Saturday, August 29, 2009

Aaaaand, she's back!

Holy crap. What a week! That's all I can say. This deployment is kicking my butt, and we're only one week into it. You name it... it has gone wrong. Terribly wrong. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come.

Anyhow... on to more fun, pretty, crafty things! Today, I have a video tutorial (and a GIVEAWAY of *NEW* Pink Paislee) for this garden journal that I made using the new Pink Paislee "Amber Road" line...

In addition to being something nice to make for yourself (that is, if you're a gardener), these also make lovely gifts for any gardening friends you might have OR a lovely housewarming gift for a new neighbor! There are so many great flowers and veggies that make for great fall-starts in your garden. Here's an article that talks about all of your fall/winter vegetable gardening options.

As for the journaling kit, hey're quite simple to make and only require a few basic supplies. There are 6 coin envelopes contained inside the box that are the perfect size to store a packet of seeds, and have plenty of room on the outside for your gardening notes! So, shall we learn how to make one of these? Yes, let's...

Now that you've kindly sat through my video tutorial, I have an opportunity for you to win some *NEW* Pink Paislee "Amber Road" goodies. You will win everything pictured here:

It includes:
* A template for the garden journal box (that's right... no measuring or cutting for you!)
* 6 coin envelopes (not pictured)
* One of each of the new patterned paper designs that are part of the "Amber Road" line
* One pkg. "Amber Road" Bella Brads
* One pkg. "Amber Road" Punch Outs die cut tags
* One piece of "Amber Road" Patches canvas tag
* One pkg. "Chocolate" Expressions cardstock alphabets
* One pkg. "Pear" Expressions cardstock alphabets
* 1 yard cream grosgrain ribbon
* 1 yard jute twine
* 1 coordinating Prima flower

You have until Monday, August 31st at 11:59 pm PST to leave a comment on this post to be entered to win this nice little prize pack! I will announce the winner the following day (Sept 1st).

Speaking of video tutorials, my fabric embellishment tutorial was featured today on Mod Podge Rocks. So, if you missed the tutorial a while back on the Label Tulip blog, be sure to check it out!

As for all of the projects that I had been planning on featuring this month... not to worry. They will all be coming over the next few weeks. This start of this deployment has been much harder than I had anticipated... especially for the kids. That, and I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger for the last several days (you'll understand VERY soon exactly why). *wink, wink* Thanks for your continued readership and support... I promise not to disappoint. There are lots of fun projects, new ventures and secret surprises in store! Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

* you are goodbye*

It seems we're always saying goodbye. I can't believe he was only home for a little over a year before we had to send him back. The kids are having a harder time than I expected. So, of course, Mommy is having a harder time than expected.

Things are slowly finding their way back to normal. Well, as normal as things can be when you send your loved one off to war for a year.

You start counting your "lasts." The last dinner you cook for them. The last time you will pick up their mess. The last time you will wash a load of uniforms. The last time you will fold up their socks. The little things. But, then you close the drawer and try to get on.

It takes some time to find your way, but you always do. Please bear with me while I find mine... and help my children find theirs. You'd think it would get easier after you send them off time and time again. It doesn't.

Thank you for all your kind e-mails and comments. They mean a lot to me, and I will soon find the time to respond to each of them. Take care of you. Hug your loved ones extra-tight. Enjoy your weekend.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hello, tulip.

Label Tulip, that is. Here they are... my pages in full view!

A super-fun summer layout using some of the slip 'n slide pictures from my visit to Illinois a couple weeks back.

I've really been trying to scrap my way through an old box of family photos, and this month's kits really lend themselves to those beautiful old photos. Very vintage-inspired! This is a photo of my grandmother, Hazel, who my daughter is named after.

There is a beautiful folder from Cavallini & Co. in this month's main kit. Coincidentally, I discovered on a trip to Anthropologie last week that you can also purchase the folders there. Anyhow, this month's challenge is to use that folder to create something fabulous. I used mine to make this little tribute to my great aunt's and great uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. I'm considering giving it to them for Christmas. Or, maybe not.

This is my version of this month's member lift... my favorite layout of them all! The original layout comes to us from the talented Leah Findell. Here is her inspirational layout...

So fun to lift! Thanks for checking out my pages, and I hope you enjoyed them. :0)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sneaky, sneaky...

We're busy around here... saying our final goodbyes to my husband before he deploys. But, I wanted to give you a peek at the rest of my projects from Label Tulip using August's kits. My gallery will go live later on this evening, so be sure to check out the LT gallery! I'll be back tomorrow to post the full view of my pages, but here's something to tide you over in the meantime...

Until tomorrow, my friends...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Just a Quickie...

Yes, I know I missed yesterday's post. Things have been absolutely crazy around here this week. Bryan deploys in a few days and we have in laws en route to our home as we speak. I've barely had time to think straight... let alone blog or even do anything creative. But, I wanted to go ahead and post the winner of the Label Tulip RAK real quickly. So, without further ado...

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2009-08-14 23:07:14 UTC

And, #23 is...

Stephanie Baxter said... looks so yummy!

Congratulations, Stephanie! You are now the proud owner of Label Tulip's add-on kit #1! Please send me a quick e-mail at with your mailing address so that I can get your goodies in the mail to you!

As for me, it will probably be a little quiet around these parts for the next couple of days. My Label Tulip gallery will be delayed until the 18th, but you can catch the rest of the girls' creations on the regular reveal night... the 15th! Once things quiet down on Tuesday, I will be back in full effect with lots of fun projects and tutorials to share (and another giveaway)! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

*spare change*

Some people save it in a jar. Some people collect it in coin holders. And, SOME people skip the spare change all together, and make pretty things out of the coin holders!

Bazzill used to make these coin holders a few years back. Unfortunately, I think they discontinued them. Not to worry! You can get the silver dollar coin holders from Michael's for next to nothing, and they're similar in size and shape to the Bazzill version. Then, you can paint them up or cover them in patterned paper or cardstock.

I *really* dipped into my stash to make this. I used some old Foof-a-La rub-ons (so pretty), Making Memories metal words, and various odds 'n ends from my embellishment drawers. It's a great way to use up stray, small embellishments that you have lying about.

As for the photos, I wanted to keep the look of the Bazzill texture cohesive throughout so I printed my photos on some white Bazzill cardstock. It gives a beautiful painted canvas look to your photographs. Bust out some of your trusty circle punches, and punch a couple of the smaller photos out to go inside a few of the coin slots.

These make great gifts... especially for those people in your life that sit behind a desk for 8 hours a day. It's a great way to display photos of your loved ones inside your cookie-cutter cubicles. This is one that I made for my husband to take with him on this deployment. All the photos were taken right after Luka was born in 2007... the last time Bryan was deployed.

Totally simple, and fun... you definitely need to give one of these a go!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

12 Months of Christmas Catch-Up (Part 2)

It's time to make some red pepper jelly!

Come Christmas, it would look beautiful in a basket with this, some crackers and a nice set of cheese spreaders.

This jelly differs from the green pepper version not only in that it is MUCH simpler to make, but also in that it has a different taste. The red pepper version, while still slightly sweet, is a bit more savory due to the addition of garlic. It can still be used as a delicious spread over some cream cheese with crackers, but it is far more delicious as a glaze for meats... particularly chicken and pork tenderloin. This recipe makes approximately 6 (4 oz.) jars.

So, here's the easy peasy recipe...

1 C. finely chopped and seeded red bell peppers

3 lg. cloves of garlic, cut into thin slivers

3/4 C cider vinegar
3 C granulated sugar
1 pouch (3 oz.) liquid pectin

Prepare canners, jars and lids per the instructions included here.

In a lg. deep saucepan, combine red pepper, garlic and vinegar. Stir in sugar. Over high heat, stirring constantly, bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.

Stir in pectin. Boil hard, stirring constantly for 1 min. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam. Quickly pour jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until fingertip-tight. Place the jars back into the canner, making sure they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars; allow to cool for 30 minutes.

At first, the peppers and garlic will still be at the top of the jar. After the initial 30 minute cooling time, gently twist and/or tilt each jar to begin distributing the peppers and garlic throughout the jelly. DO NOT turn the jar completely upside down. This could result in gel failure. Repeat throughout the setting time until the fruit particles are suspended throughout the jelly.

Now you've got six pretty jars filled with some delicious jelly ready for gift-giving come the holidays. But, don't worry... I won't tell if you sneak a jar for yourself between now and then. ;0)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Trade ya'...

one contest for another? Here is what the trusty random number generator came up with for the winner of the Chatterbox goodies...

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-08-11 01:58:40 UTC

Julie said...
WOW that is sooo awesome!!! congratulations to you!!! have a great vacay.
and thanks for the fab giveaway!

So, Julie... send me an e-mail at with your mailing address, and I'll get your goodies in the mail to you!

Now, time for the 2nd giveaway for my blogiversay extravaganza! This time, I will be giving away a lovely Label Tulip add-on kit from the August kit selection. It is full of vintage-styled goodies. In fact, here is a peek...

***The only thing not included in this kit is the pearl head pin behind the flower***

If you're a Label Tulip subscriber, it will be add-on #1. And, not to worry... I will announce the winner the morning of the 14th. So, you'll know if you won before the kits go on sale (just in case you had your eye on #1). Just leave a comment here. You have until August 13th at 11:59 pm PST. Good luck!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


of where we've been this weekend. I mentioned that we were heading out last Wednesday for Illinois to celebrate my great aunt's and great uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. We had such a lovely time. We're such a small family, and everyone is spread out. It's a rare occasion that we are all able to get together. But, I can't think of a better reason to spend time celebrating with family than a 50th wedding anniversary!

We swam.

We slipped and we slid.

Then we decided it might be better to walk.

We played piano with cousins from Switzerland that we met for the first time.

Can you tell Hazel has a flair for the dramatic?

We came across strange winged things.

But, most importantly, we helped this darling couple celebrate 50 years together...

and, toasted to many more happy years of marriage.

Happy anniversary Aunt Marty and Uncle EM!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I love independent artists. I would, hands down, any day of the week prefer to support their efforts rather than a big box store. I could spend lifetimes sifting through all of the treasures to be found on Etsy. I'm always thrilled when I come across something new and special. Something perfect for the corner of that little shelf. Something perfect for the kitchen. There are so many products on Etsy... it's impossible to find all of the freshness on your own.

When I posted the giveaway on August 4th and asked for any great links you guys had, you all did not disappoint! Here are some of my favorite new things (thanks to you)...

From Fey Handmade. I've wanted a cuckoo clock for quite some time now. But, the $100's-$1,000's the cost? Not in my budget. At $28, this one is much more affordable... and possibly a great deal cuter! Fey Handmade has a great variety of products... check 'em out!

From MiChiMa. Uh, hello? Felt + alphabet + magnets + rainbow colors = PERFECTION. Love these! If only I didn't have a stainless steel refrigerator that magnets won't stick on. :0( She does have some non-magnetic versions that would make great teaching tools, though!

From Carolina Patchworks. Who wouldn't love to curl up under this beauty on a cool fall evening? Okay, maybe you can't wrap your head around that idea right now with this 90 degree heat. But, it's beautiful nonetheless. And, the quilter is from Raleigh, NC... right in my own backyard. Gotta' support the local crafters!

From Tessa Ann. Gasp! How could I possibly have not come across her site before? She makes the most awesome handmade buttons! If I ever owned my own kit club, I would be commissioning this woman to make some buttons for it!

From The Rainbow Room. This woman has everything rainbowlicious! This is a necklace, but couldn't you imagine it as some garland for your Christmas tree? *drool*

From Sweet and Sassy Accessories. Cute hair clips galore!

From ormolu. Gorgeous paper embellies, and this woman is definitely doing her part to save the environment. A lot of her products are printed on recycled papers, and printed with soy inks using wind power.

Thank you so much for sharing all of your handmade finds! You all are quite the bunch of enablers, aren't you? If you haven't already entered my Chatterbox giveaway, you can do that here until 11:59 pm tomorrow (Sunday) night.

Friday, August 7, 2009

something simple

Everybody likes simple projects that use up our extra scraps, right? Well, I have a quick little project to share today that anybody can do, and has so many possibilities!

Hazel has this on the nightstand in her room. It keeps all of her little earring safe inside. But, you could always use it to house other things... spare keys on a table near the front door, cotton balls in the bathroom, you wedding ring (if you take yours off while doing dishes like I do).

These box come in all shapes and sizes, and are available at Michael's starting at about 99 cents. Just like the uses for the box, the embellishing has endless possibilities. The above box is made using all products from Pink Paislee's "Enchanting" line. To start, you'll want to cover the box in patterned paper (or you could even paint it). I used super-strong double-stick tape from Magenta to adhere the paper to the box, but you could use any strong, dry adhesive. Heck, you could even Mod Podge it!

Once you cover the box, you can start adding the extra special touches. For the top box, I used one of Pink Paislee's Petals topped by a wee brad. The edge along the box top is trimmed with some pretty ribbon from last year's holiday collection. I finished it off with some glass pebbles glued to the bottom for "feet." You don't have to do that, but I like to keep the paper of the box off the surface it sits on... just in case something gets spilled near it. ;0)

And, to give you some different decorating ideas, here's the box I have in my room for my earrings...

These little boxes are great ways to use up odds and ends from your stash. And, if your little girl is is anything like mine, she'll have plenty of treasures to stow away inside. I'm thinking about making another one to hold her collection of holiday pins that seem to be breeding atop the vanity in her room.

Of course, you could always make a few of these at Christmas time, and stash a gift card inside. Then, the recipient would have a lovely box to keep, and a gift card to spend! See? Endless possibilities...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Go-To Recipe

We all have them. Those recipes we know by heart (or nearly so) that we always turn to in a pinch. I have two. This is one of mine. It's delicious, quick, and elegant at the same time. It is something that can be thrown together last-minute, but also serve as a nice meal when you have company. In fact, I always keep a whole chicken in my freezer just in case this meal needs to make a quick appearance. Everything is cooked together... meat and veggies... just add some rolls (or biscuits in my case). See...

It's a beautiful meal... even before you pop it in the oven.

My other go-to recipe is my dad's family secret chili recipe. I'm going to break the secrecy and share it with you all... only because my dad uses this as a base recipe, and changes it a bit every time. ALSO, because I have put my own spin on it to make it my own. So, here is my spin on this yummy meal.

2 lbs ground turkey or chicken
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 bottle of beer
1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste, 1 can-full of water
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 Tbs dried parsley (or 1 handful of chopped fresh parsley)
2 tsp. terragon
2 tsp. sweet basil
1 tsp thyme
1 (15.5 oz.) can Ranch-style pinto beans, undrained
1/4 C. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 lg. square baking chocolate
1 handful yellow cornmeal
A couple of dashes of mango habanero hot sauce (I use my dad's secret homemade sauce, but you can find variations at your local supermarket or gourmet store)

Brown the turkey (or chicken), 3 Tbs. chopped onion, garlic and salt in a skillet over med-high heat. Meanwhile, add remaining ingredients to a crock pot. Once meat is nicely browned, add to crock pot. Cook in crock pot on low 3-4 hours.

See? So simple, but so hearty and delicious! You can add other things to the chili... molasses, cooking sherry, etc. My version makes a moderately spicy chili, but you can adjust the spices according to your taste. Go ahead... make it your own! And, just a hint... this makes the PERFECT accompaniment.

So, what's your favorite go-to recipe? Do share. I love to try new things!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

adorn it

Your home, that is. It seems that whenever Bryan deploys, I busy myself with making my house prettier. I guess I feel that if I fancy her up a bit, make her more comfy-cozy, that those feelings will spread to the other areas of my life. Deployments, after all, are very discomforting, quite gloomy, seemingly endless chunks of time. I find the busier I keep myself, the better off I am. My mind wanders into dark crevasses less often. Here are some projects from the last go-round...

My vintage bottle cap table that my dad helped me make.

My cobblestone patio that I built with my own little hands. And, the pergola that, although I didn't build it with my own little hands... I designed it for some contractors to build. That is an old photo from when it was built in the winter of 2008. The star jasmine has since grown up the supports. And, a lovely dining area and fire pit make themselves at home atop the cobblestone. It's like an outdoor living room... we spend a lot of time out there in the summers. I'll have to update with current pictures soon.

Anyway... it also helps that my in-laws are coming to visit next weekend before the hubs departs... that's always a kick in the pants to get your home looking its most dapper. A sister-in-law and her 3 children that have never been to my home. A brother-in-law that hasn't either (but, in reality, probably couldn't care less what these digs look like). Why do I feel some unnerving need to impress in the home decor department?

It all started with an old military pull-out drawer filing cabinet (more like the size of a dining room buffet, though) that I found at my favorite antique restoration place back in early spring. If you're in the Raleigh/Durham are of North Carolina, a trip to Revival Antiques is a must! In addition to their brick and mortar store, they also have a pretty impressive weekly booth at the Raleigh Flea Market at the fairgrounds. I've bought a couple of their pieces, and they are amazing (not to mention VERY reasonably priced). When I saw that file cabinet, I knew it would fit perfectly in our dining room. If you've ever been to our home, you know that we are rather short on storage. So, whenever I find a new piece of furniture... LOTS of storage is a must! And unusual. I don't like available-at-every-big-box-store pieces of furniture. Or, at least I don't like my furniture to look that way.

We were stupid not to buy that filing table when we saw it. Of course, when I called this week, it was long gone. Revival told me they had a couple of similar things that I might like, but with less storage. Hmmm... After much consideration, we decided not to use a whole tank of gas to drive to Raleigh for something that might or might not suit my fancy. Instead, we would run our errands (which included a trip to Pier 1 for some new, more durable place mats. That's where I discovered this...

Originally a $500 piece of furniture, it was on sale for $350. Plus, they gave me an extra 20% off because they are discontinuing it, and all they had left was the floor model. You never would have guessed it to be a floor model... not one thing wrong with it. Score! Plus, I had a $100 gift card for Pier 1 that I had been hanging onto forever, burning a hole in my pocket.

And, with all the money I saved (we had planned on paying about $800 for that piece at Revival), I was able to pick up some other fun extras for the house! Urban Outfitters has these great marquee letters for atop my new buffet...

And, before anyone says anything (like my husband did)... "H" for Hanks... not "H" for Holly. I'm not THAT vain.

Some pretty curtain tie-backs (also from Urban Outfitters) for my dining room so my curtains don't get smashed behind the buffet...

A cute little thought bubble chalkboard from Red Velvet Art.

I missed out on the bigger version they offered several months back, and was kicking myself. I'm so glad they came out with this new one... even if it is smaller! It won't go in the dining room with the rest of the stuff. But, I'm sure it will find its own special little nook.

So will this clock we also got at Pier 1...

I love how a lot of their new stuff is so unusual looking. Most of it, you would never guess was bought from a chain store.

Getting everything organized and hung the way I want it should keep me busy for a while. If not, I can always purchase some of this wallpaper that I have been milling over in my head...

It's available here. At UK pricing. The problem (other than the exchange rate)? I am terrified of the process involved in actually hanging it. And, if you saw all the cabinetry obstacles on my kitchen wall, you would be too. I might just have to get some professional quotes. We shall see.

I'll share pictures of everything once it has found its place in our home. In the meantime... do you have any great internet finds for home decor? Changing up what's inside these walls is a passion of mine, and I love to find intriguing pieces to add. So, if you've got 'em... do share! I hope you enjoyed my shares, and found your own inspiration for changing up your scenery!