The Studio Non-Traditional Christmas Palette Challenge

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Sunday, y'all!  I hope you're all enjoying your Christmas preparations.  We're officially done with school for the holidays, and the hooligans are restless, so I'm going to make this short and sweet.  I've got my take on The Studio's current challenge, for you all, today.  We want to see your Christmas layouts, using a non-traditional Christmas palette.  Here's mine.
I started this page by rubbing Pumice Stone Distress Ink, through a chevron stencil, onto the gray, gradient, base page and anchoring a number of patterned papers with black-threaded, straight, machine stitches.  I then matted my photos with Whisper White cardstock, adhered them across the vertical center of the page, and topped them with a stamped, in Bravo Burgundy, More Mustard, and Garden Green inks, poinsettia cluster.  A gold, polka dot tag, laced with white string, tied in a bow; bundle of black thread; snowflake transparency; stamped, in Melon Mambo ink, on Cameo-cut, White, cardstock, seal, which was also stamped, in Jet Black ink,  with the "Gone but never forgotten" phrase; "FRIENDS" tab...
and " WED" Dec. 25, 2013, label complete the cluster.
Another cluster, backed with a smaller snowflake transparency, as well as a bit more black string, boasts a hand-cut silhouette, "YOU & ME" flair, and a "REALITY {check}" sticker.
The opposite corner also houses a snowflake transparency, as well as a yellow-framed starburst and trio of phrase stickers...
and the whole look was grounded with the "a christmas goodbye" title, which was created from gold, accent stickers.
A stamped, in Melon Mambo ink, "here's the story:" introduces my journaling, which reads, Katie had been sick for awhile, and we knew she inevitably would die, but never did we imagine we'd be burying her on Christmas day.  She was barely holding on as I put Adina to bed on Christmas Eve.  So, I wrapped her up and took her into Adina's room for her to say goodbye.  We kissed Katie and held her and cried and prayed over her and thanked the Lord for all the joy she brought into our lives.  A couple of hours later, after some extra cuddling and once I finally got Adina off to sleep, she died.  Katie will ALWAYS hold a special place in our hearts.  A number of stamped, in Jet Black ink, snowflakes, complete the look.
I borrowed ScrapMuch?'s December Colour Palette for my page, which definitely steers away from the traditional red and green Christmas colors.
And my sketch design came from Let's Capture Our Memories' Sketch #101.
You have until January 4, 2015, to link up your pages in the right-hand column of The Studio blog.  Be sure to stop by the challenge link above to see what the rest of the team has whipped up just for your viewing pleasure, as well as to get all of your challenge details.  Thanks for visiting, and have a blessed Sunday!

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: All Occasion Tags, Iconic Christmas, & Pretty Poinsettias (Wplus9); "here's the story:" & starburst (Jenni Bowlin); Pawprints on Our Hearts (Market Street Stamps) Paper: Whisper White (SU!); White (Wplus9); gray gradient (Amy Tangerine); bright pink polka dot & black star (Jenni Bowlin); mustard chevron (MME); gold polka dot (Crate Paper) Ink: Jet Black & Pumice Stone (Ranger); Garden Green, More Mustard, Melon Mambo, & Bravo Burgundy (SU!) Other: black thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); Pretty Poinsettias die (Wplus9); Big Shot (Sizzix); Cameo (Silhouette); snowflake transparencies (Maya Road); white string (Hobby Lobby); arrow stencil, polka dot tag, seal cut file, & girl silhouette (Jenni Bowlin); "WED" arrow & "REALITY {check}" stickers (Simple Stories); foam tape (Scrapbook Adhesives); yellow-edged starburst (October Afternoon); "YOU & ME" flair (findingnana); gold accent stickers (Studio Calico); "you and me" sticker (Chic Tags); "DARLING" sticker (MME); "this is happening" sticker (hazel & ruby); "FRIENDS" tab (Basic Grey)

Family Pics

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Morning, friends!  I just wanted to stop in to share a few of my favorite family pics from this year's session with my friend, Amanda Lloyd.  We took these shots back in October, and I cannot believe how much Kaden has grown just since then, but it was the perfect time to capture fall.  We also couldn't resist sporting our love for the Kansas City Royals, especially with the amazing season they had this year.  I mean, we're all crossing our fingers that it happens again really soon, but I was seven-years-old the last time they made it to a World Series.  So, we decided this was the year to show our pride.  Without further adieu, I'll let the photos do their own talking from here on out.  Enjoy!
Thanks so much for stopping by!  I'll be back tomorrow with my take on The Studio's latest challenge.  Then, I've got to get busy dressing up our jars of homemade apple butter.  Christmas is less than a week away, and while my shopping is done (Woohoo!), I've got more than enough to keep me busy.  I hope you all are enjoying all that the season has to offer.  Oh, and hang in there with me as I do a little juggling around with my blog template.  I couldn't imagine going into 2015 without our little bear's sweet face up there.  Until tomorrow, be blessed!

Puppy Tags/Ornaments

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hi, friends!  I only have a minute, but I wanted to share these sweet tags/ornaments I made for my nephews' Christmas packages.  I just adore this little puppy, and he looks even sweeter in two shades of brown, hanging from the branches of my Christmas tree.  Although, he's now been relocated to identify packages for my nephews.
He's simply stamped, in Jet Black ink, on White cardstock, colored with pencils, and hand cut out.  I then die-cut the banners from White cardstock; stamped them, in Jet Black ink, with the banner outline, as well as the individual "Joy to the World" and "Rejoice in the Miracle" sentiments; and adhered each, with foam tape, in their respective locations.  A bit of ribbon for the bows around the dogs' necks, as well as Baker's Twine to hang them and Crystal Effects to give their noses shine, completes the look.
Thanks so much for peeking!  Have a wonderful day!

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: Reason for the SeasonPawprints on Our Hearts (Market Street Stamps); Basic Banners (Wplus9) Paper: White (Wplus9) Ink: Jet Black (Ranger) Other: pencils (Prismacolor); mineral spirits (Inky Antics); ribbon (Hobby Lobby); foam tape (Scrapbook Adhesives); Basic Banners die (Wplus9); Big Shot (Sizzix); Baker's Twine (Clean Country Paper Supplies); Crystal Effects (SU!)

Stuck?! December 15th Sketch

Friday, December 12, 2014

Morning, y'all!  Just popping in a little earlier than usual, due to a busy holiday season and a challenge collaboration, to share my take on Stuck?! Sketches mid-month challenge.  Enjoy!
I started this page by securing a couple of hand-cut, from patterned papers, pennants, with black-threaded, straight, machine stitches, near the bottom edge and overlapping the right, to the sewing pattern, base page.  I then stamped the page, in Jet Black ink, with the stitched blooms; placed my photos which were matted with Whisper White cardstock; and grounded the whole look with the "Sunday BEST" title, which was created from mint, chipboard Thickers and a Cameo-cut from Whisper White cardstock and glittered "Sunday", as well as a little journaling, which reads, looking so sweet in the dress Mommy made for you.
A sticker jar, wrapped with a length of white string, tied in a bow, as well as a "you're a treasure" phrase bit and the stamped, in Jet Black ink, on White cardstock, hand-cut out, and colored with pencils vintage girl, dresses up the bottom left corner of the photo grouping...
and a bunch of hand-cut, from patterned paper, blooms top them.  You'll also find a few cardstock sticker blooms, anchored with crystal buttons, laced with white string, floating about.
Another cluster of paper and sticker blooms dresses up an Easter Sun. 2010 @ G-pa's and ma's, scalloped label, as well as "ARCHIVES" and "made with love" stickers; and a trio of puffy, leaf stickers complete the look.
Here is your December 15th Sketch to get you started.
As I mentioned above, we are collaborating with Scrap Around the World this month.  Please feel free to use their December Mood Board in conjunction with our sketch, if you so desire.
If you do combine both challenges, Laura has a $30 Big Picture Classes gift certificate for one lucky player.  When linking up, be sure to include "SATW" after your name to be included in the draw.
And for everyone else, you'll have the opportunity to win a $15 gift certificate to My Scraps & More.
Don't forget that our Guest Design Team Call extends through the month December.  All you have to do to enter is play along and add "GDT" to the title of your entry.  In addition to the two January spots, Laura is offering two more spots for our February challenges.  Yay!  Thanks so much for stopping by!  Please be sure to stop by the challenge link above to get all your challenge details, as well as to view all the fabulous pages the rest of Design Team has created just for your viewing pleasure.  Have a great weekend, friends!

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: In Stitches (Skipping Stones Design); vintage girl (Jenni Bowlin) Paper: White (Wplus9); Whisper White, floral, multicolored stitches, & black floral (SU!); tan pattern (Jenni Bowlin) Ink: Jet Black (Ranger); Black PITT artist pen (Faber Castell) Other: black thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); jar (Me & My Big Ideas); white string (Hobby Lobby); crystal buttons, green floral stickers, & Dazzling Diamonds (SU!); chipboard Thickers (American Crafts); gray scalloped label (Jenni Bowlin); leaf puffy stickers (October Afternoon); colored pencils (Prismacolor); mineral spirits (Inky Antics); Cameo (Silhouette); "ARCHIVES" label (Basic Grey); "made with love" & "you're a treasure" phrase bits (hazel & ruby)

For the Love of Books: Christmas

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hey, y'all!  I'm just stopping in here, as promised, to share the fantastic list of children's Christmas books that grace our own library shelves, just in case you've still got a little shopping to do.  But before I get to that, how about a For the Love of Books post honoring this treasured holiday?  The book Ezekiel wanted me to share with you all this month is written for children ages four to seven.  It is such a beautiful picture of the importance of showing one's gratitude for wanted AND unwanted gifts.
The Christmas Sweater is written by Glenn Beck and illustrated by Brandon Dorman.  More than anything else in the world, Eddie wanted a new bike for Christmas.  When Grandpa did some snooping on Christmas Eve and revealed that he didn't find a bike, Eddie melted with disappointment; and he wasn't at all thrilled at Grandpa's excited announcement of locating a homemade Christmas sweater under the tree.  With a groan, Eddie threw himself onto his pillow, closed his eyes, and drifted off into a winter dreamland.  It is there that he found everything his heart needed most for Christmas and where Grandpa's encouraging words rang truer than ever, "... when a gift is made by hand, all of that person's love is captured in it.  Once they give it to you, that love turns into Christmas magic..."

Now, on to that list.  The last three have been added since last year.
  1. A Christmas ABC by Alice Gold
  2. My First Treasury: The First Christmas by Leslie Lindecker
  3. Nate the Great and the Crunchy Christmas by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
  4. The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs (LOVE all of Liz's parable stories!)
  5. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (a favorite of mine)
  6. The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola (another favorite of mine... It never fails to bring tears to my eyes, though.)
  7. Santa's Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki (yet another favorite of mine)
  8. The Berenstain Bears Trim the Tree by Jan & Mike Berenstain
  9. Clifford Celebrates the Year: Clifford’s Christmas by Norman Bridwell
  10. Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
  11. God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren
  12. Winnie the Pooh: The Merry Christmas Mystery by Betty Birney
  13. When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan
  14. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston (another one for which you'll need the Kleenex box)
  15. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
  16. Dream Snow by Eric Carle
  17. Snow Happy to be Here: The Slightly Silly Story of the Snowblatt Family by Cheryl Hawkinson
  18. You Can Do It, Sam by Amy Hest
  19. The Dinosaurs' Night Before Christmas by Anne Muecke (super fun music CD with it) 
  20. The Twelve Days of Christmas by Anne Geddes
  21. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (This one will always be a classic.)
  22. The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg (still another favorite of mine)
  23. The Snow Must Go On: A Way, Way Off-Broadway Adventure by Molly Wigand
  24. The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Rick Osborne (great history here)
  25. Merry Christmas, Curious George by Cathy Hapka
  26. If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
  27. Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney (great rhyme)
  28. It's Christmas, David! by David Shannon
  29. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  30. The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt
  31. On This Special Night by Claire Freedman (Ezekiel's favorite)
  32. My First Read and Learn Countdown to Christmas by Mary Manz Simon
  33. Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson
  34. Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson (Adina's favorite)
  35. The Christmas Star by Marcus Pfister
  36. Charlie and the Christmas Kitty by Ree Drummond
  37. The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck
  38. Little Golden Book: Christmas Favorites
  39. A Very Marley Christmas by John Grogan (So glad we have a good dog ;)!)
  40. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May
  41. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell! by Lucille Colandro
  42. Grace at Christmas by Mary Hoffman (Christmas is changed forever for a little girl reluctant to welcome strangers into her celebrations.)
  43. Tacky's Christmas by Helen Lester (Gotta love that Tacky!)
  44. A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz
  45. The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans
  46. The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
  47. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore (This is a Hallmark recordable storybook read by Ezekiel to Adina.  It was his gift to her last Christmas.)
  48. Tallulah's Nutcracker by Marilyn Singer
Thanks so much for reading!  I hope you found something here to give or add to your own bookcases this year.  We're on a mission to get through every one before this Christmas.  Wish us luck!  And have a truly blessed Christmas season!  Hugs!

Family Update

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It doesn't seem that long since I wrote a Family Update post, but things happen fast, especially this time of year.  So, let's backtrack a little to Thanksgiving day.  We made the trek to my parents' house to celebrate with them and my sisters and brother and their families.  Besides a delicious dinner, made even more festive by these cute, little, pumpkin treat packages/name cards, created by my big kiddos and I with the help of a Silhouette cut file...
the cousins played outside on the tractor or in the basement with their video games.
Adina was told that she couldn't play video games.  I guess they thought she was too little to understand.  So, she played with Grandpa and Grandma's new kitty.
So did Kaden.
And the adults spent much of the day thumbing through advertisements and claiming Black Friday deals on their smart phones.  Have I mentioned how much I hate Black Friday?
We left Ezekiel there for a few days.  He needed to finish his library research report and had quit listening to anything I had to impart to him long ago.  By the way, I so appreciate each and every one of you who left me a little advice/encouragement on my last Family Update post.  Thank you!  It sounds as though all my woes are nothing new to the preteen boy years and that I'll survive, just like you all, one day at time.  Anyway, Grandma offered to help him, and I didn't hesitate to take her up on the offer.  We needed a little peace and quiet, at our house, over break.  So, we picked out our Christmas tree without him...
and had it all set up and ready to decorate when he got home Sunday night.  The photos below show each of my kiddos with their new ornaments.  Kaden has two.  I like to give them a photo ornament, in addition to a regular one, for their first Christmas.
It was so fun to watch Kaden amidst all the excitement.  He loved the lights and our little, Christmas, Thomas train.
It's battery powered.  So, it runs around the track singing Jingle Bells; and he just sits and stares.  That is, when he's not trying to snatch it up as it goes by.  Tee hee!
I couldn't resist sharing this sweet, little face.  Gosh, I just want to bottle it up and save it for the day he goes off to college or moves into his own place.  I'm tearing up just thinking about it.  Why can't they stay this little forever?
Oh!  And look who's standing all the time now.  He even lets go and tries to take a step forward.
He's ten-months-old now.  He sleeps twelve hours through the night and still takes two nearly two-hour, morning and afternoon naps.  He nurses four times a day at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and just before bed.  He isn't picky about any new food we put in his mouth.  Matter of fact, that's so true that I couldn't even tell you his favorites.  Although, he is a big fan of Cheerios and Mama's Andes Mint cookies.  He still hasn't developed a love for his stroller and always wants to be held; but he's just a little guy, so I tote him around in our Boba Wrap, which he couldn't love any more.  I cannot remember what life was like without him.  He fits in with our family so well, and my big kiddos think he's the best.  We all do.
Then, this past weekend, my biggest kiddo had his Christmas homeschool band concert.  I was so proud to see him accomplishing so much even amidst all his anger, and he was so excited to get to share all that he's learned this semester.  I took him to get his hair cut that morning, and I swore, just for a second, that I saw my little brother sitting in that chair.  I remember watching him go through those changes from little boy into teenager and then adult, and even though I cried my eyes out at his wedding, it all seemed so natural and not nearly as sudden as it does with Ezekiel.  Sigh.
Anyway, I had to share this sweet pic of his teacher singing his praises.  Gosh, I love her so!  She's so good with the kids and always has the perfect dose of encouragement and challenge.  And do you see what's tucked under her arm?  It's a jar of our homemade apple butter.  She loves it to bits.  Yay!
And here's one of all my kiddos just because that tree was so festive.
And another with some of Ezekiel's cousins who came, with Grandpa and Grandma and his aunts and uncle, to cheer him on.
Well, that does it from here.  I've got a Christmas edition of my monthly For the Love of Books post coming your way tomorrow and a page to round out the week.  I know it's been a bit quiet around here.  Bear with me.  I'm torn between wanting to meet you all right here every single day of the week and not wanting to miss a second of watching my kiddos grow up.  I'd never forgive myself if I chose the former over the latter.  I don't have to tell you all that there's a lot of responsibility and time, beyond a single post, that comes with blogging.  That is some of the reason that I'm not on Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram and Twitter and whatever new trend it may be, too.  So, I hope you can forgive me during my absences and celebrate with me when time allows me to stop in.  You all truly mean the world to me.  I wouldn't crave coming here if it weren't so, but I have to find the perfect balance of family and fun, and sometimes that means getting a good night's sleep instead of posting my latest creative venture.  Thanks so much for checking in on us!  XOXO

The Studio Childhood Memories Challenge

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Happy Sunday, friends!  I know it's been a bit quiet around here.  I've just been enjoying all that the holiday season has to bring with my family, but I'm here now to share my take on The Studio's Childhood Memories Challenge.  The idea is to scrap a childhood photo with a story behind it.  Well, I have only a small handful of childhood photos of myself at my disposal, and believe it or not, they've already found their way into an album.  So, I thought it might be fun to tell a story from my childhood on a page with pics of my own cuties.  It's all about a childhood tradition that I'm so thrilled to get to share with my own kiddos today.  I've had that Echo Park bokeh paper for months.  Every time I picked it up I saw Christmas and am so excited to finally have gotten to use it.
I started this page by anchoring a number of color-coordinating, patterned, paper strips, some of which were hand-cut in the shape of banners, with black-threaded, straight, machine stitches and matting my photos with Whisper White cardstock.
In amidst the strips, I tucked a couple of circle-punched, navy, star, patterned, paper bits, as well as a journaling card, which was hand-cut from White cardstock; stamped, in Melon Mambo ink, with the notebook lines; and dressed up with a Melon Mambo, cardstock circle, punched with a hole punch and laced with white string, tied in a bow.
My journaling reads, One of my favorite family traditions began when I was just a little girl.  My Mom and Dad always picked out a special ornament for my siblings and I to decorate our Christmas tree.  Sometimes they revealed something special about our lives like the time I got a mouse holding a baseball glove when I really fell in love with the game, but they always made Mom and Dad think of each of us.  Then, when I left home, I already had lots of ornaments to decorate my own tree, and they still make me smile.  It was such a happy tradition that I'm thrilled to carry on with my own kiddos.
I then grounded my photo grid with a gold, "HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE", banner title, which was flanked with a number of stamped, in Old Olive, Baked Brown Sugar, and Wild Wasabi inks, White, cardstock die cuts, as well as stamped, in Jet Black ink, on White cardstock; colored with pencils; hand-cut; and glittered, berry branches.  They all were backed with a little shadow stamping in Jet Black ink and used to hang stamped, in Jet Black ink, ornament strings.  The ornaments themselves were gold-embossed on vellum and hand-cut out.
A secondary photo grouping overhangs the bottom edge of the page and was embellished with a gold, "THE BEST!" burst, flanked by a couple of stamped, in Garden Green ink, on White, cardstock die-cuts, holly leaves, and a "fun ahead" phrase bit.
A gold button, laced with white string, and stamped, in Jet Black ink, "you light up my life" and "Christmas bells are ringing!" phrases complete the look.
Further inspiration for this page came from PageDrafts' Sketch #37.3.  I wanted as much of the background to show as possible, so I left off the matching strips across the bottom, but I think it still works well.
Be sure to stop by the challenge link above to see what the rest of the team has whipped up, as well as to get all of your challenge details.  Can't wait to see what you all cook up!  Thanks for visiting, and have a blessed Sunday!

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: Silver Bells, Heartfelt Holiday, Merry & Bright, & Classic Christmas (Wplus9); Vintage Notepad, Shine On, Christmas Bells, & Ornaments (Market Street Stamps); date (Dear Lizzy) Paper: White (Wplus9); Whisper White & Melon Mambo (SU!); bokeh (Echo Park); bright pink polka dot & green music (Jenni Bowlin); aqua designer & gold polka dot (Crate Paper); navy star (Pebbles Inc.); vellum (Paper Studio) Ink: Melon Mambo, Garden Green, Old Olive, Wild Wasabi, & Baked Brown Sugar (SU!); Jet Black (Ranger); watermark (VersaMark); Black PITT artist pen (Faber Castell) Other: black thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); Silver Bells, Merry & Bright, Under the Mistletoe, & Lacey Layers dies (Wplus9); Big Shot (Sizzix); 1-3/8" Circle punch & Dazzling Diamonds (SU!); foam tape (Scrapbook Adhesives); hole punch (office supply store); white string (Hobby Lobby); gold button, "THE BEST!" burst, & "HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE" banner (MME); gold embossing powder (Ranger); "fun ahead" phrase bit (Chic Tags); colored pencils (Prismacolor); mineral spirits (Inky Antics)