Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Crafts

I know lots of you ladies are crafters, especially this time of year! Today I thought I'd share a few I saw at a recent craft show...

M&M sleeves with adorable little toppers. Cute idea for a child's classroom!
Beautiful felt garlands. You can see another version here (and Ali Edward's version here.)

Ribbon Trees. Great way to use up your stash, too!

A beautiful mix of vintage and new red and silver ornaments on this wreath. So pretty!!
Homemade potpouri, perfectly packaged for hostess gifts. (I purchased the whole basket!)
And you know I had to get a few of these adorable owls made from felt. Swoon!
Special thanks to my dear friend Debbie Cordes, maker of all the above crafts (except for the m&m's). Feel free to link up your fun holiday craft ideas, too! Many more will follow in the coming days...
Enjoy your Tuesday!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Have you ever looked around and recalled memories after looking at a certain landmark? I hope I'm not the only one. Today, I wanted to share two of my December layouts from the Main WIP Kit, and both deal with this very subject...
The first one is a city landmark that means a lot to me.

Journaling reads: Whenever I see this building, it makes me feel nostalgic. The Terminal Tower building in downtown Cleveland, Ohio is a city landmark. Built in 1927, it is a symbol of pride and accomplishment to me. Whenever I see it, I think, "home." My ancestors came here as immigrants before this tower was erected. They walked the streets of Cleveland before they were paved. They built homes, raised families, and shopped at the West Side Market. They found the American Dream here. This city is where I graduated college, decades after their arrival from Ireland. I know it is just a landmark to many. But to me, the tower is a symbol of where my family has come, and where we are going...

The second landmark is from the front yard of my childhood home. I used text on the photo as my title.

Journaling reads: This tree...was much smaller when I was a kid. This tree is one of two trees in my parent's front yard (but not the one Lisa got "stuck" in with her 2 broken arms.) This tree was great to climb and hide in for night-time games of hide and seek in the neighborhood. This tree still gives us a lot of leaves to rake in the fall. This tree got toilet papered 3-4 times a year when we were growing up. This tree was the spot where David Bowman first held my hand. This tree provided shade in the summer so we could play Truth or Dare and Uno underneath it. This tree holds so many memories for me.
Today, I encourage you to look around at your environment, and get a little nostalgic. These stories are important too!
Enjoy your Monday!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Photography Tips for Christmas Photos

I've been busy doing a bunch of family photo sessions for Christmas and holiday cards lately. Today I wanted to share a few tips, and a few links to help you with yours!

*Set your environment up for success. Have the family ready to go and in a good mood (if possible.) Don't schedule photos or take them right before or right after a nap if you have toddlers. You'd be surprised how a little thought and planning will go a long way!

*Be realistic. Your children are not perfect, so their Christmas card photos may reflect that. It is okay. Roll with the punches--sometimes you end up with the best Christmas cards that way! Unrealistic expectations can ruin a fun photo shoot.

This is a good general advice article on Christmas pictures...
And this one is also related to it...
This is a great little article on doing your own Christmas card photos.

And this one is not only good for creative techniques, but has a lot of other links as resources.

*Don't forget the details. The little ring on this girl's finger, the tiny tuffs in her dress, the curl in her hair, and the anticipation of the holiday is captured in the photo above...

*Have pouty kiddos? Work with it! :)
*Bribery works. And not just with the little people in families. I've found that it holds true for pre-teens and teenagers, too (who can be much more difficult to pose in family pictures sometimes!) It is okay to entice them--but communicate your expectations beforehand and stick to your guns.
*Try and convey what you want from the photographer beforehand, and let them do their work. If the photographer needs your help with the kiddos, they'll let you know. Generally, children work better in pictures with strangers who give them direction, and tend to tune out their parents.

This article is great for all-around Christmas pictures...

And this one is on photos for cards specifically.

Friday, November 26, 2010

How did you spend it?

Domestic Goddess and Cook is definitely not on my resume. Lucky for my family, it's on my mothers. :)

After getting up and watching the parade on TV, we headed over my parents house to spend the day with the family. Mom cooked an extraordinary meal for 12 people and maked it look effortless. (She made 3 kinds of homemade pies!) After we eat, everyone usually sits around watching the game, chatting and some napping.

This year was different...this year we got a new game for the Wii and worked off that turkey!
We had a blast playing this game the entire day! I am absolutely the worst at playing video games. I don't have the hand eye coordination thing down. This game, I can play. After a song or two, you will be sweating and not want to quit because it is so much fun. Everyone joined in from age 6 up to 69.

Proof that everyone will like this game...my parents in their 60's would not hand over the controllers when their turn was over. In fact, I'm pretty sure after everyone left and the dishes were done, they went back downstairs to the rec room and played some more.

Hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones and friends! PS. Let's keep the video of my parents a little secret between you and me. ;)

Chocolate filled cookie cutters

I saw this in a holiday magazine, and I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner!!

Seriously, how easy can you get! I got all these cookie cutters on clearance last year (they looked pretty in a jar for decor)--and this year I'm repurposing them. Simply line a cookie sheet with waxed paper, and pour your melted chocolate into the bottom of the cookie cutter. Now, a few tips on this:
*Don't burn or scald your chocolate--that tastes and smells awful. Go slowly, stir it a lot, and be patient. NEVER add water or food coloring--chocolate is oil based.
*You can't see it in this photo, but I layered the bottom of the cookie cutters with milk chocolate, stuck the whole tray into the frig to set, and then came back and did the layer of white chocolate. THEN I added the peppermint bark (found at any candy or cake supply store this time of year.) Put it back into the frig, and in about 30 minutes, they're ready to package!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

From our family to yours...a heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gingerbread house

Showcasing my holiday favorites...

Using the EK gingerbread house that came in the Bertram Inn Christmas kit I came up with this design. I was going to cut the accordion shaped book but decided to keep it in its original shape.
On a recent trip to Michigan my sister and I were both inspired by the Tim Holtz tags we found on display at the local scrapbook store. I took this inspiration and continued with the tags for this mini.
I have so many things planned for the month of December and thought this would be a great way to showcase them.
All of the pages I painted, inked and stamped. I want to include all of our favorites for this year. Whether its a holiday only drink or one of our favorite holiday dishes. I love looking back at how these things change over time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I love to go through my Picasa albums and look at old photos. I can literally see how quickly time is moving when I flip through just a year's worth of photos, watching my son go from a non-walking one-year old to a sturdy toddler in just a year.

I was going through these old pictures when it struck me that they were taken almost a year apart to the day at the park. It inspired me to do a reflection page on just how much had changed and how much he had accomplished in that time.

The next time you sit down to scrap, pull out some old photos and reflect!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Wish...

I made this mini for one of the classes at the Fall Retreat at the Bertram Inn this year. I fell in love with the Teresa Collins line, and I combined that along with "One Hundred Wishes"--an inspiring book about awesome things...
I sold a ton of these kits. I had so many requests, I did a reorder. I'm down to my last 3, in case anyone is interested. They're $25, and they'd make a wonderful gift...
In my book, I paired a bunch of my favorite family birthday photos--random, yet symbolic. Others who took the class elected to do one person's birthdays too--it is entirely up to you!

Some of the wishes...
I wish you the wisdom to listen to the inarticulate.
I wish that in restaurants you always choose the meal that everyone else wishes they'd ordered.

I wish that your dealings with lawyers are mercifully brief.

I wish you friends who love you for who you are.

I wish that no matter how much it rains, your socks never get wet.

I wish you the abandon to dance badly at weddings.

I wish you a good memory, except for grievances.

I wish that when you’re blessed with old age, you have memories to feast on and a mind that is still hungry.
You get the idea. Thanks for letting me share and showcase my latest favorite mini. :) If you'd like me to send you a kit, you can email me at Turay413@gmail.com, adn I'll send you a paypal invoice!
Have a great Monday!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Campfire Craft

Our kids love to camp. And so do their bears. So we came up with this idea for an indoor campfire for our weekend sleepout (when we all pile in the living room and pretend to camp indoors.) (Tent and bears from Build a Bear).
Supplies needed for this really inexpensive craft:

Rocks (cleaned and dry)
Sticks for wood
a glue gun
red or orange tissue paper
floral wire (brown)
flameless candle (pack of 4 for $4)
fake marshmallows (Michael's)

Gather your materials, and with adult supervision, cut a circle (about 8" in diameter) out of cardboard. Be sure to use an old box--the corrugated board is best, because the rocks will end up heavy. You want the circle to be irregular--go with the flow and let the kids do it.

Next, cut a hole in the cardboard, and set the flameless candle in place. Then start gluing the rocks around the edges, making sure to hide the cardboard edges as you go...

Now you can wad up your tissue paper, and glue it in place. These will be your "burning embers" when you're finished. Start piling up your sticks and gluing them down. Slowly add to the pile, and be sure to add some around the tissue and "flame"--so it looks more realistic. Before you know it, you'll be finished! To test it out, turn it upside down, to be sure everything is glued in place and nothing is insecure.
As for the marshmallows, simply cut the floral wire and stick the foam marshmallows through the ends. The kids will love this! I used my extra marshmallows and glued the leftovers inside a tiny bowl, so they'd be secure and not all over my house...

And the rest is up to you! This is the perfect craft for a boy or a girl (build a bears or American Girl lovers, this one's for you!)
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Eleven Things.

1. Our daughter Jami recently turned 11. I love this age for girls. I know what is around the corner, and I'm enjoying this very special time with her before she hates me. :)
2. I'm behind on emails. Please be patient with me--I swear I'm dancing as fast as I can. :)
3. The Christmas Mega Kit, and the Bertram Inn Christmas Kit are both SOLD OUT. Thank you!
4. Very thankful I really never have to cook for Thanksgiving. Thank you, Lisa (my sister who does a great job with the bird and fixing's every year.)
5. Feeling in the Christmas mood early this year. I may put my tree up this weekend, if we chase this flu bug out of the house.
6. I'm convinced that my husband is the world's loudest snorer. With that big honker of a nose (I love it--don't get me wrong), you'd think he'd be able to get some air in there. But no... You know it is bad when the kids wear earplugs to bed...
7. Picked up this Christmas CD and I love it.
8. Almost finished editing all the fall photos I took for the family day at the park. I most definitely will do this kind of thing again in the future--it was so fun! I really got a charge out of photographing families, and it was great capturing each one where they are right now. Fingers crossed that I can get my own family to cooperate for our family picture here soon...
9. My frig is filled with a dozen of these Edible Snowmen. Not for the faint of heart, let me tell you. But oh, so worth the effort. They'll be available for sale at a craft show that I'm doing this weekend.
10. Looking forward to spending time with my dear friend Debbie this weekend at the Litchfield Craft Show. If you're a local, come by and say hello! The craft show runs 10-5 at the Litchfield Town Hall on Sunday, November 21, located at 9254 Norwalk Road (which is at rt.18 and rt.83 in the circle next to Sunco gas station.) Hope to see you there! I'll have page kits and a bunch of edible crafts.
11. And last but not least, a jumping shot...

Hope you have a lovely weekend.

A Season of Gifts and Gratitude

Hey everyone! Jamie here with another gift idea. With Thanksgiving a week away, and Christmas exactly a month after that...there is alot of gift giving going on in the next several weeks. Today I want to share one of my favorite gifts to give. Not only do I enjoy putting them together, I enjoy the response when it is given. This little journal is always a well received gift.

The gift to which I am referring is a Gratitude Calendar journal. You know I am a fan of Ali Edwards. She has created the Live Your Gratitude Daily Calendar Overlays a few years back. It has been a well loved digital element in my collection.  So here’s what I did::

  1. In your photo editor, open an 8 ½ x 11 blank document.
  2. Open the Calendar Overlay-start with January.
  3. Place the overlay on the blank document about ¼ inch from the top.
  4. Print out on 65# white or cream cardstock.

overlay on 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock

After it has printed, trim about ¼ inch from the bottom of the text.
Then trim the printed overlay in half so that you are left with 2-4 ¼ x 6 ½ inch pages.


Glue these pages into a previously made journal that you made that will be bound with book rings.

Make a very pretty cover…and don’t forget to wrap pretty too!

Throughout this journal in particular, I added some additional digital elements from Ali Edward's collection called Gratitude Quotes. So, not only is this a lovely gift for Christmas, but it would be a wonderful hostess gift for Thanksgiving too.

Thanks for letting me share with you today.

wip siggy