Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Highlights!

It's New Year's Eve, 2011 and I am reflecting on the resolutions I made for myself last year. I don't typically stick to the resolutions I set for myself, and almost always, I fail miserably! Not this year... The two things I wanted to make happen were to start running (for exercise and to get back in shape) and to continue submitting my work in hopes of getting published for the first time.

In January, I started running. I started small... 3.1 miles was my first goal and race. By the time spring had arrived, I decided I wanted to run a marathon. The Chicago Marathon. So, in October, with lots of training and hard work, I did it. Cheers!

In July, I got word that one of my card submissions got picked up for the September issue of CARDS. I was beyond excited!
And this was my card... found on page 111 just sayin'
AND... while I'm tootin' my own horn, I may as well let you know that my Paper Source holiday card WON!!! 
Finally, a few of my favorites over this past year:
My favorite layout was this one with tons of little pictures on it from our beach vacation in Hilton Head, SC.
My favorite little project were these tags I made out of scrap fabric and die cut felt.
Last, but not least, my favorite card from 2011, which I didn't send out because I just can't let go.
I am going to embrace the New Year and continue to set goals and challenges for myself.
I want to laugh more and yell less, craft more and clean less, drink more tea and less coffee. Continue running- even if I don't sign up for a full marathon! Go on more dates with my husband. Live more simply and enjoy my own surroundings.
In one word: CALM.
Have a Happy New Year! I wish all of you blessings, good health and an abundance of happiness in 2012!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all... we had a fantastic day that started way too early. The kids were up before seven and in bed way too late the night before. Another day full of celebrating, present opening and... eating. We said our farewell to Lucas Snowflake last night. We knew he would be flying back to the North Pole with Santa (and secretly, I was thrilled to see him go. I was running out of spots to hide the little elf and several times I would forget to hide him, but suddenly remember while laying in bed at midnight).
 Lucas liked to watch me get crafty in my studio!

A cookie box for neighbors and friends

Cookie baking is one of my favorite holiday traditions. Every year, I bake loads of different types of cookies and candies. This year, I found some cookie boxes by Martha Stewart and decked them out with snowflake parchment, a satin ribbon and a cute snowflake label. Sorry I don't have a picture of the finished box, I couldn't get a good one. :(
Anyway, the treats in the box were: oatmeal raisin spice, white chocolate chex mix, molasses spice, toffee and chocolate chip. I also make tagalongs, chocolate covered pretzel sticks with sprinkles, and sugar cookies. It's like sugar overload the last week before Christmas- my kitchen is full of sweet smells and little, chocolate handed helpers! We have to hide the cookies from Stephen... he ate almost 2 dozen of molasses cookies in 2 days and claimed he ate them because they were "healthy."
I hope you all had a very merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Handmade Gift Giving

This week has been quite productive. Since I got all my shopping done before the kids got out of school, it left me with a week of stress free baking and crafting! It has been so refreshing to actually make things that I want to make. I love to wrap beautiful gifts and tuck something handmade inside. It's not what you spend, but the thought.
So, are you wondering what's inside the pretty box? A set of handmade stationery for each of my girlfriends. I added their monogram to the top of each card and coordinated papers for a fabulous envelope liner. I made several sets and each of them are different, depending on the recipient.
All papers, boxes and envelopes came from Paper Source. I hope my girlfriends will love them! The best part? We don't exchange gifts... so they will really be surprised! Merry, Merry Handmade Holiday!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oh Joy!

Like I promised... our Christmas card for 2011. I send out over a hundred cards every year- they can't ALL be handmade! So, I order some photo cards and the handmade ones get the same photo inserted.
I love the most recent comment from someone that received our card, "I love how you don't match your kids in holiday outfits and don't make them pose!" Not sure if I should be offended or not! :) I like to send out photos that express who my children are- not what they are pretending to be, with cheesy smiles and stiff poses, cringing at an outfit that I made them wear for 10 minutes and will never wear again! And actually, they do match! And this is who they are... darling, toothless, playful and full of Christmas JOY!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paper Source Card Contest

This past September, Louisville got its own Paper Source! I was so excited that they were opening a store here that I was their very first customer! When I found out about their annual holiday card contest, I knew I would enter, but what would I make? The card had to be 100% Paper Source and include an envelope. Oh my... PS has so many delicious items to choose from! How would I decide on just one card to submit?! Waiting until the last day to submit my creation, (because it just keeps life more interesting to rush and procrastinate) I came up with this:
I used the PS colors: red and chartreuse. The stamps are theirs also, and I added red Stickles for the berries. Satin ribbon and gold twine pulls it all together. The envelope liner is their handmade paper: concentric dots- with glitter... yum! And the best part? The winner gets a $50 gift certificate! I could use it!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Festivities!

Merry Christmas, friends! This week has started off pretty good... the kids are out of school, all the stationery and holiday card orders have been placed, signed, sealed and delivered! I always try to keep the week before Christmas for myself. I love to bake and fix delicious cookie boxes for friends, neighbors and family. I try to stop and enjoy the week before Christmas with my kiddos, try to absorb their excitement and anticipation!
Last week, we had Mac's Christmas program at school. He got to play the bongo during one of the songs and he was so into it! He sang his little heart out!
Anna also had her Angel Program at school. She got to sign a solo part and she was very proud! She looked like an absolute angel, despite the fact that she had a stomach virus. It lasted a long 6 days!
I'll be back with our holiday card for 2011! Enjoy the night!

Monday, December 12, 2011

What's Going On...

Hello friends, Season's Greetings to you all! I had to take a blog vacation for the past 5 weeks due to some heavy stuff going on. We had Thanksgiving, a wonderful time spent with family over really good food! Anna lost her first tooth over the break and she was so excited! A week later, Mac lost his first front tooth. He looks so much older with that big gap in his mouth!
I have a client every year that orders an obscene amount of handmade holiday cards- 750 to be exact. So, most of my time has been spent cutting and stitching felt hearts and glittering buttons to look like sugar. Seriously, if I don't see glitter until Valentine's Day, I'll be ok with that.

We got the perfect Christmas tree at Lowe's for a super low $30 eventhough we didn't chop it down ourselves, it still looks nice and smells good. I really do miss the tradition of going to the Christmas tree farm in Indiana and searching for the most glorious tree with the least amount of holes.  
Nonetheless, we still had fun and the boys worked together to tie it on top of the van.
Yesterday I forced the kids to sit together in hopes of getting "the" Christmas card photo for 2011. I had to snap fast and before church, so they were still in good clothes and clean. I got one...  tune in next time! ;)