Monday, April 30, 2007

Barefoot Contessas

I am a huge fan of Ina Garten and her Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. Recently, I purchased her newest book, Barefoot Contessa At Home . Tammy and I tried a couple of her side dishes last night. Didn't intend for her to have to help me, but it was so fun-and delish, too. Ina's recipes are mostly simple everyday food made with really fresh ingredients. She uses lots of fresh herbs which I've found make a huge difference in how things taste. Anyway, we had a great time and it gave us another opportunity to practice our photography skills.

The casual dinner was in the middle of one of our scrapfests. Tammy got alot more accomplished than I did. She was in the zone completing a mini album and a layout. Earlier in the day, Brady and I attended a luncheon after church celebrating the baptisms that had occured in the last year or so. A friend of ours managed to snap this of us together. What a treasure. I'm so hormonal today and a little down so this does my heart good to see this sweet moment and share it with all of you. Have a good week everyone!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Martha, Martha, Martha

Today is an exciting day! Today the eagerly anticipated Martha Stewart line of papercraft and scrapbooking supplies arrived at our local Michael's store. Although I had not seen any previews of product, I honestly was not expecting much. Having recently partnered with EK Success, I assumed Martha's products would be little more than what was already on the market. I should have much more faith in my idol, Martha Stewart. What a breath of fresh air her products are! They are 100% Martha-her colors, types of products she is always using, high quality, fair price. But so much more than the run-of-the-mill supplies you are used to seeing in the stores. Oh, there are items to be used for scrapbooking, but there are also kits for crafting with your children and items for celebrating in style as well as materials for packaging handmade goodies from your kitchen and garden. I was so excited about these products. To be sure there are items that will not appeal to everyone-oversize scrapbooks and not everyone appreciates here color scheme-lots of nutty brown, orange and turquoise, but there is truly something for every crafter in her line. I was particularly drawn to a set of wooden bird stamps, but refrained from purchasing them-this time. Here's a little of what I did purchase-baker's twine, decorative tape, tags and labels and lime green glittered letter stickers-SO love this font! Can't wait to make something with it all! BTW, her glitter comes in the yummiest colors and is packaged in glass jars similiar to spice jars so you can pour or scoop and sprinkle. :)

And as if that was not enough excitement for the afteroon. I pulled in my driveway to spy a package on the porch-my second shipment of materials for my BPS class, A Year To Remember had been delivered. It was like Christmas I tell ya! Here's a peek at what I found inside. About the time the newness of this class wears off something else pops up to reinvigorate me. I had been hoping it would include some of the ghost butterflies and it did. Also included was the butterfly mask, Tim Holtz applicator and distress ink in worn lipstick (love it!), HS script date stamp, days of the week journalling spots and tangerine bling which looks just like the color of orange freezer pops before you freeze them-totally yummy! And she made us all a fun little button-how cute is that!?

Okay, I have to calm down before I run Cam to work. I can't wait to get back home and get busy playing with all my new stuff. Going to be working on a little mini project and then try to turn out a layout or two w/ my new Martha stuff. Hopefully, I'll have something for you to look at later. See ya!

P.S. The rumor is true-you canNOT use coupons on Martha's stuff and I was told by a checker it will never be discounted. It's part of the agreement she has w/ retailers. It's all about the brand, folks. And she is always thinking-most of her products have a built-in organizing system so they can be stored in 3-ring binders. Oh, and the decorative tape is actually adhesive ribbon and is to die for. :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Time Well Wasted

Spent some time with my favorite friend last night milling around Target and Michael's. So fun! Love little last minute meet-ups when we each have a bit of free time. She's so fun to shop with--I always find the best things thanks to her! Here's a few of the little goodies I picked up on our jaunt tonight. I'm trying to be SO good. In fact, I was going to Michael's to return a couple items-ended up more like a trade. And I couldn't pass up these luncheon plates from Target after passing them over once.

Anyway, I'm sure you're thinking there's a theme to my life this week-total procrastination. But I call it time well wasted-catching up with my dear friend and sharing a little retail therapy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Totally Meaningless Stuff

There's alot of totally menaningless stuff that fills my head sometimes. My BFF, Tammy said to me once that she was amazed at all the stuff I think of and about. If only I had the motivation and energy to match and could bring my thoughts and ideas to fruition. Here's some of the stuff knockin' around in my head today. Maybe if I get it out here I can move on and do something productive. Lord knows I am not doing that so far this week! Suprised? I'm sure you're not. And I'm totally outing myself with this photo-just one of many piles.

The school year is quickly coming to a close and although we have arrangements for Brady day to day this summer, I've got to get organized about in-between times and his special activities like baseball, basketball camp, first chance camp, etc. And swimming lessons-I keep forgetting to call about swimming lessons! I so want him to have a fun summer. Trying to get him interested in reading Tom Sawyer or the Hardy Boys mysteries with me and then take a day trip to Hannibal.

On that note, I don't read nearly enough myself. Although I did as a child and well into my teenage years. Would be fun to re-read all the Nancy Drew books this summer. Did you know there's a Nancy Drew movie coming out? I'll have to try to take my niece or go w/ Tammy and Hannah. Also, saw an awesome idea in the Somerset Studio mag I recently purchased. Would love to read Gone With the Wind again and do an art project surrounding it. My Grandma Swan loved this book and movie and passed her copy down to us. It's earmarked for me and would love to do something special with this family treasure. Anywhoo...

I have a couple other projects to finish first. One I've decided will be a Mother's Day gift for Jeff's mom. Can hardly bear to part with it, but it's perfect for her-at least I think so. Getting ready to start on my mom's gift (sorry mom-no hints here). And I'm working on a little somethin' somethin' for Tammy (sshhh-don't tell her!) ;)

And although I've been very creative lately there is always more I want to try and do, but sooner or later I've got to get things cleared out around here. Seriously! I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I guess I think if I can't do it all at once or do it the way I want I just don't try. Something like that anyway, but I've got to get over it and get some stuff done. I haven't even groomed my front landscape and the hostas are peeking out. Maybe this weekend I can do a few things. It's always better when you have someone to work with. Wish Jeff was into that sort of thing, but alas he is not. He has been mowing and has finally realized the value of using the trimmer-silly fella! Try to cut him some slack about it since this is his busiest time of year. After all, I could do it myself if I am going to be particular, right?

BTW, I'm on the look out for a bright pink hibiscus and cobalt blue planter for next to my front door this year. Just outside there is so much I need to do-new mailbox, paint the front door, flowers and would love by Fall to put in an island across our backyard to create a bluebird habitat.

So inspired by the California coast and checked out some vacation rentals yesterday-just for fun. Loved this one. Still wanting to go there sometime. Especially to check out one of the flea markets such as the Santa Monica. Just finished looking through old entries on P Garrison's blog and the flowers from her garden are so beautiful. Love all the old-fashioned varieties of roses she has. Dreaming of a special bouquet of roses, peonies and lilac. Maybe one will come my way soon. :)

And a coconut cake-might have to make one. Think I can? Hmmm...bought Ina's newest book to try. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Would love to be uber organized and need to make time to visit the new Organized Living store. Probably more practical is just to lock myself in the house on a Friday afternoon and Saturday and just start getting rid of stuff. Need to call the folks organizing our church rumage sale to make a donation-note to self.

Okay, this is helping, but still not feeling super motivated to actually accomplish anything this evening. It's amazing how this computer can lull you into a trance. Going to try to do a few things before Dancing with the Stars. I know-I'm a reality tv junky like you would not believe! At least I can fold laundry while I watch. Fun times! Sorry this was so long and if you've gotten to this point then I think you might be a procrastinator like me! LOL

Sunday, April 22, 2007

For The Beauty of the Earth

Happy Earth Day!

Celebrating by TIVO'g the Planet Earth series on the Discovery channel. Watching a few episodes here and there. Reminded Jeff it was Earth Day and told him about the series. He's reluctant, but said he'd watch a few with me tonight. I feel really strongly that God's entrusted us with his creation and we need to be good stewards. But like many, I struggle with finding a balance between awareness, practicality and effectiveness.

I think the biggest thing is awareness. For example, I know I need to stop letting the water run when I brush my teeth and stop using large amounts of papertowels (I think I'm addicted). There are alot of very practical things I can do daily just like these to effectively help take care of planet Earth. For more practical ideas visit Oprah Winfrey's website. Her recent "Favorite Green Things" show featured Simran Sehti from the Sundance channel with some easy to implement ideas to help your family go green.

A couple more goals for our family are to watch the thermostat a bit more, start turning off the power at the power strip on our electronic appliances and invest in cloth bags for our shopping trips. I'd also like to look into some of the "getting rid of junk mail" services out there. Overall, we just want to begin simplifying our lives and being more concious of our surroundings. For years I have been the poster child for consumerism and I want to take steps to change that. Our bank account will benefit from it as well as the environment. Not an overnight change, but lasting changes often are a work in progress.

Another gorgeous day here. Wherever you are today stop and be grateful for this amazing planet we have the privilege of inhabiting. And to see amazing photos and video go here.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


So delighted to receive my Moo cards in the mail today all the way from England! These are the coolest things I've seen in a long time and a terrifc value. If you haven't checked these out through the Flickr website you should. Can't wait to order a set to use for gift tags at Christmas time. Very cool indeed!

It has been an absolutely gorgeous day here today. Brady and I have spent the day with two of our favorite people-my sister, Marisa and cousin Matt. Yummy lunch at First Watch and then browsing at Barnes & Noble. Aunt Missy's like Oprah-"find a book, I'll buy it for you!" So sweet. And the boys were SO good. The book I was trying to find they didn't have, but that's okay 'cause it's like a gazillion dollars. I was tempted to buy the newest Barefoot Contessa cookbook, but opted instead for the British edition of Country Living and the Somerset Studio magazine w/ the article about Pam Garrison. And BONUS! included papers designed by her-can't wait to make something w/ them. Finally we ended up at video game store and purchased a second Wii remote. Nine year old boys have trouble sharing the remote-well, one of them anyway.

So now we're settling in for the evening. Need to get ready for Sunday School tomorrow and do more laundry-my new favorite thing thanks to Rosie (see previous post). Right now I'm watching a starling on our deck. She's chosen our neglected gas grill for her new nest. Not sure she knows just how hot the sun gets on top of that grill. Eeek!

Okay, signing off for now. Going to get some laundry started, fix supper, etc. Who am I kidding-I'm calling Jeff to blow through Mickey D's for the boys! :) Have a good evening!

Friday, April 20, 2007

In My Book

In my book, here's who's ROCKIN' IT today:

my girl Jenni Bowlin-i'm still using up the stuff from her april kit. her stuff is just so doggone useable!

for keeps sake scrapbook store in st louis-thanks for validating my sense of style and listening to me rant. i can't wait to pick up my order of teresa collins extreme boy line!

me-i had a prodctive morning at work and although i am not accomplishing anything in the domestic dept, i am churning out the layouts like a scrapbook rockstar!

my pal Tammy-she took the most awesome photos of us on easter sunday and i am having a blast scrapbooking with them. hmmm...i think a little thank you gift is in order!

my husband-he has more patience and compassion in his heart than anyone i know. can't wait to head out to the movies with him this evening and spend some quality time together!

So,just in case you were wondering-you guys ROCK!

Sunday, April 15, 2007


It feels SO good to be creative. It's such a release for me. My coping mechanism. An outlet for whatever is on my mind, bugging me, stressing me out or just moving me. Started getting the Jenni Bowlin kits again and I just LOVE them! They really get my creative motor going. Often, I start out scraplifting the ideas in her and the guest artist's gallery, but end up putting my spin on it. I've gotten better about not lifting the layout 100% and using what I have on hand. Here are 3 layouts I did yesterday using the April kit. Still pretty much lifted all these layouts, but did my own thing here and there. The "no photos please" layout, was supposed to be for the dare website-the challenge was to use a phrase from a t'shirt. I saw this on a snoopy t'shirt at Sears and it SO reminded of Brady. Like the layout says-he does not like the mommy papparazi! One day though, he'll appreciate that his mommy did all this crazy paper and glue stuff-hopefully.

Almost through with my AYTR layout for April. Need to get brave using UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing something) and add a couple other little doo-dads and it'll be finished. Getting to be more challenging trying to complete my assignments. Still enjoying the class, but have to stay focused to get those assignments done.

Okay, now I need to do some stuff done around the house before the weekend is over. Have a great week!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Drum Roll, Please...

TA DA!!! Here it is. This is the project I did a couple weeks ago. It's called a charm bag and I used the Peas & Carrots line of fabrics from MODA. I tagged along with my mom one day to a quilt store she'd been wanting to visit. I was only hoping to find some Amy Butler fabrics and between my mom and one of the gals at the store walked out with these fabrics and pattern to make a charm bag. A little nervous, but mom, an avid quilter and seamstress walked me through it step-by-step. So fun and gratifying. I still need to add buttons-the daisy button on the front is just stuck on for the photo. Not sure what I'll end up with. The bag is made up of charm squares (4x4 precut) and is lightly quilted. It was a good first project for a beginner with a little sewing experience. The inside is lined w/ coordinating fabric with pockets for cell phone, sunglasses, etc.

This was such a fun thing to do with my mom. The second photo is the bag my mom made. She made hers using the new Anna Griffin fabrics-they are beautiful! It had been a very long time since Mom and I had done a project together. So that was an added bonus spending that time together. I'd like to try another bag on my own (I think) and might even consider tackling a quilt for Brady's bed. We'll see. You can hardly walk in the store and not want to try something. The fabrics are gorgeous. Sweet shop, too. For you locals-The Raspberry Patch in Cottleville.

Well, before I start another hobby or project I'd better try to get some completed I've already started. Hoping next Saturday to clean out my scrapbook studio so I can actually start working in there. It's crazy, but clean or not, I have a tendency to work at my kitchen table. And it's covered right now with about 5 different projects I have going so I'd better get busy getting stuff done and cleaning up.

Friday, April 13, 2007

sunshine, strawberries and to do lists

pretty much sums up the highlights of my morning. woke up to sunshine and jeff complaining about the impending gloomy weather on it's way. i decided then and there to open the blinds and enjoy the sunlight while it lasted. did my 3 mile walk and enjoyed the most delicious strawberries i brought home from the grocery yesterday. they just scream summer and a promise of the warm weather just around the corner. already crossing off items on my to do list-walk, update ipod. nothing like a to do list to get you organized and crossing items off is such a motivator to keep moving to the next item. other items on my list today: clean bathrooms (yuk!), laundry (have i mentioned how much i LOVE my new washer/dryer?!?), barnes & noble with brady (will most definitely include a coffee), a little creativity (have GOT to finish some projects in my head) and a movie with jeff tonight. this is the last official day of brady's spring break so we're planning to go at an easy pace. warming up for tomorrow's list which includes some deep cleaning and sorting-having the carpets cleaned next friday and i've already rescheduled once. i know-i'm so bad. anyway, stay tuned--hope to reveal the project i had been working on a week or two ago. it's been finished, but i needed to add something to it before i shared so that's on my list today, too. okay, more later. hope your day is filled with sunshine, strawberries and a completed to do list if that's what makes you happy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

It Isn't Easy Bein' Green

I agree with Kermit-it isn't easy bein' green. Or cheap either! Meet the newest edition to our family. Isn't she great?!? Reminds me of Rosie on the Jetson's-not sure exactly why. Maybe it's the front load doors or that it is so modern and sleek. We weren't exactly trying to be earth-friendly when we picked out our new washer/dryer, but were instead trying to gain more space in our teeny-tiny laundry room. After looking at traditional stackables we decided we still needed a fullsize w/d and happened upon this model. A bit pricey, but full-size capacity, stackable and the bonus is that it is earth-friendly. Less water, electricity, etc. I keep teasing Jeff that he is becoming an environmentalist. Those who know him well can imagine his reaction! My dad has been a big believer in wildlife conservation for as long as I can remember so I think it's pretty important to be good stewards of environmental resources. Not sure I'm ready to agree with Global Warming completely, but I don't think there's any doubt we're all pretty tough on our surroundings. Jeff doesn't like it when I get on that tangent. Little by little though we're trying to become more aware of our impact on the environment. We've been participating in recycling in our community since we moved here and have been trying to be more conscious of how we impact things, but have a long way to go. Ran across this blog the other day and it is very inspiring. In the second half of the year I'm going to try to read more about compacting and how the three of us can do our part to be good stewards of God's creation. Lord knows we need to simplify around here! And I don't know if I'll ever be able to give up Tide or Clorox. Like I said, it isn't easy bein' green!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

We've had a very enjoyable Easter day. Our day began with a call early this morning that one of the students in our Sunday School class was being baptized this morning. We rushed around so we could be at church early to be there for the baptism. Great worship service and sermon from Pastor Tim and then a lovely lunch at Red Lobster with our dear friends the Heckels. Afterwards, the guys and the kids humored me and Tammy with a few pictures at a nearby park. Managed to get a few good ones inspite of the chilly weather and Jeff's impatience. Its Masters Sunday,you know. Now we're home just hanging out and it's so nice. Hope your Easter day has been a blessed one, too!

Photos were taken by Tammy. Look out all you photogs! I think she has a great eye and my family is so at ease with her. Glad for the chance to finally give this a whirl and so grateful to have these-thanks, Tam!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

In the ZONE

The past few weeks I have been so creatively inspired. I've mentioned one of my fav shops here in town-Red Lead and it kind of started with our latest visit there. They always do such cool things. I started out making a couple of their vintage-y paper mache eggs. Love them. Such impact for such little effort.

One of the best little treats I've purchased in quite some time was the little box of Spring goodies from Rebecca Sower (they came in an adorable pink take out box!). So inspired by her, Teresa McFayden and Pam Garrison-love those gals! I've been using all kinds of little goodies to make tags and these little wall hangings inspired by Rebecca Sower. Not sure what you call them really, but I love them! They could be addictive. I especially love the idea of using the curtain ring clip to hang them-so sweet! Totally got this idea from Rebecca. Guess I need to get back to scrapbooking at some point, but these little projects are so satisfying.

Today, I received my first Paper Bella kit from Teresa McFayden. I know I won't be able to wait long before putting it together. Need to put the finishing touches on another special project I just completed and then I can share it with all of you. So much fun-I can't wait for you to see it!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How Green Was My Valley

One of my mom's favorite movies is, How Green Was My Valley. I believe it starred Roddy McDowell and Maureen O'Hara. I vaguely remember seeing it one time-very much a tearjerker. The movie may have even been adapted from a novel. The title came to mind and then all these little factoids about the movie as I look out my window today. It is SO green here right now and I love it! I love the spring when the tree bark is dark and wet and the color of the new leaves really pops. And I'll never forget being in Kentucky during the Springtime and how lush the grass was and how it moved in the wind. It looked almost like velvet it was so dense and dark green. Since green is my favorite color it's no suprise I'm enjoying all the green! It's been very warm here up until this evening when it's supposed to turn very cool again and possibly freeze overnight. Fortunately, my daffodils have already come and gone, but I might have to cover the new growth of my coral bells. Note to self! The photo BTW, was taken over the weekend-today is stormy and gloomy, but no less green.

Enjoying a little quiet while I do laundry (sans dryer-that's another LONG story for another time!) and peruse the internet. Loving some of these blogs lately. This ONE and this ONE and oh, this ONE, too. So much inspiraton among these gals it just wears me out!

Fresh out of anything else to say today, but hope to be able to share a project I've been working on soon. It is SO cute!

Update: mentioned the movie to my mom and she retold the whole story over the phone and practically started crying-me, too! Of course, she said the movie was so good, but the book is even better.