Paper Sweeties December Inspiration Challenge #26 - Happy Holidays

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Paper Sweeties is welcoming the month of December with a super festive inspiration challenge, and I couldn't help playing along while I had all my darling images just strewn about during last month's release week.  Here's how I was inspired.
I started this card by anchoring a piece of gingerbread house, patterned paper, to the Kraft, cardstock, card face, with white-threaded, straight, machine stitches.  I then stamped a piece of White cardstock, in Jet Black ink, with both the gingerbread people and the strings, as well as the "Visions of Sugarplums Dancing Through Our Heads" sentiment.
The gingerbread people were then colored with pencils and hung amidst stamped, in Old Olive ink, branches and a white-embossed, on a vellum die cut, ornament.
After framing the stamped piece with a red, polka dot, patterned paper, I anchored it, to the center of the card face, with white-threaded, straight, machine stitches.  A woodgrain, patterned, paper beam grounds the sentiment and gives the ornaments a place to hang from.  It was wrapped with a length of gingham ribbon, tied in a bow and embellished with a heart button, laced with a hemp twine bow, to complete the look.
Here's your Inspiration Challenge #26 to get you started.
Be sure to stop by the challenge link above to get all your challenge details, as well as the links below to be inspired by the Design Team.  Thanks so much for stopping by, and may you all have a blessed holiday season!

Amber Kroening
December Guest Designer:  Diane Hover

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: Ho, Ho, Ho, Stand Add-On: Mistletoe & Kisses, & Holly Days (Paper Sweeties) Paper: White & Kraft (Wplus9); gingerbread houses & red polka dot (MME); woodgrain (Pebbles, Inc.); vellum (Paper Studio) Ink: Old Olive (SU!); Jet Black (Ranger); watermark (VersaMark) Other: white thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); Holly Days die (Paper Sweeties); Big Shot (Sizzix); white embossing powder (Ranger); pencils (Prismacolor); mineral spirits (Inky Antics); hemp twine (SU!); ribbon (Hobby Lobby); heart button (JoAnn Fabrics)

Fall Guy Happy Birthday

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Morning, y'all!  It's such a beautiful one in our neck of the woods, but the weather people are saying that cold temps will be back tomorrow, so we're planning to get our end of the season yard work done today.  We'd also like to venture over to pick out our Christmas tree, and I've got heaps of laundry and house cleaning that are calling my name.  There's never a shortage of things to do around my house.  But before I get to all that and while I wait for the coffee to take effect, I wanted to share my brother-in-law's birthday card.  Guy cards are so hard for me, and I know many of you have said the same thing.  So, hopefully, his card will help inspire one for a special guy in your life.  Oh!  And that little, polka dot envelope was stuffed with a Cold Stone Creamery gift card, but I forgot to tuck it in there until all my close-ups were already shot, so I slipped it in quick at the end of my shoot and snapped the first photo below.  Enjoy!
I started this card by piecing the mustard, wagon wheels and plaid, patterned papers together on a piece of White cardstock; copper-embossing the leaves trailing from the top right to bottom left corner; and machine stitching, with navy-threaded, straight stitches, around their combined edges.
I then wrapped the piece, over the connection of the patterned papers, with a length of denim ribbon, which I tied, in a bow, near the left edge and embellished with a wood veneer button, laced with white string, before tucking a polka dot envelope, behind the length of ribbon, in the center of the prepped piece and adhering the entire thing, with foam tape, to the Kraft, cardstock, card face.
The centerpiece was white and copper-embossed on a Black, cardstock, frame die cut.  I then stamped right over the images themselves with matching White and Copper inks; rubbed them slightly with a paper towel just to smudge the ink and make it look more like an authentic chalkboard; and adhered it, just to the right of the embellished bow, in the center of the envelope.  The sentiment was stamped, in Jet Black ink, on a stamped, in Jet Black ink, on vellum, and hand-cut banner and adhered near the base of the embossed piece to complete the look.
I'll be back late tomorrow with a creation for Paper Sweeties' monthly challenge.  Until then, thanks so much for stopping by!  Have a terrific weekend!

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: Rustic GreetingsSpeaking of Fall (The Craft's Meow) Paper: Kraft, Black, & White (Wplus9); mustard wagon wheels & plaid (Echo Park); vellum (Paper Studio) Ink: Copper (sei); White (SU!); watermark (VersaMark); Jet Black (StazOn) Other: navy thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); Label Layers 1 die (Wplus9); Big Shot (Sizzix); foam tape (Scrapbook Adhesives); polka dot envelope (Paper Studio); white & copper embossing powders & denim ribbon (SU!); wood veneer button (Jenni Bowlin); white string (Hobby Lobby)

Friday Faves

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Black Friday, friends!  It's so funny, but this day stirs up so much angst inside of me.  I HATE in-store shopping, so there's no way you'll catch me running out the front door for any sales, but I am hoping to take advantage of a few online specials.  We'll see.  I haven't had a lot of luck lately with online shopping.  I'll check out of the store fine, but then, two days later I'll get a note saying their inventory ran out and my order was cancelled.  Oh, well.  I guess those purchases just weren't meant to be no matter how excited I was to get five white, chunky knit, Christmas stockings from Pottery Barn, like the ones I featured back here, for WAY LESS than half their original sale price.  I haven't been able to find anything similar anywhere else, so I guess my hubby and I will share a stocking this year, and I'll keep looking.  Anyhow, I'm not sure how I got to this point.  LOL!  But I wanted to start this month's lineup with Carta Bella's Warm & Cozy 12x12 Collection Kit.  It puts a big smile on this nature-loving girl's face with all the woodgrain and natural elements.  Plus, you simply can't go wrong with a red and blue color scheme, folks.
I know it's still November, but etsy shops have been pumping their Christmas goodies for months now.  Well, in one of my searches way back in August, I came across For the Cross Jewelry's Christmas Necklace and had to save it to share with you all.  Can you hear my oohs and aahs?  I mean, look at it.  It's simply gorgeous!
Love these Upcycled Mason Jar Hive Pendant Lights, from Boots N Gus, to bits and pieces!  I have no idea where they'd fit in around my home now, but some day, I'll have the perfect spot for such ;).
Many of you may already know, but Jenni Bowlin is officially canceling the scrapbook themed kits on her website after next month's release.  In my short time here in blogland, I've seen a ridiculous amount of papercraft companies come and go and change, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse.  So, believe it or not, the announcement didn't surprise me in the least; but that doesn't mean, for a single minute, that I won't miss them terribly.  I've been getting my own JBS Papercraft Kit now for just one month short of four-and-a-half years.  To say that I love them would be a supreme understatement.  What am I going to do?!  I love getting a little taste of what's new out there and am on the hunt for another club.  Citrus Twist Kits' November 2014 "Get Cozy" Main Kit has caught my eye...
along with Scraptastic Club's November 2014 This Life Noted Kit.
If money were no option, I'd be all over Noel Mignon's kits.  From glitter to cork bits and pattern to color, her Maple Creek Classic Kit simply oozes everything good about fall.  Plus, I know that I'd never be short on inspiration with all the amazing goodies packed in those packages.
I know that's a short lineup, and with Christmas being right around the corner, you'd think I'd have lots more to share, but that wraps things up for this month.  Before you run, I'd be thrilled if you'd share your favorite kit with me below.  Thanks so much for peeking in, and have a truly blessed weekend!

The Studio Daily Routine Challenge

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Morning, ya'll!  I'm back today to share my take on The Studio's latest challenge, which is all about scrapping your daily routine.  Many of you already know that I'm a homeschool mom, so the biggest part of my daily routine is helping my kiddos through their studies.  Yes, it's challenging; but the rewards are endless, and we wouldn't have it any other way.  I couldn't help but dive into my October Jenni Bowlin kit one more time before opening my November box.  So, most of the products used here come from just such with a few extras thrown in to finish things off.  Enjoy!
I started this page by layering a number of color-coordinating, patterned papers, as well as a perforated strip, cut in the form of a pennant, on the bright, yellow, alphabet, base page, just above and to the left of center and anchoring them with gray-threaded, straight, machine stitches.  I then matted my photos with Whisper White cardstock, adhered them in their respective locations, and grounded the whole look with the "the daily GRIND" title, which was created from aqua letters and a Cameo-cut, White, cardstock "GRIND," as well as the stamped, in Jet Black ink, "a day in the life AUG 23 2012" date.
The photo grouping was flanked by a Cameo-cut feather, as well as a wire, polka dot feather; "Knowledge", sticker pennant; and a chipboard house, which was coated with acrylic paint, ink distressed, and glittered, on the left...
and a jar, wrapped with a length of Baker's Twine, tied in a bow, and polka dot label on the right.
I then tucked a brown, scalloped tag, as well as a "SCHOOL REPORT", journaling card and file folder tab, which was stamped, in Jet Black ink, with the word "Assignments", under the photo grouping's top edge and a star bit under its bottom.
A hand-cut, from patterned paper, cloud, stapled near the top of the design, as well as a handful of hand-cut, from patterned paper, leaves; foam, camera sticker; and bunch of stamped, in Jet Black ink, leaves, complete the look.
Further inspiration for this challenge came from Let's Get Sketchy's November Week 2 Sketch.
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 so much for stopping by, and have a blessed Sunday!

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: date (Dear Lizzy); Class Act (Wplus9); Nuts About Nature (Market Street Stamps) Paper: Whisper White (SU!); White (Wplus9); perforated, brown polka dot, & yellow alphabet (Jenni Bowlin); aqua polka dot & multicolored chevron (Fancy Pants); text & leaf (October Afternoon); multicolored floral (MME) Ink: Jet Black, Tea Dye, Antique Linen, & Pumice Stone (Ranger) Other: gray thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); feather cut file, wired polka dot feather, chipboard house, & "SCHOOL REPORT" & star journaling cards (Jenni Bowlin); Cameo (Silhouette); cloud (Bella Blvd.); staples & stapler (office supply store); Baker's Twine (Clean Country Paper Supplies); jar (Me & My Big Ideas); scallop tag (MME); "Knowledge" banner (Crate Paper); Titanium White acrylic paint (FolkArt); Dazzling Diamonds (SU!); foam tape (Scrapbook Adhesives); aqua alphas (October Afternoon); camera pillow puff & orange tab (unknown); brown scallop journaling card (Elle's Studio)

For the Love of Books

Saturday, November 22, 2014

It's the weekend, y'all!  Woohoo!  We don't have anything in particular planned today except getting a few nagging things done around the house.  It's a never-ending battle.  I also promised Adina that I'd take her Christmas shopping and am hoping to bank a few creative hours, because while I'm uber blessed to get to design for some fantastic challenge blogs, a number of my assignments are due over Thanksgiving weekend, and I'd much rather be spending that time with my family.  Oh!  And I have six loaves of pumpkin banana bread, that I promised to bake for our Thanksgiving meals collection at church, to make and have delivered by this Sunday.  Okay, so maybe we DO have something in particular planned.  Reading back over all that just now overwhelmed me a little.  There aren't enough hours in the day.  So, I'd better cut out the chit-chat and get right to the reason for this post.

The book I've chosen to share, with you all, this month is just plain silly and full of fun.  It is written for children ages five to eight, filled with such delightful rhyme that I couldn't possibly resist adding a bit to my summary, and illustrated by one of my all-time favorite artists ever, Marla Frazee.  Matter of fact, she illustrated at least two other book reviews I've done right here on my blog.  She always has such amazing detail and expression in her illustrations.  It's almost as if she actually lived the stories herself.
In The Seven Silly Eaters, by Mary Ann Hoberman, Lucy bellows for pink lemonade, all Jack eats is applesauce, and Mary Lou demands soft and squishy, homemade bread.  From milk served warm, not hot or cold, to eggs cooked poached or fried, each new addition to the Peters family brings with him/herself a new demand, but "Mrs. Peters did not mind.  She was a mother sweet and kind" and worked herself to the bone to meet everyone's requests.  As her children watched her drag herself to bed the night before her birthday, they decided to make her a birthday breakfast from "all the foods that kept them in such happy moods."  But everything goes wrong when Mac's strained oatmeal turns out lumpy.  In an attempt to hide the mess, they created "a pink and plump and perfect cake," which became the single, simple meal fit for each and every one of Mrs. Peters' picky eaters.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 extra egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 cup oats, blended until fine
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries, blended
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ¼ tsp pink Wilton paste food coloring
  • whipped cream and fresh strawberries for garnish
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°; grease and flour tube pan.
  2. Warm milk on medium for 5 minutes; add lemon juice; allow to sit until thickened.
  3. Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  4. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat eggs in one at a time.
  5. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and oatmeal.
  6. Blend applesauce with raspberries and thickened milk.
  7. Add dry ingredients to the eggs, alternating with applesauce mix; scrape side of bowl with spatula to ensure that everything is well mixed; gently fold in remaining egg whites, and mix well.
  8. Pour the batter into the tube/angel food pan; set on middle rack, and bake for approximately one hour.
  9. Cool for half an hour
  10. Serve with whipped cream and strawberries.
Thanks so much for reading!  Now, get out there and enjoy your Saturday!  Hugs!

Family Update

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Friday, friends!  I know it's been quiet around here this week.  I've been super busy... just... with everything.  Eleven seems to be a really difficult age for my big kiddo.  His pediatrician confirmed that it was for both of her boys, too, and is so for many young boys in general, which didn't give me an ounce of comfort.  I have no idea what I'm doing.  I've never been a parent to an eleven-year-old; and I know that this may come as a shock to you, but I've never been a boy.  LOL!

All kidding aside, it takes all I've got to want to walk into the kitchen in the morning.  I'd much rather just let him do his thing and keep my distance.  He's so moody and changes personalities on a dime.  Everything seems to be a trigger.  I know that much of it is due to the onset of puberty, but friends, I can't help but wonder if this is what life has in store for us all.  There, no doubt, have been a lot of prayers sent heavenward for help; especially since everyone, that I ask for advice, looks at me like I'm insane and blows me off with a "He's such a good boy."  Don't get me wrong.  I'm so glad that he is when we're in public.  I don't think I could handle it if he weren't.  I'm already on the brink with it happening solely behind closed doors, but I could really use some honest-to-goodness, tried-and-true, solid ideas.

The other side of it all is that I've got two other beautiful babies to care for, and the last thing I want to do is drag them into this mess.  Unfortunately, they're right in the middle of it.  Fortunately, they seem to be no worse for the wear and are so good at bringing back my smile.
Kaden turned nine-months-old on the 2nd and is crawling all over the place, which means I now have another little shadow.  We just moved his crib down to the lowest level, as he's been pulling himself up to his knees for quite some time and begun doing the same to both feet.  He's so good at just going with the flow.  I think you have to be when you're the third kid.  Sometimes, with all the activities going on, he just has to sleep when he can.  Fortunately, we're pretty good about making sure he gets his nearly twelve hours through the night.  It's those daytime naps that sometimes have to suffer.  His favorite toy, right now, is a big bowl of plastic veggies from our play kitchen.  He leaves them all over the place and topples the bowl every time anyone tries to consolidate them back to their home.  I just love that something so simple can make him so happy.
Oreo has settled into her new home with ease, and Adina, who is now begging for a kitten, too, just loves her to bits.  Last night, in the tub, Adina said that her wish for Thanksgiving was to get a new kitten, and it could come true, because wishes really do come true, like in Cinderella.  SO FUNNY!  But no, we are NOT getting a kitten.  We're already busting at the seams in our little home.  Not to mention, I know exactly who would be the one to take care of it, and I simply don't have a minute to spare.  Fortunately, her daddy is allergic.  So, it's easy to say no; but if she were to go asking him, I think we'd have a Thanksgiving kitten on our front step.  He'd just pump the allergy pills for the foreseeable future.  He's such a sucker for those big, brown eyes.
She's also been working hard at her studies.  She's loving learning to write in cursive.  I taught her so much kindergarten material last year in preschool that I thought learning it would give her something new and different to look forward to.  I love how that has worked out so well, especially because she still seems quite a bit ahead of her online kindergarten class.  Fortunately, I've got lots of other things up my sleeves to make sure that she doesn't get bored.
I got another PINCHme box.  It contained a sample each of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts and American Crew Power Cleanser Style Remover.  The Hemp Hearts tasted a lot like sunflower seeds, but I liked the texture lots more.  They were delicious sprinkled on our dinner salads, and the Power Cleanser was just that.  I shouldn't have added it to my cart, as none of the members of my family use much product in their hair and always feel as though these types of cleansers strip and damage our hair.  This sample was no different.
And before I run, I've got a few pics to share of our trip, to Lawrence, to visit my aunt and uncle and grandpa a couple of weekends back.
We were surprised that my cousin and his family were there, when we arrived, too.  You may remember him and his wife from their wedding back here.  It was extra fun to get to see them, because their son was born 44 minutes (Really!) before Kaden, and we hadn't had the opportunity to meet him yet.
He and Kaden played happily alongside one another...
and Marty didn't fuss when Kaden pulled his ear...
and Kaden just held on tight when Marty tried to steal his Cheerios.  LOL!  They're going to be such good friends.
My aunt and uncle fixed an amazing dinner in their pizza oven, which was right up our alley (We love pizza!), and entertained my big kiddos with books and feeding the chickens and riding on the four-wheeler and everything in between.  We had such a great visit!
Well, that sums up a few of the highs and lows.  Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedules to check in on us!  Have a great weekend!  XOXO

Paper Sweeties November Release Rewind

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Note:  This is my fourth post in the last 24 hours.  What a whirlwind!  I'd be thrilled if you'd scroll down and check out all the fun!

Well, you made it!  It's the final day of Paper Sweeties' November Release, and all the new goodies you've seen here and on the Design Team's blogs are officially available in the Paper Sweeties Shoppe.  How about one last, release-inspired creation?
I started this card by stamping the bottom center of a piece of tree, patterned paper, in Jet Black ink, with the "HAPPY Holidays" sentiment...
and trimming both its vertical edges with strips of a pink and red, stripe, patterned paper, before anchoring it to the White, cardstock, card face with white-threaded, zig-zag, machine stitches.
I then framed a "Post Card" journaling card with White cardstock; stamped it, in Jet Black ink, with the ornament string, as well as the floral/Christmas lights flourish, which was colored in with pencils; and adhered it, with foam tape, in the top center of the card face.  A yellow brad and trio of gemstones, as well as a die-cut, Cupid's Arrow, cardstock "Noel"...
prep the design for the ornament, which was stamped, in Real Red ink, on a White, cardstock die cut; glittered; and adhered, to the end of the stamped string, with foam tape.  The holly was stamped, in Jet Black ink, on a White, cardstock die cut; colored with pencils; embellished with a trio of buttons, laced with white string; and adhered near the top of the prepped ornament.  A red, fringed ribbon, tied in a bow, completes the look.
I also couldn't help rounding out this release without sharing this pretty wreath my beautiful girl made with those same holly leaves, from the Holly Days die set, above.
Thanks ever so much to Debbie and her talented crew for having me again!  I've had so much fun and can't wait to ink all these goodies up again in the near future!  If you're not a regular follower of my blog, once again, have a safe and blessed holiday season.  And for the rest of you, thanks so much for continuing to inspire and bless me with every sweet comment you leave.  You sure know how to make a girl smile, and I promise to be around to visiting again ASAP.  Love you all!

Amber Kroening
Debbie Marcinkiewicz – Paper Sweeties
Jinny Newlin *special Guest Designer* (You're here!)

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: Happy Holidays Holly Days (Paper Sweeties) Paper: White & Cupid's Bow (Wplus9); trees (October Afternoon); pink/red stripe (Fancy Pants) Ink: Real Red (SU!); Jet Black (Ranger) Other: white thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); Holly Days & Joy dies (Paper Sweeties); Big Shot (Sizzix); journaling "Post Card" (Simple Stories); gemstones (crafts-too); yellow brad (MME); pencils (Prismacolor); mineral spirits (Inky Antics); Dazzling Diamonds (SU!); buttons (DeNami Design); white string & fringed ribbon (Hobby Lobby); foam tape (Scrapbook Adhesives)

Color Me Scrappy Challenge #74

Note:  If you've come here looking for my Paper Sweeties November Release Party and/or Stuck?! November 15th Sketch post(s), please scroll down.

Morning, friends!  I got tickets for my hubby and big kiddos to attend a screening for the upcoming movie Paddington this morning, and while everyone is away and just as soon as Kaden lies down for his am nap, I've got plans to get all the wood floors in my house scrubbed.  What a great way to spend my Saturday.  Huh?  Actually, it's freezing cold and snowing outside, and they've needed scrubbing for far too long.  So, yeah.  It'll feel really good to get it done and be so much easier without little feet pitter-pattering all over them.  But enough about my day.  I'm here to share my take on Color Me Scrappy's latest palette.  So, let's just get started.
I started this layout by anchoring the teal arrow and multicolored, triangle, patterned papers, to the ivory, textured, cardstock, base pages, with navy-threaded, straight, machine stitches.  I then trimmed the space between them with strips of a gold, foil, polka dot, patterned paper, before placing my photos, which were matted in Whisper White cardstock, and turning my attention to the left side of the page.
It is here you'll find my "I'm so glad I live in a WORLD where there are OCTOBERS" title which was created from yellow and brown alphas, as well as blue, circle letters.
The photo stack was capped with a gold, "our story starts here" phrase bit...
and grounded with a cardstock, sticker arrow.
I then gold-embossed a bunch of leaves on vellum, hand cut them out, and tucked them in amongst a number of die-cut blooms, as well as navy, corrugated, cardstock, die-cut leaves; gold, sequin leaves; and a couple of wood veneer feathers.  A metal leaf rounds out the cluster.
Another cluster, housing a few of the same goodies described above...
pours over onto the right side of the page...
where you'll find a third cluster embellishing a "noted:" journaling card, as well as a striped tag, laced with white string, and simple, paper doily.  A "2013" date, created from number stickers, completes the look.
Further inspiration for this layout came from ScrapMuch?'s first November Sketch...
and here's your Challenge #74 palette to get you started.  For an added twist, we're asking for you to include leaves on your projects this go around.  As outlined above, I've included die-cut, metal, corrugated, sequin, and embossed leaves on mine.
As always, you have until the 28th of each month to link up your takes and are playing for the opportunity to guest design with our talented team.  Please be sure to stop by the challenge link above to see what the rest of the team has created for your viewing pleasure, and have a terrific weekend!  I smell pancakes for breakfast.  Mmmmm!

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: Ever After (Wplus9) Paper: Whisper White (SU!); textured ivory & corrugated navy (Bazzill); teal arrow (MME); multicolored triangle (Pink Paislee); gold foil polka dot (Crate Paper); vellum (Paper Studio) Ink: watermark (VersaMark) Other: navy thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); Foliage die (Spellbinders); Big Shot (Sizzix); wood veneer feathers (Jenni Bowlin); metal leaves (Freckled Fawn); die-cut blooms (Sassafras); gold embossing powder (Ranger); gold sequin leaves (Crate Paper); arrow cardstock sticker, yellow & circle letters, & number stickers (Basic Grey); foam tape (Scrapbook Adhesives); brown alphas (Fancy Pants); gold phrase bit (Chic Tags); "noted:" journaling card (MME); doily (Hobby Lobby); striped tag (Webster's Pages)