Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Evan | Right Now


Reading | so many wonderful books at school and he just finished the Harry Potter series at home. He received Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for Christmas and read it in two days. This kid is a super fast reader and flies through books almost as fast as I can buy them.

Playing | soccer, football outside with his friends, board games and card games, Roblox on the computer, and occasionally Legos. 

Wearing | a uniform to school, with little complaint. This kid is not too picky about his clothes, although he prefers basketball type shorts and t-shirts to long pants and long sleeved shirts. He doesn't like wearing bulky or heavy clothing at all and hates wearing a jacket, even in cold temps. 

Studying | math, history, English, science, and Latin. He is doing really well in school and made the A/B honor roll for the second year in a row. PCCA has a much more difficult curriculum that he has adapted to beautifully. 

 
Loving | his friends and play dates. This past year he has made some new friends in our neighborhood, plus he has buddies on his soccer team that he likes to hang out with. Friends are extremely important to him at this stage in his life. 

Not Loving | rice, the color pink, waking up early, brushing his teeth, and sharing the computer. 

Watching | mostly YouTube and videos of people playing video games. I must admit I don't understand the appeal of watching other people play video games (why not play them yourself?), but he loves it. He doesn't watch any TV shows except sports (Seahawks, WSU football, and baseball).

Anticipating | his birthday and birthday party. He has already decided to have his party at the Field of Dream park with his school friends and his soccer friends. This park has so much for the kids to do and will be the perfect place to throw a birthday party. It should be a great day for him.

Thriving | at school and home. Yes, there have been some bumps in the road and yes, we are dealing with some preteen/tween angst, but I've seen my sweet, loving 10 year old during winter vacation, and I love it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Designing with Papertrey Ink | Color Pop Butterflies


Hello there and Happy New Year! The boys and I are in Washington for the holiday which means I get to play in my mom's stamp room. Yay! She has a wonderful collection of supplies that differs from mine, including the adorable Papertrey Ink Stamp set: Color Pop Butterflies

This kit is so much fun because it includes matching paper and stencils to go along with the stamp set and dies. I used the gray background paper and created my own colorful butterflies using various Tim Holtz distress inks and a mini distress tool. 

The "so happy" die was die cut from Stampin' Ups Pacific Point textured cardstock three times and glued together (carefully!). I popped up a butterfly and added three gems to the center, and sprinkled some enamel dots above and below the sentiment. 


I hope you enjoy my card! I have added Color Pop Butterflies to my wish list because of how versatile the stamps and dies are. I also plan to use more stencils in the coming year... they are so much fun to use! 

Have a great week and I'll be back soon! 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Retro Sketches | Challenge #239

This week's Retro Sketches Challenge is up and it's a good one! The sketch is based on one of my previous cards

To create a new version of this card I pulled out one of my favorite Stampin' Up! stamp sets: Secret Garden. Oh, how I love this set. It has both solid and outline images, and I have made several lovely cards with it. 

I started by choosing my color scheme. I used two pieces of retired Stampin' Up! designer series paper and matched cardstock and ink colors to those patterns. The light pink flower is stamped with Melon Mambo, the dark purple is Rich Razzleberry, and the leaves were stamped with Crushed Curry. 

I found matching buttons from an old (old, old) bag of Autumn Leaves buttons, and the enamel dots are from My Mind's Eye. The sequins are from my stash. 


One of my favorite things about this card is that I used products from my stash that are several years old. Great floral sets never go out of style, and the matching dies make this set even more versatile. 

I hope you can play along with us this week! You can find more inspiration on the Retro Sketches blog here.
 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Designing with Stampin' Up! | Christmas Shaker Card


Happy Friday, friends! I hope everyone is having a nice week. I have been busily working on Christmas cards, Christmas shopping (I love shopping for the boys!), and working on my December Daily album. Fall is my favorite time of year! 

Stampin' Up! has a ton of cute (and versatile!) stamps and dies in the Holiday catalog, and they just released a new die set called Stitched Shapes Framelits Dies. I used the dies to create a fun shaker card, sandwiching a piece of acetate in between stitched circles and foam tape. 

Start by stamping the sentiment onto white cardstock with Emerald Envy ink and Stampin' Up's Oh, What Fun stamp set. Next, die cut two red circles using two stitched circles dies. Adhere a red circle to the card base, making sure to center the sentiment. Die cut a pie of foam tape with the same circles and adhere to the top of the red circle. Sprinkle sequins in the center of the circles, and adhere a piece of clear acetate on top of the foam tape. Finally add adhesive to the back of the second red stitched circle and place on top of the acetate layer. I also tucked in a tag to the top of the ornament so it can "hang" from the card.


Make sure to check out some of the matching stamp sets that are on sale this month, too!


It's barely November and I've already made a ton of Christmas cards. This may be the first year that I have all my cards made by December 1st! I'm never this on top of things but it's a really great feelings. 

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

In Bloom | 2016 Photography Project

One of my personal goals this year is to grow as a photographer. Photography has been a passion of mine for the past 10+ years and I am proud of many of the photos I've taken, especially of my boys. When they are grown and gone, I will have a cache of photos to remember their childhoods. 

However, photography is not a hobby that can be mastered. You can continually grow and learn, practicing new techniques along the way. This year I am making a point of photographing foliage, tree, flowers, and nature. Steve and I have taken several walks/hikes this year, photographing nature during each trip. I also practiced my skills while the kids and I were in Washington in June/July. My Uncle's church has a lovely garden, tended by a master gardener. I could have spent hours photographing the flowers! 


I have some thoughts on what I'm going to do with these photos. I might print them as 4 x 6 photos and create a photo collage with white frames and hang it in my living room. I also think a miniBook of all flower/foliage photos would be cool. So many possibilities!  


These first five photos were taken at the FIT (Florida Institute of Technology) Botanical Gardens. 


My love of palm trees extends to cool palm fronds. The light bouncing off the palm fronds in this photo is awesome. 


I really wanted to photograph the butterflies flying around the botanical gardens but they were stubborn little buggers. I did get some nice shots of flowers and palm trees, though. 


Flamingo Gardens in Davie, FL has the most amazing Desert Rose bush. Gorgeous hot pink flowers with almost white branches. So pretty. 


During one of our walks through Turkey Creek, in Palm Bay, I captured this shot. 


My mom planted some beautiful potted flowers on her deck this summer. I especially like this one. 


Another flower from my mom's yard. The yellow is striking against the green leaves. 


My parents took us to Seattle for a few days in June and we stopped off at the Pacific Science Center. I took this photo while we were in the butterfly gardens. The boys were being entertained outside by Grandpa. 


The gardens at my uncle's church, in Vancouver, WA, are really spectacular. I plan on framing this photo. 


So many varieties of flowers, most of them I can't name, but so beautiful.  


Another shot from my mom's garden. Her lavender plant is huge, and absolutely gorgeous. I used my 85mm 1.8 for this shot and I am super impressed with the detail it captured on the flowers.


What about you? Are you working on any photography projects right now? 

The new edition of Click magazine landed in my mailbox yesterday and I must say, it is beautiful. I had forgotten how much I love getting magazines in the mail! I devoured this issue and can't wait for the next issue to arrive. I highly recommend subscribing if you're a photography buff! 

Click Magazine

Have a great week!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Designing with Stampin' Up! | November 2016


The Christmas Pines stamp and die set from Stampin' Up! is so much fun to work with! I love the fern dies and how they look layered on a card front. So pretty! 

For this card, I used the Christmas Pines stamp and die set, along with the Presents and Pinecones designer series paper. 

I started by stamping the frame and sentiment onto white cardstock. I stamped the red frame with Stampin' Up's Cherry Cobbler ink pad and the sentiment with black ink. Then, I trimmed a piece of Presents and Pinecones patterned paper for the top of the card, and a piece of silver glitter paper for the bottom.


For the cluster of elements on the left, I die cut the leaves from Emerald Envy cardstock and a pinecone from white cardstock. I die cut the bow from Cherry Cobbler cardstock, then adhered them with foam adhesive. I die cut Cherry Cobbler cardstock with a scalloped border die from Papertrey Ink. Then I added enamel dots (from My Mind's Eye).  

You can check out all the Stampin' Up! products on the Stampin' Up! website: www.stampinup.com

 Check back soon for a card using the new Stitched Shapes Framelits Dies! Have a good week.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Designing with Stampin' Up! | October 2016

I received another box of awesome new supplies from Stampin' Up! earlier this month and I am finally getting around to blogging about them! For those of you who follow me on Instagram, these cards were posted a couple of weeks ago. I'm pretty good about creating cards and photographing them, but I've been slacking in the blogging department. Sigh. One of these days I'll have more time for this wonderful crafty hobby of mine!

Until then, here are the first three cards I created with my new box of supplies. 

First up is a fall card using the gorgeous new Paisleys and Posies stamp and die set. I love how this turned out. I used the matching designer series paper (the specialty paper is gorgeous!) plus an older cream colored flower cabochon from my stash. It is made by Stampin' Up!... from 2012 or 2013, maybe? I also used matching twine and pearls. 

I created the stamped background first by stamping some of the paisley images with Delightful Dijon ink. The sentiment was stamped with Rich Razzleberry ink.


Up next I have a card using the Christmas Pines stamp set and matching dies. Yes, I even inked the edges of my card! I usually shy away from the grungy/distressed look, but the vanilla background needed a little something. I used a Time Holtz distress ink and my ink blending tool. I think the distress ink I used was antique linen. 

I die cut the pine-cones from metallic gold paper and used gold glitter paper (another older Stampin' Up! product) as a border between the red and cream papers.  


The last card I made uses the adorable Hang Your Stocking stamp and die set. This striped paper might be my favorite holiday patterned paper ever. The red/green/mint colors are perfect for holiday cards! 

I stamped the stocking with Stampin' Up! Emerald Envy ink and added a die cut bow from Cherry Cobbler. The silver glitter tape and twine are both from my stash.  


Have you gotten a jump on your Christmas/holiday cards yet? I'm making progress! 

I hope you're having a great weekend and check back soon for more card inspiration!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Designing with Stampin' Up! | August 2016


Hello there! Once again I fell off the blogging bandwagon when summer hit. Those ten weeks flew by in a flurry of trips to the pool, camps, cross country vacations, and a certain new man in my life. Yes, life has been crazy hectic but I have made cardmaking/scrapbooking a priority during the month of August. I recently received a box of Stampin' Up! products to play with and I must say I love what I came up with. 

First up is a card I created with the lovely Jar of Love stamp set. I have several mason jar stamp sets but this one is unique because it comes with three sizes of jars, jar lids, plus a ton of cute flowers, fish, and other items to stamp inside (and outside) of the jars. It really is a complete stamp set and makes creating fast cards a breeze.  



Stampin' Up! has a limited edition stamp set available this month named Thoughtful Branches. I wanted to create a clean and simple card using the gorgeous tree stamps and dies (and a sentiment, too), and ended up using this stamp set exclusively. Thoughtful Branches is available until August 31st (or until supplies last). 


My collection of woodland creature stamp sets is embarrassingly large, but who can resist a cute little fox sitting on a tree stump? Definitely not me. The Foxy Friends stamp and punch set is a must have for animal lovers like me. 

I used a grad background for my card, breaking the card into three quadrants. I used white cardstock and two pieces of patterned paper, then used foam adhesive to adhere the tag. I used dimensional adhesive to add the cardstock fox on top.  


I'll have another card or two to post in the coming week. Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Week in the Life | Wednesday

Wednesday was not a day I was scheduled to work and it was also an early release day, so I didn't have much planned. The end of the school year is so busy for the kids, and I finished up my spring semester last Friday. We were all looking forward to a day of relaxing, watching (or, as it turned out, listening) to the Mariners, and hanging out as a family. 

A few thoughts about today: 
  • My DSLR is working again and the more I work on this project, the happier I am when I pull out my "big camera" vs. my cell phone. Don't get me wrong, cell phone photos are fine, but there really isn't a comparison when I take shots with my DSLR. 
  • I need to get into more photos! I am terrible at this and my goal for Friday is to be in at least five photos. We'll see how that goes. 
  • I'm not sure how many photos I'm going to have at the end of this project, but I'm aiming for 15-20 "good" photos per day. Wednesday and Thursday I won't hit that number, but I'll be close. Hopefully Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I can be more intentional with my photo taking. 

I woke up to Bailey taking up half the bed, per usual. She is a mama's girl and loves to cuddle with me in the morning before I go wake the kids up for school. 

Out the door around 7:40am to get the kids to school by 7:55am. The boys sometimes take cereal or a bagel for breakfast and usually finish eating it in the car. It makes for a messy car (see the fruit loops on the floor of my van?!), but they like having something to munch on while we drive and listen to music. 

Home from school and both boys plunked themselves in front of the television for some Xbox time. They played Minecraft and Sims and only argued a couple of times. It was a blissful hour and gave me time to work on a few projects of my own. 


A little drumming before chores. Lilly, who was asleep on the couch at the time, was not happy that Jack pulled out his drumsticks and started playing. She quickly fled to the laundry room, looking annoyed.
 
Evan has been pretty good about doing his chores after school with minimal complaints. He unloads the dishwasher, takes care of the litter box, and takes out the garbage for me. 

Jack helped his brother out by taking a bag of trash out to the garbage. Wearing one sock?! I'm sure there was a good reason for him to be missing a sock but I have no idea what that reason is. Goofy kid. 

Both Evan and Jack love the books they picked out at the book fair and have spent a good deal of time reading over the past few days. This is how I found Evan after he finished his chores... on my bed, under the covers and reading. Love him. 


Out the door to do some long overdue grocery shopping. We listened to the radio on our drive to Publix and one of the new 21 Pilots songs played. Both boys belted out the lyrics and I couldn't help but sing along, too. Their love of music is something I cherish. 

Half way through our Publix trip. Gatorade, carrots, cat food, gold fish, garlic, crackers, apples, potatoes, and Capri Suns. 

Only three more days to go! I can't wait to start putting the project together next week.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Week in the Life | Monday

I'm breaking back into the blogging world by sharing a few photos from today:  Day One of Ali Edwards' Week in the Life project. Oh yes, I am totally tackling this project this year. I've been "this close" to completing this project in the past but have never finished it. I've taken all the photos or done the journaling (or both!) but haven't completed the album. This year I'm hoping to keep the project up for the full week and finish my album next week.

A few observations from Day One: 
  • My DSLR was having some issues this morning and I almost let that discourage me from continuing the project. Unfortunately my photos today didn't turn out quite like I had hoped, but I still got a few good shots. 
  • I love black + white pictures, especially portraits. They are classic and timeless and allow the subject to shine. Plus, they hide messy car seats and bad lighting. Win-win. 
  •  I need to do a better job of taken photos in the morning, before school. Jack was crabby this morning and Evan and I aren't naturally morning people so I (often) forget to pick up the camera. 
  • Teaching in a window-less classroom isn't ideal. The photo of Jack sitting on a desk is lightened, I upped the contrast, then added a filter before running a B+W action. That is a lost of post processing for one camera photo! 
  • I forgot to get photos of the kids at the book fair and doing homework. I'm choosing not to stress about it; there is always tomorrow. 

A before school selfie. After a good breakfast and finally getting out the door, we had a nice drive to school.

I didn't tell Jack that I was teaching his class today and he was super excited when he found out. 

I had two teachers tell me funny stories about Jack today. 

First, his math teacher told me that she made an announcement in her class last week about missing an upcoming math class. Jack then said to her "please let the sub be Mrs. Taylor". She didn't get to pick the sub and I was already booked in another classroom so she had to break the bad news to him and he was so sad! I love that he wants me to teach him. 

Then, one of the second grade teachers told me that she made a comment to another student about having a good day and offered a hug. Jack, who was standing behind her, piped up and said "I've had a great day, too!". The teacher asked Jack if he would also like a hug and he said "yes!" and gave her a big hug. He is such a sweet little guy. 

Pizza + salad for lunch, courtesy of PCCA. Yay for a yummy free lunch. 

A little reading on our way home from school. We stopped at the book fair after school and the kids each picked out two books. The spring book fair had an awesome selection for older kids and Evan didn't have any problems finding something. Jack was much more difficult. He wanted bookmarks/erasers/Lego sets and not books. Sigh. He is a great reader but all the "shiny stuff" grabbed his attention. After some back and forth he finally settled for two chapter books, which he has already started.

Pretty Mother's Day flowers from my mom. I posted a photo of them on Instagram yesterday but I wanted to include them in this album as well. I love fresh flowers and this arrangement is especially beautiful. 

Mirror selfie. I was wearing a shirt with tiny horizontal stripes that went a little crazy in the photo. I'll choose a less busy shirt for my next selfie. 

Kitty stretches in the afternoon sun. Lilly found herself locked on the patio for a bit this afternoon and was not a happy cat. She likes to go in and out to the patio but does not like being locked on the patio. Panic sets in and she meows like crazy. She was not amused when Jack accidentally locked her out there for 10 minutes this afternoon. 

A little rest before we head to the pool. Jack was super sleepy today, which probably contributed to his crabbiness this morning. 

Pool necessities: good book + ice water + sunscreen + chapstick + cooling cream + cute pineapple pouch to carry it all + beach towel. I have a "pool bag" that is always packed and ready to go. We go to the pool a lot and having the essentials hanging on a hook by the door cuts down on the amount of time we spend running around looking for stuff. 

Pool time. Evan always brings his football, and Jack brings his goggles and sometimes his rings (if he remembers). 

It was not especially warm out today (for us Floridians) and Jack only lasted about 40 minutes in the pool before requesting a towel, teeth chattering. I wrapped him up and we watched Evan play for another few minutes. 


The boys started working on a Lego set Evan received for his birthday while we waited for the pizza to arrive. Evan's favorite character from the new Star Wars movie is Kylo Ren and I was thrilled to find the Kylo Ren Lego set a few months ago. 

 Winding down before bed. Lilly has claimed the leather chair as her own and Jack wanted some cuddles before heading to his room for the night.
 Before bed reading. Evan gets a little extra time in the evenings to read before I turn out the lights. He looks so sleepy here! He didn't last very long after this photo was taken.

I always have this sense of relief when I've reached the end of the day and I remembered to pick up my camera throughout the day. I have a loose plan for tomorrow as our schedule is a little different, plus Evan is having a play date after school. Hopefully it works out and my big camera decides to cooperate. I did some Googling this evening and I think I fixed the problem. It was user error, of course! 


I was featured on the Studio Calico blog as the Member Spotlight last month. If you want to take a look at the blog post you can click here. Thanks for stopping by!