March Project Life Blog Hop | Setting up a Project Life Baby Album

JennWelcome to the third of twelve Blog Hops from the 2014 Becky Higgins Project Creative Team! We are all passionate about Project Life & memory keeping and we wanted to continue to inspire each other and you as we move forward in 2015. Here is a look at what I’ve been working on:

In 2014, I set up and gave away about half a dozen Project Life Baby Albums. Recently, I put together another baby book to surprise a mama in my neighborhood.

The new mamas I give the albums to are not scrapbookers — they are friends of mine who admire my work from afar.  They are afraid to dive in — or are intimidated by the whole idea of scrapbooking. But every mama wants to document their baby’s story — it’s my window of opportunity to get them hooked — and hopefully, have them join me at a monthly crop.  The more the merrier, right?!?

Being a mama to a newborn has its challenges so I want to keep things easy for them. I do most of the legwork to make the process less overwhelming. The only thing they have to do is take photos, print them, insert them into the book, and write little stories.

Here’s a look at how I go about putting together the foundation pages of a baby book:

2015 BabyBook-5The title page is pretty simple. I go with what’s in the box and add the baby’s name if I know what it is.

First, I set aside the 4×6 month cards, “Notes to You” cards, and “Highlights & Milestones for this Month” cards. I also pull the 3×4 “This Month’s Stats” cards and add them to this pile (not shown here). I use all of these cards for the monthly layouts.MonthCards

Next, I go through all the prompt cards and pull related ones
I pull the family cards together and put together a two page spread using Design A. I do not use all of the title cards — I often use the 4×6 “my family” card and all of the 3×4 journaling cards.  I also include a Design G pocket page as an insert to allow for some additional photos, especially for vertical images.

2015-03-08-14.37I always create a spread dedicated to the home (and the baby’s room).  Again, I use a spread using Design A with a Design G insert. This allows room for additional photos without it being overwhelming.

ExpectingSame idea for the “Expecting You” layout — I use a spread using Design A and insert a Design G page.

ArrivalFor the “Birth Day”, I use two Design A spreads with a Design G (or Design B or D) insert. I try not to use pages with odd sizes (because the women I give them to do not have cutting tools, etc).

For the monthly layouts, I use the following recipe: Design A spread with Design G, B or D insert. I ran out of Design G pages for the last book I completed, so I alternated between Design B and D for each month. My favorite insert is Design G — mainly because I like changing up the width for inserts.

To do this, lay out all of the 3×4 cards — making sure I turn some over so I know what is on the backside.  Then I randomly pick cards to insert into the 3×4 pockets. I insert two cards into a pocket at one time — this saves me quite a bit of time. Cards2015 BabyBook-14Here’s a look at the monthly layout.  Left side, Design A.  Right side, Design B (insert to allow for more images – especially vertical photos).  I like to include the “This Month’s Stats” near the month card. I included photos of my son in the sample to make the layout seem more complete.

2015 BabyBook-15Close-up image of the left page (Design A).

2015 BabyBook-16Close-up image of the right page (Design B).

2015 BabyBook-22I switched between Design D and B (shown above) for each month.

2015 BabyBook-20I ended the month with Design A and the “Highlights & Milestones” and “A Note for You” cards. The back side of this page would be the start of a new month.

At the end of the book, I included extra pocket pages (Design A, B, D and G – depending on what I have in my stash) so the new mom can add additional pages wherever she wants.

When I give the books away, I always include a hand written note with simple directions — and a reminder to “This is meant to be easy so keep it simple. Don’t complicate the process. Have fun.”  I also include drawings with dimensions for each pocket.

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The entire process takes me somewhere between 2-3 hours.

Have fun setting up your baby book — or one you’re making for a new mama.

For more Creative Team Inspiration, follow the links below:

Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favorite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too! We hope you enjoyed this hop!

Project Life is a memory keeping system from Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and product here.

February Blog Hop | Star Wars Birthday Party

I’m participating in a Blog Hop with the gals from the 2014 Becky Higgins’ Project Life Team. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been busy planning a party for my little guy.  As you can tell from the title, this post is about the big celebration.

My sweet boy turned four this weekend and we celebrated with a Star Wars birthday party. He’s been talking about having a Star Wars party off and on since November. I did not do any planning until after Christmas when Santa brought him a Darth Vader costume — that pretty much sealed the deal.

We were on a tight budget so planning ahead was super important. I did many google searches for game ideas and the thrift stores were a great source for cheap party decor and supplies.

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I hung balloons upside down with black yarn to give the house a pop of color. Honestly, I was trying to save some money by not buying helium-filled balloons. My observant boy said to me (on the morning of the party), “Mom, how come my balloons hang this way and not this way?” My answer, “Because these are filled with carbon dioxide and not helium. Carbon dioxide is a heavy gas and makes the balloon sink.” Ha! My husband actually went out to get half a dozen helium-filled balloons for the birthday boy.

150207 SamuelisFour-11He got up at seven for a birthday breakfast of blue eyes and cheese bagel. He helped me with last minute prep for the party and asked me a gazillion times about when his friends would be arriving.

We started the party by giving each attendee a Jedi Training badge with a list of “missions” for the training.  My son does not like party games (like me) and said he would be happy to be an observer at his own party.  He was also super tired when he said that but I quickly changed the word games to “missions” and it grabbed his attention.  From that point on, he was 100% engaged in discussing all the party “missions” or activities.
150207 SamuelisFour-53We started the party with an asteroid hunt.  Samuel helped me make asteroids from pieces of aluminum foil and helped me hide them all over the house.  I instructed each Jedi to find one asteroid and report to me once they found an asteroid. Once they returned with an asteroid, I gave them a sticker for completing the task.  I gave the job of giving stickers to a parent at the party — this helped tremendously.

Then we played pin the Lightsaber on Yoda. I did not know how four year olds would feel about being completely blindfolded so I made blindfolds that did not make them feel like they were totally in the dark.  I folded a piece of brown fabric in half (leftover from Samuel’s Jedi robe which he did not wear because he said that he wanted to be a Sith) which distracted their vision but did not make them feel uncomfortable.
150207 SamuelisFour-24The kids moved onto making Shrinky Dink art.  My husband printed out a bunch of Star Wars pictures for them to trace and color.  They loved it — and their parents did too.

150207 SamuelisFour-20Some got a little creative and made their own original art pieces. I printed the shrinking directions and stuck them in the goodie bags.

Then we played Save Princess Leia.  I printed 6 storm troopers and 2 Princess Leias and placed them on a low table.  The kids loved the using Nerf guns to blast the storm troopers. I gave every kid two tries so that everyone would get a turn fairly quickly.  My boy came back several times and fired until he got a storm trooper.  (Tip: Buy Nerf guns at Goodwill and buy new darts.)
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150207 SamuelisFour-35At this point, I had the kids take a mandatory break from Jedi training to eat. We had fried rice and egg rolls (thanks, mom!), fruit, veggies, and crackers.  I also put out cheese and salami to provide some protein. We kept it simple — and it worked out well.

150207 SamuelisFour-57After the rest period, we went out to the garage to Defeat the Dark Side with Silly String. We got the idea here, but changed the name. My husband printed two Darth Vader posters in Paint and I pieced them together.  We were originally going to do this outside but because heavy rain was predicted for the day, we decided to set it up in the garage.  150207 SamuelisFour-73I taped the two Darth Vader posters on large sheets of butcher paper and hung them up on our garage door.  We also taped butcher paper to the ground for easy clean up.

The kids loved this.  I wish I had listened to my husband and bought a can of Silly String for each kid.
150207 SamuelisFour-95150207 SamuelisFour-131150207 SamuelisFour-125Since the weather was nice, we took the kids outside for Lightsaber Training. I was going to make pool noodle lightsabers for the kids but my husband said, “If we’re going to have a Star Wars party, then we need real lightsabers.”  He is so right.

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I hunted for used lightsabers for about a month. I found some on Craigslist, at the Goodwill, and through my neighborhood Mom Resale sites.  I paid somewhere between $0.50 – $2 a lightsaber.  I found enough lightsabers for each kid — plus a few extra cool ones for us to keep. We let the kids take theirs home if they promised to use it — and boy were they (and their parents) excited.

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Obi-wan (Jim) was a good sport.  He watched a couple Jedi Training Academy videos on YouTube and led this mission.

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The kids paired up for duals.

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Then they all ganged up on Obi-wan.

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They loved getting Obi-wan.

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We headed back inside to complete the last two missions. I split the kids into two groups — one group decorated Star Wars cookies while the other made R2D2 paper models. Then they switched.

The Star Wars cookie cutters are from Williams Sonoma — but I got them used from a mom in my neighborhood (so I did not spend a fortune on the cutters).

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Samuel’s strategy — decorate a cookie and then gobble it up immediately. Um … he also went a little nuts with the sprinkles.

TipJunkie has an awesome R2D2 craft printable and I followed her instructions to make each kid a kit.

It took me about half an hour to cut up the blue tape and punch out the circles for 13 kits. I put each kit in a ziploc bag and labeled with the Jedi’s name.

150207 SamuelisFour-206The kids enjoyed following the model I created.  They were pretty proud of themselves for completing this mission with very little help.

We concluded the party with a special appearance from Darth Vader himself.  Yep.  My friend Becky helped me set this up.  The costume worn by her husband is from the 501st Legion and is an exact replica of the one Darth Vader wore in the movie. We were blown away — and so was the birthday boy and all of his friends.150207 SamuelisFour-252 150207 SamuelisFour-274

150207 SamuelisFour-280We held a little ceremony for the kids and they each got a photo op with Darth Vader. The kids were all given a certificate and a Jedi medallion (yep, I made shrinky dink medallions!)


150207 SamuelisFour-221My sister has been making Samuel’s birthday cakes for the last four years. She gets better every year.
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In addition to the lightsaber, each Jedi left with a Star Wars coloring book and Darth Vader and Storm Trooper crayons. I bought the mold on Amazon and it took me about two evenings to make 96 crayons.

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It was a good party. He loved it — and thanks me often.
150207 SamuelisFour-375The backdrop seen here (and in many of the photos above) is made from a sheet I found at the Goodwill.  I painted silver stars on it and hung it up with the words, “May the force be with you.”  Super easy and affordable.

My Princess Leia costume cost roughly $18.  I made the dress using this tutorial — I used four yards of 58″ wide polyester fabric (about $12) and two snap buttons for the neck closure ($3). I found a silver belt ($1) at the thrift store and made the yarn wig ($3). I will definitely be wearing this again.150207 SamuelisFour-453-2I made his Jedi Shirt using silver glitter paint and freezer paper.  I love the way it turned out.150207 SamuelisFour-635 150207 SamuelisFour-552He had a terrific birthday. He is very excited about being 4.

For more Creative Team Inspiration, click on the links below:


Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favorite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too!

January Project Life Blog Hop

Good morning and welcome to the first of 12 Blog Hops from the 2014 Becky Higgins’ Project Life Creative Team! We are all passionate about Project Life and memory keeping and we want to continue to inspire each other (and you, of course!) as we move forward in 2015.

As I’m looking around my space, I realize that my house isn’t getting any bigger but I’m bringing in more products, photos and albums. My goal this year is to keep it light (which is my word for the year). I want to keep the year to two volumes (I’ve done three volumes in the past) and record my son’s year in one album (up until this point, I’ve done two albums per year).

Here’s a look at my title page for 2015 |
2015 PLWeekOne-25
This pocket page protector is from October Afternoon and holds 12-3″x3″ photos/cards. I trimmed off a column – mainly because I like playing around with the lengths of the pages. My goal is to stop hoarding Studio Calico cards so I’m putting them to use here.

Here’s a look at week one | January 1-42015 PLWeekOne-18
A few of my friends asked about how I would do week one — they mainly wanted to know if I start on Monday, Dec 29 or Thursday, Jan 1? I like to keep each year separately, so I started with January 1.  It’s a short week so I used a big photo of us on the right to fill in the rest of the layout.  I also included a drawing from my soon-to-be-four-year-old, Samuel. I love his drawings — they just get better every day. By the way, do you like my “bee hive hair”?

2015 PLWeekOne-20
I really enjoyed working with 3×3 prints and think that I will be using more of these pages throughout the album.  By the way, the bottom right photo is one of my son “freakin’ out.” It’s his new thing — the freak out face.  Apparently, I freak out all of the time.

2015 PLWeekOne-9A closer look at Samuel’s drawing of our family — check out my “bee hive hair.”

Week two | January 5-112015 PLWeekOne-12Really making use of my Studio Calico stash that I hoarded last year. 

2015 PLWeekOne-5A closer look at the left page.  Samuel really wants a Star Wars party for his fourth birthday so he agreed to a little photo shoot for his invites (with him as Yoda Vader).

2015 PLWeekOne-10
Big story this week? Samuel stepped into the shower and washed his hair. No goggles. No fear. “I gotta be brave,” he says.

For more Creative Team Inspiration, click on the links below:

Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favorite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too!

We hope you enjoyed this hop!  Project Life is a memory keeping system from Becky Higgins. You can find out more about her system and product here.

December Daily 2014 | Days 08-15

I made seven mini-books (6″x8″) and one large (12″x12″) Project Life style album as gifts this past December. Gathering the photos for those books took a lot of time — and then I still had to assemble them in time for Christmas. Those gifts were all special and unique for each recipient but that was just too much.  Glad I did it but that was way too much.

So here were are.  January 2015.  I just finished my December Daily album. The month of November and December are looking bare in my Project Life album.  And the book for 2015 is sitting around waiting for some attention too. Ha!

I’m excited to share my December Daily album – days 08-15.

December 08
2014 DecemberDailyThe story of Samuel’s ornament — Jim and I thought we found the perfect ornament for Samuel (Mickey on a motorcycle to celebrate a big milestone – learning to ride without training wheels) but we failed to look at the details!  The motorcycle had training wheels on it … and that was the first thing my detail-oriented boy noticed.

2014 DecemberDaily-4
I wanted to create a shorter page here so I trimmed off half of the 4-pocket page protector. I then realized that I need more room to complete the story so I stitched the part that I cut off back on.  I must admit — I like the end result.

2014 DecemberDaily-9
After we trimmed the tree, he did a happy dance before settling down to admire the tree. I love the image of him under the tree.

December 09
2014 DecemberDaily-12
I love the idea of documenting nine things I was still looking forward to in December (thanks, Ali) and I did just that (left page). Today was also a big day in shrinky dink art ornaments so I decided to make day nine a two-pager.

December 10
2014 DecemberDaily-13
Samuel asked to make a stocking to surprise his friend.  He made her a shrinky dink ornament and we delivered it to her house by bike. Such a sweet gesture.

December 11
2014 DecemberDaily-16
Our Christmas cards arrived this evening and I spent the evening on the couch addressing envelopes.

2014 DecemberDaily-19I included the family letter that accompanied our cards here.

2014 DecemberDaily-21Back in November, we had a family photo shoot with the talented Jenny Lin.  The session package came with a set of holiday cards so it was appropriate to add here.

December 12
2014 DecemberDaily-22
Wrapped gifts tonight.  I like giving gifts — but I don’t enjoy the wrapping part so much.

December 13
2014 DecemberDaily-25
Family tradition – Santa Parade (which almost did not take place due to a lack of funds).

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We really like parades.

December 14
2014 DecemberDaily-29
Horse riding lessons have become part of our weekend routine. Samuel has been riding regularly for a little over a year now and continues to enjoy it. He looks so confident and proud on that horse.

December 15
2014 DecemberDaily-31
First Santa letter.  He worked so hard.  Proud mama over here.

Will share the rest of my book in the next day or so.  Thanks for visiting.

December Daily 2014 | Days 01-07

The month of November flew by and then before I knew it, December came … and the month is flying by.  Hanukkah is 3 days away.  And Christmas is right around the corner. The list is long but things are getting crossed off.

I’m a bit behind in December Daily.  I have the photos and words for each day but the actual documentation is a bit slow.  Today, I’m sharing days 01-07.

December One
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We started the advent calendar with Samuel last year and he loved it.  This year, we kept things simple — we went with a Playmobil Advent Calendar I picked up on clearance at the end of last year.  It’s working out great so far.  He looks forward to it each morning.  We just keep it on the dining table (where he eats breakfast) and he enjoys playing with it each morning.

December 02
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Samuel and I went to the Lego store for the free mini-build giveaway today.  He’s almost four and has decided that he’s ready for Legos.  The pieces are small and he sometimes struggles to put things together, but he loves the challenge. This evening, we made a little gingerbread house.

1412 DDOneToSeven-5I’m using my sewing machine to add some texture to the layouts. I’m experimenting with other stitches on the machine — really love the x’s here.

December 03
1412 DDOneToSeven-20Crazy weather in Sacramento today.  I left work at 3:20 to pick up Samuel and within 5 minutes of my drive, the heavy rain made it impossible to see.  Freeways were backed up and roads were flooded.  It took me over an hour to get to Samuel.  As soon as we got home, Samuel helped me rake leaves from the gutter to allow for proper drainage on our street. He’s a great little helper and I am so thankful for this little guy.

1412 DDOneToSeven-21A close-up shot of more stitching.  

December 04 (left) & December 05 (right)
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We pulled down our small stash of Holiday decorations and ornaments and gift wrap. Samuel is pretty excited that “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

1412 DDOneToSeven-10The “Bring on the Joy – ‘Tis the Season” masking tape in the Ali Edward’s December Daily kit is pretty bad ass.  I love it and am using it a lot … I will definitely be sad when I use it all up. And I can’t get enough of the gold stars.  

1412 DDOneToSeven-12Saucy, Samuel’s Elf, made a comeback on the fifth of December. I used my sewing machine to stitch the red boxes and a sharpie to write in his name.

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The story of Saucy’s visit is behind the photo.

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The components of Day 05 — I printed a couple photos and adhered them back to back and used the masking tape to attach it to Saucy’s note to Samuel.  It folds up and fits in the 4×6 pocket.

December 06
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We picked up a tree at a new tree lot this year. I’m in love with the place and think we will be back next year. Our favorite tree is the Noble Fir (from Oregon).

1412 DDOneToSeven-29I’m still looking for the perfect journaling pen.  Haven’t found one I really love but  the Uniball Vision Elite is becoming a favorite.

December 07 (Left)1412 DDOneToSeven-30
I spent most of today at home at my computer. I made and ordered our holiday cards.  I also processed and exported photos for several holiday projects.

1412 DDOneToSeven-31A close-up of day 07.

Day 08 is in the works.  And so are days 10-12.  I have a story for day 13 — but want to live out the rest of the day before I decide on which story.

Thanks for visiting!

Shrinky Dink Ornaments

Before going to bed last night, Samuel said, “Can we make more ornaments for our tree?”

“Of course, buddy.  We can definitely make more ornaments.”

So this evening, we made this for our tree …
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Yes, folks.  I’m bringing back the Shrinky Dinks. This method, however, does not use the authentic Shrinky Dink sheets.  Rather, I’m recycling plastic to-go containers that you get when you buy a salad (or bring leftovers home from eating out).

141209-SuppliesI’m using these basic supplies — plastic to-go containers, sharpies, a hole puncher, and a toaster oven.  Not all plastic to-go containers will work — make sure you look at the bottom of the container for the number 6 in the recycle symbol.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-5Cut the top and bottom of the containers.  This will be the writing/drawing surface. Rounding the corners is a good idea — otherwise, you may end up with sharp edges once  it shrinks.

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Each container will allow you to make two big Shrinky Dinks (measures approximately 2.25″ x 2.5″ once it shrinks). Or you can make four smaller pieces (size of a dog tag) by cutting the big pieces in half. Because Samuel is learning to write and draw, he needs a bigger surface to work with so I left it as is.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-14I had him sketch his work on a piece of paper about the size of the plastic.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-22I taped the plastic sheet over his artwork and gave him the sharpies to trace his original design. Oh, if you want to string something through it, make sure you punch a cluster of holes at the top.  A single hole will shrink in size and will not be big enough for ribbon or string.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-24Here’s a look at the original artwork and the plastic sheet.

141209-OnTrayOnce we were satisfied with the design, I placed the plastic sheet on a metal tray with a layer of parchment paper between the plastic and tray.

141209 ShrinkyDinkHotCocoa-29I preheated the oven to 325 degrees F and placed the tray in the oven.  We watched it curl and twist and ultimately flatten. There were some suspenseful moments as we watched it curl up on itself.  If it does not come out perfectly flat, use a spatula to flatten it immediately once you remove it from the oven.

141209-SamuelSampleHere’s a look at the original artwork, original size of plastic, and the piece that we shrank. The plastic is thin at the beginning but once it shrinks, it is about a millimeter in thickness.

Isn’t this rad? I absolutely adore his artwork.

That was a lot of work for a three (almost four) year old.  But he loved it so much he wanted to make more.

141209-SamuelSample1When we did it the second time, I did not have him do a rough draft of the artwork. It was a lot of work to draw it out and then trace it. I did not want to discourage him — so I just gave him the plastic and pens and he went at it. He’s learning to draw so I was right there to guide him as needed.

These little pieces of artwork are so perfect for our tree.  I would like him to do at least one per year — to see how his drawings and writing evolve over time.  I plan to keep extra plastic sheets with the Christmas ornaments so that I remember to have him create at least one drawing per year.

141209-SamuelSample3He also drew this for his friend.

141209-CurledUpSampleBut unfortunately, due to some imperfections in the plastic, it never uncurled.  I tried to pry it open once I took it out of the oven but I could not save it.

But hey, that’s how science works sometimes. This process is really an experiment on polymers — and sometimes things turn out the way we predict. And sometimes, the results are surprising and requires a repeated experiment.  It is all part of the learning process.

He wasn’t upset about it.  He had a positive attitude about it and said, “We’ll try again tomorrow.”

Have fun with your littles!  And share your images on Instagram.  Please tag me so I can see your creations.

Around Here | October 2014

Around here, fall is feeling very much like summer.  I brought out my collection of knit hats only to find myself sweating in them.  This is not cool.

Around here, fall festivities are in full swing — despite the unbearable heat.  We went to the Giant Pumpkin Festival in Elk Grove and loved watching the pumpkin regatta.  141005 GiantPumpkinFestival-48

Around here, I’ve spent too many hours grading papers each night.  This isn’t the fun part of my job.

Around here, Samuel and I are enjoying our Saturday morning outings which consist of having breakfast at Noah’s Bagels (and Starbucks) and a visit to the farmer’s market.140927 BagelsWithSamuel-5

Around here, we met and mingled with our neighbors at the neighborhood Oktoberfest party.  A section of the street was closed off so the kids could roam freely on their bikes and scooters. 141004 Octoberfest

Around here, it was time for another photo shoot of Samuel with his magnificent steeds. He is still taking riding lessons and thoroughly enjoys horses — especially the draft horses. We recently went to the Draft Horse Classics and he visited with Belgians, Shires, and Percherons. 141005 FortheLoveOfHorses-25

Around here, Samuel is taking soccer lessons so we are booked every Saturday morning in the month of October and November.  There are 30 3-year-olds in the class with three coaches — total chaos.  Lesson learned — we are never signing him up for this again.141004 Soccer-5

Around here, he is enjoying time with his sister.  While at the Giant Pumpkin Festival, Samuel saw some friends of ours and yelled, “Hey, Becky!  This is my sister.  Come meet my sister!  This is my sister!!”  It was the cutest thing ever.141005 GiantPumpkinFestival-117

Around here, I can always count on Superman to come to my rescue.  140930 Reading&Superman-25
Around here, I sneak into his room while he sleeps and watch quietly.  I love these moments (and all the other moments in between).  141003 SleepingWithDog-2

Around here, these two adore each other.  They play hard and love deeply.  What more could you ask for?  Childhood at its best.141005 AshlynFourBday-126

Around here, my workspace could use some serious attention.  I have piles everywhere.

Around here, I am excited about Cathy Zielske’s upcoming class, Me: The Abridged Version.  I am taking her class — and will be documenting my story.

Around here, I am reading Gone Girl.

Around here, I am eating emerald grapes like candy.  Man, they are good.

Around here, I am watching The Amazing Race and Parenthood (so sad it’s the final season).  I am also checking out some of the new fall shows — haven’t found one I really like yet.

Around here, I’ve decided to make time to blog again.  And share my pages.  Instagram took over my world for awhile but I’d like to get back on here — and post more regularly.

Adventures in Quilting

I started collecting fabric for an I-spy quilt for Samuel when he was in the womb. I knew that I wanted a big quilt so I figured it would take me years to collect enough fabric. I was really hoping that I would collect enough fabric and get it done before he turned 18. Ha! Then last summer, I threw the idea out at several girlfriends and within a month, we had a fabric swap. The goal was to make the quilt in time for Christmas — I like to give him something handmade at Christmas.  Obviously, that did not pan out. The quilt moved onto my summer project list.  And about two weeks ago, I gathered the fabric and went to work.140709-Quilt01 After several google searches for I-spy quilts, I came across Katie Blakesley’s design.   I fell in love with it immediately and used her tutorial to get me going.  It took me two evenings to lay out the squares – I had to walk away from it for a bit to make sure I liked the placement of the individual pieces. 140709-Layout For each block, I decided to go with alternating light and dark prints.  I spent about two days piecing + pressing the blocks together.  There were moments of elation (when the corners all lined up perfectly — there aren’t that many so please do not look closely) … and many moments of frustration (grrrr …my lines are not always straight even though I use a 1/4″ foot as a guide and the two pieces I sew do not always line up).  But hey, I finished. I chose 10 solid fabrics to border the blocks and strategically placed them so that the colors did not repeat in rows or columns.  140719-Strips 140721-Quilt It took me about a day to sew all the blocks together and then I was ready to quilt.  I quilt using (somewhat) straight lines.  I love the look of sewing several straight lines close together so there’s a lot of that happening on this quilt.140723-Quilting Quilting is challenging on a small machine.  Having a quilting extender and a walking foot made the process just a bit easier.  After a full day of quilting, I was ready to bind. A couple of my friends recommended machine binding for a quicker finish but I love the look of hand binding.  140724-Binding

The finished quilt is approximately 60″ x 80″.  There are 150 squares with about 140 different prints. Here’s a look at the finished product …140727 IspyQuilt-2

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The back.  Rather than just using one print on the back, I love adding a little color to break things up. 140727 IspyQuilt-7Closeups of the quilting + fabrics used.140727 IspyQuilt-17 140727 IspyQuilt-18 140727 IspyQuilt-19

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Close-up of the back.  I found this “I am Sam/Sam I am” print on a recent trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics.  140727 IspyQuilt-27

Playing a game of I-Spy.
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Our games usually involves a lot of jumping + hopping too.140727 IspyQuilt-43

These projects are laborious — as you all know.  But when you see smiles like these, it is so worth it. This boy really has a love for handmade things.140727 IspyQuilt-56140727 IspyQuilt-59

Mother’s Day Weekend

Tulips from my loves.140509 Mother'sDayTea-3 Mother’s Day performance and tea party at his school.140509 Mother'sDayTea-26 He was pretty stoked about giving me the gifts he made at school.140509 Mother'sDayTea-58 New tradition | Friday Family Game Night — all of us at the table, playing games with no technological interruptions.140509 Mother'sDayTea-61 Met some friends at Starbucks on Saturday morning.140510 MeettheMachines-3 Took him to the Meet the Machines event in Rancho Cordova.  He is in love with fire trucks, garbage trucks + monster trucks.140510 MeettheMachines-24 He is really into playing doctor.140510 MeettheMachines-99 On Saturday evening, we went to the Dixon May Fair.  He was pretty thrilled about driving the monster-sized tractors.2014-05-10-17.38 The Dixon May Fair turned out to be a total dud.  No horses.  The most exciting thing there was our shadows.  Ha!2014-05-10-17.44 We waited at the train stop to ride the extremely slow moving train.  Waited.  And waited. We eventually gave up and left.  140510 DixonMayFair-38 Mother’s Day breakfast at Lumberjacks.  My guys love this place.2014-05-11-08.55 He is amusing.2014-05-11-09.32 Made a trip to the store for jam supplies to make mulberry jam.2014-05-11-10.05 Afternoon run – 3 miles of solitude. 2014-05-11-14.53 He is a joy.140511 Mother'sDay-9 Beside him is his pal, Snaky Snake.  Snaky Snake is 3 years old and loves to be petted and enjoys swimming in the water.  He concocted an entire story about this imaginary snake using Jim’s bathrobe tie and had me pet him. 140511 Mother'sDay-31 I am in love with this boy.140511 Mother'sDay-103 And I think he loves me too. Happy Mother’s Day.