Thanks to Scotch(R) Double Sided Tape for sponsoring my writing about crafts. Add your comment below to be entered for a chance to win a free sample roll to help with your upcoming holiday needs.
If you've been reading for a while (or maybe even a day?) you know that I like making things. Yup, I'm open to pretty much any type of craft there is. I think all the time about my first crafting projects I did with my Grandmother when I was little (mostly plastic canvas or beading) and am grateful to have had a crafty upbringing. It's been ingrained into my head that there is no reason to buy a blanket since you can just knit or crochet one. (And I tell ya, living in Minnesota, you use your share of blankets!)
Being so into crafts I typically try to give gifts that I have made. This is especially true when a friend or family member has a baby and I can give them something personalized just for them. When my niece was born I sent my Sister-in-Law a gift card as well as a hand-stamped necklace made by me. The necklace has my niece's name on it as well as pink and white crystal beads and a charm with hand-stamped little feet. I always hope the recipient of the gifts I make like them as much as I enjoy making them. It's always that much more meaningful to make something from the heart, with the person you are making it for in mind. For this gift I actually made it 2 days before Abigail was born, so I had a lot of thoughts going through my head about what she was going to look like, how the birth would go, and how excited I was to become and Aunt. All really good stuff.
In the spirit of crafty projects and handmade gifts you may be giving this holiday season, I am giving away 10 rolls of 3M Brand Double-Sided Scotch Tape to 10 people! That's 10 chances to win! (This tape would be perfect for scrapbooking!)
To enter this giveaway simply leave me a comment here telling me what your favorite handmade item you own is. It could be something you made, bought, or were given. :) Be sure to leave your email address in your comment so I know how to contact you if you win!
For an extra entry become a follower of my blog through Google Friend Connect (over there on the right side) and leave another comment letting me know! This giveaway runs through December 4th at which point I will randomly choose TEN winners!
Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving, known for awesome online shopping deals) is not just for electronics anymore! Lots of awesome Etsy shops and online crafty business are offering some fantastic deals today! Below are some of my favorites (and some that I'll be taking advantage of myself! Woo!)
Jessica Sprague is offering yet another free online class for people who love to be creative (oh, that's me!) It's called 'Inspiration Everywhere' and it starts today... and you should register and join me in the fun!
The Food Oh dear, the food. The way we have our Thanksgiving dinner is a little different than most I suppose. You see, I don't like Turkey. Haha. (Also, preparing a turkey is something I never really want to do... ew.) So, we usually have ham instead. Maple and brown sugar glazed spiral ham, to be more specific. Yummm. Also, the pie, the pumpkin everything, and the non-traditional parts that we consider tradition: The mimosas in the morning, the beer in the afternoon, and the wine with dinner. The snacks throughout the day (typically cheese + crackers, veggies + dip). Now, don't get the wrong idea, we don't typically just drink and eat all day. However, I figure that, on a day we eat a lot anyway, we may as well pair good drinks along with it, and what a fantastic idea that has been!
The Routine The routine is not a routine at all but involves a few things: me cooking, Jason watching football, and us playing Wii together. That's about it as far as traditions. Haha. Oh, and we stay in our pajamas. A leisurely day is not leisurely if you have to get dressed! (We observe this tradition on other holidays too, not just Thanksgiving, but it's been a tradition at my parent's house for as long as I can remember, and it hasn't changed since we moved out on our own.)
The Long Weekend One of the best things about Thanksgiving is that, after all is said and done and the turkey (or ham) is eaten, we still have 3 days of weekend left! What a great thing to be thankful for!
The Reflection Thinking about what you are thankful for is one of those things that we should all do more often than just once a year. Hopefully we all practice gratitude every day, but Thanksgiving is a good reminder to tell people you love that you are thankful for them and to think of all those things you love in your life.
What about you? What do you love about Thanksgiving? I definitely need to say that love all my blog readers and everyone I have met through blogging. Thank you for being you and I hope you have a happy holiday!
Thanks to American Express for sponsoring my writing today about small businesses. American Express is presenting Small Business Saturday, a way to honor the local merchants who are the backbone of the economy, this Saturday, November 27. They're offering statement credits to people who shop at small businesses, advertising for small-business owners, and donations to Girls Inc. for "Likes" of the Small Business Saturday page on Facebook. Join the celebration by clicking the "Like" button and then visiting the Facebook page to learn more about the program and read the terms and conditions that apply.
The Lion's Tap Family Restaurant is one of our favorite places to go out to eat. Not only can we get dinner for both of us for around $20 (no, really!) we also get to support a local business in our town.
The Lion's Tap specializes in burgers, and that's pretty much it. They make burgers and they make them right. They have won numerous awards for their burgers and you can tell why with the first bite. The menu consists of six different burgers which you can get with fried or raw onions. It's that simple. Each burger is around $4.50 and fries on the side are an additional $2.00. They also have their own craft beers in 4 varieties (light, lager, red, and honey bock). I am a fan of the lager (though, they are all good!)
I always get the California Cheese burger. Basically a regular burger with tomato, lettuce, and cheese. Easy peasy, and delicious. Jason likes the cheeseburger and typically ends up with my lettuce on his burger (I don't love lettuce... ha!) It works out perfectly.
Not only is the food good (have I mentioned that yet? It's worth repeating...) but the staff is friendly and laid back. It's also a pretty quick process. It's easy to sit and stay a while but it's also easy to get in, get seated, and get your food in record time. They get pretty busy at peak times but also have plenty of seating in three rooms, plus at the bar.
If you ever find yourself in Eden Prairie, Minnesota and you happen to like hamburgers, definitely check out The Lion's Tap. I am 100% sure you will not be disappointed.
Yesterday's post included a mention of some freebies for use with December Daily... well, here they are! I hope you find them useful!
First up, a set of 10 flashcards with the words gifts, winter, peace, tree, snow, merry, yum, snuggle, cheer, and create. One set is square, one is horizontal ATC sized and the last is vertical ATC sized. This way, however you use them, you will have what you need! I plan to use these as digital elements as well as print them out and embellish them.
Some more things I am thankful for. See all my 30 Days of Thanks posts here. :)
11. Traveling Being able to travel is amazing to me. I don't get to nearly as much as I would like, but I try to make it a priority to experience new places regularly. I always try to absorb as much as I possibly can while experiencing a new place and sometimes this backfires on me. Hehe. Overdoing it on vacation is something I tend to do often. This is why Jason insisted we go someplace tropical on our honeymoon instead of someplace cultural. He was right, I was actually able to relax! :)
12. Home (Vermont) Having such a beautiful place to visit often is something that I took for granted until recently. People visit the area I grew up in during all seasons and appreciate it's serenity and beauty. I grew up resenting the area because it's so rural, but now I appreciate it for what it is for us; a place to spend time with loved ones and enjoy the area as much as everyone else. It truly is full of breathtaking scenery.
13. Flexibility I have to thank my husband for this one. I have had the opportunity to pursue some really fun opportunities which are not exactly high-paying (or paying at all!) I'm so lucky to spend my time doing things I love, starting new projects, working on some volunteer things, and generally having fun and I can not thank Jason enough for being ok with that. One of these days we will have kids and I will have a better excuse to stay home, but for now, it's just fun to do what I love.
14. Photobooths The opportunity to squeeze way too many people into a small box and have our photos randomly taken will never cease to make me smile. It's just so much fun! I have a huge stack of these strips of photos and cherish them so much.
15. Cupcakes Small ways to enjoy lots of flavors of the amazing combination that is cake + frosting. Perfect if you want to get a few varieties and try them all. One thing about cupcakes that I feel sets them apart from cakes is that some of the flavors would never make it into cake form. You would never think to make (or buy!) an entire maple cake with bacon frosting (yes, I've had this cupcake, and it was awesome.) Or a beer flavored cake with Oktoberfest ganache (also tried, and it was amazing.)
16. New Projects The intense excitement that goes along with starting a new project (or many new projects!) is great! It's that "oh, is it midnight already? I was just working on this thing and got carried away" scenario and it feels GOOD. I am very thankful to have some new things on the horizon which are definitely keeping me busy. It's all fun stuff and I love it!
Next up, the fun part, the products I will use in my December Daily Album! I had a lot of fun choosing products this year and I'm really excited to put them to use!
First up, the album. I had a hard time choosing this year's album. I knew I wanted to create a larger album than in previous years, and I knew I wanted to divide it up into sections. When I saw this 9x9 album by Bo Bunny I knew that it would be perfect. The album comes with 6 tabbed chipboard dividers! Perfect! It may be a little larger than I originally wanted, but it's actually going to work better than I thought now that I've planned the process out a little more. (See my previous post about this year's concept.) It's also a three-ring binder, which was very important since I love to add and subtract pages and move things around (great for people like me who are indecisive! Haha!)
Once I had the album I then had to think about how I was going to incorporate traditional and digi scrapbooking together. Since it's a 9x9 album I will create both 8x8 traditional and digi pages to go into the album which will be matted onto 9x9 pieces of patterned paper. Perfect! I get to use fun holiday papers and keep the actual creation of the pages a mix of traditional and digi!
I originally planned on choosing a specific line of papers and embellishments and working from there (I did this last year and it worked perfectly.) This would have worked out perfectly except that there are a lot of lines out right now that I really like! So, I ended up choosing a couple papers from here and a couple from there, creating my own collection that I love. They all have a 'vintage' feel which is definitely not my style. I'm excited to reach out of my comfort zone a little in this way. I love the look so far! Here are the papers I choose:
I bought multiples of these papers to use inside the album for the page protected pages as well as the chipboard tabbed dividers.
A note about my paper choices: I often like the patterns on the back of papers a lot more than I like the designs on the 'front.' Be sure to look at the other sides of papers in a line when you are shopping, you may find exactly what you're looking for! Digital Products:
I designed these templates to use specifically for this album. I made them very versatile so that I can use them however it works best for me for the specific day. This way there is no pressure to take specific photos each day or event. The smaller spaces in these templates are also all ATC sized, so I can incorporate that into the digi design, or make the page hybrid. I think I will end up printing some of the digi pages with spaces for the ATC's which I will complete traditionally and adhere to the printed page. This way, I make the templates work for me. (These will be offered as a freebie soon! Stay tuned!)
And here are the digital items I have designed to use in my album! These will be available soon for you to download for free! I love offering free elements to download because, as you know, sharing is caring! :-) Some square flashcards, some ATC flashcards, and some circle tags.
Have you started thinking about your December Daily album yet? Do you know which products you will use? I love picking out products both paper and digi and had a lot of fun this year with all my picks! Click to see all my December Daily posts.
Is it really time to start thinking about the holidays already? Yes, it really is! At least, it is for me! I started thinking about this year's December Daily Album back in September when stores started getting in the new Christmas lines (which are great this year, by the way!)
Before I dive right into explaining my approach for this year's album, go check out Ali's recent post as well as her past posts on this concept. Full credit goes to her for the inspiration to complete this album every year. It's truly is a fantastic way to document your holiday!
First, let me tell you why this concept works: The bulk of the project is completed ahead of time so that, when December rolls around and life gets super busy (or more busy!) most of the work is done already. This means that a lot of planning goes into this project in October/November to be able to make December as easy as possible. This is where I am right now -- planning.
I'm going to be writing a few posts about my album this year, including which products I will be using and what my album pages look like before photos are added. For this post I am going to talk mainly about my approach and why I am formatting my album the way I am. So stay tuned for a lot more info about this project and hang in there because this is definitely the most wordy post out of all of them! c-:
Traditional or Digi? The big question! Since I am both a traditional and digital scrapbooker, which do I choose for this album? Well, I'll tell you... both! Yup, this album will be a hybrid! It's the best of both worlds and will work perfectly for me. Last year's album was part hybrid/part traditional and it worked well, but this year I would like to try to incorporate even more digital elements.
Why does this work for me? The biggest reason is that I travel during the holidays. Since we don't have children and we don't live near our families, we travel for Christmas and New Years. This means that, as much as I would love to, it's hard to bring my scrapbooking supplies with me. When we are 'home' in Vermont it's also hard to be able to take the time to spread out all my scrapbooking stuff to complete a page or two just to clean it up again. My Mom doesn't appreciate the mess being left out like I do at my house. :-) Making my album hybrid is a great way to be able to work on my pages on the plane, in airports, and anywhere I want since my laptop and I are basically inseparable. Just another great example of why digital scrapbooking is awesome!
The format: I spent a lot of time considering what this year's format would be. I have tried to incorporate Ali's way of completing a page or section a day and highlighting what happened that day. While I love that concept, it really doesn't work for me. Some days the only thing that happens is that Jason and I both go to work and then come home and go to bed. Not exciting. And then some other days we will put up our tree, bake cookies, watch Christmas movies, and snuggle... all things worthy of a page or two in the album! In order to avoid this conundrum (that's a fun word!) I will be breaking my album into six themes:
Season - Where I will document everything about the winter season
Details - All the little things that make the Holidays special, like decorations and eggnog.
Fun - Everything from picking out a tree to sleigh rides.
Traditions - A place for telling stories of our family traditions, like watching ELF 12+ times throughout December. (Hehe.)
People - How we celebrate the season with our loved ones.
Celebrate - Photos and stories from all celebrations; Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, etc.
Another theme that I will be incorporating throughout this year's album is gratitude. Feeling very grateful for every little thing and being able to fully experience the season in many different ways is very important to me. We are very lucky to be able to travel home to our loved ones and get to celebrate and be with them.
What next? Next up I'll show you my foundation and which products I will be using, both traditional and digi. Be on the lookout for some freebies too, since I am making some of my own elements and templates for this year's album! More to come!
I know I'm 'behind' in my 30 Days of Thanks, but that's ok. If I end the month with 30 things I am thankful for, that's perfectly fine with me. So, here goes, round 2!
5. Our location Jason and I are currently living just outside the Twin Cities (for those of you who may not know, that's Minneapolis and St. Paul) in Minnesota. We love it. A lot. I love the people here, the cities, the abundance of great places to get cupcakes, and especially the people (did I mention that already?) In a year or so Jason will take a different position with his company and we will (99% likely) move somewhere else. Where you ask? No idea. We'll find out then! I love the possibility of it all, the new experiences to come, and the experiences we are having here, now, knowing that we won't have all the time in the world to experience them.
6. Blogging Yes, I love blogging. Sometimes it's a bit of a chore, but most of the time I just have way too much to share and can't choose which to share with you all first! Do you want to know the best thing about blogging though? And the reason I adore it so much? It's the people. The first time I met Allison at a blogger get-together here in Minneapolis she said the funniest, and more true thing about bloggers. She said she told a friend "yes, I met a bunch of people I knew only online, and they weren't weird!" The thing about bloggers that I have found out so far, is that they are awesome. We all have something in common and we are drawn together because of it, and that's where the friendship starts. It's really seriously awesome.
7. My Kitties Ok, don't go all "whoa, crazy cat lady alert" on me! I know not all people love cats. I know some people are allergic, or had evil cats as a child, or for whatever reason you aren't a "cat person." That's ok. But I am. Well, I am more of an "all animals except for those with more than 4 legs" type of person. Major bonus points if said animal is fluffy. Anyway, I love my kitties, and I'll tell you why: They are ridiculously entertaining. They do the funniest, strangest, most random things and it makes me laugh. It doesn't hurt that they love to cuddle with me either. :-)
8. Scrapbooking Granted, I don't scrapbook as much as I would like (but really, who does?) I still love every minute of it. Telling stories, cutting up paper, shopping for the perfect embellishment, giving the gift of a scrapbook, everything associated with it (with the exception of always running out of adhesive). I love all of it and if I could would make everyone sit down with me to scrapbook something about their lives.
9. Photos I just love photos so much. Old photos, photos I took 5 minutes ago, blurry photos and perfectly composed ones. They all have meaning and I love that. One of my favorite things to do is to look at photos and see the change in them, or the potential change in them. They just mean so much.
10. Evenings Though it always comes along with the whole "oh man, what in the world are we going to have for dinner?!" question, I absolutely love the time between 5:30-9pm. This is because Jason is home and we get to spend time together. Typically we just watch TV that we have DVRed, but we always spend that time together, and I love it. I likely find it so special because when we were in Boston we didn't have this time often (ridiculous commutes to and from the city plus exhaustion didn't make for fun evenings). Before it started getting dark so early we would even go for walks around our neighborhood when Jason came home. No matter what we do, I love it.
Note: I'm thinking of turning this little exercise into a mini album. I'm thinking a simple 4x6 photo album with a place for journaling + a photo for each day. What do you think?
I think it goes without saying why I absolutely adore this necklace by The Rusted Chain. I love cupcakes and this necklace is just so perfect for me. It's like it was made for me! Seriously! I love it I love it I love it!
For only $25 this necklace is a perfect gift for anyone who of your gift list who also loves cupcakes, like me... did I mention that already? That I love cupcakes? And this necklace? Anyway, I do. ;-)
Check out more great jewelry from Beki and the Rusted Chain here, and here. (Just a couple more of my favorites!) Wishlist Wednesday posts are meant to introduce my readers to cool products and support creative people that I believe in. All opinions are mine. I am never asked to write about any of these products and I am not compensated for my post. It's all just good stuff I want to share with you. :-) Affiliate links wherever possible.
Right after I dragged our friends Corinne and Adrian into this photobooth I texted my BFF and told her this "We just did a photobooth INSIDE a cupcake shop! I died."
When we walked into American Cupcake in San Francisco, it was pretty great. Honestly it's one of the best cupcake bakeries I've ever been to (and I've been to a lot!) but imagine this for a minute: I walked in, I smiled, I looked to my left and saw a photobooth and my jaw promptly dropped to the floor. I poked Jason in the arm and pointed, speechless, at the photobooth and he smiled at me really big, knowing how big of a deal this was. A photobooth inside a cupcake shop. Oh. Em. Gee. It was awesome.
I will be blogging much more about our recent cupcake tour in San Francisco but if anyone is in the city and likes cupcakes, American Cupcake serves up cupcakes paired with wine and you should go.
I like gratitude. I have even considered doing another 365 type of project focusing just on gratitude (haven't decided yet, but this may be in the works for 2011... we shall see. :-)
When I saw some other bloggers participating in this 30 Days of Thanks project this month I thought it would be perfect to jump on board. The idea is to post something you are thankful for every day in the month of November. That's pretty perfect since at the end of the month there is a little holiday called Thanksgiving! (A holiday that I especially love!)
So, since I'm a little behind (you know, since the first of the month was a few days ago) I am going to play some catch-up and start with the big 4! You know, my husband, my family, my friends, and my health. The big ones. :-D
My Husband My best friend. The one I could not live without. It's insane how much we love to spend time together, doing fun things or nothing at all. We all have our ups and downs in our relationships, but I can honestly say that, even through those ups and downs, ours is perfect. And I am so grateful for that and for him for making it that way.
My Family I sometimes joke that it would be nice if I wasn't so close with my family (I'm referring to both my immediate family and Jason's immediate family) because, if we didn't like each other so much, I wouldn't miss them so much! It's sometimes difficult (ok, very difficult) to be away from people I love so much. It's a lot of fun when they come to visit though and that much more meaningful when we visit home. I am thankful that we all like each other, that we would all do anything for each other, and, maybe most importantly, that we have fun together. It seems like whenever we go home we laugh a lot, and that's because of the awesome people we happen to be related to. :-)
My Friends I think it goes without saying that friends are pretty awesome. My friends are especially awesome (no really, they are :-). Being as introverted as I am (maybe some of you are shaking your heads right now, but believe me when I say that it's an effort for me to be social, it does not come naturally) it's sometimes hard for me to be really close to people. Well, I am incredibly lucky to have girlfriends near and far that totally get me, who are there for me, and who support me always. That's really special and everyone should have a group of people like this.
My Health I'm not dealing with anything health-related right now and there are no illnesses that I am worried about or that I have to deal with on a day to day basis. I am incredibly grateful for this and know that I am very lucky to not have to worry about a lot of things that others have to, whether serious or not. So so thankful for this.
This year Scrappers Give Thanks is getting scrappers together for another amazing project. Scrapbookers and artists are making 4x6 cards to be put into mini albums and distributed to children's hospitals around the country. This is just awesome and I am so happy to participate!
If you would like to participate, definitely visit the website for more details. Anyone can participate, the more the merrier! Even if you aren't a scrapper... if you're a painter or an artistic person of any kind, all you have to do is scan a 4x6 image that you think would make a child smile and there you go! You could even get your kids together, cut up some 4x6 papers and let them paint or draw and submit those. How great would that be?!?
I am going to be making bunches of these for the project but these are the first two I have made. I will definitely share the rest when I make them! Jen (who hosts the project... woo Jen!) had a great idea to put jokes on the cards! Jokes make people smile! Perfect!
Here is one I want to put on a card... feel free to use/borrow/steal it! Q: What is red and invisible? A: No tomatoes!
HAHAHAHA! Oh man, I love that one!
Anyway, here are two of my (if I do say so myself) cute cards!