Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cover Reveal!! Forever By Design!

So here it is!! Finally, the cover of Forever by Design:) Worth the wait, don't you think!?!

Here is a little something to wet your appetite:)

They met by chance, and fell in love. But is it meant to be forever?
Callie and Justin are living their fairytale. They are so close to having the family they've always wanted when suddenly Callie finds herself fighting the insecurities that she’s been feeling all of her life. This time, the results could be deadly. Can Justin help heal her pain or will the stress drive them apart? Jay and Jane are trying to plan their future as they face the challenge of Tyler’s fight for the child he’s never known. Jolene becomes the pawn in a dangerous game until a tragic twist of fate forces Jane to finally confront the man she once loved.
Their fates are set, their lives intertwined and their happiness in jeopardy. Can they all finally find their happily ever after?

There's only one way to find out:) I know I plan to pick it up:)
Stay tuned! I am sure I'll be back with more on release day! Find out more about 

TAWS Blog Hop: Delicate Doilies

It's time for a new release blog hop from The Alley Way Stamps!!  If you started with me, head back to the TAWS blog so you can see all the fun previews and possibly win free stamps!  I so love this time of the month - there are three regular size sets and a mini that's free with a $40 purchase and they couldn't be more different from each other

Yesterday I gave you a sneak peek of a set called Bird Brain.  I put two of the wide-eyed, cute little birds on a branch.  So today I decided to go with the more elegant set - delicate doilies!  This card showcases the largest doily in the set.

delicate doilies 1
The colors for this card are from Dynamic Duos.

Then I felt bad because there were so many other cute little doilies that I hadn't shown you - plus I hadn't even used a sentiment.  So I put together this card too.  Isn't it wonderful how just a few pretty doilies makes for a very easy, yet very elegant card?!

delicate doilies 2

For this card, I used the CAS on Sunday sketch.

Next on the hop is Melissa!

There's always great give-aways at release time...here's the official stuff from The Alley Way Stamps:

TAWS Blog Hop!! Win all 3 sets!

One person will win ALL 3 NEW SETS!!  YEP!!
So if you want to be that person....
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.

1. Comment on The Alley Way Stamps blog
2. Comment on the design team girls blog as you hop along
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 March 30th at 9:00 PM TAWS time to leave them

This is a fun mini set that is yours FREE when you spent $40.00
or more during the month of MAY!!  Nothing to do but shop and
this little guy will be added to your package.
Our amazing DT lead Arielle really want a piggy bank and some coins,
I am so glad she did.  It inspired this cutie.
What do you think?

  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Delicate Doilies
  • Paper: Stampin' Up Crumb Cake and Blushing Bride
  • Ink: Stampin' Up Calypso Coral and Blushing Bride
  • Accessories: jillibean Wood Hello Flags, Martha Stewart butterfly punch, Stampin' Up twine, May Arts twine, misc gems colored with Copics

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sick kids and sewing progress or lack thereof

This is what it looks like in my sewing room today...GAH!
Seriously keeping it real...

Last Thursday the little man and I had a great day filled with turtles, tadpoles and salamanders!  He was great until the last hour or so he was not himself and then it happened...right before dinner...in the kitchen trashcan...GAH! Poor guy caught something more than cute pond creatures :o(

This was the last good shot and fun of the day!

It really puts a damper on things with sick ones in the house especially when then it travels to the other kids in the house...she was struck HARD!  The poor dear!

So since last Thursday I have been the keeper of the sickies...hoping they will be better tomorrow since I have so much to do and now not so much time left to do it all in!

I was able to start these on Sunday

Today I will be back and forth between my little loves and this room to try to take care of it all...we'll see how that works out ;o)

A Bird Brain Anniversary

Hallelujah!  I turned in my final Marketing paper last night.  This has been a very, very tough class.  It seemed no matter how hard I worked, the professor did not quite like what I did.  Sadly, new classes start right away today.  But I have already decided that since the marketing class almost destroyed my desire for a second college degree, I am only taking a half load this time so I can relax a little and find my enthusiasm again (and make cards more than a couple of times a week!)

Thank you to all of you who helped with my marketing survey - it's amazing how many people across the country absolutely agreed on the pros and cons of shopping at Michaels.  And thank you to all of you who have continued to leave comments on my rare posts even though I'm not making it over to your blogs.  I am definitely reading everybody's blogs - it's been my mid-day sanity break - but I just haven't found the time to comment.

I'm so glad that the pressure is off for now - because it's release week at The Alley Way Stamps.  Check out their blog - the last few days have had previews of everything from a Yeti to delicate doilies!

Today is just as fun.  The moment that I got these stamps, I knew what I was going to do.

I've been married for quite awhile.  And at some point in the marriage, with never-ending life changes, unemployment and too much employment, teenage boys behaving like teenage boys and now college courses - you start to realize that you have spent most of the marriage looking just like this...wide-eyed, shell-shocked and more than a little frazzled!

Love Birds

Guess what?  If you head over to The Alley Way Stamps blog - you have a chance to win this set!

Tomorrow is the full blog hop with fun prizes and sneak peeks of all the sets - so be sure to come back.  (Now I have to go decide whether I am in a Yeti mood or a doily mood for my blog hop card...hmmm?)
  • Stamps: The Alley Way Stamps Bird Brain (released May 1)
  • Paper: Simple Stories Urban Traveler 6x6
  • Ink: Memento black and Copics
  • Accessories: Maya Road Wood Twigs, L'il Inkers Stitched Mat Rectangles

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cover Reveal! First, I love You...

Wow, So there it is! I promised I would wait until April 29, 2013. I did...Was it worth the wait!?! 

Here is the Blurb...

About the Book:

If Mario Puzo and Jane Austen crossed the time-space continuum and mated, FIRST, I LOVE YOU would be their literary baby.

Imagine being a detective with a mobster for a father, or a mobster with a straight arrow, good cop for a son. This is a relationship that is tricky on its best day. Add in some well-meaning meddling from a mob princess sister, an arrogant DEA agent, and gangsters running a human trafficking ring and you have a recipe for a book that refuses to follow the rules. Told from the perspective and point of view of each the six main characters this is the first novel in a trilogy about love, loyalty, revenge and redemption.

Omaha Detective Tommy Gates has kept his gangster father at arm’s length his whole life. Mickey Downey has spent the better part of the last two decades trying to find ways to get back the son he lost through Witness Protection. Now Tommy has taken an opportunity to work on a Federal Human Trafficking Joint Task Force in Chicago where his father lives. Tommy’s sister Kiki and his mother Mary see this as an opportunity to build a relationship between the two. Tommy’s new DEA partner James Hoffman sees it as an opportunity to gain leverage over Mickey Downey. Tommy’s other partner, FBI Agent Ginny Sommers wants to keep Tommy’s family as far from the case as possible. When Kiki and James join forces, sparks fly and it sets fire to a maelstrom of unexpected consequences for everyone involved.
One part Godfather, two parts Emma and a dash of Casablanca mixed together, FIRST, I LOVE YOU isn’t a detective novel, a gangster novel, a mystery, a romance or a family saga. It’s a little of all of the above.

FIRST, I LOVE YOU is available in print and digital format at all major eBook retailers.

I don't know about you, but it sounds like a great read to me:) I
can't wait...
Now a little info. on the author...
Author Bio:

Genevieve Dewey is the author of The Downey Trilogy (First, I Love You & Second of All) and the short stories Bird Day Battalion & V-Day Aversion. She is a wife, mother, sister, friend and Anthropologist. She was raised mostly in Nebraska, partly in Arizona. She has a Master’s in Anthropology and worked as an Applied Anthropologist for years (even ran her own research company for a while) before deciding to be a stay at home mom. She loves passionate (rational) debates, reading, and libraries… oh, and Chicago and high-heels and chocolate and target practice and gangster flicks and anything with the FBI in it and run-on sentences. She lives in Nebraska with her three brilliantly diabolical children and one incredibly funny husband.
You can find Gen online at: http://www.genevievedewey.com/

So there you have it...I was provided with a couple of excerpts also...but this post is kind of long:) perhaps if I am invited to a blog tour I will share those also...I will just say that they were a lot of fun...I will be buying this one!!
So as always...

Happy Birthday

Last week over on the Heidi Swapp blog we were celebrating Heidi's upcoming birthday.  Here is the card I made for her, can't go past yellow and pink. The yellow is from her new Serendipity line...sigh just gorgeous. I added in a Greatest View Flair to complete it!


Lemon Meringue Fool

I made a really delicious Lemon Dream Cake for my Mom's birthday a few weeks ago.  In fact, if lemon is your thing and you like super easy cake recipes, I would highly recommend it. This particular lemon cake called for lemon pie filling, but I was unable to find any so I substituted lemon curd instead.  After making the cake I had a good amount of lemon curd leftover and I had no idea what to do with it. Well, actually that's a little bit of a lie.  Eating the remaining lemon curd by the spoonful crossed my mind several times, but it hardly felt like justice for something so delicious.  So I kept hunting for recipes.  Then I remembered this recipe from Nigella.

When I daydream about desserts I tend to think of cakes, pies, cookies, and brownies.  This is a shame in many ways, but mostly because I always forget how much I love a light, creamy, fruity dessert like this fool.  A fool is also a cinch to make and goes together so quickly.  A little lemon curd mixed with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice then folded into some whipped heavy cream and you're pretty much all set.  Crumble some store-bought cookies into the mix, if you'd like, or eat it as is.  It's a very pretty dessert and can be very elegant if served in a martini or parfait glass. Everyone in my house really enjoyed this one. 

Lemon Meringue Fool
Adapted from Nigella Kitchen
by Nigella Lawson
Serves 2 or 4

2/3 cup good-qualit store-bought lemon curd, plus a little extra to decorate
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice, or limoncello if you have it
1 cup heavy cream
4 small meringue cookies (store-bought is fine)*
lemon zest, to serve

*Note: I couldn't find meringue cookies so I used shortbread cookies instead.

Grate the zest of one lemon, reserving the zest for the garnish.  With the remaining lemon, squeeze one to two teaspoons of lemon juice into a medium-sized bowl.  Add the lemon curd to the lemon juice and stir.  If this mixture feels too thick add a little more lemon juice.  

Pour the heavy cream into another bowl and whisk until just thick.  It should hold to its shape, but not be so thickly whipped that it looks dry; it will thicken more as you fold in the lemon curd.

Drizzle half the lemon curd mixture over the cream and fold in with a rubber spatula, then do the same with the remaining half.  You don't want it all folded in completely, whipped cream rippled with lemon is what you're looking for.

If you have the meringue cookies, go ahead and crumble them with your fingers into the fool, and gently fold most of this into the mix.  Spoon it into 4 small martini glasses (or fill 2 large goblets) and decorate with some lemon zest curls and a drizzle of lemon curd, scraped out of the bottom of the bowl it was mixed in, or spooned out of the jar.  If you have any thin, crisp cookies put them on the table for serving. 

Potluck Week at IHCC (Sharing the recipes of Nigella Lawson, Mark Bittman, Giada De Laurentiis, Jamie Oliver, Tessa Kiros, Rick Bayless, and Yotam Ottolenghi)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dioptics Solar Shield Sunglasses...

Kind of a strange subject for a blog, you think? Well, not so much...It is spring and the sun is shining...well, some of the time...lol...and if you are like me you need sunglasses even if the sun is not shining...sigh...Anyway, those aren't just any pair of sunglasses over there:) those are fit-overs  And just as the name suggests they are made to fit over your prescription glasses! So, when Vibrant nation's Vibrant Influencer Network offered to send me a free pair of Dioptics Solar Shield Sunglasses to use and review...well of course, I agreed... I have to admit, I was not convinced that they were going to work for me. I am very light sensitive and I have to have serious sunglasses!  I was a bit worried about that...I mean, here was this nice company sending me these nice glasses and I needed to do an honest review! What if I didn't like them!?! I needn't have worried:) First of all look at them...These are not your Grandparents Fit-Overs:) And they had a Pink pair! The are polarized! A must for me in the shades category...Now first, the color...I might have been a bit disappointed there...not really the fushia of the picture, but that's OK...
Next: coverage...they did a good job of fitting over my glasses and they are comfortable, not too heavy...They look great...Note: If you have large frames, these might not work, but just pay attention to the measurements when ordering yours...Speaking of ordering...mine were free but the list price for these is: 24.99 (very reasonable, I think, especially as they are polarized)
So to recap so far: They look great, feel great, and the cost is reasonable...
So, on to function...I believe that they function well. I was skeptical...they are not dark, but they still filter out the glare very well. I have been able to forgo my regular prescription sun lenses on a number of occasions without getting a migraine (this is stellar praise, indeed) I rarely had to squint behind them...another plus...squinting usually leads to migraines for me...On a midday at a ballgame or at the beach I would probably have to use my regular prescription lenses with the mirrored surface but under all other circumstances these work well! The convenience is wonderful, not switching glasses as you go in and out of doors:)
So overall, my conclusion is positive and I give these Dioptics Solar Shields Sunglasses a

That would be out of 5!
So that's it...I want to thank Vibrant Nation and Solar Shield for giving me this opportunity to review this product:) 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

my favourite..

This week over on the Pebbles blog we are creating layouts about our favourite thing...I choose to create a about the sweetest little girl I know! Simple and sweet...


CAS(E) this Sketch! with Dahlias

It's a very unique sketch this week at CAS(E) this Sketch and I LOVE it!!

How different are those staggered tags?!  I chose to use flowers and leaves, but as usual, the rest of the design team came up with amazingly fun ideas - coffee cups, cute little cars, a camera - be sure to check it out on the CAS(E) this Sketch blog.

Happy Birthday Dahlia
If you follow my blog, you are now thinking...hey, I've seen that flower in those colors!  Yes, you have. I had originally started this card with the bigger dahlia and leaves that are in the stamp set - but they were just too big for the layout.  After going to the work of die-cutting and embossing them, I most certainly was not going to waste them - so the big dahlia showed up on a card just two days ago!!
  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink Delightful Dahlias
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink Raspberry Fizz, Lucky Limeade
  • Ink: Versamark, Memento black
  • Accessories: white embossing powder, Papertrey Ink Delightful Dahlias dies, CTMH Bitty Sparkles (colored with Copics), Divine Twine Black Licorice, misc black and white gingham

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

simple celebrations: hello kitty party + printables

We kinda have a crush on Hello Kitty around here.

Ella turned seven this month, and at the last minute decided she wanted a "friends" party with a Hello Kitty theme. She must have caught me on a good day, because I gave the okay. Not one to usually do something like this so late in the game, I figured I could throw something together quickly if I kept things super simple.

Am I sharing the printables? Well, of course.

Hello Kitty fill-able invitation (add your own details using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements).

So here's the rundown of the festivities, starting at the top left.  

1. My version of an ice cream cake went together in about 15 minutes (with Tayler's help).
2. I put together a simple game on the trampoline. The girls jumped around while Lynn threw balls over the net. If a ball touched anyone, they went out. Last girl standing was the winner. The game lasted forever because they kept wanting to play.  
3. I used my balloon flowers again, this time creating them in colors to match Kitty's flower. Actually, my daughter-in-law Tayler, made them all! She'll be making them again for Piper's first birthday soon. 

4. For a craft project, I planned to have each of the girls design their own pin/button. It was a huge hit and they each made multiples. My friend Jen, just bought a button making machine to use at Girls' Camp and for other occasions and loaned it to me. Thanks, Jen!  
5. I gave Ella a budget for the goodie bags and she chose the items she wanted (all from Target.) I also designed and made an HK button for each of the girls and my daughter Kate, found pink and orange mini buckets to package everything in. Thanks, Kate!
6. The silly birthday girl in her Hello Kitty dress. Kate and I found matching ones for Ella and my granddaughter Madi, at Old Navy for about $7 each. 
7. Our granddaughter Piper, decided that hangin' with her Poppa was much more fun than those noisy, cray-cray girls. :) Check out that one little tooth--so darling!
8. The aftermath.

I created this 16 x 20 Hello Kitty welcome poster for the front door. It's only $6 to print at Costco or Walmart and Ella now has it on her bedroom door.

 Hello Kitty printable for 1 1/4" buttons
2" Hello Kitty toppers or tags

I did learn a few things raising my bigs, one being that the the simple parties and celebrations really are the most memorable--for everyone. I also figured out that my expectations were always far greater than my little ones. This little party is proof. I was able to put it together in just a few days and for about $60 total. Ella loved it and the girls had a delightful time. How do I know? They didn't want to leave.:)

Happy Birthday, Ella Bella! Big loves.

P.S. Send me photos if you use these printables for your own Hello Kitty themed party. I want to see!

Also shared at:
Chic on a Shoestring


This special quilt is for my son's teacher that was recently diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemo. The children participated in the making of the quilt for their teacher and I cannot wait for the children to see their quilt that will give Ms.V so much comfort. I will be taking it  into the class to show them and I know they will love it!

I used a Lori Holt Riley Blake Polka Dot Stitches jelly roll and Moda Bella White.  The piecing and quilting were all done with Aurifil 50wt. The batting used was Pellon Nature's Touch.

See the sweet handprints?   I could NOT have done this without the help of the a very lovely and talented lady, who I happen to adore!  Laurie Tigner!  She volunteered to quilt this quilt before it was even a real design, that is pretty incredible in my book and I ADORE and LOVE her to BITS!!!!  She brought this quilt ( all quilts in fact) to life!  THANK YOU LAURIE!

I asked Laurie if it was possible to include the children's names in the blocks with the prints and she DID IT!  I sent a listing of the names and a diagram of where each print was and she wrote each of the names with the print that goes with it.


I am sure this will be loved for many many years!

Fixing the missing bloglovin' folks!!

This is my second post today.

If you chose bloglovin' as your blog reader and then transferred your blog lists from Google Reader, there were two (that we know of) great blogs that bloglovin' could not find.  You may have "lost" these blogs and don't even know it.
Always Playing with Paper - the talented Lesley Croghan and the home of Merry Monday
GIBMISS - the wonderful Sylvie who takes all of her pictures using her Gibraltar ocean view in the background!
Bloglovin' readers need to add these blogs manually.  Pop over to each of these blogs and see what you have missed.  Then copy their blog address, bring up your bloglovin' account, paste them into the blog search box and click FOLLOW.  They will be back in your list so you can read all of their future posts!!


I am hoping you can pass the above info along in your posts too.  These ladies can't notify their bloglovin' readers that they are no longer lost - - - because bloglovin' readers don't currently get their posts - - oops!  So I would like to help them out and spread the word to get them back into people's bloglovin' lists.

Feedly Tags and Follow Buttons

I've written a number of educational posts on these issues.
Click here to see each of them.

First - a quick sidetrack - if you are still trying to decide between bloglovin' and feedly - I found this article called "Bloglovin' vs Feedly: Which RSS Reader Reigns Supreme?'  It's a great article that does a good job pointing out the pros and cons of each!

I have two quick updates regarding feedly for you - both are kind of more for the advanced user!

Feedly is getting ready to disconnect from Google Reader.  Right now, they are just a front-end to Google Reader so they are using Google Reader info.  When they disconnect, they are not only going to keep all of the blogs that you read, they are also going to bring over everything you have tagged in the past!!!!  Yeah!!!

But...they do need a little help.

Tagging is a great function that allows you to mark and then keep past posts.  For example, I might tag "Christmas" or "CASE-worthy".  Those posts are automatically saved and categorized until the point that you choose to un-tag them.

What feedly needs you to do is to tell your feedly account what tags you used when you were reading in Google Reader.  If you don't remember, pop back into Google Reader (although Google has already taken away the link - just go to www.google.com/reader) and find them.  They are listed on the left column, toward the bottom with little tag symbols.

Then go into feedly,

  1. Click on "prefs" right under your name and scroll down until you see "tagging"
  2. Type your list of tags into the box using commas to separate each tag.

The exact wording with a helpful picture from the feedly blog is...

But we need your help regarding upgrading your tagged articles. We need you to go to your feedly preferences and enter the list of tags you have been using to archive old articles. We will migrate up to 250 articles per tag.
This is what my tag list looks like for example:Tag list

Sadly, one thing that is lacking right now is a feedly follow button so that the people who read in feedly and want to add you can easily just click.

(Not that it's all that hard to simply copy your blog address and paste it into feedly - but buttons are nice!)

It is fairly high on feedly's update list - but if you want to add one now, I read about a way to do it.  It's not totally clean - so you might want to wait until feedly has an official button.  If you do create your own - I promise to tell you when feedly has an official button!

  • Find a feedly graphic - I just did a Google Image search and came up with this one.  If you like it just save this one to your computer.

  • Find your blog feed address.  (I only know how to do this for blogger).  It's your blog address plus the following "/feeds/posts/default"  For example, my blog feed address is:

  • Go to your blogger/design/layout area and "Add a gadget" to your sidebar, using an "Image" gadget.
  • Add a title.  I just said "For my feedly followers"
  • Add a caption.  The one flaw in this is that it actually just brings up your blog in feedly - it doesn't add it until the click the Add button in feedly.  So I just captioned it "Then click +ADD in feedly!!"
  • Add a link.  You need to type http://www.feedly.com/home#subscriptions/feed/your feed address.  For example, I typed:
  • Add the image.  Browse your computer for the feedly graphic that you found or copied from above.
  • Save

I have re-organized my sidebar so that all of these major readers are listed.  My sidebar says:

     If you follow/read in blogger/blogspot
          This is the old "follow" button that we all already have.
     If you read in bloglovin'
           They already have a nice button.
           Just sign up for bloglovin' and find the follow buttons.
           (I don't use bloglovin', but I did sign up to get the button.)
     If you read in feedly
           I created it as above
     If you read via email
           Most of us already have it there.

I think I've covered the big ones this way!!

Hasn't this all been just a big adventure??  Not really one that I welcomed - but I have learned a lot!!