Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Taking a bit of a blog break until Monday, so we can enjoy these moments with family. Happy New Year, Bloggers! xo

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Third One's a Charm...

Three Dollar Store Crafts this week. A new record for me! And this one is also fun and affordable...go figure!
I got 6 of the tall glass candles at the Dollar Tree last week, along with one package of twine. I also picked up 2 plain glass candle holders, knowing that I had oversized tealights at home to use. I simply used hot glue and wrapped the twine around the glass, and that is IT. Could not be any more simple! The whole thing took about 2 hours for all six, and it cost me less than $10. I love the way the natural elements blended in with the glitter and glitz. I intend on keeping this tablescape up through January! I also added birch bark candle covers from Pottery Barn, rolled balls of yarn, and a few twig trees for good measure.

Enjoy your Thursday!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another Dollar Store Craft!

I know Christmas is over. But this one is too good to not share!

I got these gems at a local Dollar General store two days after Chrismas--so the set of 6 cost me a whopping $3 (because they were marked down to fifty cents each!) I love a bargain!

I covered each house with glue, and sprinkled them with the glitter that I thought would best match my decor. Now, I'll be the first one to tell you that I am not a fan of glitter. I like the shimmer--but I'm not a fan of having it on my skin. Drives me kind of bonkers. But I sacraficed myself and took a long hot shower after finishing these. So worth it, don't you think?

Go forth and create, people! :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scarves. Or Garlands?

I made a ton of these last week. Enough for one of our children's classrooms, and several as gifts. And I can't wait to make more...

Originally, I marketed these as scarves to our son's classroom as a craft (using school colors, so everyone would carry that school spirit with them, of course!) When my husband saw me with the finished product, he said, "Wow--neat garland!" Hello! Never occurred to me! So of course you know I had to go get more fleece and create a garland for a special friend who has the most beautiful snowman tree...

Start off at your local fabric store. Here in Ohio, I use Jo Ann's. No need for a coupon--fleece is 50% off this time of year! Gotta love that! Select 3 colors of fleece for your project--you'll need about half a yard of each for this project. (Note: The fleece I used was 54" in length. Your store might have options.)
Cut the fleece into 4" wide strips. I got fat quarters at Jo Ann's--and those were an additional half off--and it gave me enough to make five of these bad boys! I used scissors--but feel free to use a rotary cutter and mat if you have one.

Sandwich three of the fleece pieces together (one of each color)--and sew a straight seem up the middle. No need to be neat about this--just take my word for it. Next, start making half-inch cuts on both sides, being careful to NOT CUT THE SEAM. When you've made your half-inch cuts on both sides of the fabric, shake the scarf/garland, and this is what you'll have...

Now, a few items to mention. Don't use the tip of your scissors--especially when working with children--get that fleece in the scissor well so it will cut through all three pieces of the fabric at once. The possibilities here are endless! I think my Valentine tree will need one, no? And what about St. Patrick's Day? And of course, I didn't even touch on the possibilities with felt.
Like I said--the possibilities!! I hope you give it a try and enjoy the process!
ETA: Look for the fleece blankets that go on sale this time of year, and don't be afraid to use those for the class projects (I got 4 blankets for a dollar last year in our school colors of blue and gold--so I only had to purchase the white fleece...which made this project really affordable, too!)

Also, with the boys in the classroom--my second grade son said the same thing--and opted for a straight scarf with fringes only at the edges (so I sewed the blue and gold together, and then turned the fabric inside out. We tied the ends, and he cut fringes on those.) Out of 12 boys in the class, only TWO opted for the straight scarves. The rest wanted fringes (I was a bit surprised by that! I think the school colors thing won them over.) Hope that helps!
Oh, and one more thing while you're at the dollar store...the socks are also half off for the sock wreaths! :) Love the bargains!

Monday, December 27, 2010

this is not goodbye

I have had the honor of being a part of the Work In Progress Design Team since August 2008. Month after month I got to design pages with those amazing kits and be a part of this dynamic team. Contributing to the blog and being a part of the team inspired me and helped me to grow as a designer. The best part of being on the team though was becoming good friends with Trish. She is truly remarkable. Caring, honest, creative and the most giving person I have ever had the privilege of calling friend. If you have met her, I am sure you would agree.

This past year has been a remarkable year for me. I have been given some incredible opportunities as a designer and as a result my plate has become too full. As my design career has grown, it has become necessary to lessen my responsibilities. With a heavy heart I decided to leave the WIP Design Team. Although I will not be contributing on a regular basis any more, I will still be stopping by the blog daily for inspiration and those amazing recipes.

Thank you Trish for having me on the team. Knowing you and working with your team has been a great adventure and I wish you the best of luck in 2011.

Thank you also dear blog readers for your loyalty and comments. Your interaction makes this blog a wonderful place to be.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

From me and my family, and on behalf of all the designers at Work in Progress Kits, we wish you the most memorable and joyous Christmas ever...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas pictures

Are you the photographer for all the Christmas pictures?

I love taking the pictures and always try to come up with different ways to put all the kids together during Christmas. Sometimes we get them in a row, sometimes stacked in a pyramid. Whatever we do, it always makes it more fun for the kids, which makes them more cooperative!
last year my sister in law made them all scarves, so we got them together for this picture.

In my search for photo ideas I came across this site and this site with helpful tips on shooting everything at Christmas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Trying to squeeze it all in...

And enjoying every moment. Above, you'll see we hit Breakfast with Santa. And below, working on last minute Christmas gifts. Tutorial to follow next week...promise!
Here's to hoping you're better prepared than me...Cheers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Morning Love.

Do these look heavenly, or what?

And here's a great tutorial on how to make new ornaments look vintage. How COOL!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Almond Crunch Bar

I made these delicious treats a few years back & haven't made them since. Now that I have started working on my grocery list for Christmas weekend, I am eager to get started on these treats. They are so yum! Thanks for a former co-workers mother for sharing the recipe with me & now I will share with all the wonderful crafty friends of WIP :)

Almond Butter Crunch

Toffee ingredients

1 2/3 cup of sugar

2 sticks of butter

3 tbls of water

1 tbls of light corn syrup


1 cup of silvered toasted almonds

1 8oz of milk chocolate (I used 1 1/2 bags of chocolate instead)

1 bag of sliced toasted almonds


Combine all the toffee ingredients, stirring occasionally until mixture reaches 300 degrees (you will need a candy thermometer for this).

Remove from heat and quickly stir in one cup of silvered toasted almonds (as I am stirring the toffee mixture, I actually toast the almonds in the oven, I couldn't find any already toasted).

Spread mixture thinly on a cookie sheet. allow to cool, then melt the milk/dark chocolate and spread onto the cooled toffee. (I recommend using a long spatula when spreading. I found it easier to spread than using your normal type of spatula).

Sprinkle on sliced toasted almonds (again, I toasted these in the oven while melting the milk/dark chocolate). Allow it to cool/harden.

Flip it, then spread last layer of chocolate and sprinkle w/ sliced toasted almonds.

Once it is all cool, break it up into mini chocolate pieces. I actually cut mine up with a sharp knife. these make for great party treats or to give away. Happy Baking :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rolled Roses Ornament

I made a fun rolled rose ornament a few days ago.  It is a very easy project, though extremely time consuming, but oodles of fun, and definitely very pretty!

Supplies you'll need:
Rolled Rose Die from My Favorite Things, lots of scraps of paper (I used a ton of October Afternoon Very Merry, Collage Press Joyride, Cosmo Cricket Holly by Jolly), a box of pearl head pins, a foam ball, and a little bit of ribbon.
Steps are simple: Die-cut a rose, roll the rose, pin it to the foam ball.
Repeat the process many times until the entire foam ball is covered by pretty roses :)
Pin the ribbon onto the foam ball and hang it on your tree!
Happy Holidays everyone!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Seasonal Thank you cards

Simply right click on the above photo, save it to your computer, and print it out to make fun holiday thank you cards! For more info on this idea, check out this post from last year. Enjoy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

December Gallery Faves

I thought it would be fun to take another look at the December gallery. I always notice different things every time I stroll through the gallery, and I always have fun choosing my favorites. Even though it's impossibly difficult to actually choose favorites, here's what I chose:

From Nancy's Gallery: I love the patterns Nancy combined and the clever use of the journaling cards, and how brilliant is the use of the chipboard frame tied with that pretty gray bow (not to mention that adorable baby face!):

From Laina's Gallery: I love, love, love the title on the banner and the bold black journaling framed by that chipboard piece and how Laina added the second chipboard piece, wrapping the journaling around it. And I adore the way she zig-zag stitched those strips together. And how awesome is that hand-stitched title? (And how irresistible is that cutie-pie face?):


From Cindy's Gallery: When I saw this trio of ornaments Cindy made, I thought how simple and how clever and how beautiful they look with these pretty papers! I love how Cindy added glitter to the edges:

From Jing-Jing's Gallery: I adore that loopy string border meandering around the page and how Jing-Jing inegrated the journaling cards into her design, serving also to educate her children about their excursion. And she found the perfect use for those chipboard postage stamps and the Jenni Bowlin stars that came in the kit:

From Jamie's Gallery:  First of all--the cheeks! So sweet and adorable and kissable! I love the polka dots and grid papers together here and the clever layering of the tags--and how Jamie used the one that said "I get a kick out of you!" to be the most perfect title for this page. And that scalloped vellum--just love that and I'm definitely going to borrow that idea soon, as I've got scads of vellum sitting dusty in my stash!

From Tina's Gallery: I just love how Tina used all those labels to frame those cutie-pie pictures! What a creative way to draw attention to her sweet photos! And I love how she added all those messages to the labels, making this the perfect Christmas page:

From my gallery: I wasn't going to pick a favorite from my gallery, but I just had to show off those lovely chipboard pieces that came in the kit and how fun they are to layer.

I hope you had fun peeking at the gallery again through my eyes. This was such an awesome kit to work with, and as you can see from all these layouts, so versatile! The kit's not yet sold out, so grab yours before it does because you will definitely regret it if you don't!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Baked Gift

I have to share this recipe with you. Not only is it fabulous any time of year, but it is always a welcomed gift around here. Streusal-Topped Mini Banana Bread...did I say it was fabulous?
Makes 3 mini loaves.
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mashed bananas {3 small overripe}
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, sofftened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Grease three mini loaf pans. {If you happen to have the Pampered Chef 4-mini bread pan, use three of those spaces for this recipe. The disposable, mini loaf pans from the grocery are perfect size too, and a great way to wrap and go.}
2. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in medium size bowl.
3. Beat bananas, eggs, sugar and butter in large bowl until smoth. On low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture. Divide batter among prepared pans.
4. Streusel: Mix flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in small bowl. Cut in butter until small crumbs form. Sprinkle over batter.
5. Bake in oven 30 minutes or until inserted pick comes out clean. Cover streusel with foil if it is browning too quickly.
6. Cool breads for 10 minutes. Remove from pans to cooling racks to cool completely.
Make some for yourself. Make some and freeze. But whatever you do, just make some. Enjoy!

wip siggy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

January (ALREADY!) 2011 WIP Kits...

January Main Kit--SOLD OUT!!
Contents of this kit include: 12 papers--11 Patterned Papers and 1 Red Cardstock (4 Making Memories, 2 Jillibean Soup, and 5 Jenni Bowlin), 5 Making Memories black Paperie journaling sheets, 12" paper lace border in red, various die cut punches, 2 yards of black May Arts satin ribbon, 1 yard ivory lace May Arts Ribbon, and 1 yard black lace ribbon May Arts, red Jillibean Soup Alphabet, Ranger Jenni Bowlin paint dabber in Malted Milk, and Pink Paislee 6"x12" Artisan Album.

January Project Kit--SOLD OUT
Contents of this kit include: 10 Patterned Papers (2 Fancy Pants and 8 Crate Paper Snow Day), Crate Paper Snow Day chipboard elements--full sheet, Crate Paper border stickers, Crate Paper label stickers, Basic Grey Curio Fabric Brads, 3 epoxy snowflake stickers, and 1 8x8" orange Pink Paislee Artisan Canvas Album.

January Add-On Kit* $12
Contents of this kit includes everything to make this 4x6 Year in Review/Favorite Photos for either 2010 OR 2011--your choice!
Please email Trish at to reserve your kits. They go on sale to the public at noon EST today!
Enjoy your hump day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New York City @ Christmastime...

There really is nothing like it. Add to it that about 40 friends came along for the trip...and you have the mixing for a perfect Christmas getaway...
So I'll let a few pictures do the talking. For starters...the Naked Cowboy (and my sweet cousin, Dawn...) Giddy up!
Dylan's Candy Bar. Worth the trip...

30 Rock and St. Patrick's Cathedral...

Our daughter and her bff in Times Square...

The Plaza (where I hummed the theme to the Way We Were--from the last scene that was filmed right there. I know--geek!)

That tree is simply stunning...

A few friends, my sister, the hubs, two of our kiddos and me in Times Square. We met up with two of my high school friends who live in Manhattan and hung out for a bit. So nice to have personal tour guides--it made riding the subway a breeze!

Ice Skating at the rink...

Daytime view from Top of the Rock. We also went up at night (best view I've ever seen.)

I took 800 pictures. I'm nowhere near finished editing them. But I'm enjoying the process, and reliving it through them...

The streets in early morning were a lot less crowded than they were later that day and into the night...
We got to see Lester Holt and Amy Robach do the Today Show, which my kids loved. My husband also saw the Cash Cab host, Ben Bailey all dressed up in a suit. I was too busy snapping pictures to notice...figures!
And The Tree...
Thanks for letting me share a few of my favorite photos. You can view more of them here on Tina's blog.
Enjoy your day!