and doing, along with the accompanying Instagram now and then. But here's the problem: I limit my words on Facebook for fear of clogging up someone's News Feed, so I rarely get all my thoughts out on any given topic. And that's why I keep thinking about this blog.

I have this open forum. There is no limit on word count. There are no rules that I only have to talk about scrapbooking. It's MY blog. Can't I use it for whatever I want to talk about?

Well, okay then!

I feel better already.

In the spirit of my newly discovered freedom to post whatever I want, I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our family:

That's her on the right. Her name is Lindsey, and I found her in the city animal shelter near my office. Cecily wanted a hamster for Christmas, and I just couldn't get my head around that. (Plus, I was afraid the dog on the left, a Jack Russell Terrier, would find a way to eat it.) So Cecily got a dog instead, and Lindsey got a forever-home for Christmas. And everyone's happy.

Well, except for that dog on the left.

Thanks for sticking with me. I promise there will be inspiration in here somewhere. You just might have to scroll a bit further to find it.

Our House

Papers are signed, boxes are packed, and we are ready to move into our new (old) house:

The house is "new" to us, but it's actually much older than anyone in my family -- built in 1914 and lovingly maintained for the past 98 years. We are the fifth owners.

There's a long story about how we ended up getting this house, but I'll give you the short version. This house never went on the market. We heard through a good friend that the house was going to be for sale, and our realtor started knocking on the door until they finally showed it to us. We loved the space and the flow of the rooms, the original hardwood floors and all the amazing windows everywhere. It's on one of my favorite streets in all of Dallas, and we already know many of our new neighbors.

I'll post more photos as we begin to make it our own, but for now, I'll leave you with one more photo of my favorite feature: the screened porch.

Move in day is tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Movin' on

Is it procrastination or just a serious case of denial that's prevented me from packing up my craft room? Every other room in our house is disassembled and packed, yet my scrap space is amazingly intact (except for a few empty shelves here and there).

I can't hold off much longer. We have one week to finish packing and get out of our current house. So tonight it will happen. Big time packing going down. I'll take some photos of the before, during and after.

But I do have a few projects to share. These are from my guest design spot at Ruby Rock-It last month. They sent me the August Moon collection, which has this fun, die-cut glitter paper. I think I used that one sheet in about four different ways.

For the layout, I cut sections of it for the background...

...and I cut the title letters from it using my Cameo. 

For the card, I punched a scalloped circle to use behind the butterfly. I also handcut the smaller sun shape that's behind the pink button.

By that time, I was pretty much out of the glitter paper, so I did some other fussy cutting on this layered card.

I love it when I can incorporate a bird somewhere along the way.

Now it's back to the packing. Wish me luck!

Hip Hoppin' with Unity and My Little Shoebox

Hello and thanks for hopping with the My Little Shoebox team today. We are so pleased to share our new Co-Branded stamps with Unity Stamp Co. Make sure you leave a comment on each blog to win one of the fabulous prizes from Unity Stamp Co. and My Little Shoebox. Winners will be chosen at random from the participating blogs.

For all my fellow butterfly-lovers out there, I created a card using the Secret Garden collection from My Little Shoebox, along with the adorable butterfly background stamp from Unity.

I was feeling sassy, so I decided to get a little crazy and...wait for it...EMBOSS! Yes, I pulled out the heat gun just for you. And all the extra particles of metallic blue embossing powder all over my white table? Totally worth it! Take a look:

The stamp made a perfectly crisp, clean image for the emboss, and I added a coordinating cardstock sticker to make one of the butterflies stand out. I trimmed around the edge and adhered to the card, using foam tape to leave a little room for the lace trim that wraps around the edges.

The finishing touch: a printed sentiment layered onto a cardstock label sticker.


Now it’s time for me to send you on over to Lisa Arana’s blog. But don't forget to leave a comment here for your chance to win a great prize!

And if you're joining somewhere in the middle of the hop, here's the full list of participating blogs that you can visit for more inspiration, and more chances to win!

My Little Shoebox
Andrea Murdock
Beckie Dreyer
Angie Blom
Carisa Zglobicki
Grace Tolman
Eryn Hannig
Erika Taylor
Jen Erickson
Linda Kretz
Jennifer Roach
Megan Aaron
Jimmi Mayo
Monique Liedtke
Jolande van Oosterhout
Pattie Beltran
Karen Maldonado
Robyn Schaub  <<===YOU ARE HERE
Lisa Arana
RĂ´ Philippsen
Lisa Henke
Jenifer Cowles
Renee Aslette
Shellye McDaniel
Keely Yowler
Shemaine Smith
Shilo Miles
Carol Theng
Stephanie Muzzulin
Thienly Azim
Zoe Nemburt
Unity Stamp Company

Thanks for hopping along with us!

Wishy Washi

Okay, yes. I've been dying to use that title for the longest time. In fact, every time I tear off a strip of washi tape, the phrase echoes through my head: wishywashiwishywashiwishywashi

It's my washi theme song.

And it's extra-appropriate right now because my blogging efforts for the past month have been exactly that: wishy washy. With a y, not an i. Busy summer of shuttling kids, selling a house, buying a house, packing and moving to said house, etc, etc. More on that in a later post.

Let's get down to the real wishywashi, shall we? 12x12 Washi Sheets from We R Memory Keepers. Oh yeah!

Here are a couple of projects I created for the CHA booth:

I used my Silhouette to cut the hexagons from four different colors of 12 x 12 washi sheets to create this cascade across the layout.

The coolest thing is that, like washi tape, the sheets are just a little transparent so you can see the pattern of the paper coming through. And it cuts like a dream on the Cameo!

I couldn't exactly stop there, so I did this one while the Cameo was all warmed up:

This could not have been easier. Type in a 4. Make it big. Send to Silhouette. Cut. Adhere to page. I added a little washi tape to ground the design.

The title was also cut on my Silhouette, and I recut the same design on the gray washi paper and layered it over the bottom word to give it a little oomph.

Want to see more of the washi? Check out the video did during CHA (which happens to show my layout):

There's so much you can do with these sheets, and I've barely scratched the surface. They are shipping now, so keep an eye out for them to arrive at your favorite store!

So tell me...are you wishing for washi?

Front Porch Kits Sneak!

It's almost that time...a new Front Porch Kit is on its way!

The big reveal will be tomorrow, but I have a few peeks for you today. Ready to see what I made?

Looks kinda beachy, doesn't it. How about another?

Check out the Little Blue House blog and visit the other Front Porch Gals' blogs to see more bits and pieces of this beautiful new kit.

And be sure to check out The Little Blue House website tomorrow to see the full kit and the inspiration gallery!

July Flies!

I've been so busy creating for CHA and chasing my girls around this month that I haven't had time to blog. In fact, as this post goes live, I will be waking up in Chicago and getting ready to walk the floor at CHA Summer -- seeking out all the fabulous new products and lines that will be taking all my money (and probably some of yours, too) over the next few months.

There are so many fun projects I can't wait to share with you, including layouts using the new 12x12 Washi Sheets from We R Memory Keepers. Prediction: These are going to be one of the most talked-about products from CHA. They are so awesome, and I can't wait to show you what I did with them!

But until then, I'll leave you with a few projects I did before the CHA frenzy hit my house. I used the We R Memory Keepers Red, White & Blue collection to scrap photos from our local 4th of July parade.

My favorite thing about this layout is the grommets. They have just a little bit of sparkle and are a perfect complement to the twine. Just loop it through and tie a bow...instant awesome.

See that die-cut circle in the background? That's one of the new Mini 8 punches -- it's the Snowflake. Bet you didn't expect to see snowflakes in July, huh! I figure they look a little like stars and pinwheels, so why not?

I love all the fun embellishments in this collection, and you can't help but feel patriotic when you're working with these colors. So while I had all the papers out, I created another card for Operation Write Home:

Be sure to get your Operation Write Home cards sent off by July 24, 2012, at midnight! That's just one week. For complete details about how to submit your cards, visit:

I'll be back in a few days with lots to report from CHA. Stay tuned!

Feelin' Beachy

It's been a fun-filled, busy couple of weeks. Here's what I've been up to:

Celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with a trip to Hawaii. Wanted to stay forever, but I'm pretty sure living in a cardboard box on the beach would be the only option in our price range.

Shuttling the girls to and from summer camp, piano lessons, gymnastics and wherever else their little hearts desire.

Teaching at the Great American Scrapbook Convention in Chantilly -- lots of fun ladies in my classes!

Cleaning and decluttering our house, which is now listed for sale (we're hoping to move into something a little bigger and a lot closer to the girls' school).

Creating with the Down the Boardwalk collection from We R Memory Keepers. Here's a look at the projects I finished in June:

The edges of the paper were already perfectly distressed (much better than I could've done it on my own)! I added a little WRMK washi tape to secure some of the layers to the page.

I pulled out my Maya Mists to color these wooden letters. A combination of yellow, pink and graphite gave them just the right color.

These are a couple of the photos I took on the Hawaii trip. I used my Tatted Doily Lucky 8 punch from We R Memory Keepers to create the shaped paper in the background. If you trim the paper down a bit (I think I did mine at 9" by 10.5"), it gives you a completely different outer edge shape.

The who/what/when/where strips are cut from a page of the 4x6 paper pad. There are tons of fun journaling prompts and notes pages in there, but I liked this one because I could cut up the strips and use them in different ways.

After I trimmed off what I needed, I used the extra scraps to add this little banner effect:

Operation Write Home is still going on, and you have about three more weeks to get your cards in. I'm stockpiling a few to send, including this one:

I added some washi tape over the seams to give it a little more texture and color and topped it off with the Sail Away Embossed Tag.

Hoppin' Along with The Twinery and My Little Shoebox

Have you heard? All this week The Twinery and My Little Shoebox have teamed up for a blog hop using their products. Of course, I'm a fan of both, and I had so much fun playing along.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend, right?

To create this layout, I used the Keepsake line from My Little Shoebox and cut some diamond shapes from the various papers with my Silhouette Cameo. Then I used the cuts as a template to trim my photos to the same shape and size.

I arranged all my diamonds on the layout and used three different colors of twine from The Twinery to mark the borders between the rows.

One of the reasons that I love The Twinery's products are because of the bright colors, and these were no exception. I secured the twine to the page with my Tiny Attacher and finished the page with a few embellishment stickers (also from the Keepsake line).

Don't miss a chance to comment on each blog to be entered to win our fantastic prizes! Here's the hop order and links you need to follow:

Details on the prizes are on the My Little Shoebox blog and The Twinery blog...and they are GREAT prizes, so be sure to take a look!

In order to be entered to win a prize you must:
  • Comment on each particpating blog on the hop throughout the week
  • Follow the My Little Shoebox & The Twinery blogs
  • Follow the My Little Shoebox & The Twinery Facebook pages
Deadline to comment will be Midnight Eastern Time, Sunday, June 24th. Winners will be announced Monday, June 25th on each company's blog.

Now head on over to Lauren Brewer's blog to see what she has to share today. 

And be sure to check the My Little Shoebox blog every day this week for the day's blog list!!

The Tacky Tie Challenge

In honor of Fathers' Day, The Little Blue House is hosting a Tacky Tie challenge. When I received this tie in the mail from Tracy, I was a little stumped as to what to do:

Yikes! Pretty ugly, right??

So I did what I normally do when I have no idea what to make: I procrastinate. Or to be politically correct: I wait for inspiration to hit.

Fast forward to Friday night. The blog post is due Saturday. I'm in Tacky Tie Panic Mode. Fortunately, I was at The Little Blue House for Studio Night, surrounded by all kinds of inspirational supplies. I pulled some papers and a package of buttons that I loved and started ripping my tie apart.

Guess what! The back side of that tie was full-on gorgeous! And I discovered that the fabric would rip perfectly with a little bit of fraying along the edge. (Though I got some wild looks and "WHAT are you doing?!" comments from my cropping friends while I was ripping.)

The end result: 

Who'd have thought a tacky tie could turn into a pretty little card? Not me. But works!

Check out The Little Blue House blog for more ideas and links to the other designers' posts. And have a wonderful weekend!

Cards for the Troops - Operation Write Home

Happy Flag Day to my fellow U.S. friends! I know it's not a holiday that everyone celebrates, but when it comes around each year, I always think the timing is perfect because it's smack between Memorial Day and Independence Day. So really, you should just have your flags out for the entire month of June, right?

Another way you can show your pride and patriotism in June is by making a few cards for Operation Write Home.

We R Memory Keepers has teamed up with Operation Write Home to collect 50,000 cards -- and we need your help! It's very easy to get involved. Simply create a few handmade greeting cards and send them to We R Memory Keepers by July 24. These cards are then sent to the troops so they can write home to their family and loved ones.
Cards can be submitted up until Tuesday July 24, 2012 at midnight.

Aside from the fact that you're doing something wonderful for the troops and their families, you also have a chance to win PRIZES! Each week, We R Memory Keepers will pick cards to receive prizes on our Facebook page

We'll also pick the top 50 cards (at the end of the contest) to be voted on by Facebook fans in several rounds until a final winner is chosen.
Top 25 cards will receive a Power Punch
Top 10 cards will receive a Lucky 8 Punch
Top 5 cards will receive a Love 2 Craft collection
Top Card – We R Memory Keepers Product - up to $1,000 in product (prize value for top card will depend on the number of cards collected)

To learn more about Operation Write Home, check out all the details here:

Front Porch Friday

Life's been a bit of a whirlwind for the past few weeks. The girls finished the school year and my husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary with a trip to Hawaii. So I guess you could say it's been a little busy around here. But back to the's Front Porch Friday, and if you've come over from The Little Blue House blog, welcome!

Today I'm going to share some details on how I created this layout with the Sew Artsy Kit from Front Porch Kits:

My Granny is a quilter. I have memories of the back bedroom of her house being completely overtaken by a quilt frame for months at a time. But my favorite part was always the piecing. She'd let me help her by gathering together pieces of fabric for the blocks and securing them with a pin.

When I got my Sew Artsy Kit, I was reminded of all those vintage fabrics Granny used. So I decided to create my own quilt-pieced background.

I'd been pinning some quilting patterns on a Pinterest board, and I found this one that I thought would be easy and fun to recreate.


I started by cutting the fabric into squares. Then I folded each square in half and cut down the middle to create two triangles.

Then I placed the triangles side by side (alternating the fabrics) to create a square "pinwheel" piecing and adhered it to a piece of cardstock. Those "blocks" became the background for the left side of the layout.

It was a fun way to incorporate fabric and the idea of quilting into my layout.

If you haven't snagged a Sew Artsy kit yet, better hurry! Last I heard there were only a few left and I bet they will sell out in the next few days. And I know you'll find some fun ways to use it!

Have a great weekend!


Warmer days are finally here, and it shows in the projects I've been working on lately. Lots of bright colors and flowers sprouting up!

Here are a few projects I created for the My Little Shoebox blog last month. This banner was part of a swap with Punky Sprouts, and I transformed their Teeny Beanie album by covering the chipboard with patterned papers and using the canvas pieces as backgrounds for the die-cut letters.

The doilies and cork pieces are also from Punky Sprouts, and I thought they added a nice contrast to the bright papers.

All of the papers and cardstock stickers are from the Aiko collection by My Little Shoebox. To create a uniform look on each panel, I used a scalloped punch to create the layered top edges.

I added some rolled flowers and cardstock stickers for a finishing touch.

I also created a sweet friendship card using the same collection. Again, I added a doily for a touch of softness, and the dolls are cardstock stickers.

Hope you're enjoying some nice early summer weather wherever you are!

Supplies used: