Sunday, January 25, 2015

365 Cards: Happy Birthday Butterfly

It's hard to believe it's already almost the end of January! I'm busy getting ready to go to Stampin' Up!'s Leadership Convention later this week... but I still managed to find some time today to make a few cards. :)

This will be one of the cards I have at my card buffet class in a few weeks!

I actually started off this card using this sketch from the Paper Players blog... ended up kinda far away from where I started!

It's a fun sketch... maybe I'll try again and get closer to the sketch next time.

Happy Sunday!

Stampin' Supplies Used:

Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog

Updated 2/2/15: I'm so flattered that I was a winner in this week's challenge! Thank you Nance for your kind words and selecting my card as a winner for the Cut Above! :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Plan for Reading More Books in 2015.

On and off over the years, I'm an avid reader. Honestly, I really got burned out in college (minoring in English and reading approx 10,000 pages in 10 weeks will do that you I suppose!) and took a break for a few years. Eventually though, I came back with a vengeance. Now, the reason I don't read as much as I like is life... work... Candy Crush... Netflix. So many distractions! Last summer, I made it a goal to read every night when I went to bed. And I read a LOT of books. So I want to bring back that habit... and I have a plan to go with it.

Photo credit.

A few days ago on Facebook, I asked for book recommendations since I have a fair amount of travel time in my future and I'm on the hunt for new books.  I got an overwhelming response and now my list is HUGE! Good problem to have, right? :)

And so I can keep track of it, here's the list I received (in the order I received it!):

Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
We Are Water by Wally Lamb
China Girls, Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy, Snow Flower & the Secret Fan by Lisa See
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
A Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Mean Streak by Sandra Brown
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (still can't believe I haven't read this!)
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls
Honeymoon with my Brother by Franz Wisner
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon (multiple recommendations for this one!)
The Game of Thrones Series by George R.R. Martin
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
Defending Jacob by William Landay

And previously on my list that are holdovers from the last time and not mentioned by someone....
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
The Help by Kathyn Stockett
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen (the Rizzoli & Isles series - love the TV show!)
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

So I look at this amazing list of 50+/- books and think this:

Photo credit.

Right?! Please tell me I'm not alone on that one! And to be perfectly honest, after getting such an awesome list, I wasn't sure where I wanted to start...

Lucky me though, I happened to be on Pinterest later that day, and found this challenge. YES. 26 books in 2015? A book every other week? That I can do! And I like the challenge of taking my new list of must-reads from my friends and family, then working my way through it like this:

And I will start with number 1! There are more than a few that will fit that prompt I'm sure. :)

In the meantime, I will be finishing up I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain by Courtney Robertson... it's interesting but annoying and slow all at the same time.  Almost done though so I plan on finishing it...

I'll periodically update on here how this plan progresses! In the meantime....

What are you reading? :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Introducing Miss Molly!

So we've had this little peanut now for six months. Six wild, crazy months. It's amazing how fast time flies by!

Back in July last year, our precious little furbaby Scarlet was attacked by our neighbors' german shepards. They broke out of their yard and attempted to kill her in our front yard where she was doing her business with Brian on the lawn. Luckily Brian was right there to stop the attack but not before they ripped open Scarlet's shoulder. Emergency surgery and a few weeks later, we found ourselves at the vet's office for a checkup on her shoulder. When they were done taking out some stitches, one of the girls asked me if I had a few minutes. I admit... wasn't paying much attention. I was getting text messages, holding Scarlet and generally distracted. They took advantage of that and the next thing I know I was looking at THIS.

O. M. G. I about died. I snapped this picture and sent it to Brian. No words just a picture. He sent back a message almost immediately. That said "whatever that is, bring it home with you." He immediately followed with "well... maybe we should talk first." I was a little bummed but told them, let me think about it and talk to Brian. She was the cutest baby. A rescue that they had saved from a bad situation. She had a serious problem with her left eye... some moron had left an eye infection untreated. So they were going to keep her for several weeks to make sure it healed or remove her eye before adopting her out.

I went home and proceeded for two weeks to harass Brian. One day on my way home from a dentist visit, Brian called me and said "Hey, let's just get her. She's so cute and we can make it work. Why don't you call them right now and tell them we want her." So I did. Mouth half asleep, tired and driving home, I called the vet. I got the tech on the phone who had introduced her to me and she was like "Oh. Shoot. Let me get the vet." The vet got on the phone and was like "Hey Amanda! She just left to go home to a really good home. She found a great family."

All true words. Not a single lie. Not one. But I started crying... I could barely make it off the phone. I was so heartbroken. I hung up with the vet and called back Brian sobbing that the puppy was gone. I was so disappointed. I got home and hugged Scarlet, then started making her dinner so I could go to bed early. As I was making her dinner, Brian came home and I could hear him saying hi to Scarlet. My back was to him in the kitchen and he said hi. I turned around not to see him but to see this precious little furball wandering across the kitchen towards me. Of course I started crying, then smacking him for torturing me! What a surprise though!

We survived the first few weeks of middle of the night bathroom trips to the backyard, chewing on things that aren't meant to be chewed on and getting her used to Scarlet and our cat Nala. A few weeks after she came home, she ended up losing her damaged eye. Of course it had to happen over a weekend so it was an emergency vet bill instead of free (the vet was going to do it no charge if needed) and she now holds the title of the world's most expensive free dog!

Molly is very vocal, always quick to tell you everything in the most adorable voice.

She let's Scarlet lead the pack and is quick to play and snuggle with her.

They have a routine together... every night they play what we call bite-y puppy where they do this crazy playtime... they like to sleep on the couch with us after dinner while they watch tv. They chase eachother around the yard with toys.

Molly is quick to dive under the covers at night, will literally eat anything (she loves snails, worms, dirt, sticks, toys, magazines, and apparently my scrapbook albums.... sigh...), and is the happiest puppy on earth. Just ask her, she will tell you.  And she just keeps growing.... she started off at about 5-6 pounds and she's about 20 today! She's about double the size of Scarlet so we are still adjusting to that.

We are so lucky to have her and adore her. So glad to have her in our lives!

Friday, January 16, 2015

12 Projects Update

So last year, I decided my goals were simple. To finish up 12 projects in some state of progress. Then life happened! ;) So I'm going to continue working on these this year. So I figure now is a good time to report on the progress I've made on that front...

The Quilting Projects
1.  Tom's Quilt  Haven't worked on it yet.... 
2.  Katie's Quilt  Ditto for this one...
3.  Rag Quilt for Me  And this one....
4.  Chevron Quilt for Living Room   And this one. I got distracted by other sewing projects.... lots of babies!

The Scrapbooks
1.  Disneyworld Scrapbook  I worked on this and put a serious dent in it. About 50% complete now.
2.  Vermont Scrapbook  I worked on this as well and I'm down to about three more 2-page spreads.
3.  Creighton's Baby Book  Still just need to pick pictures, print them and finish up.
4.  Abby's Baby Book  I made progress on this project. I actually got all the pages ready and now it's at the same point as Creighton's. Need to finish these up since I will have two more to do! :)

The Photo Books
1.  Photo Books for 2001-2013 I still want to do this... just a matter of making the time to do it.
2.  Photo Book for Our Wedding  The one project I can say is DONE!!! I did cross this one off the list! :) I also made a photo book of our Engagement Photos at the same time. I am so pleased with how these turned out I am also going to do one of our honeymoon photos. I will share these books here soon.

Looking at the list I have definitely recommitted myself to finishing these projects. And a few more... namely Brian's quilt, my sister + brother-in-law's guest book from their wedding (oops... totally forgot this project sitting on a shelf), and a pile of baby quilts that need to be finished... all of which are in line ahead of the quilting projects listed above.

Do you have any goals for 2015?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My One Little Word for 2015... Simplify.

Photo credit to here (it is a good, relevant blog post too!)

Each year, I think about and (usually) pick a word. This year I want to pick the word simplify. My life feels complicated and cluttered right now. Maybe it's the cold that has been plaguing me for two and half weeks, but this is the word I keep coming back to. I'm not sure yet what it will mean for me this year, but I'm willing to put it to the side, think on it, and see how it impacts my life this year!

I've also noticed a trend in looking at my past year words.... seems like every third year I internalize the word and don't post it here on my blog. Interesting.... not sure what that means! :)

My past words are... Breathe (2014), Adventure (2013), Enjoy (2012), Live (2011), Love (2010), and Create (2009).

Do you have a word to live by this year?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

365 Cards: You Warm My Heart

Anyone else get this nasty cold/flu? I'm 16 days in with it and just when I think I feel better? It comes back the next day to remind me it's still lingering. Cannot wait to finally kick it out of my system. It has seriously put a damper on all the things I want to do! It did not stop me from having a fun crafty afternoon with one of my besties. She wanted some help designing her sister's wedding invites (mission accomplished!) and we both needed to make our swap cards for our upline team swap.

What's a swap? We each make a set number of cards (in this swap it is 18) -- all the same design. We all mail them to one person who "swaps" the cards and mails back to us one each of everyone's cards. You make 18 cards of one design and get back 18 different cards.. It's so much fun! Our upline team does a swap for each new catalog, so three times a year. This one is always one of my favorites... lots of fun, happy cards! Here is the card I mass produced this time....

I actually had planned on mass producing another card, but I wasn't in love with it. I had already cut all my card bases, so I took Brianne's suggestion of using this stamp set and came up with this. I'm glad I switched plans! Our team swap this time had the requirement to share instructions, which I thought was a great idea, so I thought I would share them here with all of you!


  1. Cut: From Sahara Sand, cut one 5.5" x 8.5" card base (score at 4.25") and cut one 5.25" x 4" piece. From Whisper White, cut one 4.25" x 3.25" piece. 
  2. Emboss: Using the Big Shot and the Decorative Dots Embossing Folder, emboss the 5.25" x 4" piece of Sahara Sand Cardstock. 
  3. Punch: On the left side of the 4.25" x 3.25" piece of Whisper White Cardstock, punch both corners with the Ticket Corner Punch (as shown in the picture). 
  4. Stamp: In this order on the Whisper White Cardstock piece, stamp the tree trunk using Sahara Sand (line up the top of the branches with the top of the cardstock and center the image), stamp the ground in Pear Pizzazz, stamp the bike with tires in Basic Black, stamp the sentiment in Basic Black, stamp the bike frame in Real Red, stamp the tree leaves and heart in Blushing Bride. 
  5. Assemble: Tie two pieces of Linen Thread around the stamped piece of Whisper White and trim the ends after tying the bow. Using SNAIL, glue the embossing Sahara Sand cardstock to the Sahara Sand card base. Using Stampin' Dimensionals, adhere the stamped Whisper White piece to the card alongside the right edge of the card base.
Have you ever mass produced cards before?

Stampin' Supplies Used:

Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog

Monday, January 12, 2015

365 Cards: Brian's Thank You Cards

After Brian was injured in his biking accident in November, we had amazing friends and neighbors that stopped over to mow the lawns, take care of our dogs, and feed us. We are so fortunate to have so many amazing people in our lives! Brian asked me to make some thank you cards for him to send out... and well... taking care of him almost full time meant I needed something quick and easy to mass produce. Thankfully, I had a few older Paper Pumpkin kits sitting in my office just waiting for me to use!

After I put together the kit as intended, I used the stamps, some cardstock + ink, and one roll of washi tape to quickly make him a set of these cards. Between the kit and these cards, I was able to make 20 cards in less than 10 minutes!

The finishing touch was Brian taking the time to write thank you notes to all our kind neighbors and good friends. I'm so glad he wanted to do it! And I'm pretty sure I've worn off on him... that he thinks to do this on his own now ;)

Have you tried Paper Pumpkin yet? Now is the time! Purchase a 3-month pre-paid subscription and choose a free Sale-a-bration product... what a deal!

Stampin' Supplies Used:

Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog

Saturday, January 3, 2015

365 Cards {JAX Starx Blog Hop}: Timber!

Welcome to the first JAX Starz Blog Hop of the year! I'll just say this upfront.... probably not the last time you'll see this stamp set this month... I'm obsessed with it! It's the Wood You Be Mine? stamp set from the new Occasions Catalog and will be available on Monday... available today if you want to join my team! ;)

The patterned papers are two of our new designer series paper stacks also available Monday... The grey background is from the Adventure Bound Designer Series Paper Stack and the other three Valentine themed papers come from the Stacked with Love Designer Series Paper Stack. To make the sentiment stand out on the background I used white embossing powder:

Colored my handsome little lumberjack in using the Blendabilities -- I love those pens! For this card I used this Mojo Monday sketch no. 378 and branched out a little to make a tall n' skinny card (I used the 5.5 x 7" cut of cardstock, score long side at 3.5" measurement). It was fun making something in a different size than I'm used to!

Hope you enjoyed my Valentine for this month's blog hop and with that... onward to the next blog belonging to the talented Cari Verschueren!

And in case you get lost... here are this month's participants!

Cari Verschueren
Sheilah Stamper
Lee Conrey
Maria Willis
Monique Zimmer
Susan Best
Amanda Sevall <-- you are here! :)

Stampin' Supplies Used:
Built for Free Using: My Stampin Blog


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