Saturday, May 31, 2008


I ventured out to the brand new Cord Camera in North Olmsted today. (Thanks for the email, Chris D.!) I heard it was a great new space, and it didn't disappoint. I picked up the new Hello Sunshine papers there from Cosmo Cricket--they spoke to me!Then I went across the street to Archiver's and saw these lovely finds. We R Memory Keepers put out a line that is exclusive to Archiver's and it is happy and bright. I LOVE it!
Aaaahhhh...and yes. Thank you Karen F. for your email!! She was at Archiver's last night taking a class and shot me an email to tell me the new Passport line from Making Memories was in stock and flying off the shelves. Laina was working and didn't even have to twist my arm or anything...ha!

Seriously, I love you enablers out there. Every single one of you. You totally get it. And you rock.
Wanna know the best part? I'm spending the entire day cropping with some girlfriends tomorrow at an all-day crop, so all this stuff will be going with me! I'm so excited, I'm not sure I'll be able to sleep...

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, too...

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I spent the evening with a lovely group of ladies over at Tina's house. I enjoyed laughing with them--they have all been friends for years--and they were kind enough to invite me to teach a mini book class in honor of Tina's birthday next month...Of course I had to take a picture of this cookie tree for the blog! What a cute idea, huh? Tina's sister Deb has a client that makes these! You can't see how large it is--and the cookies were delish! The base of the tree is an inverted grapevine cone that is covered in silk flowers. A bow is on the top, and scissors are tied and tucked into the tree, so you simply snip the ribbon when guests are on the way out the door as a favor. Great idea! I'm placing an order for sure...

Whenever I leave Tina's basement, I feel more disorganized than when I arrive. I simply take in the surroundings and dream of this type of organization one day...

Thank you for having me--you guys were wonderful!

As for the project...I will be posting pictures and selling a few leftover kits at the beginning of next week, so be on the lookout!!

Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hump Day Inspiration

Happy Wednesday, Bloggers!

Thought I'd share this one from Tina with you all. She used the June Project Kit screen to make a memory board of her trip to Disney. Totally adorable, huh? I think it would make an awesome teacher appreciation gift, too...Speaking of which, I wanted to share this idea from Yvonne Lopresto. She made these for her daughter's teacher, and the gift card was attached at the bottom. All the flowers are textured (using the cuttlebug embossing templates) and the whole thing is absolutely gorgeous! Love all the patterned paper and layering on this one...
I plan on making a trip up to Walgreens today to grab a ton of candy bars for my daughter's teacher at the volunteer luncheon next week. Thanks for the idea, Tina! I'll share the finished project later on...

Have a super day all!

A little sneaky...

I know it is early...but since there has been a lot of buzz about these papers, I've had some email. These beautiful items is only PART of the loaded Work in Progress July Project kit, which will be available on June 15th to the public. Two big aspects to the project kit include--TWO mini albums, the whole Liberty line from Scenic Route, and Trendy from Jenni Bowlin Studio. Lots of extras in this kit as well--including two alphas and altered metal stars. What I love about all the papers is that they can suit anyone--and not just people scrapping patriotic holidays. All the Scenic Route is double sided, and the Trendy is so versatile, it can go with just about anything!

Hope you all enjoy this shortened work week!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I attended an event last night, and I wanted to share.
My mom, my daughter Jami and I all attended our very first Relay for Life at Rocky River High School. And it was something. Really, really extraordinary.
I had heard of such events, but never got the details. I know that once you attend, you can't help but be moved. Everyone has been affected by cancer--everyone. This annual fund raising event goes on year-round for the teams that participate (and there were 76 teams in yesterday's event who had to raise a minimum of $800 each to participate). It's hard to believe, but the planning for the next event will begin as soon as this one is over.
For those of you not familiar, Rocky River is a local public high school. Their stadium and high school are in close proximity, so the whole place was decorated in honor of this year's theme, "Pirates of the Cure-ibberan." I have to share some of the amazing details with you all. No stone was left unpolished by these people...

The teachers at the school are amazing. I'm completely biased because the art teacher there is one of my best friends--Jennifer Bueck. She and her students worked wonders. (Notice no picture of her--she told me I'd have to walk the plank if I posted one...) So here is a photo of a few of the students who helped with the Survivor Dinner...
In the school cafeteria, they held a very special dinner for all the cancer survivors. They had the distinction of wearing purple t-shirts. And they were everywhere. Pretty astonishing to see. Cancer doesn't discriminate. All survivors and guests enjoyed an amazing dinner that was catered by Outback Steakhouse (generous company--eat there!).
Allow me to dote on my dear friend, Jen for a moment. The pamphlets which contained instructions on how to talk "pirate" was a huge hit. You overheard people calling one another "wench" (lady) and getting away with it. There was a big list of definitions, and people got into it while we enjoyed dinner. The place cards each contained a pirate name (she actually found a site that generated pirate names--can you believe?) and we all were addressed that way. Notice the Quickutz skulls on the place cards?
They also had a speaker who was a mother to a child survivor. Helen Killius was diagnosed with cancer when she was 5 years old. Mrs. Killius spoke of her story as a mother--with Helen right at her side. It was riveting. It made me reach over and hug my daughter tight. And as I panned the room, I realized each purple shirt had a story too.
The whole event was a celebration of life. Evidence of hard work and detail left everyone admiring and appreciating the decor, too. The art classes made murals that lined the walls and halls. They are a talented bunch! My personal favorite was the rope that held flags which lined the cafeteria...

How about the skull and cross-bones on all the doors? Thank you, Cricut Expression (don't you love the Indie cartridge?)
The centerpieces were made by Jen's mom, Susan Rhee. The container was a treasure chest, and survivors took them home. They had lots of "booty" (treasure) scattered around the table too...

You may recognize these paint cans from an earlier post. Jen made 75 of these "survival kits" for each one of the survivors to take home. Thank you, Sherman Williams!! She decorated and filled every single one of them and handed them out. The top of the can contained a poem, explaining the contents of the can itself. The can was filled with generous donations from local and national sponsors, and they were beautiful. I can't believe she made all those on her own...
It was a wonderful evening.

Jen's mom, Susan, and my mom both are survivors. Sitting between them I felt really honored. I am humbled by their courage and strength. I looked across the table to find another survivor, Sarah, (a lady you will hear more about in the future) talking with my mom about their stories.

Sarah, I know you don't know this--but she has never, ever done that to anyone in 8 years. She was so moved by your story when I told her about you this week, that she looked forward to meeting you. I'm so glad you two connected.
For you locals, stop up and join in on the fun if you don't have plans for today. The teams are still walking around the track all day long, and the public is invited to come and enjoy the festivities. There are booths and food (and I hear the liquid nitrogen booth where he'll freeze anything for $1 is pretty cool...) Come on out and support a great cause.

During this Memorial Day weekend, we honor those who have served our country. I couldn't help but also mention the service that goes on in communities and events such as this as well.

I hope you all have a splendid Memorial Day!! Go out and enjoy it!

Friday, May 23, 2008

A couple more ideas...

My friend Michelle Griffith sent me this idea for Teacher Appreciation gifts. She used a beach towel, sunblock and an O Magazine for her teacher gifts last year, and packaged them up in a pail for presentation. Cute idea, huh?This year, she's going to try her hand at the bags that were made on Martha. You can check it out here. Totally adorable, huh? Not a difficult project for beginning sewers, either...
Thanks for the tips, Michelle!

And since Memorial Day is here, I wanted to share a recipe I throw together in a pinch all the time...

Strawberry Truffle

8 oz. cool whip

1 pound cake or angel food cake, cubed

1 prepared vanilla or lemon instant pudding


1/2 C. sugar

Mix strawberries with sugar, making a syrup.

Layer cubed cake, pudding, strawberries and cool whip. Repeat, and garnish with strawberries on top. Chill, and serve cold.

This one is another GREAT one from my Colombian friend, Sandra. It is best if it is made the night before and marinates overnight. MAN, totally worth the effort...It's a unique salsa filled with beans--and it is one of my favorites...

Sandra’s Bean Salsa

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped fine

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped fine

1./2½ cup fresh chopped cilantro

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 can white hominy, drained and rinsed

1 8 oz. bottle Kraft Zesty Italian salad dressing

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Stir well to coat all ingredients. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours (overnight is best). Serve with tortilla chips or as a side dish/salad.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Online Classes

I'm a big fan of taking online classes. Whenever I get in a rut or want to simply challenge myself to learn something new, I go looking. Here are two that I have coming up that I'd like to share. And hey--if you decide to take the plunge, let me know and we'll chat over on the message boards!!

The first is from Debbie Hodge. Total sweetheart with a great new book called "Get It Scrapped: Organize, Visualize, Create" that you should all go out and grab.

Here is the write up for the class:

5 weeks, 5 page parts (canvas, photos, embellishments,titles, journaling), 15 challenges, & the chance to use your stash -- starting May 26. cost $20.

Wake up every Monday to a lesson and layout challenge spotlighting the week's "page part." Receive new lessons and challenges on Wednesdays and Fridays as you push yourself to master and have fun with the core elements of a scrapbook page. Share your layouts in the class gallery and earn points toward prizes. Each week a new class designer will provide inspiration and encouragement, and you'll get a "sketch packet" with a variety of one-pagers and two-pagers to pull from if you're stuck. It's going to be fun! You can register at

The other class I recently signed up for is this one:

The class description for this reads:
Got Sketch 101 is a three-week online class designed and taught by Valerie Salmon and Janna Wilson. The class kicks off June 9th and will feature the most creative sketches yet: TEN exclusive, never-before-seen sketches for 12x12 one-page layouts, 12x12 two-page layouts, cards and altered items! As an added bonus, we are also providing the layout sketches in 8 1/2 x 11 format. Sketches & projects will be added 2-3 times weekly during the three-week workshop. At the end of the course, you will have a downloadable pdf of all the sketches, too!
Class fee: $21.00. You can register here for this class.

I took the best class with Janna a few weeks ago and I'm still gushing about the fun projects. You all know I'm a huge fan of sketches, so this one was a no-brainer for me.

Hope you guys dive in and join me in the fun--you'll be happy you did!

And while I'm "plugging" I better add this one. Move over, Paypal. This company is intending on cashing in on some of that market share. I, for one, am thrilled. Those fees and charges add up. This company is offering to pay YOU for transactions, and they start you off with $25 FREE just for opening an account. They got my attention for sure. Click on the button below to sign up! (I know the deadline says May 15th, but the offer has been extended...)

Refer A Friend using Revolution Money Exchange

And one last note. HUGE hugs and congrats go out to my favorite blogger and friend, Karen Russell. She and Josh Downs are tying the knot today, and I hope they have the most wonderful day evah!! Can't wait to see those pictures...

Enjoy your Thursday!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Teacher Appreciation

This one is an oldie, but a goodie...As a former teacher myself, I can tell you that gift cards are the way to go. Now, the packaging is where I like to enhance the gift a bit. This altered paint can is from 3 years ago when I made it for my daughter's teacher, and it was a big hit. The embellies are from Karen Foster. I know these are older, but she came out with new school papers and embellies this year as well...
The inside of the can contained this little mini fold out. I used office supplies to enhance it. This is one of my former publications, and the teacher we gave it to was and is pretty special. When it was finished, we gave it to her with photos of my daughter, her and the other students from that year along with the gift card.
Thought this was a cute idea too. The over sized tile contains a vinyl enhancement from Uppercase Living. Cute little decorative item for someone...
One of the local candy shops here (Suzin L Chocolatier) makes the most delish spring colored malted milk balls. They fit perfectly into the little felt pails from Target's dollar spot! The gift card tucks into the side of the pail easily.
If you have any teacher appreciation suggestions, please feel free to email them to and I'll be sure to post them!

Enjoy your "hump" day!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Senior Albums

I know many of you out there are mothers to high school seniors. And right about now, you're excited for them, but also a little more than stressed out about everything going on in your son's/daughter's life. Here is an album idea that you can implement--it's not too late. Set aside some time, get a ton of cardstock (a neutral and the school colors) and keep it simple.

A few years back, I taught a weekend class and we managed to make an entire 12x12 album on one person's senior high school year. I'd like to share some of the layouts from that class with you today.First off, every person's album was unique to them, depending on the school's colors. There were a couple of pages, like the one above, that varied from the general theme. For example, if the high school's colors were blue and gold, most the entire album used those colors. Please keep in mind, the following are just samples, and not all in the same book--your album would depend on your school colors.

The above layout is a 2 pager that is titled, "What I want you to know... Words of Wisdom by...MOM" and then the other page would say "...and DAD." They are all mini envelopes with tags tucked inside, and each parent is to write personal memories and words of wisdom specific to that child graduating. The little spots on the envelopes are numbers, although you can't see it that well--sorry! The red mattes are spots where you can put a photo of mom & dad along with the grad.

The next page is an "All About Me" page. Straight and to the point. A list of favorites in little boxes all over the place. Easily a 2 pager here. Topics could include: Favorite store, website, movie, car, school subject, all-time teacher, sport, saying, beverage, celebrity, color, junk food/fast food, hangout, reality TV show, daily ritual, i pod tune list, etc. I also included on the right, a spot for them to write in--who makes me laugh, places I'd love to travel, what I know for sure, most embarrassing moment, stuff I never leave home without, and personal stats (name, nickname, height, weight, age, address/phone).
This one is a single paged layout, but if there is more to this story, it can be expanded easily. On here list: My future plans, my dream job, places I'd love to live, where they want to be in 5, 10 and 20 years. You may also want to include acceptance letters here.
This is one of the favorites. That was then. Go to under time capsule (or click here) and put in the child's date of birth. Print it out and trim it. It will give you a run down of the price of gas, who was president, favorite song that year, etc. So fun to look back! Ideally, take a baby picture and a current picture and place them both on this page for reference.
Be sure to take a picture of the senior's school. I went to this high school, and 23 years later, it looks totally different now, so you'll want that point of reference in the future.
General school layouts. Encourage the senior to take a camera to school, photograph their lockers, favorite teachers, the office, etc.

Be sure to do at least one graduation layout too, so you can just add pictures quickly later on.
You may want to include an overview of all 12+ years of school on a 2 paged layout. Start with pre-school or kindergarten and go through the years on a layout like the one below.
Other possible topics you may want to cover in this album could be:

A layout on their friends.
Photograph their bedroom.
Include their class schedule and a page on their typical day at school.
Do they have a job? Photograph their uniform/place of work.
Did they play sports, participate in extra-curricular activities? Do a 2 pager on that.
Spring Formal
Senior Pranks/Senior Skip Day
Senior Pictures
Graduation party
An autograph page to layout out at the graduation party for others to sign
...and the list goes on and on...

When an album uses a simple format--you really do focus on the photos and story. Go light on the patterned paper and embellishments--they aren't needed, and you'll drive yourself crazy trying to get "the perfect one." If you insist on doing something a little extra, make your own patterned paper using Microsoft Word. All the patterned papers with the school names above I created in a Word document and printed at home on my computer--I didn't buy any of them.

I am an aunt to a graduating senior this year, so I feel your pain, but only slightly. I'll post finished photos of my niece's senior book when I finish it up on the blog.

Congrats to all you moms out there who have raised those seniors.

Enjoy your Tuesday everyone!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A few more party ideas...

My family and I attended a Confirmation party today, and it was just lovely. These ideas came straight from my friend Val, who put on a lovely party... These fruit skewers were made the night before, and she used the oasis that absorbed water. She loaded the oasis, soaked the skewers themselves in water, and then added the fruit. They stayed good overnight, and there was no rush the day of the party. Aren't they beautiful? She had them next to the chocolate fountain, and when we left, not a flower was left...

Recognize these beauties? Gotta love friends that share...Margaret and Jen--we both owe you!
Val's daughter Paige made this beautiful shadow box display. Following in her mother's shoes, of course...

This was the coolest thing. Each box said something about Paige, and it was on display at her school, along with the other students. I am totally inspired to do one of these now...
Val created this beautiful display by printing out Paige's statement of faith along with the party invitation. It was on the dessert table, and everyone stopped to read it. Beautiful touch!
Thanks for a wonderful day--we love you guys!

My friend Rita sent me a link to share this for those of you in the throws of baby showers. Totally adorable and unique ideas!! Thanks, Rita!

More graduation and party ideas coming in the next few weeks. If you have one that you'd like to share, please email me at I'd love to post it!!

Happy Monday!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cool things.

I got these two great cookbooks for Mother's Day. Amazing things happen when you send your hubby a link, huh? I plan on trying out a bunch of new recipes next week, and I'll share any good ones with you all...For you locals, I found all this stuff at Archiver's yesterday. Now I have to say, these items are not officially "cool," but when you have a niece that is graduating in a few weeks and you want to throw something together quickly for her, you take the plunge. I did a weekend long class on "My Senior Year" a few years ago when I taught at a lss, and I will share those layouts and ideas here in the next week or so. I know a lot of you are feeling the grad crunch right now... BTW, they have several other local schools there as well...
These Fancy Pants papers made me happy...
And all these tags from Elle's Studio did, too. Man, can't wait to use those numbers in that private class coming up!!
I was stumbled upon this blog using the May WIP kit, and want everyone to know what a doll she is. Love what she did with the kit, and the fact that I came upon it through Willow Traders by happenstance made me smile. Love you, Jamie!

I took an online class from Janna Wilson a few weeks back and loved it. The altered projects were absolutely adorable!! You can purchase it here if you are interested. Love her blog too--so inspired by all her work!! I even checked into this when I jumped over there today...

Have a wonderful weekend, bloggers!