Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Grateful For You

Submitted by Linda
On my recent visit to LaQuinta, the to-do list included creating a few Thanksgiving cards, as well as some tags. We ended up using the new "For All Things" set to make the beauty shown below.
In the spirit of full disclosure, here is the inspiration from Iguana Stamp.
 I felt like our card needed a little bling, so we added the gold glimmer paper and the gold cord.
That weekend we also made Michelle's Cousin Kathy's famous granola. Our idea is to put some in a small cello bag for Thanksgiving treats for our co-workers. Thus the tag. This time we used the Merry Everything set (which has the coordinating tag punch). Again in full disclosure, Michelle actually made the granola while I crafted away on the tags.
For the granola recipe, click HERE. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lollipop Moments and Gingerbread Men

Submitted by Linda
So I was simply perusing Facebook one day when I commented on my friend Gina's amazing wreaths on her FB page Creative Spaces by Gina.  
The wreath under discussion was this beauty, smothered in red and white deco mesh, burlap ribbon, candy picks and the cutest gingerbread man ever. I commented that it was my favorite that she had made so far. She replied that she had been thinking of me while she was making it :).

Well, a mutual church friend, Vikki,  was observing our conversation and chimed in with, "Gift it to Linda and I'll pay you later!" I was so surprised. What a cute and lovely thing to do! When I chatted with her later, she told me that it was a 'lollipop moment', when you do something to make someone else smile. (Smile? Heck, I was doing the happy song and felt like a room without a roof!)

When Gina's daughter (former kindergarten student Sophia) delivered it to my classroom, I immediately hung it up with our gingerbread men from the second week of school.
Isn't that wreath a giant upgrade to my classroom decor?

Now the wreath is at home and is already getting me into the Christmas spirit.

Anyway, one 'lollipop moment' deserves another, so I made up some monogrammed cards to give to Vikki. This pretty sherbety paper looks so cute with the (retired) whimsical alphabet "V". 

This sweet gesture inspired my to try to implement the lollipop philosophy into my daily life. And if you want to see more of Gina's fantastic wreaths and garlands, click here:  Etsy Shop.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Birthday to my man-boy Nick!

Submitted by Linda
So I've tried to stop calling him "Nicky", but I've noticed that his close friends still call him that, so I guess that means I can too, right? I know am a biased mom, but the little boy Nick was such a cutie pie (with such sweet kissable baby skin).
It's hard to believe that he is now twenty two. He's still a cutie pie but it's different now to smooch on him, now that he has, well, whiskers.  

Here he is with his big brother, Tommy and his girlfriend Chandler, at his birthday dinner at Union on Yale in Claremont. We had a fun (and delicious) night with two of his and Tommy's childhood friends serving us. 
 And here is his birthday card, using the woodgrain embossing folder and the Memorable Moments stamp set.
Here's to a happy and healthy 22nd year!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween 2014: The Cat's Away......

 Submitted by Linda
Craig seems to do a lot of traveling in the fall, partially because it's football season and the APU cougars do a lot of traveling as well. Coincidence? I think not.  I don't love it when he's gone, but as they say, 'When the cat's away, the mice will play!' 

Well, my 'playing' is pretty mild. No 'girls gone wild' here. I usually just gather my FRFs (front row friends) for some paper crafting. In September we used the Fancy Favor die to create these cute halloween treat bags (I know that I keep using this die - but it's too cute not to). I delivered these today to my Kindergarten teammates and the office ladies.
Then Craig was gone recently, to South Dakota. He was there for a football game, but ended up also having a meeting with the four presidents at Mt. Rushmore. So I took off for Michelle's neck of the woods in LaQuinta. It was a beautiful day for a drive.
There we decided to make Halloween treats for our students. I had been wanting to make these candy corn treats using the Pennant Punch.
We used the skinny cello bags and filled them with tangerine and buttered popcorn Jelly Bellys. This involved my first ever outing to Winnco. If you haven't been to Winnco, you are in for a fun outing. It's kind of like a grocery store, Costco and Sprouts all wrapped into one big store. The bulk section is amazing. This pic shows only a tiny portion of just the bulk candies.
These are all wrapped and ready for my kindergarten friends.
As for my cloche, here's my October version. I found this sweet giant decorated tag at Barbara Cheatley's in the C-Mont village.

It's hard to believe that soon we turn the calendar page and November will be here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bullet Journal (Don't be a hater)!

Submitted by Linda (but I've converted Michelle to the bullet journal as well)

So, have you ever been on Pinterest, when you find yourself clicking around someone else's pins, just because you're curious? Well, our fellow Stampin' Up friend Rachel had been pinning a bunch of stuff about 'bullet journals', and after seeing some of the pins, I began researching in earnest.

Disclaimer: If you are someone who loves lists, and organizing things, this will be fun for you. If not, you will think that we are obsessive, crazy control freaks. (No comment).

I've always been somewhat of a list maker, and I always say that I'm 95% organized. But that 5% of disorder always gets me in the end. Pictured below is a cute clipboard with a bunch of stamping 'lists': things to buy, things I wish for, projects I'm planning to do during 2014, which tags will go in the Christmas tins, and so on. 

The 'clipboard system' works pretty well, except that I have various clipboards, post its, grocery lists, and so on scattered hither and yon. Then I have notes to bring certain things to school (crock pots or potting soil, for example), and notes to bring things home from school (projects to prep, things to repair, etc.) Then I put appointments in my cell phone, and/or my big kitchen calendar.  It's a lot of lists and notes in a lot of places.

The purpose of the bullet journal is to get all of those ideas, thoughts, to dos out of our brain and gathered in one place. Many proponents of the bullet journal talk about how for our analog brains, a digital app or calendar isn't as effective as the old school of 'writing it down'. 

You will find tons of pins on Pinterest about bullet journaling, and lots of helpful videos. Many folks buy expensive leather bound journals, but I just decided to use a nice blank journal I was recently given, and when I got Michelle all excited about this project, she was happy to use a grid-paper composition book.

One of the first things you need to do is decide on your icons for your daily lists. We wanted to keep it pretty simple, so we chose what you see below. Many people have tons of icons, but again, we were going for functional rather than complicated. (I did bust out my big box of scrapbooking stickers and washi tape to do some decorating, but it really can be super simple).
The next thing you need is an index. After you have numbered all of your pages, you can begin adding lists for anything, as long as you note it in the index. In Michelle's journal below, you can see that October doesn't have an ending number, because the month isn't done yet. This will make more sense below.
Next, you make a master list of tasks for the month, and we decided to add a calendar for the month. Michelle drew hers in, but I just xeroxed my paper calendar that I usually carry in my purse.
Next, you use your icons each day to make your list. When thoughts, ideas, appointments, to dos come to you during the day, you write them down under todays date, and check them off as you go. If I don't get them done, you 'migrate' them to another day or to a date on my calendar.

As I have been using my journal, I really felt like I needed a 'week at a glance' along with my lists, so I drew in the week. I have since created this 7 day strip on my computer and I now will print it out and glue it in each week.
I have also included a sticky note here and there for grocery lists and other things that don't deserve 'real estate' in your journal.

In the very back of my journal (you can see it says page 197), I have listed all of the stamping stuff that was on the clipboard. And the page is noted in my index.
At the end of October, we will note the ending page of the October notes in our index, and will begin a category for November.

So far, it has been working really well. I love it that all my important stuff is in one 'easy to find', portable location.

And if you like checking things off of your list, then this is for you.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Taking Italy to Kindergarten: A Mishmash of Parting Shots

Submitted by Linda
So it's time to wrap up Italy.  I've been home for seven months now, and I still am eager to go back one day, to stay longer, learn the language, see more, and do some cooking. In the meantime, here's a few more random pics. 

Florence's symbol is the flour de lis, so I purchases a soccer jersey that represents their town. I thought the girls would like the purple. I also brought back a national jersey, which is royal blue.
Students made their own "Italian" soccer jersey.
 Venice, beyond gondoliers and canals, is known for the Carnivale of Venice and the beautiful masks. I brought a couple back, and the kids did do a mask project, though somehow, I didn't capture it with my camera. Our masks didn't turn out quite as elaborate as these.
 Maybe because it was spring when I went, I was a bit obsessed with trees. This one was in Venice.
 When we arrived in Stresa, I was obsessed with this tree and the blossoms that had fallen on the lawn in front of our hotel. I dropped my bags, and ran out with my camera before the sun went down. Sure enough, the next morning they were all cleaned up. But I got my shot.
 Another nod to spring, in Florence.
 Pizza. Sorry. Couldn't stop myself.
 This tiny police car was on the Isle of Capri. The weather that day was absolutely wretched, pouring rain, so my photos really aren't worth sharing. Though we did have a great time there.
The little town of Stresa (up North by the lakes) has a unicorn for their city symbol. Which is lovely on this wrought iron gate. And a lovely thought as well.
 Another thing that endeared Stresa to us quickly is their small but moving memorial to 9/11.
...and gelato. You probably remember that I made it a point to eat pizza every day, whereas Craig's vice was gelato. It truly is an art form there. And I'm sure the stuff that I bought and fed our kindergartners wasn't even close to the real stuff.
 A favorite memory is tea time on the grand canal. This is going back on my bucket list, so hopefully I can do it again.
Since I was behind the camera most of the time, I have this rare pic of me that Craig snapped in Verona.  I love so many things about the way the Italians do life. I feel like my face here reflects the calm of a mealtime where they will never bring you a check unless you ask.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Taking Italy to Kindergarten: Mamma Mia Pizzeria!

 Submitted by Linda
Craig and I made it a point to eat pizza every single day whilst in Italy. No matter where we went, it was fresh and tasty, with a thin crust. In Verona, we had lunch at the Mamma Mia Bistro.
Our choice that day was a veggie pizza.
 I snapped this pic of some pizza-makers just outside the ruins of Pompeii.
So here's my version of the "Mamma Mia Pizzeria". The students made their paper pizzas and described what they chose to put on them.
We didn't have access to a brick oven, so I asked Craig to bring over our bar-b-que and grill up some pizzas for us. We used bread dough, olive oil, and we let the students add sauce, cheese and pepperoni.
The kiddos made a chef's hat, and we added the Italian vibe with a mustache. Here is my friend Chef Jackson.
I posted these pics above my brick oven, where it says 'Ciao! Mi chiamo Linda' (my name is Linda). For privacy I've hidden the student names below.
 My colleague Denise always makes everything fun. She made us try out the mustaches, too!