Thursday, March 29, 2012

Birthday Party Themes - Blueberries for Sal

I love parties.  I love birthday parties.  And I especially love birthday parties that are centered around a book.  I've shared these creations on the blog before but wanted to show you how my super creative and talented friend, Jenni, put it all together for her daughter's "Blueberries for Sal" themed birthday party.

Invitations.  I created this invite that Jenni was able to just print at any online photo store (i.e. shutterfly, snapfish, costco) on matte photo paper.  There are also online companies that can print these digital files on cardstock for a pretty reasonable price (i.e. overnight prints, shutterfly). 

Banner.  Blue gingham, tin pails and yellow "2"s became recurring themes throughout the party and this banner set the tone nicely.

Food.  I think that everything and anything with blueberries was served at this adorable birthday party.  I'm talking homemade blueberry pie, muffins, scones, cake, blueberry lemonade spiked with vodka...YUM!!  Jenni made the food labels using blue gingham patterned paper, white cardstock, and little bucket images that I made to match the other party decor.

The bakery was able to match the bucket image.  How adorable is this?!  And may I say that the cake was also delicious!
Jenni's created this sweet food labels.  And the table spread was so gorgeous - especially with accents like this galvanized metal tiered stand.
Blueberries galore!
Charlotte certainly had her fill of blueberries.  :)
Games.  There were games and activities planned throughout the party just perfect for all the little toddlers - a stamping/ art station, story time, a present unwrapping game, and this super cute activity where each child got to "pick" their own special blueberry.  Cuteness overload.

Birthday Favors.  Each guest left with a jar of local Maine blueberry jam (!!!) and the kids got a tin pail filled with some of the birthday girl's favorite goodies - stamps, bubbles, stickers.  I just love how the favors looked with the tags I made.

Birthday Girl.  Jenni ordered the birthday girl this adorable shirt.  Makes me wish I had an embroidering machine and could actually sew.  Charlotte was clearly envious.  :)

If you want to read more about this Blueberry Birthday Party, please visit Jenni's blog.  

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Mommy Diaries - Terrible Twos

The terrible twos.  Well let me tell you, they're pretty terrible.  

This past weekend, we attempted to take Charlotte down to New York City to visit Auntie Mel and some of my other college friends.  On the agenda - visiting the 9/11 memorial, wandering through the American Natural History Museum, shopping at FAO Schwartz, eating at some of New York's finest child friendly restaurants.  And what did we actually check off our list?  One item - the 9/11 memorial.  And I think that only happened because we had timed tickets and Charlotte slept through most of the visit.

Charlotte spent most of the time screaming any one of the following words/ phrases:


"I don't want it."


"Go, go, go."

"House now"  (which means home).

"Mommy.  Daddy.  Mommy.  Daddy"  (as Justin and I passed her back and forth).

And mind you, those screams were intermingled with tears, snot, hitting, biting, shrilling, shrieking - you name it, we had it.

I mean, I've read the articles.  These toddlers are terrible because they can't quite express themselves.  They can't communicate what they're feeling.  They're inherently bipolar at this age.  They're testing boundaries.  They're overwhelmed.  Etc, etc, etc.  

Suggestions on how to deal with the terrible twos?  The articles suggest using short time outs, staying calm, explaining why such actions are inappropriate, ignoring the behavior completely...the list goes on and on. 

We have tried it all.  I'm not quite sure how many time outs it takes to calm a two year old.  Maybe the same number of licks it takes to get to the center of tootsie roll pop.  But what I do know is that it's exhausting - especially when we are outside of our home.   

However...yes, thank goodness there is a however...all it takes to make the frustration and anger disappear (from my end) is, get this, one smile from Charlotte.  With one small giggle, she immediately mutates from an evil, loud and scary monster into this perfect little angel.  The transformation is eerily instantaneous.  And when the tears finally do stop, I feel a huge weight just lifted from my shoulders.

We ended up leaving New York City a day early and the second Charlotte saw the suitcases packed, she immediately calmed down.  She started smiling and talking again.  It took her three days of crying, but she finally got what she wanted.  Maybe we should not have given in and let this tiny little person control our lives.  But, on the other hand, she is our life.  And each scream and tear breaks my heart a little more.  

So to Auntie Mel who endured all of that terrible two-ness, thank you.  And as my sister said, I still can't believe you invited us back.  :)  And to my darling, sweet Charlotte.  I love you.  But you really need to get it together.  And for my sanity, I hope it happens a lot sooner than later.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Take Twelve Project - March 12

March 12 was just one of those days.  Things seemed to start against me and wouldn't let up as the day went on.  From disappointing doctor visits to breaking cameras, it was the last type of day that I would want scrapbooked and shared with the masses.  However, I think that is the beauty of Ella Publishing Co.'s Take Twelve Challenge - it encourages us to document our lives as they are - the good and the bad, the bright and the dismal.


The design inspiration for the layout was actually a JCrew store window in Cambridge, Massachusetts filled with accordion rosettes of various shapes and sizes swirling against a black backdrop.  There is additional meaning behind this design, however.  For the most part, March 12 felt like a really dark and dreary day filled with black and gray clouds hanging over me.  However, despite my own self-pity, there were the bright moments of sunshine that made me remember that my life isn't that bad and that I too can overcome this day.


The array of yellow accordion flowers in my layout represents these moments of sunshine on my gloomy March 12th day - lunch with dear friends, Charlotte's silliness, watching her play with Justin.  And so, even though it wasn't the perfectly balanced day that I wish every day was, March 12 was a reflection of my life and I think is definitely worth remembering.


Supplies:  Patterned Paper (Echo Park, My Mind's Eye, Crate Paper, Sassafras); Letter Stickers (American Crafts); Buttons (Basic Grey); Other (Fiskars Punches; We R Memory Keepers Floss).

You can find my other Take Twelves layouts here and here.

Remember, you have until midnight EST Sunday, March 18 to upload your project here to win the awesome prize given away at Ella Publishing worth $50!!  Hope you get to play along!!

Project 100 Update:  80 down, 20 to go.

Friday, March 16, 2012

And the Giveaway Goes to...

MommyManderz:  I am officially inspired!!! I love your talent and craftsmanship! You always have the best ideas!

Please email me at vanlikethecar at gmail dot com with your mailing address and I'll send along your prize!

To everyone else, thank you so much for joining me along the Scrapbook Steals blog hop.  I read each and every comment and they truly mean so much to me.

Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Project Life - Week 5 & 6

It's amazing how quickly life (and Project Life) just sneaks up on you.  I'm still playing catch up but just ordered a ton of photos for Weeks 7, 8 and 9.  But I'm still loving how this simple format really allows me to keep current on journaling about our lives.  Here are the pages for Weeks 5 and 6.

Project Life - Week 5.  I continue to use the 8.5 x 11 page protectors when I want to add additional memorabilia to the page.  This time, it include two art projects that Charlotte and I did.  I find that if I don't include them in some sort of album, these types of things just pile up in a dark box in the back of the closet.  For the papers, I relied primarily on my Simple Stories Year.O.Graphy kit.  That company seriously makes it super simple to create fun yet simple albums and layouts.  Still loving them a lot.

Week 5 Highlights:  Home Depot Workshop, Road Trip to Asian Market and Costco, Superbowl Party with the Welsch Family.

Project Life - Week 6.   Again, I used Simple Stories Year.O.Graphy for this layout.  Sadly, what I realized is that if I don't write down what we do on a daily basis, I easily forget.  So there isn't too much journaling on these pages.  Hopefully that will change.

Week 6 Highlights:  Mel's visit over the weekend.  It's always a blast when she comes!

Some other announcements.  Remember, today is MARCH 12th which means that it's time for another TAKE 12 CHALLENGE!!  For more details, visit Ella Publishing Co. here.

Also, there is still time to enter my GIVEAWAY for some Basic Grey Buttons and Brads.  Just make sure to comment on this post here.

Project 100 Update:  79 down, 21 to go.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Scrapbook Steals Blog Hop - Basic Grey Buttons and Brads

Welcome to the first ever Scrapbook Steals Blog Hop!  For those who don't know, Scrapbook Steals is your one-stop shop for the BEST daily deals on scrapbooking supplies.  Their blog is also full of awesome scrapbooking ideas and inspiration.  

In case you missed the beginning of the hop, it starts over at the Scrapbook Steals Blog.  And if you're joining me from Charity Becker's amazing blog, Mene Mene Tekel University, welcome!  The product featured in today's blog hop is a gorgeous collection of Basic Grey Buttons and Brads.  They come in all shapes and sizes - the perfect starting point for a variety of projects.

1.  Happy, Adventure, Play {a scrapbook layout}.  For my first project, I used the buttons to embellish a garden of flowers in a layout featuring photos of my daughter playing outside.  

The inspiration for this layout was an illustration from Victoria and Elizabeth Kann's Pinkalicious where the little girl is camouflaged in a garden of pink flowers.  I cut out all the flower shapes using my Silhouette Cameo.  To embellish them, I threaded Basic Grey buttons with string from my Avery shipping tags and then adhered them to the flowers with glue dots.  It adds the perfect dimensional element.

Supplies:  Patterned Paper (Echo Park, My Mind's Eye); Cardstock (American Crafts); Brads (Basic Grey); Stickers (Echo Park); Other (Silhouette Cameo, We R Memory Keepers Floss, Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher, Tim Hotlz Distress Ink).

2.  Ice Cream Anniversary {a card}.  One of my dear friends requested a custom-made anniversary card for her parents with an ice cream theme.  It's amazing how just a few strategically placed Basic Grey buttons really finish off a card.

Supplies:  Patterned Paper (My Mind's Eye); Vellum (Martha Stewart); Brads (Basic Grey); Letter Stickers (American Crafts, Cosmo Cricket); Stamps (Lawn Fawn); Other (Silhouette Cameo, We R Memory Keepers Floss, Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher, Tim Hotlz Distress Ink, Uniball Signo Broad White Gel Pen).

3.  E is for Ellison {a button monogram}.  And finally, I wanted to make something that featured the button in its full glory.  I remember seeing this awesome tutorial by Jana Paddington on the Scrapbook Steals blog last year for a button monogram.  So using her expertise as my guide, here is what I made with the Basic Grey buttons.

And here it is all warm and cozy in an Ikea shadow box frame.  

Thank you so much to Kristy Lee and Scrapbook Steals for the opportunity to be a part of this event.  I am always giddy with excitement to create when inspired by such fantastic products.

Scrapbook Steals Giveaway!  There are lots of talented and inspiring crafters taking part in this Blog Hop so please be sure to visit each one!  PLUS, Scrapbook Steals will be giving away a $20 Scrapbook Steals Gift Certificate to one lucky person leaving a comment on one of the blogs!  So to increase your chances to winning, make sure to comment on each blog by Sunday, March 11th at 11:59PM MST.
Giveaway Time!  I'm also hosting my own little giveaway for two sets of Basic Grey Buttons and Brads!  For my giveaway, all you have to do is "follow" my blog and leave a comment on this post by next Friday, March 16 at 11 am EST.  I'll post the random winner on Friday afternoon!

Good luck and as always, thanks for stopping by!
Project 100 Update:  77 down, 23 to go.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Silhouette Cameo on Scrapbook Steals

I'm so excited that two of my scrapbook layouts are featured over at the Scrapbook Steals blog today!  As always, thanks to Kristy Lee and the Steal Network for letting me share my work!

So the Scrapbook Steal today (only until 9 pm CMT) is...wait for it...seriously awesome...the Silhouette Cameo!!!  This is my die cutting machine and, gasp, it is the most amazing thing EVER!

As an owner of the "other" die-cutting machine (::cough::Cricut::cough::) I never thought I needed to buy the Silhouette SD.  My main reason was that the SD could only cut 8.5 x 11 and as a scrapbooker, I wanted something that could cut at least 12 x 12.  However, I was never truly satisfied with my "other" machine because I could never get super clean intricate cuts.  The cartridge system was also something that seemed overly expensive and cumbersome. 

Enter the Silhouette Cameo.  Wow...seriously, this is the most amazing and beautiful machine ever.  I actually shed tears when I used it for the first time.  It is THAT good.  Not only do you get the precision and clean cuts that make the Silhouette so spectacular, but you can now actually cut on such a larger format. 

For my "Happily Ever After" layout, I used the Cameo to cut out a silhouette of a married couple in the center of a 12 x 12 sheet of patterned paper.  I then used that negative image to make a confetti pocket that served as the focal point of my layout.  You can read more about how I made the confetti pocket and see more pictures here.  

For my "February Take 12" layout, I used the Silhouette Software to create and the Silhouette Cameo to cut out a large format map of Newport, Rhode Island.  I wanted to have the map to be the main vehicle for telling the story of how I spent the day.  For more details and photos of this layout, visit my blog post here
I definitely could not have made these layouts with either my other die cutting machine or the smaller Silhouette SD.  So if you've been on the fence about the Cameo, make the jump and buy it over at Scrapbook Steals.  I PROMISE you won't regret it.  As for me, I'm gonna be loading up on some of the accessories (can someone say rhinestones and fabric paint?!?!).  :)
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