Everyone has a story to tell, here's mine sprinkled with some creative projects along the way.
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you come back again.

Friday, December 28, 2007

random stories and lots of pics.....

So sorry for not updating this blog for a while now. Just got a lot of things on my plate. Thankfully I'm not too busy with work that I actually get sometime on here to post what's been happening in our family lately.

There's so many things that've happened since the last entry so I apologize now for the randomness of this post.

1. Last week was a totally crazy week at work for me. Having to function with just about 5 hours of sleep didn't make me a happy camper. You're lucky to not be in my household. LOL. But thankfully things have slown down a little so I have some much needed quiet time.
2. My hours was way too crazy that it left me and Mitch no or little time to really spend time together so on the only day that I wasn't working (friday) we decided to go on a date. How sweet! We ate at Wood Ranch Grill. Sharing a big plate of BBQ beef rib and a rib eye steak. Yummy! The clam chowder was delicious too!!! The best part of it all, since it was divided into two, we didn't stuff ourselves too much. A great way to eat out!
After the dinner, we watched the movie "I am legend" of Will Smith. My opinion on the movie, good but scary. Way too scary to be a Will Smith movie. Too many zombie looking people. Haunted me for a while, it was even in my dreams the past couple of days. I thought the ending was a little disappointing and the dog died!!! Just not fair.
3. The following morning we had our breakfast with Santa at church. I didn't have any major role in the activity (which is good in a way) so I was able to enjoy the party. Of course I can't leave my camera at home so I towed it with me and all of a sudden it came handy cause I was asked to take pics of all the kids while they sat on Santa's lap. Here's Marcus and Santa. Maddie refused to sit on him. She did however tell him she wanted a doll. Cute!
4. So because of my crazy schedule we didn't get to do some of our annual christmas family traditions like visiting the temple to see all the lights or make our gingerbread house. We did manage to bake gingerbread men and then decorate them. Mind you the baking took place one day and then the decorating after about three days. Please cut me some slack, it was really hard to pull myself together to do it all at once. LOL.Here's some of the pics of that. I'm just looking at this first pic and I'm going aaaahhhh!!! didn't realize Maddie was holding a plastic knife while I'm taking this pic. What an awful mother am I!

Here's what our finish gingerbread men look like:
Maddie's Version. All she wanted to do was cover her cookie with all the decorations. Didn't even care if the guy had a face or not. LOL.
Marcus Version. Better than our 2 year old but the funny thing with him is that the decorations didn't last on his cookie for more than 2 minutes cause he would put them in his mouth. Funny kid.
Amanda's Version. She did a great job eventhough the icings were tough to work with.
Mama's Version. I did one too just for fun. Dig that red licorice hair? I was trying to be creative with what we have on hand. LOL.
5. Our Christmas was good. Didn't have too much money to splurge but the kids did get some great gifts from "Santa". Here Marcus lovin his transformer toy
And with Maddie, she didn't seem to thrilled with her gift which is this kitchen set. I didn't get any nice pics of her but she is NOW enjoying it. I think the box just didn't excite her as much as the stuff inside. Makes sense!
6. I got my gift early this year, my dslr camera, so I really wasn't expecting anything but I did get some happy mail before 25th which I treated as early christmas presents too. Woohooo! I got a scrapbook tool which I won on ebay, a book I got from my credit card rewards program, a magazine and stamps I bought at a steal of a deal and the january kit for Addicted Scrappers.com . Sooooo happy today. Speaking of the scrapbook kit, I already finished my projects/layouts for it and will post them here and at their website on the first of January so watch out for it. The kit is totally yummy! Chock full of KI memories Pop culture line.

7. And finally just a recent photo of me. The color is awful but I like it. Mitch took this while we were at Wood Ranch Grill having our dinner. I think he did an awesome job making me look pretty. *wink*. Gem, see my earrings? got that at Charlotte. Cool huh!
So that's it for now. I have a few calendar projects I wanna share but will do that probably tomorrow so watch out for that too. Oh and if you check this blog for crafty ideas, I need your opinions on what you want me to start posting in 2008. I'm not doing my monthly kit so I'll have some free time (I hope so) to venture into something else. Any comments will be greatly appreciated. Did you guys like the weekly project posting? Do you want that to continue on a weekly, monthly or bi monthly basis? Would you like tutorials too? Let me know okay.
Thanks for reading my long post. You guys have a fun and safe new year.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Overwhelmed and tired.......

For those 3 or 4 people that are looking forward to my christmas project #4, I have to apologize cause I didn't plan it very well. I have a wall paper plaque to share but didn't get the time to write up instructions or materials. Hopefully you can get some inspirations from it and still try to make something like it. Hint: used a hodge podge of different things/supplies here so just go through your stash and have at it. kei!

As for the main reason why I'm so not prepared today..... I have been working nonstop since monday night. I've been so tired and needing some sleep!!! The mall has been closing at 11 lately cause of the last minute shoppers so closing for Charlotte have been up to 1 am or even longer if the store is really messy. Last night I didn't get to go home till close to 2 am and then I have to wake up at 7 am to pick up Amanda at seminary and take her to school. Plus since I'm the sole caregiver for my kiddos during the day, there's no time to nap as well. I'M SO TIRED!!!

On my way to the grocery store this morning I thought of everything that is still left undone to get ready for Christmas. I have presents still needing to be wrapped, projects to be finished and put away and I still need to set some time so the kids can get their gingerbread men decorated. Just looking at my december calendar makes me feel so overwhelmed.

I feel guilty that I get snippy at the kids so easily when they don't do the things I ask them right away. I need my sleep back so I can be a more patient mom. I miss being able to go to bed at the same time with Mitch and I miss doing my evening routine with the kids. :( But then again I am blessed. The more hours means more money which will be helpful plus I'm getting a hang of work which is always a good feeling. I'm no longer feeling clueless. These too will pass and life will go back to normal. Whatever that may be.

But it's not all sad around here, a couple of weeks ago I entered a message board contest at Addicted Scrappers.com. It was a sketch based contest where the winner would be their January Guest designer. I found out yesterday that they picked my layout to win!!! Woohooo!!! I can't wait to play with the January kit and do my responsibilities in the msg. board in january. Here's the layout I made.

So for now this is all I can share and Happy Holidays!!!

Have a great day,


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Friday, December 14, 2007

lots of random stuff........

ok so first of all I wanted to talk a little more about the altered post it holder. I made some more last night and forgot to mention that since the cardstocks will have the folds on it that your pattern paper will come off just a tad short. I don't care about this cause it will be the inside flap anyways so it wouldn't show up in the front BUT if you are finicky about it, just make the length of your pattern paper 1/4" longer than the cardstock base and trim to fit. ok. :)

Oh and here's a picture of the one ones I made last night, all packed up and ready to be given away. I decided to not add the candy cane with this batch since most of the people I'm giving this one too are staying away from sweets.

So yesterday we had preschool and one of the craft projects was to build "Santa's Workshop" with stickers and writing a letter to him. Marcus was very excited about this project, it was the first station he wanted to go to. He did the workshop all by himself and I helped him write his letter. I wrote while he dictated and I just had to share what he wanted to say. I thought it was sooo cute. This is all his own words.

the funniest part is I dont think Santa's gonna be bringing the motorcycle and horse this year. LOL. Oh and what's up with the clock? I guess he feels that Mom doesn't have a good handle with time.

And finally I've been thinking of the coming year and have been comteplating on the goals that I wanna make for myself. With this thought I came across a page I made last year which documents my struggles with weight and how my treadmill, which I thought was a foe at first, became my trusty friend and alli (sp?). Journaling is after the page.

Before I was able to fit in a single digit dress size, before all the toned muscle and before I can hike a mile without feeling faint- I was fat. I was overweight for half my life and only about two years ago did I change. I’ve gone through many “fad” diets in high school and college but none really stuck with me. After getting married I settled in with my number at the scale and never really thought of changing anymore. Until finally, after being impressed at how some of my friends lost their baby weight, I decided to try the weight loss “game” again. I submitted to a popular program focusing on counting calories and integrating physical activities to your lifestyle. It was hard at the beginning. Up to this time, I never paid attention to my food portions, let alone write everything that I put in my mouth down on paper. I was shocked to find out how much mindless eating I’ve been doing. I almost gave up but after loosing a couple of pounds that first week, I was determined to stay on the path and see where this journey leads me.
My dear husband, who has supported me all the way, suggested we should get a treadmill for Christmas. I was a little annoyed by this because I always thought I was never the treadmill kinda girl. I felt that we were making this big purchase just for him. My point of view was that if it’s not fun for me, I’m not gonna do it, and I thought running in place facing the wall was absolutely BORING! I gave a little childish fit for a couple of days until finally I gave in. I tried the “boring” running machine and to my surprise, I actually liked it. The first few days were extremely difficult for me to finish laps at a low speed seeing I was very out of shape. But I like taking on challenges, and this one was something I wanted to overcome.
And now we fast forward two years to today. We still have our treadmill and we’ve used and abused it and it’s still hanging on. I’m proud to say I’ve met my goal on the pounds lost and running has been a favorite part of my day. I enjoy taking 30 minutes out of my day to be alone with my thoughts while burning calories. I never realized how much I was able to accomplish by just “running in place”. I love my treadmill and the symbol it has created in my life. It taught me that I CAN do anything I want if I just put my mind into it and to stop making up excuses; I learned not to be afraid of new things because I might actually like it; and that taking time out to better myself is not selfish or self centered because in the long run, if I’m healthy I can be there for my family longer.
My passion for living a healthier lifestyle does not end here though; now that I’m in a much better shape I’ve actually contemplated running a marathon and hiking strenuous trails. My mind never even dared thinking about these things before and now they are actually in my “list of things I wanna do before I die”. Who would’ve thought?!

All about sharing today. Have a great weekend.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas Project #3: Altered Post it Notes Holder

Ok this project is a great stocking stuffer. The perfect handmade gifts for a girlfriend, ladies that you visit teach, teachers or anybody that you want to show off your paper craftiness!

And the best part-------------- easy as pie!!!

Materials needed:
Post it notes- regular size
Pattern paper (preferably coordinating with the color of your cardstock)
Embellishments (flowers, buttons, stickers, etc.)
Bone folder or Popsicle stick
Adhesive of your choice
Paper trimmer


1. Trim cardstock to a 7 ¾” x 3 1/8” rectangle piece.
2. Trim the pattern paper to a 7 ¾” x 2 ¾” piece. Adhere to the center of the cardstock
3. With the bone folder or a Popsicle stick, make folding marks at 2”, 2 ½”, 5 ½” and 6”. Fold on the marks.
4. Glue the back of the post it pad on the inside center of cardstock.
5. Fold cover having shorter side go inside.

6. Place Velcro on the center of the flap openings. Embellish the outside with accessories you want to put on it. You can even personalize each post it holder by putting the recipients initials on the front.
7. Wrap it up with some candy cane and they’re ready to be delivered to somebody special

Hope you enjoy my project this week. Check back next week kei!

BTW thanks to Charity for sharing her mass produced handmade cards. They are so cute.

Happy Holidays everyone,

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Paper Christmas tree

Here's a very easy and fun project that I wanted to share today.

Christmas Tree Paper Decoration

This is super easy, inexpensive (you probably have everything on hand already) and can easily be changed/altered to fit your own style. This project is so simple you can even have your kids to it.

Christmas themed Pattern papers (about 5 different designs)
Chipboard letters for your greeting (the more random it is the better) and preferably about 2" or taller.
Christmas stickers, tags, embellishments
Star (die cut, hand cut, or chipboard)
Red and Green ribbons
Hole puncher
Sticky adhesive that good for the wall. Mine was called "HoldTu"
Extra: Paint and paintbrush

1. First cut out about 16 pieces of 4x4 squares from your pattern papers. My whole tree measured about 27" tall and 21" wide, but if you have more room on your wall you can make the tree bigger or if short in space, make the dimensions smaller.

2. Lay your paper squares on a big table or on the floor and arrange it like a tree. Refer to the picture for more detail. When arranging the squares try not to put the same pattern close to each other.

3. If you have chipboard letters or elements that needs some paint, do this now so it will dry while you assemble your tree.

4. After assembling the tree, start making holes on each side to bind them all together. Mine was punched with a crop-a-dile puncher and had the setting for 1/2" in. I just held two squares together (wrong sides together) and punched a hole, then tied them together (double knot) with either the red or green ribbon. I alternated the ribbons for added effect.

5. When your tree is all tied together, you can start placing your greeting and elements on the squares. I went with a "Merry Christmas" greeting and divided the letters. Then added some stickers and die cut elements on the bottom squares. Don't forget to place your star on top.

6. Put adhesive on the back of the tree and stick it on the wall. *This project should not fall apart since it's not heavy.

So there you have it. Fast, fun and easy.

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Lola's gonna love this.......

just thought I post something other than scrappy stuff today...... (to all my scrap friends don't worry I will post a christmas project later on) but for everybody else, especially Lola (grandma Emy) thought you would like these photos.
Here's Maddie who found a desire to wear her boots that Lola got her for her birthday in October. Lovin that my kid is instyle. Isn't she the cutest (yeah I know i'm a little bias. hehehehe)!!!

Oh and this is what she is now, totally into everything SHE'S NOT SUPPOSE TO TOUCH!!! Driving me nuts! Yeah she's totally in the terrible two stage. Urggh not looking forward to this! Like yesterday I was making lunch and when I called her and her brother over to the kitchen, I found her in my room with a lotion on one hand and my bent glasses on the other. Needless to say I was furious. Thank goodness Mitch was able to bend it back to place, otherwise I had to order a new pair which right now I really don't want to do.

Oh and in this impromptu photo shoot, she wanted to get a few with her cookie monster toy. Hay, how can you say no to that face?!

Happy weekend everyone,
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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Project #2 : Mass producing cards

I know, I know you’re probably looking for some specific project to do and I will post one but first I wanna talk about cards.
This is probably a subject that stresses a lot of you out there; I know this was the case for me a few years back. Especially since with your family and friends you are probably known to be the “crafty” one and but around this time you’re in the middle of many other holiday preparations. Well fret no more. Here’s the trick to sending HANDMADE cards that will be both effective and cute. Are you ready……… mass produce one design.

Maybe some of you are doing this already and to you I say woohooo! But for my friends that are still spending hours, money and brain power trying to make 100 different kinds of cards, hello!!! Why are you making it hard for yourself???!!!
I say mass produce your greetings this year, why? Well for a few reasons (1) because it’s easy, you just make a master design and make 20, 50, or 100 of that specific card. Your cards are sent to different people, I’m sure none of them will contact each other and compare notes as to who got the better looking card this year. Hehehehehe! (2) If you’re a paper crafter like me, you probably have a lot of “tools” sitting in your shelf, waiting to be “used and abused”. Now is the time to get them out and get your monies worth out of them. Get out your punches, die cut machines and stamps. Don’t have any of this? Don’t worry; you can use your computer too. There are tons of free digital elements online, fonts, and cliparts you can use. Make sure you read the fine print first but I’m sure if it’s for personal use they would let you use their stuff.
(3) Besides using what you already have, mass producing also takes out the huge cost that you might spent if making too many diff. designs. The fewer products you have to buy the better and usually if you buy stuff in bulk, like paper, you get a better deal. And finally (4) Mass producing allows you to “divide and conquer”. You can make your cards in an assembly line fashion.
Example- you can make all the base of the card tonight, do the stamping tomorrow night, assemble the card the following night, print out your pics on another day, and so on. This leaves you some time to get “important things” done like making dinner for the family. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day knowing you are closer to your ultimate goal rather than feeling so stressed out that you still have an X amount of cards to make. You know what I’m saying!

So that’s my tip for this week. Don’t make it hard on yourself and enjoy the process. BTW, the pics are of my massed produced christmas cards this year.

Happy Holidays,

Monday, December 3, 2007

Scrappy stuff.......

Hello everyone, how's your monday shaping up so far? Well for me Monday always means "cleaning day". It's nice to start of your week "freshening up" your surroundings. Taking out the clutter also helps me get a clear mind to get that creative juices up again.
Anyways, I contributed to Valerie Salmon's "Got sketch" blog. Here's my take on this week's sketch (#38). I turned the sketch to it's side so it can work with my vertical 4x6 pictures. I took these photos a while back. Why am I taking pics of my kiddos while they're sleeping you ask? Well cause I wanna remember these "precious moments", especially when they're both in "high energy" mode. LOL.

Here's the link to the blog if any of you are interested in peeking. My sketch should be the last one in the example for this post- http://gotsketch.blogspot.com/

Yesterday after church we just stayed home. My mom wasn't having a dinner at their house, which she usually does. It was ok, at least I got some scrappin time. :)
I made a bunch of birthday cards out of my ever growing scraps. Next year we are going to make birthday announcements in primary a little bit funner so I decorated a mailbox (we had one for some reason stuck in our primary closet) and made these cards. Each kid will get one along with something fun small gift. I think the kids will have fun seeing a mailbox and then pulling out something fun with their name on it.

I made 20 cards so far and I think I wanna make 15 more for good measure (so it will last for the rest of the year). Plus I wanna include the teachers and other board members with it too. Fun, fun, fun! I'm excited. The best part of it all- I was able to clear out a folder full of itty bitty scraps that I've been holding on to for a year! I'm just such a scrap hoarder! Now I feel 10 pounds lighter. Hahahaha!

Have a great day,
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Saturday, December 1, 2007

December is here......

Can you believe it? I can't.
Well I can honestly say that I started of the month on a good note. I was supposed to work today but since there's some problems with scheduling at work they pulled out my shift today. Bummer yeah but I think it was for the better. I was able to finally put my christmas decorations out and it's definitely "beginning to look a lot like christmas" around here. Everbody was home (haven't happened in a while) so I had help. Amanda did most of the tree decorating with some help from the little ones. Thank goodness for unbreakable ornaments. Hahahaha! Mitch made a few holes in the wall so I can hang up my ever growing wall decorations. So fun to have them all up. I even got the kids' bathroom decorated in the season. I made a really cute (and easy) paper christmas tree that I placed on my living room wall. I will post some pics of that later on the week. It was fun to do. This year I have 4 trees (1 big one and 3 small ones). How fun is that!
Here's a collage I quickly made at Picasa to show off my fun christmas goodies. I'm noticing that most of them are red and green. Lovin' that color combo. I might have to just stick with that (forever).
And when the decorations were done, we went and watched a Christmas performance at our stake center (church building). It was called "Reason for the Season". It was REALLY GOOD! We did the matinee show (3 pm) and got to watch it without too much interruption from the little ones. The first 10 minutes actually got them both engaged with all the lights moving everywhere and kids singing. Then the rest of the time they were napping. Wohooo! It was really neat to start the "season" with a heartwarming reminder that Jesus is our Christ and that He is the Way.
Anyways so that's it for me right now. Have a happy rest of the weekend. :)


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Project #1: Christmas Checklist

Ok so I'm starting a weekly Christmas project/idea post. From now on until the week before Christmas day, every thursday I will be posting something related to the holiday season. I hope by doing this, people that check out my blog, papercrafter or not will be inclined, influenced and inspired to make something "homemade" this season.
First post will be a checklist. Many of you know that i'm a checklist junkie. I list everything I need to do, buy, make and accomplish. I don't ever start my week (or day) without a definite goal written down. So when I stumbled into a dilemma last year not remembering who I gave christmas cards the year before last I decided to make my own checklist/minibook. My main vision for this book is that it should be nothing too fancy, can be used year after year and will help me remember those little things that I wouldn't consider jotting down during the chaos of the season.
This is what I came up with. It's an 8x4" minibook out of scrap cardstock and christmas paper from a kit I got on sale at Michaels. (personal note: I LOVE purchasing kits cause the papers and embellishments ALL COORDINATE, taking the hard task of matching everything away)

I punched three holes on the left side for some small size key rings, which you can purchase at the office supply store. I used the key ring cause like I said earlier, I wanted it to last me for a few years, this way if I need to make more sheets inside, I can just make holes and add the rest of the papers in the book.
Like I said, I didn't want creating this book to take up all my time so I kept it simple. Again, all embellishments from tha same kit as the paper. If you wanna know the exact manufacturer, its the Rob and Bob Studio christmas kit from ProvoCraft. I'm sure Michaels or Joanns have something similar right now (and it's probably on sale too)
Tabs are a must for these kinds of books as well (I think so!) They help navigating the specific section so much easier. Another great and easy tip for tabs is stapling them on the side instead of trying to get glue on just that part that will go on the paper.

For the inside pages, I started by making some templates in MS Word for the calendar, cards, gift list, gift recieved and newsletter. After I made all my templates and making sure they fit inside my pattern paper pages I printed them off just on regular computer paper, trimmed each box a little with scissors and adhered them on my papers.
This is what the first page looks like. I decided the calendar should be the first one to see since that's probably what you will glance at most of the time.
Next was the "cards sent out" section. In my template I wrote down "name" with a line to handwrite the last names of family and friends, then check box for each year. This way I can remember who I gave cards to the year before. If you're making your own christmas greetings, this is also a great help bec. you will have a guestimate on how many you NEED to make.

Next was shopping list. Don't you just hate it when you get the same gift two years in a row. Well it's worse if you GAVE the same gift two years in a row!!! That's why a shopping list is handy. It will help you organize who you need to buy for and at the same time have that info from last year so you know that you can't buy Uncle Sam another sweater this year. Hahahaha!

Gifts Recieved is next on the book. This is great when you make thank you cards after the season. You will know the right people to thank for what gift. Clever huh! :)

And last on my book is a place to store copies of my newsletter. I have been making newsletters for over a decade now (my mom made me the official newsletter writer in my family too) and it's nice to have a home for all these letters. If you're newsletters are a letter size long why not devote a page to one letter each.

And here's the back. Nothing too fancy.

So there you have it. simple yet effective. totally me.
A few more things to note......
*Make this your own. If you want it to be bigger, make it bigger. If you think it should be smaller by all means make it smaller. Make it fit your lifestyle1
*Add some ribbons to the key rings for a nice touch
*Add or delete sections if you think you need to.

And finally if you want a copy of my word template, leave me a comment here with your email addy or just email me at graceelainetolman@yahoo.com and I will send you the file. I'm not sure how to do a pdf file so bear with me here.

Happy Holidays,