For the Love of Books

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Morning, friends!  Just popping in with my monthly For the Love of Books post, but before I get to that, I wanted to say thank you for all your get well wishes and prayers for our littlest.  His fever ended up being more than just his teeth and kept him home with mommy for several days, but he has since recovered and is back to his usual, ornery self.  So, thank you!

I have a number of papercrafted projects coming soon, but sometimes I find it difficult to motivate myself to do more than is required when I don't necessarily have a specific assignment due or purpose for which a project is needed.  So, I apologize for the lack of creativity posted here lately.  There's been a lot going on behind the scenes, from planning our vegetable garden and a space for Kaden to grow into to measuring for a bed skirt and curtains and doing lots of art projects with my kiddos, not to mention all the baking, cleaning, teaching, and business that comes with my day to day.  I never lack for things to do.

Now, on to the reason for this post.  It is most likely that, if you're not familiar with the name of the author of this month's pick, Patricia Polacco, you'll recognize her gorgeous pencil and paint illustrations a mile away.  She has been writing inspirational stories for over three decades and creating beautifully detailed works of art for most of her life.  The story I have chosen to share, with you all, today, which is written for children ages four to eight, is a perfect, pictorial example of the sweetness that comes from the pursuit of knowledge and adventure.
The Bee Tree is the story of a glorious excursion Mary Ellen and her Grandpa take, across the Michigan countryside, in pursuit of a bee tree.  It all began when Mary Ellen stated, "I'm tired of reading, Grandpa.  I'd rather be outdoors running and playing."  So, off they went to gather a few bees from the garden.  The first bee was released, and together they were on its tracks.  One by one, throughout their journey, they were joined by neighbors, acquaintances, old friends and new, all chasing after the bee.  When they lost sight of one bee, Grandpa would release another until they reached Dunks Woods and spotted their treasure.  There they built a smoke fire to quiet the bees and carefully collected bits of honeycomb in Baby Sylvester's spare diapers.  Once back at home, while everyone enjoyed music, dancing, laughter, and fresh honey on biscuits, Grandpa invited Mary Ellen to taste a spoonful of honey he dabbed onto the cover of one of her books.  As she did so, he said, "There is such sweetness inside of that book too!  Such things... adventure, knowledge and wisdom.  But these things do not come easily.  You have to pursue them.  Just like we ran after the bees to find their tree, so you must also chase these things through the pages of a book!"

What a priceless lesson.  Thanks so much for stopping by!  Be sure to enjoy a good book, with someone you love, today!  Hugs!

A Beary Sweet Valentine

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My kiddos just laid down for their afternoon rest times.  Everyone is tired from an early start for basketball, and my littlest started running a temperature at the gym.  I'm hoping it's just his teeth, but it looks like we'll be snuggling in at home for the weekend, none-the-less.  Anyway, I now have a moment to share Adina's Valentines, as promised in yesterday's Family Update post, with you all.  We went super easy this year and put my Cameo to work making these.
It was a bit late by the time we finished these up Valentine's Day eve, and we were out the door just as the sun was coming up the next morning.  So, please ignore the shadows, as I tried to get a few shots of the finished cuties in the morning light.  All the cardstock is Stampin' Up! and includes Whisper White, Crumb Cake, Chocolate Chip, and Basic Black.  We didn't change the Silhouette 3D Bear Favor Box cut file at all.  Why mess with perfection?
There were a few extra images that we had to wade through, like a tummy without the sentiment and a snout, which we didn't use because the main box showed through the cut snout in the face itself.  I guess the designer just wanted to give lots of custom options.
Anyway, we printed the "You are a BEARY Good Friend!  Happy Valentine's Day!" sentiment before cutting everything out.  I think the tummy itself might've got stretched a bit while we were working through all that, but we went with it.  Then, I put one together so Adina could see how it was done and sent her to work on the rest with a bottle of Elmer's.
Once they were dry, we stuffed them with a little bag of Gummy Bears, sealed with a bit of gingham ribbon, tied in a bow.  Oh, my goodness!  So sweet!  You should've seen how much her friends loved them.  They were in awe, and I just loved that every one of them walked out the doors still holding their new, little, paper buddies.  So fun! 
Well, thanks so much for peeking in!  Stay safe and warm out there, and enjoy your weekends!  XOXO

Family Update

Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy Friday, friends!  I've been playing a little catchup around my house this week.  Sometimes the cleaning and organization gets put to the side when I'm spending a lot of time in my creative space, prepping for a series of projects on top of not feeling well, which explains the need for a little catching up.  I've also finally emptied the last box of personal d├ęcor that I packed in preparation for our move to South Dakota.  It included a number of black and white photos of my family that now graces our staircase.  When I showed my hubby what I had done, while he was at work, he said, "Now it feels like home."  He's been talking about a move for a long time, but ultimately, we're being smart and staying put.  Our goal is to get his student loans paid off, as well as a little remodeling, before we try to put our home on the market again.  Honestly, I'd be just fine staying put.  I don't need anything big, and I love our home; but I also believe that the Lord has future plans for us, plans that would require a move.

So, anyway, it felt so good to get those things accomplished this week, but that also means that I didn't have a lot of time to get creative.  I will have a little, Valentine project that Adina made for her friends, to share with you all, tomorrow.  Until then, I have a few pictures to share, beginning with these of my big kiddo and his teammates taking first place in Awana Quiz, in Liberty, Missouri, a couple of weekends back.  Quiz tests the kids on material and scriptures in their handbooks and manuals and provides individual recognition and rewards.
This was his first time competing with this church.  We moved to a new location for his last year of Awana and Adina's second simply because, as a homeschool family, we're trying to be intentional about our interactions outside of home being ones that foster friendships and opportunities to serve.  Unfortunately, that goal was no longer being met at our previous club; and this club offered a much larger group of kids, as well as a healthy homeschool community within the church itself.
Last month, Ezekiel was asked to creatively and personally define a number of nouns, including sadness.  He wrote, "Sadness is when your best friend moves across the world."  Y'all, my heart broke.  The one young man that he always seemed to connect and have a lot in common with moved to Jordan with his family, to work and share the love of Jesus there, four years ago.  It's been since then that he's been in need of a good friend.  You'd think those shoes would be filled in a church the size of the one we attend and have been attending since he was four-years-old, but he's a complicated kid.  While emotionally and physically he is an eleven-year-old, he is advanced beyond his years mentally and spiritually.  I'm so fortunate that he actually likes to listen to the sermons in youth group, but that doesn't exactly make him popular or relatable in our day and age.

Anyway, I'm just trying to do the best job I can to help him survive adolescence by giving him opportunities to meet like-minded friends and keeping my eyes and ears open for whatever he may need.  Gosh, I love him so.  I don't think he has any idea how much.  He always thinks we're against him and trying to make his life more difficult.  I know some of that is simply because he doesn't see that other kids are doing many of the same educational assignments that he is due to homeschooling and thinks that nobody else has to wash the dishes or pick up their room.  I mean, no other kid in the world has computer regulations.  Right ;)?  I hope you can sense my sarcasm.  He's completely irrational, and I know some of that is also just his age; but, well, if he only knew.  Sigh.

Okay, enough of that.  On a happier note, he's still loving homeschool band and playing basketball.  This, too, is his last year to play with Upward.  Why do all these activities leave kids high and dry come middle school?!  It's fine.  There are lots more places to play ball.  It would just be nice not to have to keep moving around all the time.  Remember what I said earlier about fostering friendships and opportunities to serve?  This constant switching teams makes such extremely difficult as well, but we definitely still feel like the new kids in town at this particular school, too.  So, maybe it's not so much of a loss.  He gets to play baseball with the same group of kids as last year this summer, though, and he's really looking forward to that.  Although, while most of the kids are the same age as he is, he's a year ahead in school.  So, potentially, this will be his last summer with this group, too.  Gracious!  Poor kid!
What just happened?  That was supposed to be a happier paragraph.  Let's just keep trying.  Oh, how about some pics of my daughter socializing during her basketball game?  She and her designated opponent are the only ones not moving in the photos below.  LOL!
We had a wonderful Valentine's Day!  My kiddos each got chocolate and a book.  What better way to celebrate?!  We also made and decorated lots of delicious, sugar cookies.  So good!  We ended up staying in for dinner.  My hubby grilled, and I didn't have to do a thing.  It wasn't planned, but it worked for me.  Maybe my subconscious had it all figured out when I was doing the meal planning and just didn't let my conscious in on the arrangement.
Finally, I just had to share this last series of pics.  My littlest had his first time out this week.  He is flying up the stairs, and while he can come down, he doesn't do it as gracefully.  He seems to have good depth perception, but his pediatrician insists on the contrary based upon his age.  Anyway, he's been scaring me to death on the stairs.  He hasn't fallen, but I also don't want him to.  So, he's learning to obey and only climb up when someone is going with him.  He wasn't a fan of the time out for not following this rule.  He tried to get out initially but quickly learned he was to stay put until mommy came to get him.  He had five time outs, for climbing up, this first day, two the second, and is working on not a single one today.  Yay!  He'll get it.
That covers a few of the things that have been keeping us running.  We've got two Saturdays worth of basketball games left in the season, and we're all ready to no longer have to make 8:30 am tracks in the snow to get there.  Both of my kiddos have also been prepping for the Awana Games competition since practice for Quiz ended, which makes for long Sundays as well.  It's all good stuff, but the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are calling this tired momma's name.  I can't wait for the grass to be green and the doors and windows to be open and my gardens to be blooming.  Matter of fact, we're taking a little trip to pick up veggie seeds this afternoon.  It's time to start some of those indoor plantings.  Eeek!  Thanks for checking in on us!  Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!

The Studio Where You Live Challenge

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy Monday, y'all!  Just popping in, on this chilly, snow-covered afternoon, while my kiddos are resting, with my take on The Studio's newest challenge.  We want you to scrap about where you live this go around.  You could choose to scrap about your house, neighborhood, city, or country.  It's up to you!  One of the best things about our home is that it is right around the corner from one of our favorite parks.  So, I chose to scrap a few pictures from a walk I took with my family to just such a place.  Enjoy!
I started this page with that gorgeous, mixed media, patterned paper.  Yum!  But I wanted to add a little purple to it to coordinate with my daughter's shirt.  So, in addition to stamping it, in second-generation, Jet Black ink, with the ink splats, I also stamped it, in Lavender Lace ink, with the rings and smudged a little Concord Grape Distress Ink through an arrow stencil.  A few additional stamped, in Jet Black ink, spots prep it for all the yummy, patterned papers that anchor my photo grid which was matted with Whisper White cardstock and wrapped with a length of Lilac twine, tied in a bow.  More purple ;)!  Before anchoring a number of the papers with silver thread, I tucked a green, arrow banner under them and peeking out from either edge.  A chipboard "together", dressed up with a simple, Garden Green, cardstock, leaf die cut, as well as the stamped, in Jet Black ink, "Home Sweet Home" phrase and hand-written city, grounds the design.
An acrylic, "HAPPY" Polaroid was tucked under the top right side of the photos...
while a Cameo-cut, vellum doily dresses up the top left side.  A hand-cut, vellum, polka dot heart; paper arrow; and "HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE" cardstock sticker lead the way to a heap of other embellishments...
including "AND THEY LIVED", "HOME", and "perfect" phrase stickers; a hand-cut, from patterned paper, "This is our crazy and beautiful life" sentiment; and a stamped, in Jet Black ink, arrow and "FUN DAY MAR 15 2014" date.
A sprinkling of purple gemstones; couple strips of silver, chevron Washi; "SATURDAY" tab...
and handful of pink, glitter, heart stickers complete the look.
Further inspiration for this page came from Let's Get Sketchy's February Week 2 Sketch...
and Scrap Our Stash's Challenge #23 (W = Washi & wood veneer; A = arrows; S = Saturday, silver, stitching, & stamps; H = hearts, happy, & home; I = ink).
Be sure to stop by the challenge link above to get all the challenge details, as well as to be inspired by the rest of the Design Team.  You have until March 1, 2015, to link up your takes in the right-hand column of The Studio Blog.  Thanks so much for peeking in!  Have a terrific week!

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: arrow (Heidi Swapp); date (Dear Lizzy); Home Sweet Home (Market Street Stamps); Sanna's Frames (3rd Eye); Ink Splats (Wplus9) Paper: Whisper White & Garden Green (SU!); mixed media (We R Memory Keepers); pink polka dot (Pebbles, Inc.); constellation & text (Crate Paper); green polka dot (Elle's Studio); polka dot vellum (American Crafts); vellum (Paper Studio) Ink: Lavender Lace (SU!); Jet Black & Dusty Concord (Ranger); Black PITT artist pen (Faber Castell) Other: silver thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); Sizzlits Little Leaves die (SU!); Big Shot (Sizzix); Winter Doilies Set cut file & Cameo (Silhouette); Washi tape (Freckled Fawn); glitter heart stickers (Pebbles, Inc.); "AND THEY LIVED" word bubble, "HAPPY DAYS THIS WAY" arrow, green arrow banner, & chipboard "together" (MME); "HOME" sticker (K&Company); "perfect" sticker (Suzy); veneer arrow (Crate Paper); pink arrow (October Afternoon); "This is our crazy and beautiful life" phrase bit (We R Memory Keepers); purple gemstones (Doodlebug Design); arrow stencil & heart template (Jenni Bowlin); Lilac twine (The Twinery); "SATURDAY" tab (Simple Stories)

Paper Sweeties February Release Rewind

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hey, friends!  Well, here we are at the close of another fabulous, Paper Sweeties release.  I hope you're anxiously anticipating the arrival of lots of new goodies to your doorsteps.  While you wait for them to arrive, I've got one last, release-inspired creation to share.  Let's get to it!
I started this card by trimming the bottom of a piece of multicolored, floral, patterned paper with a wide strip of woodgrain, patterned paper and anchoring the two, with black-threaded, straight and zig-zag, machine stitches, to the Kraft, cardstock, card face.  I then stamped the bottom center of a library tag, in Jet Black ink, with the "With Heartfelt Gratitude" sentiment.
The center of the tag was stamped, in Jet Black ink, with the flower pot and stem/leaves which were colored with pencils and topped with a stamped, in Coral Calypso ink, on a Coral Calypso, cardstock die cut, flower.  The flower itself received a More Mustard, cardstock, die-cut center and was popped up with foam tape, while the pot was dressed up with a simple, sequin butterfly, laced with white string.
After securing the library card, with more foam tape, to the card face, I punched it, framed the hole with a reinforcement label, and dressed it up with lots of yummy trimmings, including more of that scrumptious, Frosting seam binding ribbon from the Paper Sweeties Shoppe; ivory lace; and a black, checked bow, topped with a large pearl.
And here's what's new in The Shoppe.
http://papersweeties.com/shop/all-products/pretty-posies/
http://papersweeties.com/shop/all-products/sweet-cuts-pretty-posies/
http://papersweeties.com/shop/all-products/garden-time/
http://papersweeties.com/shop/all-products/sweet-cuts-garden-time/
That does it, for this month, folks, but I couldn't leave you all without also sharing that Paper Sweeties is smack-dab in the middle of their first-ever Design Team Call.  Be sure to check out the link for all the details, and good luck!
Thanks, as always, for your continued visits and comments!  And a big thanks to Debbie and her talented crew for always making me feel like family!  Be sure to stop by and leave them some love.  Big hugs and blessings on you all!

Annette Witherspoon
Debbie Marcinkiewicz – Paper Sweeties
Jill Norwood 
Jinny Newlin *special Guest Designer* (You're here!)

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: Pretty Posies, Make Today Beautiful, & You Make Me Smile (Paper Sweeties) Paper: Kraft (Wplus9); More Mustard & Coral Calypso (SU!); woodgrain & multicolored floral (Webster's Pages) Ink: Jet Black (Ranger); Coral Calypso (SU!) Other: black thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); Frosting seam binding ribbon & Pretty Posies die (Paper Sweeties); foam tape (Scrapbook Adhesives); pearl, reinforcement label, & lace (Paper Studio); checked ribbon (May Arts); sequin butterfly (Crate Paper); white string (Hobby Lobby); colored pencils (Prismacolor); mineral spirits (Inky Antics); library tag (American Crafts)

Stuck?! February 15th Sketch

Good morning, friends!  Just popping back in to share my take on Stuck?! Sketches mid-month sketch.  So, let's get right to it.  Shall we?
I started this page by trimming the left side of the woodgrain, patterned, paper, base page, which stretched over onto the right side of the page, with a couple of Valentine papers and the right side with a strip of heart, patterned paper.  I also decked out the center of the design with yet a couple more patterned papers and flanked everything with strips of silver, chevron Washi, as well as silver-threaded, straight, machine stitches, before turning my attention to the left side of the page.
The top of the design boasts a quartet of yummy papers, some of which were cut in the shape of banners and anchored with silver-threaded, straight and zig-zag, machine stitches, topped with an accordion heart, entangled with more of that silver thread.  Just to the left of that, I stamped the word "sweet", in Jet Black ink, atop a "XOXO" glitter sticker.
A cluster of color-coordinating, patterned papers, including a couple which were hand-cut in the form of banners and a bit of polka dot vellum, and some of which were secured with more of that silver thread, create the backdrop for my main photograph which was matted with Whisper White cardstock and wrapped with a length of Peppermint Baker's Twine, tied in a bow.  A pink doily, as well as a couple of Cameo-cut, from Ballet Slippers and Basic Grey cardstocks, branches, which were entangled with a bit more of that yummy, silver thread, were tucked under the top left corner of the picture and grounded with a "LOVE" flair button.
I then stretched some Cameo-cut, from Real Red cardstock, interlocking hearts, under the photo, from the left to right side and topped them with the "be mine always" title which was Cameo-cut from Whisper White cardstock and stamped in Jet Black ink.
A few stamped, in Jet Black ink, hearts; silver, arrow, glitter sticker; hand-cut, from patterned paper, "P.S. I love you!" flashcard, which I dressed up with some glitter; and the hint of another "FEB 14" flashcard...
turns our attention to the right side of the design...
where you'll see the remainder of that "FEB 14" flashcard, along with another "XOXO" flashcard; lots more of those same patterned papers as described and prepped previously, all grounding a grid of photos; and another string of Cameo-cut, Real Red, cardstock, interlocking hearts.
You'll also find a few more stamped hearts, as well as more Valentine flair...
and some additional, cardstock branches, backed by another pink doily and entangled with more of that silver thread.  A stamped, in Jet Black ink, "has my {heart}" arrow...
mimics the "HAS my HEART" glitter sticker, which was grounded by a "HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY" sticker below.
Another pink doily dresses up the top left photograph and draws our attention to the pink label, which reads, sprinkles, cookies, a toasty sweatshirt, jeans, chocolate, and a new baby brother - the BEST!  A "SHINE" clip and sprinkling of silver, glitter, heart stickers throughout complete the look.
Our sponsors for this particular sketch, with a stack of the winner's choice and two spools of ribbon of the winner's choice respectively, are...
and here's your February 15th Sketch, which I rotated 90 degrees to the left and stretched into two, to get you started.
Further inspiration for this layout came from Let's Capture Our Memories' February Color Spot.
Thanks so much for stopping by!  Please be sure to stop by the challenge link above to get all your challenge details, as well as to view all the fabulous pages the rest of Design Team has created to inspire your weekend scrap time.  Can't wait to see what you all cook up!  Be blessed!

{Supplies & Tools}
Stamps: phrases & hearts (Heidi Swapp) Paper: Whisper White, Basic Grey, & Real Red (SU!); Ballet Slippers (Wplus9); "I love you" & pink polka dot (Pebbles, Inc.); text (Echo Park); woodgrain, "XOXO", pink heart, & pink block (Crate Paper); gray designer (Jenni Bowlin); pink hearts (Elle's Studio); vellum polka dot (MME) Ink: Jet Black (Ranger); Black PITT artist pen (Faber Castell) Other: silver thread (Coats & Clark); sewing machine (Janome); interlocking hearts cut file (17 Turtles); branch, vine, & "be mine" cut files & Cameo (Silhouette); pink doilies (Paper Studio); Dazzling Diamonds (SU!); Valentine flashcards (Simple Stories); silver glitter stickers (Heidi Swapp); flair buttons (A Flair for Buttons); Peppermint Baker's Twine (Paper Sweeties); foam tape (Scrapbook Adhesives); accordion fan (Pebbles, Inc.); Washi tape & "SHINE" clip (Freckled Fawn); pink label & "HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY" stickers (Crate Paper)