Monday, January 31, 2011

Guest Designer on Monday

New kits coming up, new Guest Designer to show them off.

Please welcome Deanna Deaton, February Guest Designer.  Deanna has fantastic pages and the inspiration will just be flying!  You can check out her work on her blog HERE.  She's chosen to work with the Smaller than a Breadbox February kit and her first fantastic layout with the Echo Park Be Mine line. . .

Deanna even has a few tips for you. . .me. . .us:  
  • I spritzed the doily heart with Tattered Angels Sweet Pea Glimmer Mist for more color.
  • Handstitched the flower centers for added interest.
  • Handcut the framing circle to highlight my photo and used a Martha Stewart Heart Border Punch at the bottom.
Items used but not in the kit:  Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist, VersaMagic Black Ink, October Afternoon, Making Memories Tiny Alphas, American Crafts Fabric Thickers

Thanks, Deanna, for a great start to February.  I know I can't wait to see more!


Crops, Pages, December Daily and Monday's Challenge

Monday.  Last day of January.  Can you believe it?  It's as dead and brown here as it ever was.  While the rest of the west (and east for that matter) gets dumped on, we are high and dry.  Cold - flippin' frigid actually - but no white stuff.  High tomorrow, a whopping 1 degree! 

On Friday one of my sisters blew the "who wants to crop" whistle, which I had been thinking about heading out to do all week, I just never made the call to reserve my spot.  So on a whim, with 2 hours to get dinner together for those I left behind, grab some supplies (gotta love kits for that reason alone!) and off I went - without a clue as to what I was going to work on, even though I had jammed all sorts of things in my bag.

Little side note - I love walking into a crop with my one shoulder tote that holds all I need for that night; cutting tools, pens, a couple punches, a fistful of kits and photos pulled to match.  It takes me two minutes to get to work (okay two hours and two minutes, there's the whole "let's go get something to eat," some catch-up chatting and the obligatory walk around the store) and at the end of the night two minutes to pack up, with one trip to the car.  

Once I finally settle into work, I decided to work on my December Daily.  The kit was a KI Memories kit, with an album.  One of those "I'm not sure what I'll use this for, but it's too cute to pass up" purchases.  Turns out it's the perfect thing for my Dec. Daily for 2010.  I did nine pages - yes, one has no photos and there are several that need filler-photos, but hey, nine pages!!  You'll see them below - I think I made it to about day 19 or 20.  I also determined that 12x12 is NOT a size I will use again for a December Daily project.  For the type of project it is, for me, it really needs to be a smaller album - 6x6 or 8x8.

So, with those nine pages I think that about covers me for the part of my 2011 goals that has me completing a page a month.  Feels good.  The downside is I always leave a crop wishing I could just continue cropping away.

Let's see what can I give you so that you get at least one page done this month?  Drawing from my own cropping, complete a layout about last year's Christmas season.  It can be anything you did during the month of December.  Upload your link by Sunday evening.

I'm off to tackle the "getting my house in order portion" of my 2011 goals by doing my chores.

Happy Monday.

Friday, January 28, 2011

5 on Friday

Friday.  (Sigh)  Nearing the end of January. (Sigh)  I see a dim, barely perceptible light down that tunnel - dang, is that a whistle?  (Sigh)

Crazy week, followed by a crazier weekend.  But nothing like a little 5 on Friday to perk things up.  Well, at least for me, thinking about you playing it ;)

For those new to it, below you'll find your ingredients for this week:
  • 1 sheet cardstock
  • 1 sheet patterned paper
  • 1 length of ribbon
  • 1 set of anything star-shaped
  • 1 large embellishment
Outside of the title and any journaling, only the above items can be used on your layout.  Load it up by Sunday evening.

The good thing about nearing the end of January -seriously, the end??  Didn't we JUST ring in the new year? - is that February marks Apron Strings' birthday.  Six years.  Look for lots of fun stuff on the blog to celebrate!

Have a fantastic weekend.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sketches on Wednesday

Nothing says simple like a good sketch - you know, no thinking about what to put where.  Just makes getting a page completed that much faster.  Add the fact that it's a 2-pager, and well. . . how can you lose.

Snagging one from Nuts About Sketches:

Load 'er up by Sunday!

Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One Little Word

I'm not sure when she started it, I'm sure she's said and it's just not something I need to remember, but Ali Edwards' has done One Little Word on her blog for at least two years.  This year she has a class about it over at Big Picture Classes  If you don't know - in a nutshell - you select a word, give it meaning for you, and embrace it all year long.  Since I first read about this project I thought it was a great idea, but I couldn't really come up with a word; nothing really spoke to me.  Then a little over a year ago, when she started another round, one word started ringing in my head.  It comes up often in my thoughts, it's weird how, when and where it pops up.  I don't know if it's just the time in my life, the ages of my kids, the clutter that fills both my schedule and my home, but it's there - I can't shake it.  I've been holding on to the word for over a year, so it's time to open the door to it and embrace all that it means to me.


Which during the months of January and February seems like an oxymoron in my life:  work, basketball, soccer, family, home - you name it - my life is the farthest from simple during these first couple months of every year.

It'll be interesting to see how the year goes - I have definitions for the word and where to apply it - so it'll be fun.  And in the end I'm hoping I achieve Simple, because the next word is beckoning me already.

If you'd like to join me this year in One Little Word, check out Ali's blog link above and then leave a comment with your word - we can cheer each other on.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Are you Liking Apron Strings?

There's not much time left this month - have you come over and "Liked" Apron Strings on Facebook yet?  No?  Well, come on.  I'm giving away a kit to one lucky "Liker" if you've Liked by the end of the month.

You know, the grammar, or lack there-of, in the above paragraph - well, it makes me crazy.  Don't make me have to ask again. . .just Go, Like, Win!


My home is finally a "Christmas-Free" zone.  Yes, that means I have taken down the tree.  Finally.  The rest of the stuff has been gathered and taken down over the last couple weeks.  Doesn't mean all the ornaments are back in the storage room, but they're getting there.  It also doesn't mean that I won't be cleaning some day soon and find an errant ornament, decoration or other Christmas bauble laying around, that I'll have to tuck somewhere for when it all gets dragged out later this year.  But it's down, if not completely out.

We get to enjoy Patchi's final layout for this month - using the Crate Snow Day papers from the Smaller than a Breadbox kit.  I love the flowers, made from the polka-dot papers.  Very cute!  You can continue to be inspired by Patchi's work on her blog HERE.  Thanks for a great month of inspiration, Patchi!!

So for today's challenge, let's draw inspiration from Patchi's layout - I can only look at Pottery Barn-beauty so long before my own surrounds look severely anemic and wanting.  Plus, Patichi's layout's too fun not to use - colors, handmade embellishments, layout, you name it.  Pick something or many things and run with it.

Share it by Sunday.  Note - thumbnails of your uploads are now a "pay for" feature of InLinkz, so I'm looking for another link service.

Have a great Monday,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday - More looks at January's Kit

First off check out this totally adorable layout by Patchi.  She used the Bella Blvd Socialite line.  I'm loving all the circles.  And that is one big pizza.

Looking for challenges?  As if the ones here weren't enough. . .well, when I get back on schedule they will be.  They have been a tad thin these past few weeks.  Anyway, you can find Apron Strings sponsoring all month long over at Challenge Masters.  A great little site with lots to do.  Find the challenges this month that'll qualify you for entry into the drawing.  Check HERE and then head to the forums for the challenges.

AND, this week Apron Strings is sponsoring over at Sketch Inspirations.  Check out this week's sketch, enter your layout for a chance to win, and while you're there get inspiration from the Sous Chefs and what they did with the sketch.  Check it all out HERE.

If that isn't enough, I'll draw some more inspiration from Por. . ah. . .Pottery Barn.  This time with a nod to boys.  What will you take from the photo below; from and their Oceanside suite.

So if you're ready to get started on those 2011 scrapbooking goals, rustle up a layout and add the link by Sunday evening to be eligible for Cookie Jar Treats.

Kids are off today, many things to do.  Have a great Monday.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Many Things, Little Time

You know one of these days I'll actually look at a calendar when I plan things.  Well, I do look at a calendar, maybe what I should say is THINK about what's actually happening on the calendar.  Case in point - Blog Hop.  Running it over billing/shipping days probably not so smart, even though it was super fun anyway.

The turn out was fantastic.  It sounds like everyone had fun going around to see the new Sous Chefs and their awesome work and collecting tons of inspiration and the phrases that pay.  Hurray!!

I had truly intended to post at least one challenge on Sunday, but . . . billing happened.  My plan was to pull names for Blog Hop prizes bright and early Monday morning but the chaos that is the four days of billing and shipping was in full swing.

Had meant to post Guest Designer Patchi's latest work of art using January's kit. . .well you get the idea.  Note to self - those little numbers on the calendar are there for a reason.  Pay attention!!

So, here we are at Wednesday.  It's flippin' cold.  Snow and ice cover pretty much everything.  I've done my time at school serving hot lunch.  I have one basketball game behind me and two still in front of me.  I'm up to my neck in shipping.  And I'm not gonna think about the end-of-the-year stuff that needs doing.  But there are anxious people who hopped all weekend and now want to know if they are winners. And let's face it, that's far more fun anyway (well, except for basketball games where I get to watch my boys finally, FINALLY, sink their shots!  woohoo).  I decided to draw two names for two calendars:
  • Winner #1 Mary Hickory
  • Winner #2 Mvasquez69 (I'll need you to send me your shipping information so I can get your calendar out to you.)
A few great layouts posted during the challenges - not sure what happened to the thumbnails, I'll have to check that the next time.  But we have a winner:
  • Briel
Now, Patchi (aka Patricia Moussatche), you can check out her blog HERE, has shown us great examples she's created with the January Smaller than a Breadbox.  Here are two super cut, yet super easy cards.  Love the stitching!

For those of you who won and are an Apron Strings Member, I'll be shipping goodies with your kits.  For those who aren't members . . . why the heck not ;). . .I'll get your goodies out later this week.

Thanks everyone who hopped along; might have to do that again later this year.  Now, I've got a dinner to get together and homework that needs overseeing and a mailman to make unhappy tomorrow.  Catch you later.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blog Hop Challenge #5

Saturday nights tend to be crazy for us.  We've usually attended at least two games, whether it's basketball season or soccer season, doesn't matter.  Then we head to church and by the time we get home it can be late for us eating-wise and our time at home has typically been minimal.  Today we left at 8:45 and didn't get back home until 3:30 - no time to get any kind of dinner together.  So it's usually a mish-mash of leftovers from the week's dinners.

Your challenge tonight is going to be no different.  What's for scrapping?  LEFTOVERS - no grumbling allowed!

Create a layout using only the scraps from previous work that can be found on your scrap-space.  Cardstock for a base is the exception.  So buttons, brads, ribbon, scraps of paper, whatever's laying there is what you can use.

This layout is due Sunday evening to get you in a drawing for a Cookie Jar Treat.  If this is your first post, check HERE to get all the info on the Blog Hop, where to start, what you should look for and what you can win!  Remember, leaving love behind will earn you a chance to win something from each of the Chefs.  Comments must be posted by Sunday evening - so there's still plenty of time.

Blog Hop Challenge #4

Short and sweet since I'm posting from my phone awaiting the start of the next basketball game. 
For this challenge combine some of your most recent photos with some of your oldest supplies.  Include at least three different types of embellishments and two different patterned papers.

Like the other challenges, this due Sunday evening.

If you haven't hopped around to visit the Sous Chefs yet. . .what are you waiting for?

Blog Hop - Challenge #3

Start your morning off right, with coffee and a new challenge.

Hard to pry your eyes open?  A little slow to get started?  Give this challenge a try. . .  Create this morning's layout using a pink, orange and lime green color set. 

Upload your link by Sunday evening to be eligible for Cookie Jar Treats.

If you haven't made the round of the desinger's start with this post HERE so you can head off to visit the 2011 Sous Chefs.  Leave some love behind and you could win; each designer will be doing a drawing.  Collect the phrases to win a Basic Grey 2011 Calendar kit.

I'm off to the first of two basketball games - enjoy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blog Hop - Challenge #2

Are you a scrapper who hits her stride later in the evening?  Or is it just the only time you have to yourself? 
If you're a moonlight scrapper, here's a little challenge for you.

Start with a great sketch from Nuts About Sketches (we love them!)
Finally, just add some black and silver - in honor of late-hour-croppin.

So my little late-night-soul sista scrappers, have this layout linked up by Sunday evening to be eligible for a Cookie Jar Treat.

Come back tomorrow for more Blog Hoppin' fun.  Don't forget to make the rounds and leave a little love for the hard workin' designers.

Blog Hop - Challenge #1

It's a blue-sky-sunny kind of day - the snow we waited so long for is almost gone and the brown is back.  I'm watching a squirrel run along the roof-line of the house behind us.  Does he really think he's gonna find food up there?  The only food will be him, if the hawk that frequents the neighborhood sees him.

So, have you hopped around to visit the new Sous Chefs?  Their work is just wonderful, it should be a great year for designs and inspiration.

Let's put some of that inspiration to work, with a 5 on Friday challenge.  Below is your ingredient list:
  • 1 sheet cardstock
  • 1 sheet double sided patterned paper
  • 1 set stickers
  • 1 length ribbon
  • 1 set of round embellies - buttons, brads, eyelets (you have them, you know you do.)
Other than journaling and a title you CANNOT use any other items than those listed above on your layout.

For every challenge you do this weekend, and post a link to, you'll get an entry into drawings during the Blog Hop Weekend.

Please visit the blogs, leave some love and enjoy!

Remember, lots of chances to gather great ideas, win prizes and get some scrapbooking done to get the 2011 year off to a great start.

Welcome the 2011 Sous Chef Blog Hop

A (Laurel) and Hardy Welcome to the Apron Strings 2011 Sous Chefs!  A wonderful bunch of talented scrapbookers who are sure to get the creative juices going in you this year.

To get to know them, I'm sending you off to distant corners of the web to visit their great blogs.  You'll find fabulous inspiration with Apron Strings kits, plus their other fantastic work.  While you're blog-hopping, leave a little love behind and be entered into drawings.  Yes, that's plural; drawings.  They'll each be drawing a name from the comments left on the the "Hop" posts.  Winners will receive a Cookie Jar Treat, deadline to leave your comments is Sunday evening.

But wait. . .there's more.  As you hop around, collect the answers to the question, "Why Apron Strings?" and have a chance to win a Basic Grey 2011 calendar.  Each of the designers has a phrase to collect, once you have them all, email them to me ( by Sunday evening and I'll draw a name from the entries.

And if you act now you can even get some scrapbooking done this weekend, as I'll post a few challenges that could net you a Cookie Jar Treat too!

Is there anything you do this weekend that won't earn you a chance at a Cookie Jar Treat?  Yes.  Not play.  If you don't play, you can't win.

How's that for starting the new year?!  Goodies, inspiration, treats, completed pages, more goodies.  Did I mention the goodies?

So off you go, first to:
Then you'll continue on to see the rest of the ladies:

Remember to come back here later today and through the remainder of the weekend to gather some challenges to play with. 
Now - off with you!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy Wind-sday

Just like in Winnie the Pooh - it's Wind-sday.  Blustery.  Somehow the weather people here take 20-40 mph winds and call it "Breezy."  Ah-huh.  Sorry, If' I'm seeing Toto fly by that's not so much breezy.

I was looking through a Pottery Barn catalog yesterday, drooling over the pages - that catalog is serious decorator porn.  I don't know what it is; the color schemes, the style of furniture, the organizational pieces and cute baskets, or the fact that the rooms are clean and I didn't have to repeat myself 10 times to get them that way, but their catalogs are serious eye-candy for me.

So, in honor of my addiction and the desire to win the lottery (I didn't win the Mega-Ball last night) so I can live in a Pottery Barn home, your challenge is to create a layout inspired by this photo of the "Boho Maison" bedroom from  Be inspired by the colors (dang, I love those colors), textures, white space, the floral light, whatever grabs you.  Post it by Sunday evening.

Happy  Wind-sday!

Oh, P.S.  Friday starts the Blog Hop - be here to play, and win!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January's My Mind's Eye

Snag a quick little look at the cute card Patricia Moussatche created with scraps from her My Mind's Eye Fine & Dandy line.  With the card base being dark brown, she added the lined notebook sheet for writing a sentiment.  When I saw that it was a "head slap" moment.  Duh!

You can see more of Patricia's great work on her blog HERE.

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Ah, a new year, new chances, new choices, new opportunities. 

Isn't it funny how the simple turning of a calendar page makes you feel like it's a whole new start, instead of just another day.  I start looking forward to the new year, wondering what joys and sadness may be within it.  I start planning things I'd like to change or do different.  I'm not a fan of the word "resolution" so I don't use it; though I do like "goals" and "changes."

So as I set up my 2011 calendar and add important dates to it, and I wonder what the coming year will look like - I'm going to stay in denial about having a High Schooler in the house later this year for as long as I can - I plan things I'd like to accomplish during the year.

I've heard if you actual put them out there, tell someone, scrapbook about them, list them and put them where  you see them often, that you're more likely to accomplish them.  So below are my 2011 Goals:
  • I started last year, but will get back on track to eat a little better (I forgot to leave cookie crumbs back to the track since veering off to view and eat the sights along Christmas Delights Lane).  Not that my eating was horrid or anything, but because of changes and what are presented as "helpful questionnaires" in our new insurance, I thought it couldn't hurt to try to improve.  At least my answers later this year will be . . . ah, more healthful.  This includes getting back to setting up weekly dinner menus to make cooking and eating at home easier to do.
  • If my husband ever read this, he'd drag my butt out with him and tell me he's just trying to help.  Walking.  I hate exercise.  Seriously, I can't stand it.  I've tried the gym, the pilates classes, the weights and machines and whatnot, and it is NOT my thing.  There is nothing enjoyable about it for me.  The only halfway decent thing was that I could read while on the stationary bikes - but seriously you can only pedal for so long before your legs tell you to stop or they will stop for you.  I'm no Lance Armstrong.  But walking, walking is something I might be able to do.  So, I'll give it a try.
  • Organizing.  I have pockets of disorganization in my home, some more cavernous than others.  My plan  . . . sort it, purge it, and move on.  My hope is to tackle those areas early in the year and be done with them.  This also includes getting back into my regular cleaning route, which appears to take an extended vacation from just before Halloween until after the New Year.
  • Make "Me" time.  I hope and try for it every year, but as the kids get older, there's more on the schedule, more on our plates and life just picks up speed.  But I also know this is a necessary, needs-to-be-guilt-free, thing I need for me to recoup.  So, whether I read (it's been so long, I hope I remember how), pick up my embroidery (after reading an article, a fire was rekindled to do so again) or scrapbook, I need to make it a point.  I've heard people actually pencil it on their calendars, I may need to do that so I'm sure it's planned for.  And I'll use a sharpie marker to make sure it sticks.
  • Finally, get my scrapbook space into a place I WANT to go.  I was going to make this part of my whole-house thing, but decided it needed to be a separate item.  Watch the blog as I take the "walk of shame" and get my creative space in order.
What are your goals for the year?

Now, starting this Friday, there'll be a Blog Hop to announce the 2011 Sous Chefs.  You'll wander to their blogs, collect a little information and much inspiration and maybe a fun challenge or two over the weekend to get a good solid jump on your crafting goals.

I'm off to return some Christmas items and make good on getting back into my cleaning routine.

Happy Monday-