Monday, February 11, 2013

Hand-Stitching on Paper

Lately, I've been into hand-stitching on my scrapbook pages.  I wanted to share an example of how I do it.  Currently, I'm taking a great class called Bright Ideas at Studio Calico.  The first challenge of the class is to use a stencil somehow on your layout.  After looking around my scrap area, I noticed that I had a negative cut from a word I cut from my Silhouette Cameo and used on this layout that I made months ago.  I'm happy I kept that negative cut!  I pulled it out and a layout quickly came together in my mind.  It also helped that the challenge came with a sketch to use if you needed an extra push.  Here is the layout and how I created it:
The layout.  The word "bestie" in the title is what I hand-stitched.

The negative from the cut.  It said "besties" originally, but I cut off the "s" to accommodate for this page.
I played around with the layout before adhering anything down.  I needed to be sure I put it in the correct spot before putting the layout together.  I didn't want to be stitching when there's a bunch of stuff on the page, it gets a little heavy to handle that way.
I traced the word onto the paper in pencil.
Using a paper piercer (and a mousepad underneath), I poked holes along the word where I wanted to stitch.  Be sure to poke a little closer as you go along curves so they come out looking correct.
Using a needle and 3 strands of thread, I stitched along the outline of the word.
The final result!
 Here are a couple of other examples of pages that I've hand-stitched on:

I'm loving the look of hand-stitching and it's really not something that takes up a lot of time.  I just poke my holes, and sit down in front of the TV and stitch away!
If you're interested in starting stitching, but it kinda scares you, Amy Tan has some great stitching stencil kits that come with stencils, a needle, thread and a mat...everything you need!  I haven't seen them for sale anywhere yet, but she blogged about them recently.  Check it out!

Monday, February 4, 2013


A while ago, I had decided to take on a new challenge for 2013.  It all started with these Handbooks that Studio Calico started designing (I don't think the chevron album is available anymore, but my eye is on that geotag one...another album is in the works in my mind for that).  I'm a sucker for an awesome album...and these are awesome.  They fit 6x8 page protectors, which is different and fun to work with when I need a break from 12x12 pages.  There are many different types of page protectors as well, which is an echo of Project Life.  I've actually seen quite a few people using these Handbooks for their Project Life albums.  Great examples are: Shanna Noel and Kelly Purkey.  Kelly is actually using a Snap Album, but it's the same idea.

For 2013, I decided to do a goal oriented album.  I got some page protectors (the full sized and one with three slots).  For the album, I am choosing 3 goals for each month of 2013.  I'm calling the album "3."  I'm not choosing crazy big goals, definitely goals that I can accomplish each month.  The basis of the album is that the full sized page will have my goals listed on it, while the 3 slotted page will hold the pictures of the goals being met.  I'll share the progress of the album here each month.  And with that, here is the album and January:
The cover.  The album is raw chipboard, so I spray painted it turquoise and used silver acrylic paint to paint and emphasize the chevron pattern.  Then, I added the 3 coaster that I had in my stash.

Cover page.

January's goals.
 I'm excited about this album and so far, it's going very well!  I already have February's goals page done and I'm close to getting two of them accomplished.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Book Review: The Yellow Birds

I recently chose this book as my book club selection for January.  I heard about it on Morning Joe on MSNBC.  Now, if you know me, you're probably thinking, "What in the WORLD were you watching MSNBC for???"  I'm a Fox News girl through and through.  I took some friendly advice to give this show a try from a friend who watches it.  It was fine.  And I actually met Joe Scarborogh when I was working at a restaurant in Pensacola, FL and he was very friendly.  So I was watching and they had this author on and they were discussing the book and read a few excerpts.  I immediately added it to my TBR (to be read) list.  The author, Kevin Powers, is an Iraq War Vet and the book is a fiction novel that follows two soldiers through a war.  And wow, it was powerful.  Very brutal...we're talking about war there were some hard parts to get through.  And it jumps around a bit, so I had to get used to that.  But what captivated me so much was the way that the author wrote it.  He's a very good writer.  The words he used and the way he wrote it was almost....poetic.  That's pretty talented when you're writing a book about a war situation. While this is a fiction novel, with the author being a vet and going through a tour in a hostile country, I'm assuming that some of these experiences are things that he actually experienced somehow.
I also wanted to choose this book because my book club is made up of military spouses in my husband's group.  I wanted to see how they reacted to it, being wives of soldiers.  I got some mixed reactions.  Some really like it, some found it hard to read.  Everyone appreciated it, and we all were affected by it somehow.  In our husband's career field, they are lucky to not be on the front-lines, the way the characters in this book are.  But they do deploy and it is a hostile environment and can be scary at times.  I do recommend it if you can read this type of topic.  It's powerful and really shows you what can happen in war-time situations.

Project Life, Week 4

Full view
Week 4...already?  Wow, where did January go?  This week was a good one.  Lots of stuff to fill my pockets up.  Dogs went to the vet, we spent a great morning at the park, got our new iMac, Caylan started reading an actual book...reading! rained in Tucson...I got some new jeans....Layla had her 18 month check up...yep, it was a good one.
Left side
Right side

 And yes, yes I did put my weight in my PL and also on my blog.  There it is.  All out there.  No excuses now!  Am I crazy or brave?  Maybe a little bit of both with an emphasis on crazy.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Project Life Week 3

Full view
And we're on to Week 3!  Trutting right along!  I absolutely am loving this process.  I've made my process a little easier this year by gathering some of my supplies that would be good for my album at some point and storing it on my Raskog cart with the rest of my PL supplies.  Mainly, alphabets!  I pulled some tiny prints and some colors that go well with my kit and keep them together.  I'm determined to make a dent in my 147 different fonts...yes, I said 147.
Left side
 This week, I documented a couple things from TV: the Golden Globe Awards (so so so happy Les Mis won great awards!).  I also documented the NFL playoffs...although I was bummed Atlanta didn't win....  And it was 31 in Tucson last week.  Say what?
Right side
My husband and I were able to get away for a date night to see Jack Reacher and have dinner at Bamboo Club.  Awesome. *Later I went back and added a yellow heart-shaped paper clip on the "date night" card.  I also wanted to include the fact that Layla is now sitting forward in the car....eeeeeek!  It was a great week.  I'm working on week 4 and will probably need to get week 4 and 5 done at the same time.  Trut, trut, trut!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's for Dinner?

I'm taking a new approach to menu planning this year.  A neighbor of mine prompted me to start planning my meals on a monthly basis instead of a weekly basis.  This sounds little intimidating, but once I did January's, I was convinced.  Yes, sitting down initially to plan out a month's worth of meals, it does take some time and research to find recipes.  But on the weekly basis, it's so easy.  All I do is prep the month's list of meals and then each week I refer to that list and pick what I want to make that week and I can easily make my grocery lists based on that list.  So far, I've been planning out 25 meals a month.  This way, I can allow for unexpected dinner invitations, planned events and nights when I just don't feel like cooking.  In January, I tried quite a few new recipes...some I loved, some not so much...and we ate at home a lot more, which I love.

I'm also trying to work on prepping food in a smarter way.  My husband and I like to work out at the gym during the week and normally don't get home until around 6 or 6:30.  Because of this, dinner time can be super hectic and stressful.  I'm trying to plan out recipes that can be easily prepped early during the day, that way when we get home I can easily pull dinner together.  For example, I've deemed Tuesdays "Crock Pot Tuesdays."  Tuesdays are crazy.  My older daughter has school, then dance, then we hit the gym, so I'm not home a whole lot on Tuesdays.  Putting dinner in the crock pot that is ready for us when we get home is so nice!  I'm still trying to figure this aspect out, and it's something I want to focus on for February.  More prep!

How do you plan out your meals at home?  What works or doesn't work for you?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Project Life, Week 2

Full view
I finished Week 2 over the weekend and absolutely love the way it turned out!  I've decided to keep the date cards (always located on the upper left corner for me) simple this year.  One piece of washi tape along with the week number, and I'm done.  Since the date cards for the Seafoam kit are pretty graphic, I'm good with that. 
Left side
One thing I love including in my Project Life albums are actual pieces and papers from our everyday life.  My older daughter is working on writing her numbers and lower case letters, so I took the paper she was practicing on and cut out a piece to include.  This will be priceless years from now.
I caught a picture of my girls walking hand-in-hand through Target and had a Target marketing paper I kept randomly so I cut out the symbol and journaled on it.  
Right side
When documenting my daughter going back to dance class, I was looking for some ribbon and saw that had this ribbon from Dear Lizzy.  How perfect does that work with her dance picture?  The Scrapbook sticker is a new sticker Studio Calico is using on their packaging for their monthly kits.  I love it so much!  The @ symbol was cut with my Silhouette Cameo.

And that's Week 2!  I've already got my pictures printed and my notes for Week 3 that I am hoping to finish up this week.  I'm also working on a blog post for my new menu planning system that will go up this week.  Hope everyone had a great three day weekend (if you had one).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Project Life, Week 1

Cover page
Previously, I had decided not to add my Project Life spreads on my blog.  It got to be a little boring (at least to some of you, probably) and I didn't blog often enough to really share my album every week.  Upon further reflection, I decided I WILL share it weekly.  Since I am very good about keeping up with my album and I want to blog more often, I think it will be a good push to be sure I'm blogging more so that it's not just Project Life.  I'd like a good variety, so I think it will help.  With is my first week of Project Life.
Full view

Left side
Right side

Insert which is in the album, although not pictured.  This is a Studio Calico Handbook page protector and is 6x8 in dimensions.  Front side.
Back side
I am using Becky Higgin's Seafoam Core Kit which was designed by Elise Blaha Cripe.  I just love Elise.  I've been following her blog for a while and purchased a few things from her shop, which is just awesome stuff.  The card with the Neil Armstrong quote is also available on Elise's blog.  I love the Seafoam kit because I LOVE the colors - hello beloved turquoise - mixed with black, white, some yellow, grey and kraft.  The cards are simple enough that they can be left as-is or dressed up.  The card on the right side that says, "That's what Layla said," was designed by Geralyn Sy (who's an AMAZING scrapbooker) and I just love it!  It's a digital card so I can print it as often as I like, which will come in handy when Layla starts saying more words.  I also ordered one for Caylan which I've used in the past. 

I really love the cover page and my first week.  The insert is in the album and sits just in between my first week spread.  It's a nice little addition to document my New Year's Resolutions.  I'm playing a little bit of catch up because I just got the kit this week, so I'll be working on week 2 tomorrow and will share this weekend.  I hope you enjoyed it and will come back and see my weekly updates on my Project Life album.  If you have any questions about the album or my process, please don't hesitate to ask!

Other supplies:  Design A Page Protectors, We R Memory Keepers 12x12 album in Orange Soda
For more information on Project Life, please visit Becky Higgin's blog for fun videos and tutorials.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Reading with Intention

This year, I've decided to embark on a journey to READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR.  The entire thing.  Cover to cover.  Chronologically.  This is a big commitment and there are a few reasons I want to do it.  First, I've never read it.  Not even a full chapter in one sitting.  I basically heard versus repeated in church or on Facebook pages, but I've never really KNOWN what the Bible says.  I want to change that.  Second, I'm not 100% sure where I stand on my faith.  We've just this past year started really going to church regularly and we've both really enjoyed it.  It's giving Josh and I both the desire to understand the written word better.  This is something I've wanted to do for a while and I decided that 2013 is my year to finally do it.  Here's my process:

When I was thinking about how to go about this project, I had to decide when I was going to do it.  Doing it at the same time everyday is the best way to keep it routine and eventually I'll be doing it without even thinking about it.  I initially thought that getting up and doing it first thing in the morning would be the best thing to do.  It's a good way to start my morning.  However....I am NOT a morning person.  Not even a little bit.  And Josh had said he wants to do some reading along with me, so maybe we should do it at night when the girls are in bed.  But, once the girls are in bed, that's our freedom time.  We'll normally sit down together and watch tv shows or a movie....or we'll go our separate ways and do stuff on our own we want to do.  So we switched gears and decided on the mornings.  That means I have to get up before the girls do...normally around 6:30 or so.  This was going to be a challenge.  I didn't realize what a GREAT challenge it would be.  The first couple of days was hard to get up, but I reminded myself of my goal and how important it is to me.  I got up, made my coffee, did my reading and the girls still weren't up.  I did the dishes, got some stuff picked up around the house, started some laundry...I was amazed at how much I was able to get done when the girls were still asleep.  Normally, I would stay in bed until Caylan wondered in, then Layla would wake up screaming.  I was waking up to chaos.  Now, I'm convinced that getting up early is the key.  Not only am I now starting my days with Bible readings...I'm able to have some peace and get some things done which helps my days go much smoother and less stressful.  Not everyday is perfect, but it's better.  I wish I had started this a long time ago. 

The readings are going great.  I'm understanding everything (although the names are hard to get through.  They had some crazy names!).  I'm finishing up Genesis tomorrow and moving on to the next book.  I'll keep updated every so often on my progress.  If you've been interested in reading the Bible, or have been looking for a daily devotional Bible for women, this is the one my mother-in-law gave me last year for Christmas.  That's where I got my reading guide and it's a great book!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Happy New Year everyone! 

2012 was a pretty amazing year and I'm so excited that 2013 is under way.  Now, let's talk Resolutions.  Most of us make them, right?  Most of us don't keep up with them either, right?  I'm definitely guilty of this one.  I'm a sucker for a "fresh start" each year and I love to make resolutions, so I will keep doing so.  I want to focus on making resolutions that I can stick to and that are achievable.

I Choose
Elise Blaha Cripe has a class up at Big Picture Classes called I Choose, which focuses on goal making and goal achieving.  I signed up immediately!  She has great videos talking about her successes and missteps in setting and reaching her goals.  So far, it's great and I'm excited to keep going with it.  If you need help in this area, I highly recommend the class.

My Resolutions
I took my time setting resolutions this year.  I wanted them to count.  I took time to reflect on what's important to me right now and what I want to really focus on in my life.  Here they are:

1.  Read the Bible in one year.
     My mother-in-law gave me a great women's devotional Bible last year for Christmas.  In it, is a reading guide to read the Bible in one year chronologically.  I love this idea!  I've never read the Bible with intention...only versus here and there in church.  I've always wanted to read it and this year, I'm doing it.  I want to understand what the Bible says, and I'm interested in knowing the message and how it will affect my life.  More thoughts on this and how it's going in another post later.

2.   BLOG MORE!  ;)
      I'm not a very good blogger - whew, there, I said it.  I have good intentions to blog and I wish I could be like the other bloggers that I stalk follow on a daily basis and have the coolest posts that I like to lose myself in.  I DO want to keep blogging, so I've set a goal to blog a MINIMUM of two times a week.  I already have a list of things I want to blog about, so hopefully I can keep up on this.

3.  Reach my goal weight.
     I know I can do this.  I've done it before.  I have 30 pounds to lose to reach my goal weight.  I just need to shut up and do it.  Or "Shut up and color," as my husband would say (Air Force term).  Interestingly, a Bible verse was quoted in church last week that touches on helping me reach this goal.  Again, more on that later.  Basically, I'd like to NOT make a weight-related resolution for 2014.

4.  Write in my journal more.
     I have a gorgeous journal that I write in sporadically.  I'd like to write in it more often and use it as a stress reliever when I need one.

5.  Be a better Key Spouse.
     This is an Air Force thing.  I'm a Key Spouse for my husband's squadron, which means I keep in touch with spouses and their needs.  I've let some of my responsibilities slide a little and I want to correct that.

6.  Meal plan better.
     I'm trying a new technique for meal planning to help take the stress out of it a bit.  So far, it's great and I'll share what I'm doing in another post soon.

7.  Read 40 books.
     I keep a running list of the books that I read each year.  In 2009 and 2010 I read close to 50 books each year.  For 2011 and 2012, it was 29 books exactly both years.  I want to get the number back up there.  The goal is 40!  Any suggestions?

So, there are my goals for 2013.  I'm excited to start on them and I'm very excited to see where 2013 is going to take us and what it has in store for our family.  Thanks for sticking with me and feel free to share any resolutions YOU have for 2013!