Friday, November 30, 2012

the 12 days of [simplifying] Christmas: simply gifted

I've had a Target gift card floating around my purse for awhile. I figured there might be a few dollars left on it, and finally remembered to use it the other day. It had still $25.00 left! Who forgets about that much? That would be me.

There was a time I thought giving gift cards for Christmas was too impersonal. Handing over a small piece of plastic--even if it did have value--seemed so...not fun. I've changed my story. Gift cards are simple, the recipient can get what they really want, and I love receiving them myself.

Packaging gift cards with a small gift makes them even more delightful. It doesn't have to be big. My brother, Steve, loves the Rocky Road fudge at Cabela's. For his birthday I got him a nice big slab to go along with a gift card. I added a simple bow and still came out ahead time-wise.

I added a simple box of my niece's favorite goodie, Altoids, to her Target gift card.

Last year we gave our married kids a "date night" package complete with gift cards for dinner and movie tickets. I found these buckets of goodies at Target for about $7 or $8 to package them up with. I would love to receive a package like this!

Lynn thought it would be fun to purchase another bucket for a movie night with Ella, when that card shows up on our advent calendar. They had them again this year and she's going to love it! (Popcorn and Skittles are her favorite treats.)

I try to keep a stash of these pillow boxes from Paper Source on hand for packaging. Toss in a gift card and there's still room left for some chocolates, a favorite lip gloss, or some sewing supplies. The polka dot are my favorite, but I couldn't find them recently. I'm really hoping Paper Source will bring them back. The solid colors are beautiful too. I can just imagine this plain pool color tied up with red and white polka dot ribbon. A tulle tie also looks darling wrapped around these.

Another favorite is clear pillow boxes from Paper Mart. They're fun because the recipient can see the contents inside. And you can get 50 of the 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" size for $7, so they're inexpensive and last forever.

A couple more gift card packaging ideas I've shared in the past:
teacher birthday gift (bottom of post)

A Holiday Porches Pink Saturday!

There is nothing like the holidays to bring out the best in people and I have to say that I simply love that! I have noticed that the posts on Facebook and even on twitter are so pleasant for the most part:)
How nice...

I have a few boards on Pinterest and for the most part I rarely have anyone pay attention to them...but right now I receive notices of new followers every day...Can you guess which board? No? Well...Pink Christmas! That's the one!

Stop over at howsweetthesound To join in the fun:)

A sample:)

another one...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

RE-Inspired with Freebies

It is the second week of the BE-Inspired Challenge over at The Alley Way Stamps (TAWS) and it is a CUTE picture...

So I get to RE-inspired you to play along.  And as an added thrill today, the stamps that I have used on my card have just been announced on the TAWS blog as a freebie with $40 purchase through the month of December!

I love the colors and I was particularly drawn to the stockings - I liked the random splashes of color.

Holidays Sparkle

You need a close-up to see that the card really does sparkle!!

Holidays Sparkle closeup

A big thank you to two challenges that helped me with this card...


colourq - Although I am very sad to announce that I am officially out of my first ever Stampin' Up color.  I have ink and paper back to Mint Melody and Mauve Mist (anybody remember those?)  But I pulled out my Glorious Green pad to make this - it was dry - so I rummaged through my ink refills and then rummaged again and's gone.  I am officially out of Glorious Green.  There is nothing quite like Glorious Green - I used Garden Green on this card.

A Cookbook Gift Guide for the Holidays

I highly recommend Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart's Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.  This newly released gem of a cookbook is packed full of traditional, modern, and sophisticated southern cuisine.  With a little over 700 pages, this is more of a tome than a cookbook.  This book reminds me of Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table or maybe even Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything.  It's very comprehensive and really celebrates southern cooking at it's finest.  You will not find loads of overly rich butter-laden recipes in this book.  Think of this cookbook as a fresh take on southern cooking with a modern, almost up-scale, classy touch.  Unfortunately this cookbook doesn't have too many pictures, but I honestly don't mind.  I don't think you will either.

For the baker in your life, The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook  will charm you with it's whimsical retro design and gorgeous baked goods (both savory and sweet).  This is one of those books that you simply page through again and again because it's so very pretty.

Okay, Joy The Baker Cookbook.  Need I say more?  I fell in love with this book when I was invited to be a part of the Joy the Baker Cook-off.  Joy's blog is so much fun and her cookbook reflects her upbeat personality.  I've made so many recipes from this book and they've all been a hit, but Joy's Chocolate Fudge Brownie with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is incredible.  Worth the price of the book alone.  I'm buying a copy of this book for a friend of mine. 

Ina Garten.  When she writes a cookbook, you buy it!  Especially when the title of said cookbook is Foolproof.  Ina has a knack for writing recipes that turn out well every single time.  Foolproof  has the same gorgeous layout as Ina's other cookbooks and it's easy to fall in love with this book.  Best of all, the recipes seem very impressive while being easy and quick. 

My cast iron skillet is probably my favorite kitchen tool.  I love the versatility of being able to go from the stovetop, to the oven, to the table.  Of course, it helps that everything looks gorgeous when served in cast iron.  It's no surprise then that The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook  is also a favorite of mine.  This cookbook is full of gorgeous cast iron cookware and great recipes (many of them time-saving one-pot recipes). 

I'm a huge fan of Giada De Laurentiis.  I have all of her cookbooks, but Weeknights with Giada is probably my favorite Giada cookbook.  As my children get older, I have less and less time in the kitchen.  This is somewhat of a go-to cookbook for me.  I can always find something quick and easy that my kids will like.  This cookbook is great for people who are looking for something delicious without spending hours in the kitchen.   

And finally, Muy Bueno.   I have a soft spot for this book.  I really do.  It's written by three generations of women and it just screams family, love, and tradition.  I love the recipes in this book, but I love the stories even more.  This would be a great book for any food lover. 

These are my favorite cookbooks that have been published this year, however I'd really love to know which ones you liked the best.  What are some of your favorite cookbooks that came out this year?

CAS(E) this Sketch #7!!

This is my second post today. 
The Alley Way Stamps blog hop is just a post away!!

After a Thanksgiving break, CAS(E) this Sketch! is back with a fun, new sketch!

Be sure to check out what all the rest of the design team has done - I am constantly amazed by how many different ideas come out even with such a simple sketch!

Here's my take on this sketch....

Amazing and Fantastic
Give it a try!  Have fun!  And be sure to link up so we can all see your ideas!
  • Stamps: Avery Elle Framed Fonts, Bright Days
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Island Indigo
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Real Red, Summer Starfruit
  • Accessories: MFT Arrow and Fishtail dies

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blog Hopping with The Alley Way Stamps

It's blog hop time for The Alley Way Stamps  (TAWS) - there are fun new stamps - if you follow the TAWS blog there have been sneak peeks the last three days (I did one yesterday!).  Today, when you hop, you get to see all of the new stamps!

If you started with my blog, be sure to head back to the beginning at The Alley Way Stamps.

TAWS is releasing a wonderful new background stamp.  Woodgrain is so in - and it works for so much.  On sneak peek day, you saw the new Love Knots woodgrain done in pinks and there was a video tutorial on doing it in bold blended colors.  I still need Christmas cards - so here is Love Knots used slightly differently.

Hope and Peace

{This card was made with love and prayers 
for a wonderful family dealing with chemo 
for their 8-year old for the fourth time.  
They get a little break in December, but it's not over.}

Then...a very different stamp style...Doodle Frames...

Hello, Love You

Aren't these fun???  I'm a clean and simple card maker and these are perfect!  You could plop one of these fun frames in the middle of a card and they are each interesting enough to totally make the card!!

Next on the hop is Lyndal


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 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.. 
1-Comment on The Alley Way Stamps Blog
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 Nov 30th by 9:30 PM TAWS time to leave comments.

Here are the DT Blogs to visit

Kim <===You are here!

A big thank you to two challenges who helped get me over a drop in my mojo as I was creating these card:

The Paper Players

Mash Up

Welcome to our first Heidi Swapp Mash-Up Blog Hop!

The definition of a Mash-Up (according to the Urban Dictionary) is, "v. To take elements of two or more pre-existing pieces of music and combine them to make a new song. n. A song comprised of elements of two or more..."

A Heidi Swapp Mash-Up is taking elements from two or more collections and to combine them to make something fabulous! We have asked each media team member to name two Heidi Swapp products and compile a Mash-Up List. Then, each team member took the full list and used that (and more!) to create their first Mash-Up project!

Here is the Mash-Up List:

At least 1 Day Glow Photo Corner
Sentiment Stickers
Color Magic Paper
Note Card (either Vintage Chic or Color Magic Notes)
Buzz Words
Color Magic Chipboard Alphas
At least 2 Pattern Papers from Different Heidi Swapp Collections
Neon Glow Tape
Handwriting - either your own or Heidi's digital words

So how did I do?
I've used a green photo corner at the bottom of my photo strip, and some yellow glow tape to hold my photos in place. I have  used different papers from Vintage Chic, Sugar Chic and No Limits!

The notecard is layered over my paper banners, and I created other banners for the left side of my layout using the sentiment sticker and some Color Magic paper misted with gold Lame Color Shine.

Here you can see I have used the chipboard letters, again misted in gold lame, and the buzz word is below that.


For the handwritng I printed out the word cherish from Heidi'd digi files onto vellum, punched a circle in my banner and layered it underneath. You can also see the staple in that banner at the top!

Now, we want to give you a chance to play along!!! Take our Mash-Up list and let it help you create your next project! You can upload your project to Heidi Swapp's Facebook Fan Page with a link to your project online or Instagram it by adding @heidiswapp and the hash tag #HSMashUp ! Those that play along will be entered to win this Vintage Chic Collection! One random winner will be picked by Monday, December 3, 2012.

Now, to see more Mash-Up inspiration from the media team, click over to see Lindsay, Jennifer ,Maggie, and Jamie's blogs!


I'm very excited to be sharing my project today from Bella Blvd's team up with Basically bare!
Be sure to check out the Bella Blvd blog everyday this week as there will be random giveaways all week long! I got to play with an alterable mixed media type of mini album. I wanted to try something different so I went with a She Art theme.
On the cover I used one of Basically bare's dressform pieces.

You can see I have shabbied it up a bit by ripping the corrugated cardboard pages and added random inking , stamping and doodling!

Decorative tape flowers.

 This one is my favourte page from the album.


The bright pops of colour in Bella Blvd's pattern papers just sing happiness to me!

I took some calico pages out of the mini and created my own pages with pattern paper.

The mini album contained several clear acrylic pages which I embellished quite simply!