Friday, October 29, 2010

Holy Halloween!

This year, Halloween is huge around here.  Last week, we took our little one to Howl-O-Ween at the zoo.  Tonight, we went to a children's Halloween party at my husband's squadron.  Tomorrow night, we're hosting a Halloween party at our house.  And of course, trick-or-treating on Sunday.  Phew, that's a lot of costume changes!  We're definitely getting our money's worth out of that costume.  This is the first year that Caylan is trick-or-treating and it didn't take her long to figure out that if you hold out your little bucket, you get some candy.  She's holding out her little bucket to EVERYONE!  I'll definitely be posting pictures after the weekend, when things calm down.  Hope you all have a wonderful and safe Halloween weekend!

P.S.  I finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest this week.  Wow!  If you haven't read them, I won't spoil anything, but here are some tips.  The series is great, it really is.  But, you have to stick with them.  There are some seriously snore-fest chapters that will make you want to stop reading them....but DON'T!  He really did need a better editor.  They didn't have to be as long as they are.  The good parts will make up for the boring parts, I promise!  I'm really glad I read this series and they are some of the best books I've read this year.  If you haven't read this series by Stieg Larrson yet, do it immediately!  Great great books!  They have also been made into movies overseas.  The first two are available on Netflix, and the third is set to come out.  I saw the first one and it was good, even though you have to read it.  The second is on my list and I'm waiting for the third.  AND they're making American movies starring the very sexy Daniel Craig, releasing next year.  Oh yes, I'm excited!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Feeling kinda crapish today.  It started out fine.  I took a nice long walk with some friends this morning.  Went to Target for Halloween decorations...and somehow the Sex and the City 2 BluRay ended up in my cart...imagine that.  Then right during naptime, the migraine hits.  I hate them.  They are the bane of my existence.  I don't have them as bad as some people, but they do put me down pretty quickly.  Instead of laying down and sleeping while my daughter slept, I watched Oprah and Nate.  Then when she woke up, I wanted to sleep.  So we went in my bedroom and I turned on Nick Jr for her while I laid down.  She even snuggled up with me a little.  She's not much of a snuggler, so I really enjoyed that.  Then she peed on my bed...thanks Caylan.  My wonderful husband made dinner and let me mope around a while.  It's now bedtime for Miss C and I'm feeling better, but still kinda crapped out.  I think I'll make a mug of tea and watch Glee and Biggest Loser and then head to bed with my Kindle.  Oh, which reminds me, I'm really trying to finish my book this week.  I'm STILL reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  Don't get me wrong, I love this series, but this one is the hardest for me to get into.  It started strong, got slow, now it's starting to pick back up.  But these books could seriously be a lot shorter than they are and I'm kinda glad this is the last one.  A little too much detail that I don't really need to know.  Like my mom said, he needed a better editor.  Sorry this was such a Debbie Downer post, but thanks for letting me vent a little.  I feel better.  :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Christmas in...October? (and some True Stories)

Hello friends!  Hope you all had a great weekend!  I have a few things to share.  First, I'm attempting my first December Daily album this year.  If you haven't heard of them, Ali Edwards started by sharing a monthly album she does every December and it really caught on.  December Daily albums are spreading like crazy and the creativity is just amazing.  I've been lurking around for a couple of years, and finally decided to do one for myself.  The key to these albums is to have it completed BEFORE December.  That way, all you have to do is add pictures and journaling each day.  I spent the weekend hunting and gathering my Christmas supplies and other things that can be used in the album.  I'm excited to get started on it this week.  If you want to see Ali's process, there's a blinkie on the right side of my blog that will lead you to her.

I also have some cool news.  I had heard about a journaling class called True Stories that is being taught by Shimelle Laine.  I've heard amazing things about her classes and I was interested in taking it.  However, I had just taken Amy Tan's class and when I thought about paying for another class....not so much.  So when a few blogs that I read had giveaway spots in her class, I entered all of them!  Low and behold, I won a spot from Kelly Goree's blog!  I scared my husband with the shreeeeeek I let out when I saw that I won.  The class started today and I'm excited to put pen to paper and start writing my true stories!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Kitchen Keepsake

Hi everyone!  I just found a brand new site, Kitchen Keepsake.  It's a great site that celebrates scrapping recipes and cookbooks.  There are some great ideas (not to mention great recipes as well) and I'm applying to be on their design team!  They're doing a contest right now.  If you become a member (no fees), create a post and introduce yourself and let them know that I told you about the site.  My user id over there is SwannPrincess.   If I get the most new members over there I'll win an Art Smith cookbook.  Who doesn't love Art Smith?  Thanks in advance and I hope you go check out the site, it really is cool.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Today we were challenged to create an ABC list of any sort and add it into our books.  I love this idea!  It's one of those, "Why didn't I think of that?" moments.  I decided to make a list of just random things either going on in my life right now or what I'm feeling.  It was fun to really sit down and think about things.  Unfortunately, I kept getting sidetracked in my thoughts....imagine that?
Here's the list in better detail:
Absolutely happy
Dancing with Caylan
Eat-Clean research
Herbal tea
Keeping myself challenged
Open to change
Potty training
Scrapbooking & submitting
Undoing bad habits
Vulnerable at times
Yelling more than needed
Zipping along

I'll definitely be doing more lists like this.  It will be fun to look back at it and remember things I was doing and feeling.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Adding to my Scraps Book

So, for Amy Tan's workshop, she's challenging us to decorate our pages in the books we made.  When I first put the book together, I just kinda went with it without a real plan.  This was really hard for me because I almost always have to have some sort of a plan when I start creating.  For this book, I just jumped in without thinking, which was refreshing!  I decided to use this book for things that I love.  Just random stuff that makes me happy.  I have another mini similar to this, which you can see here.  But this one will be more decorative.  I used fabric and some scrap paper in the book.  I love the way the pages turned out and I was able to cover up some of the backs of the paper, which was white.  I don't have too many double sided papers, so most of the pages in here have white backs, which makes white paper that needs to be colored up!  Here's what I did today:
Updated the cover a bit to reflect what the book is about.

Sewed some scrap fabric right into the book.

Close up of the stamp and journaling.

Used scrap paper and washi tape on this one.  I even used the price sticker from my recent washi tape purchase.  I love the Japanese writing on it!
Thanks for looking!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Disney on Ice - it's not just for kids

I LOVED it!  I was a really cool show.  Caylan loved it as well.  She just about lost her mind when Mickey and Minnie first came out.  And of course, she loved seeing all the princesses, especially Jasmine.  Seeing her face light up was priceless.  Some of the numbers they did included Alice in Wonderland, The Nightmare Before Christmas - this was my favorite.  Some of the villians from the movies were in this one.  They also did a really cool thing with Fantasia and the brooms.  The princesses had their own performance and then there was a cool "traveling" section where they went to Hawaii, Brazil, Japan, China and New Orleans.  At the end, they celebrated the holidays and that's when characters from Toy Story came out.  It was just such a cool show and I definitely recommend it if it's near you.  Here's some pictures I was able to get (sorry that some are blurry - it was a fast paced show!)
Caylan with her friends, Ashlee and Alli.

I gave up trying to get pictures after a while since most of the were just too blurry.  Thanks for looking!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

On Motherhood

Hi!  I just finished another fun project.  It's a book of motherhood advice that I made for a friend of mine who's having her first child soon, a little boy.  I used inspiration from the Amy Tan workshop that I've been doing and made a little book completely of my scrap paper and stickers and rub ons that I already had.  I didn't spend a dime on this book!  Since my friend lives in Florida, I sent it to my sister who's going to her shower and all of her friends at the shower will write down advice for her.  I love the way this turned out and will definitely be doing more books like this!  I'm including the first few pages here, but if you want to view the whole thing, you can see it here.

Sorry if some of the pictures are a little blurry.  I'm using my point and shoot right now because we have to get a new SD card for my SLR.  I miss my Nikon!  Thanks for looking!  I'll be back tomorrow with pictures from Disney on Ice that we went to tonight.

ScrapFIT Color Challenge

Hi friends!  Over at ScrapFIT (my new favorite challenge site), they have challenged us to use specific colors in a layout: lime green, orange, purple or black.  Does that scream Halloween or what?  This challenge made me think of the page I did for Halloween last year, which I love.  Here it is:
My absolute favorite thing about this page is the stamped apple.  I wanted to include an apple to enhance the Snow White theme and the red in her dress.  I didn't have an apple stencil that would fill the page up as I would like, so I made my own!  I have a little mini apple stamp and I used red ink and just stamped away in the shape of an apple.  I absolutely love the way it turned out!  Snow White last year, Sleeping Beauty this year, a Belle costume from her cousin for next year.....I see a trend appearing!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Stitching and a Play List

Here is my work from our Amy Tan tutorial today.  She challenged us to hand-stitch.  I've done hand-stitching once before, but it was from a pattern, and this is free-hand.  I just wrote the letters and heart with pencil, pierced the paper, and stitched it while I watched Glee.  Easy peasy!

I was also thinking about music this morning.  When I scrap, I usually listen to Pandora.  My favorite stations are Korn, Lady Gaga, and Flo-Rida.  Quite the variety!  I also tend to listen to music on YouTube when I'm in the mood for something specific.  Here's what I'm obsessed with lately:

Let the Guilt Go - Korn
Airplanes - BOB & Haley Williams
Snuff - Slipknot
Ridin Solo - Jason Derulo
Club Can't Handle Me - FloRida & David Guetta
Only Hope - Mandy Moore
Britney Spears - Slave 4 U
Bad Romance - Glee cast
Dead Memories - Slipknot
Just a Dream - Nelly

What's on  your play list?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Draculas - My Review

I posted last week that I had been asked to preview and review a new book collaborated on by JA Konrath, called Draculas.  I finished it last night!  If you like vampire books and don't mind some blood and guts, I would definitely recommend this book.  I really liked it!  The best part is, it's only $2.99!  However, it's an ebook only, so if you don't have a Kindle or an e-reader, you probably won't be able to read it.  I really enjoyed it and I am so honored that he asked me to review it.  Here's my official review on Good Reads and Amazon:

I'm not a big fan of gore.  In fact, gory movies?  No thanks.  However, JA Konrath is one of my favorite authors.  I can't watch the gore, but I have no problem reading it.  I know, weird, but let's just go with it.  "Draculas" is definitely not one for the squeamish.  It's a VAMPIRE book, for real!  No gorgeous vamps here.  They don't sparkle, it's not ok for them to live among us, they're awful and relentless.  Through all the blood and guts (and there's lots of it), there's some funny and lovable characters and I found myself getting really upset when we lost some of them.  Even though this is a scary book, it was refreshing to read a vampire book that just scares the begeezus out of you, as vampires should.  Loved it and hoping there's a sequel, it could definitely keep going!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cosmo Cricket anyone?

Hi friends!  I just found out that Cosmo Cricket is doing their Guest Design Team slot in a very unique way this month.  For the month of November, they are accepting nominations for their Guest Designer.  All you have to do is go to their blog and nominate either yourself, or someone else.  I'm going to go ahead and shamelessly ask everyone to PLEASE NOMINATE ME!  I've already thrown my name into the mix, but all you have to do is post a comment saying, "I nominate Sarah Swann to be the guest designer."  The top 5 ladies that are nominated the most will be in the final running, which will be drawn randomly.  Comments will be accepted all week, until next Monday I believe.  If I'm nominated enough and I end up getting the slot, I'll have a special surprise for everyone who nominated me, so get to it!  Again, I have the best friends who are really there for me and do these types of things for me.  I love you all!

Here's the link to the blog post to leave your comment: Cosmo Cricket

"Scraps" Book

Today is the first day of Amy Tan's workshop that I'm taking.  Her first tutorial was to make these adorable books using your scraps.  GENIUS!  I would never have thought to do that.  I've seen them on her blog, but had no idea how to do it and now I do!  What a great way to use your scraps.  From what I understand, we'll be using these books throughout her class so I'm excited to see what they'll be used for.  I made two of them today (because they're so quick and easy to put together).  One for me and one for Caylan.  I brought my scrap file out...yes, I have a whole file system...and let Caylan pick out some of her favorite papers.  It was fun watching her choose.  Here they are.

Mine.  I used some brads to keep the vellum from curling up.


I'll keep posting about this workshop, but so far it's awesome.  I already have two little books made, used up a good amount of my stash, and it's only day 1!


I have found, yet another, awesome scrapbooking challenge blog...ScrapFIT.  The name really stuck out to me, and I love the premise of it, exercising your creativity!  I took advantage and made this page that I love.  I finally was able to put some of the gorgeous glittery paper to good use.  I had no idea how I was going to use it, but I finally figured it out.  Sometimes paper is almost too pretty to use.  I'm trying to get over that and make pages with them.  And then, there are some that are hard to use because they're so pretty that you don't want to cover it up with those pesky pictures, right?

The challenge for this post was to create a page using a Halloween song as the title.  I used "This Is Halloween" from Nightmare Before Christmas (makes me want to watch it again!).  I listened to the Marilyn Manson version from the Nightmare Revisited album while I made the page.  If you haven't heard this album, do it!  It's awesome!  My favorite is "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" by Korn.  They're my favorite.  Ok, back to the LO!

I really like how it's a Halloween LO, but it's still pretty and girly and feminine, just like my princess is.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


In honor of this unusual date, here is a list of the top 10 things I'm looking forward to right now:

1. Amy Tan's workshop that starts tomorrow.
2. Getting lots of scrapping and reading done this week.
3. Disney on Ice next weekend.
4. Starting my Christmas cards - when you make them yourself, you gotta start early!
5. My husband's check-ride this week so he can FINALLY be done with training.
6. Checking items off my "32" list, already got to check off two of them!
7. Hearing from my DT and page submissions that I've been putting in.  Fingers crossed!
8. Catching up on the shows that I've been neglecting this week.
9. Getting into the gym and REALLY working out.  Gotta get back on track.
10. Creating some really cool pages and projects.

I'll be scrapping a lot this week, so I will be sharing a lot as well.  I have some pages and some cards to make.  Can't wait to get started!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Time to play catch-up

Hi!  So our friends left this morning and it's time to get back to our normal life.  We had such a great visit.  It consisted of:
1. Lots of beer and wine.
2. Dawn's homemade sticky buns...oh my...
3. Guitar Hero.
4. Pima Air and Space Museum.
5. Sonoran Dogs from El Guero Canelo.
6. Dogs being spoiled by their kids.
7. A visit to Tombstone for some awesome history.
8. Dulce de Leche fudge.
9. Caylan having some live-in friends for a few days.
10. Catching up with some of the best friends we have!

In some cool news, I was contacted through Good Reads* by one of my favorite authors, JA Konrath.  He writes a fantastic detective series that I love so much.  He sent an email and asked if I would review a book he collaborated on (written under the name Jack Kilborn).  He asked if I would read it and write a review on Amazon and Good Reads before the release date, Oct 19!  I was ecstatic! It's an ebook so I was able to put it on my Kindle. He sent it to me and I started it last night.  It's a horror book about vampires, so I'm expecting some scary stuff coming my way soon.  In light of the due date, I've had to put The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest on hold for a couple of weeks, since I'm only 25% through it.  *If anyone is on Good Reads and wants to be friends, my user name is Sarah Swann!

Finally, it's my birthday!  The big 3-2!  I'm planning to relax today and get some scrapbooking prep done.  I have a few little things to catch up on and I'm going to be applying to some Design Team calls, so I'll be getting those organized.  My husband is making dinner tonight and we'll be enjoying some lemon cake.  And I plan on putting a pedicure gift certificate to good use this weekend!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A little MIA, just a little.

Hi everyone!  Thanks for all of your lovely comments!  I really appreciate them and they make me smile!  I will be a little MIA this week as we have some friends from California staying with us for a few days.  Not to worry, I will be back on Thursday (my birthday, actually) with some pics and updates.  Hope everyone has a great week!

Also, remember that Kelly Purkey Sketchbook 2 class I took a while ago?  Well, she's just posted that she's selling the PDFs for her 2010 classes (including that one) on her blog.  This is the last time they will be available, AND they're 20% off the original price.  If you want some awesome inspiration, this is the girl to get it from!  I quickly purchased the Sketchbook 1 PDF since I missed the first class.  Hope you all can take advantage of it!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Holy Giveaway Batman!

Hello everyone!  If you haven't heard yet, Studio Calico is doing a crazy giveaway!  They just created a new blog and it's gorgeous.  In celebration of it, they're giving away some amazing prizes, including a FREE ONE-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION!  I can't even contain myself!  So, here's how it works.  They're giving away a bunch of stuff in pairs.  So all you have to do is go to their new blog and post a comment.  The comment should read like this: My name is ______ and SwannPrincess sent me here.  SwannPrincess is my user name for SC.  Then we'll both be entered to win some awesome prizes, including the one-year subscription.  If you already have a subscription, they'll just cancel your monthly payments for you.  How exciting is that?  So, if you haven't already, please go to this amazing blog and put a comment on there for us to get some awesome stuff.  There's nothing to sign up for, just post a comment.  Contest ends on Sunday, Oct 3 at 11:59pm EST so get to it!  And thank you!