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.

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,

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Life's little pleasures......

Life is sllloooowwwlllyyy getting back to normal around here. I'm sleeping an average of 8 hours of sleep again, not like last week with about 5 hours of shut eye. And I'm bringing out my camera again to snap photos of our little pleasures.
One of this little "happiness" was yesterday afternoon's bubble fun. Both kids completed another reading chart and got some bubbles for rewards at school. They were so excited about it that they wanted to open it up in the car, of course that's not a good idea, so I promised them that after their naps we will play with the bubbles.
One thing you should know about my kids is that they never forget what you promised them cause as soon as Maddie woke up she immediately asked for the bubbles. Funny kids!
Here's some pics of the kids in the front yard blowing away......

Couldn't resist taking a close up pics of the bubble bottles. Aren't they cute?!

Wonder why our pictures were very clear and have such a bright light....well my dear husband pruned our tall trees in the front yard on saturday. He did it ALL by himself (the kids and I helped out a *little* with clean up). One of our neighbor was so impressed that he thought he was doing this as a paid job. Some guy that lives about 4 doors down came up to him and asked him if he was the homeowner or the paid tree trimmer guy, and if he is the latter that he will pay him to trim his trees. Mitch said he's the homeowner and that he doesn't do this for a living. How funny!
and finally some close up pics of the kiddos. For this past month, everynight that I put the kids in their jammies, I'm in shock at how much they've both grown up. They both have gotten long/taller. My babies are growing up and i'm not sure if I should be happy or sad about that.

Oh BTW to all my scrappy friends, the holiday season has arrived and to countdown to the big day I will be posting some christmas projects every week starting tomorrow (thursday). Hopefully it will inspire you to make those papercraft projects you've been itching to do. So watch out for that.
Have a great day,

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Monday, November 26, 2007

my thanksgiving weekend......

But you know what I should call this post C-R-A-Z-Y week part 2 cause it's been nonstop craziness for me.
The week started off on a low note with both cars breaking down but thankfully both were fixed by monday afternoon and we didn't have to miss any appointments. I worked monday night and had to miss a great episode of Heroes. Thank goodness for the fact that you can watch full version episodes on the internet the day after. On Tuesday morning I had to get Amanda from seminary, drop her off at school, feed the kids breakfast, make beds, get kids dressed for school and make a pasta salad ALL before 9AM. Whew! Our preschool class had our thanksgiving potluck feast and the kids had fun trying out all the food everybody brought. On wednesday morning I went to the grocery store to get the stuff for my food assignment for the thanksgiving dinner and bought some other stuff that are on sale. I LOVE that I was able to purchase a 10 pound turkey for only $4. Great thing to keep in the freezer. Then thursday we drove south to Murrieta for the Tolman's thanksgiving dinner. Great food and great company, as always. Kids are having so much fun with their cousins now. Got to see Ratatouille (sp?) on DVD. Cool movie.
And then when you thought I should rest a little from all the festivities, I decided I will be one of the millions of people that will brave the crowds on friday morning and get some great deals. I'm a planner so even before friday I already knew what I was going to buy. Stalked a great website called BlackfridayAds.com where they had leaks of diff. stores' ads for that day. With a pen and paper in hand I was able to list down the deals I thought was worth shopping for. Woke up at 5:30 am and was at Kmart even before they opened. Good thing I had Amanda with me so I can shop while somebody's saving my space in line. Worked out really good for us. They had a bike for $20 (great for Marcus), Imitation Ug boots for Amanda and doodlepro for ($7) that would be great addition to Maddie. Then we went to Target, they had 2 pack Xhilaration mittens for a buck and got a bunch for my nieces and cousins. After that we went to Old Navy to purchase some sweaters that are a steal for $7.50 each for nephews and cousins. Amanda wanted this sweater that unfortunately was not on sale but we ended up getting it anyways. I told her that will be her big ticket gift this year. And finally to walmart to get a little kitchen for Maddie and some more gifts. Hubby was surprised that we were home at 10:30am. I told him I could've stayed longer out there if I had the money to burn. hehehehe. Whew, I can say I'm almost done with my gifts. I just need to figure out what I will get for hubby and for myself, of course. LOL. For family gifts, I decided I'll bake a bunch of breads/loaves, wrap it up fancy and give that to family and friends.
Then I had to work that night and also Saturday night. Whew I'm so pooped. I'm so in need of some shut eye.
Then when you think I'm so crazy, I decided to have a post thanksgiving dinner with my side of the family on Sunday afternoon. A traditional thanksgiving feast with all the fixins. Yes I did make the turkey, sweet potato casserole, stuffin and three diff. kinds of appetizers. I had my dad (who's a chef by profession) make the mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. Yummy stuff! I'm not making a FHE treat tonight cause I think we need to rest from all the sweets. If my family resists, they can eat apples. LOL!
Here's some pics of my post thanksgiving feast.

I let Mitch do the honors of carving the turkey. We think cooking the bird inside one of those cooking bags is the best way to go. Moist and delicious!

Here's a simple table setting from me, didn't have time to make it all fancy. I didn't even bother making place cards. Too tired!

And of course here's a little minibook I made. Don't think I just made this just because, it's actually a part of my A Year to remember kit so I was kinda forced to make something cute that coincided (sp?) with the holidays. Still had fun making it though. :)

Oh and one final thing.......THANK YOU to you, yes you! Thank you for reading and sometimes leaving a comment on my blog. I can't believe that after three weeks of having a tracker that I've had over 150 hits. Wow!

Have a great day,
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finally it came......

the proof that I'm officially published in a print magazine. Had to work till 1 am on saturday so I didn't get to see the mail till yesterday morning and this is what I found. Totally soaked in the idea that my christmas card was on page 17. After some smiling in between rubbing my eyes cause I just woke up, I went into the bedroom and had to share my great news with my (at that time) sleeping husband. Definitely a proud moment for me.

Have a great day,
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Saturday, November 17, 2007

wanna hear my C-R-A-Z-Y week........

Ok so I'm coming in here to take a little breather.

My week has just been insanely busy. Here's the run down..

Monday- there where no school for the kids but Amanda had work and it's my chore day so got the house cleaned in the morning then off to the grocery store with one kid that needed a nap really bad and another one who just won't sit in the cart anymore.

Tuesday- preshool for us and doing some prep work for my scrapbook class on friday night

Wednesday- spent the morning going to some craft stores to get some more stuff for the class and my christmas cards. Can you believe that inspite my crazy week, I still manage to make my cards.Oh and I took the kids to the park too.
Tonight I had my first shift at Charlotte and didn't get home till 11:30 pm. Mitch was watching the movie "the Departed" and that didn't get done till close to 1 am so needless to say I didn't get enough sleep tonight.

Thursday- drove down to Laguna Niguel to have a playdate with my sister in law and her kids. We usually have school today but they're going on a field trip so I decided to do something else. The kids and I had fun. They played with their cousins while I chatted with Lori while playing with her enormous stash of stampin up products. Thanks Lori. :)

Friday- In the morning I went to costco to buy the pizzas and ice cream for Saturday's primary activity then off to the library to get a new batch of books to read and videos to watch for the kids. Got Franklin the turtle for Maddie and Sonic cartoon for Marcus. I got some photography books as well. Hey gotta love the poor man's way of reading. Free!!!
Then tonight I had my scrapbook 101 workshop. I blogged about this at scrapbook.com but I wanted to share it with you guys as well so here's what I wrote in that post.....
if you learn, teach........
Saturday, 17 November 2007
Wise words I read somewhere…….

These words have never been so true for me until last night. I had my 101 scrapbook workshop at my lss and it turned out FANTASTIC! There were four ladies that signed up for my class and the vibe I felt through out the lecture part was just awesome. They were so open minded and the fact that they were willing to try the *way* I see this hobby just pumps me up.

It’s inspiring to see four strangers come together and at the end of the session feel so connected to one another that they’re willing to show off each other’s family pictures to one another as if they’re friends or family. How cool is that instant bond!

My proudest moment would have to be at the end when they would be quoting me on certain things that I’ve said in the lecture and you would see in their eyes that what I said made sense to them. I was talking about making layouts that are not necessarily events or special occasion based but tells their story. I was like a proud mama watching her little birds fly for the first time. Seriously it’s a great feeling.
Saturday- this morning we had our final rehearsal for our primary sacrament program tomorrow. After a couple of run throughs we had our annual pizza and ice cream party. The kids always looks forward to that.
Then tonight were going to a friend's kids' party at Chuck E Cheese. It's not gonna be that fun since it's a saturday night but I'm sure my kids will enjoy themselves, packed house and all.

Then tomorrow...... Sunday......get this I have to do the following.....
10 am- ward leadership meeting
11:30- primary sacrament program
1:20- do sharing time lesson
2:30- meeting with the christmas party committee
4:30- meeting with the bishop regarding tithing settlement
5:00- one of our primary boy is having a baptism.

So in short I need to have a heavy breakfast cause I won't be eating till 6 pm and wear comfortable clothes cause I will be in it all day.

Wheeeewwwww! But there's light at the end of the tunnel here..... glad I'm not hosting any thanksgiving feast at my home this year. That would make me one luny lady by the end of the month. LOL!

Hopefully next week will be less stressful and I can post some pictures of my christmas cards. It's turning out cute.

Have a great weekend everyone,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Field trip stories and more.....

Ok so on Friday our preschool had a field trip down in Long Beach at the Aquarium of the Pacific. I've been there before (a long time ago) but my kids haven't and with the great deal that the school offered, we couldn't pass it up. And when we thought it couldn't get any better, we got to ride in a school bus!!!
Marcus was so excited riding the yellow bus. He was unusually calm all the way to and from the aquarium and Maddie was the opposite. She couldn't sit still. Here they are looking out. After going through my pics, I'm kicking myself a little for not taking a pic of the bus from the outside. Hay, with two kids and a bunch of stuff to haul I guess I can't do everything.

The weather was a little cloudy in the morning and I might've not made the settings right on my camera cause the pics were not as clear as they should be. Oh well.

The kids loved walking around and exploring all the different sea creatures they had. I have to say I was amazed at how Marcus was so unafraid to touch the sting rays and sharks they had out to pet. If it was up to him, he would stay by those pools and play with the animals the whole time. On the flip side Maddie refused to even put her hand inside the waters. But she did enjoy watching the sea lions do their tricks.

And while we were playing around at the Aquarium, Mitch was going through some minor surgery for his ankle. Last year, he somewhat injured his ankle that caused it to tear inside and swell up with fluids. He got the fluids sucked out last year but recently it came back again. So the Podiatrist suggested he go through an operation where they will go in there and fix the tear. It was an outpatient surgery and right now he's recovering very well. He's in good spirits. Too good that he's not taking it easy, I think! Everbody at church had to take a second look at him yesterday while he was walking in the chapel. By the end of our church meetings I asked him if people asked him about his condition and he said that at the end there, he was getting tired of having to explain what happened to him so he just told them that I beat him up!!! Yea right!!!

So that's it for me right now. I have a loaded week so I will catch you guys later.

Have a great day,

Thursday, November 8, 2007

got an awesome RAK

Ok so I was giving my son a haircut last night. I've put it off the whole day and by the time I got all set up, it was already dark outside. I forgot it gets darker earlier now. duh!
Anyways, I just got done trimming Marcus' hair when a fedex truck pulled up infront of our house. I was surprised that (a) they were still delivering at 6pm and (b) that there's a package addressed to my house. I rarely purchase anything online or through catalog and I wasn't waiting for any documents from anybody so I was totally boggled. Then the guy said he had a package for Grace Tolman. Wow, weird but ok!
So I went in the house and got dinner ready. After everything was squared off, I opened my package and it was this.

I totally forgot that I won a random raffle prize (we in the scrapbooking world call it RAK which means random acts of kindness) in a famous scrapbookers blog.
I was soooooo excited for my goodies that I had to take a picture and blog about it. This is a card kit from CKMedia which was designed by one of my fave artists- Becky Higgins. I'm totally psyched about making something out of this. Will probably post that too when I get it done. So for now, here's my free, happy mail.

have a great day,
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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's finally up.....

Remember a few posts back, I was talking about how I was chosen to be a finalist in an online magazine's cover contest. Well the issue is up and unfortunately I didn't win the coveted price BUT seeing my page be recognized is a prize in itself. Mitch was funny and cute at the same time when I showed it to him and he said that mine was the best out of all the entries. What a sweetie! Here's the link to the magazine and I'm on page 3. http://www.scrapstreet.com/magy2/07nov07/features/warm3.htm
Here's the page again. Totally heartwarming don't you think? :)

Have a great day,

Saturday, November 3, 2007

on to some scrappy stuff

I know you're probably thinking, hey she said she's way toooo busy to blog then howcome she's doing it twice in one day. Well I don't have a schedule to work yet, my kids are asleep and I'm so dang excited to post some projects I did recently. So there. Hehehehe!
Anyways just a little note about today. I had a great morning, I mean GREAT! I went to a craft boutique/show at the Disneyland Hotel called CUW. Twice a year this group puts together a boutique/craft fair and a nice lunch afterwards. To get in the fair is free and you usually get loads of cute handmade stuff there. Anyways, I went to the boutique and got my usual stuff like party dips, snacks and toffees for the family and cute things for the house. I don't really spend toooo much money in these events cause well, to be honest, I don't have the money to throw away. But I make it a point to go to it every time bec. it's a major source of inspiration for me. You see all this cute, innovative stuff people make out of all sorts of materials that you just want to eat them all up. I LOVE the plethora of ideas that you can "borrow" and make it your own. This time I went by myself cause my mom backed out at the last minute bec. of work but I still enjoyed myself. Heck anytime without the kiddos are great for me. LOL.

So with regards to project postings here's a few from me.

This first one was made for a challenge at another blog. We were to alter envelopes. I bought this cute yellow envelope a long time ago at a stationary store and decided to make a mini album out of it. I got smaller envelopes, glued them together to make an accordion album and stuck all the love notes that I've recieved from Mitch since we've been dating. I organized them in a way where there's spots for future letters. :)

Here's the front side

The inside page. I made him write his signature in his own handwriting. I thought that would be a cool addition.

This is how it looks when it's all closed.

Then here's a couple I made for some challenges (again). Hey challenges are great, it allows you to go out of your comfort zone and try new things plus if you're lucky you can win it. :)
I know there's an awful shadow by the big flower, I scan my pages almost everytime so the thickness of the flower caused that shadow. Oh and this was made out of my scraps. Double yippee!
Here's another one made out of scraps. Sorry you can't read the quote quite well. Here it is- "happiness is like jam: you can't spread it without getting some on yourself".
The flourishes were done by hand on vellum. Cut out then adhered onto the page.
So that's it, hope you feel inspired like I was this morning.
Have a great day,

halloween hooplas and other news

Sorry I've been neglecting my blog lately. I've just been going through some major challenges that are stressing my mind out. I think I have too many things I WANT to do but things I NEED to do takes precedence of course. Ay life, what can you do?
Anyways, Halloween at the Tolman home came early this year. Maddie's costume was a no brainer. Since she's so into cute, girly stuff, the Princess outfit that I got from my sister Glady as a hand me down was our pick for this year. She looks so cute and I'm glad I took photos of her before Halloween night cause I don't like the lighting or lack of it at nightime and my pictures turns out crappy. I think this one of her taken the monday morning before Halloween is a winner, don't you think?

this year Marcus took a loooong time to finally decide on who he was gonna be. When we watched teenage mutant ninja turtles in May, he wanted to be that. In june after seeing fantastic four, he wanted to be the guy that turns into flame, then a month later he decided he wanted to be optimus prime. Hay!!! I didn't bother getting him a costume early in the season cause I knew he will just change his mind but last week I realized that my options at walmart were getting slim so I took him to the store and "influenced" him to pick the easy and cheapest one left. Luckily he went with a black power ranger suit which only put me back $12. Not bad!
So since my child is impatient (like me) and the costume was bought a week before Halloween, he was wearing it all week already. He's so funny running around the house in his costume and making all his "power ranger" sounds. Here he is getting ready to go out to go trick or treating with the treat bag he made at school. See I told you my pictures are better during daytime. Hehehehe.

Funny kids, couldn't wait one more minute to get out there and get some candies!

Here's Amanda. I let her use Maddie's wings (which Maddie wore last year) so she can be a fairy but she decided to play too much with the face make up that I don't really know what she is now!

So that's our Halloween hoopla. Kids had fun going around the block with their dad and I stayed home to give out the candies.

Now for some other news........
Like I said earlier there have been some things in my life that are keeping me away and one of those things is finding a job. Yes you heard it, I have decided to get a part time job which I will be doing at nightime and on saturdays. At first I was very afraid to go back to the work force cause of fear that I'm outdated and don't know how to "sell" myself anymore to be hired. I tried target, mervyns, old navy, costco and others, which did you know you can apply to online? I thought that was neat! Anyways I was at the mall on wednesday and saw there were signs on almost everystore for hiring. I went in a few and got some applications. When I got in at Charlotte Russe (which if you don't know is a trendy clothing store for girls), asked the lady for an application and come to find out she was the manager. She interviewed me right then and there, which took me by surprise and told me to come back the next day to be formally interviewed. I was sooooo nervous but got home, got my resume updated and filled up the application form. The following day, I got Mitch to come home early so he can watch the kids, got dressed in a business attire and off I went to my first interview in 7 years. Got there and found out she was going to interview me at that same time with two more people. Didn't know they do that now! I thought it's always been a one on one thing. See I told you I was so out of the loop. Hehehehe. I then realized that I was competing with "kids" and if I just show my personality and some common sense in my answers I might just have a shot with this.
So to make the long story short..... I got hired and I will be a seasonal employee for a very cool company. The best part of it all for me- I get 40% discount on all merchandise. HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT!!!! I'm totally psyched, and ready to dress up and play the part of a cute, trendy sales associate.
I gotta give you guys a heads up, with this new venture that I'm getting in, I might not be able to update this blog as much as I want to. We will see.
So that's it for me right now. totally excited and nervous at the same time but I'm ready to face it..........
Have a great day,
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