Friday, August 31, 2012

road trip 2012 | packing tips + busy bags

I was looking at some photos of our most recent road trip to Northern California last night. It was a perfect trip. Just the right amount of everything--adventure, day trips, visiting, rest and relaxation. Okay, possibly way too many goodies, but it was vacation, right?

And way too many times hearing this line:
Rule number 3. You will not cry...or whine...or laugh...or giggle...or sneeze or barf or fart!
Because we heard over and over and over. Name the movie.

Getting to the destination is always the most difficult part of any road trip--after preparing and packing, of course--yuck. Ella is a great little traveler, thank goodness. But I still have to do my part to keep things that way.

Here are a few tips that help us.

In the past, the biggest reason I haven't loved road trips, is because I feel like I'm crammed inside the car and there's stuff everywhere! Drives me nuts (no pun intended--really).

I wanted some breathing space this trip. I've used Rubbermaid containers to pack for road trips in the past and love them. They stack nicely and I can see what's in each one. Each of us packed all our clothing in one container. If it didn't fit, it didn't go. (It's amazing what you can fit in one of those, especially if you roll everything up.) And yes, each of Ella's outfits were packed together in a plastic ziploc bag. I had another container we used for all our toiletries.

The plan worked like a charm. This is everything we took for an eleven day road trip.

I packed our snacks and some food we needed in another plastic bin and put it in the back, but still within reach. (Ella will only eat Aspen Mills Honey WW bread and it's only in Utah. It's my favorite too.) I also tucked in my Family Favorites cookbook in case I needed/wanted to cook something.

Besides the DVD player for Ella, I also always pack a "travel tote" to keep her busy.

I include some new things I've collected along with some of her favorite toys, books and movies. This year I was inspired by the "busy bags" all over Pinterest and put together some very simple ones for Ella's tote.

I mostly found items in the Target Dollar Spot and at Dollar tree, and packed them in zipper pouches I purchased at Walmart in the art section.

Here's a list of what I included in each busy bag:

  • Brave reader
  • Bracelet craft (elastic, twisty balloons cut in 2" lengths and scissors)
  • Sight words w/Monster Mix trail mix
  • Pretend checkbook w/calculator and pen (Ella's favorite)
  • Twisty balloons and a pump
  • Hello Kitty notebook w/matching colored pencils
  • Cupcake notebook w/matching colored pencils
  • Crayons and Strawberry Shortcake coloring book w/a Simply Fruit roll up (I tucked the coloring book in the tote.)
  • Bead craft

A couple of the bags had a treat included. They were a huge hit! My intention was to give Ella one every couple of hours, but she was way too excited. :) She did a great job of gauging when to open a new bag to make them last. She even played with them in the hotel room.

Okay, so I may have given away the name of the movie in one of the photos. Yep, it's Despicable Me. We LOVE it and think it's hilarious! And it's a great movie for a road trip.

Happy traveling,

My cup runneth over.....

As I sit down to write my post today , to share my first project with you as part of the   Heidi Swapp Media team there is one image from my memory file that keeps popping into my head. My mum. Its been over two years since we lost my mum and I still have not had the strength to scrap about her, I miss her daily and it has just been too hard. When Heidi asked us to create a memory file about us...YIKES!!! I thought ,but when I decided to go with the theme of the important people in my life it sort of all fell into place. It's the first time I have used a photo of my mum in my scrapping,  one from my wedding - probably my favourite photo from that day 7 years ago, I am so  proud to have that photo in my Memory File.
Heidi's Memory file system is just so fabulous to work with, It's like having a new lease on scrapping life. It allows you to add photo after photo , memory after memory all in the one place.

 If you havent seen Heidi's new Vintage Chic line you are in a for a real treat. Soft chic colours and patterns,  beautiful embellishments..its to die for.
On the inside of my Memory File I have a Mini Memory file....don't you just love the layers you can create with this system.

 In my paper baggie I have for safe keeping letters from my husband and best friend...and a little drawing from my eldest Addion who is five...isnt he the sweetest...

Thank you  for letting me share a little part off me.
For those in Australia looking for Heidi's Vintage chic Memory Files and goodies, keep your eye out at The Scrapbook store (formally Handmade By Suzanne) a little birdie told me they will be arriving there soon.


SCS Free For All: Birthdays

This is my second post today.  It's just a short scroll
down for the TAWS BE Inspired challenge!

I just happened to check out the Free For All challenge at Splitcoaststampers and it was "birthdays".  Guess what I need today??  Perfect timing!

I pulled out a paper pad that I've had for awhile and wanted to use ALL of the paper - so I went for the sketch at Try Stampin' on Tuesday as it gave me a chance to use multiple strips.

SnSS Rhubarb's Bday

I used the darling little Rhubarb Bear from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps.  I love his sweet expression.  I used a digital version of the stamp, but it is available here as a clear stamp.

I am also submitting this to the Simon Says Stamps Anything Goes challenge.

  • Stamps: Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps Rhubarb's Birthday Wish, Happy Birthdays
  • Paper: My Mind's Eye Fine and Dandy True Blue, Stampin' Up Bermuda Bay, Papertrey Ink Dark Chocolate
  • Ink: Copics
  • Accessories: Papertrey Ink Dark Chocolate ribbon and buttons in Dark Chocolate, Orange Zest and Hawaiian Shores, Spellbinders die

Thursday, August 30, 2012

TAWS: BE Inspired #10: Pillows

It's a big week for The Alley Way Stamps (TAWS).  Yesterday was new release day and today is the BE Inspired challenge!

I was a little hung up on this challenge.  I wanted to create a background with various patterns - unfortunately, I don't yet own the TAWS Background Basics set that would have been perfect.  Even with that, I wasn't sure what I was going to put ON the backgrounds.
Then - the CASology Challenge came to my rescue.  The cue word this week is RELAX and I realized that I was overthinking the Inspiration challenge.  What could be more relaxing than curling up with some soft pillows and simply dreaming?

I do realize that if you hadn't seen the inspiration photo first with the pillows - you likely wouldn't see "pillows" in my card.  But I still think the overall look is relaxing...I kinda like it!

I am also submitting this to the Simon Says Stamps Anything Goes challenge.
  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Cover-Ups (chevron and dots), Awesome Blossom (flower) and Talk to Me ("dream")
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Vintage Cream, Stampin' Up Whisper White
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Pool Party, Crumb Cake, More Mustard, Chocolate Chip
  • Accessories: misc button, white wool felt, Quickutz wobbly edge square (really old!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Release and Blog Hop for TAWS!!

It's the best time of the month as it is the new release at The Alley Way Stamps (TAWS)!!

This release includes three sets and each are so VERY different.  You really will want to do the entire hop to see the variety of stamps available.  (I also did a sneak peek of the fun floral set on Monday's post.)

Continuing on a football theme (check out yesterday's long story) - I used the #1 hand from TAWS Touchdown.  I have teen, tween and over-50 males in my house, so "cute" no longer works.  I pulled out a lot of kraft and masculine prints to put this together.  I don't know which of my men will receive this card, but I'm sure that someday one of them will do something worthy of being called "#1"!  (If they would just rinse their dishes, they might deserve this card!)

3-2-1 Flags
I had a lot of inspiration for this card.  The CAS-ual Fridays challenge made me pull out the flags - PERFECT for a set called Touchdown.  And the Less Is More 3-2-1 challenge totally guided me on the layout - 3 flags, 2 stars, 1 big #1 hand!

And now I have to share the new love of my life...little Frankie...

Monster Crossing

Frankie is part of the new set Ghoul-Friend.  It's a fun and charming set - not creepy or scary!  If you are blog hopping, I am SURE that you have seen some of the other amazing images in this set.

For this card, I used the sketch from Tuesday Morning Sketches:

And now the details on the blog hop:

Something NEW!! One person will win ALL 3 NEW SETS!! YEP!! So if you want that person to be you.. all you have to do is comment on the hop! 
Here are the ways you can win.. You can pick and choose which ones you want to do.. but the more you comment the more chances you have to win.. 

2-Comment on the DT girls blogs (below)
3-Post about it on facebook or your blog
4-Like us on Facebook
(leave a separate comment for each that you do)
 You have until Aug 30th 9:30 PM TAWS time to leave comments.

Here are the DT Blogs to visit

I am also submitting this to the Simon Says Stamps Anything Goes challenge.

You're #1:
  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Touchdown
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Classic Kraft, Stampin' Up Night of Navy and red glitter paper, My Mind's Eye Kraft Funday Happy Days 6x6 pad
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink Dark Chocolate, copics just for shadows
  • Accessories: Spellbinders squares, Stampin' Up and My Favorite Things pennant dies, miscellaneous twine, star punch and star brad
Monster Crossing:
  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Ghoul-Friend
  • Paper: Doodlebug Design Haunted Manor and a bunch of retired Stampin' Up: Eggplant Envy, Only Orange, Going Gray
  • Ink: Memento Black, Copics
  • Accessories: Memory Box Graveyard Landscape, CC Designs Cutters Bats, Doodlebug Twine, Stampin' Up Adhesive Eyes

happiness | Macargi Tahiti

photo from Slim Paley

 It's no secret I love beach cruisers.

photo from Tumblr

And vintage bikes. Both with baskets.

My kids gave me a wonderful vintage Schwinn for Christmas, but it needs some work. I LOVE it. Lynn thinks I'm nuts. :)

I looked all summer for a beach cruiser and finally found "the one."

Oh, it's a sweet ride. I know "things" aren't important, but this makes me very, very happy. :)

I pretty much fell for the basket and needed a bike to go with it. It's perfect for a small load of groceries, Ella's backpack when I meet her to walk home from school, or deliveries around the neighborhood.

And a nice big seat for big bums bumps. I was surprised at how comfortable the ride is.

 And the details are so fun.

I've barely pulled the car out of the garage since I got my new wheels. I ride it everywhere. I have to admit, I get a lot of smiles when people drive by. I wonder what they're thinking. My guess is either, "Oh my...look at that old lady on that cool beach cruiser" or "You go granny, rock that bike!" Luckily, I'm too old to care. But still young enough to be riding it, right? I laughed when some of the young women in the neighborhood yelled, "Sister McCrary, we love your bike!" as I was cruisin' the neighborhood.

And Ella thinks I'm way cool. Awhile ago, we were getting a little crazy when some "wild" music came on a TV show. I started dancing. I thought Ella would be thinking, "My mom is so cool." She stared at me and said, " not show that to anyone." Seriously? Whatever! :) Now I just do it to embarrass tease her. She hasn't said anything about me riding a bike around.

And Kate loved my bike so much, she went and bought the same one in green. She has great taste. ;)

For Family Night on Monday, we went for our first family bike ride together. It was a blast. We took turns being "the leader" and then finished the time together with frozen yogurt at Red Mango. A perfect night.

It's fun how such a simple thing can bring such happiness and sweet memories.


Note: For you locals, I purchased my Micargi Tahiti at The Posh Peddler at Gardner Village. (It comes with a basket.)

You can also find them on Amazon: Macargi Tahiti

Cocoa Is the Best!!

It's my day to post over on the Sweet 'n Sassy blog and I was thrilled when I realized that I had a football image with Cocoa mouse.

Living in a household of men, my family is very aware of the fact that it is football season!!!

Besides watching a continual loop of ESPN Sports Center and multiple preseason games (Go Broncos!), my teenage son is having an interesting experience.  He has recently transferred to a small Christian high school.  My husband, who also attended a small Christian school, warned my 6'4", 200 pound son that he would get the attention of all of the coaches (even though his "sport" is actually band!)  We visited the school about a month ago and, as we were touring, a gentlemen at the other end of the hallway saw us and practically ran down the hall saying, "Are you a new student?  Do you play football??" And now that my son is actually enrolled there, the teacher in his Theology class asks him every single morning, "Are you sure you don't play football?"

So I created this card for my son.  When he is having a down day - I'll bring out the card.  Inside it says, "You are the best (but are you sure you don't play football!!)"  It will make him smile...

Cocoa is the Best

I impressed myself a little with the pennants (I'm easily impressed).  I tend to take stamps at face-value...a postage cancellation stamp is a postage cancellation stamp. this case, the curves on the postage cancellation stamp from Sweet 'n Sassy's Vintage Postcard became the folds on the pennants!!

I also brought out my favorite basic set - Grunge Borders - to do the diamonds on the green panel.  (Although since it actually is a background/border set, I wasn't particularly impressed with myself!)

My colors came from colourq:

My layout came from the Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge:

  • Stamps: Sweet 'n Sassy All Star Cocoa, Vintage Postcards, Grunge Borders, sentiment from Back to School Rhubarb
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Crumb Cake, Basic Gray, Gumball Green, Bermuda Bay
  • Ink: Colorbox Frost white, Memento black, Copics (see my sidebar for a downloadable Copic chart with matches to Stampin' Up colors!)
  • Accessories: Cuttlebug Embossing, Papertrey pennant dies, Spellbinders circles, The Twinery Caribbean twine

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Starting a new patchplay quilt...

I needed something fun and easy and so I started a patch PLAY quilt since Patch WORK does not sound like FUN and quilting should always be fun :o)

I needed a fun project since we have had a few crazy days filled with mishap and meyhem ( they need to add this one to the commercial)

We ( not me we,the other people we) had a small accident on Sunday with a five year old that was not felling well, a sister that wanted his help cleaning the basement and then there was a remote control thrown and then we ( I was included in this we) ended up spending the better part of our Sunday in the ER getting stitches. She is not a happy camper!

To add insult (or illness in this case) to injury, Monday night her throat started hurting and she had a did the little man...and lo and behold...STREP THROAT!!!!! I think my littles may be missing the WHOLE second week of school...sigh...

With the people home I had some help around the house with folding up fabric this morning. He loves doing it and I love the help!!!!!

I am hoping tomorrow will be nice and quiet so I can play with my patches some more!!!!!

Little Bird, BIG Snow

I like these little seasonal birds.  It's a hostess set, but given the friend that I mention regularly, I have access to ALL of her Stampin' Up hostess sets!!

I used the colors from an old Stampin' Up paper set - Ski Slope - real red, baja, chocolate and olive - but then I didn't end up using any of the colorful papers.  I liked the idea of the tiny bird surrounded by snowflakes - so I just used the Baja snowflake paper.

Little Bird, BIG Snow

I used the sketch from Merry Monday (second week in a row - I'm on a roll!!!):

  • Stamps: Stampin' Up Four Seasons
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Real Red, Ski Slope dsp
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Markers in Real Red, Baja Breeze and Chocolate; Versamark and white embossing powder
  • Accessories: Stampin' Up polka dot red ribbon (retired), Chocolate button (from Neutral pack), snowflake punch (retired) and 2 3/8" scallop punch, Creative Impressions brads, Martha Stewart Fine Crystal Glitter (I used a Xyron to cover the snowflake and white panel with adhesive and then dump glitter over it - Martha Stewart is perfect for this because you can buy it in VERY large bottles)

Monday, August 27, 2012

helpful hints | window cleaner + post-it trick

Well, hello!

Yes, it's been awhile. The last few weeks have been crazy busy.
  • We took our annual trip to Northern California to visit the grands. It was a perfect trip.
  • Ella started first grade--woo hoo! I'm missing the simplicity of summer, but starting to enjoy the routine.
  • We sent Kate (daughter) and Madi (granddaughter) off to their new home in Idaho (sniff, sniff), so of course we spent every last minute with them before their departure. (Kate just sent me a photo of her new house and it's darling!) 
  • Super Saturday is coming up quickly, so I've been working on all sorts of fun project plans with the girls. Can't wait to show you!
And this weekend, we actually crossed two items off our projects list. Oh yah.

I seriously LOVE clean windows. I called two different companies to come clean the outside of our windows and one cancelled on me three times and the other never called me back. We tried a "formula" from Pinterest, because it said we could spray, wipe, spray and it wouldn't leave any streaks, etc. (and we wouldn't have to get the ladder out). Didn't work for us--grrr.

Went back to our tried and true recipe, good old stinky vinegar and water. It's the BEST window cleaner ever. The smell doesn't bother me, but Ella goes nuts. :)

One part water + one part vinegar = perfectly clean windows, mirrors, glass doors and tabletops with no streaks

So simple. My friend, Sarah, said her grandmother always used the formula and had an article written in the newspaper about her "celestial" windows.

I have some small drawers above the "sewing area" in my craft studio that needed handles. (I'll share the rest of the room when I'm done re-organizing.)

I found these label holders on-line at Pottery Barn. Love them! We are not DIY-ers, but decided attaching them couldn't be too difficult.

I made a template by tracing the front of a drawer, placed a label holder where I wanted it (just slightly higher than centered) and marked the holes. Then I poked holes in the template and marked my drawers.

Lynn drilled the top holes, then we measured to make sure the label was level before tightening the screws. (We tried a level, but the top of the label holders aren't straight.) I love this little trick he used. It's a folded post-it that captured the little shavings from the drill.

Nice--and tidy.

It took us hours to complete the project. Partially because we wanted to make sure everything was lined up really well, and partially because the drill wasn't totally charged and we had to keep waiting for it to work again--lesson learned. 

Have a great week.