Saturday, July 30, 2011

Project Gift-Give

Here's a fun project I came up with. My cousin is getting married and his Mom (my Aunt) wanted to do something special for the bride. Putting together a bridal shower with our family is nearly impossible since we are scattered through the US. Instead she decided to have us mail in kitchen tidbits, recipes that we love, advice about meal planning, utensils or tools that we find useful.

My plan is to send a piece of our California family to them in St. Louis. So I am sending these potholders... 

I got some from my sister as a birthday gift and I love them so much. They make me smile and I'm hoping will do the same for my new family member.

We just can't help but love Mickey in this house. Here is Ev enjoying the Road Rally episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse this morning...

I also wanted to do something special for my...Cousin-in-law(?). That's why I came up with this new project idea. It was super quick and easy to make and I love the results. I started with a $5 recipe binder from Michael's.
Here it is before...
No offense to Paula Dean but it was just a bit too ordinary for me. As you can see in the photo I proceeded to gather supplies from my stash that color coordinated.

I picked up some cork contact paper from Lowe's as well. The nice thing about this is that it is already adhesive and super sticky....

I measured out my piece by laying the binder out flat on the white side and tracing it. Then it was as simple as cutting the cork and sticking it on. I started on the inside of one cover, peeled a small section of backing off and began to carefully adhere it to the binder. I watched for bubbling and made sure that it was lined up with the top and bottom respectively....and I went until the whole cover was...covered. :)

Fast forward a bit and I have adhered a piece of patterned paper by Cosmo Cricket to the cork using Mod Podge. (LOVE that stuff!) I then began to place some different elements. I refrained from adhering at this point because I was not sure how I wanted it to look. I tired to choose colors that compliment the potholder portion of the gift at the same time not making it too is a recipe binder after all.

Almost done now. I have the main focal point on the front cover done. But it needed a little something extra. Hmmmmm.

When in doubt, add a banner...
Here is the finished recipe binder.

Most of the products on this project came from a Cosmo Cricket paper pack and October Afternoon stickers that I had in my stash. That is the nice thing about the packs or kits, they are already coordinated for you. This particular kit was great because it had a cooking theme. It was easy to pull some complimentary paper to make my own banner. I played around with the shapes and sizes until I found something I liked. The twine adds some nice texture and Mod Podge came in handy once again to keep it in place.

What do you think? I'm thinking I should make one for myself too.

Since that project was so quick and easy here is how we were able to spend the rest of our afternoon...
Nakiah's new helicopter was just begging to be flown.
Baby-zilla even managed to keep her hands off of it.
All is right in the world.

Tomorrow I am going to attend Unique LA! I'm thrilled that it works out with my schedule and even more happy that my lil' sis can watch the babe. That way I can actually pay attention to all of the crafty eye candy instead of attempting to wrangle her.---
Nakiah doesn't know what he is in for having to go to this with me though. Maybe I will owe him some actual candy for going...or another flying machine.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Am In Love

I think I might be in romantic love with American Crafts. During CHA I kept close watch on all of their new lines. (Which was funny because it was the same week I was on vacation and I kept trying to explain to my husband why I had to hop on the computer everyday....."It's an exciting's CHA," I told him. Like I am in the know.) I didn't think it was possible, but the more I see the more I am falling for it.

Here are a few of my favorites....
Cloud Album. (dreamy)

From the Garden Cafe Line (drool)

I love this whole line but this particular paper whispers sweet nothings in my ear. 

One of my favorite things about AC is their stunning Delights.
All dressed up and ready for any occasion....and I have used them on many.

These are the newest ones from the Hollyday Line.
(beautifully festive)

But the things I just CAN NOT live without are from the brand new Amy Tangerine line. I am head over heels with EVERY SINGLE part of this collection. Here is what got me hooked...

Can't wait to get my hands all over these.
Can you blame me?

As luck would have it American Crafts is asking for Design Team submissions. I am so in! Wouldn't it be amazing to be amongst that group of talented people...and receive all of those delightful products to play with! Wish me luck. Soon I will show you the projects I submitted. (Seriously, I need a LOT of luck!)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Luckiest Girl in the World

Sometimes my husband makes me feel like I am the luckiest girl in the world...a lot of times, actually. But he has really outdone himself this time. Yesterday was our anniversary. While I was thinking we weren't exchanging gifts he was in the middle of a big surprise. Maybe I should go back in time for a bit here...

Three years ago as we were in the car on the way to Vegas to get married we started making promises. (One of the biggest reasons I love this man is that he ALWAYS keeps his promises.) We each thought of a couple of things that the other had to promise to do if they wanted to marry the other. His big one was that I would never make him give up his record collection. (EASY! I love that he has a record collection!) Mine was that we travel. I think my exact words were, "If you want to marry me you have to promise me that we will travel. Because I want to see the world." He said, "sounds good to me," all casual.

Yesterday while we were eating our shmancy Outback Steak (that's how we roll) he says to me, "I don't have a present for you, per se."
"That's ok, I don't have one for you either," I say.
"But, I DO have a surprise." He smiles coyly down at his horseradish crusted fillet.
"You DO?" I can't help but smile because he is a great gift giver.
He proceeds to hand me his phone and instructs me to read a work review he has written about himself. It talks about this difficult customer and how he has learned to bond with her while talking about travel. He found out she is a travel agent.....and then there is this sentence that says...."Now she is helping me plan a trip to Italy."
My eyes well up and I say, "huh?!" (Yes, eloquent as always.)
"What does it say?" he asks
"I THINK it says you are planning a trip to Italy!" I say trying not to drip tears of joy all over my salad.
"It says I am planning a trip to Italy for us."
(Now I am embarrassed because I am crying in an Outback Steakhouse.)

Turns out he has been planning for months now. He has learned that January is the absolute best time to purchase tickets and so we will book then and make our arrangements. He wants me to help him plan it out since I have ALWAYS wanted to go there and he wants us to do everything I hoped for. We will go for 2 weeks this time next year. I stare at him in gleeful disbelief. He tells me that he originally planned to learn the language so that he could tell me in Italian. (How romantic and adorable is that?) But I have been home so much lately that he couldn't do it on the sly.

So you see, I really AM the luckiest girl in the world. I get to go to Italy. Happy anniversary to me! (Oh yeah, and to him as well.)

Here is a layout about how we met. Not a day goes by that I am not glad I'm the kind of girl that had the guts to give that hot guy in a bar my number.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mrs. Bright Side

Here I am fresh off of an extended family vacation and I'm not gonna lie....
-I am tired.
-I haven't even BEGUN to do the 8 loads of laundry from the trip.
-I can hardly bring myself to unpack.
-I don't really feel like I got a chance to relax and rest.
-There is no food in the fridge. Just spoiled milk, YUCK!
-Planning activities for 14 people was harder than I thought.
-There are lots of things we didn't factor in when renting a cabin.
-Road trips are a lot less fun with a choc full car.
-4 flights of stairs+2 less than toddler proof balconies=STRESS!
-Despite my good intentions it's hard to keep everyone in such a large family happy.
-Since suffering from Vertigo I get carsick. REALLY carsick.
-Altitude sucks.

Even though our vacation was not exactly what we thought it would be...and things got stressful, and challenging and all of that...There were also quite a few good times. So many in fact that my husband talked everyone into extending our stay by one day.

Cheers to convenient 7-11 trips. This makes everything sweet.

She actually got to have her own on this trip. Banana flavored.

My husband impressing the boat driver with his first time wake boarding skills.

I did say it was his first time, right?

My son giving it a try and listening intently to the lesson.

He was actually able to ride a couple of times. So cool!
I love that he just went for it.

Thumbs up to signal "faster."

 Believe it or not they actually held on through this.
But it is funny to see their feet in the air.

 LOVING the speed and adrenaline filled ride.

 They kept showing off and posing during the ride, like it was no big deal.

So the driver showed them who is boss.

Evareaux and I on the pontoon boat while the boys went to the cable park.
 At first she fought the jacket and threw a fit about it.

Once Ev got over it she started to enjoy the ride...and driving the boat...
and pee-d all over Uncle Alan's lap. (Whoops, sorry about that!)

By the end of the hour she was ready to "paddle, paddle, paddle," for herself.

A local showed all of us the crawdads he caught in a trap.
Evareaux wanted to look but not touch.

There were also a lot more great things that I didn't capture...
Game time for the adults.
Good food.
Great drinks.
Getting a workout on the stairs.
Packing enough to share.
"Water" Pong & making up a song.
Evareaux sleeping through the night in her playpen.
Tater, the cutest dog EVER.
Laughing so hard I thought I would cry.
Only having to punish my child once.
Blaming the altitude for everything from bloody noses to spicy food.

I would change a lot of things about this trip. But at the same time I appreciate that we were able to come together and spend a week away. Now we know what improvements to make for next time....the bright side is that our family is already talking about "next time".

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Big Bear Trippin'

Coming to you from Big Bear Lake, CA. We are on a getaway with my husbands family. So I have to work quickly blog-wise.

Here are a few snippets of our trip so far. These first few are from the car on the way up...
Since having Evareaux I've decided we have seriously outgrown my Ravioli (it's what I named my Toyota Rav-4). Especially for road trips of any kind. We were all smooshed in sardine style with our necessities like food for 14 and guitars and such. We even had a bag strapped to the roof.

Ev enjoying a treat on the road. The ears just couldn't be left behind....Sometimes I wonder if she just assumes every time we all hop in the car that we must be going to Disneyland.

That's me. I always feel the urge to put my feet up on the dash. Doesn't matter what car I'm in. Luckily it doesn't bother my husband, so I do it every time. Traffic flowed nicely for Southern California. Yay for that!

Me again. Hello.

Here are some snapshots of our various activities...
 I know the quality isn't that great, but her face here cracks me up. Like, "are we having fun yet?"

 Another funny face for her. 

We rode the ski lift up and did a thing called Alpine Slides. You sit in a plastic sled with a big hand brake/accelerator and race down a long concrete trail. It can move pretty fast & is a lot of fun. Everyone seemed to enjoy it...even Ev got to go!

 Then off to the waterslide just next door. We had to pay per ride, but it was so worth it because the boys and cousins had so much fun.
The only downside being that Ev had to sit on the sidelines & overheat.
She kept saying, "water? Water? Minnie, water?"

Here is one of my nephew, Dylan.
 I always feel a little strange about including photos of any children that aren't mine on this blog. (I always ask for permission first.) But this one is just too cute. He has such a soft spot for her & is always making sure she is happy.

Then there is this one of my niece, Cortney...Can you say dog pile?
SO stinking adorable! Those are her dogs Gretchen (the Italian Greyhound) and Tater (the CUTEST dog on the PLANET). After our first day they all just kinda passed out.

Here's a shot from the zoo...

And a view from our aptly named cabin...."Amazing View Home."

So that is it so far... Gotta get back to trippin'.