Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Making Christmas Cards...

...not because I have to, but because I want to!

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I purchased the cards that I'm mailing this year, which means that instead of working day and night to make cards because I have to, I can have fun and play and make Christmas cards just because I feel like it!

I copied this card from Kristina Werner's Holiday Card Series, substituting a stamp I already had in place of the one she used. I did, however, buy some embossing powder to play with for this one. I dislike the flat look of most ink-based stamp impressions, and heat embossing gives a nice, subtle texture and depth.

For now I'm tossing this card into my general greeting card storage box, but I imagine that it will get used sometime between now and Christmas- maybe as a wrapping for a gift card or other small, flat item.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bridge Street Christmas Tree Layout

I'm slowly working my way through all the yummy inspiration from the online classes I've been taking lately, and this page is based on a sketch from Valerie Salmon's Got Sketch 106 class. As soon as I saw Valerie's Christmas themed example page in the class handout I knew I wanted to use the sketch to scrapbook my Bridge Street Christmas tree lighting photos. Couple that with my new shipment of goodies last week (that included some of the great new Webster's Pages Christmas paper), and a new layout was born.

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I matched the Webster's Pages Sweet Season paper with some Sassafras and DCWV that I dug out of my scrap bin and punched or die cut to use as accents. The felt snowflakes were actually cut using my Cricut! It was my first time cutting felt with it, and it couldn't have gone better (thanks to all the great advice that I found here and here). If you want to try this yourself, I recommend the felt from Papertrey Ink (though I think that any 100% wool felt will do).

It felt really good to scrap the first Christmas photos of the season!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving

Whew!! I'm finally recovering from Thanksgiving (though you wouldn't know it to look at my laundry pile!). My whole family crashed at my house for two days, and we had dinner on Friday instead of Thursday (Jon and Beth were at her parents' house on Thursday afternoon).

First off, some shots of the decorations. I didn't do a whole lot- just swapped out the ceramics and prints (from Craftily Ever After) from my Halloween decor for more Thanksgiving-themed items.

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I had wanted fresh flowers, but wasn't willing to pay the non-bargain bouquet price at Sam's. Instead, I took my previous bargain bouquet (already almost 2 weeks old), tossed what was bad, and cut the rest down to mini-bouquets for my Anthropologie monogram mugs.

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I started cooking bright and early Thursday morning. First up were pecan pie and a loaf of French bread (in the bread maker), followed by a batch of pumpkin spice cupcakes.

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I think I went through four pounds of butter and more than a dozen eggs before I was finished with all the cooking...

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Since we weren't having a home-cooked Thanksgiving until Friday, Darren and I decided to duck out of the house and have lunch at Cracker Barrel on Thursday. I had the most lovely mug of hot chocolate...

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...with our wonderful meal.

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Then it was back home and more cooking while we waited for my family to arrive. They got there in shifts, so I made a couple of pizzas for dinner...with homemade crust and fresh mozzarella. :)

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Somewhere after making that pizza, I completely lost any time I had to take photos. I did, however, take time out to go to Michaels sale on Thursday night (I needed some project boxes, and they had them 55% off plus a 30% coupon- can't beat $2.80 each!).

I didn't take many photos on Friday, either. That could have something do to with my Friday starting at 3:30 am! Darren and I got up and went to Target to scoop up a few items they had on sale (an early start to Christmas shopping). The line was insane- all the way to the street on both sides of the store. I'm not usually a big black Friday crowds kind of shopper, but for some reason this year I enjoyed it.

I enjoyed it so much that Beth and I got out again a little later in the morning to go to Old Navy and Bath and Body Works. :)

The rest of the day was cooking, cooking, and more cooking. The ham and turkey were easy- they just had to sit in the oven and bake. Unfortunately, I also had a lot of sides and a tiny oven (who am I kidding, the whole kitchen is tiny and sadly lacking in counter space), which meant that even after the main courses were done, it was another hour and a half of baking just to get everything cooked. Thankfully I had a lot of help, and we'd done a lot of prep work beforehand.

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To make up for the lack of counter space, I covered every available flat surface with food and food prep items.

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Warning- my kitchen is old and scary. Hopefully I'll have the time to remodel it next year.

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I don't know why I included this shot...maybe because my iPad is sitting off the to side. It got a LOT of use as an electronic recipe card.

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I never got a shot of the whole spread (like my TV tray buffet?). Thankfully Darren grabbed the camera for me and took a few pictures, or I wouldn't have any!

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A bunch of the food was served in the kitchen, too. It's a small house (I'm not complaining- I absolutely love it), and we had 7 people staying within its 1238 square feet. I had to make use of every inch of it.

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Here's a random cute Beth and Sophie shot.

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And a random funny shot of my brother.

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And a not so random shot of Darren carving the ham. You can see a bit more of the buffet in this one.

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And then the turkey. I decided to only cook a turkey breast this year, and, oh, my, was that ever a good choice! I cut slits in it and stuffed little pats of butter into them. It was soooo juicy!

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My Mom's plate- she ate a little of everything, and then went back for seconds!

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I had a ton of dough left after cooking the first batch of dinner rolls. Little Sophie bug had fun playing in it.

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And then she got her feet into the action, just like in the old country. Oh...wait....and, yes, I did cook the rest of the rolls later, and we did eat them. :)

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After dinner was over, I said I wasn't cooking for the next week (and I mean it). So Saturday morning there was much munching on leftovers. Miss Sophie wanted in on the action...

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Everyone left late morning on Saturday, and thanks to all their help the house and kitchen looked amazing when they were all gone. I don't know how many times we ran the dishwasher, but in the end it was only half full on Saturday with no massive pile in the sink- a miracle!

My only regret is that we didn't take more pictures. :( Other than that, it was a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday Favorites (on Saturday)

Oops!! With so much going on over Thanksgiving and my family in town (we had dinner on Friday instead of Thursday so my brother and his family would be able to join us, as well) I haven't had any time at all for blogging the last few days! My plan is to play catch-up with several posts tomorrow. We'll see if it actually happens.

In any case, here are my Friday favorites, even if they're a day late. :)


From left to right:
  • Karen Grunberg shares this amazing layout along with a video showing how she put it together. It took forever, but it looks amazing!
  • Elise Blaha recently revamped her workspace, and you know I can't resist a good studio tour. :)
  • Cartolina has released a new Christmas-themed version of their messenger app. It'll make all your text messages and emails just gorgeous (I think it was $1.99...I don't remember exactly).
  • I'm totally in love with the Curated digital album kit- a collaboration between Kitschy Digitals and Paislee press. I'm totally digging the contrasting styles.
  • Get a crash course in embroidery on the Studio Calico blog- what a fun and easy way to add a hand-stitched touch to your layout.
  • Monika Wright has some great ideas for Christmas cards, including cutting and assembly notes. I'm totally digging those mini calendars!
  • The Scrappy Chic Room has a great tutorial on making these decorative-edged paper medallions.
  • Ever wondered what goes into creating an issue of one of your favorite magazines? Paper Crafts shares the behind-the-scenes look at how they build an issue from start to finish.
  • Visit the Crate Paper blog for the how-to on making this gorgeous layout, including tips for making that machine-stitched grid.
Hope you're having a scrappy weekend!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Preparing for a Year of Greeting Cards

I read an interesting article last Thursday on Unclutterer singing the praises of an online service that will let you pre-order greeting cards for pretty much any occasion. Customers can have varied levels of involvement with the cards- the company will even inscribe and mail them if you so choose.

While that might be a nice service for some, I really like to sign my own cards and, in most cases, I like to make them as well. But then I thought a little more about it, and I realized that such a "service" would be pretty nifty to implement on your own- it just requires some planning ahead, but once that's done you're free to create any type of card at any time (meaning if you feel the urge to make a Halloween card in the middle of November like I did last weekend, go for it).

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This card was lifted from the cover of the September/October issue of Paper Crafts magazine. I love that it used lot of scraps (I went nuts with the circle punch and made enough for two cards while I was at it) and gave me a chance to break out my Cricut Happy Hauntings cartridge again.

So, back to this greeting card system that I have grand plans for implementing (we'll see how far I get with it)...it goes a little something like this:
  • Make a list of all birthday, anniversary, Mother's day, Father's day, and other cards that need to be sent for the entire year, along with the name of the recipient.
  • Track down any missing dates or addresses (your aunt Susie's anniversary and your college-age second cousin twice-removed's current dorm room address can be tricky things to keep up with) and add them to the list.
  • List any holidays (Valentine, Halloween, Christmas) that you send out mass numbers of cards for, along with the names of the recipients of those cards (for instance, your Christmas list is probably a lot longer than your Valentine list).
  • It's probably a good idea to throw in some generic sympathy, wedding, baby, get well, and thank you cards as well.
  • Now, with all that data in hand, you're ready to plan how many and what kind of cards you'll need for each month (I like the idea of actually listing them out under a heading for each month). The beauty of this is that you can work ahead- go ahead and make Valentine cards in December if you like!- and always know exactly how many and what kind of card you'll need to make.
  • Make a mailing kit with a nice pen, various envelopes (depending on what size cards you usually make), some stamps, and some return address labels. Keep it in an easily accessible spot. Another idea is to go ahead and address the envelopes for the cards as they're made and file them away by month until you're ready to mail them (a great thing to do for Christmas cards made in the middle of March).
One huge perk to all this date-and-address organization is that it only needs to be done once, and then you can just maintain it as people come and go in your life. It can also be done in tiny increments- set your kitchen time for 15 minutes and knock out little bits of it each day or week until your list is complete!

As for the fun part of actually making the cards, I'm sure you already have some favorite places to visit for inspiration. A few of mine are:
I'm going to sit down sometime soon after Thanksgiving and start my list for next year, then get cracking on January's cards. Maybe I'll actually be better about getting them sent out this year than I was last year!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm a Professional Scraplifter

In all the years I've been scrapbooking (12 and half now- yikes!), I've never been able to nail down my style. Perhaps it's because I don't have one...or maybe it's that my style really should be called "the professional scraplift."

In any case, this layout is a complete and total copy of someone else's. Usually I don't imitate things all the way down to color schemes and paper lines, but I wanted to do a cherry blossom layout (from my trip to DC last April) and I had these October Afternoon papers in my stash and really wanted to use them.

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Unfortunately, I didn't note who the original scrapper was (I actually usually don't as I'm saving ideas), and I don't want to post their layout here lest someone think it's my own. So, if this page looks familiar to you, please let me know that it's yours (or belongs to someone you know) so I can thank you for the wonderful inspiration!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Yuletide Fail

I have no idea where this weekend went! I mean, I have my to-do lists with a zillion things crossed off now that I can look back on, but it still feels just like a few hours ago that I was up on Friday morning and looking forward to a day (mostly) off from work.

We did take a little time out on Friday night to go watch the tree lighting at Bridge Street on Friday night. I think a couple hundred other people had the same idea. :)

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I enjoyed some yummy Maggie Moo's ice cream while we waited for the big event.

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It was so crowded that I had to shoot over a lot of heads to get a decent photo. No big deal- I enjoy a challenge. :)

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So we waited...and waited through some announcements and speeches, and then the big moment came...

And FAILED!! Okay, so it only partially failed, but, still, you'd think they would have tested the thing out before hand. Just look at that big unlit band!

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While we were there I made a quick stop by Anthropologie to use a gift card that I've had for a while.

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I'd read on another blog that they had some gorgeous gift wrap in, and I wasn't disappointed! I brought these pretties home, and they are perfect with all my papers I bought at Paper Source in DC last month. I think I'm going to use them to make a mini album for my upcoming trip to Nassau.

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This stamp cracked me up, so it got to come home with me, too. :)

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And then I popped into Bath and Body Works to use some coupons...

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...some of these may or may not be Christmas gifts. :)

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And, oh, my, their holiday lip shines are amazing! I'm so obsessed with the Spiced Latte. I'm going to have to stock up on it before it's gone since they only carry it around Christmas.

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That was pretty much the highlight of my weekend. The rest of the time has been spent working, cleaning, and shopping getting ready for Thanksgiving. I'm so excited to be cooking for my family this year!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Favorites- Documenting Christmas

'Tis the season to choose which Christmas journaling project you want to participate in (or, if you're like me, you try to do a combination of all of them)!

I love Christmas. Don't get me wrong- I adore Thanksgiving, and I couldn't be happier that I'm hosting and cooking for my entire family this year, but there's just something about getting my Christmas journal ready ahead of time that puts me in the right mindset to enter the holidays, Thanksgiving included. And even though I love getting my journal foundation finished early, I'm still one of those people who gets annoyed when the Christmas stock starts hitting the store shelves in August.

In the spirit of getting in the spirit, most of today's picks are Christmas and Christmas journal related. I hope you enjoy them!


From left to right:
  • Elle's Studio shares her interior pages for her December Daily album. Such a fun mix of colors and patterns!
  • Shimelle Laine is once again taking sign-ups for her Journal Your Christmas class (it runs from December 1st to January 6th). Once you sign up and pay for the class for one year, you can continue to take it year after year for no additional charge. This will be my second year participating. She also has posts on paper and album selection that are definitely worth checking out.
  • Ali Edwards, of course, has her gorgeous December Daily album foundation on her site. This will be my third year of following along with Ali- she took Shimelle's idea and put her own spin on it, and it's wonderful. You can also see her previous years' album posts here.
  • If Christmas cards are on your mind, you'll definitely want to check out Kristina Werner's Holiday Card Series. She posts a card and a how-to video each day using some of the yummiest supplies. The link is to the first video, but there are 25 in the entire series.
  • Alissa Fast is sharing her past Journal Your Christmas albums each day this month. You can check out day 1 here and follow along from there.
  • Jessica Sprague is offering her annual free class. This year it's called Inspiration Everywhere, and it sounds awesome. 
  • Let's not leave out Thanksgiving! Get tips on photographing your Thanksgiving feast at The Daily Digi.
  • Jenni Bowlin Studio shares a beautiful Christmas mini album by Doris Sander.
  • Marta Writes has a post on creating your own Christmas binder using your favorite articles, recipes, and ideas culled from magazines. It looks fantastic!
Have a festive, scrappy weekend!

The Goodie Box!

I'm off work this morning (though I did agree to come in for a meeting this afternoon :( ) and am so excited to finally be able to dig into this box that arrived Tuesday!

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It's full of all the goodies I've been stashing away on preorder at Stop and Scrap (well, not all of them- there are still some Tattered Angels and October Afternoon items that are waiting on shipments from the manufacturers before they send them on to me).

Mmmm, are those some Mister Huey's from Studio Calico?

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And look at all those yummy journaling spots!

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And bunches of 6x6 paper pads. This is beginning to be my favorite way to order paper.

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I've been especially excited to dig into this one- the Jovial collection from Basic Grey.

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A fun mix of papers, mini album supplies, and embellishments (love that Halloween and Christmas themed tissue tape by Tim Holtz).

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And the gorgeous Mix and Mend line from Sassafras.

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Twig and Tinsel by the Girls' Paperie.

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And aren't the colors in Crate Paper's Snow Day line incredibly cheerful? I love nontraditional colors for Christmas

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There's so much more in that box, I'm a little embarrassed to say. But I've literally been preordering since August, so it's been a long wait to get these goodies! I'll definitely be digging in to them for the next round of layouts I make.
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