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, June 30, 2011

Our Texas Trip (Y'all) *photo heavy*

Ok so I'm finally getting around to this. Yippee!

Last weekend, my little family and I went on a four day road trip to Texas and back. My stepdaugther Amanda lives there and we decided to visit her because we haven't seen her for a while and also because she just had a birthday. Here's some snippets of our trip...

We left Colorado Springs on Thursday. Mitch planned out our route and we decided to stop by Carlsbad Caverns on our way to Texas.

Because of tough times right now we decided to take the cheapest route we can with this road trip. So we brought some food with us so we didn't have to stop at a fast food joint at every meal. For our lunch, we pulled over the road, luckily there was a tree on a long stretch of open road, and made sandwiches. This tree was a blessing because New Mexico was HOT that day.

We drove past the famous Roswell city and it was filled with all things aliens. It was fun to see all the E.T. type of decorations that filled it's main street.

just me trying a self portrait infront of the truck's side mirror. I've been doing this for all of our roadtrips. I'm thinking of putting them together in a scrapbook page one day. :)

This photo was taken at the little city just before the entrance to the Carlsbad Caverns. The people there sure capitalize a lot on their aliens!

When we got there, we were too late to tour the cavern so we had our dinner (ate our packed food again) and then watched the famous "bat flight". We've seen that on tv was looking forward to big group of bats but unfortunately they've been having a dry season and there's not a lot of moths for the bats to eat therefore there's not a lot of them roosting in the cavern compared to years past. I didn't get to take anyphotos of the bat flight since we were not allowed to bring our cameras.

that night, we searched for an open space not too far from the road, parked our truck and slept in it! Yes I'm telling you, we were cutting cost everywhere we can. It wasn't actually that bad. The bed of the truck was long enough that Mitch and I were able to sleep comfortably inside our sleeping bags in there and we folded the second row seat in the cab where kids slept inside their sleeping bags as well.

On our way to the entrance of the cave (where the self guided tour started) was the amphitheater where we waited for the bats to fly out of the cave the night before.

another shot of the amphitheater from a different angle.

and here's the winding road down the entrance of the cave. This will be the last spot where we will see natural light until we get done with the tour. According to the map, it is 1 mile to get down to the "big room" where all the majestic formations are at and another 1 mile to go all the way around the "room". It took us roughly 2 hours to go through 'em all.

as many caverns and caves, there are a lot of nooks and cranny to go through.

I have to say that the photo just doesn't do justice to what we saw down there. With low lighting and the flash (which I needed badly),it just doesn't capture the beauty of the stalactites and stalagmites well.

This photo was taken when we finally got down to the big room. They said that this spot of the cave is 6 football fields big. The kids were getting tired by the time we got here and we had to literally drag them around the trail because they kept on stopping.

These are really huge rock formations that took centuries to build. Just amazing! As you can see, they're not just huge but the textures on them are just awe inspiring.

my favorite photo of the day. No photoshop here just got lucky that the dark background kinda gave it that darkened edge all around the rock formation.

and here's another favorite photo of mine. The kids sooo tired from our hike that they immediately fell asleep in the truck with mouths open! Seriously made me crack up!

We finally got to the city where Amanda lived at about 8pm. We met her at about 9, chatted a bit then headed to a hotel for the night (we needed the shower. LOL) The following day we picked up Amanda and her boyfriend Devon then headed to Hamilton pool. They recommended this place and once we got there,

we were blown away by the beauty of the landscape and the natural pool.

the rock formations eroded in time and created this beautiful shaded part where the water from a connecting river rests. The water is nice and cool plus it had fishes in it! That says natural in all sense of the word to me.

After swimming for a bit, some of us walked around the pool and this is another photo of the beautiful pool in a different angle. I can only imagine this place when there's water up in the top of the hill. There's probably a good amount that it is a beautiful cascading fall there too.

and here's a shot of the family. I was going to set the camera by a rock but a passerby was kind enough to take the shot for us. This spot was uneven hence the reason why I looked the shortest out of all the adults. :)

the pool got crowded after 11 am so we decided to pack up, get out of our swim clothes and take the other trail to go to the river side. The scenery was great but because of it being so humid, the hike was not a fun one for me nor the kids. They kept on stopping because they were tired and I kept on fanning myself and wiping out the sweat. We didn't even get to the end of the trail because the kids' had given up on us. Marcus just decided to stop in the middle of the trail, sat down and even after many coaxing refused to move forward anymore.

When we finally left the pool, the line to go into the parking lot, just the parking lot was about 20 cars long. Surely a popular place and no wonder because it was a great place!

and we can't visit Texas without having some BBQ! We found this place while driving back to Amanda's apartment. Don't really recall the name of the place since I was half asleep, half awake when we got there. But the food instantly perked me up. It was delish! Mitch got the ribs and he said that it is a definitely competition for Rudy's (our fave BBQ place in Colorado Springs) ribs. I got the jalapeno sausage and chicken. Both of them were super yummy and the sides didn't disappoint as well. Plus the best part, they were not too expensive! That's my kind of food!

So after dropping Amanda and Devon home, we headed northeast to see Mitch's friend Wesley in the Dallas area. We got there at about 9pm and they treated us to dinner at Babe's chicken restuarant. That was a surprisingly fun experience. The vibe was casual and laid back and our waitress as showing all sorts of tricks and telling jokes I felt we got a little show with our meal. The food was great too. I got their country fried steak and besides it massive size, it was simply cooked yet very flavorful. So much so that I had to ask how they bread/cook the meat. I'm definitely going to try their technique the next time I make a country fried steak. The kids enjoyed the chicken tenders and biscuits with honey. Mitch forced himself to finish their smoked chicken. Just like mine it was a big portion.

So after visiting with them for a while we finally headed back on the road at about 10 pm. Driving for another 2 hours finally settling in a rest area and parked their for the night. It was not a good sleep compared to the first night we camped in our truck because of all the traffic that we heard not to mention the loud 18-wheeler trucks that was parked in the same area as we were.

The following day was spent driving until we got home at about 6pm.

So that's our trip. Thank you for enduring through all of those pictures and words. And we are thankful for all of our family and friends that showed us a great "Texas style" time!Yeehaw! *wink*

Till next time,


Hello Birdie #34

Can't believe we are in the end of June. That means that half the year is done. Wow!

Today is the reveal day for the Cardabilities sketch #34 and here's my take on it....

Hello Birdie

the design team members were asked to use the digi image from our sponsor this week. I decided to print it out on white cardstock and use my colored pencils to add color to the cute image.

Make sure you check out the rest of the cards from the dt members here.

till next time,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A new venture

Happy Tuesday everyone. Sorry I've been MIA for a bit. I went out of town this past weekend and if you've been on a trip, however long or short it is, you know it takes a few more days to come back to normal routine. I'll share photos and notes on our family's roadtrip to Texas pretty soon but for today, I want to share something that I've been working hard on for the last few weeks.

Recently, I've had the intense impression to jump into the Photography business. It was a combination of needing a new challenge/way to improve in my photography skills and also gaining support from famiy and friends. I don't think I've ever thought this was possible if people around me didn't push me on. I {heart} you all.

So with that being said, I've started a photography blog (for now, hopefully it will turn into a full blown website soon) and I invite you to visit it. Browse through the posts and I have some upcoming events so if you're local, make sure you check that out too.

and so today, I leave you with the two people in the world that inspires me to pick up my camera and see the world through it's lens.

thanks for stopping by

Till next time,

Friday, June 24, 2011

Glue Arts share

Aaahhh! Friday. I'm really liking the sound of the weekend right now!

Today I want to share some projects I've made for Glue Arts this month. We had some great sponsors this month, here's two of them....

Wedding Candle Centerpiece

we got to team up with Crate paper and we were asked to make something with the wedding theme. I used the papers from the Portrait collection and turned a candle and craft ring both for only a buck each into a fancy wedding reception centerpiece.

the Glue Arts adhesives really played a crucial role on how I was able to achieve my final product. See my how to on this project at this post.

More than family layout

In this layout we were to use some lovely products from the Gelato line of Kaiser Craft. It was the perfect soft design for a layout I dedicate to my wonderful sister in law. All my sister in laws are great :) So lucky!

This page is up on the blog today! See more of this layout and my step by step how to here.

So that's it. Enjoy your weekend.

Till next time,


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Clear Scraps share

Hi all and happy mid week!
Lots of things going around here since its summer and CHA is fast approaching. I won't bore you with all the "stuff" that's swirling in my head. I don't want to sound like such a complainer here (Yeah, I know that's a first,right?!)

Anyways today I want to share two projects that I made for Clear Scraps that was posted on their blog this month.

Memories to Treasure

In this layout, I used acrylic hears, deco shape and "memories" word. Fun stuff!

I added a tutorial on how I made the hearts on the Clear Scraps blog. Check it out here.

Explore butterfly acrylic album

I had a blast making this book. I used some BoBunny papers and the bold colors just made the whole thing pop. I also used Viva Decor Pearl pen for the edges, My little shoebox letter stickers and other fun stuff I was able to find in my stash

More photos of the book can be found in this post at the Clear Scraps blog.

So that's it for me today.

Till next time,


Monday, June 20, 2011

Star Pillows + Tutorial

Father's day was a good one at the Tolman home. The kids' gave Mitch their homemade father's day cards and I got a book about the "Mayflower ship" on clearance at Border's bookstore. I also made dinner which included a pork roast, scalloped potatoes, veggies and a coconut cream pie for dessert. All in all, I think we treated our favorite Dad like a king yesterday. :)

Today I want to share with you another dollar store project. I actually started this at the same time I made my patriotic vase but I ran out of embroidery floss that I didn't finish the project till last week.

The fun part about this project was that I used some plain tshirts that I got at the dollar store as my base for my pillowcase.

Since I know that I'll be changing this pillowcase every season, I decided to use buttons to make it easy to take out the case off the pillow.

Wanna learn how to make it....here's how I did it.....
First, I gathered my supplies. I purchased two of the dollar shirts (I don't remember what size it was but when I was looking at it at the store, I stretched it a little bit just to have a gauge if it will fit my existing pillowcase or not) I have these pillows that I have put in the close because it didn't match the rest of the colors in my front room and I knew that with this project, I'll be able to bring them back out of obscurity. I also used the fabrics that I got at a thrift store, some fabric fusing paper, a big star template, embroidery floss and my sewing machine.

I used my cricut machine to cut out a star from paper. This will be my template.

I then transferred the image to the fabric fusing paper. Since my star image had a round corner and I wanted my finished star to have a more pointy end, I altered the template and made the changes on the fusible paper.

Then I ironed the star onto my fabric.

Cut out the star from the fabric.

Then I cut out the sleeves and collar of the shirt leaving me with square piece.

Then I laid out the star on the center of the block and added embroidery stitch around the star to adhere it to the shirt.

*with this part, I ran out of embroidery floss for the first star, so I set it aside and decided to use my machine to stitch the other star to its pillowcase. I used pins to keep it from moving.

I used a zigzag stitch on the edges.

After adding the star, I stitched the three sides of the shirt. *I decided to make the bottom edge of the shirt to be the top of my pillowcase. I thought the finished edge made for a nice opening for my pillowcase*

Then I made my marks for where I want the buttons to go. I used two buttons for this one (ran out of big buttons) but I used three on the other pillow which I think, after was said and done, is better than the two.

I handstitched the buttons but made the button holes with the machine.

So that's it! Now I have a couple of nice pillows sitting on my couch in the front room that matches the theme of the season.

What I love most about this project is that I can pretty much do the same technique for all the rest of the seasons. I just need to either go to the dollar store or thrift store to score some cheap tshirts to match my theme. Heck, I can even recycle old shirts in my closet! *wink*

Happy crafting!

Till next time,


Friday, June 17, 2011

All About a Dad

Can you believe Father's day is on Sunday already? I can't! Maddie was just mentioning to me how she feels time flies so fast because she can still remember Easter and Mother's day and here we are on the heels of Father's day. Well I agree with her a hundred percent!

Speaking of Father's day, how about some paper share about the subject....

All About a Dad

I made this layout of last year's Father's day celebration using Upsy Daisy Design products. I used the "A Walk in the Park" line. Love the masculine colors in that line.

My Basic Grey letter stickers was blending into the background so I added pen lines around the edges to make them stand out a bit more. I also added the "about a" rubon from Upsy Daisy Designs.

I had a few more pictures to add in this page but I didn't want the page to be too heavy with photos so I addeda vellum pocket that I secured with brads looking like screws. I thought the screws added that "masculine" feel to the page. Making a pocket is always a great way to add more photos/ephemera/memorabilia in a page without having too much on the page.

DAD cards

and here's a quick and fun card that you can have the kids make for the "daddy" in your home. I used a cardstock that I cut out into a 6" square. I wanted it big so that the kids can doodle and add as much "fun" as they want in the card.

I had cut out a pattern paper (masculine design) into a square about 1/4" smaller than my card base. Cut out a slit on the top and folded the edges to make it look like a shirt collar. I had hand drew a tie and a pocket from cardstock. After all the prep, I called the kids and helped them finish their dad cards. I let them pick the embossing template/folder to use for their tie and pocket then they both ran it through the cuttlebug themselves. Then they adhered the papers and added their card title using their own handwriting. I love to add these little details to make sure that the card screams "kid made this card!"

then I had them write inside the card and gave them a bunch of my leftover stickers and they went to town with it! Then we used some glue squares to adhere the starburst candies inside the card.

Such a quick and fun project that I'm sure you can whip up today or tomorrow (if you haven't made your Father's day kid crafts yet) and still have enough time to surprise that special man in your home come Sunday morning. :)

Have a great weekend everyone.

Till next time,