Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Sixth Day of Christmas - Holiday Parties

BPC 12 Days of Christmas workshop
6th Day of Christmas
Photo Prompt - Photo of you at a holiday party
Teacher - Kelly Purkey
My Layout - Annual Ornament Exchange 2008-2011

I really liked Kelly Purkey's layout for this prompt with three photos taken of her & others at a holiday party. She used small photos and included memorabilia and journaling. However, when I saw that the prompt was Holiday Parties, I knew I wanted to scrap about my friend Iris's annual ladies' ornament exchange.

Iris began hosting this event in 2008 and I had photos and memorabilia in my storage binders for the past four years, so I created a double-page layout. I had one of the invitations I handmade in 2008 to include. I also had the invitation I printed in 2010 and I cut my title block and the ornament embellishments from that - it's perfect because Iris used the same paper for this year's invitations.

Each year after we've exchanged ornaments, I've taken a photo of the entire group. You might have noticed that my 2008 photo is not as tall as the others - that's because I cut off the inch of ceiling that I captured! 2008 was the first year I had my digital camera, and I was just excited that I knew how to work the self-timer so I could take what has become my traditional place front and center in the photo.

The 2009 photo is a little better, although the angle is a slightly off since I had the camera precariously propped on a chair. In 2010, we had several more ladies in attendance, however I was able to capture the entire group from that low angle once again. However, in 2010 I finally remembered to bring the tri-pod! I'm so glad I did because our group had once again grown and we had 29 ladies & girls (plus one little baby boy) in attendance. I think it's my best group shot so far - not too bad for a little Canon PowerShot SD870 IS point & shoot that's a little battered after having traveled all around the world these past four years!

I can hardly wait for next year because Santa brought us this . . .

My plan for 2012 is to learn all about using our DSLR camera and the two lenses (from our film Rebel) that go along with it. What are you planning to learn in 2012?

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Fifth Day of Christmas - Christmas Music

BPC 12 Days of Christmas workshop
5th Day of Christmas
Photo Prompt - choose a lyric or title from a holiday song & take photos to illustrate it
Teacher - Tami Morrison
My Layout - Santa Baby Fill My Stocking

At first, I wasn't sure what to do for this layout. The idea was to choose a lyric or the title from a holiday song and watch for opportunities to take photos that would illustrate it. I had the Santa Baby song running through my head and when I got to the phrase "Santa Baby, fill my stocking . . ." I got the idea to scrap photos of the Christmas stockings we purchased our first Christmas together.

My favorite part of this layout is that the photos span ten years of Christmases. There's a photo of us in our first home in 2002, a photo of our stockings hanging in the house we rented for a short time in 2004, a shot of our Christmas decor in our little happy home in 2006 (one stocking is barely visible hanging on the side of the TV cabinet), a photo of each of us with our stocking in 2008, and a photo of our stockings hanging from the mantel in 2010.

I'm not totally sure my title goes with the journaling, but I do like the way this layout looks and will be adding it to my Things That Matter album. How about you, have you used a song lyric or title in a layout? Was it easy to choose a lyric to go along with your theme or did you struggle to make it all work together?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Fourth Day of Christmas - Home Decor

BPC 12 Days of Christmas workshop
4th Day of Christmas
Photo Prompt - Your Home Decorated for Christmas
Teacher - Lisa Day
My Layout - Christmas Decor 2008

The directions for this layout started with a 9x9 block of patterned paper and a photo collage. However, my photos were different sizes and orientations than Lisa's example, so I used a 9 1/2x9 1/2 block and arranged my photos to fit, leaving a space for the title. Otherwise, I followed Lisa's directions pretty closely.

It was fun to pull out these photos and remember that we used the silver tree in the toy room and the little tree for the Santa ornaments in 2008 - totally different from this year's trees.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Third Day of Christmas - Letters to Santa

BPC 12 Days of Christmas workshop
3rd Day of Christmas
Photo Prompt - Child Writing to Santa Claus
Teacher - Karen Grunberg
My Layout - Dear Family & Friends

As soon as I saw that the day 3 prompt was to capture photos of children writing letters to Santa Claus, I knew I would need to adapt it somehow. I decided to use a photo Robbie took of me last year while I was getting our Christmas cards ready to be mailed. Instead of a Dear Santa layout, I created a Dear Family & Friends layout documenting the fact that I still like to send out cards, even though it seems many of our family and friends rely on technology to keep in touch instead.

I really like the technique Karen used to create a frame for the page then adhere a piece of lace or ribbon to the back of it before securing it to the background cardstock. I used a much wider lace than she did in her example, but I think it has a nice festive look. I also modified the layout by using only one photo whereas Karen used a series of four smaller photos on her layout.

We don't send as many Christmas cards as we used to, but I still enjoy taking time to sign each card and often write a personal note to the recipient. This year I sent out cards to family and close friends and also sent some festive mail art to some of my bloggy pals. Unfortunately, I spent most of December enjoying the holidays and didn't get a card or mail art created for everyone I had hoped to. However, that means I can have fun in January sending out New Year's greetings, right?

I know that some of you still send cards in the mail because I was the lucky recipient of them! They came from all across the United States and around the world - thank you to each of you who took time to brighten my holidays!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Second Day of Christmas - Christmas Trees

BPC 12 Days of Christmas workshop
2nd Day of Christmas
Photo Prompt - Christmas Tree
Teacher - May Flaum
My Layout - 3 Christmas Trees 2011

For today's layout, I used photos of the three Christmas trees we have up this year. I took these photos with just the tree lights on and printed them here at home. I followed May's layout pretty closely, however she cut a pre-printed border out of patterned paper. I created my own banner with a piece of paper ribbon, patterned paper and number stickers.

Here's a closer look at the journal block and embellishment cluster.

Every year our trees look different, and I love how these photos document which tree was in which room with which ornaments. Do you have more than one Christmas tree? Do you change them up each year?

Monday, December 26, 2011

The First Day of Christmas - Family Photo

I have been participating  in BPC's 12 Days of Christmas workshop, which began 12 days before Christmas and is continuing 12 days after Christmas. We received a photo prompt and a list of supplies to gather from a different BPC teacher each of the 12 days leading up to Christmas Day. Now we are receiving videos and instructions for completing a layout each day with those 12 photos and supplies. I'm hoping to post my layout each day.

The prompts were designed to help us capture photos of Christmas 2011, however I am using a variety of photos. Some of my photos are ones taken this year while others are photos from previous Christmases that I had in my storage binders waiting to be scrapped.

1st Day of Christmas
Photo Prompt - Holiday Family Photo
Teacher - Darci Dowdle
My Layout - 2010 Family Get-Together

I followed Darci's instructions pretty closely for this layout. Some of you may recognize this photo from our 2010 family get-together. I've used it in a couple of other projects, but I had printed a 5x7 to scrap with my layout documenting this event. (I actually added a second page to this layout with a collage of nine additional photos from that day.)

I hope your Christmas was filled with wonderful moments that will become favorite memories and provide inspiration for fantastic layouts in the days and months to come.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Y'all

Merry Christmas Y'all!
I hope Santa Claus is good to you this year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Twas The Night Before Jesus Came


‘Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there. 

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap. 

When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash! 

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angles proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY! 

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! Returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself. 

In the book of life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said “It’s not here,” my head hung in shame. 

The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to his Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around. 

I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight. 

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There’s only one life and when comes the last call
We’ll find that the Bible was true after all!

(I've had a copy of this poem for many years and have included it in Christmas cards and read it to my students and shared it at Christmas events. Unfortunately, the author is unknown. As you celebrate Christmas this year, I hope it will serve as a reminder of the true Reason for the Season - Jesus Christ - and the reason He came - to offer Himself as a sacrifice so that all who believe in Him can have eternal life. Are you ready for His return?)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Altered Mini-Clipboards

Some of you may remember that last year I made altered clipboards for my family. Well, the adults in my family. And when Natashia was visiting this summer, we made one for her.

The twins informed me that they liked clipboards, too! They also like to play games like Yahtzee that require them to keep score. So, I got the idea to create altered mini-clipboards that they could use when they are playing games. Of course, I couldn't leave Natashia out since she technically didn't have an altered MINI-clipboard!

I covered the front of each clipboard with their favorite colors and added a Yahtzee scorecard on top. I adhered a colored domino to the clip and then filled the ring with ribbons.

 For the backs of the clipboards, I used some dice patterned paper, Scrabble tile letter stickers, a piece of Monopoly money, a Clue card and some game stickers.

 These were so fun to make, I decided to also make one for a teenage friend of mine. Blue is her favorite color.

 I used different patterned papers & miscellaneous letters on the back of hers.
And for an added touch, I altered a mini-paper pads by covering the top edge with a matching piece of patterned paper.
I love the way these turned out. My only regret is that I didn't make one for me as well - it would be perfect for keeping score when Robbie and I play Canasta or Scrabble or Dominoes! I just might have to add this to my list of things-to-make next year.

Have you altered anything lately?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Need A Last Minute Gift Idea?

A couple of weeks ago, Ellyn posted photos & directions for making candy sleighs on her blog. Last week I needed some last minute gifts and decided to borrow the idea. It took less than an hour to put together 10 of these cute yummy treats (not counting the time it took for Robbie to go to the store for the supplies, of course).

It was truly my lucky day because Ellyn's daughter was staying with us for a few days, so I had an experienced helper!

We even made an eleventh sleigh with a few modifications due to the fact that one (or two or three) candies disappeared during the construction process! This sleigh has one less layer, however it has one extra Hershey's kiss (which Ally said looked like Santa Claus driving the sleigh).

 Anyone else have to put together a few last minute gifts? Did they include chocolate?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

ABC File

One of the newest extras in Stacy Julian's Library of Memories is an ABC file, basically another place to store photos in a different format in order to see connections. I did not create an ABC file during this past summer's Finding Photo Freedom workshop, but knew that I would eventually. That time came earlier this month on an afternoon that I had free and wanted to just putter away in my craft room.

I started out by creating divider cards for each letter of the alphabet using a 6" x 4 1/4" piece of white cardstock. I added a 2" piece of patterned paper at the top and then adhered a Scrabble tile to the card for a divider tab.

I chose my patterned papers simply by thumbing through my scrap bin for pieces that could be cut to 6" x 2". I placed the Scrabble tiles so they would be staggered in the file, thus easier to see and flip through.

I really like having this cutting mat on my craft table because it makes it so easy to line things up quickly. Here's a look at all 26 cards. 
 I'm using one of the drawers in the metal file cabinets I use as category drawers. I like the fact that these drawers have a "follower block" which allows items to stand up in the drawer, even when it's not full.

 I even added a cute ABC label to the drawer.

I've decided to use this drawer for photos of THINGS rather than people. I already have sections in my category drawers for photos of me & Robbie, Family & Friends, Days We Celebrate, Places We've Been, Activities We Enjoy, and Things That Matter. This file will be for miscellaneous photos of items that don't really fit into one of my other categories (or which I have duplicate prints of). I'm not sure yet how I'll use these photos, but I'm excited to have another place to gather photos in a new way and am looking forward to seeing how this project evolves.

Do you have any unique ways of storing photos?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pass It Forward Giveaway Winner

McLisa  who blogs at Sweet Chatter That Matters is the winner of the Pass It Forward Giveaway. Congratulations Lisa! Please email me your mailing address [robbieandmelissa (at) sbcglobal (dot) net] and I'll get this book on its way to you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Coincidences & A Pass-It-Forward Giveaway

A couple of months ago, my sister gave me a book with the stipulation that when I finished it I would pass it on. The book is all about how God speaks to us through coincidences, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the true stories of how a "coincidence" changed the course of each individual's life.

As I read this book, I thought back on the "coincidences" that have changed the course of my life. Like the time I was sitting in the hospital room with my Grandma, reading Psalm 91 to her, never dreaming that the other visitor in the room (who was visiting the patient in the other bed) would introduce herself . . . and after learning that I was a teacher, offer me a job! A couple of months later that job kept me afloat during a very turbulent time in my life. I realize now that God was looking out for me then, even though I wasn't even looking for a job or considering going back to work at that time!

I'm ready to pass this book on. This is not part of my regular Pass the Book:Year Two, it's simply a book for you to enjoy and pass on in any way you choose - you could pass it on your blog like I'm doing or donate it to your local library or give it to a friend or simply leave it at the doctor's office for someone else to pick up.

If you'd like to be in the draw for this book, please let me know in the comments and I'll draw a winner in a few days.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

December Pass the Book Recipient

The first recipient of The Girls From Ames is
who commented

I've always wanted to read this book!! I'm thankful for friendships. I think the most valuable one is the one I had with my mom. Since she passed away, all that she was to me has become so much more valuable... She knew me so well and I her. I'm thankful for all my new bloggy friendships too!!

Congratulations Rebekah - I have your address and will get this book on its way to you! (Remember to check out all the details about Pass the Book:Year Two here.)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Choc-Oat-Chip Cookies

It seems Christmastime is everyone's favorite time of year to bake cookies, and I am no exception. Although I enjoy baking year round, it seems during the holidays there are so many opportunities to share goodies with others, whether it's taking a treat to an event or giving a special gift or having friends and family over to celebrate.

I've rarely ever met a cookie I didn't like, however there is one ingredient that makes any cookie perfect (in my opinion, of course) - CHOCOLATE CHIPS. So it follow that many of my favorite recipes contain chocolate chips, like this twist on the traditional oatmeal-raisin cookie. It's just amazing how switching the raisins for chocolate chips improves the taste! :>)

Here's a look at the recipe card I scrapped several years ago when I added this recipe to my Desserts Album.

And a closer look at the recipe in case you want to try it out! (click on the photo to enlarge it)
This post is part of Beverly's Virtual Christmas Cookie Exchange - click HERE to find more cookie recipes to add to your collection!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Personalized Stationery Winner

I've been busy this morning preparing some additional personalized stationery sets.

One set is for a dear friend who's coming by to visit tomorrow.

One set is for the winner of the Personalized Stationery Giveaway:

Congratulations ELLYN!!
(I'll see you soon & get these to you.)

And the extra mini-set is for another lucky blog reader/ commentor - that surprise package will go out in the mail today.

I hope you are all enjoying giving and receiving this holiday season!

Click here for a chance at this month's Pass the Book:Year Two, and be sure to check back Sunday for one more giveaway this month!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Friendship & December Pass the Book

Friendship has been a recurring theme in my life this month. First, we've had several get-togethers with friends to visit and exchange Christmas gifts over the past few weeks - breakfast with our dear friends who are home from the mission field, lunch with friends we don't see often enough during the year, dinner with some friends from here in town, and an ornament exchange with 28 ladies that netted me a really cute snowman ornament.

Second, the book club I attend at our local library (where I've made several good friends over the past four years) read a book on friendship this month. We read and discussed The Girls From Ames, a story about "eleven girls and the ten women they became" over a forty-year (and counting) friendship.

Third, my dear friend Elinor's passing brought back so many wonderful memories of our eleven year friendship.

And finally, my mailbox has been filled with Christmas cards and letters from friends far and near. Some of the most exciting cards are from my bloggy friends - these new friendships have so enriched my life over the past year and a half as we've gotten to know each other through blog posts and emails and mail art exchanges and pass the book.

Which leads to this month's edition of Pass the Book:Year Two - (you might have already guessed it!) The Girls From Ames. This book is non-fiction and chronicles the lives of eleven girls from Ames, Iowa. It is truly an eclectic mix of girls ranging from the doctor's daughter to the last of seven siblings.

If you would like to a chance to be the first recipient of The Girls From Ames, please leave a comment telling me about a special friendship in your life. I'll post the winner on Saturday. [Check out all the details of Pass the Book:Year Two HERE.]

*And don't forget, I have one more giveaway coming up this Sunday as part of my Season of Giving.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Personalized Stationery & A Giveaway

Even though email is quick and easy and international cell phone calling plans make it simple to call anyone anytime, I still enjoy sending and receiving "real" mail. I have several friends who also still send mail, so when I saw the Personalized Stationery project during the Giving Well workshop, I knew I would have to make a few sets.

The first step was to create the stationery by printing one of the files provided in the workshop, cutting the papers, and then adding some stamping. For this first set, I simply stamped the letter "B" for my friend Becky and rounded the corners to give the stationery a personalized touch.

Then I customized the envelopes to match by using two stamps from my collection.

All together this set contained 10 pieces of stationery and ten envelopes.

Which I then tied up with a pretty bow and completed with a monogram circle tag.

Such a simple gift to make, yet so much fun because it can be personalized for each individual. Here's a set I  made for another friend.

I especially love the fact that one of the stamps I used for this set (the snail with the heart) was a gift from this particular friend!

And now it's time for another giveaway during this Season of Giving. I'll be creating a set of personalized stationery for one commenter on today's post. Please leave a comment telling me about the last piece of "real" mail you received (and I don't mean bills or catalogues!). I'll announce the winner in a few days, so be sure to check back.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What Did You Do With Your Hallmark Christmas Ornament Catalog?

I turned mine into Mail Art.
I started with all those pictures of cute ornaments:
And used a simple scallop circle punch:
And a little adhesive:
To adhere them to some bill return envelopes I didn't use:
And ended up with Mail Art:
I stamped a little on the backs of the envelopes for a little more crafty fun.
I created some Christmas tags to go in those envelopes and sent them off to some unsuspecting Mail Art friends!
Anyone else do something fun with their Hallmark Christmas Ornament Catalog or similar "junk" mail lately?