Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chicago Girl's weekend

It finally arrived!  The weekend I had been looking forward to for 4 months!  What weekend was that, you ask?  Why, my girl's Chicago weekend, of course. And .....  IT WAS AWESOME!!!

My friend, Erika, and her sister, Pam, were wonderful hosts.  I thought I'd tell you all about it.

It started out here:

At the airport, all rested up and ready to go.  Then there was a connecting flight at another airport, but I'll spare you the picture because it's probably of interest to me.

Then we arrived in Chicago!  We ate with Erika's parents and went on to her sister, Pam's, house where we stayed all weekend.  Saturday we woke up to a girl's breakfast out at a family restaurant (which apparently we don't really have in the South).  Here we are at breakfast, along with Erika's friend, Vickie:


After breakfast, it was on to the one of the highlights of the weekend, the humongous craft show, also in "the burbs".  I am kicking myself for not taking a good picture of all the booths.  There were a lot.  But here is Erika in one of the booths.  I really wanted a picture of those monograms and didn't want the proprietor to get mad, so she stood over there so I could secretly get the picture.  The monograms were great, but at $45, I wasn't going to buy one there.  I am going to try to reproduce it sometime instead.

It literally took us about 5 hours to see ALL of the booths.  Then we were there for a little while longer going back to the ones we wanted to visit again.  Some of the things I got were jewelry (lots of jewelry, for myself and for gifts), chalkboard box for Julie, personalized puzzle for David, personalized picture frame, American Girl outfit, painted pet rocks for my kids (they loved that gift), several hair things, a purse and a cherry pit heating bag.  That is a really random list I know, but, hey, it is what it is.  I did not see a single seller with knitted or crocheted items, so no cute knitted hat.  And there were no sellers with cute frilly aprons so none of those for me either; but I was happy with the purchases I made, so it's all good.  By then we were really tired, but our day wasn't done.  It was back to Pam's for the girl's annual potluck.  I think there were about 15-20 people there and tons of food.  We ate, we talked, we fell asleep around midnight.


Sunday, we slept in a little, then went into the city - the other highlight of the trip.  When we got there, I was a girl on a mission.  Julie has asked Santa for an American Girl doll (the one that looks like her, but with earrings).  She is so sweet, she said she would ask Santa for that because it was too expensive for mommy and daddy to have to buy for her.  Anyway, sweetness aside, I was determined that she would get that gift and that I would get it for her at the American Girl store in Chicago.  Erika and her friend, Vickie, were very understanding and parked at the end of Michigan Ave. nearest the store.  So this is where we went first:


Let me show you how incredible this store was.


This is just the downstairs.  I so wished Julie could have been there with me.  She would have loved it (and I would have had to spend tons more money than I did).  Someday I hope to take her there.  Here is the doll hair salon.


How cute is that?  The dolls sit in the little salon chairs with capes on and get their hair fixed.  Hate to see how much that costs.  Anyway, next on our agenda was lunch, so we went to the bottom of here:


The John Hancock building and ate here:


The Cheesecake Factory - wonderful food and wonderful cheesecake.  I tried the key lime cheesecake, more key limey, less cheesecakey, but still good. Then we strolled down Michigan Ave, visited a few stores, including the Lego Store:


(Lego John Hancock building)

We saw the river at night - beautiful.


Then after the stores closed, we ended up back at the John Hancock building.  We went up to the Signature Lounge on the 95th floor and had appetizers and a great view.


 
 
(Navy Pier at night)

That was the end of our adventures in the city.  On Monday, we got up and spent 9 hours traveling back.  Nothing was delayed too much (an hour late getting home), just a lot of waiting in airports.  All in all it was such a great weekend.  Thank you so much, Erika, for taking me with you!!!!




Thanksgiving good deals

Hello everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We had such a nice and relaxing holiday this year and I am so thankful for my family and friends.  Every year we eat lunch at my parents house with my sister and her family, then we eat dinner at my husband's grandmother's house with his parents, siblings, cousins, grandma (called Mamaw around here) and aunt.  So we had a wonderful day with lots of family and LOTS of food.

Then yesterday was the day of all days - Black Friday.  My parents are gracious enough to let our kids spend the night with them on Thanksgiving so Tim and I can wake up at an ungodly hour and take advantage of all those awesome doorbuster sales.  We enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the opportunity to hunt it together.  Don't I have a cool husband!  This year we woke up at 4 (yes, that's 4 AM) to get to Walmart by 4:30.  Our Walmart is open 24 hours so we didn't have to stand outside in the cold.  We could go inside, find the pallet with the item we wanted and stand next to it ready to pounce when it hits 5 AM.  There wasn't anything we HAD to have but several things that would be nice to get and...we got all of them except for one.  But we were very satisfied with all the deals we got there.  Then we visited Old Navy, Michael's, Lifeway, Books-a-million and Kohls.  All that by 10 AM.

But the best deals we got were actually on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.  Tim wanted a Blu-Ray player for Christmas and Walmart had one advertised for $148 on Black Friday.  When we researched it online, it turns out Walmart.com had it on sale on Thursday for $118 with $0.97 shipping.  Um, that's a no-brainer, get $30 off and have it delivered to your door - yeah, I think we'll go with that option.

Our second awesome deal was at Michael's.  I had a Cricut on my Christmas list and Michael's had the smaller 6"x12" advertised for $97.  Their ad said "Thursday, Friday and Saturday," so my wonderful sister went to Michael's on Thursday night for me (while we were at Tim's family dinner - thank you, thank you, Laura).  She found the machine but it was signed as $69.  She asked if it was the same one advertised and there response was "Yeah, we decided to sell it for cheaper then the ad."  30 DOLLARS CHEAPER!!  How awesome is that!!!!  I was also able to go get some cartridges for it for less than half price while I was out on Friday.  I can't wait to open it up on Christmas and start playing with it.

I hope you all had a fun and relaxing holiday and day after, whether you shop or sleep.  Stay tuned for my post on my Chicago trip!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A few little projects

I had a little spurt of energy today so I worked on a few projects that had been neglected (hey, I can procrastinate with the best of them :)).

Here's the first:

Child's art gallery


I started with these 5 mismatched frames.  They were ones I had in a drawer that I'm not using anymore.

I spray primed (if that's a term) them and then spray painted them white so they would all match.

Take some awesome artwork that your kids created (let's face it, we can't keep it ALL), put the glass from the frame over the best, most artistic part and trace.

If you can't tell, this is the art with a rectangle traced on it.  Then you just cut it out. (OK, this is a very simple tutorial.  Sorry it's not more cool. :))


Then stick it in the frame.


I wanted everyone to know who created the beautiful art, so I used sticker letters right on the glass.  I know vinyl is the cool thing to use, but I don't have any or any way to cut any.  I have sticker letters, so I just used those.


I put the gallery up in my kitchen over the paper roll thing so they can be inspired to create more great art. (By the way, I started with 5 frames, but then realized I have to have even number of art pieces for each child or fighting would ensue.  So for now, there are 4.  If I can catch a great picture of them doing a project together, I might put that up there in the 5th frame.



Sneak Peek of our bedroom redone

As you know I painted my room several weeks back.  I still have to buy some more paint and touch up one wall, so I'm not going to show you the whole thing yet.  But I have gotten some things on the wall and I LOVE them.  My wonderful sister-in-law, Desha (doesn't she have a cool name), gave me some leftover vinyl that she got from IKEA.  This is now what I see when I walk down the hallway.

See my green walls and my black vinyl?  Like it?


 
I put that other little guy around the corner there.  I like him too.  (Although my 4 yr old is VERY concerned that there isn't a stem.)


This is our window wall.  The decorations are exactly the same as they were before I painted the walls, but they look so much better on green walls.


Same kind of thing over hubby's dresser.  But the globe is new.  I found it on clearance at Target for $6!!


Old maroon curtains with new green walls.  So that's our room so far.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Craft Fair coming up

Hello all,

It's been a long several days. I've been trying to get over a kidney infection that I got this weekend. My back has been killing me and I can't stay seated for too long. But I think the antibiotic is finally working (fingers crossed).

I have got to get better soon. Know why? Because I am going to CHICAGO this weekend!!! WOOHOO!!! My good friend, Erika, is taking me up there with her to their annual girl weekend.  Every year in Nov the girls in her family and their friends go to a huge craft fair in Chicago (she grew up in a suburb of Chicago).  I am SOOOOOO excited!!  I already have my wish list of items that I want to look for there.

I love this hat.  One like it is on my list.  As well as an apron somewhat like this.  And I have to look for Christmas presents for all the females on my list and a birthday present for my sister (her birthday was in Oct. but she gave me permission to wait to buy her gift).  I will be sure to tell you all about the cool stuff I buy.  I've been saving money for months for this!  I'm going to go relax and get better now and maybe I'll be able to do a new post tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My new blog design

Do you remember the blog face lift that I won from Designer Blogs?  Well it has arrived!  So if you are reading this in a reader, click on over to my site and see the design I picked.  See how all the buttons and such have moved from the left column to the right (I know, big change :)).  Oh and Ah over it for a few minutes just to make me feel good because I absolutely LOVE IT!!!

P.S. See my new signature below.  Pretty cool, huh?


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Boys will be boys

We've just been educated on another "little boy" lesson.  If you have a son and he likes to play outside and there is wood anywhere remotely near where he likes to play, check his hands for splinters nightly.  We happened to see a splinter in his palm last night right before bed.  He said "I got that at Grandma's."  ON SATURDAY!!  He had that splinter in there for 2 days and never told anyone.  Then as we are looking at it, we notice another splinter in the crease of his pinky finger.

So I get the splinter removing tools (tweezers and needle - sterilized of course).

And as David is crying and covering up his hand so I can't get to it, I see yet a third splinter, this time right below his nail in the opposite hand.  So, of course, I take his little hands and look all over to see if there are any more.  There aren't... but, OH, MY!!!  Three splinters to remove from the little guys hands!!

Needless to say, it was quite a traumatic experience.  I'm the official Splinter-getter-outer at our house.  Tim held him and comforted him while I did the nitty gritty stuff.  I'm pretty sure I got them all out.  I really hope so because he won't let me even look at his hands today :).

And I wouldn't let him play near any wood today.

While you are in blog-reading mode...go check out the


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Win your very own beaded watch.  Just visit here to enter or click on the button below.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Scrapbooking Hobby - Part 2

OK, I know, I know.  I've been such a bad blogger.  I promised you this post on Friday and I didn't do it.  I hope you'll forgive me and keep reading.

Now that we have that out of the way, on to scrapbooking...

To continue my saga, all was fine in my little traditional scrapbooking world until 2007.  Creative Memories came out with a new product...digital scrapbooking software.  Well, as a consultant I HAD to try it out.  The first version was OK.  There were premade templates and you could drag and drop pictures and add text, but you really couldn't customize anything.  Then in 2008, Storybook Creator Plus was launched.

Oh.
My.
Goodness!!

It is like the most fun piece of software I know.  You can move everything, add papers, embellishments, make 'em look like fabric...anything your little heart desires.  My background and degrees are in engineering, so this is right up my alley.  I decided that all those everyday pictures I took would now be done digitally.  So in December of last year, I did my ENTIRE 2008 pictures in a digital 12x12 book.  And, are you ready for this, I did them ALL in 20 days.  That's right, 70 pages, an entire year's worth of pictures, all in 20 days.  I'm awfully proud of myself for that.  I could never have done it that fast if I was doing it traditionally.  Don't get me wrong, I still love traditional scrapbooking, but I also love digital.

I have made several other digital books, many as gifts.  I was able to adapt the 2008 book into a 20 page 8x8 book for my mother in law for her birthday last year.  I made books for some friends for our 20th reunion (we have been friends for over 20 years now).  I also made a book with side by side pictures of my kids as babies to show how much they looked alike as babies.

I have used the software for lots of other uses as well.  I just finished designing a program for our ladies holiday dinner at our church.  I did that for our Spring Tea last April too.  There are so many uses, I just can't begin to describe them all (and I don't want to bore you).  So...here are some of my favorite pages from last year's book.


This is the opening page to the book.  I love the fact you can make the photo any size.  This is a 12x12 book, so this photo is huge and looks great!  Besides the fact that my kids were being totally cute in it!

This was the first page I created all by myself without a template.  You can see it has thumbtacks and brads on it.  Also notice my hubby in a monkey mask trying to eat the banana fastest.  He won that game.

This was my first attempt at using digital material and twine.  The Superstar embellishment was just digital paper with a burlap texture added and the edges "frayed" a bit.  Notice also how the pictures look like they are held on by paper clips.

OK, so this is my favorite page in the whole book!  I can't really explain why.  I like the corners, but it may also be because I LOVE the beach and my kids are always so cute there :).

Once again here I made digital material.  The photo mat was just a red digital paper with a linen texture added and frayed edges.  I also added the digital stitches which makes it look more authentic.  The title box is digital vellum.  You can make any item look vellum by changing its opacity in the program.

The last page I'm going to show you of last year's book is the Halloween costumes.  Notice the fun paper clip on Ariel's picture.  These are all things I would never use in paper scrapbooking (I know there are photo safe ones out there, I just wouldn't take the time, energy or money to use them).

Now that I showed you some of last year's book, here are a few pages from this year's book.


I totally copied this page from one I saw online.  I saved the page and opened it up in the software side by side with my page, then just copied.  I need to find some good (free and legal) cheerleading clip art to add to the page, but this is what I have so far.

There are so many new techniques listed online!  So for this I learned how to do a kaleidoscope and decided a bright orange bowling ball would make for a fun kaleidoscope page.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some digital pages.  I'll post some more in the future when I get more done.  If you are ever interested in trying out Creative Memories digital scrapbooking software, you can try out a free version here.  Just be aware that the free version is very limited in what you can use and what you can change on a page.  You can read about some of the features of the software here or watch some webinars on it here.  If you are used to using Photoshop to do digital scrapbooking, you'll find Storybook Creator much easier to use.  Well, that's my plug for the day :).

I'd love to have a link up party sometime soon.  I'm going to research McLinky to see how he works.  If anyone wants to leave me advice on that, that would be fine too.  Have a great Monday!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My Scrapbooking Hobby - Part 1

First of all, thank you to everyone who left comments about the Halloween hair-dos.  I find most of my ideas from fellow bloggers:
Adopt a Do
The Story of a Princess and Her Hair

Lots of times I take ideas from there and change them around a little to suit my daughter's hair.  We just have a lot of fun with it and I'm glad I can share that with you guys.

OK, now on to today's post.  I promised that I would share about my scrapbooking obsession hobby and that's what I plan on doing.  Here's a little background on me and scrapbooking.

I was first introduced to the fun and addicting hobby at a Creative Memories party in 2001.  I was in grad school and had never heard of scrapbooking (yes, I must have been living in a hole!).  When I got to the party and started playing with the paper, stickers, cutting tools....I was hooked.  My first thought was "This is arts & crafts for grown-ups, people!!"

In 2006 I became a Creative Memories consultant purely so I could support my habit.  And that is exactly what I've done.  Here are some pictures of my finished albums.


 
 

I have 23 traditional albums either completed or on-going.

  • 6 family albums with everyday kind of pictures (since 2008 I have been doing those digital, but I'll tell you about that later)
  • 4 travel albums for big trips (cruise, Europe, New York, etc)
  • 2 baby albums - one for each kid
  • 1 wedding album
  • 2 high school albums (of me in high school)
  • 1 baby album of me as a baby
  • 1 large album to hold 10x13 family pictures
  • 1 ongoing Christmas album - I add Christmas pictures to it each year
  • 2 ongoing school albums - one for each child, I add their school picture, class picture, pictures from any parties or field trips that I get, report card and samples of work or art done at school
  • 3 ongoing birthday albums - every year I add pictures from their birthday parties as well as any events that are just for them (i.e. soccer, gymnastics, dance, etc).  Julie has had more birthdays so she is on her second album, David is still on his first.
 The pictures I use in the ongoing albums are not usually put in the family album.  My thought is that I want each of the kids to have albums that are just theirs and that are all about them.  They can take them when they grow up to show their kids.  I also have ideas about making a "best of" album for each kid as well.  This would just have a 2 or 4 page spread with my favorite pictures of each year.  So, for instance, there would be one 2 page spread for 2003, one for 2004, etc. That way they would each have one album with about 18 years worth of pictures.  They could take it to college with them and remember their family, but it would be compact and not take up much space.  That's my idea, anyway.  It's not been started yet, though.

I thought I would show you a few sample pages from some of my albums.  I am a very simple scrapbooker - stickers, paper and pictures.  I don't use many embellishments.  That way I get the pages done and the albums finished. Pretty much everything I use is Creative Memories (CM), because I get the consultant discount.  I apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures.  I didn't have a lot of light, but I was lazy and didn't want to move, sorry.

David's school album, first day of school.
 
David's school album, first field trip.
 
Julie's birthday album, 3 year old picture
 
Julie's birthday album, 3rd birthday party
 
Julie's birthday album, 3 year old presents
 
Cruise travel album, I used a calendar page to tell our itinerary for the trip.
 
Cruise album, Labadee port of call - I used a template to make a block design.  This is one of my all time favorite pages.
 
Other side of page above.  If you look really closely you can see me in a bikini.
 
Wedding album, my awesome hubby's page.  I really liked the look of black pages for my wedding album.
 
Wedding album, grandparents page.  I really liked the bright orange on the black background.  It really stands out.

Once again, I apologize for the quality of the photos.  I'll just have to be less lazy next time :).

Tomorrow I'll tell you about my new scrapbooking obsession - digital!!!!!  I love it!!!!!!

If you guys are interested in any other scrapbooking tips or ideas, let me know.  I have tons of them, but I don't know if that's something that would interest you or not.  So just leave me a comment and tell me yes, I want more tips or no, that's not for me.  Thanks and happy Wednesday!
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