Nov 17, 2012

Scrapbook Process: Gratitude Journal

After posting several recipes, I thought it should be time for a paper crafting project!  This weekend I am finishing up a Gratitude Journal that was devised from combining two different online ideas. This will be my own personal gratitude journal; I have been working on it for a couple weeks.

 The idea of using a type of tag book was from this Scrapbook Showgram by Sandy Genovese.  (FYI - watch now if interested in this tutorial; her episodes are only accessible for a short time unless you are a Gold member)  In this episode, Sandy demonstrates how to create a Thanksgiving Tag Book by making your own oversized tags with a simple template and a cute box/cover in which to store it.  For my tag book, I included more pages so that I had one for each day of November.  I haven't decided if I will make the box for it or not.

Instead of filling my tag book with just journaling, I found this great 30 Day Photo Gratitude Challenge on Pinterest.  This idea is originally from and is a complilation of 30 items, one assigned daily to photograph.  I didn't follow this list exactly, but it was a fantastic starting point for me to take photos of things of which I am grateful and may not have made the effort to photograph otherwise. From my second photo of the tag book, you can see that I embellished the inside cover, but kept the pages simple and uncluttered, ready to put a cropped photo and journaling on each page. There are 15 pages; once you go through the first 15 days, you flip the book for the second 15 days. The paper was from a "grab bag special" from Close to My Heart a couple years ago and it was the perfect subtle fall theme for this book.  Printing photos and journaling is on tap for this weekend!

I hope this gives you an idea of how to make a simple Gratitude journal for yourself, or to make one for each family member or guest to write in their gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day!

Nov 16, 2012

Pin Made Creations: Tasty Cereal Bars: Easy to Make!

Have you ever purchased a box of cereal and see a recipe on the side that may sound good, but you never get around to making it before the box is thrown away?  That's me too.  However, this week I actually made a recipe that was on the side of my youngest son's favorite cereal, Chocolate Cheerios.  It's like making Rice Krispie treats, but with probably one extra step.  And a couple more ingredients.

When my oldest son Matt likes something, then I am doing pretty good.  Getting a hug for making these tasty cereal bars was a bonus!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cereal Bars
(courtesy of General Mills)

Prep time:  15 minutes
Total time:  30 minutes
Makes 24 bars

5 cups Chocolate Cheerios cereal
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup salted peanuts
1 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Spray 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray.  In large bowl, combine cereal, raisins, and peanuts; set aside.  In 2-quart saucepan, place corn syrup and sugars.  Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter.  Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal mixture; mix until thoroughly coated.  Spread evenly in pan.  In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips on High 1 minute, stirring every 15 seconds, until melted and smooth.  Drizzle over bars.  Refrigerate 15 minutes or until chocolate is set.  (To drizzle chocolate: place melted chocolate chips in resealable plastic bag.  Cut off small piece of corner; drizzle chocolate over bars.)

NOTE:  At first, I was not going to add the raisins; I thought it an odd addition. Since I hadn't made these before, I went according to the recipe, and the raisins do add another subtle flavor to the bars.  The kids didn't even notice the raisins were there.  I would suggest using the bag tip for drizzling the chocolate; I decided to just drizzle with a spoon, but ended up with big blops of chocolate and had to use a knife to spread the chocolate evenly over the bars. Finally, I cut the rest of the bars in thin rectangles instead of squares, thinking that when unwrapping, it would be easier to eat.

Be sure to try these and add them to your kid's lunches or give them for their school snack.  This recipe is the equivalent of buying four boxes of the other General Mills cereal snacks, which could run about $12. All the ingredients of this recipe were in my cupboard, with the exception of buying a new box of cereal and the bag of chocolate chips, so for me it was a cost of $5.

Nov 12, 2012

Pin Made Creations: A Flavorful Weekend

It felt a little more like fall this weekend -- even though the temps were still a little warm here in Texas, it must have been the time change that brought about my flurry of wanting to make warm foods.

The first comfort food on the list was Chicken Tortilla Soup.  This is actually the first time I have ever made this soup!  Certain foods I am always nervous to try, because when it comes to flavorful Mexican cuisine, my hubs is extremely picky. This recipe was found in my stash, and it looked so easy I figured I would give it a try.  Believe it or not -- it was easy and a real success!  The hubs found it delicious.  If he found it tasty, then I knew it was safe to share.

NOTE:  The recipe is actually called "Chicken Tortilla Stew" and I realized that after simmering, since the "soup" was very thick.  Since I wanted more of a soup than a stew, I just added one more can of chicken broth than is listed here in the recipe.  I also couldn't find the required 10 oz. cans of the enchilada sauce, so the two 15 oz cans that I did buy worked fine.  Just more flavor.  Of course, you can use different temps of enchilada sauce, depending on the taste buds in your house.  Oh, and I also used the suggested rotisserie chicken, and that was superb tasting and easier to do.

This recipe makes enough for about two 4-5 serving meals.  Well worth it.

Chicken Tortilla "Stew" 

4-5 cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, or 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 6 cups)
3 cans (14 oz. each) reduced-sodium chicken broth (add one more if you want a thinner consistency)
2 cans (10-15 oz each) mild red or green chili enchilada sauce
1 can evaporated milk
2 cups matchstick or shredded carrots
I cup uncooked long or medium grain rice
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (depending on your taste)
2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
1-1/2 cups broken tortilla chips
Fresh cilantro leaves, sliced green onions (optional)

Combine:  broth, enchilada sauce, evaporated milk, carrots, rice and cumin in large pot.  Cook over medium-high heat until mixture begins to simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender.  Add chicken and corn; stir well.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon into serving bowls; top with tortilla chips, cilantro and green onions, if desired.  (Shredded cheese is a good option too)

Second on the list was a rerun of another successful recipe of Banana Nut Bread that I found on Pinterest.  Oh. My.Word.  This is absolutely the BEST Banana Nut Bread I have ever made (and I have made a lot of different recipes!)  It is so moist and so flavorful --it is just divine.  My all time favorite treat with coffee in the morning.  The first time I made this, the loaf was gone in one day.  This weekend I made one loaf and a tray of mini loaves, and it's all gone after two days.  It's that good!

So a thankful shout out to Janet -- the original poster of this recipe on  You have made my family very, very happy.

Janet's Rich Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 medium bananas, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x5" loaf pan.  In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the butter mixture until smooth.  Finally, fold in the sour cream, walnuts and banana.  Spread evenly into the prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

NOTE:   A stick of baking margarine was used instead of butter, and my vanilla was imitation, but it did not alter the delicious result.  My choice is to use very ripe bananas, which I think helps with the moistness of this recipe. For my second batch, the bananas here at home were not very "over ripe", so I sliced two bananas into a microwavable bowl and cooked it on high for 30 seconds to get them a little softer.  After cooling, I added to the recipe.  When baking the mini loaves, I checked them after 30 minutes and they were done perfectly.

Hopefully you will have a chance to try one of these recipes!  Enjoy!

Oct 19, 2012

Product Review: The Bzz About Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing!

As a BzzAgent, I have received samples or coupons in order to try this product.  The opinions and commentary about the product are totally my own. I promise!  

This week I tried another new recipe on my family:  Original Ranch Broiled Chicken, using Hidden Valley Ranch dressing and seasoning mix.  Our family has always been users of ranch dressing, but only for salads or as a dip. To be honest, I have never used the seasoning mix packets before, but with my Bzz Kit, I received two packets to try, along with a recipe card for this amazing looking chicken dish:

Photo of Original Ranch Broiled Chicken from

Not only was this an easy recipe, but it turned out fabulous!  The chicken was moist with a tasty, flavorable, but not overstated ranch taste.  Even my picky teenager, who swears that he doesn't like ranch dressing, loved the chicken.  It was definitely a "winner-winner-chicken-dinner" for us and a recipe I will use again!  

The Hidden Valley Ranch website ( has many recipes to try, so this will not be my first. One idea I have to try:  use the seasoning packet as flavoring for popcorn!  

P.S. -- I used a piece of leftover chicken to make a chicken sandwich: warm chicken with provolone cheese on a toasted wheat bun with lettuce, tomato and a dollop of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing! More yum!

Do you use Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix?  What do you like to make?  

Oct 6, 2012

Pin Made Creations: Precious and Few

Hi again!  Another card is finished ... this one I scraplifted from Sandy at the Paper Crafts Magazine blog that was posted today.  Click HERE to see Sandy's card that was my inspiration.  Her card is also repinned  to my board, Cards I Must Make on Pinterest.

Pretty yellow pattern paper, like Sandy used, never seem to be something that I have on hand, so I decided to try another color.

I also didn't have any pretty black ribbon, so I found some fun fibers to come up with something similar.  

What cards are you scrapping today?

Pin Made Creations: World Card Making Day!

Happy World Card Making Day!  I am dedicating "me time" this weekend to make cards with the rest of the paper craft world!  I started last night (woohoo!) and to get the mojo going, I thought I would try Pin-making a couple cards I repinned on my "Cards I Must Make" board on Pinterest.

Here is my first card.  Below the card is the original post with the original card:

See original card here: Sarah's Just Visiting

I loved the border on Sarah's card and since I couldn't replicate it exactly, I put my own spin on it and then flipped the sketch.  

The second card got me going on my Cuttlebug, which I need to use more often.  This was a vertical card, which I should do more often too! 

See original card here:  Simple and Sincere

Jen is a Stampin' Up rep and she has many gorgeous stamped cards on her website, in addition to many card sketches!  My card doesn't do justice to hers, but I loved the sketch.  I want to add a ribbon on it, but am refraining because simple is good.  

Finally, the last one I did last night:

See original card here:  Splitcoast Stampers - Wendy

I think this is my favorite of the three. This card took me the longest to finish; I was determined to use paper scraps and it took some time to find scraps and coordinating inks in my stash.

More to come -- I'm on a roll and I desperately need a variety of cards for my stash.  A good reason to celebrate all weekend, right?

There are so many beautiful cards and ideas on Pinterest!  Remember to be courteous: if you Pin-make anything you see on Pinterest, give credit to the original poster/blogger.  Notice I didn't put my watermark on these photos, because even though I put my own spin on them, they aren't necessarily my original work.

Sep 29, 2012

Pin Made Creations: Blonde Brownie Goodness

We've had a sweet tooth lately at Casa Vallejo.  This time I made a batch of Blonde Brownies with chocolate chips for the Hubby, who is so good to me and loves a warm chocolate chip cookie!  These brownies turned out nice and gooey since I used a whole bag of chips.

This recipe I have had since the dark ages; I was in my early 20s when a group of single gals at work were collecting and trading recipes. We wanted to be ready  for the day when we would get married and cook everything we would put in our mouths by scratch.  While cooking by scratch didn't quite happen when I was that young, I did get some great go-to dessert recipes like this one.  Thanks goes to Vicki Milsap --  it'still a hit and it's going on Pinterest!

Blonde Brownies

2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup melted margarine
dash salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2-3/4 cup all purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
chocolate chips  (I used a 12 oz bag)

Melt margarine and cream it with the brown sugar.  Add salt, vanilla and eggs and mix.  Add flour and baking powder and mix.  Add chocolate chips.  Bake brownies in a 9 x 13 pan (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes but no longer.

Sep 27, 2012

Card Making Process: Essential Cards with Authentique

The last time I was able to make a stop at Archivers, I found this great 6" x 6" paper pad by Authentique called the "Essentials Collection."  It's a good buy because there are sample papers from four different lines from Authentique:  Journey, Blissful, Uncommon and Splendid.

From this selection, I challenged myself to coordinate several patterned papers and to use colors that I don't normally choose:

The first card was just that; I used some Blissful to make the yellow and black card.  I rarely use black for the card base, and yellow never seems to be on my scrapping radar, so this was a good stretch.  The ribbon keeps it a little feminine, since I used flowered paper:

The second card was using blues from Journey and creating a card with patterned paper that already had a preprinted sentiment.  I added some of my own little daisies to add more dimension, in addition to the paper strips and button at the top:  

I hope that gives you some new ideas and a little encouragement to try something new.  My next project is to tackle scraplifting some of the awesome cards on Pinterest!  

Sep 26, 2012

Pin Made Creations: Microwave Apple Crunch

Last evening, everyone was craving something sweet. Well, my teenager had the craving, and I am always game for sweets!

Time to create my own Pin for Pinterest!  Based on what I had on hand in my pantry, I devised this quickie recipe for Microwave Apple Crunch that was a hit with the teenager and everyone else.  It resulted in delicious soft apples and raisins in a creamy carmel-like sauce.  Adding a little whipped cream didn't hurt either!  Perfect for the beginning of autumn.  Delish!

"Casa Vallejo" Microwave Apple Crunch

6 apples (I used 3 Granny Smith and 3 Red Delicious apples I had on hand)
1 Tbl lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
2 pads of butter or margarine
1 Tbl all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon (I used a little more 'cause I love it!)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (or less or none, depending on your taste)
dash of salt
small handful of raisins
granola of choice.

Peel, core and slice apples.  Put in a microwaveable bowl and sprinkle the lemon juice on the apples; mix well.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the granola.  Mix well.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes.  Mix well again.  Microwave another minute to 1-1/2 minutes, depending on how soft you want the apples.

Serve immediately into bowls, add your favorite granola (I used a Cascadian Farms brand that had almonds)  and some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if you wish!  Serves 4-6.


Sep 25, 2012

Pin Made Creations: Mini Frittatas from Pinterest

Let's assume that ANYTHING made from Pinterest is crafty.  Including food.

I made my first Pinterest-inspired recipe this past week and it was a big hit with my family.  That is an accomplishment, especially when it comes to food and four different preferences and tastes.

Here is the original pin which I have on my Pinterest Food board:

Here is my finished product:

Sorry, my photos are not the best and I didn't take time to make the food pretty and photo worthy -- I was just so excited that the frittatas turned out this nice!  We enjoyed these scrumptuous mini frittatas for supper with hashbrowns and English muffin toast with homemade jam.  Delish. 

Besides the hubs, I have a 15 and 9 year old, both growing boys, and both of whom love to eat a lot if I make something that they like.  The key is making something for the evening meal that everyone likes.  And it must have meat.

I made these frittatas in the large muffin size pans, not a regular muffin pan (that holds 12) as the blogger probably used.  I doubled the amount of eggs and milk to fill my two pans. Everyone made their own frittata from provided ingredients, including precooked Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles, Oscar Meyer Real Bacon Recipe Pieces, green pepper, tomato and shredded cheddar cheese. Once they chose their ingredients and put them in the pan, I added the egg mixture until each well was two-thirds full.  Good thing I used two pans -- these were quick to be eaten!

From the teenager when I finally asked, "How do you like them?" he replied, "I'm not. I am thoroughly enjoying them."  From my 9 year old I just got a smile and a nod, since his mouth was very, very full.  The  Hubs really liked them too -- and he is the one that I always want to impress.  Score for the Wife on this one!

To follow me on Pinterest, click on the Pinterest button on the right side of my webpage.  More "Pin-Made" to come!

Jul 5, 2012

Card Making Process: Basic Grey Card Challenge

I subscribe to Pamela Young's blog and I am always amazed at her creativity on layouts and cards!  There is always some new idea that I come away with after visiting.  Pamela posted her card creation that was highlighted on the 7/2/2012 Basic Card Sketch on the Basic Grey blog and I just loved it!  Since I hadn't posted in an online challenge for awhile, I thought I'd dig out some Basic Grey and get to work!

I used papers from the 6"x6" "Pyrus" paper pad.  I love the color combos of this pad, and since I had to make a birthday card for my father-in-law, I thought the paper worked out great:

And once I got started with the paper, I did two additional cards:

(The medallion was from the stash I did earlier and also from Basic Grey paper!)  

Basic Grey is one of my favorite paper companies, and it was good for the mojo to get out their product and work with this challenge sketch!

Jul 3, 2012

Frugal Scrapbooking: Get into the Paper Stash!

Are you a "paper hoarder" like I am?  I have always loved paper, every since I was a young girl.  Stationery with matching envelopes, coordinating stickers, notebooks, journals . . . . it's no wonder I love scrapbooking and card making!  I admire all the many varieties of paper, and it is usually the item that I stock up and hoard more than anything else in the scrapbooking store aisles.

This summer, I actually set a paper crafting goal -- to dig out paper that I have been "hoarding" and make myself use them in projects!  (Easier said than done!) This past week, I found a DCWV 4" x 6" paper pad in my stash called "Once Upon a Time" that I had not touched.

It is girly paper, and I knew I would never use it for my boy layouts.  Since I was in a card making mood, I went through the pack and tore out all the papers that I could see on cards, then I looked through my other paper box and found solid card stock pieces that coordinated with the printed paper.  After three days, I have enough cards to give or to sell as sets!  Here is what I came up with:

The card layouts are fairly simple, but in this case, I wanted to highlight the gorgeous patterns of the paper that went from "fairy tale" to more feminine, girlfriend cards.  I am glad that I finally used this paper pack, and I'm very happy with the results!  

Jun 27, 2012

Sketch Work: Chevrons and Scraps

Today I am being "differently" creative!  I had a few layouts sketched out, so I decided that today was a good day to digitize them so that they can be freely shared.  (Besides, it is going to be another scorcher in Texas -- high of 102 degrees!  A good reason to stay in and be creative!)

Feel free to use and share, although I would love it if you would leave a link below so that I can see your creation!

Here is a sketch with a focus on the popular chevrons:

Sketch #2

And another one, designed to use scraps of wonderful patterned paper that are hard to throw away!

Sketch #3


Jun 26, 2012

Frugal Scrapbooking: Embellishments by the Bulk

I love medallions -- they are fun to make and add some dimension to your cards and scrapbook layouts!  I have been making them for awhile now, but I loved the article in the new issue of Cardmaker magazine (pages 42-44) that gave some techniques and ideas for making medallions in different variations.

After reading the article, I got jazzed again to make medallions, so I decided to make some in "bulk" to use on future projects.  (That way I only had to get my glue gun out once!)  I left buttons and other embellishments off so that I can do customization when I use them later.  

There are step by step instructions in the article, but here is my way for making standard size medallions:  
  • Use a 12" strip of paper, anywhere from 3/4" to 1-1/2" wide.  The wider the strip, the bigger the finished medallion.  (I find 3/4" - 1" size are great for cards, larger sizes for pages and projects)
  • Score paper strip at every 1/4 inch.  For a wider set medallions, do 1/2 inch increments on 1-1/2" wide strips. 
  • Try a more lightweight printed paper or card stock -- although you have to score more carefully, they do seem to work to shape better.
After scoring:
  • Overlap the ends of the strip to make a ring, using super sticky double stick tape to adhere the ends.  (I know some crafters prefer hot glue, glue dots or even staples, but I find the tape works best for me at this step.)  1" wide strips are good for beginners.  
  • Punch a 1" circle, laying on a gluing mat.  Add a nice dollop of hot glue.  
  • Take your paper strip ring and carefully press it into shape, adhering it to the glued circle.  Hold in place until glue starts to dry, then set aside until completely dry. 
  • Embellish with buttons, pins, hardware, ribbon -- ideas are endless! 
Other ideas:
  • Try border punching your strip first for some nice edging, or using a striped paper for some fun circles.  
  • Add as a fun embellishment to frames, banners, and wreaths.  
  • Attach ribbon to a medallion to make a badge for someone to wear for a special occasion.  

Have fun and feel free to comment below on what worked for you!

Jun 24, 2012

Card Making Process: Trying out Washi Tape

I just picked up the new July issue of Cardmaker -- LOVE that magazine!  I went right to work on a couple of the ideas to make my own simple cards.  

The first one I "scraplifted" was from page 34 that was made from the popular Washi tape.  I didn't have much tape here at home but had a small package of three colors that I could try with this card.  I went with a khaki card instead of their white option:

I love ribbon, and I think that this Washi tape is going to be my next addiction!  So fun and easy!

The next card I chose to recreate was from page 36, called "Scrappy Birthday."  I did a little twist on it, and this is the result:

I used papers from the Garden Party matstack from DCWV and thought it followed their theme well.  

This July issue has so many projects I plan to try -- good thing it is summer time so I have more free time to make cards and fill up my stash again!

Jun 21, 2012

Frugal Scrapbooking: Simple-to-Make Albums

This week I finished a couple mini albums that were fast and easy to make, without a mountain of materials!  While some mini albums can be quite elaborate, you can still make something nice and sweet as a special gift without all the fuss.

This Girl Scout album is a coaster album that I designed to make with a troop this week.  I got coasters (square and round) at a Michael's clearance for $.40 a pack (of six), the 12"x12" paper pack from Big Lots for $1.00 (yes, only a $1.00!) and a large packet of jeweled felt flowers for $1.40 in Hobby Lobby's clearance.  I pre-cut the papers (they were all 4" x 4" with rounded edges) and added some unused ribbons that matched from my stash.  All the girls needed to do was coordinate, paste and add the die-cuts and tags that came with the paper pack.  The whole project for a group of four girls was under $4.00.

The second mini album I finished today.  It is a new baby album that will be given as a gift.  It was made from  a $1.00 album that I got in the dollar bin at Joann's and a $1.00 paper pack that I got at Big Lots.  The paper pack was 8-1/2" x 11" and gave me enough paper for the album and 5 additional cards.  I used just a handful of  other supplies (brads, felt flowers, multicolor floss, white buttons, super thin ribbon, and a couple stickers) but the rest was created with the tags and papers from this paper pack:

And this was the finished album.  I don't think it looks like I spent under $5 for the project!

Keep in mind that you can take a unloved (or unused) paper pad and create something wonderful without a lot of extra supplies and embellishments.  And the next step?  Give your love away to someone when you are finished!  

Jun 17, 2012

Card Making Process: You're the Best!

It's a quiet Father's Day here -- the hubs is sleeping during the day for another night shift tonight, but I do plan a nice dinner for him when he wakes up late this afternoon.  I so appreciate him and love him like crazy -- he is just the very BEST.  I am also blessed to have a fantastic father-in-law, who I am not only thankful to have as another dad, but also for the way he raised his son so I would have a great father to my kids too.  Love you!

In tribute to all dads out there, working hard, leading with love and doing all they can for their families, here is the card that I made for my hubby:

Mar 17, 2012

Card Making Process: All About the Green!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I don't believe there is any Irish predominantly in my background, but I always enjoy making at least one or two cards for this day.

This one I made for the hubs, who I feel so lucky and blessed to have in my life:

My second card is "green" -- not necessarily for St. Patrick's Day -- but from an sample I saw in Cardmaker magazine, I thought it would be a good opportunity to use more scraps!

To send you off today -- a little Irish blessing:

As you slide down the banister of life,
may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.

Have a great day!

Mar 11, 2012

Easter Hoppin' Blog Hop - Day 2 and a Freebie!!

Welcome to Tangled Webs of Tangwen's Easter Hoppin' Blog Hop!

This hop is sponsored by Ginger Snap Scraps, an online store run by stay at home mom Cori Wagner. The store will be opening in April and Cori is giving away a $20 gift card to the store to one lucky winner!

You must be a follower of Ginger Snap Scraps, the blog and Tangled Webs of Tangwen in order to win the $20 gift card. Ginger Snap Scraps will carry Cricut products, Echo Park, Lawn Fawn, The Twinery and many more popular brands that you love!

Now on to the project!  I am the fifth stop on your Easter Hoppin' Blog hop today (Sunday) with another special Easter card!
Printed Paper:  SEI (Chocolat);  Flower:  Pebbles
My butterfly was from a swap, which I inked to match and added the pearl bling.  The digi stamp was a freebie from Paper Crafts Magazine this month! Click HERE for the freebie!

For this weekend's blog hop, Tangled Webs of Tangwen is giving away a great Easter themed paper pack!  

To enter to win this pack, make sure you are a follower of Tangled Webs of Tangwen, and her leave a message at the Easter Hoppin' blog hop post letting her know!

Also, please leave comments here on this page so I know you hopped by!

If you get turned around while you are doing all the hoppin' around here is the list to get you going down the right path again!

Thanks for stopping at "Living the Life of a Scrapmaniac!"  If you like my project, please join!  More fun coming up!

Mar 10, 2012

Easter Hoppin' Blog Hop! Day 1

Welcome to Tangled Webs of Tangwen's Easter Hoppin' Blog Hop!

This hop is sponsored by Ginger Snap Scraps, an online store run by stay at home mom Cori Wagner. The store will be opening in April and Cori is giving away a $20 gift card to the store to one lucky winner!
You must be a follower of Ginger Snap Scraps, the blog and Tangled Webs of Tangwen in order to win the $20 gift card. Ginger Snap Scraps will carry Cricut products, Echo Park, Lawn Fawn, The Twinery and many more popular brands that you love!

Now on to the project!  I am the fifth stop on your Easter Hoppin' Blog hop today (Saturday) with a easy to make Easter card!
Paper:  SEI (Chocolat)  Bling:  My Mind's Eye (Lush)
I layered the butterfly in the right hand corner for more dimension and just typeset the scripture verse in Microsoft Word.  Designing your own "digital stamp" is great when you are looking for something specific!

For this weekend's blog hop, Tangled Webs of Tangwen is giving away a great Easter themed paper pack!  To enter to win this pack, make sure you are a follower of Tangled Webs of Tangwen, and her leave a message at the Easter Hoppin' blog hop post letting her know!

Also, please leave comments here on this page so I know you hopped by!

If you get turned around while you are doing all the hoppin' around here is the list to get you going down the right path again!

1. Missy -
2. Barb -
3. Cori -
4. Lisa -
5. Angie -
6. Michelle -

Thanks for stopping at "Living the Life of a Scrapmaniac!"  Stop by again tomorrow for Day 2 of the Hop for a new card and a Freebie!

Mar 4, 2012

Photo Focus: Organizing Tips

I came across a little book at the library the other day called, "The One Minute Organizer, Plain & Simple" by Donna Smallin.  There is an abundance of quick to read, easy to implement organizing tips!

Some of these tips are beneficial for us scrapbookers (or paper crafters, or memory keepers!) too!  I have listed them here, along with some of my own notes:
  • Take photos of your child with favorite artwork or school projects. That way you can scrap the photo and let go of the physical item later!
  • Schedule a regular time each week (or month) to sort and organize photos until you are all up to date.  Decide how to organize your photos and digital photos based on what type of scrapper you are:  subject/event or chronological.  (I recently just finished organizing ten years of digital photos!  It was well worth the time -- I found things that I hadn't printed that I forgot about!)
  • Throw away printed photos that didn't come out right or are unusable.  Scrap and use the ones that best represent your family.  Deleting digital photos you know won't be used makes it easier to archive.
  • Throw away duplicate photos.  If you can't bear to toss them, separate them in a different box clearly marked so that you know where to find a photo for a special project or mini album.
  • Consider keeping all of your formal or professional photos in a separate album.  
  • Get in the habit of developing photos on a regular basis.  Put developed photos in your regular photo album or organizer right away so you are ready for scrapping!
Just like anything else in our home, keeping our scrapbooking areas organized will help us as we create wonderful things for our family.  

Have ideas that have worked well for your photos?  Please post here!

Mar 1, 2012

Sketch Work: Trying Out My Own Sketches

I am now creating some of my own sketches to share, which has been great fun!  To start out this new month, I decided to share one with you!  I would love to get your opinion, and also see what you can do with it yourself!

Sketch #1:

Of course I had to try out my own sketch, right?  Here is what I came up with:

American Crafts "City Park" paper and Thickers

Two of my crafty friends and owners of the Cafemom group, Scrap Craft and Chat, have allowed me to share their beautiful work with my sketch!  

This is Christy's with a traditional layout like mine (her daughter had some Photoshop fun and made up these hilarious photos!):

Here is Gin's, who is the Digi Queen of our group:

You can find Gin at Dare's Designz

Hope you enjoy!  Leave a comment if you have used my sketch!  And please share my website with scrappy friends!

Feb 28, 2012

Card Making Process: Spring Card Share

February is finishing up, and I am pleased with how many cards and layouts I finished!  I did have a little motivation -- I am a member of Scrap, Craft and Chat over at Cafemom, and owners Gin and Christy have been fabulous with posting weekly challenges plus a bingo card with fun projects to complete through the month.  Oh, and did I mention there is a prize jackpot for one lucky winner?

Here are a few things I created:
My favorite card this month from a sketch challenge.
Another card sketch challenge
An ATC challenge that was themed "Family Game Night." I don't make many ATCs, but this was fun!
There were many other projects I completed; I'll save them for another post!

Feb 5, 2012

Card Making Process: Tagging Your Valentine

Making a Valentines Day card can be so difficult for the man you love!  The right colors, the right saying -- all to be perfect and memorable.

I got an idea for my man's Valentine card this year from a challenge from a new group in Cafemom called Scrap Craft and Chat.  I don't have the original sketch for you to see, but we were challenged to do a project with tags.  I decided to try an extra large card:

On each of the tags, I wrote one or two things that I really love about my guy.  Some were silly, some were loveable -- but he loved it!

Tell me what you think - is it harder to buy or make a Valentine for your sweetie?