Sunday, November 30, 2014

Scrapbooking Whimsy

Happy Sunday!!
Even though it's been a nice long holiday weekend it feels like it has flown by already.  We did a nice bit of shopping yesterday and found some great deals! I also did a bit of online shopping - I guess I was too impatient to wait on "cyber Monday". It sure feels nice to have made a dent in the list though.  I also finished a lot more decorating.  I have a bit more to finish up today and then I think I'll be all set and start taking some photos for you! I hope your holiday weekend has been wonderful so far and you're accomplishing many good things too.
I thought today I was due for a scrapbooking post and wanted to share some of the fun I have with being whimsical with many of my pages. One of my favorite creative "techniques" in scrapbooking is the use of whimsy. Being whimsical in scrapbooking to me is when you see things a little outside the box and put your own true creative eye to work and create a different look than is typical on a scrapbook page. I'll show you what I mean...
Here's one example of what I mean.  For this layout you can I see I used pages that had pink glitter paper and a princess theme from my daughter's birthday.  But on the left hand page I had cut my daughter out of the full picture, so it's like a cut-out of her on the page. I also cut out her cake out as you can see on the bottom right hand side of the page.  Another fun example I found looking through my books was this:
Part of what I think is so fun about this page is the fun & games theme to it.  This was a layout I did from several different fun events, but put it together as a "fun & games" theme all in one.  I just LOVE the chutes & ladders game board sticker with spinner and pieces that are all dimensional up in the corner. They were a fun find and so adorable!! And the scrabble letters that make up the title fit with the theme beautifully too. But the real whimsy I love on the right hand page is this:
I cut out my nephew and put him on the page to look like he's sliding down one of the chutes!  It was actually from a picture of him sliding on the slide at the park. Still makes me giggle every time I see it.
I have had fun with many of my pages this way. Probably way more times in  all of my albums than I could show here! Another example I remember is cutting my daughter out of a picture and she had her arms out-stretched and I put her in a die cut on the page of a pocket- so it looked like she was popping up out of the pocket.  I'm a dork and have such fun with the little things, what can I say? Lol
Here's a final holiday example I have handy because 'tis the season!
There are a few fun examples I want to point out here.  On the left hand page I had cut my daughter out again but I put her in a blue oval I had cut out as it makes her stand out, and to bring in more of the blue in the title- which I like running down the center of the page instead of just top or bottom as something more unique.  I also loved the snowman paper I used on the right hand page, but it was 2-sided and I wanted to see some of both.  I didn't want to cut out the snowman part of the paper too much so instead I folded it over, almost like a blanket, so you can see the striped side of the paper too.  I then cut out the photo of my daughter with Rudolph and put it behind the fold to look like they're popping out and saying hi.
Again it's the little things I find so fun about scrapbooking! Happy Holiday season and let the fun begin!!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Easy slow cooker Ham & Scalloped Potatoes

Here's a quick and easy recipe for ham and scalloped potatoes in your slow cooker. I captured some pics along the prepping and cooking process, however I didn't get a shot of the final product as the slow cooker was brought to my mother & father-in-law's house for dinner and I didn't have my camera.  You'll just have to trust me that it was creamy, cheesy, tasty, comforting goodness!
First, peel and slice about 2-3 pounds of potatoes. Then cut and cube about a pound of cooked ham.

Then grate some cheese (about 2 cups) and slice 1/2 to 3/4 of an onion. I think grating the cheese myself, rather than buying pre-shredded, just melts better.
In a small bowl mix 1 can of cream of celery soup (or cream of mushroom - whatever you have on hand) with seasonings. I actually used 1 can and about 1/2 of another as we like things "saucier".  Add the seasonings to taste...I added salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little paprika.

Grease your slow cooker. Divide ingredients and add  in layers: potatoes, then ham, onion, shredded cheese. Repeat layers twice and adding soup on last 2 layers, using majority of soup on top layer.
This is how it looks when it's ready to get cookin'! Put on lid and set slow cooker on low and cook 7-8 hours.  Stir occasionally.
Please visit again and say hi! I love receiving your comments! Another scrapbooking post coming Sunday.

Christmas Card Inspiration

Happy Friday! Hope my U.S. friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I definitely ate too much and I'm still full from yesterday (but it was totally worth it!!)
Most years my Mom and I go shopping for some black Friday deals, but laying low this year. I think I may do some online shopping...and wait to do some ordering for cyber Monday.  I might tackle heading out to the stores Saturday though. If you're out shopping today, hope you stay safe out there among the aggressive hoards you may encounter! (I'm only kind of joking) Lol 
I may be behind on my holiday shopping this year (at least compared to some) - but I have my Christmas cards completed already! Yay for checking one thing off that giant Christmas list.  I began thinking about ideas I wanted to do for my cards last week and then late last week I took the photos and got that ball rolling.  I'm very pleased with how they turned out and will show you this year's card closer to the holidays.
But today I thought I would show you this:
This is a photo shoot I took of my kiddos a few years ago for our Christmas card then.  We had started decorating our tree with lights and then got the idea to have my kiddos wrap up in them and goof around and have some fun. Even our dog Ruby cooperated pretty well!  I think just playing with a string of lights was an easy and fun/festive way to add a holiday feel to a photo shoot.  It definitely wasn't staged as you can tell by my kiddos' casual clothes, but I love that it just captured a fun moment in time and made for a cute card. Just thought I'd share in case it might spark some creative inspiration since we're rapidly jumping into the holiday season!  My photos and card for this year were definitely more staged, but also turned out really sweet.
Here is the finished card from the above photo shoot (from 2012) however:
This is the front and the back of the card - just shown side by side.  I went on shutterfly and found a fun bright lettered card and I also loved that the words matched the feel about being "merry and bright". I thought it was a fun touch putting one of the goofy pictures on the back of the card too.
I love shutterfly and they have a lot of card options & designs to pick from, and they are easy to use. Just plug in your own photos and have fun getting creative. I know Christmas card giving isn't as popular as it used to be which I think is sad. I completely understand with costs of things these days, but there's something so special about sending a little something "from my house to yours" and to get that special Christmas card in the mail from a dear friend or loved one.  I still hand write out all my envelopes and send an extra letter to those really far away that I don't get to correspond with much otherwise, like a relative in Poland & I send each other a card every year.  It's one of my favorite things I look for each holiday season.  What do you think about the Christmas card debate?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Well I think the holiday season has officially begun - or it sure feels that way.  I've been making my lists and checking them twice. It feels like once Thanksgiving comes upon us everything really "takes off".  I've already been doing some holiday shopping and lots of planning ahead in many areas, but today I made myself slow down and really focus on Thanksgiving and all of my blessings: family, friends, health - too many blessings to count really.  I just thank God for all of them!
I finished up some final Thanksgiving grocery shopping this morning and have been enjoying cooking this afternoon and evening.  My daughter was a great help with some baking this afternoon. And this evening I poured a little glass of wine, listened to some Christmas music dancing in my kitchen as I cook away.  Soaking it all in - I highly recommend it! Lol
I also highly recommend this pie!
Sorry if not super clear - taken off of my phone, but at least you can get the idea. This is pioneer woman's pecan pie and it's SO good! I swear I use many other recipes from other cookbooks, not just pioneer woman's, but I had to let you know how good this recipe is too! I make her homemade crust too which is also delish!!  My Crew are not so much pumpkin pie folks (which is my favorite) so I just make a little frozen one for myself to go with leftovers. They just don't know what they're missing! Or maybe you're all pecan pie folks too?
Anyway, I know I'll be pretty busy all day tomorrow so just wanted to also say how thankful I am to so many that have been commenting or emailing me their support as I continue to work on this brand new blogging journey. I already feel like I have a bounty of wonderful friends and I look forward to all the fun and adventures ahead!  I'm going to head back into the kitchen for now but just want to say...
Wherever your path leads you wishing you safe journey, warm surroundings, great food and lots of loved ones with which to share.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gifts in Baskets

What is it about getting a gift in a basket that makes it feel just sort of extra special? Is it the extra details that are usually decorating it, or the way you can see a lot of the goodies in it right away usually leaning towards some theme?
I'm really not sure.  However, I do know that I love to get a gift basket and I especially love to give gift baskets!  I think it's just another way to be creative and let some of that imaginative spark fly along with the gift you're giving.
I have put together and given lots of gift baskets through the years - and for many different occasions. For me it usually starts with a theme based on the main gift I'm giving. Or it's based on just seeing that perfect basket (or other container) that just speaks to a theme. 
Some examples of baskets I have done are baby goodies that were in a little nursery or baby laundry kind of basket decorated with the nursery theme. A scrapbook I had made for the recipient with some adhesive tabs, archive quality markers and a coupon for a place to have professional photos done.  I have done many cooking baskets based on many different themes. Wine and Italian in a colander for the pasta. Comfort food (soup or stew mix) with whisk, soup mugs and pretty cloth napkins.  Garden theme with seeds, gloves, small shovel, sun hat or kneeler in a big planting pot. These are just to name a few.  It's so fun to just let your imagination go.  And the gift can be as small and affordable, or large, as your creativity or checkbook allows.
Here is a basket I made recently as a gift for a relative. Her birthday is in the late Fall and I saw this rustic pumpkin basket and went with that to create a late Fall theme.  She has a rustic lodge country kind of home and she's a gardener and cook.  So as I found things I thought fit her I put them in there.  I think it's ok if you don't see every item right out of the top either. This had a more narrow opening so there are several things in the bottom like candles, votive holder, and a decorated fall "rock" for her garden. Then I had found some neat cardinal bird vent sticks for her car, a pretty bread basket towel (good for thanksgiving coming) and the cute rustic burlap pumpkin. I filled the basket with the faux hydrangea to add more pretty on the top and she could use it in her decorating. I also gave her the Fall/Halloween theme banner I had made (shown in previous post). Then I found the burlap ribbon and tied that on to decorate a bit more.
I finished with a pretty leaf ribbon I found on abby's paperie garden etsy store. I wrote the recipient's name on it and tied it by the ribbon.  I think it can be fun to shop a little over time and see what you find too, instead of just buying everything at once.  I just waited to see what jumped out at me that seemed very "her".
Tis the gift giving season so let your creativity shine!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday

Good morning!
 I'm linking up with Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for her Happy Homemaker Monday. I hope you're cozying up with a nice cup of tea or coffee and getting ready to brave this crazy holiday week too!

The weather outside is...
Not too cold today - in the 30's, but it's snowing and not sure how much we're going to get.  One source says 1-3 inches and another says 3-7. Either way I guess it's nice to see everything turn pretty white again. It had mostly melted this past weekend with beautiful mild temps...but was turning ugly brown again. I like the peaceful white.
On the breakfast plate this morning...
I have a thing for bagels, so 1/2 of a french toast bagel with light butter and a cup of coffee.  I need to get back to oatmeal though and do less of this carb thing! Lol 
As I look outside my window...
Gray skies, light snow falling - really pretty and holiday looking
Right now I am...
I did have the news on, but just put on my Pandora and it's still set on a holiday station.  I can't get enough of my Christmas music this time of year.  I especially love the Mormon tabernacle choir station, Nat King Cole station, Christmas classics station and Amy Grant holiday station
As I look around the house...
I have some holiday stuff scattered around I need to address.  We started some holiday decorating now since Thanksgiving is so late this year.  I also need to throw in my laundry, clean up the kitchen and finish my grocery list in front of me. 
On today's to do list...
Helping out the in-laws again. A usual Monday routine had been to spend the whole day with my mother-in-law hanging out with her (& watching over her), but with my father-in-law still home recovering from his knee she's able to be with him. He can't drive yet, so now the Monday routine is I pick her up to get her out for a while and we run and get them some groceries and their meds for the week.  I will do some of my Thanksgiving shopping as well.
Currently reading...
Still been gobbling up all of my holiday magazines that have been rolling in.  Also, marking things to order for Christmas out of some catalogs.

On the t.v.

Still catching up on some shows from this weekend. As a family we like Shark Tank and Amazing Race.  I also have to catch up on the Good Wife I didn't watch last night. I LOVE that show so much!! 
On the menu this week...
I'm planning to make slow cooker scalloped potatoes and ham for dinner tomorrow night for us and the in-laws along with green beans and apple cinnamon muffins.  We have an indoor soccer game tonight so probably something easy today.  On Wednesday will keep it light (probably soup and sandwiches) as we get ready for all the chow Thursday! I will start prepping dishes and doing baking on Wednesday too. 
What I'm creating at the moment...
Working on my list of food gifts for the holidays.  My Mom and I always make several different things together on a fun girlie day.  I use them as gifts to give neighbors, friends, piano teacher, other teachers etc and my Mom uses as her main gifts to friends and some family as she is on a tighter budget.  We have such fun listening to carols, baking and gabbing away.  Looking forward to whichever day we mark as our gift baking day this year!
Favorite photo from camera this week...
Prayer, inspirational quote or devotional
Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
Ephesians 5:20
(fitting for this Thanksgiving week I think - so thankful for blessings!) Also, praying for fast healing for my father-in-law and for an Aunt having some health issues. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Let their light Shine

What is it about this time of year that makes me want to be surrounded by lights? I know that it gets dark earlier and that the holidays just come wired with all kinds of lights. Twinkling lights, Christmas tree lights, candlelight etc.
But I think a big part for me is the comfort those lights represent.  This time of year, for me, and I'm guessing for many is when I often think of and miss loved ones that aren't with us anymore or maybe live far away. I've been especially missing my Grandma lately who passed away almost 2 years ago now.  She was an incredibly special and influential person in my life.  She was so kind, smart, funny, caring, amazingly patient, crafty, a wonderful cook...I could go on and on.  She lived with Parkinson's disease for over 2 decades and took it in stride. She was strong and not a complainer.  She took up tai chi when she got the diagnosis to help with her movement and balance. She walked a couple miles almost everyday. That's the kind of Lady she was - she got things done.  She meant so much to me that I named my daughter after her.
We spent so many holidays at her house growing up and it was always something she made special by using her holiday dishes and candle light at the meals.  
So I think that's why I like to use lots of candle light (real and faux) to decorate around my house. 
I also use my scrapbooking as a way to remember my loved ones. When my Grandma had to move to a facility in a different city we still went for regular visits certain times throughout the year.  I feel so blessed my kiddos got such wonderful time with her too and really knew their great Grandma. I feel so blessed for that!  I have loved scrapbooking different visits we had there so my kids will always remember their time with Gram a little more clearly. And when we look at those photos how the stories and memories just seem to come and comfort.
Here is one scrapbook layout I did for a visit to see my Gram for her 91st birthday.  Her birthday was in the Spring and I love how the dimensional lilac stickers play off the dark blues and purples she's wearing in many of the photos.  Another thing to note is how ingenuity came into play here for the title. I realized I didn't have enough lower case letter stickers so I used a mix of capitals and lower case and it just added more whimsy to the whole feel of the title ("Grandma Anne") on the bottom of the pages (titles don't always need to go on the top, right?)
Here is one of my favorite photos on the layout. I was sitting next to my Gram and just asked her to turn and look at me and captured her sweet little grin and her look of love at me.  How do you find comfort at this time of year when loved ones are missed?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Quick Update



I don't have a lot of time today so just wanted to give a quick update. If some of you hadn't noticed I finally figured out how to do the "subscribe to me by email" box! Yay for feeling even officially more like a blogger!  So if you look to the right please feel free to enter your email and then you'll be updated each time I have a new post.
Also, I think that if you want to see if someone replies to your comments (including me) there is a box that allows you to check off to be notified.  If you have any problems with this, though, please let me know! I read every comment and they're SO appreciated.
Tomorrow I'll be back with a scrapbooking post so please come visit again soon.
Happy weekend!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Meat and potatoes

BBQ Meatballs Time!

As I mentioned before, I help out with my in-laws and I cook for them at least a couple times a week.  My father-in-law is more of the eater and can be fussier about the menu.  I am very respectful of my elders and it's ok I say that he's fussy as I tease him all the time and he'll be the first to admit it's true!  He's pretty much a basic meat and potatoes kind of guy.  So this recipe fits the bill for him really well. It's Pioneer Woman's recipe for BBQ meatballs and it's comfort food at it's best!

This photo is right before I put them in the oven.  This is the recipe right from the Pioneer Woman's site but if you go to her site she has great step-by-step photo directions. I definitely love her tip for using a small cookie scoop to make uniform meatballs and to freeze the before coating in flour. The only thing I changed is that I doubled her sauce recipe as we're saucy kind of folks and the original recipe wouldn't have been enough for us.  They are very meatloaf-like in a tangy kind of sauce.

I took a quick photo of some of the primary ingredients minus the salt and pepper & flour to coat and any other seasonings you want to add. 


1-1/2 pound Ground Beef

3/4 cups Oats

1 cup Milk

3 Tablespoons Very Finely Minced Onion

1-1/2 teaspoon Salt

Plenty Of Ground Black Pepper, to taste



1 cup All-Purpose Flour (coating For Frozen Meatballs)

Canola Oil



1 cup Ketchup

2 Tablespoons Sugar

3 Tablespoons Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire

4 Tablespoons (to 6 Tablespoons) Onion

1 dash Tabasco


Preparation Instructions

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes.

After 5 minutes, remove meatballs from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour.

 Brown meatballs in canola oil until just brown. Place into a baking dish.

 Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or crusty French bread
We had our meatballs with giant baked potatoes. I coat mine with some olive oil and sea salt. I pricked the potatoes with a fork several times then rolled them up in foil and baked at the same temp as the meatballs just for a longer time since they only cooked at 350* (about and hour to hour & 15 mins depending on your oven). Add a salad and that's dinner!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Holiday Fun has Begun!

First of all, I have been trying to work on the comment reply notification and I think I found on the dashboard where that area is, but it only allows me to set it up to put my email in to get reply notifications. I didn't see anything that offered plug ins?!? I will continue to work on it and may need to email a fellow blogger pal for more specific directions. I've done searches on how to set this up for blogger but still no luck.  I won't give up though and I will prevail! Lol  Then email subscription is next. Stay tuned...
But what I wanted to share today was some fun we had yesterday with some holiday moments. Let the season begin!!
After school I picked up my daughter and her friend and we went to our public library for some after school fun. The Girls played checkers and browsed through all kinds of fun books and picked out a big pile! The library was all decorated for Thanksgiving and I love their "forever tree".  They always have it there and decorate it for every season. Right now of course it's full of late Fall goodies...scarecrows, leaves, little paper turkeys and gourds.  So cute!

FYI - took these photos on my phone so hopefully still pretty clear.  Earlier in the day my mother-in-law and I went over to my mom's to help her put up her tree and get the rest of her Christmas decorations up (she had already started a little).  We shared a nice cozy soup and sandwich lunch and then got to work! My Mom lives in an adorable duplex apartment and so she doesn't have tons of space.  Her tree is just the right size for her living room.  My Mom and I came up with this fun color scheme tree a couple of years ago.  She really wanted a white tree and wanted lots of blue and teal kind of accents. We chose to make it kind of botanical with a leaf garland and poinsettias and hydrangeas to accent it. Also bulb and snowflake ornaments and soft pastel lights.  Very girlie but we love it!
I'm not sure why this collage turned out smaller, but I think if you click on it - it will show up larger.  I wanted to show a little closer detail of the decorations on my mom's tree.  She has a nice cozy chair to sit and read by the tree with a pretty angel pillow I had given her.  Love a little nook like that.  I had come up with the ideas to do hydrangeas on the tree (love them!) by breaking apart some artificial ones and hot glueing them on to some clips that I had glued onto little pieces of felt.  We talked about looking for some pretty birds (maybe white?) to add to the tree with some kind of fluffy feathers on them.
So the holidays are starting to enter my world and thoughts a lot more these days! Deck the Halls...fa la la la la!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

View from my window

Here is a little view out of my windows today.  The top 2 are from the line of windows in my living room (they're across from the fireplace).  As you can see it's looking nice and frosty and snowy now on our deck and out at the bay. One of the things I loved most about our house when we were looking to buy it was that there are so many windows and it feels like the outside is inside my living room.
The bottom 2 photos are the doors in our dining room that head to the back deck. The former door was in pretty bad shape so we just replaced it this year and I told my hubby that I wanted something with stained glass (I have a thing for stained glass but that's a whole other post!).  These were just what I was searching for and I'm very pleased with how they turned out.
Here  is a better view of the bay and you can see the layer of ice that has started to form on it.  Just looking at these pictures makes me COLD!
But even though it's frosty outside, on the inside I'm still holding on to Fall and its warm cozy golden colors.  This is a little cabinet in our dining room right next to the doors that head out to the deck. As you can see it holds all of my cookbooks - pretty stuffed!
Just wanted to finally show you the photo of the snowy bay I promised earlier.  Sending you all warm golden thoughts. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday

Good morning! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!
 I'm going to attempt to link up with Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for her Happy Homemaker Monday. I think it's such a nice way to start off the week and help get thoughts in order for things that need to get done today and for this week ahead.

The weather outside is...
12 degrees right now and we'll be lucky if it hits 20 today! All I can say to that is BBRRRR!
On the breakfast plate this morning...
Some coffee with my favorite creamer this time of year - peppermint mocha.  Also yummy pumpkin spice toast.  Like the cinnamon raisin kind of loaf but they had a special limited edition pumpkin spice swirl loaf in the grocery store so had to try it. Very yummy!
As I look outside my window...
It looks like a lot of white - everything covered in snow except it's blown off of a lot of the trees. There's a thin layer of ice already started on the bay and I know it won't be long before my kiddos will be asking if they can go play on the ice. The sky is cloudy for the most part and the sun tries to peek out now and then.  Come on sun!
Right now I am...
Listening to Christmas music on Pandora as I finish breakfast and make out my grocery list for the week.  Yes, as soon as Halloween is over it's full on Christmas music for me!! I love it so much and the season flies so fast so I try to soak up as much of it as I can. I'm not the only one who does this, right?
As I look around the house...
I need to load the dishes into the dishwasher and pick up snow pants and other winter wear left by the back door that heads out to our hill, as the kids were sledding out there with friends yesterday.  One of the best simple pleasures of being a kid I think - playing outside on cold winter day and coming in to a nice mug of cocoa your Mom made for you. 
On today's to do list...
I need to check on my father-in-law who recently had a knee replacement, pick up my mother-in-law so she can run errands with me and pick up her meds and groceries.  She has problems with her memory and dementia so she doesn't drive anymore and with my FIL being laid up at home I'm trying to help extra with their needs.  I'll make them dinner for tonight as well.
Currently reading...
I had started reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (I love the series on Starz!)but keep getting sidetracked by lots of good holiday magazines. I have a weakness for subscriptions. Lol
I get Better Homes & Gardens, Country Living, HGTV, Midwest Living and People.  Yikes, I guess that's a lot isn't it?!?
On the menu this week...
Tonight I'm going to make roast chicken, mashed potatoes & gravy and vegetable side dish and for in-laws too.  I'll bake up a little dessert but not sure what? Thinking maybe pecan pie bars.  I don't have a set plan for each day as I have to roll with whatever the sports schedule is for the week between hockey and indoor soccer.  So if it's a quick meal night I often do sandwiches, soup, frozen pizza, salad etc for my Crew.  I'm going to do BBQ meatballs another night for the in-law cooking night (pioneer woman has a great recipe!) and baked potatoes and salad. 
What I'm creating at the moment...
I've been working on a heritage album for my Mom's side of the family.  The other day we went through more photos that we've been sorting into different envelopes by time frame or events.  It's going to be such a fun album to create! My Mom is talking to the relatives about sharing a story or memory for me to include in the album.  It's such a nice project to share in with my sweet Mumsy!
Favorite photo from camera this week...
Prayer, inspirational quote or devotional
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Psalm 73: 23-24

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Happy Sunday and thanks from the bottom of my Heart!

I just need to thank you all so much for the warm welcome and wonderful words of kindness and support. I cannot say enough how grateful I am for the wisdom of others that are willing to share with me and help guide me, as it sure makes figuring out the blogging world so much more enjoyable. 

I feel like I'm slowly getting there. On a recommendation I'm using to edit my photos so hopefully they will be clearer and easier to see. I'm so grateful for the tip and I've loved using it so far!! I still need to figure out the email subscription for you to follow me easier and how to reply to others' comments so they'll know I replied as well, but this stuff definitely doesn't come easy for me.  All in good time. If anything hopefully I can inspire others, because if you have an interest in blogging and are intimidated - don't be.  If I can do this than trust me you can too!

These are pictures of a section of our stairs that head down to our dock and some of the leaves, pine cones and pine needles that litter the way. It's crazy that this was from just a few short weeks ago.  I need to get out and take some current pics as it sure looks different now covered with 4 inches of snow! However, I'm going to dream on late Fall a little longer as we look ahead to Thanksgiving.
When I get more time this week I will work on adding those other details to my blog page so those that mentioned they'd like these options please check back when you can! Thanks for your patience.  I think I may try linking up this week too. Yikes! Lol
Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hang Your Banners High! (gift ideas)

I just love banners.  I know they've become pretty popular lately, but they do add such a festive touch to any space you want to display it.  Someday I'm going to learn to crochet so I can make myself crochet banners to fit each season.  I just love how they look too.

This is a banner I made as  gift for someone and I also made a Christmas version for my Mom but forgot to take a picture of it.  I gave it to her already as she starts decorating for the holidays earlier than I do.  I took these vintage cards that I found from MimiAndLucy store on Etsy and put them together for this Halloween themed banner.  Can I just say how much I love Etsy for a minute? If you have not been to then go now and check it out! I have found more wonderful personalized gifts on there than in any box store.  Such talented artists with wonderful shops to browse or you can search for something specific. My daughter's last birthday party was such a hit because I had personalized bottle cap necklaces and a chap stick done for each gal at the party. It was very inexpensive and such a nice personal touch.

This is a picture I had taken of my niece's necklace at the party.  My daughter had a tea party theme. Isn't that adorable? I found the necklaces and chap sticks at NanasPartyPalace.
Sorry to get side tracked but just wanted to point out how wonderful Etsy can be for making or buying a personal gift.  The other banner of vintage theme cards I had found for my Mom were angels on vintage looking sheet music. I used a mini white pom pom ribbon to thread those cards together.

For the Halloween banner I used a black velvet ribbon.  I simply used my hole punch to make 2 holes in each card, then tied a knot at one end and threaded the cards through. Then tied a knot at the other end. I made sure to use ribbon that wasn't too thick and I left a nice amount of ribbon at each end to make it easy to hang.
With the holidays coming up there are endless ideas for other items you could use to make a banner for your home or to give as a gift.  You could look for something specific to a color scheme, themed idea, or make something (or have your kids make it) from scratch and from the heart with paper or materials you may already have around your home.
Let your imagination run wild and have fun!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Scrapbook of memories


I fell in love with scrapbooking before I had kids - so it was quite a few years ago.  It was when paper scrapbooking was probably at the height of popularity.  I had gone on a trip to Europe and wanted to make a really nice album about it for all posterity.  I had a work colleague and friend that was big into scrapping and she talked me into joining her scrapbooking group.  I had such fun right from the beginning and have scrapbooked my memories ever since!  (**the above pics are from my daughter's baby album from her first Halloween when she was the cutest tootsie roll ever.)

I know that digital scrapbooking is probably more popular these days, and I also do some of that as well.  I love shutterfly and have made albums, gifts, calendars etc from that site with great success.  I completely understand the convenience of digital scrapping. But I still love the hands on creativity of paper scrapbooking and making an album from "scratch" that way.

I have a shelf in a closet full of scrapbooks that I have completed as well as old family albums.  They are such treasures to me and  probably the first thing I would grab if there was ever a fire in our house (right after my kids and doggie first of course!)  I like to start each album with some kind of personal inscription by me, and end each album with a poem or neat saying of some kind that fits with that album or about scrapbooking. I have made heritage albums for my Grandma and other members of my family and made many baby albums as gifts for friends.  I divide my own personal albums into 1)family albums 2)vacation and trip albums and 3)my kids' school years albums.  I also made a baby album for each of my kids' first 2 years (like a baby book).

There stacked in my daughter's closet between her favorite horse and her 1st communion outfit is a pile of bins.  They hold and help me  organize items to put in the various scrapbooks, a bin of heritage albums and 2 very precious bins where I keep the items I will hand over to my kiddos one day.  They each have their own bin with a box with files for their artwork through the years, awards and other special personal items. The bins also hold their baby book, the baby scrapbook I made for them and one day their school years album when they're complete.  I saw a similar idea to do bins this way on pinterest and thought it was such a nice smart organized way to keep these treasures for my children as that is really who all this scrapbooking is for as far as I'm concerned.  My daughter especially loves to read over old albums just like sitting to read a book together. My heart sees and hopes that she will one day  pour over these same albums with her own daughter. Sigh.

As you can probably get the idea, scrapbooking is a great passion of mine that I could go on and on about!!  But I will wrap this post up by sharing that I think one of the most important aspects of scrapbooking is not even how pretty the layout or pictures are, but that some kind of special memory or story or information is shared. I think it's important that I share my thoughts or wishes to my kids (or whomever I'm making the album for) in this way and in my own handwriting makes it even more special.  That is the true heart of the scrapbook in my opinion - the journaling. Kind of like in blogging. (wink wink)
I plan to share more scrapbooking tips, information, paper crafts and personal memories on a weekly basis on this blog.