Around Here: June 2014

Busy, busy, busy….  This month has been spent:

…enjoying this gorgeous view while in Florida.  The Breakers Hotel review coming soon.

TheBreakers

…taking our baby girl to the pool.

Olivia Swimming June 2014

…looking through a camera lens.  I took on several large photography projects for The Dating Divas blog.  They are launching several amazing products over the next few months- here’s a peak at my work:

Anniversary Printable Pack

Dating Divas Anniversary

Couples Group Date Night

Dating Divas Group Date Night

Printable Summer Activities Pack

Dating Divas Summer Pack

Babysitting Co-op Printable Pack

Dating Divas Babysitting Co-op

…reading these articles on motherhood:

…taking stock.  By Kara Anne sent out an email with the subject, “Is June the fresh start you need?”  This one-liner got me thinking about my OLW for the year, as well as my 30 During 30 Goals.  #12 on the list was to make and send 30 cards.  I wrote down a quick list of projects that came to mind and realized that not only had I met this goal but exceeded it by quite a bit!  2014 has demanded an outpouring of creative products.  My goal for the reminder of the year is to figure out how to lighten my load, focus on what’s important, and let the rest take care of itself.  Easier said than done!

…visiting my Grandma after her fall.  I hope Olivia inherits her grit and determination!

…writing many blog posts.  Curious what goes into a post?  Read THIS and THIS for a thoughtful breakdown.  When I got into blogging, I had no clue that you needed to be an amazing photographer, eloquent writer, expert WordPress user, marketing genius, and part-time HTML coder to be successful.  I am far from where I’d love to be in this industry BUT I’ve made great strides with my photography skills over the past year.

…learning why I hate cilantro!  And, I picked up a new phrase: single-nucleotide polymorphism.

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Fourth of July 2014

For the past several years, our Fourth of July’s have been a mixture of boating, sunshine, and fireworks on the lake.  This year, however, we spent our Holiday talking to doctors and visiting care facilities after my sweet 93 year old Grandma fell and broke her hip.

Grandma Surgery

Three: the number of places she broke the top of her femur bone.  Fortunately, the position of the breaks were such that she didn’t need a full hip replacement.  The orthopedic surgeons opted to place 1 rod and several pins into her leg to secure her broken joint area.

I’m so glad to report that Grandma is making wonderful progress.  In fact, she walked across the hospital room the day after surgery!  I so admire her strength and determination.  On July 4th, we moved her to a rehab facility where she will spend the next few weeks receiving an intense dose of physical therapy.

One of my favorite generational pics from Olivia’s first birthday:

Three generations

I’ve been taking Olivia up to visit daily- Grandma adores seeing her.  So much so, that she insisted that we place Olivia on her lap as she was wheeled down the hallway to dinner.  We ever so gently placed our very active toddler on her non-broken leg and held our breath!  I think my whole family was braced to immediately swoop in if our baby moved an inch.  Guess what?  Olivia leaned back, enjoyed the ride, and didn’t move a muscle!

Grandma after surgery

How was your July 4th?  My Mom surprised us over the weekend with this festive package filled with a few yummy treats:

4th of July gift 2014

…and some dear friends delivered a food care package with a darling July 4th themed cake:

4th of July Cake

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Handmade Patriotic Card

It’s almost the 4th of July!  Today, I’m sharing a handmade patriotic card that I made several years ago for a friend –her birthday is actually on Independence Day!

Patriotic Handmade Card

This card happens to be one of my favorite patriotic card creations to date.  It’s super simple to make- as long as you have red and white buttons!

Patriotic Card Detail

Patriotic Card 2

To represent the stars on the flag, I used 2 punched flower shapes embellished with a clear sparkle.  I also dressed up her envelope.  Here was the outer design:

Patriotic Envelope Design

…and a close-up of the embellishment cluster:

Patriotic Envelope 2

Happy Fourth of July!

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7 Projects Celebrating Digital Scrapbooking & Design

Last week, I shared 7 fun digital projects on the Snap Click Supply Co’s blog in honor of JessicaSprague.com turning 7!  What a milestone!  Jessica and her team are truly leaders in the world of digital scrapbooking and design.

Digital Scrapbooking Projects JS June

I just LOOOVE the Fresh Cut digital collection- the digital designs are perfect for your Spring and Summer projects.  Here’s what I came up with:

1.  Bottle Tag

DIY Bottle Tag 2 JS June

I attached Element 60 from Element Pack 1 to a bottle of bubbly that I was giving as an anniversary present to our good friends.  I threaded 2 strands of pink and orange ribbon through the festive tag to secure it to the bottle.  A little “B” letter monogram (for their last name) and pink heart were the perfect embellishments to complete this DIY gift.

DIY Bottle Tag JS June

2.  DIY Card

DIY Card JS June

To accompany the bottle, I included this cheerful card.  Here’s a quick tutorial:

  • Create a 4×6 transparent document in PSE.
  • Open the beautiful floral background paper included in the Fresh Cut collection AND the vertical “4″ element from the Basics Life Cards Number pack.
  • Drag the “4″ to your new document and size it take up most of the space.
  • Clip the floral paper to the number element.
  • Save this file as a PNG.
  • Open this file in your Silhouette software.
  • Trace the outer edges of the graphic and then use the print and cut features of the Silhouette.
  • Add gold sticker letters to the bottom.
  • Embellish with ribbon, a small punched pink heart, and swirl element.

DIY Card 2 JS June

3.  Dressed Up Envelope

Pretty Envelope Design JS June

Be gone boring envelopes!  To dress up my mail, I glued Element 7 from Element Pack 3 to a plain envelope.  This gorgeous graphic instantly became the perfect frame to house the recipient’s address!  Don’t you love happy mail!?  Tip: Definitely use thin copy paper to this project so you don’t weigh down your envelope and have to pay extra postage!

4.  Photo Embellishment

Photo Embellishment JS June

The Fresh Cut collection is FULL of awesome elements to add to your photos.  I couldn’t resist placing this scalloped embellishment at the top of a treasured pic!

5.  Project Life Layout

Digital Project Life Page JS June

This fully digital layout was made almost exclusively using papers and elements from the Fresh Cut collection clipped to a Life Template.  The Fresh Cut journaling cards are so handy for documenting your summer memories!

6.  Unique Recipe Card

DIY Recipe Card JS June

This project features a reinterpretation of “the classic recipe card”!  I used Element 22 from Element Pack 1 and Element 9 from Element Pack 2 to create a one-of-a-kind interactive recipe.  The darling DRINK UP journaling card swivels out of the way to reveal a delicious smoothie recipe.  A jeweled brad set this project in motion! :)

7. DIY Art Print

DIY Art Print JS June

When I think of summer, I think of swimming, lazy days, sunshine, AND strawberries!  To celebrate the season, I created a little art print featuring Element 45 from Element Pack 3.  Here’s a brief tutorial:

  • Open an 8×10 new document in PSE.
  • Drag Paper 3 from Paper Pack 2 onto your document.
  • Print this out and place in a frame.
  • Open a new 8×10 transparent document in PSE.
  • Drag Element 45 from Element Pack 3 onto your document and size it so there’s about a 1-1.5 inch margin around the top and bottom.
  • Save this file as a PNG.
  • Open your new file using your Silhouette software.
  • Trace the outer edges of the graphic and then use the print and cut features of the Silhouette.
  • Attach this cut-out element to your frame using double sided foam tape.

DIY Art Print 2 JS June

I took this project one step further by adding 2 banner elements.  I glittered the edges of the ENJOY banner and attached it to the main strawberry stamp using 2 layers of foam tape.  Two small pink pearls glued to the “My Favorite” element completed the look!

I hope these 7 ideas inspire you to create something TODAY from this beautiful designer collection!  Definitely head over to the Snap Click Supply Co.’s blog for more fun projects from our Create Inspiration Team.  I adore Betsy’s whimsical Garden Mini-Album.  The watercolors are just perfect paired with the digital elements.  Tammy’s baseball wreath is pure genius for celebrating my favorite summer sport.  Her step-by-step tutorial shows you exactly how to turn a heavy wire into a wreath base.  Love Julie’s travel layout capturing memories of NYC- her post will definitely inspire you to do something creative with your photos!  Also, be sure to take a peak at Debbie’s Full of Treat Cakes post.  I think her darling treat boxes would make a perfect centerpiece at your next party!

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Father’s Day Gift 2014

To celebrate Father’s Day this year, I knew I wanted to do something special for James.  We’ve had quite a year of ups and downs!  When I saw a template for adorable printable book on the blog I Heart Nap Time, I knew it would be the perfect gift for our superhero!  Here’s how my version turned out:

Super Dad Book

I used Photoshop Elements to superimpose James’ head on all the pages.  A bit of washi tape, a “Dad” rubber stamp, and a personalized message embellished my project.  To bind my book, I used the Sew Easy Paper Stitching Piercing tool to create an evenly spaced row of holes.  Then, I threaded blue baker’s twine to complete the spine.

Super Dad Book Binding

I was so excited to see Erin of Strawberry Mommycakes as the designer of this awesome printable.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with Erin several times on projects for The Dating Divas (check out my recent posts: Mother’s Day Adventure and The Puzzle Date for more of her amazing work!).

Super Dad Treats

….Definitely had to include these adorable snack toppers filled with James’ favorite treats: Skittles and Peanut Butter M&Ms!

Olivia wore her Super Girl t-shirt from Target and presented her SUPER DAD with his gift and candy!  What a great day filled with wonderful memories and the perfect Father’s Day gift.

Super Dad Fathers Day 2

In case you missed it, here’s what we did LAST YEAR.

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Thoughts on Traveling and Motherhood: Part 1

Over the past two months, I’ve spent two weekends away from my sweet baby girl.  I’m happy to report that she did great!  I, on the other hand, was largely a hot mess.  Part of me was so excited to escape my current reality for just a few precious days.  The other part was overwhelmed with anxiety- about a million questions raced through my mind… is James feeding her something other than puffs?  Is she sleeping at my parent’s house?  Does she miss me?  Does she know we are coming back?  Does she feel like I abandoned her?  Are her teeth hurting her?  Am I missing any milestones?

Totally stereotypically.  Totally normal.  And, yet, I’ve never experienced this push-pull range of emotions so completely.  Traveling solo during my first weekend away also brought up another set of questions that I wasn’t necessarily prepared to answer.  All those pesky “what if” scenarios… What if something were to happen?  What if there was an accident?  I was quickly reminded how fragile life can be.  I also immediately thought of a post I had seen on Instagram by Holly from Decor8.  In one of her captions about her beautiful little boy on April 25th, she wrote “I’ve never valued my own life more than I do now…”

Decor8 inspirational words

Ah… I can completely relate.  Don’t you just love Holly’s inspirational words?  Being Olivia’s mama has definitely challenged me in a completely new way to be the best version of myself.  Taking exquisite care of my health, both physically and emotionally, is also a gift to my daughter.  Not only do I just want to be around for the next several decades, I want to make the most of it!  So many things to teach to her and so much love to give!

Motherhood Memories

Photo Credit: Karen Hendrix Photography

And, as if the universe heard my concerns and longing to be a great mama/teacher/friend, I happened to run across a little treasure along the aisles of our local Hallmark store: a recordable version of my most favorite book: Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You.  I’ve mentioned this beautiful story before HERE- I just adore it.  And, now, my sweet baby girl has a version to listen to in my voice.  Knowing Olivia could her me reading and feel all the love from this book’s message made leaving just a little more bearable.

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Around Here: May 2014

Another packed month.  Beginning some new journeys, managing commitments, and trying to remember to breathe.  Lately, I’ve been:

… marveling at our garden’s blooms.  After a good rainstorm, James and I finally weeded our flowering beds.  Olivia was such a great little helper!  She loved being outside and eagerly carried the weeds we pulled over to a collecting bin.  She’s still not a big fan of grass although she will now walk in it if she is wearing shoes.  The bunny hat is a wardrobe staple, as well!

Garden-2014

… creating.  Bachelorette projects, Mother’s Day packages, scrapbook pages, and posts with The Dating Divas.  If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check out this post: 40+ Photography Tips and Tricks to Savor Summer Memories.  It was so fun to collaborate with my fellow Diva/Photographer, Chrissy, as well as our team of expert photographers.  There’s even a fun photo checklist to help you document all those summer bucket list items.

… celebrating new chapters.  A friend’s upcoming marriage.  Another friend’s littlest turning 2.

Fire truck party 2014

Olivia got to see a real live fire truck as part of the celebrations!

… traveling.  A whirlwind weekend trip to New York was followed by an extended trip to the Lake so James could visit engineering firms in the Southwest portion of the state.

Bachelorette Materials 2014

The makings of a memorable Bachelorette weekend!  All needed to fit in my suitcase!

… exploring my faith.  I traveled to a local spiritual retreat the first weekend in May.  One of my personal goals is to develop my intuition and to stop over-thinking/over-analyzing everything.  As a follow-up to this spiritual retreat, I decided to take an online class with Amy Oscar.  I have previously read her amazing book, Sea of Miracles, and fell in love with her beautiful writing style and way of translating spiritual concepts.  Some of my favorite articles on her blog include: Abracadabra: Real Magic, Where is Your Attention?, and Awakening to Love.

Lake Sky 2014

Captured this amazing sky over Memorial Day.

… and finally, looking forward to sweet summer adventures!

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In the Workshop: Quick and Easy Scrapbook Page

Want to know how I made this?

Hybrid Layout May 2014

Click over to Snap Click Supply Co’s blog for a step by step!

Hybprid Layout Detail May 2014

I just love combining beautiful digital elements with handcrafted embellishments!  Here’s the full digital base starting point:

Hybrid Layout May 2014-1

What sweet memories are you recording lately?

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Easy Spring Gift Box

I fell in love with this beautiful lattice gift box in the silhouette store.  And, it just happened to be the right size for a darling album from one of Olivia’s sessions with our favorite photographer, Tiffany Henning.

Spring Gift Box

I cut the file out using my silhouette and adorned the top of the box with a die-cut Nestability flower, 2 tiny punched green leaves, and a center pearl.

Spring Gift Box 2

This little box is easy to put together and packs a definite “wow” presentation- perfect for Mother’s Day!

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Two Photos and a Lifetime in Between

Mother’s Day is around the corner.  My mom has always treasured this little grouping of photos that sits nestled in the edges of her dresser mirror:

Mom Gardens

I was probably 15 months old, happily exploring flowers at my grandparent’s garden.  The little girl on the carousel is my mom.  I recently asked her why the photos are taped together and she replied, “well that’s easy- I love this photo [of me] because I can see you in it!  You’re mine.”

I snapped this scene a few weeks ago of Olivia and my mom at the Botanical Gardens:

Grandma and Olivia Spring 2014

I’m struck by the similarities- a flower scene and so much love.  I have a feeling that one day, this photo will be pinned to my dresser mirror as well.

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