Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Mini Album For Mom {Club Scrap Blog Hop}

Hi Friends!

Guess what!  My sweet friend, Tricia, who owns Club Scrap, asked me if I'd like to participate in this month's blog hop.  Of course, I was thrilled and immediately said, "Yes!"  On July 1st, the cute little Club Scrap box showed up on my front porch and I eagerly opened it up.  This is what I found inside:
 Gorgeous, right?!?  I immediately knew what I wanted to do with it.  Last year my mom retired from a long career at State Farm.  I promised her I would make a mini album of her celebration party.  I had big plans to make it right away, but unfortunately, it kept being put on the back burner.  When I saw all the gorgeous papers and patterns in the Wisteria Collection, I knew it would be PERFECT for mom's book!  I mean, just look at that gorgeous picture on the front cover--her dress matches the collection perfectly, and mom's favorite color is purple!  Even the quote was a perfect fit!  I couldn't have been more thrilled with my box of goodies!
I love making mini albums for special events.  Mom loves them because she can tuck them in her purse and tote them around to show her friends.  I make the covers out of cardboard.  I made this album 9 x 6 so that I could include the invitation to her celebration in the book.  Once I cut the covers to size, the fun began. I loved layering all the pretty papers on top of each other for the cover.
 I also loved all the ribbons included in the kit.  I used them all--why not?!?  Then I took some of the flowers, layered them on top of each other and used one of the brads to bind them together.  I sewed the flowers onto the ribbon, and then glued a sequin (left over from a previous Club Scrap kit) on top and attached a lavender jewel.

Those of you who have worked with Club Scrap paper know how thick and fabulous it is.  It is definitely the loveliest paper I've ever worked with.  For the inside pages, I just adhered two sheets of that lovely paper together.  Inside the front cover, I used a piece of vellum and printed out an e-mail that was sent out to Mom's co-workers announcing her retirement.  I attached it with brads from the kit.
 This month's papers had so many beautiful patterns; I didn't need to use a whole lot of extra embellishments.  The patterns were lovely on their own.

 I found a few retirement quotes and used them throughout the book.  Again, I printed them on vellum and used brads to attach them.
I love how the vellum lets the pattern show through.  It looks so pretty layered on top of that larger pattern, doesn't it?

 At the end of the book I included the invitation to Mom's celebration.  I left it so that if you wanted to see the inside, you could just open the rings and peek inside.
 I've made a whole bunch of these little mini albums as gifts, and I always put a little note on the back cover:
And there you have it!  An entire book made using the Wisteria collection.  I am thrilled with how it turned out, and I can't wait to give it to my mom this weekend.  My daughter, Maddie, looked through the book and said, "It's so Grandma!" 

Thank you, Tricia, and Club Scrap for helping me create the perfect mini album for my mom.  And thanks to all of you who ended up here as part of the Club Scrap Blog Hop!



PS I am at the very end of the Blog Hop, so they told me to send you back to the Club Scrap site.  Click on the picture below if you'd like to go back to the beginning!
 photo wisteria_hop_rsz_zpsb435df36.jpg

Friday, July 26, 2013

Five For Friday & The Farmer's Market

 Hi Friends!

Yahoo!  It's Friday again--my favorite!!  What's up for you this weekend?  Jack leaves for camp tomorrow for a whole week (!), and John is playing in a two-day tournament.  The girls and I intend to enjoy a girlie weekend together.  Last weekend, the stars and the moon and the weather and my schedule all aligned and I actually made it to the farmer's market for only the second time all summer.  At the beginning of each summer I promise myself I will head to the farmer's market each Saturday.  But then real life tends to crash in, and I don't make it there very often.  I love, love, love going to the farmer's market--all the colorful, fresh, lovely fruits and vegetables make for completely lovely pictures, and it's great for people-watching, too.  Who knows, maybe I'll make it there tomorrow morning after I drop Jack off (fingers crossed!).  Ready for this week's links?  Enjoy!
 1.  Oh my gosh! I love the website, Emergency Compliments.  Click on it if you're in need of a little boost.  There are compliments for every occasion.  Keep clicking until you find the one that you're in need of.  Some of my favorites: "Your hair looks great today. It also looked good two days ago,"  "I'm not telling you what to do, but you could pull off orange corduroy," & "You actually looked super graceful that time you tripped in front of everyone."
 2.  A photographer in England captured a second of video of every day of his son's first year.  The video is completely precious.  Of course, I wish I had done this for my children.
 3.  This Guide to Interacting with an Introvert cracks me up.  I am an extrovert married to an awesome introvert who loves his hamster ball (especially in crowded situations).
 4.  I love radishes.  I definitely want to try this radish chip recipe.
 5.  These cards are so cute.  I am totally going to steal the idea and make some of these cards.

I hope you have a fabulous weekend.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What I Made Wednesday

Hi Friends!

It seems like forever since I posted a "What I Made Wednesday" project!  Check out my new big, bold canvas.  All three kids and I worked on it together, and I completely love it.  It's huge--40x50.  I found the blank canvas on sale at Michael's for $15.  What a deal.  I figured for $15 I could pretend I was an artist, and even if it didn't turn out, it wouldn't be that big a deal.

 I sketched the pattern right on the canvas with a regular old pencil.
I picked colors that coordinated with my gray and yellow bedroom.  A little orange was added just for fun.  I used inexpensive acrylic paints, also from Michael's.  
Then I started outlining with the black paint.  It didn't take me long to realize that I should have started with the color and do the outlines at the end.
 I ended up having to do the outlines 2-3 times in places.
 Maddie and Emily helped me decide which color should go where.  All three kids helped with the painting.  It ended up being a fun summer craft project.  I love the way it looks hanging on my bedroom wall!  Hooray for inexpensive, fun art!



Monday, July 22, 2013

Boys are Just Easier

 Hey Friends,

So Friday night was Jack's big birthday sleepover.  He and his friends had a blast.  The whole party, start-to-finish, was pretty much orchestrated by Jack.  He made the invites.  He picked the menu (Little Caesar's pizzas & snacks, pancakes, fruit and sausage for breakfast).  He picked the activities.  I picked up the pizzas, cut the fruit, and opened the candy.  It was the easiest party, ever.

The boys played night games and lots and lots of Rock Band.  Jack says they went to bed at 2am. I didn't hear a thing.
Jack even picked the world's easiest birthday cake:
I remember my mom making eclair cake when I was growing up, but this particular recipe came from Jack's Godparents, Denise and Tony.  Jack loves eclair cake;  seriously loves it.   It's super easy to make.  Want to try Jack's favorite cake?  Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Eclair Cake

2 boxes of instant French Vanilla pudding mix
2 1/2 C. milk (2 cups if using skim milk)
1-8 oz cream cheese, softened
1-12 oz Cool Whip (thawed)
1 box graham crackers
1 can of chocolate fudge frosting

Blend pudding mix and milk together with a hand mixer.  Add softened cream cheese and mix well.  Fold in Cool Whip until well-blended.  Layer the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with graham crackers;  spread 1/2 of the pudding mixture on top, a layer of graham crackers, and then the rest of the pudding mixture.  Top with a final layer of graham crackers.  Remove the foil lining from the frosting can and put in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until almost runny.  Pour the chocolate over the top layer of graham crackers, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Hooray for super-easy, super-fun birthday parties!



Friday, July 19, 2013

Five for Friday

Hi Friends!

It's FRIDAY!!  Hooray!  I love Fridays. They are definitely my favorite.  Ready for some fun links for the weekend?  Here you go!

1.  I kind of really love this bag.  Yes.  I am a grammar nerd.

2.  I loved this funny NY Magazine article on parties we should have instead of weddings.  I especially wish I had thrown Christy a Student Loan Repayment Day party.  I am seriously considering hosting Graduation Shower  for Emily next year.  : )

3.  We are slowly turning Raffi's room back into the den.  We've moved a couch and chair in there, and I had John hang my vintage chalkboard up on the wall.  It's starting to look cute.  We even hung out in there one night.  I'm searching for some fun vintage art to put on the walls.  I love this old WPA poster of a boy reading a funny book. 

4.  Every time I think, "I have more than enough Project Life stuff," they release new core kits.  First it was Elise's Seafoam edition, then it was Liz's Midnight edition, and now I can't wait to get my hands on Elsie & Emma's Sunshine edition.   You're killing me, Becky Higgins!  : )

5.  I really need someone to get pregnant ASAP.  I loooove this shower theme!!  I really want to be friends with Melanie in real life.  She throws the best parties.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!  We are in full party mode tonight celebrating Jack's birthday.  Other than that, I have nothing.  Yahoo!



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jack-Man!

Dear Jack,

I love being your mom.
You are goofy and fun,
smart and talented.
You are comfortable with yourself.
You have a confidence that comes from within.
You take things in stride.
You tell me you love me every day.
You have a grateful heart.
You don't like to disappoint.
You crack yourself up.
You love Minecraft, candy, popcorn, Little Caesar's Pizza, reading, Peace Tea, and Buster.
You give great hugs.

You are the best son.  
You are completely awesome.

I'm so glad you were born.

Happy 12th Birthday, Jack.



Monday, July 15, 2013

Some Thoughts On Blogging

Hi Friends,

I'm sorry it has been so quiet around here lately.  I am knee-deep into a big 'ole blogging slump right now.  I received a bit of blog criticism a few weeks ago, and it has really sent me in a tailspin.  This is the second time this same criticism has been flung at me, and it was not any easier to hear the second time around.  I'm not going to lie, friends:  it really hurt my heart and made me want to stop blogging altogether.  

When I started blogging a few years ago, I did so to record my life's happy moments.  It was supposed to be a place where I could stay connected with my family and friends.  By some weird internet magic, I have made lots of new non-family friends through my blog.  A lot of my most loyal readers are people I don't even know in real life.  I have some wonderful blog friends.  Truly.  

But I also have a few readers who I just can't seem to please.  As a person with a huge people-pleaser heart, this hurts.  It makes me feel like I have to be extra careful about everything I do and do not post.  It definitely takes the fun out of blogging.  

So I took some time off to re-evaluate why I even bother to keep posting.  Here's what I discovered: people notice when I don't post.  For some of my readers, this little blog means something--they look forward to reading it every day.  That makes my heart happy.  I also discovered that I missed blogging.  I missed putting my words out there every day.

So I will continue to blog and do my best to record life's joyful moments.  I hope you'll continue to want to read about them.



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

50 Miles in July

Hey Friends!

It's JULY!  I'm already panicking about how fast this summer is going.  Slow down for Pete's sake!  Anyway.  I'm feeling inspired to try a new challenge this month. I'm going to join Marta over at Hausofgirls for her "50 Miles in July" (walk or run) challenge.  I'm going to add these miles to my spin and lifting routine and see how it goes.  I do love a good challenge!  You can check my progress on Instagram @ vickiterlap.  

I'd love to have you join me!