Christmas Magic

Is there anything better than the joy of kids at Christmas?  Although Owen is still too young to really “get” it, we had a lot of fun this year with his presents and his wonder at the tree.

But wow, taking photos of a very active one year old is HARD!  No one warned me that taking photos at this age would make me want to tear my hair out! 

Here’s little O attempting to de-decorate the tree:
xmas owen1
And after succeeding:
Ornament eating
Discovering presents:
Finding a box
Christmas morning gift inspection… penguin pillow pet!
Present inspection
”Is this big one for ME!?”
Tag Theif

And of course the holiday would not be complete without the standard “child screaming on Santa’s lap” photo… maybe we’ll have better luck next year but honestly I think I got the Bad Mama award for thinking this situation was *hilarious*. 

First Santa

Return of the Cupcake

We finally got our first good snow here in Massachusetts and it made me get the funny, warm, I-need-to-bake-something feeling! So I whipped up a batch of Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting. Mmmmm!

I have been on a quest for the perfect gingerbread recipe. I am partial to the old fashioned moist, dark gingerbread from the Dancing Deer company, who claims their recipe is from the owner's great grandma from Maine. I just can't seem to find any conventional recipe that gets it dark and spicy enough! The recipe I used for these cupcakes was no exception. They were good but not what I am looking for so I will go back to my old standard.

The frosting was however. I simply made a batch of cream cheese frosting and used lemon juice in place of vanilla extract... plus a heck of a lot of lemon zest. I could eat it by the spoonful! I have some left over and I am thinking of frosting sugar cookies with it... YUM!

They like me, they really like me!

I am tickled PINK to be able to announce that I was chosen to be one of Pink Paislee's 2011 guest artists!! It is a huge honor. I am so glad no one but my husband and toddler saw the unflattering Dance of Joy that I did after I got the email!

I have a sneaking suspicion that 2011 is going to be an awesome year!

Basic Grey Marjolaine

My reveal at ACOT this month is a breath of fresh nature in the middle of winter... because I am featuring the grass greens and sky blues of Basic Grey's Marjolaine!

As much as I love working with holiday themed products it was refreshing to find a home for all my outdoor photos that have been piling up. Marjolaine was totally perfect for these grass-heavy pictures. Check out what I did in my article here.

Busy Bee

December has been nuts!

I have already told my husband that we are not allowed to have another child in November OR December because Owen's birthday being smack in the middle of Thanksgiving and Christmas *killed* me this year. But his first birthday party was a success! We had a lot of fun.

Of course, it wouldn't be ME if I didn't do a DIY party. I forgot to take photos of some of the details but here are the big ones. My favorite is his hat!!

The invitation:
We did a baked potato bar for food:
His monster onesie:

The hat:

The birthday banner:

The cupcakes:

The monster cake!
And of course the monster himself:

Crazy for Cosmo!

The new Circa 1934 line from Cosmo Cricut was a joy to create with! I want to order a whole new set of these papers because they just seem to work for so many photos. Check out my latest article featuring these goodies at A Cherry On Top!

Challenges galore

Well, I have been a busy bee lately! Mr. Owen got his very first haircut this past weekend in anticipation of his first birthday on Friday, when he'll be getting some photos taken.

You can see how well it went:

But that's ok... an animal cracker later and he was smiling again. Mama, however, is still a little sad at the loss of all those gorgeous baby curls!

Meanwhile, there is a new set of monthly challenges up at ACOT and a new prompt at Scrap That Baby! Go check them out for inspiration and prizes!

You Need This

No, really, you do.

Do you ever use ink, chalks, or mists in your scrapbooking or crafting projects? I thought so.

So do I. And for the longest time I wanted one of those neato mats that protect your work surface from the inevitable mess that goes along with playing with paints and inks. Several companies make them (and a certain someone whose name rhymes with "Jim Boltz" talks about his all the time...) but they're expensive and there always seemed to be something else I was willing to spend my scrappy dollars on instead.

Which is why you have to run out and buy an oven mat! They are meant to go in the bottom of your oven to protect it from spills but they are the exact same slippery, thin, wipe-able material that the craft mats are made out of, but a fraction of the price!

I got mine at Christmas Tree Shops for only $5. I know you can also find them wherever kitchen and baking supplies are sold. Mine rolls up for easy storage and wipes clean with soap and water. I LOVE IT!!!

I'm back... with a winner!

Ok so it took me a little time to recover from the cruise. I needed a vacation from vacation! I know, I know, you're crying me a river, right?

The trip was fabulous, despite some crazy high seas from all the tropical storms out in the Caribbean and we spent a lot of time sipping fun drinks, eating way too much food, and watching the 24 hour circus that happens aboard a cruise ship. St. Thomas was fun and St. Maarten was beautiful. Right about now I am missing this:

Now I'm back to the daily grind. My husband is starting a new job this week, Owen is getting his back molars and walking all over the place, and I have a mountain of laundry to wash and a lot of first birthday party projects on my horizon. Someone pass me a Rum Runner, please!?

Thanks to all of you who have been patient about my last giveaway. Drumroll, please!

The winner of Kit #2 (the Halloween kit) is: ScrapbookMary!

ScrapbookMary, please use the link to contact me on the side bar and send me your name and address and I will mail the kit out to you ASAP!


My Old Stuff - Kit #2!

This weekend is another fun-filled, fabulous online crop at! November 5-7 will be jam packed with games, challenges, Fast Scraps, and more but *I* will be missing most of it because we'll be on vacation! I will, however, be teaching an altered Christmas wreath/frame class on Friday so stop on by and visit!

I am so sad to be missing most of the crop that I feel compelled to offer up another giveaway of one of my Old Stuff Kits... this one being perfect for all those Halloween photos you surely just took!

What do you have to do to win?

- Everyone who is a follower or becomes a follower of my blog gets an entry!
- Everyone who leaves a comment gets another entry!

You have until Monday the 8th to enter! I will be without an internet connection next week so I will draw a winner when I get back. I am only able to ship within the continental US.

Feature over at ScrapStreet Mag!

The new November issue of ScrapStreet Magazine is out and the Design Team at Scrap That Baby have been featured! Check out the article here and read all about the challenge blog and the designers.

The article features our example layouts for our latest challenge: Baby Gear. The idea is to scrap the stuff you can't live without so I did a layout about baby gates, aka "baby jail"!

You can see all the details at Scrap That Baby and find out how to enter to win a fabulous prize kit from our sponsor, Tidbitz in Time!

October ACOT Reveal

I had the extreme pleasure of working with the new Parisian Anthology line from Pink Paislee this month. I haven't enjoyed scrappy supplies like this in a long time! Check out why they gave me a new sense of creative freedom in my article at

These papers offer limitless options for adding your own colors and details! I've been really into orange and teal lately:

This mini was created using pages made from Prima flower packaging! I had been wanting to do this for a while after discovering just how many Prima packaging backgrounds I had collected and the colors were perfect for my little guy at the pumpkin patch. I love how this came out!

As if we needed another blanket

For whatever reason I decided I needed to procrastinate and make Owen *another* blanket. Can you see me rolling my eyes at myself?

This is a super simple no-sew, tied fleece blanket but I added the green monster applique made from a pattern out of Simply Handmade. Owen loves that little monster! When he sees it he grabs the blanket and squishes it all up in his face and squeals. If that isn't a mom's reward for her hard work I don't know what is!

No Sew Fleece Blanket
- cut two pieces of fleece to the same size, making sure you have neat edges. (I don't bother to measure. This makes a lap blanket for adults and is plenty big for a kiddo. Keep in mind that four inches on *each side* will get sucked up for fringe.)
- Sew your applique on one side if you are adding one. Remember to place it far enough up so that it doesn't interfere with the fringe.
- Lay the pieces one on top of the other. Cut every inch along the edge of the material, going up approximately four inches.
- You'll go along all four edges doing this. Cut both layers at the same time to ensure that your fringe lines up when you tie it. You'll notice you will need to cut 4" x 4" squares out of the four corners.
- When you are done cutting begin to tie each set of fringe, one lower piece and one upper piece. I find I get the most uniform look by sticking to "left over right, then right over left" when I tie. No need to tie super tight! You'll want it secure but not so tight that you stretch out the material.
- Done! It takes a little while to do all the cutting and tying but it is something you can do sort of mindlessly while you're watching TV. These make great gifts for kids and I love to make them for adults with their favorite teams' licensed fleece!

The Pick of the Patch!

Is it sick that I pretty much live for coordinating my son's outfits with our weekend activities?? I get so tickled to pick out clothes that will match the inevitable future scrapbook pages. It gets to the point that I actually give my husband color options for what HE can wear if I know we're going to be taking photos.

This weekend was simply gorgeous here in MA and we decided to hit the farm one last time for the season. Owen had a BLAST playing among the pumpkins! I managed to squeeze out only thirty shots before my camera battery died. I thought the spare had been charged but I must have forgotten... oops! So that was a bit of a bummer but nothing some cider and fresh donuts couldn't handle! Just for good measure, we grabbed some amazing popped-while-we-waited kettle corn to take home. Yum!

Cards November 2010

Woohoo! Today I was able to access the online edition of Cards for November and saw two of my creations published in this issue. I can't wait to see these in print!

"XO" using Pink Paislee

"Owl Our Thanks" using My Mind's Eye

Altered Halloween Frame

Every once in a while a project just flows together like buttah and this altered frame was IT for me! I love, love, love all things Halloween and have more decorations for the month of October than I do for the month of December... that should tell you something! I was inspired by The Crafting Chicks to create something with this old scrunched up book page technique. Here is what I came up with:And I think it's adorable! I couldn't be more pleased with the results.

I needed to cut about eleventy billion three inch circles from the pages of an old book. Normally I would consider cutting up books to be some kind of crime, but considering the book was under a dollar at Sal's Boutique (The Salvation Army) I made an exception and we'll call this "a second life" for the book.

It turns out cutting old book pages is a pain in the booty. My Slice machine didn't so much slice as shred and the Cricut didn't do much better. Ditto for my Martha Stewart circle cutter. Finally I just folded one into a 1/4 circle, folded pieces of paper, and cut the template onto those pieces. It was a bit of an annoyance but it was actually faster than I imagined it would be.

Then I crinkled them and grabbed my trusty hot glue gun to stick those puppies allllllll over the frame, which I had stripped of its glass and painted black.

$2.99 recycled frame + $.99 old book + supplies from my stash = AWESOME

Challenges Galore!

Well, I'm back up and running after an interesting vacation week. It was a week for the record books, that's for sure, but I am not getting into that long story at the moment. The good news is that my little guy is home from Grams' house and has been putting up with me loving on him even more than usual. He had a great week and my mom was a rock star... gotta love awesome grandparents!

Meanwhile, new challenges are up at Scrap That Baby and A Cherry On Top!

Check out my Theme Challenge at ACOT, where I ask you to scrap a costume this month. Here is little O in his King Richard's Faire garb (excuse the awful photo... this is what happens when you don't see sun for days):

See the rest of the ACOT challenges HERE!

Then hop on over to Scrap That Baby, where's there's still time to enter the Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes Challenge. I did a layout about Owen's sweet little caveman feet:

Coming soon: some fun Halloween projects and my new obsession with felt food!

My Old Stuff Kit #1 WINNER!

Wow, you guys gave me a ton of amazing recipes to try! Thanks for the inspiration... no thanks for the extra pounds. :-P

The winner of the My Old Stuff kit is: (drumroll, please!)

"Jennybean"!!! Jennybean posted a recipe that combines three of my favorites: apples, caramel, AND cheesecake. I'm in trouble.

Jennybean, please use the link over there on the right sidebar to email me your address so I can get the kit out to you!

There will be a new kit up soon, so keep checking back for a chance to win!

My Old Stuff - Kit #1!

The Great Scrap Room transformation of 2010 caused me to go through every inch of my scrappy stash. Wow, that's a lot of stuff! ::blush::

I have too much. There, I've admitted it! So how do we handle this dilemma? Well, I give some of my stuff to YOU, of course! It's a win-win, really. You get some of my older (but still awesome!) product and I make some room on my shelves. For more product. Wait a minute...

Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. ;-)

Over the next few months (I am ashamed to tell you exactly how many of these kits there are...) I will be giving away kits of goodies. This month, for this Autumn-friendly September Kit, I want you to leave a comment and give me a recipe for your favorite apple dish. As I mentioned in the previous post we have an abundance of crisp apples and I live for this time of year just for the apple recipes alone. I will eat them ten ways from Sunday and not be tired of them.

The kit includes products from My Mind's Eye, Cosmo Cricket, Die Cuts With a View, Creative Imaginations, Daisy D's, Heidi Swapp and more.

So copy and paste a favorite... or link me up to something you found online... just give me a reason to get in the kitchen by Friday!

One lucky winner will be drawn to win the kit!

**Please, I can only pay shipping to winners from the continental US!**

Move Over Cupcakes!

There's a new baked good in town!

Ryan and I took the little guy for his first apple picking expedition last weekend and came home with a ginormous bag of apples. We've been picking them off one by one but really, let's be honest here... half the point of going apple picking is getting to bake sumptuous Autumn desserts!

And you know these will be some mighty fine desserts if the ingredients were plucked with sweet little hands:

Tonight I put together some Pie in a Jar. Pies in a Jar? Hmmm. Pies in Jars??

Well, anyway, you get the idea. *I* got the idea from the fabulous ladies over at Our Best Bites and nearly wet my pants because of the sheer cuteness factor. I didn't have the patience to "scrap" these up with paper and adorable pinked fabric skirts but you can bet a box of Martha Stewarts that it will be happening with the next batch!

Go ahead. I DARE you to tell me you don't want to dig into one of these *right now*. They were oh so delectable! However, next time I will use my own crust recipe. And a bit more sugar, although that will depend on your apples.

Don't worry cupcakes. There is plenty of room on the bench for both of you. :-)

Hidden Jewels

In an earlier life I was a costume designer. I spent many hours perusing the local fabric stores for luxe prints and thumbing through pattern books for inspiration. Sadly, the economy took its toll on my favorite fabric shop. It was filled with every type of cloth imaginable and had rows upon rows of trims, buttons, notions, and treasures.

I still visit the local "big box" fabric store, however, and there is a distinct benefit to shopping in these types of stores: the crossover of other crafts into the scrapbooking industry and vice versa. Recently, many scrap companies have been branching out into other crafts and hobbies simply for the obvious business strategy of gathering more customers. Makes sense. Look at Making Memories with their Vintage Groove line of jewelry findings, for example.

But scrappers have been doing this for as long as scrapping has existed. It is our very nature to see with "scrap eyes" and find page elements all around us. So when I now visit the fabric store I make a game out of finding non-scrap products to use on my projects. You can really find some hidden treasures if you know where to look!

Here is what I found on my last (short... the baby was not thrilled with the shopping on this day!) trip to the fabric store:

Crocheted doilies near the felt. Use them as is or mist/ink them. You can even use them as masks.

Hemp cord in the jewelry section... good for threading buttons and other fun stuff!

Buttons! You'll find all manner of buttons at a fabric store and you can get just a few. The frames were in the jewelry section and I will put tiny photos or papers in them and then cover them with Diamond Glaze. I like to hang these sorts of things from the binding on mini albums!

The styrofoam balls and pins are for an upcoming project using paper supplies... stay tuned!

Burlap is hot right now. And cheap! Cut it into strips and fray the edges for burlap ribbon/trim or cut blocks for backgrounds. You can mist it, ink it, or even stamp on it.

Basic canvas. I have big ideas for making my own canvas alterables. I have been seeing them everywhere and just *know* I can make my own for a fraction of the price!

And of course you can find eleventy billion different ribbons and trims to use on your projects. I am partial to extremes, apparently: rustic, basic twill... and fancy shmancy upholstery trims.

So, I had some fun, yes? Next time you're in the fabric store looking for cloth take some time to dig through the other aisles and find some hidden jewels. Just don't blame me if you get lost for a few hours. :-)