Wednesday, June 30, 2010

digital scrapbooking

Have you joined in on digital scrapbooking yet? Have you wanted to learn about it, but don't know where to begin??

Here are some of my favorite sites to help you start your journey:

1. I love their site and their blog. They are one of the best FREE resources out there when it comes to filling in the blanks on learning how to digi-scrap and where to go to get started. They are always featuring different designers and have tons of great tutorials to help you learn the ins and out of digital design (not to mention they have a great store too).

2. Jessica's site is great too. So easy to navigate, so much useful and helpful information, awesome classes, and great products. Click here for a list of classes she offers. I took two of her photo editing classes and thought they were a great value!! Right now she is offering a FREE computer tricks for cards class.

3. Ali Edwards There is no denying this girl has mad skills. I love her style and have no idea how she manages to do all she does. But she is pure inspiration!!

Those are my top three sites for information and resources.

Now, when it comes to scrapping style, I want to be Jaime Choi from three paper peonies.

Her work speaks to me and I want all of my scrapbooks to look like just like hers. Lucky for me she sells templates and quickpages. Did I mention she has lots of great freebies as well? I am in the middle of trying to figure out how to be original and more like her at the same time:)

Another site I really like for digital scrapbooking materials is Digital Design Essentials. I really like their designs and they always have some sort of good deal going on.

Want more? Here are some other places I frequent from time to time:

The digital scrapbooking world you will find can quickly overwhelm you because it really has exploded. My advice? Find your style, stick to it, let it evolve, and keep it simple. Don't get too busy trying to download every free thing you can find out there, you will get lost in a virtual abyss. Just have fun.

Here is a layout I did for a special book for my grandma a few years back. I did all of the pages for my family, but haven't had time to do much since:(
Now that I am up to date on photos with my recent photobook order, I plan to get back into it.

I'm sure I have missed some great resources out there. Care to share any of your favorites??

Next up: Photoshop Tips.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

on printing photos

Remember this post? I am guessing you don't, but a BIG thanks to those who commented because I have taken your advice. I am happy to report I am (pretty much) up to date with my photos being printed out (besides the ones I have taken in the last month).

I went ahead and used Shutterfly. I ordered a variety of types of books so that I could get a feel for what each was like. In retrospect I wish I would have stuck with my gut instincts and stuck with the all black hard-bound for all of my pics, but it was an education and now I know what I want for the future.

Shutterfly was running a promotion for 50% off of their photobooks for Father's Day, and because I was a new member I got 75 free prints. So I got all 5 books and 75 free prints for about $100- a steal in my opinion.

I was really happy with how many options Shutterfly had, how fast they uploaded my pictures, and how easy it was to put a book together.

What I've decided for the future- photobooks are the way to go!! I think I want to go ahead and just do thick 12 x 12's (I decided I would much rather pay for extra pages than have a bunch of little books) and stick with basic black. I will order them whenever they are having a good promotion (I am thinking I only want about 2 big ones each year) and I will back up all my files on cd's for my kids. In the future I would like to order soft-cover books for my kids when money isn't so tight. I am so happy about finding this solution and feel a little relieved even!

I think the smaller soft-cover books are going to be my new go-to grandparent gifts!

Another cool thing about Shutterfly is you can do digital scrapbooking, upload your pages to their website and just have them all printed out for you in book form. I think I may have to do that in the future too. Do you digital scrapbook? I hope to do a post about that soon. Stay tuned:)

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I love photography. I've taken a class here and there, and try to read up on how to take better photos whenever I get the chance, but have so much to learn and want a few pieces of equipment (right now I really want this and this) to help me out a bit.

But another favorite way of mine to 'educate' myself on how to take better photos is to subscribe to blogs of photographers I admire. Seeing the world through their eyes helps me envision what is possible with a camera and think out of the box more often.

One of my favorites (not to mention local and I kinda know her... a friend of a friend type thing) is Captured by Mikki. I was inspired recently by some engagements she just shot and wanted to share. Love the colors and the chemistry between these too.

Click here to see more from this session.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

members only

What do you think of the new (I think) trend of the shopping websites where you become a member to get exclusive discounts on designer clothes, toys, housewares, etc.? I am a member of four now and while I think it is bad for the amount of time I spend online as well as my "case of the gimmes"/bank account, I must admit I enjoy looking at what sales they are offering.

These are the ones I am a member of:

Gilt Group

Haute Look

The Mini Social


(In case you haven't heard of these and want to join- the membership is free.)

Not that I need to join any more, but do you have any that you are a member of and enjoy looking at? I am wondering how big of a trend this is, if it is a trend at all.

In other somewhat related news, I finally bit the bullet and paid for a yearly membership to America's Test Kitchen online.

They are another guilty pleasure of mine. I hesitated to do it for a long time because of how many recipe books, magazines, and just personal recipes I already have. But I have had so much success and so many rave reviews with the recipes I have tried from them. Plus my husband has somewhat of a picky palate and his mom is an amazing cook- and with ATK I always impress them:)

I am always tempted to buy every magazine and cookbook they come out with so I figured the fiscally wise thing to do was to stop buying the magazines and books and become a member of their website. Becoming a member gives you full access to all of their recipes, tips, tv segments that walk you through how to cook many of their recipes, and easy to print, read and follow recipes as well as grocery lists. I think I am going to love it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

a girl after my own heart

Have you seen this blog?

There are quite a few blogs out there similar to hers, but rarely do I feel so connected to so many of the the projects they do and/or feature. I also love her house and her white couches. And she has kids! She gives me hope that my white couch dream may be doable! Here are a few reasons I think she's great:

Her living room. How cute is her house?!

Check out these before and afters!!

Her entryway project. Are ya kidding me? I vow to no longer turn up my nose at particle board furniture.

Her kids' playroom. Love the chalk walls, the organization, and the white couch (brave, brave woman)!

Her adorable laundry room. I might not doing so much laundry walking into a room like this.

Cute bathroom details she made herself! She framed up the mirror, the light fixture is a repurposed piece she came up with and she made the adorable shower curtains!!

There are few things I love more than getting things dirt cheap, repurposing them, and beautifying my home. Thanks for the inspiration Cassity!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

father's day round up

Do you have any Father's Day traditions? In my opinion the perfect Father's Day consists of as much yummy food as possible, a good Father's Day card and/or gift, and just laying back... man style:)

I used to think guys were hard to shop for. I now think that I was just making things too complicated for myself. I used to go from store to store looking for things I thought they would like- a new grooming kit, a nice pen and notepad, etc. etc. But as time went on I noticed that they really didn't end up using much of the stuff I got them.

Maybe your man, or your father appreciates small sentimental things, but I've given up on the never-ending hunts for the perfect little man gift. Even when I went out of my way to get a tool he wanted or something he had mentioned he wanted a while back I got the wrong brand or he had changed his mind.

The one thing I never seem to go wrong with though when it comes to gifts for my husband or dad is... CASH. So simple. So boring. Yet, so effective.

Anyway, here are some ideas for the men in your life this father's day. I even threw in a few fun ideas for any of you that may have one of those rare gem's in your life that appreciate small sentimental things:)

Gotta love letterpress:


My go to guy gift list:

1. Gift Cards to his favorite store or restaurant
2. Magazine subscription
3. Money, money, money


The perfect day foodwise for my husband would probably include the following-

Huevos Rancheros
Image here.
This is our favorite way to make it-
1. Warm corn tortillas on a skillet with a little oil.
2. Blend small can of green chiles, can of your favorite salsa (we like Herdez), a can of tomatoes, and a can of green enchilada sauce (we like Hatch). Then warm it in a small saucepan.
3. Poach some eggs.
4. Layer it all up- First the tortilla, then the egg, then some cheese, then the red sauce, then a little sour cream and green onion. Soooo yummy!!!

Big Lunch/Dinner-
Image here.
Ribs, a chicken, a turkey, a roast, etc. My husband loves to BBQ or smoke big hunks of meat. And the best BBQ sauce is Sweet Baby Rays. I take care of the sides and the dessert.

Mississippi Mud
Image here.
Find our favorite recipe to use here.

Evening Snack-
Popcorn & Apple Beer.
I like air popped popcorn with a little butter and salt. My husband likes theatre popcorn and recently discovered how to make it from home. The key to making theatre popcorn at home? The Whirly Pop. Make as directed and add a little extra melted (real) butter.

Did you see Jordan's cutest ever Father's Day Hero kit?

Or Bakerella's Fast Food Fun?

Of course, Martha has tons of oh-so-cute ideas.

Friday, June 4, 2010

style vs. comfort/dream vs. reality/country mouse vs. city mouse

Do you know what your style is? There are all sorts of online tests you can take to help you find the real you... stylistically speaking. Every style test I have taken has told me I am pretty practical when it comes to style. Minimalist, comfort-oriented, sporty... all things that quizzes say I am.

When I try to pin my style down I find myself stuck somewhere in between two polar opposites. One version of who I want to be is kind of like who my grandma was. Feminine. Hard working. Living the good life on a farm in the country. The other version is a sophisticated lady living in a loft in some big city- modern furniture with clean lines, spacious, artsy, still feels warm and lends itself to easy entertaining.

Who I am today is a lot closer to who my grandma was than the sophisticated lady I once dreamed of being, and I am happy about that. I would, however, like to think I have a little of both in me. What I really want is a farmhouse in the country right outside of a big city with good shopping. A medium sized house furnished with modern furniture with clean lines, spacious, a little artsy, feels warm and lends itself to easy entertaining. A fair amount of land for my kids to run and play in. You get the picture... anyway, on to the point of this post.

My problem with trying to bring "my style" to my home is that it is not really realistic for my lifestyle. Maybe I am drawn to white couches with clean modern lines because I know I will never have them... you know, the whole the grass is always greener on the other side issue.

I love interiors like the ones often featured here (example below).

Click here to see more of the above interior.

Beautiful right? Realistic for me.... um, I wish.

Reason # 1:

I have kids. A white fabric couch with two little boys running around? Yeah, not happening.

Reason # 2:

My husband is a big guy who puts comfort as #1 priority when it comes to furnishing our home. Don't get me wrong, I love being comfortable, but stylistically speaking, the most beautiful things don't really seem to be as comfortable. Oh and did I mention he is a big guy? He is 6'7" and was an offensive lineman in college (that is meant to be a nice way of saying he's a big guy without mentioning his actual weight). Our first couch lasted us a year. Lesson learned. No couches with wooden frames. Ikea doesn't quite cut it for people our size unfortunately either.


Comfortable and more practical(?):

Pottery Barn often feels like it comes close to my style. It just seems a little overpriced for what it is to me and I don't think I can trust my kiddos with fabric furniture.

One of the hardest things to find in my opinion that is stylish and comfortable is a rocking chair. A rocking chair is really the one thing I am most willing to spend a little money on. I am one of those people that needs a rocking chair. Go ahead. Look for a stylish looking and comfortable (and reasonably priced) rocking chair. I dare you.

Do you really think nursing a baby in the middle of the night is going to be that comfortable in your beautiful Eames rocking chair? As comfortable as a La-Z- Boy?

This is the closest thing I have found for a somewhat modern looking and kid friendly rocker. It's actually a glider. And I really do love it.

I guess I will close this before I ramble on too long about this. What, you say, I already have? Oh well. I have thought about it a lot. Am I destined to a life full of comfortable leather furniture because of my practicality??? I suppose there are worse things in life;)
But please, if you can, show me the way to stylish, comfortable, kid-friendly, big husband friendly, furniture.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

birthday list

June is my birthday month.

Today is my little sis' birthday (Happy Birthday Ali).

If you want to get me a gift for my upcoming birthay, any of the following items would be great.

Perfect summertime shoes (er, I mean sandals according to Sanuk):

I got a wannabe Bosch for my wedding. I loved it until it died and the wannabe Bosch company is no longer in business to sell me replacement parts. I am told Bosch's don't die. Oh how I would love to have the convenience of a big power mixer back in my life, preferably a Bosch:

Oh and while I am using my bosch, I would love to be able to listen to my iPod:

Any of these would be fun... not that I have time to craft these days, but someday...

I could go on with camera equipment and computer program upgrades, but I don't want to get too greedy. Ha!

Okay Universe, I've put this out there, now its time to have these manifested in my life. Tehe:)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Someday I really do hope to do a better job of keeping this blog up. I have high hopes for doing better this year. We just bought our first home. It feels good to know that we won't be moving this time next year.

This is the 16th time I have moved since I moved out of my parents home 10 years ago and my 9th move in my 6 1/2 years of marriage. That is a lot of time spent moving, settling in, making friends, etc. etc. It feels good to be establishing a little firmer roots in a small cute town.

You'd think I would learn to live with less stuff with all those moves, but inevitably each move has felt harder and it seems we have acquired a LOT of stuff in the few years we have been married. I am looking forward to having a garage sale soon and doing some major decluttering.

Anywho... the one part I love about moving- is the good clean feeling you have after moving out of one place and completely settling into another. Oh and decorating. I suppose I will miss those two things and have to figure out how to redefine those two things I love while staying in the same home for more than a year.

Here are some things I am hoping to purchase for our new diggs in the next little while:

Want this for my little boys room:

I also would like to make some sort of pennant banner or garland for my boys room.

For our room, I am waiting for Paul to make me a head board like this. I am guessing he will get around to it by this time next year.

(...Speaking of this sort of thing, have you seen this blog?)

Then there is the wall across from our bed. We only have one bathroom in our home so I am making the area across from our bed a vanity for me. I have a long mirror that is set low and above that mirror I am considering some of these options:

This quote:

This graphic:

Or a combination of three Prints something like any of these combos (I am thinking of designing my own... have I mentioned how I love type based posters?):

From this shop:

Or these from here:

Or these:

I love that I can customize the color combos on so many of the above.

Other things I have considered for said wall include a modge podge of things like our wedding picture, wedding invitation, initials, silhouettes, etc. etc.... something along these lines organizationally.

Or a shelf with line with the above sort of combination???? Can you tell I have thought a lot about what to do on this wall;)

Any thoughts?

Also wanted to share these things I fell in love with in my searches:
Other things I found to love on etsy along these lines:



Also if you are LDS, check these out:

Primary Bird

Persimmon & Pink

Sugar Fresh

West willow

Have Joy Designs

type type type

the kiki comin shoppe

Gotta love all the options out there!!!
And... just kidding though I am sure I could go on and on:)