Hot and cold

It doesn't feel anything like winter here. Not that I'm complaining. I'd gladly take this over the ice/sleet/snow mix we had around this time last year.

Ironically, after taking bunches of snow photos during that big, nasty storm, the last thing I wanted to do was scrapbook them. I was sick of looking at snow and ice and ready to see some green grass and spring flowers.

In the spirit of catching up, I dug out (no pun intended) last year's icy, snowy photos for a couple of pages about what winter really should feel like.

I used Little Yellow Bicycle's Winter Twig collection, and I mixed in some die-cuts -- doilies and scalloped circles to play off of the snowflakes in the collection. I don't do a lot of black and white photos lately, but I liked the way the snowflakes really stood out in Cecily's hair in the black and white version. 

This is a page I did for the Pretty Little Studio blog, using the new Winter Wonderland collection. I don't use a lot of pale colors, but I have to say that the soft pale shades in this line have made me rethink my need for color. I love the way this turned out!

The layout was for an inspiration challenge, and the photo I was working from was gray-striped straws. I translated the straws into the diagonal strips of paper to form the background, and I mixed in a few strips of washi tape.

On top of the doily tag is an Epiphany Crafts Scalloped Circle, topped with a button. I think that Scalloped Circle has become my favorite Epiphany Crafts tool. It's a great shape!

Thanks for stopping by!

12 Photos and 2 Layouts

Last week, I started the Take 12 Photography Challenge with Ella Publishing. I have to admit: I was starting to panic a bit around 5 p.m. when I had only taken 4 photos. But it made me realize that my life truly begins when I leave work -- because I had absolutely no problem getting the remaining photos taken once I picked the girls up from school and we started going about our evening routine.
Left to right: stack of mail, mostly catalogs; picking Avery up from school; favorite winter coat; practicing piano; Lilah waiting for her treat; girls in their stylin' boots; to-do-list; Ceci writing in her notebook; my daily drink of choice (OJ diluted in water); marble jars -- our reward system; my messy desk; my nightly drink of choice.

I felt a little silly taking photos of my coat and the mail, but I think I might look back at this stuff in 10 or 15 years and think how outdated (or maybe retro?) everything looks. Chances are my desk will still be just as messy, though. Next step: get these guys into a layout...stat!

It's not too late to jump into the Take 12 Challenge if you're interested. You can start at any time -- all you need is a camera!

And while I'm here, I'll post my layouts I created for a challenge on the Ruby Rock-It blog. The challenge is to include a banner, pocket or tag on your layout. While it's not an official assignment, it gave me a little push to use these awesome Ruby Rock-It papers (the line is called Paper Boy) -- and they were perfect with the photos.

I got in the banner, but no pocket or tag. But I had paper left...and more photos...and time! So I kept going and made this one, too.

Journaling is hidden in the little mini paper bag/pocket.

These tags are so old-school. Metal-rimmed vellum tags that have been in my collection for years. They used to be the "in" thing, but they've faded from popularity. Still, once in a blue moon, a project comes along and they work perfectly.

Thanks for stopping by!

Love Is in the air

Have you spied all the heart-shaped chocolate boxes and bouquets of roses that are popping up at every grocery store, drugstore and gas station this week? Guess that's our not-so-subtle reminder that Valentines Day is approaching.

At least this holiday has a fun color scheme for decorating. Red, pink, black and white are pretty fun to play with, so I created this little banner for a feature on the Epiphany Crafts blog this week.


I used square coasters, turned to become diamond shapes. At the bottom was a perfect spot to hang a charm. Just a few jump rings, hooked to a die-cut circle, then an Epiphany Crafts Heart 25 on top.


I used the Love Me collection from My Minds Eye -- beautiful doily prints and vintage themes with pinks, reds, gray and pale blue.


You may have noticed my blog got a bit of a makeover. I was ready for a fresh look. What do you think?

Take 12 Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my Take Twelve in 2012 Giveaway. The winner is:

Congratulations, Kim! I'll be emailing you information on how to download your free Take Twelve Kit today.

For those who didn't win, you can still purchase the Take Twelve Kit at a 12% discount until tomorrow.

I'll be starting my own Take 12 tomorrow -- January 12 -- and I still haven't decided which direction to go. Guess we'll find out soon enough!

Take 12 in 2012 {GIVEAWAY}

I knew 2012 was going to be a great year, and it's certainly off to an exciting start! I've joined the Ella Publishing Team as an Ella Friend for 2012.

What's an Ella Friend, you ask? It's a team of 13 women -- scrapbookers, photographers and crafters -- who write articles and create projects for Ella's online magazine, blog and other publications.

If you aren't familiar with Ella Publishing, hop over and check them out! They're all about the clean and simple look, and they have some really cool eBooks, templates and other tools that make it easy to capture your memories -- from your everyday routine to special events and everything in-between. I'm so happy to be working with them!

 the giveaway

To celebrate my new "friendship," I'm giving away a free 2012 Take Twelve Project Kit!

The goal of the 2012 Take Twelve Project is to take 12 photos on the 12th day of each month for a full 12 months—and scrapbook them! You can join in the fun any month of the year, but we hope you'll join in starting January 12. 

The kit includes ideas for what photos to take, as well as a variety of sketches you can use to create your 12 layouts. There are even journaling tags and calendars you can print and include on your page.

Or maybe you'll create a mini album that uses your 12 photos as a 4x6 photo collage. There are lots of ideas for that, too! 

Leave a comment below by 11:59 p.m. (Central) on Tuesday for your chance to win the 2012 Take Twelve Guided Inspiration Kit. I'll randomly select a winner on Wednesday afternoon. 

Good luck!

If you'd like more information about the 2012 Take 12 Challenge, visit

Muppets, rainbows and 10 crazy girls

That pretty sums up my weekend.

Let me explain...

I love parties. Especially birthday parties. And especially when I get to plan them.

When my girls were too young to know better, I'd come up with the theme, the decorations, the food...even the outfits they'd wear. But as they've gotten older, it turns out they want to have a say in the birthday party planning. Major bummer for me.

Fortuately, this year, Avery settled on a theme that I was totally onboard with. (Okay, I might have planted the seed in a very, nonconspicuous, matter-of-fact way...but she thinks it was her idea, and I'm fine with that.)

So her theme was...(wait for it)

Muppet Movie Marathon!!!!!

Gosh, I love The Muppets. Always have, always will. I used to sing Avery to sleep at night with "Rainbow Connection" and I like to think a little bit of it stuck with her and grew into her very own love for all things Muppet.

In honor of our "rainbow connection," all the food and decor was rainbow-inspired.

Because it was a movie marathon, we had to have popcorn. And M&Ms. And it wouldn't be a birthday without cupcakes, right?

My favorite trick was the bottled water -- I removed the labels and added a drop of food coloring to create the different colors. It was a massive hit with the girls -- when we ran out, they had fun helping me make more.
And here's our birthday girl, sporting her homemade Miss Piggy headband.

Cecily totally rocked the headband, declaring "There's only ONE Miss Piggy!" and striking a pose as soon as she put it on.


I got in on the fun, too.

We played Muppet Bingo (also homemade, using images I found on Muppet Wiki -- awesome site if you're into The Muppets) for the chance to win some F-AB-YOU-LUSS prizes...

World's greatest Muppet Bingo caller

And there was some movie photos because it was dark and, well, not very photographically exciting. I think they made it through most of Muppets Take Manhattan, The Great Muppet Caper and Muppets In Space.

It was a long night, but all 10 girls survived. Look how sweet and quiet and calm they are...

Hmmmm, wait a minute. There's something wrong with that photo. 

Oh here we go. This one's far more accurate...

Most of them probably took some pretty healthy naps when they got home.

Only three months until the next birthday...this one's going to be hard to top.

Quiet time

With the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, my house was pretty quiet for most of the holidays. My mother graciously offered to take the girls to visit my aunt's house for a few days before Christmas and for a week of camping in South Texas after Christmas.

I have a love/hate relationship with the girls being away. Of course, I love how quiet the house is and how clean it looks without toys strewn every which way. But I also hate how quiet it is. It's too quiet. And it's kind of sad walking by the toy bin, seeing all the things so neatly put away and not being played with.

So what do I do with all my free, quiet time? I scrapbook. Photos of the girls. Naturally.

I wanted to do something fun with these photos from 4th of July, and when I saw the "it's a banner day" sticker in this collection from Lily Bee, I knew immediately what I wanted to make.

And of course it has a banner -- I'm so predictable.

More fun summer photos that I hadn't put to good use...this layout was up on the Pretty Little Studio blog earlier in the week. I used paper and vintage tags from the Antique Store collection. The patchwork pattern reminds me of one of my Granny's handmade quilts.

I hid the journaling inside this Maya Road envelope on one of the Restaurant Receipts from Pretty Little Studio. I think it's cool that these receipts were modeled after original antique receipts from the 1930's and 1960's.

Have a great weekend, and be sure to stop by on Monday, when I'll be sharing a fun announcement!

Fresh starts

There's something wonderful about waking up on January 1 -- especially when I didn't stay out too late or drink too much wine on New Year's Eve. Yes, I went to bed early this year, satisfied that I'd accomplished everything I needed to do in 2011. And when I woke up the next day, I felt happy and satisfied and very, very blessed.

Maybe it was my One Little Word taking effect. Or maybe it was just a quiet morning that I didn't wake up with a child or dog laying on me. Either way, it felt like a fresh start.

So far, 2012 is looking really good. There are many things I'm looking forward to like watching Cecily graduate from Kindergarten and celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary (in Hawaii!). And this year, I will turn 40 -- not exactly something I'm looking forward to, but the fact that I'm healthy and alive is cause for celebration, right?

One quick glimpse back at the holidays before I move full-speed ahead into 2012...

I usually run several months (sometimes a year) from taking the photos to scrapping the photos. But I liked these so much I couldn't wait.

I made the die-cuts with some Quickutz dies I've had (and used) for a long time. The bracket shape is one of my favorite dies because it actually cuts that skinny little frame, which you can use in a ton of ways. I used both the positive and negative cuts to create the background for the top. The paper and letter stickers are from the Christmas Town collection by Lily Bee Design.

Hope your new year is off to a fabulous fresh start!