spur of the moment digital inspiration

I was browsing around yesterday afternoon and found the latest issue of What Liberty Ate. So much good stuff here - both content as well as design-wise.

This spread quickly caught my eye though for the colors and simple triangles and I was off and running to create some cards completely inspired (copied) to use in project life or any other crafting you may have going. I thought they would work well as journaling cards, title/date cards or just as a decorative filler. I've already worked the design into one of my 31 Things spreads.

Download here and enjoy! (and be sure to check out the What Liberty Ate digital issue for tons of inspiration!)



31 Things Week 4

Yup...way behind on sharing these but *still* staying caught up with prompts. I'm really thrilled that this is what I'll leave in your mind after reading this post. /sarcasm

Week 4 ready to download as well. Grab it here. (How's it going, anyway?)


Today was the kind of day in which Much Attention Was Required. I'm embracing these days though because just four short months from now, I'll have three kids sharing the same elementary building for 7 hours each day.

We made cookies (rescuing the empty honey bear for a future project before it hit the recycling bin) and planted some flower seeds in a lovely little pot I picked up on Mother's Day. We played some frisbee in the front yard and drug the picnic table up to the top deck so she could draw family portraits (LOTS of family portraits...daily) in the sunshine. We counted her freckles (she calls them "nickels") and made each other shrinky dink bracelets (so that we would always know the other was thinking of us when we're apart. For that 2.5 hours of preschool every other day.)

Our best use of time was this little portrait though.

A long, long time ago, I did an online class for BHG all about doing hybrid projects with digital supplies. One of the projects included tissue paper printed and adhered to canvas with Mod Podge. At the time, I thought I was a genius. I hadn't seen it done before but have since seen it all over the place done much better than I managed. If you're interested in my primitive process though it's a little like this.

Start with your photo. I took this one laying in the grass the other day with Izzy (when she told me I'm her best friend for ALWAYS.) Zap it through PicTapGo quickly to get an easy black and white version (how amazing is that app?)

This canvas is 8x10" so I sized the photo to fill the sheet and centered it on a letter sized canvas. I reduced the opacity just a bit (I think to 75%.)

Then, the tricky part. I cut the tissue paper to just under 8.5 x 11" and then smoothed it as much as possible over a sheet of cardstock taping each edge with a couple of strips of plain tape (three strips along the edge that gets pulled into the printer!)

Next, print. This can be finicky and irritating (or, you'll get lucky and it will suck through cleanly on the first shot) Be prepared to clean wadded tissue paper out of your printer though...just in case. I guide the sheet into the printer at first but once it's started cleanly, it should be fine to finish.
After carefully removing the tissue from your backer, coat your canvas in a thin layer of Mod Podge (this is matte...I think the gloss version would make the paint not stick/dry well but I don't really know for sure.) Starting at one edge, line up the tissue and smooth it over the canvas slowly trying to avoid air bubbles (there will be some in my experience and that's fine...just try to minimize them.)
Let it dry (and yes, I *do* need a real canvas of this photo!)
Then paint. I gave her watercolors so that the original photo would show through. I told her to go crazy and use any colors she wanted...no need to match what she was wearing or even make her skin/features the "right" color.

So she gave herself red hair and a ronald mcdonald mouth and added a big shiny sun in the sky.
I do believe she likes it.


can cookies be life-changing?

These, holy cow, these are amazing.

I needed something sweet. And I needed it pronto. Enter vanilla walnut "shortbread" cookies. I saved this recipe a few weeks ago as I had a giant bag of walnuts and being of fine British stock, I obviously love shortbread. Izzy and I tossed everything in the food processor and 30 minutes later, we had cookies. These cookies are raw and dairy free and only FIVE ingredients (one of which is salt so that hardly counts...though it does make them that much more delicious!

These would be amazing as-is but as I eyed my cabinet trying to locate the vanilla, I spied the lemon curd I had purchased for these lemon and basil icebox cakes. The basil was all used up in a mammoth batch of pesto though. And the ginger cookies, well, they went the way of the dinosaur once the kids discovered them. I'll come back to that recipe for sure though. I adore a good icebox cake and lemon  + basil + ginger sounds just about perfect (that sounds like a mighty fine cocktail too...that must exist, right?)

So, a spoonful smeared atop the cookie became the best little sweet bite of food I've had in awhile. I've never had lemon curd. WHY have I never had lemon curd? The perfect addition to the sweet, salty cookies. So, make that SIX ingredient cookies ready in just over 30 minutes. If you have some walnuts in your pantry, you should go make these. Now.

(And oh crap, they make lime curd too?? Where in the world have I been?)


tried this week

My "on the menu soon" pinterest board gets a lot of action. We love trying new recipes (probably 2-3 dinners a week on average are something new to us - often variations on something we know we like but still, new.) A few things that are almost sure to get repinned...anything with black beans, corn, avocado, sweet potatoes, or any variation on a taco.

Consequently, the "tried and loved" board is heavily frequented as well. It kind of blows my mind to see that currently, I have 122 recipes that I've made from my board (not to mention all the recipes I've made that didn't make the cut and were simply deleted!) Crazy. I'm so glad that their are so many talented and creative people willing to share themselves and their creations. I'm amazed at the range of blogs dedicated to food and cooking. Lots of vegetarian specific (this one is a new fave - probably not for you if you're profanity-averse. Which I'm not.) But really, I just love pretty picture of food...even if they aren't necessarily a good fit for our diet.

Dinner last night was this recipe for chow mein noodles. A great fast and easy meal that is incredibly versatile - so many vegetable options that could be added! I went with the recipe as written this time, just adding a few pieces of tofu. Next time, I think snap peas are a must as well as a few flakes of red pepper in the sauce. Also, instead of thin spaghetti, I think I'll just grab a couple of packages of ramen and toss the seasoning. Cheaper and more fun for this recipe!


31 Things Week 3

Two more done since yesterday...slooooowly catching up in documenting each prompt.


And I have week 3 prompts ready for you to download if you're so inclined. Grab them here! See Jennifer's progress and the original post that prompted this project here.


31 things update

Two more pages done (so, I'm officially, totally caught up with week one. Week two prompts are completed - just no spreads yet.)

I'll have week 3 prompts ready to share tomorrow! How are you coming along?




yearbook time

Each year, I volunteer to do the yearbook pages for the boys' classrooms - the page opposite to the one that shows the regular school photos. The past two years I've been assigned Jake's class but this year, I requested Zack's specifically (he was feeling rather left out.) We are wide open as to what we create but it's a given that there is a pretty wide range of pages in the end. Which is great because so many people get to participate but it also drives my anal, OCD side a bit nuts. But I digress...

In other years, I've done my own thing basically creating a scrapbook page that included a number of group shots and candids I've taken and collected. This year though, I spotted this idea (via Pinterest, obviously) and knew immediately that I wanted to copy it.

I wasn't sure how I was going to do the speech bubble...I didn't want to purchase one and thought about just having the kids holding a black cardstock bubble and adding their response after the fact through the magic of photoshop. Wandering through Staples one day though I spotted the foam core and immediately realized that was my solution. I freehand drew the bubble, cut it out with my trusty exacto and painted it with a few coats of chalkboard paint (seriously, this can has lasted through SO many different projects! What a bargain purchase that was.)

I added the film edge frame to each shot. I customized it with the year, school and teacher info but that was probably for naught as I don't think it'll be apparent when the book is printed.

The finished product (sorry about the lame face hiding)

and a close up snap of Zack (you can see the edge a bit more here)


31 things update

I found my groove yesterday and knocked out the three pages I had in the works. Despite struggling with some of the prompts, I'm really enjoying the exercise and love that I'm squeezing some creativity into each day.

I dug through a bunch of older photos yesterday trying to find some pictures I'd like to include in future days...what a trip! Also, lots of baby photos of the kids that had me in tears. Nostalgia can be a real bitch.




Also, Jennifer is rocking the digital pages (especially as a newcomer to digital scrapbooking!) Also love what Heather has been sharing and Andrea as well!

I've been deleting lots of my old Two Peas kits as well. A handful will be reworked into kits for my shop (I added these washi words cards to my shop this morning...an old favorite that I created last year for Lisa's Two Peas project life class based on some awesome stuff she was doing!)

and others I can't bear to completely get rid of but won't be listing in the shop and will be sharing here as freebies instead. Here are a couple that I reworked this morning - hopefully they will come in useful to some of you :) The alphabet includes upper + lower case as well as numbers and punctuation. Click on the previews to download!


The Phone Photography Project

To say that I've been a fan of Elizabeth's and all she does for a long, long time is an understatement so when she approached me about contributing to a phone photography class for Big Picture, well, "jumped" would be an inadequate description of how quickly I responded in the affirmative.

Then, THEN, I saw the list full list of contributors (and honestly, I almost backed out.) I'm so thrilled and honored to be among them. It's true there are quite a few phone photography classes out there but I'm pretty confident in saying that this line up, with Elizabeth as our fearless leader, will blow the rest out of the water. Tips and ideas not only for taking the pictures but for sharing them with the world in a variety of amazing ways. The official description and introductory video:

The Phone Photography Project
32 days of Android + iPhone photo challenges, daily inspiration, and app reviews

Need summer photo ideas or help improving your iPhone photography? Spend this July taking amazing photos with your iPhone or Android camera in The Phone Photography Project.
In this month-long workshop, you'll learn to take better photos with the camera you always have with you as you document your summer adventures—with help from 32 incredible instructors. On top of daily smartphone photography challenges, you'll also enjoy:
  • dozens of tips and tricks from the pros for taking better photos with your mobile-phone camera
  • a handbook of 60+ photography app reviews for iPhone and Android, so you know which are worth your time and money*
  • dozens of project ideas for getting photos off your device and into your world
  • interaction with 32 experienced iPhoneographers and Androidographers, and hundreds of fellow students in a private classroom and on Instagram
  • giveaways, contests, discounts, bonus downloads, and fun fun fun!

    *Note: Many of the reviewed apps are available free in the App Store and Google Play, while the rest average about $1.99 each. App purchases are not required for participation in the class.

I am giddy thinking about participating this summer and currently scheming ways of how I want to document the results. I was inspired just in contributing my own small part so I can't imagine the inspiration overload I'll experience during the course of the class.

So GO. Go now! Check out the details and register (it's currently at an introductory price of $39 - so worth it for more than a month of daily prompts, tips, project ideas, tips and reviews!) I can't wait to see what you all come up with!


31 Things Week 2

I'm (surprisingly) really enjoying this little experiment from Jennifer! Have you seen the work she's doing? Phenomenal. While I'm not current on the actual digital spread for each list, I am staying up-to-date with the daily prompts. I have day 2 to share:

And days 3-5 in various stages of completion. Hopefully I'll have those ready to share in a day or two.

Here is the preview for week 2 prompts:

And the download is here - enjoy!

(and please link me up in the comments if you're playing along...I'd LOVE to see what you all are up to and spread some love)


new in the shop

New today: the Big Top line of papers, journaling cards and alphabet. I'm not really sure why I thought I needed a circus themed line but I got started and couldn't stop. I think it's versatile enough that most pieces can be used more generically (especially if your house is anything like mine) and Izzy has already claimed that pink elephant for her room. I used the alphabet for my ""E" monogram in my post yesterday.

The kit elements are available individually or as a full kit in my shop. If you'd like to try it out, I'll share with two commenters tomorrow!


31 things

I am really, really excited about this project. And I hope some of you will be too!

Some of you are good, no GREAT, at documenting yourselves in your journals and scrapbooks. Me? Not so much. Part of it is wanting to avoid photos of myself and part of it is simply not feeling a real obligation to the thought and consideration that goes into thinking hard about tough/important stuff.

When I stumbled onto this post, I immediately wanted to jump in and get started. Doing this for my kids? That's an entirely different story and just the approach that I needed to motivate me to do it. Right now, my kids don't care about this stuff but someday, they will. Would I love to have these questions answered by my mom? My grandma? You betcha! (And I may just make that first part happen...a blank book with these questions might be just the ticket for my scrapbookaphobic mom!)

I discovered the list a couple of weeks ago but with Mother's Day being in May, I thought it would be a perfect time to tackle it. One prompt a day (I added one of my own to make it 31 in total) to complete the list. My project for May. Some of them frankly scare me a bit but putting it out here like this means I have to follow through, right?

A couple of days ago, I began playing around with some simple typography for each item on the list. I emailed Jenn (who has a gorgeous new baby boy, btw) about sharing the files with my readers. She graciously gave her permission.

These are set up as png files on an 8x8" canvas. Use the files however you wish...recolor, layer over a photo, totally up to you. My plan is to complete each day as a two page spread combining current photos with older ones. I'm using this set of 8x8" templates for the opposite side of each spread. Once I'm done, I'll print it at Blurb or Shutterfly.

Here is what day one looks like. Coming up with 20 things is not easy. They aren't all original or groundbreaking but they are mine. Such a good exercise for examining yourself.

I plan to share a week's worth of prompts at a time and I'll be sharing my own pages here and there (though I plan to complete a prompt each day, I'm not sure it will end up in digital format each day.)

Week one prompts look like this:

Interested in playing along? Please? Download week one here. And go and leave Jenn some love as well!


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