Friday, November 30, 2012

It's a Silhouette Christmas Countdown.

Hello there! 

Happy Friday & Happy Last Day of November! What!?! I swear time hits warp speed once Thanksgiving has passed! And even though it was an early one this year so there "should" be more time to get things done, I sure haven't seen or felt it! (Seriously, where did it go?!)
In a valiant effort to stay on top of things, every chance I get I've been burying myself in holiday prep so that I can actually enjoy the wonderful festivities when they do get here! And this is just one project that I was so excited to complete!

Count down to Christmas with the Silhouette advent calendar. This limited edition advent calendar kit comes with a full set of shapes that can be arranged any way you like. Use your Silhouette and your favorite paper to customize the calendar in your own style. With different decorations, the advent calendar can be used for any occasion.

The fabulous folks at Silhouette generously offered to send me one of their new Limited Edition 2012 Advent calendars to play with. I was so excited as I absolutely loved the one I did of theirs last year, but that one was a bit bulky and I was looking for something more streamlined. This one is just PERFECT! I especially love that this year's calendar is more "activity" related than filled with treats. Anything that gets me spending more time with my family is awesome in my book! And of cours this is still going to look adorable holding some Instagram pics AFTER the holidays! I love giving things dual purposes. 

I admit I opted for a non-traditional holiday palette, but I really wanted this calendar to hang in my family room that has lots of kraft, aqua and chocolate browns. By picking limited colors I was able to keep a nice clean look to the project. 
Supplies: Bazzill & BoBunny cardstock, BasicGrey stickers, Stampin' Up Snowflake punch, Fiskars star punches, EK Success circle punches, Bazzill brads, Jute, Silhouette files (banners, etc.)

Isn't it so fun!? Each little pocket or envelope holds a little note with an idea for a family activity for the day. So perfect! Now I have to admit I didn't have the easiest time coming up with 25 holiday inspired things to do, but I gave it my best and some of my close friends on Pinterest (how I love that site!).

Here's the list I compiled that fits into our Christmas plans. Please feel free to incorporate some (or all) into yours!

1. Participate in our town's Christmas Parade.
2. Take time to appreciate the true meaning of the Season. For unto you a Child is born...
3. Drink Hot Cocoa while watching a favorite Christmas movie.
4. Write letters to Santa.
5. Set out shoes for St. Nicholas to fill.
6. Have a family game night.
7. Spend time deciding on a family service project.
8. Make chocolate peppermint cookies with mom.
9. Do something nice for someone...just because.
10. Pick your favorite Christmas carol and sing it at the top of your lungs.
11. Visit Santa.
12. Take a trip around town to admire the holiday lights.
13. Kiss someone special under the Mistletoe.
14. Host a cookie exchange.
15. Attend a Christmas pageant or play.
16. Go ice skating.
17. Make handmade gifts for neighbors and friends.
18. Decorate a gingerbread house...with EXTRA candy.
19. Have the kids (and adults) donate to a bell-ringer's bucket.
20. Wrap presents for each other. 
21. Dinner by Candlelight on this, the longest night of the year!
22. Camp out under the Christmas tree.
23. Open one present from a brother of your choice.
24. Read the full Christmas Story from the Bible.
25. ...who is Christ the LORD. Merry Christmas!

So as a special offer to my awesome blog readers, you can get one yourself for 40% off if you order TODAY and use the code BLACK at checkout!
Here's to a wonderful Holiday Season!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

It's the start of the HOLIDAY Season!


Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. friends! I hope it was a wonderful one for you and that you were able to spend it with those you love. We had a spectacular 60+ degree day and spent a great deal of time sitting outside chatting with family. It was perfect. I truly adore Thanksgiving - it's one of my favorite holidays because it focuses on gratitude, family, friends...and food! It doesn't get much better than that....unless you count the kicking off the HOLIDAY SHOPPING season! ;)

Anyhow, in the spirit of the gift-giving, I wanted to share with you what could be a really fun and "not too difficult" project for you to tackle that I'm sure anyone would love. Recently I spent a couple of days over at the Scrapbook & Cards Today blog talking about Pinterest and how I spend way too much time pinning all the eye candy and not nearly enough time "doing." So I decided to fix that. I challenged myself to make at least one item from my many pins that I've been meaning to make for a while. 
This is what I came up with:
After searching in my  “one day when I have time” pin folder I came across these gorgeous stretched burlap letters.  I had hoped that it would be a tutorial, but when I checked further, it turns out that those lovely letters are by a talented Etsy seller by the name of The Virginia House. So I did a little research on her blog and found out a bit of info to help me make some of my own.
Here is what I found I needed:  

Burlap (I went to our local feed store and bought an actual burlap bag for 1.99. I think I’m going back to buy more to turn into pillows using the cool print you can find on them!)
Wooden frames
Reynolds Freezer paper (WHY hadn’t I known about this stuff before?)
Black paint
Sponge brush
Staple gun
Craft knife

Before I get going any further, I just have to talk about this freezer paper. I had NO idea it existed but check it out – right on the packaging it mentions its specific uses in the crafty area! How cool right? It’s basically got a paper coating on one side and a waxy coating on the other. It makes perfect stenciling templates as I’m about to show you!

First, I printed the monogram I wanted onto a sheet of paper. I checked the size to make sure that’s what I wanted, then I laid the freezer paper over it (paper side up) and traced it.

After tracing, I carefully cut out the letter using a craft knife.

After the monogram is cut out, lay the freezer paper (paper side up) onto the burlap cut large enough to wrap around the wooden frame (Trust me, this is important as with my first attempt I cut a piece way too small!) then iron it on. Do not use steam and make sure to really hit the areas that have the fine cuts so that they are extra secure.

Using a sponge brush, paint the letter with paint color of choice. I think a thicker paint would work better so that it doesn’t get the chance to run. However once I did that, I came back with a slightly thinner coat to really make sure the letter was covered. Take caution at the finer areas so that they don’t get over-saturated. Let dry completely. I used a hairdryer to help speed this up a bit as I’m not very patient!

Remove freezer paper template once the paint is completely dry then stretch the burlap onto the wooden frame and secure with the staple gun.

Then display your piece of artwork with pride! (This is a shelf in my scrap room, of course!)

What I learned in the process:
1. Most of this went beautifully, but I didn’t cut the canvas large enough the first time and therefore it was extremely hard to stretch. Give yourself plenty of working space.
2. It can be a little tricky to center your monogram onto your frame once it’s been painted. Practice patience!
3. Gallery wrap the at the sides of the canvas rather than at the top and bottom so that if you want it to sit on a shelf, it sits a little flatter.

I hope this has inspired you to get your creative mojo going and I can’t wait to see what you’ve created! Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 02, 2012

***Giveaway CLOSED***It's MY Birthday, but I want to give YOU a present...


Good morning!

I hope you are having a wonderful day! It's been a bittersweet one for me already as I have just sent my oldest out on his first class trip and on my birthday, too! The house is eerily quiet without him and I think I miss him already!

But speaking of my house and my birthday (what a segue, I know), I am excited to share a little of both with you today. Recently I have had the honor of working with Little Yellow Bicycle and my amazing friend Courtney Walsh in promoting LYB's new release, Acorn Hollow, and celebrating Courtney's brand new Sweethaven book series. 

Courtney's heartwarming novels include themes including friendship and scrapbooking (Hello!!)  and they pair so amazingly well with Little Yellow Bicycle's fall line Acorn Hollow so I absolutely jumped at the chance to work with them both.

Here's a little bit about my challenge from Courtney and what transpired:

From Courtney---One of the most important things in my life is that sense of "home." Perhaps that's why it was so important to include the word "Homecoming" in the title of my second novel... because I think there's something universal about that feeling of belonging that you only get when you're home. It's a common theme throughout the novels as Sweethaven is the place my characters can go and truly feel like themselves...

Having moved around a LOT the past few years, Home is more important to me than ever...which is why for this second Sweethaven-inspired prompt, I asked my sweet and hugely talented friend Kelly Goree to create an Acorn Hollow layout that highlights the things she loves most about her home.

I didn't expect that topic to strike such a chord, but for Kelly, it's the home itself that has the most meaning. Having been in her family for four generations, there's something special about those four walls...and what better way to document it than in the pages of her scrapbook?

And here is the page I created with Acorn Hollow based on Courtney's prompt:

One of my favorite things about my home is my home itself. It was once my grandmother's and four generations of my family have lived here. The layout is a replica of my house and the doors and windows all open to show features of the house as well as provide journaling about why this house is special to me.

The detail shot of the front door pretty much shows you exactly what you see when you open my front door which I thought was fun.

And a couple more images:

And as I mentioned, I can't share pretty paper without having a giveaway. Besides it's my birthday and I want to do something nice and fun for you. So what is better than ONE giveaway? Why, TWO of course! So here is how you can win:

And the WINNER IS:

Congratulations! PLEASE Contact me at kelly(dot)goree(at)gmail(dot)com to claim your prize!

 GIVEAWAY 1 - Hop on over to the LITTLE YELLOW BICYCLE BLOG where they are giving away a copy of Courtney's book A Sweethaven Homecoming. Just tell them what home means to you and they'll will choose a lucky winner from the comments left on their blog.
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GIVEAWAY 2 - RIGHT HERE!! Just leave me a comment letting me know what you love most about fall and you'll be entered to win your own collection of Little Yellow Bicycle's ACORN HOLLOW!

Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Happy Halloween & WELCOME NOVEMBER!

Hello, all!!

Welcome to NOVEMBER!! Whoot! So glad to see October its way out the door. It was one doozy of a month, but before we let it go, the Goree family sent it out with a bang - Halloween style!

It's long been known that I freaking adore Halloween!I love the colors, I love the crisp air, I love the falling leaves, and I have the most fun making coordinating costumes for the boys! Unfortunately as always, I was running behind in getting these made and they may or may not have been completely dry when we headed out the door! ;)

This year's theme as thought up by my husband - and executed by me (I have to get that in there!) - was PAC MAN. I have to admit as a true child of the 80's I was a Pac Man champ! It was my game - even above Centipede and Donkey Kong - so this was SO much fun (and relatively easy) to do. 

A couple of moving boxes, a few cans of spray paint and some of my cardstock stash and voila - a video game come to life. Wocka, wocka!

Even Ms. Pac Man got in on the deal. Looks like I got run down by the red ghost, Blinky. Better go eat my large white dot....

And now I get to chase them!

It was chilly, but at least the rain stayed away. It reminded me of my Halloweens of childhood!

 LOL I loved seeing the back of their costumes walking down the street. It made me smile!

I hope your Halloween was just as festive and that everyone stayed safe. Please come back tomorrow because even though it's MY birthday, I'm giving one of you special people a gift and sharing some more fun with Little Yellow Bicycle's Acorn Hollow & the amazing Courtney Walsh!

Here's to NOVEMBER! (here here!)