Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Year's Resolutions

I have some pretty typical New Year's resolutions this year like eating healthier, exercising more, and reading through my Bible this year, but one goal for the coming year is a little less typical.  I plan to create and send out three handmade cards each week.  I have plenty of people in my life to whom I can send a birthday, anniversary, get well or thinking of you card.  On the weeks when I can't think of three people who need a card, I will create a couple of extra cards to send to Operation Write Home.  I expect my scrapping buddies to hold me accountable to my goal and that is why I will be hosting Friday Night Scrappers each month.  Some of our group will be working on completing a 2-page layout each week and others will be working on 3 cards per week, but we will all be working together and encouraging each other.  If you want to be a part of our challenge, read here for more details.  Even if you don't live in the Kansas City area, you can join in our challenge on the Always Joyful Scrapbooking & Cardmaking Facebook page.  There you can join in the discussion and post your pics of completed projects.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Love Deeply Card

A young lady who worked at our local bank recently passed away.  It is a small, family-owned and operated business and a normal sympathy card just didn't seem right.  My inspiration came from the large flower headbands she often put on her baby girl.  This is what I came up with for the card:

2011 Challenge

I am so very excited to reveal to you my exciting plans for 2011!! You will want to mark your calendars now and start telling all your friends about these absolute must-attend events that you won't want to miss out on starting this Saturday, New Year's Day!!

1.) I am asking each of you to set a goal for the coming year of either 1 two-page scrapbook layout or 3 cards per week (or a combination of both). If you stayed with it, you would complete 104 pages or 162 cards by the end of the year!  Many of us have kids for whom we are creating scrapbooks and this goal will help you along in that endeavor. I have set a goal of sending out three cards per week to people who are celebrating happy occasions as well as people who need a little cheering up. I want to revive the lost art of writing to people!

2). To help you accomplish this goal, I am offering a NEW club that I'm naming "The Friday Night Scrappers"! We will meet regularly and consistently every 4th Friday evening (5pm to 11pm). Members of this club are not required to make any set amount of purchases from me each month (like some CTMH clubs do), but rather, this club is intended to be more of a support group (and you don't have to use exclusively CTMH products to join us)! All of my customers as well as my consultant team members are welcome to be a part of it. We will be meeting often so we can cheer each other on for our successes and motivate and share ideas with one another. Of course I will continue to have lots of products available for sale during our meetings in case you need anything, but our main objectives are to help each other get more scrapbooking and card-making done this year and to set aside some time together each month to accomplish that. I will also offer a Workshop on the Go each month to inspire you with creative new ideas each month.

3). To help us stay on track at completing 1 layout or 3 cards every 7 days (on average), we are going to be using a points reward system. Throughout the year I will reward you with points for your progress and then at the end of the year, I am going to have all kinds of great prizes for you to pick from and you get to purchase the rewards you want with your points! The participant who ends up with the most points at the end of the year will also win the grand prize – a CTMH gift basket valued at $50!! This grand prize is in addition to anything the top point earner wishes to purchase with all of their points, so the big winner is definitely gonna win big! This is going to be so fun (and should be a very motivating but friendly competition also I hope)!
To get a jump start, I am hosting a 2011 Challenge KICK-OFF!!

Stop by on New Year's Day between 4 and 6 pm to check out new products and sign up to be a part of the Friday Night Scrappers. You can also join us to make a small project with the new Wings paper and January Stamp of the Month. There will definitely be bonus points given to any Kick Off attendees. Our fist Friday Night Scrappers session will be Friday, January 28th.

Here is the breakdown for the points:

2 POINTS for every 2 pages or 3 cards completed

4 BONUS POINTS for each full month that you complete all of your cards or layouts for that month! (April, July, September and Decemeber will require 5 layouts or 15 cards because there are 5 Fridays in those months)

2 BONUS POINTS for each completed layout or set of 3 cards you’ve created using Studio J or a Level 1 or 2 kit.

2 BONUS POINTS for each completed layout or set of 3 cards you’ve created using a Workshops on the Go kit!

2 POINTS for every Friday Night Scrappers Club Crop you attend (4th Fridays)

2 POINTS for every $5 Creative Class you attend with me (dates vary, usually 3rd Friday at Garden City Library)

2 POINTS for bringing a new friend to any event (does this feel like Sunday School?)

1 POINT for each card that you donate to our collection for Operation Write Home (check their site for guidelines before making your cards)

I may come up with more ways for you to earn points as we go, but please notice that this system is NOT based on rewarding you for your purchases and for shopping with me, but rather rewards you for actually using the supplies you’ve purchased (by completing pages) and for joining me at my classes and events!!

Because attending Friday Night Scrappers and $5 Creative Classes demonstrates your commitment to your creative growth and getting more scrapping done this year, I am giving points for attending these events with me. Each Friday Night Scrappers Crop will be held at my home from 5 pm to 11 pm on the 4th Friday night of each month. By offering you this time with me on a regular and consistent basis, I am giving you the opportunity to schedule this activity on your calendar and take a break from your every day responsibilities so you can really focus on getting your scrapbooking and card-making done (amongst friends who share your same passion for creativity)! If you attend the Creative Class and Friday Night Scrappers, you will be well on your way to accomplishing your goals! I welcome scrap-bookers of all skill levels and preferences. Whether you like to elaborately stamp and embellish your pages or prefer the fast and easy Level 1 kits we offer, I hope you will make plans to join us. I do have wireless internet connection available here, so you can even bring your laptop to do your scrapbooking online with Studio J! Whatever way you choose to do your scrapbooking, we are gonna have so much fun getting together and supporting one another in our efforts! I want our group to be more than just a club that meets once a month. I want us to become a support group of close-knit friends who help and motivate one another and cheer each other on for our successes in scrapbooking and in life!

Of course (as always) you are welcome to bring friends!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wings Bookmark

This is my project for my New Year's day scrapping guests.  From the Close to my Heart Inspirations brochure, we are using Wings paper (X7135B), Find Your Style January Stamp of the Month (D1452), Vineyard Berry (Z2157), Black (Z2105) and Juniper (Z2165) Inks, and Black Mini Medley Pack (Z1393).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Poinsetta Card - Mistletoe Workshop

All products are Close to my Heart and can be purchased here. The design is Season's Greetings Card 3 from the Wishes book (9033). This card is made on Colonial White Cardstock (1388) and uses the Mistletoe Level 2 Paper Pack (X7130B), Cranberry Cardstock (1272), Colonial White Cardstock (1388), New England Ivy Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad (Z2135), Cranberry Exclusive INks Stamp Pad (Z2116), Mistletoe Level 2 Assortment (Z1330), and Holiday Trinkets My Acrylix Stamps (D1366). Also used: Tombow Mono Adhesive (1514), Sponge Daubers (Z726), My Acrylix Block (Y1003), and Piercing Tool Kit (Z1114).

Brush edges of card base, Colonial White cardstock, and B & T with New England Ivy Ink. Daub Colonial White cardstock with Cranberry and New England Ivy ink.  Adhere cranberry cardstock strip and B 7T to card base.  Pierce hole in middle of Colonial White cardstock and attach poinsetta.  Adhere Colonial White cardstock to Cranbery cardstock, then adhere entire piece to card.  Stamp with "Deck the Halls" sentiment.

Torn Peppermint Card - Mistletoe Workshop

All products are Close to my Heart and can be purchased here. The design is card 1 of the Season's Greetings Workshop from the Wishes book (9033). This card is made on Colonial White Cardstock (1388) and uses the Mistletoe Level 2 Paper Pack (X7130B), Cranberry Cardstock (1272), New England Ivy Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad (Z2135), Cranberry Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad (Z2116), Card Chatter -Christmas My Acrylix Stamp Set and Mistletoe Level 2 My Stickease Assortment (X7130C). Also used: Tombow Mono Adhesive (1514), Sponge Daubers (Z726),  My Acrylix Block (Y1002), and 3-D Foam Tape (Z1151).

Tear Cranberry Cardstock.  Stamp sentiment on B & T paper and inside card.  Adhere B & T paper and cardstock to card base.  Brush edges of card with Cranberry ink.  Adhere Santa and peppermint stickers to card.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tag Card - Mistletoe Card Workshop

All products are Close to my Heart and can be purchased here. The design is Designer Tag from the Wishes book (9033). This card is made on Colonial White Cardstock (1388) and uses the Mistletoe Level 2 Paper Pack (X7130B), New England Ivy Cardstock (1282), Cranberry Cardstock (1272), New England Ivy Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad (Z2135), Cranberry Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad (Z2116), Chocolate Waxy Flax(Z1088), Mistletoe Level 2 Assortment (Z1330), Cherished Flourishes My Acrylix Stamp Set D1413), and Mistletoe Level 2 My Stickease Assortment (X7130C). Also used: Tombow Mono Adhesive (1514), Sponge Daubers (Z726), My Acrylix Block (Y1008), and Piercing Tool Kit (Z1114).
Using Sponge daubers, brush edges of card base with Cranberry ink.  Cut tag using template in Wishes book.  Attach To/From Stickease to tag.  Stamp card using flourish stamps.  Adhere B & T paper to New England Ivy cardstock.  Wrap a double string of waxy flax around cardstock and B & T paper.  Pull waxy flax through tag and tie.  Adhere cardstock to card base.  Pierce hole in lower right corner of card and push snowflake brad through hole.  Secure in place.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fuzzy Santa Card - Mistletoe Workshop

All products are Close to my Heart and can be purchased here. The design is a modified version of It's a Wrap from the Wishes book (9033). This card is made on Colonial White Cardstock (1388) and uses the Mistletoe Level 2 Paper Pack (X7130B),  New England Ivy Cardstock (1282), Chocolate Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad (Z2111), New England Ivy Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad (Z2135), Watercolor Pencils (3505), Cranberry Grossgrain Ribbon (Z1103), Fun Flock (Z263) Share the Magic My Acrylix Stamp Set (D1443), and Mistletoe Level 2 My Stickease Assortment (X7130C).  Also used: Tombow Mono Adhesive (1514), Sanding Kit (Z1294), Waterbrush (1771), Sponge Daubers (Z726), Bonding Memories Glue Pen (Z553), My Acrylix Block (Y1008), and 3-D Foam Tape (Z1151).

Sand the edges and top of the New England Ivy cardstock.  Using a sponge dauber, brush the edges of the B & T paper.  Adhere cardstock and B & T paper to card base.  Adhere Cranberry ribbon to card.  Stamp Santa Claus on Colonial White cardstock using Chocolate ink.  Color Santa using watercolor pencils and brush with watercolor pen.  Brush Santa's beard, eyebrows, moustache, hat and cuffs with bonding memories glue.  Sprinkle Fun Flock over the glue and shake off excess.  Allow to dry.  Adhere Santa to card using 3-D foam tape.  Place My Stickease sentiment on bottom of card.

Gingerbread Man Card - Mistletoe Workshop

All products are Close to my Heart and can be purchased here. The design is Just Because Card 9 from the Wishes book (9033). This card is made on Colonial White Cardstock (1388) and uses the Mistletoe Level 2 Paper Pack (X7130B), New England Ivy Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad (Z2135), Cranberry Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad (Z2116), Cranberry Exclusive Inks Marker (Z2316), Liquid Glass (Z679) and Card Chatter - Christmas My Acrylix Stamps (D1388).  Also used: Tombow Mono Adhesive (1514), Stubble Brush from the Texture Tools set (Z1298) and 3-D Foam Tape (Z1151).  Gingerbread Men are cut from Desert Sand Cardstock (1273) using the Cricut.

Brush edges of all papers and card using Cranberry ink.  Using New England Ivy ink and stubble brush, ink the front of the card and Colonial White rectangle.  Adhere papers to card.  Stamp "Joy is not in things; it is in us" on card.  Outline face, arms, legs and buttons of gingerbread men using Cranberry marker.  Trace with Liquid Glass and let dry.  Adhere bottom gingerbread man to card.  Adhere top gingerbread man using 3-D foam tape.

Ornament Card - Mistletoe Workshop

All products are Close to my Heart and can be purchased here. The design is Just Because Card 8 from the Wishes book (9033). This card is made on Colonial White Cardstock (1388) and uses the Mistletoe Level 2 Paper Pack (X7130B), Cranberry Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad (Z2116), Authentic My Acrylix Stamps (D1401), Holiday Trinkets My Acrylix Stamps (D1366), Prisma Glitter (Z134), and Liquid Glass (Z679).  Additional chocolate ribbon used.

Stamp corners using Authentic corner stamp.  Using a sponge dauber, brush the edges of patterned papers with Cranberry ink.  Stamp "Deck the Halls" on top of upper paper.  Attach papers to card, leaving top edge of upper paper unattached.  Decorate ornament using Liquid Glass and glitter as desired.  When dry, attach ribbon to back of ornament and tuck other end of ribbon behind upper paper.  Adhere top of paper to card.  Ornament can be left unattached and it will move on the card.

Bell Card - Mistletoe Workshop

All products are Close to my Heart and can be purchased here. The design is Lucky Layers from the Wishes book (9033).  This card is made on Cranberry Cardstock (1272) and uses the Mistletoe Level 2 Paper Pack (X7130B), Mistletoe Level 2 My Stickease Assortment (X130C), New England Ivy Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad (Z2135), Cranberry Exclusive Inks Stamp Pad (Z2116) and Card Chatter - Christmas My Acrylix Stamps (D1388). 

Assemble strips of paper on card base.  Use scalloped border from Stickease Assortment for top row. Use bell or holly from Stickease for top right corner adornment. Use a corner rounder to round top right and bottom left corners of sentiment. Stamp outside with "It is Christmas in the heart..." and inside with "...that puts Christmas in the air." Brush edges of sentiment with New England Ivy ink using a sponge dauber. Brush edges of assembled card with ink if desired.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas Cards

I'm finally getting around to making Christmas cards after a very hectic move.  Who would have thought that a 45 mile move would be more chaotic than a move across the country?  My scrapbooking supplies are unpacked (who cares about the kithen supplies?) and I am busy making Christmas cards!  I will post more pics this weekend, but here is a sneak peek at one of my cards for my workshop this weekend.  It features my favorite Close to my Heart product at the moment, the Mistletoe papers.  I especially LOVE the New England Ivy music paper.  You can purchase the papers, embellishments, and inks at Close to my Heart.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hooligans Workshop

This week we are taking a break from card-making and working on a 2 page layout using the fun Hooligans paper and Workshop on the Go from Close to my Heart.  This paper is adorned with monsters, but it works for so much more than just Halloween! 

You can purchase the materials for this project at

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Another Satisfied Customer

I just had to share this post on Facebook by one of our customers:

YOU ARE THE BOMB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We got the invitations today and they are awesome. If anyone needs invitations, cards for bd or sympathy or anything let me know and I will hook you up with Curls & Grins Creations. She is fantastic!!!!!!
There you have it.  Another job well done. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Triple Play for National Stamping Month

ONE’S GOOD, TWO’S GREAT, and three’s best of all! Celebrate your love of stamping by using stamps to embellish the three mini albums in our exclusive National Stamping Month kit, Triple Play. With inks, stamps, albums, and pre-cut accents for stamping, you’ll complete all three albums in a jiffy. Since each album has its own color scheme, all three are unique and ready for many different kinds of photos. Make one for yourself and two to give away—if you can bear to part with them!

In honor of National Stamping Month, you can get huge discounts on the Triple Play kit when you purchase My Acrylix® stamps from your wish list, or get it free when you host a qualifying Gathering or become a Close To My Heart Consultant. Here are five ways to get this outstanding mini album kit: (Note: We’ve saved the best for last, so be sure to read all five!)

1. Buy the Triple Play kit for $29.95.
2. Purchase $25 in My Acrylix® stamps and get the Triple Play kit for just $15.
3. Spend $40 on My Acrylix stamps and get Triple Play for only $5!
4. Host a Gathering with sales of $300 or more and get Triple Play FREE!
5. Join Close To My Heart as a Consultant and get the kit FREE!

All at now through September 30th or while supplies last!

National Stamping Month is always fun, but this year you’ll get three times the excitement with Triple Play!

Triple Play Kit Contents

1 – My Acrylix® Love This Stamp Set
4 – Exclusive Inks® Mini Stamp Pads (Desert Sand, Hollyhock, Indian Corn Blue, and Sunset)
9 – 4" x 12" Panels (3 each of 3 color schemes)
3 – 6" x 12" Die-Cut Sheets
1 – 72" Length Colonial White Grosgrain Ribbon
3 – Hook and Loop Fasteners
1 –Brochure
Colors: Bamboo, Blush, Desert Sand, Garden Green, Hollyhock, Indian Corn Blue, Outdoor Denim, and Sunset

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Year's Supply of Cards

You could always tell which card came from my grandparents.  It was an 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" envelope with cute pictures on it and your name printed on the envelope.  As indicated on the back of the card, it was made with love by my grandma using her Christian greeting card program.  It was always personalized and included a Bible verse written by my grandpa.  Of course, there is always a $20 bill taped inside or a check at Christmas time. 

Shortly after my grandma went to be with her Lord in June, Grandpa asked me to make cards for him to send everyone on their birthdays and anniversaries.  At first it felt awkward to take on her task.  After some time, I felt honored.  He could have purchased cards at the store or learned to navigate the program.  Instead he chose me to carry on her task of sharing his sentiments with loved ones.  I attacked the task with great determination and have almost finished all of the cards, nearly 25 in all.  Just in time to begin Christmas cards...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2, 4, 6, 8 Who Do We Appreciate?

2, 4, 6, 8, who do I appreciate? It’s YOU, of course! I am shouting from the rooftops how much I love and appreciate you! It only makes sense to pass along my appreciation with amazing deals. So for 8 days, August 4 through August 11 (while supplies last), you can purchase select My Stickease® Assortments for only $2 US/CAN, My Reflections® Level 1 kits for only $4, and My Reflections® Level 2 paper packets for only $6 online. Visit my Close to my Heart website today to see these amazing deals for yourself. You’ll want to shout for joy, too!

Monday, August 2, 2010

July Blog Candy

Leanna West is the winner of July's blog candy!  Please email your mailing address to!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My New Friend

Today I met someone new.  I have seen him from afar many times and a few times we have even brushed shoulders, but never exchanged names.  I set out to meet this mysterious character about two weeks ago.  It was more difficult to coordinate our schedules than I expected.  Not wanting to show my desperation, I hoped for a chance encounter.  I knew he was in the same town, I just had to be in the right place at the right time.  When shopping at Wal*Mart and Target, I would linger in the aisles hoping to see him.  I knew his crowd and skirted around their edges, but he eluded me.  I am actually very close to several of his type, but I wanted to meet him for myself, on my terms.  When I got up this morning, I had a feeling today would be the day.  The girls and I set out on our adventure, but I didn't tell them exactly what we were doing.  I heard a rumor he would be at Michael's today so that was stop number one on my trip.  We entered the store discreetly like any other customer.  We cruised the aisles, casually looking at the scrapbooking supplies but constantly on the lookout for him.  I knew to look carefully because sometimes he seems almost transparent.  Not seeing him, I sauntered to the wedding aisle.  Just like at Wal*Mart, I saw his kind but he was not there.  Without revealing my urgency, I asked a store employee if she had seen him recently.  She said she had and instantly took me to where he had been.  We were several yards away and she stopped.  She could see that he was no longer there.  Sensing my disappointment, she took me over to the spot, telling me all about his good looks.  I didn't need her to tell me, I knew already.  About to give up, I glanced one more time and saw him!  We both had to do a double-take, but we both knew it was him!  I instantly grabbed him, threw some money at the cashier for my items and rushed home.  It wasn't until I was safe in my room that I actually looked him in the eyes.  He is currently resting on my bed.  I don't have the heart to tell my dear package of vellum paper the plans I have for him tomorrow.  I know that we won't be together long for I must share him, but we will always have our memories.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back to School Day 3

By day 3 we have found some things that work and some that don't.  Having the neighbor kids who are still on summer break ring the doorbell every half hour to see if my kids can play doesn't work.  Telling them that if they ring the doorbell again my kids will not be outside today does work.  Hanging a sign in the window to answer the dreaded question before the doorbell is rung the first time works even better.  Here are some more things that don't work:
  • Forgetting it's a school night and letting the kids stay up until 10 pm to watch a really good movie.
  • Looking at the clock at 6:30 pm and realizing that I haven't even thought about dinner.
  • Leaving the girls unsupervised in the bathroom to put on their own powder.
And some things that do work:
  • Letting each girl teach her younger sister's spelling/sight word lesson. (The older sister gets more benefit I think from relearning skills and gaining leadership ability).
  • Having each girl bring her blankie to the carpet when I am reading aloud.  Each has her own space and stays put.
  • Giving my easily-distracted kindergartner a sticker each time she accomplishes a task.
  • Letting my phone calls go to voice mail and returning the messages during independent study.
  • Praying constantly!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of school.  You may wonder why we started so early, but by the end of this entry you won't.  Everyone was very excited.  The girls each got a bag of the necessary supplies such as pencils, erasers, glue, scissors, and so on.  We learned last year to either color-code or label each girl's items to avoid confusion.  The day started simply and quietly with Bible and breakfast.  Things quickly digressed.  Our four-year-old, who was thrilled to begin kindergarten, decided that she wanted to go play when the language arts lesson began.  Our six-year-old second grader stomped her feet when she saw that her sister sat in the chair that she wanted to sit in.  Before I could say a word, our ten-year-old fifth grader was negotiating a compromise with her now cross-eyed sister.  Eager to avoid disaster on what was supposed to be a wonderful day, I attempted to   derail their discussion and get back on task.  When my attempts didn't work, I decided it was time for a break.  We had two unexpected errands that needed to be run that morning, so we all hopped in the car and smoothly, but slowly accomplished our tasks.  We had spent the night at our friends' house and by the time we returned, it was time to return home.  We ate lunch with them and loaded up to return home.  The older girls did some book work during the drive, but my new kindergartner thought it was nap time.  Not only did she sleep for the hour's drive back to Grandpa's house, but climbed into her bed and slept another four hours!  Eager to claim some of the remaining day, the rest of us gathered around the kitchen table and made dinner (wonderful lessons in math, culture, nutrition, etc).  After dinner, the girls and I went in their bedroom and read Genesis 1-3 and had a good discussion and prayer time before they went to bed.  We are ready for day 2!  We have plenty of work before us!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Basket Wedding Invitation

This is for a friend who wanted a "fun wedding invitation for simple people."  They are having a BBQ after the service, so I spun off of that theme.  The Splendor papers are from Close to my Heart and the flowers are from Celebrate It.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tell Me What You Think!

Tell me what you think of my website and be entered to win a free stamp set from Close to my Heart!  Here's how:

1) Log on to and click on the shop online tab to browse around
2) Come back here and tell us about your favorite product

A winner will be chosen from all comments on August 1st.  Winner will be announced here on August 1st, so come back to see if it's you!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Mean Mom

The Mean Mom.  I wear the title proudly.  Prouder than Superman wears his "S."  I think I may even have a T-shirt made with that on the front.  It didn't happen overnight, but there have been glimmers of it as long as I have been a mom.  My husband and I agreed early on that our daughters wouldn't wear things as toddlers that we would say no to when they were older.  No tops that show your belly, one-piece swimsuits only, no short shorts, and on and on.  So far it has worked.  We have been consistent with our expectations and the girls have made responsible choices.  Our daughters have chosen to wear shorts over their swimsuits because just a swimsuit wasn't enough for their taste.

The Mean Mom doesn't stop at clothing choices.  Television, movies, activities, how they spend their allowance, and now even friends are subject to scrutiny.  We don't usually just say no.  We ask questions and encourage our children to make choices.  Is that (show/movie/activity/friend) building your character?  Are the characters in that show demonstrating the values you want to have?  Is this really how you want to spend your money knowing that it will take you time to earn more?  Is that friend encouraging you to make good choices or influencing you to make bad choices?  Is this a place where people will be making choices that you want to make or a place that would be better to avoid.  I am happy to say that most of the time, our girls make choices that we are happy with.  Sometimes, we discuss their choices and guide them to a better choice.  This often happens with activities they share with friends.  Occasionally, we let them go down a wrong path and experience the consequences.  Once when we were driving, the girls didn't want to drink the water we had in the car.  Instead they bought sodas at the gas station.  Later, we stopped for ice cream and the girls didn't have money to buy any.  Cruel?  Not really.  Did they drink the free water next time?  Yes, and they had money for ice cream at the end of the trip.  Lesson learned.  You must live within a budget and that means making choices.  I didn't care if they used their money to buy the soda or the ice cream, I just don't want them blindly spending money as if there is no limit.

I recently overheard my oldest daughter telling the younger two that I'm not really a mean mommy.  I love them and I'm teaching them to make good choices.  She also said, "the neighbor's mom is nice, but those girls don't make very good choices because she lets them do things they shouldn't do."  Occasionally, my daughter even tells me that she is glad that I take the time to help her make good choices.  Once she asked me to help her find the perfect husband when she is ready to get married.  I think by then she won't need my help as much as she thinks she does now.

**For the record, we have amended the dress code.  Who knew that our 10-year-old would have legs so long that the only thing long enough to be modest would be bermuda shorts?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Today I heard about a man whose wife wanted a divorce after 42 years of marriage.  They still love each other and spend time together, they just live in seperate houses.  He didn't like the way she decorated the house and she didn't like his collection of stuff in the garage, so they ended the marriage.  Huh?  Really?

My husband and I have been married for 12 years and dated for 4 years before that.  In our marriage, we have been apart more than together.  Between his service in the army, working nights while I worked days, a contracting job in Iraq, and truck driving, I have hardly seen my best friend.  We have racked up countless hours on the phone and text message between calls.  We both cried along with the kids when his face appeared on the computer thanks to Yahoo Messenger.  We cherish the time we have together because we know the pain of being apart.  When my husband is home (or within driving distance), the world stops for me and nothing else matters.  We look forward to date nights, even when we end up going grocery shopping or watching a movie at home.  I am also looking forward to the time when kissing each other goodnight doesn't just happen once a week.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Retreat

Where is your summer retreat?  Is it at the local park or swimming pool?  Do you have a home away from home at the beach or in the mountains?  Maybe it's as simple as in your backyard or your craft room.  For my family this summer, it is the local library.  My girls and I LOVE to read.  I enjoy walking the aisles and just reading the titles, dreaming of the places the pages could take me.  I say "could" because I have so much to do that I am lucky to finish a magazine at the moment.  My first real job was at the local library shelving books.  Now, twenty years later, I am taking my children to the same library for the summer reading program. 
This particular program offers prizes for reading, weekly programs, and introduces children to a variety of books.  There are ample  librarians and volunteers to help my girls choose just the right books for their interests and abilities.  Also available at this branch are public computers, movies and music to check out, lots of sitting room, and games to play.  Our plan of attack is usually for the girls to get their materials first, then they can look through their books while I browse the selection.  Our general rule is that each girl can check out 5 items per visit.  They each have a bag and are responsible for keeping their items in their bag.  I often check books out that I would like the girls to read also, because I like it or it is relevant to a topic we are studying, or some other reason.
Sometimes I allow the girls to check out a movie as an extra treat.  Each library has a different procedure for checking out audio visual (AV) materials.  This library charges per item or patrons can join the AV club for $25 annually, allowing you to check out DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, and other AV materials without a per item charge.  The monies collected are used to purchase new AV materials.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Temporary Hiatus

How quickly life changes!  We packed up and headed to California to help my grandma during her chemotherapy sessions.  She found out less than two months ago that she had bladder cancer.  Last night, my grandmother went to be with her Lord.  I am taking some time to help my grandpa deal with things, but I hope to get back to my things soon!  For now, he is "my thing."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cards for Cancer

W recently found out that my grandma has cancer.  The girls and I are busy making cards to take with us when we go to visit her. The cards will be distributed to cancer patients and families.  Maybe today you can make something for someone in need.  We will post pics soon!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cherry-O Workshop on the Go

Directions and materials to make four scrapbook pages, 12 cards, and have some left over!
2 Kit Options:

Basic Kit ($29.95 item number G1008) includes Bowl of Cherries stamp set, Cherry-O Level 2 paper pack, Mini-Medleys Accent Tulip Kit, and Workshop Guide
Best Option: order the basic kit and add chocolate waxy flax ($3.95 item Z1088) and/or Colonial White Designer Brads ($3.95 item Z1274)
To complete this workshop, you also need inks and acrylic blocks.  I would purchase Sweet Leaf (item Z2153), Chocolate (item Z2111) and Tulip (item Z2166) inks. The paper colors are Blush, Colonial White, Chocolate, Crystal Blue, Sweet Leaf and Tulip.  Suggested blocks include 1" by 1 1/2" (item Y1001), 2" x 2" (item Y1003) and 1" by 6 1/2" (item Y1005).  To complete the words "a sweet life," the artist used stamp set Field Trip Alphabet (item E1013),
Email me at or shop at Prices do not include tax or shipping/handling.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Father's Day Air Freshener

Here is a simple gift for Father's Day or any day!  Make an air freshener using two gift tags.

Most materials from Close to my Heart: Passages Papers, Wonderful Friend Stamp Set, Colonial White and Cocoa cardstock, Cocoa ink, pewter brad, and waxy flax.  To make the air freshener, Before adhering two tags back to back, place a small piece of tissue with a little fragrance oil on it between the tags.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Reveal Day!

Go to to check out Close to my Heart's new summer products!  Leave a comment here about your favorite new product and you may get a little something in the mail!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 3 Papers and Stamps Preview

Here is a sample of the Passages paper kit with the Wonderful Friend Stamp Set.  While the papers are available beginning May 1st at, this stamp set is available from June 1st - 30th only.  These work well together for Father's Day or any other masculine card or page.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mother's Day Cards

Want a Mother's Day card with a personal touch?  My girls are selling cards for $2.50 (includes postage).  I will post pics tonight.  Email me at to order!

Happy Forever and Splendor - A Perfect Match!

Day two of preview week (and National Scrapbooking Week).  Today I used the stamp set Happy Forever with the papers Splendor.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Seize the Day Card

Made with Cherry-O paper pack and Something Splendid Stamp Set (August Stamp of the Month) from

Cherry-O Paper Pack

Summer Product Preview!  Cherry-O Paper Pack! Chocolate, Crystal Blue, Sweet Leaf and Tulip.  This paper makes me think of cherry limeade at Sonic's!  There is also a recipe card kit available in this paper.

Purchase at (beginning May 1st).

A Miracle Awaits You!

You'll love our pretty Miracle Kit designed exclusively for National Scrapbooking Month!  This charming scrapbooking kit featuring spring-inspired colors and floral patterns is miraculously easy to assemble with no stamping required.  The brochure will guide you through easily creating 2 beautiful 2 page layouts.  There are several ways to get this kit at a great discount or even FREE!  For more details or to order, go to today!Valid through May 31st or while supplies last.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cards for Auction

Tomorrow our church is auctioning items to raise money for kids to go to camp.  We made two sets of 10 cards each to donate to the auction.  You can buy your own set of 10 cards for $12 (plus $4.95 shipping).  The sets we made are all occassion cards (with a couple of thank you and/or birthday in each set) but you can specify if you want certain sentiments (such as thank you or birthday).  Email me if you are interested.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Scrap Birthday Party

What better time to have a birthday?  My birthday shares its week with two other important events: Close to my Heart releases its Summer 2010 Idea Book on May 1st and it is National Scrapbooking Week!  So, to celebrate, I am having a Scrap Birthday Party.  Even if you did not get a personal invitation, you may attend at my website!  You can go there now, but the new products won't be visible until May 1st (the suspense is killing me!).  Just to give you a little taste, here is the cover of the new Idea Book.  Come back here every day for another sample of what is to come!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Two Weeks of Scrapbooking

The scrapbooking room isa happy place for the girls and I and this is a happy season! We have spent a lot of time in the scrapbooking room this week and the coming week will have us there even more. Last week we made 20 cards which we gave to a friend as wedding gift. Then on Friday we prepped materials for 120 cards for a church event. With the help of several ladies at church, we finished the cards on Saturday so a team could deliver them on Sunday to local firefighters and law enforcement as thanks for their service to our community. With that behind us, we are looking forward to our upcoming projects. This week we will be making 12 seed packets for our swap. Then we will be making sample projects for my Scrap Birthday Party and prepping materials for the attendees. Pictures will be coming soon...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Spring is coming and the cleaning has begun. I am purging things that we have not used or unpacked since our move over the summer. I am also trying to get rid of things that simply take up space. The girls are getting on my bandwagon of downsizing and simplifying. Even our DD 4yo has been going through her clothes and toys to put them into the "give-away" box for the local thrift store. Tonight we went through a box of toys that we still had packed up from our move. It contained mostly Little People toys which we began listing on eBay. We will use the proceeds from the sales to purchase homeschool materials for next school year. Check out our sales!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Collecting Postcards

My girls are doing a cursory study of the United States. We have put a wall map up and are eagerly awaiting postcards from around the country. Last summer we took a road trip from our then-home of California to Florida where we stopped for a week, then to Missouri where we spent another week, and then back home to California. I think we visited 14 states all together. I prepared a packet before the trip so that we could learn about each state as we drove through. As we drove, the girls followed our journey on an atlas, finding the highways, points of interest, and major cities. Because they love art, I had them draw things they saw along the trip as well as taking photographs. I am pleased with how much the girls still remember from the trip. Another thing I do to help the girls learn the states (and a few countries) is to point out the places on a map where our friends live. When letters or emails arrive, I have the girls find the location of origin on the map. It is helpful as we begin this study. Our lesson had us label California, Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, Maine, Washington, and our home state. With all of our casual studying of the map in the past, I only had to point out Maine. Mission accomplished!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Check out our store!

We will be adding inventory regularly, so check back often!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Close to my Heart Spring Product Preview

This Saturday I will be hosting my Spring Product Preview for Close to my Heart.  We will be creating a 10-minute project using new papers, stamps and embellishments.  You will also be able to sample projects using the new products.  Take home a new idea book and some extra little goodies.  Bring a friend so she can get some goodies too!

Now I understand that many of you are not in my neighborhood but want in on some of the deals.  Check out my Close to my Heart website for some great offers, such as the Felicity kit and the stamp of the month.

In light of the recent earthquake in Haiti, a portion of every order this weekend will be donated to relief efforts.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Correspondence Day

Today is our first Correspondence Day.  I am planning that every Wednesday we will write to three or four people.  Today is an interesting mix of people.  The first person on the list is my grandpa.  He will be having knee replacement surgery next Friday in California.  We are unable to travel to be with him, so we will send our love in a box.  The next family on the list came as a chance meeting just before Christmas.  They were in a car accident and we stopped to help.  Because they used my phone, we have been able to stay in contact.  The third person is someone who my husband has known since childhood.  She is in a rehab facility due to recently breaking her hip.  The fourth person on the list is a friend of the girls' that we haven't written to since we moved.  We can't wait to start writing and drawing!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Big Change

Just like everyone else, our daughters' school is a victim of budget cuts.  They attend a virtual school through the state department of education.  Tomorrow is the last day of school unless we would like to pay $500 per student, per semester course to continue.  Unable to afford that bill, we have chosen an alternate program.  We chose My Father's World, a thematic Christian program.  Our girls will start year one of the cycle on Monday.  They will be studying countries and cultures through the eyes of missionaries around the world.  Each girl gets a passport that we will stamp along the journey.  They got to see their daddy's passport today from when he traveled to Iraq and compare it to their passports.  I am thrilled because we will be working together as we learn instead of each child studying something different.  With other programs I am jumping between biomes and classifying minerals, mapping the community and European history.  This allows for much more learning time and less planning/prep time.  There is also more planned out for me, which allows me more time for other things.  Rest assured, math and language arts are assigned based on ability.  We can't wait for tomorrow!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Close to my Heart Spring Product Preview

Saturday, January 16th from 11am to 1 pm in Cass County, MO.  Email me at for directions!

Please feel free to drop by anytime between 11am and 1pm to pick up your FREE Idea Book and to see all the latest and greatest new products in person. RSVP's aren't required but are appreciated if possible.

Let me show you how to create a FREE make-and take project using all-new papers, stamps, and embellishments (this project should take you about 10 minutes and I will provide everything you need to make it). We also have a great National Papercrafting Month special you might like to see and take advantage of (the very lovely Felicity kit)! Please RSVP and/or bring a friend to get extra free gifts from me (you can choose from cards and small handmade goodies)! I will have extra gifts and incentives available for anyone who wishes to book a home gathering, join my workshop club, or start their own workshop club/group with me in the near future!

There will also be a drawing for FREE product from our new line!

If you can't attend, I still welcome you to give me a call so we can set up a time for you to see our new products.

You can shop 24/7 at!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Enjoying the snow

Baby doll is usually unwilling to try anything new.  She always has liked to sit and watch more than participate.  All on her own, she put on her snow gear and joined her sisters in the snow.  She was laughing as much as anyone else, even participating in a snow ball fight.

New Year's Resolutions

Here are our resolutions for this year:
  1. Get our schoolwork done on time.
  2. Get our chores done without mom and dad complaining.
  3. Keep our rooms cleaner.
  4. Make friends in our new town.
What are yours?