For the Love of Books

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Welcome to the weekend, friends!  I totally meant to get in here earlier in the month to share one of our favorite, Easter books with you all; but life has simply gotten in the way.  And then, today, I've been running around like a wild woman trying to get things done around the house and am just now able to sit down to deliver.  I'm looking forward to a much more relaxing, Easter Sunday, with my family, tomorrow.  So, without further adieu, this month's pick is recommended for ages four and up and tells the Easter story from a very nontraditional point of view.
The Tale of Three Trees, retold by Angela Elwell Hunt and illustrated by Tim Jonke, tells the story of three little trees who dream of growing up to be something spectacular.  The first tree wants to be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world and filled with precious stones.  The second tree wants to be a strong, sailing ship and carry powerful kings.  The third tree wants to be the tallest tree ever seen and make people think of God, when they raise their eyes to heaven.  As the years pass, the trees grow tall and mighty.  Then, one day, three woodcutters climb the mountain and cut the trees down.  Finally, their wishes come true, but in an extremely different way than they had envisioned, in a way that brings honor to the King of Heaven and earth.

Thanks so much for reading, friends; and happy Easter!  He is risen!

Friday Faves

Friday, March 30, 2018

Hey, y'all!  So sorry that it's been so quiet around here this week.  I've had a lot on my plate between school and our kitchen reno, which I need to update you on ASAP.  We had the opportunity to show off what we've done, to some close friends, this week; and they had nothing but positive things to say.  So exciting!  I love it, too!  Unfortunately, it's still in the works.  It doesn't matter how much you plan, you simply can't make a manufacturer do their job right or even do it at all.  We've had great fun working with people and learning which people not to work with next time.  Ha!  But we also trust that all will be made right in due time.  We're trying to remain patient.

In the meantime, how about I kick off this month's Friday Faves with Penny the Platypus by Honeybee Stamps?  It's not often you find this cute of a graduation stamp set, and my niece is graduating from high school this year.  (Where does the time go?!  I still remember her sitting so sweetly, with her mama, in a sweet, little, red, daisy dress, at my wedding.  She was barely a year old.  Sigh.)  So, I'm thinking this one...
as well as its coordinating Congrats, Grad stamp set, needs to come live with me.
I'm also crushing on Reverse Confetti's Honey Bear stamp set.  Apples, bees, and bears with sentiments to coordinate... you simply can't go wrong.
Websters Pages' The Good Life 12x12 Collection Kit takes me to such a happy place.  I love everything about this collection.  Swoon!
I don't think that I've done a solely papercraft-related Friday Faves for awhile, but that's exactly what I'm doing today; as Bella Blvd.'s Illustrated Faith Fruit of the Spirit 12x12 Collection Kit, with its coordinating, fruity Ephemera, wraps things up.  The balance of big to little, not to mention solid to open, prints creates such a well-rounded collection; and the soft palette makes me ooh and aah right out loud.
I hope you've found something here to love, too.  Thanks so much for stopping by!  Have an amazing weekend, friends!

The Studio Squares Challenge

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Morning, y'all!  I trust you all are having a wonderful weekend.  I'm just popping in today to share our second, March challenge over in The Studio.  We're asking you to use squares on your pages this go around.  Here's how I was inspired.
I started this page by arranging my elements, along with my photos, all of which were matted with white cardstock, in a grid design, on the yellow, diamond, patterned, base page.  I think the easiest way to discuss what I've done, since I've, once again, left out my usual dose of mixed-media from this design, is simply to start in the top, left quadrant and work my way around.  Our family photo was simply topped with and "EMBRACE THE DETOURS" die cut, popped up with foam tape.
The top, center photo was backed with aqua mesh and black and white, striped prints, both of which were anchored with gold-threaded, straight, machine stitching; popped up with foam tape; and embellished with a "LET'S BE ADVENTURERS" cut-apart, secured with a playful, gold, arrow, paper clip, as well as a trio of hotel tickets, laced together with white string.
The far right, top quadrant was grounded with a yellow, designer, patterned paper, secured with gold-threaded, straight, machine stitching and filled with "adventure SPARKS THE IMAGINATION" ephemera, popped up with foam tape and topped with a "MAKE TIME", cork square.
Just below that, the cave photo was partially framed with a blue, diamond print, anchored with more gold-threaded, straight, machine stitching, and topped with a pink label, etched with the Angel Wings title and popped up with foam tape.
The center photo needed no more treatment than a snippet of cheesecloth for texture.
The far left, center quadrant was grounded with a pink and orange, leafy print, anchored with more stitching, and topped with a "NORTH AMERICA DESTINATION" Fantastic Caverns, Springfield, MO, tag, laced with yellow twine, tied in a bow, and popped up with foam tape.  An "unplugged", cut-apart tab, as well as a blue label, used to house the July 25, 2010, date, were stapled to the tag's right edge; and a "travel LIFE" flair button, backed with a tangle of gold thread, dresses up its bottom, right corner.
The bottom, left photo was backed with more of those yellow designer and blue, diamond prints used previously.  The latter was anchored with more gold-threaded, straight, machine stitching; and the photo itself was topped with a "DISCOVERY", cut-apart word, popped up with foam tape.
An "explore", ephemera square is the grounding force for the entire design.  It was topped with "SMILE & ENJOY" & butterfly die cuts, as well as a "trip", glossy, puffy Thicker, and backed with a wax envelope, stuffed with the tickets and receipt from our trip to the caverns, as well as a manila tag, laced with aqua string, tied in a bow.
The tag was used to house my journaling, which reads, We had such fun visiting the cave with Tara and her family.  I especially loved learning that it was discovered, during the Civil War, while all the men were either fighting or injured, by the brave group of women whose names are on the wall.  I like to think that I would've been among them.
The final photo, in the bottom right corner of my design, was backed with previously used prints, one of which was anchored with, yet again, more stitching; and a simple, notebook tag, etched with a The Twins label, as well as a trio of star sequins, scattered throughout the design, completes the look.
Be sure to stop by the challenge link above to see what my talented teammies have cooked up just for your viewing pleasure.  Then, you have until Sunday, April 8, 2018, to link up your takes, on this Squares Challenge and/or our previous, March Recipe Challenge, in the right-hand column of The Studio blog.  Thanks so much for stopping by!  Have an awesome week, friends!

{Supplies & Tools)
Paper: white (Paper Studio); yellow diamond, pink/orange leafy, & yellow designer (Crate Paper); blue diamond (Elle's Studio); aqua mesh (Dear Lizzy); black/white stripe (Citrus Twist) Ink: Black PITT artist pen (Faber Castell) Other: gold thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); foam tape (Scrapbook Adhesives); cheesecloth (Dritz); white string (Hobby Lobby); staples & StapleBoard (We R Memory Keepers); "LET'S BE ADVENTURERS"& "DISCOVERY" cut-aparts, "unplugged" & notebook paper tabs, blue & pink labels, "make time" cork, wax envelope, arrow paper clip, aqua thread, & yellow twine (Citrus Twist); "adventure" & "explore" ephemera, key cards, "NORTH AMERICA" tag, & "travel LIFE" flair button (Crate Paper); "EMBRACE THE DETOURS", "SMILE & ENJOY", & butterfly ephemera (Pinkfresh); Wonder glossy puffy Thickers (American Crafts); gold star sequins (Pink Paislee); manila tag (Paper Studio); Fantastic Caverns tickets & receipt (mementos from our trip)

Kitchen Reno: Part 2

Friday, March 23, 2018

Welcome back, y'all!  Shall we get rid of that ugly kitchen from yesterday's Part 1 post?  Please keep in mind that it gets much worse, before it gets better, as well as the fact that I am not a kitchen designer.  I do, however, know what I like and trust that any future buyers will be pleased with my neutral choices.  Over the last 13 years, we've talked circles around different footprints; but ultimately, we came right back to where we started.  We're working with a number of entrances/exits that could not be moved, without major reconstruction, due to the location of our stairwells, as well as the desire to seat our whole family around one big table, not to mention a budget.  With that said, we started getting rid of those nasty, upper cupboards...
and moved on to the soffit.  The corner, can light was so far away from the counter-top that any and all prep work was shadowed by my very own head.  I cannot tell you how frustrating that has been over the years.  Ugh!  So, it had to be moved, as well as replaced for a brighter, LED, daylight option.  We had a secondary, can light near the sink; but I wanted a pennant centered over the sink.  I love this photo, because you can see that the popcorn ceiling has already been partially scraped.
We also needed to add outlets for the microwave that will be relocated to above the stove, as well as the dishwasher.  So, while we were playing with electricity AND because I'm painting those walls white, we swapped all the outlets, switches, and covers from almond to white.
Then, those lower cabinets came out.  YUCK!  All that insulation, as well as sheet-rock, behind the sink had to be replaced; but while it may not look so good in this photo, the underlayment was in excellent condition, which was a HUGE win for the team!
In addition to moving all those electrical components above, we also had to relocate the sink vent from inside the soffit, as well as taking up tons of room in the lower, sink cabinet (See above.), into the wall.  Even though I still had a couple of layers of sanding and mudding to go, doesn't this look a ton better?  Again, I'm super excited about the cupboard space we're gaining by getting rid of that soffit.  Woohoo!  We also added lots of new insulation into the attic and walls, while we had easy access.
Then, we were on to applying a knockdown ceiling texture.  My dad, as well as a hired contractor, did the other ceilings in our home; but I thought it looked totally doable.  So, we bought what supplies we didn't already own and went to work.  The best part about the finished product is that you can't even tell which ceiling was done by me and which ones were hired out.  Woot!  Woot!
Here I am just doing some cleaning up; but I love that you can see what we did with that sink area behind the plastic, as well as how well that underlayment cleaned up.
Next, we turned those walls, as well as the ceiling, white.  No, you won't see behind the cupboards or beadboard treatments we have planned; but those walls needed a fresh start.  My hubby and I were pretty wrapped up in looking after the kids and painting all at once, that we forgot to snap a photo of our painting efforts; but Ezekiel got this one of me cleaning up the floors afterward.
Our plan was to lay a floating floor right over the linoleum, since the hardwood floors, found throughout the bulk of our home, had been removed somewhere along the line; however, the new flooring raised the existing floor enough that it created issues with the sliding door leading to the back porch.  We were also concerned about stubbed toes leading from the original, hardwood floors into the kitchen itself.  So, my hubby painstakingly removed every last bit of the linoleum.  I'm still so, SO sad that there weren't hardwood floors under there.  Sniff.  Sniff.
Before we moved in, the previous homeowners had converted the single-car garage into a bedroom with a half bath, as well as what we call the library.  (They called it a dining room, but it doesn't even connect to the kitchen and is simply too small for a respectable table.)  We replaced the flooring in those areas, just over four years ago, with a floating, cork floor that we love to bits and pieces.  So, naturally, we chose to carry that same flooring into the new kitchen.  I love that it's easy to install; durable; narrows down the variety of flooring, found throughout our 926 square feet, from five to three; compliments the original hardwoods; is super soft under bare toes; and hides dirt magnificently ;).  Another win for the team!
We were finishing that floor at about one o'clock in the morning, but check out how bright it was thanks to my new lighting.
Cabinets are next on the agenda.  We've had a few setbacks, in that area, with what was sent to us versus what we ordered.  Ugh!  The ones that are correct are stunning and just what I imagined.  Fortunately, none of the mistakes were made in the lower cabinetry; so, counter-tops can now be measured for and ordered.  We're getting there.  Stay tuned!  Thanks so much for checking on us, and have a terrific weekend, friends!  Hugs!

Kitchen Reno: Part 1

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Morning, y'all!  I promised a few pics of our home, kitchen, renovation project earlier this week, and I'm here today to deliver.  My kitchen is an approximately 12' x 12' space, which, other than a coat of paint and a few minor fixes, is the same space we've been living in for the last nearly 13 years.  I never dreamed it would still look like this today, when we moved in way back then; but life hasn't been very kind to us, and we've continually had to filter our finances into other places.  Even today, this whole remodel is stretching us daily; but we never quit dreaming along the way and are thrilled to see what's taking place, even if we're still having to make a few concessions.  With that said, let's kick things off with a sort of 360 of what we're working with.
You can get a peek of our bedroom in the background through that hallway.  Further to the left is a linen closet, Adina and Kaden's room, and our full bath.
That arch is just to the right or our bedroom.  It leads to the living room, and immediately to the right of that framed print is the staircase to where all my papercraft magic happens in the loft.
Ezekiel's bedroom is enclosed in those blue walls in the background here.  He has a secondary entrance, behind that closed door, from the library; and the staircase to the basement is straight across from the open door, behind the pantry.
Now, how about we get a little up-close-and-personal with those cupboards.  I totally would've painted them years ago, but I thought they'd be gone within the first year of our living here.
They're crumbling inside; and really scrubbing them on the outside takes the finish right off.  Grrr!  Oh, and the bottoms fall out of at least half my drawers.  The counter-tops leave much to be desired.  Fortunately, though, you can't see the wear and tear too badly in these pics.  The little one isn't even attached to anything and lifts right off.  I do really love my stove, though ;).
Now, about that sink... Aaah!  I hate drop-in sinks!  They are just pure silliness, not to mention that mine has never been completely coated with enamel, and the hard water has done a number on the faucet we replaced years ago.  I don't remember if that sprayer ever worked.
The window has to stay that size; however, it is getting replaced with a newer model that actually opens.  It's one of our big-ticket items still out on order.  I didn't even take away our drying rack, loaded with dishes, for these pics.  It's ALWAYS there.  The new kitchen will have a dishwasher.  Somebody pinch me!
The sliding doors are staying.  In my dreams, they'd be replaced with French doors.  That's one of our concessions and a pretty easy fix when the budget does allow for such.  The trim, however, is getting updated to match the rest of the house.  Our sweet bunny lives here by the backdoor; and she's ever so happy there, coming and going as she pleases.
Her favorite spot is right here on the rug with her kennel behind her.
I love my kitchen table.  It's not going anywhere...
but the popcorn ceiling and outdated fan above it have got to go.  Oh, and that light bulb isn't burnt out.  You just have to fiddle with it and fiddle with it AND fiddle with it to get it to turn on.
The floor beneath is leaving, too.  Woot!  Woot!
I designed and my hubby built this shelf for me just a few months ago.  I then painted, distressed, and coated it with polyurethane before adding those fun hooks.  It's coming right back into the new kitchen.  I LOVE it!
I know my command center isn't very pretty; but being a homeschool family means a lot of paperwork.  This method works for us; so, it's coming back.  However, the microwave is being relocated to above the stove; and I'm still looking for a colorful cupboard to house our everyday school curriculum.  I thought that I had found one but was super disappointed with its construction; so, it was returned.  The current drawers, seen above, are useless.  I just had them lying around not being used and needed a home for our current microwave, which I've had since my college days.  My hubby has fixed it numerous times, but it's still kicking.
This cupboard houses more pantry staples than I ever thought it could possibly hold.  It's built into the wall and staying simply because it's functional and doesn't take up any square footage.  It is getting a coat of white paint and a bit of a redesign, however.  Stay tuned.  Oh, and the rooster is going.  He dates the look a bit AND got broken during the messy, construction phase, which I'm thrilled to say is now behind us.
Our time-out chair will probably find a new home.  Ezekiel responded better to being sent to his room to get his act together.  Kaden is a screamer, so we prefer him behind a closed door during his time-outs; and while it worked like a charm with Adina, she has outgrown it.  Needless to say, it isn't getting much use nowadays.
We took off the doors to this cabinet above the fridge.  It gave me easier access to my cookbooks.  The vintage, picnic basket holds all of my gorp and Chex mix ingredients, as well as anything I want my family to forget we have in the kitchen (i.e. M&M's); but it's on to bigger and better things, as it is being replaced with a refrigerator depth cabinet.  That soffit is going bye-bye, too.  Just imagine all the storage we're going to gain in that space.
There's the low-down, friends; and just so that I don't completely overwhelm you with pics, I'll pop back in tomorrow to share the disaster that became of this place over the last couple of weeks.  Until then, thanks so much for visiting.  Have a blessed day!

Pretty Little Studio: Something to Be Thankful for

Monday, March 19, 2018

Welcome to the work week, y'all!  I hope you all had wonderful weekends.  Mine was filled with more home improvements, but our kitchen is finally starting to take shape.  There are a couple of big ticket items on order until the end of the month, which puts some finishing touches on hold until they can be installed; but I'm hoping to get to spend most of April in my brand new kitchen.  I'll share a few pics later this week, if you'd like to stop by and take a peek at what we've been up to.  With that out of the way, I'm here today to share a card that I made using Maryam Perez's very first collection over at Pretty Little Studio, Sweet Life.  It happens to be up on the blog this evening; and I wanted to share it here, too.  Enjoy!
I started this card by framing the playful, yellow, Adventure print with a piece of Leaves patterned paper.  Before anchoring them together with bright-pink-threaded, straight, machine stitching, I tucked a Cupcake Party Die Cut tab between the two layers and topped it with a "hello love" Hello, Hello Pink Word Sticker.
I then wrapped the entire thing with a length of Strawberry seam binding ribbon, tied in a double bow and embellished with a length of white string, tied in a bow, as well as a lone pearl.
The "there is always something to be thankful for." Life Is Beautiful Die-Cut sentiment was backed with a Flower Garden Die Cut, as well as a snippet of cheesecloth for additional texture.  The whole lot was adhered, with foam tape, in the center of the card face, before popping the entire prepped piece up, with more foam tape, in the center of the white, cardstock, card face.
Glossy accents was used, on the hearts, to give the sentiment die cut both shine and dimension; and a couple of Flower Garden Die-Cut butterflies, adhered just as their centers, complete the look.
Further inspiration for this card came from the gorgeous blooms and scrumptious, spring colors in Inspired by All the Little Things' Challenge #82.
Thanks so much for visiting!  Have a wonderful week, friends!

{Supplies & Tools}
Paper: white (Paper Studio); Sweet Life: 6x8 Paper Pack (PLS) Other: bright pink thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); foam tape (Scrapbook Adhesives); cheesecloth (Dritz); pearl (Paper Studio); white string (Hobby Lobby); Glossy Accents (Ranger); Strawberry seam binding ribbon (Paper Sweeties); Sweet Life: Cupcake Party Die Cut, Flower Garden Die Cuts, Life Is Beautiful Die Cut, & Hello, Hello Pink Word Sticker (PLS)