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, March 29, 2013

March recap

Hi everyone. So today is Friday and I have spent this week enjoying my family's company since it's Spring Break. We didn't have much planned and it's nice to not have so many scheduled things to attend to. We just "hung out". I had forgotten the last time we did that! 

Anyways since today would be my last post for the month of March, I decided to do my monthly recap. Here's our family's highlights from this month...

Maddie's class celebrated Wacky Wednesday in honor of Dr. Seuss birthday. We put Maddie's hair in a high pony tail and placed the bow underneath her pony tail then she wore her shirt backwards. I helped out at her class that day and I have to say, the kids really got into this day as I saw a bunch of kids with wacky hair styles and clothes worn funny. Their teacher even dressed up to look like Cat in the hat. So fun!

In the month of February, the 1st and 2nd graders in Maddie's school participated in the I love to read program. The incentive for the kids to read were patterned to Karate Belts. Every time they finish reading 5 books they moved on to the next belt. So they all started with white and worked they way up to black. Once you are in black you can move up some more by reading 20 books (with each level). The highest belt you can get is a black belt with three red strips on it, which they called "degrees". 

It was a lot of reading but Maddie was up to the challenge and we are proud to say that she accomplished the task given to her all the way up to the 3rd degree black belt. 

Here's our bookworm with her certificate and belt. 

And the teachers tallied up the books that all of the kids that participated read and it totaled to 6,035. That's a lot of reading and (from this mom's standpoint) I'm so glad it's over. LOL. 

During this month, I too took on a challenge. I worked hard on putting together a styled photo session to kick off my Senior Photography season. You can see some of the results of that in this blog. One of the things I did to prepare for this session was to rent a new lens. The Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 lens is sadly more expensive than the camera I own right now so I opted to rent one instead of buying it. 

Here are just some of the pictures I got from playing around with this fantastic glass...

I love challenges and the opportunity for growth. This personal project proved to me that I still have a lot to learn but at the same time, I was able to remind myself that I have a passion for capturing moments and that is what drives me to continue on doing this. 

and finally...the kids got to have lunch with the Principal this month. There's a program in their school that when they are good at something (this month was good in writing) their teachers will pick one from their class to have pizza and soda lunch with the principal. It just so happen that both my kids had theirs at the same time. How awesome is that?! 

they both got picked because of how well they wrote their essays in class. Maddie talked about her favorite game which is Princesses and Marcus wrote about his opinion on "should 4th graders sleep when they're tired or at a certain time?". I'm so proud of my writers. The Sunday journal writing that we make them do is finally paying off. Hahahaha!

They even got a key chain with a cheese charm on it as part of their reward. I don't really know the connection of the cheese to the program but the kids' seemed to like it. 

Side note: Last year, Marcus and Maddie both had lunch with the Principal at the same month too so I stopped in so I can take some pictures for a future scrapbook page. During this time, I witnessed Marcus breaking down because "this was not what he normally does". It broke my heart because he wanted the pizza meal so bad and yet he couldn't get himself to join the group because that's not part of his routine. He later on joined in after they allowed me to sit with the group in thinking that it would make him feel less afraid. 

So this year, I was very scared of how he would react. I asked him multiple times before hand if he had any reservations or if he would get scared going to the luncheon and participating in the activity. He said no every time. I was not able to come see their "lunch with the Principal" because I went to the temple but I was saying a little prayer for him the whole time.

When I picked him up from school I asked him how his day went and if he had any problems with the lunch. He was so happy and rambled about how many pieces of pizza he ate and the soda he drank (we don't drink soda at home so this was an extra special treat for him) and how it went great. You can just imagine the relief I felt after he told me his story. I even asked Maddie to see if it was all true and she second everything Marcus said. 

This might not be a big deal to some, but for my son who's always been apprehensive about trying new things, this is HUGE! He's finally growing up and is showing signs that he's open to new experiences and challenges. That's my boy!

So how about you, what where the highlights of March for you?

Till next time,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Hi there friends. Today's blog post is showcasing the latest Inspired by Stamping Challenge blog inspiration plus a card I made with the challenge in mind. For more info on this challenge, you may click here. 

Just For you card
I love the masculine colors in the inspiration. It's very rare that I get to work with blue, brown and green and as you can see in my card, because I'm so used to feminine touches, I couldn't help but do the same in this project. I guess it just shows that old habits are hard to break. :)

I used this stamp set for the ornate circle accent and this one for my sentiment (both of them are from Inspired by Stamping). I wanted to thread a ribbon through my picket fence border punch paper and I also wanted to incorporate the color scheme of the challenge so I spray misted a strand of white ribbon blue to match my color scheme. I am loving how misting and painting can make the world of difference with what we already have in our stash. 

So there you have it. Hope you play along with us this week. 

Till next time,

Monday, March 25, 2013

Latest Layouts

Hi friends. I'm sure you are awaiting my latest video tutorial but I'm sorry to tell you that I will not be sharing any videos this week. I had a book report that I had to write for school last week and I was also busy getting stuff done so I can enjoy this week with my family since the kiddos are on Spring break that I just didn't have the time to create a video. Sorry about that. But I promise that we will resume the video tutorials again next week. 

So for now let me share with you some latest layouts that I made (just for me). I chose to work on this memories as I'm getting a bit tired of the long winter we're having here. I'm longing for some warmer weather.

Farmer's Market layout
We found out that during the summer months, there's a farmer's market set up near our home. It's walking distance. These photos are from a day that we walked to the market. 

I used a whole collection (SEI) to make this page. I love using kits or collections for projects because all of the work of making sure everything goes together has been done for me. It makes creating faster and more efficient. This collection had die cut flowers which I love because I have instant embellishments that matches perfectly with my papers.  

I love the triangle trend that's going on right now. In this page, I made my own pennant/banner with a few cuts of the paper and some triangle stickers. I finished it off with some twine behind it and adhered it to my page with foam adhesive. 

Summer Sweets Layout
It's very dangerous for me and the kids to know that Party City now sells candy in bulk. Especially when they price these candies for 15 for $1. Now every time we go out, the kids would always ask if we can swing by Party City. Sometimes we do and I use it as a bribery so they can be good for me especially when I'm running errands. These pictures were taken from one of those "reward" trips. 

I will never get tired of using die cut shapes. They're even better layered on top of each other. 

I wanted my title to have some kind of movement so I placed the words on the corner and set it so that one of the words go down. It's always great to experiment with your title placements. You'll never know what unique way you can come up with. 

So that's it. I hope you have a great start to your crafting week. 

Till next time,

Friday, March 22, 2013

My latest knitted project finished

It's finally Friday and I'm so ready for the weekend, if only the weather here can cooperate then it would be the perfect combination. Unfortunately we've been having some weird weather here lately. One day sunny and gorgeous and the next windy, cold and even snow. Yuck! I'm so ready for Spring. 

The one thing I'm happy about the cold weather is that I'm still able to sport my new knitted cowl. One of my crafty pursuits is knitting. I still consider myself as a beginner and have not graduated from the "knitting" stitch but I use this craft to unwind and de-stress. It helps me relax and although I wish I have more time to devote to learning more about it, for now I'm happy that every so often, I get to pick up my knitting needles, yarn and create something one-of-a-kind. 

So with the projects I've made, most of them have been scarves for me and/or my kids. It's the easiest to create cause it's basically just a long rectangle. I wanted to stay on the "simple" side but wanted a different version of a scarf so I went with a cowl. I googled a few tutorials on how to make it and ended up with my own "pattern". I started with a size 13 needle and 2 skeins of soft yarn (purchased at Hobby Lobby), casted on 55 stitches and knitted it all the way till I used up both skeins. I left a few yarn at the end so I can use it to stitch up the top and bottom part of the "scarf" to create my cowl or a big "o". 

Here's some pictures of the result....

and two more ways I found that I can wear the cowl...

I can even clip a flower to add some more interest to the scarf...

so there you have it. Easy peasy and totally doable. To see more of my latest "yarn" projects that I've pinned, you can always go here

How about you...what's your favorite hobby/craft to de-stress or unwind with?

Have a great weekend.

Till next time,

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Hi there. It's that time of the week again where IBSIC reveal their latest challenge and inspiration board....

and here's my take on the inspiration...

My Friend card
I love the color combos and I used the green one as my background page. I added some blacks in the mix which made the rest of the colors pop out. Don't you think?

To dress up my circle accent that housed my card sentiment, I added tiny pearls all around it. I used this stamp from Inspired by Stamping for the sentiment. 

Now it's your turn. Hop on over at the IBSIC blog to learn more about how to play along with us this week and what special prize you may win.

Till next time,

Inspired by Stamping March Blog Hop

Hi there dear crafty friends. Today's post is a special one as I'm participating in my first blog hop with Inspired by Stamping. This month's challenge intimidated me for a bit but after taking a deep breath and "going for it" I was happy with the results. Try the chalkboard technique today and participate in this month's challenge. 

You are so thoughtful card
Chalkboard is not as hard as I thought it would be although I did learn that you will need to have specific supplies on hand. Google chalkboard technique and you will find quite a few great tutorials on this. I suggest you watch them first before venturing on this technique. 

I used this stamp for the sentiment and frame. 

So it's your turn to play. If you are hopping along with us and this was your first stop, here's the official line up of the blog hop party...

Grace---this is where you are at right now

Happy hopping!

Till  next time,

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ideas on how to use paper scraps video + giveaway

Happy Monday friends. Today's video tutorial is of me sharing a few ideas on how I use my paper scraps. I shared my tips on using paper scraps while creating a card and a tag.  Hope you like it...

and because I'm in the sharing mood, I'd like to give a lucky viewer/blog reader some of the die cut shapes that I had in the video. Here's the loot that you will get....

To enter, simple comment on this post and share your ideas on how you make the most of your scraps. I love to learn from other people too. *wink*

Giveaway will be open from now till Friday (March 22nd, Midnight Mountain time). I'll announce the winner on Monday's post (March 25th)

Thanks for stopping by.

Till next time,

Friday, March 15, 2013

Projects with flower stamp

Today I'd like to share with you two projects that I've made using the same flower stamp. I love the versatility of stamps. They give your projects added design and if you change the ink you use or when you heat emboss them, they provide a totally different look. 

Wolf Pride Layout
This page is about my daughter getting an award at school last year. I used the blue color scheme as the main  color of the page which I pulled out from my photo. 

I used a circle border stamp to decorate my tag for my title. I love that stamps dressed up any plain paper. 

I stamped the flower image on green cardstock and them punched out a circle out of it. I then added a brad in the center and adhered it to my page with foam adhesive. I repeated this process two more times to create visual triangle for my page.

Supplies Used:
Cardstock- WorldWin; Pattern papers- (ruler, journaling block and wordstrip) Echo Park; (others) The Sweetest thing, My Mind’s eye; Stickers- (large letters) So Sophie, My Mind’s Eye; (small) Dear Lizzy, American Crafts; (date) Sidewalks, October Afternoon; (butterfly) Momenta; (happy thoughts) Cosmo Cricket; (butterfly label) Farmhouse, October Afternoon; Die cut tab- Crate Paper; Brads- SEI; Photo Corners- Recollections; Twine- Doodlebug Design Inc.; Circle punch- Creative Memories; Stamp- Studio Calico; Ink- Tsukineko; Pen- Millenium, Zig; Adhesives- scrapbook adhesive by 3L; Glue Dots, Creative Memories

Thank U Card
I love creating cards right after I make a page. This allows me to use the scraps from my layout to create another project. I used the stamp here to dress up my kraft pocket. I added the circle stamp on yellow paper. Adding a bold stamp would work really well with muted or light colored pattern paper. 

I love how this card is interactive. You can insert a gift card or even money in this pocket for the card recipient. 

Supplies Used:
Cardstock- (white) Walmart; Pattern papers- (blue dot) Sassafrass Lass; (phrase) Echo Park; (others) My Mind’s Eye; Stickers- (letter) Dear Lizzy, American Crafts; (tab) My Mind’s Eye; Kraft pocket- Maya Road; Twine- Doodlebug Design Inc.; Pearl- Recollections; Stamp- Studio Calico; Ink- Versacolor, Tsukineko; Thread- Coats and Clark; Sewing machine- Kenmore; Adhesives- scrapbook adhesive by 3L; Creative Memories

What kind of projects do you like to make with stamps?

Thank you for stopping by. 

Till next time,

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Happy hump day. The latest IBSIC challenge prompt is up and here's my take on the beautiful color scheme and photo inspiration.

Princess Wishes card
I used the new Princess stamp for this card. I used three different cardstock and stamped the want image so I can incorporate all the colors in the challenge in my card. 

I used some foam adhesive to make the wants stand out against the background and tied them with some twine. 

I love the swirl font in the sentiment stamp. Inspired by Stamping is great at this. They have a ton of lovely sentiment stamps in the store. You can check them here. 

Don't forget that there's a great prize in store for those that participate. It's a $15 gift certificate to the Inspired by Stamping store. A gift certificate for stamps, what's better than that? Play along here.

Till next time,

Monday, March 11, 2013

Giveaway winner + a new video

Hi friends and happy Monday. I forgot that I was supposed to announce a giveaway winner on Friday. ooopps! Sorry about that. Blame it on the frenzy in my head when the weather man kept on saying that we will have some "dangerous blizzard" for Saturday. It didn't turn out to be as scary as they had predicted and we didn't even have good amount of snow to measure. That just shows you that in this part of the country, weather is so unpredictable. 

Anyways, as promised, although a bit late, here's the winner of the giveaway...
Blogger June said...
Thanks for the chance to win...What I'd like to see is a tutorial on spriting either with or without a mask or something in the different ways to use washi tape...Thanks again...

Congratulations June and if you see this message before I get to contact you personally, can you please email me your mailing address at graceelainetolmanatyahoodotcom so I can send you your goodies. Thanks to all that left some sweet messages to me. It's so great to feel your support. 

So I was so excited that some of you embraced my first video tutorial. I watched it a million times and I know I do a lot of "ums" and my video sometimes is not as crisp as I want it to be but know that I'm working on that. I'm an introvert sometimes and this is totally out of my comfort zone but your great comments and knowing that I can help people embrace the art of memory preservation inspires me to make more videos and hopefully inspire someone about scrapbooking along the way. 

And with that, let me leave you with a new video. I just recently purchased some essential items in my scrapbook room and I though I'd share with you my favorite non-scrapbook products. Here goes....

Hope you enjoyed the video. What about you, what's some non scrappy products in your stash that you just can't live without?

Till next time,

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Easter Story layout featuring the Circle Stamp set from Inspired By Stamping

and here we go again with another layout featuring a different stamp set which is being released this month by Inspired by Stamping...

and here's my layout...

The Easter Story
Last year on the Monday prior to Easter Sunday we had a themed Family Home Evening lesson around Christ's last week here on earth. I found this great idea online incorporating scriptures verses with objects that corresponds with that part of the story. It was a good spiritual activity for the family and it helps us all be reminded of the true meaning of Easter. 

In this layout, I used the stamps first as a border. I wanted the border to mimic my colorful plastic eggs in the photos so I stamped the circles using different inks and then covering them halfway with photos so all you see are scallop circles. I also stamped the circles on white cardstock, cut it out with circle punch and then added another muted paper on the center then placed these circles in three different locations on my page to create a visual triangle. 

Supplies Used: Cardstock, Pattern papers, letter stickers, vellum, buttons,twine, computer printed journaling,  circle punch, stamps and ink pads. 

don't forget the contest that is still going on at Joanna's blog
March 6th – March 10th we will be giving away a $25 gift card to the IBS store everyday with Joanna's  posts.  
Winners will be announced daily on a separate page at 10pm the following day.  
You must leave a comment to be eligible to win on my blog 
Only One comment per person 
Each winner will be randomly selected. 

and a few more fun details...
Free Shipping will be available on all orders over $25. This will start on the 10th Sunday and be available for only 24 hours. March 10th at 7pm to March 11th at 7pm Brisbane time only. 
All 6 stamp sets will be offered as a bundle for a 10% discount. 
March 10th will be the full release on my blog and all items will be available for purchase at 7pm Brisbane time.

thank you for joining me through the sneek peeks and the project share posts. I hope you stop by Inspired by Stamping website to see the rest of the beautiful stamp sets they carry. 

till next time,

Friday, March 8, 2013

the latest Paper Cut magazine from GCD Studios plus exciting news

Hi there friends. It's funny how I've had so many posts this week. I didn't even realize I had so many thing to share when this week started. Anywhoo....I hope you check out the latest online magazine from GCD Studios...
Their March issue is full of inspirations and if you read the fourth page, you will find a fantastic news (for me). I've been picked to be part of their 2013 design team. Wow! What an honor. To check out the other talented designers for this year, please click here.
Thank you for all of your support and have a great weekend.
Till next time,

It's her turn

Oh thank goodness it's Friday. This week has been a good one but somewhat busy so i'm looking forward to the weekend. :)

So last week I posted my February recap and I noticed that I was highlighting Marcus a lot. One of the things that is hard with having just two kids is that we always have to be 'even Steven' around here. So in order to make things balanced, here's Maddie's turn to shine....

Last week, her 1st grade class performed in the school assembly. They did a song and dance routine focusing on living things. They were adorable and everyone enjoyed the show. She participated in the "hip hop bunny" dance and I'm grateful to now have a camera with video capability that I was able to capture that in film. One of these days I'll have to turn those digital video files into DVD's to share with family. Just one more thing in my "gotta do" list. 

Anyways here's a couple of shots before the show started...

During the assembly, the school also gave out "wolf pride" pins as a reward for students that were super excellent for the month of February. I didn't know it but Maddie was given an award. Luckily my camera was on hand so I was able to capture here getting it. She doesn't look happy in the photo but I think she was just nervous to be called out in front of all of her peers. 

So that's my story today. And our story telling is balanced again. *wink*

Have a great weekend.

Till next time,