the mailbox

I happened to be traveling along the main highway in Townsend, TN and passed by where Zach and I used to live when I was still married to his Father. {Before my marriage to Mr. wRight.} I slowed and turned into what was left of the driveway to the home that once stood all because I saw this mailbox. And then a whole lot of memories started filling my heart.  

You see, they've moved the setback house down to the Railroad Museum, it used to house workers from the Little River Lumber Company, I believe. Granny Cromwell's house was moved, too, to make room for the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center. Just to the right of the mailbox is the bike path and a big hill. Zach had an accident riding his 'kaku' down that hill. And in the tall, tall tree that still stand in what was the back yard, Zach swung in a baby swing that his father once swung in. 

Zach used to ask about the 'Townsend house' all the time when he and I first moved into town. He was only 3 1/2. I sometimes wonder what his memories of that time are.

But for now, I have this photo. And this layout. And lots of memories still to document.

make mom smile

Are you ready for Mother's Day? No worries, you still have plenty of time to craft this necklace and earring gift set. Mine was made with some scraps and baubles left on my craft desk while making projects for one of my hosting weeks at Write.Click.Scrapbook. I was lucky enough to have been gifted with some incredibly fun and versatile Jenni Bowlin Studio products. 

I packaged my set in one of the clear-fronted hinged metal tins from my Etsy shop. As you can see, I've embellished it with the butterfly stamp {I stamped it first in Lemon Drops and then lightly in Cough Syrup, both from Jenni Bowlin} that's been fussy cut, punched on each side and adhered with the blue seam binding. I also used the Bracket stamp  and scallop punched it to use as a simple gift tag.

Using a silver chain I already had on hand, all I had to do was string the rhinestone-studded pearl onto the chain to complete my necklace. I also had the earring posts in my craft stash and all I had to do was open the wire and thread a plain pearl onto each of the posts. Using the Red Label Stickers, I spelled out my message with the Tiny Circle Alpha Cardstock sticker

Cute packaging. Super cute gift. Sure to put a smile on any Mom's face.

Looking for more ways to use that cute hinged metal tins that I have in the shop? Look at this...

spring training, ella style

Spring Training has begun and we're now into day three. My, how time flies when we're having fun. I've been hosting the Write.Click. Scrapbook. blog since Monday and today is my last day. Why you ask? Several of the w.c.s. team members are also Ella Friends, so we decided to do a little cross-training. 

Day One Inspiration | Embrace Your Signature Style

my signature style | mix of elements in a mini format
mini book available in my Etsy shop

Day Two Inspiration | Single-Sentence Journaling

my title is my journaling...less is more

Day Three Inspiration | Layouts and Photos that Capture Personality

The smile says it all.

And your links to the Ella Publishing Spring Training event posts can be found here:
Day One   | Coach Wendy Smedley
Day Two   | Coach Angie Lucas
Day Three | Coach Kelly Willette

Each day, challenges and prizes {from Big Picture Classes, Jenni Bowlin, Little Yellow Bicycle and more} are up for grabs on the Ella Publishing blog. Participation is FREE in the daily layout challenges and giveaway {without access to the videos, hands-on exercises and exclusive downloads}. You can still register for Spring Training here and use code SPRING33 to save $7 on your registration. Access to the classroom is good for a full 60 days after the event ends.

Now go forth and exercise those scrapbooking muscles!

the twinery and the {stamps} of life blog hop

The {Stamps} of Life and The Twinery Design Teams are playing together for this hop!
About The Twinery:Our twine is made from 100% cotton, it's eco-friendly and made in the USA. Whether you're gift wrapping, crafting or tying up baked goods to give to a friend, our baker's twine adds a fresh, yet nostalgic look to any project at hand! Our baker's twine comes in 11 delicious colors and is uniquely twisted against a bright white hue, creating an eye-popping burst of color and a creative embellishment! Our twine has lots of color which lends to a fun, candy-striped look.
We feature high quality, made in the USA, clear stamps and digital stamps/brushes for stampers, card makers and scrapbookers. Feel free to browse our gallery with more than 2500 samples using our stamps, watch our free how-to videos and join our club!
My first project shares a simple, but thoughtful, way to use the awesome monogram2build set from Stamps of Life. I began by removing several pages from a recycled book and tearing them into strips, then took my handy dandy glue stick and glued my strips end to end. After wrapping the long book page strip around my Dollar Tree vase, I strung my stamped sentiment {which had been punched} so that I could add my Pink Sorbet and Peapod baker's twine around the vase several times before tying it off with a cute bow. The wildflower bouquet is courtesy of my youngest daughter, Victoria.

Using the very same wrapping technique with The Twinery baker's twine that I used on my vase project, this time in Maraschino, I chose a different sentiment and framing option from the monogram2build set from Stamps of Life. 

I often need to send a note to school with my children and am always scrambling for something appropriate. Search no more...pull out your heavier cardstock and get to stamping. I trimmed my cardstock in no time at all, and stamped in even less time to end up with a simple but effective way to always be prepared.

I placed them in this hinged tin, in case you wanted a quick Teacher Appreciation gift idea, and punched the extra sentiment I had stamped to use as an embellishment. 

hinged metal tins can be found here

The true test of a gift, for me, is when it turns out so cute I want to keep it for myself. Yep, I want to keep this one, but lucky for me, I have more hinged tins and even more adorable stamp options to create with. And doesn't that baker's twine from The Twinery add the perfect touch, without being too fussy?

Here's a close up of the stamp set I was so lucky to be able to use today. 

I am not an extraordinary stamper, especially with acrylic stamps, so when I say that I strongly urge you to purchase at least one set of Stamps of Life stamps, SOON, that says a lot. They give such a clear, solid impression...not like the acrylic stamps I have used in the past. My, oh, my, these are wonderful.


As you make your way through the hop make sure you comment on each and every post. There will be 4 prize winners chosen randomly among the blogs:

Two winners will win 2 stamp sets of winners choice valued at $12.95. 
(total retail value: $26.90 per prize) from The {Stamps} of Life.
Two winners will win Colorful Bunch Sampler Packs ($20 value!) from The Twinery!

The prize winners will be announced on The {Stamps} of Life and The Twinery blogs on Tuesday, May 3rd.

The Hop List:
                                                                         Monika Wright ----> you are here
Sheri Twing

Have fun hopping and be sure to leave comments on each blog you visit for extra chances to win one of four amazing prizes!

subway art calendar

Ready for the 2nd Quarter subway art calendar downloads? If you haven't a clue as to what I'm speaking of, here's the 1st Quarter download. And here's how I'm displaying my calendars this go 'round.

Have Fun and Craft On Print - available in other colors | one little word Print - choose your word and background color

Wondering what to do with January through April now? I'm going to trim them to make some note cards so I'll be that much farther ahead next year. You could also add them to a scrapbooking layout, which might be kind of cute, too!

You can find this download, and others, in my sidebar or in the menu under my blog header. If you print them out, I'd love to see the creative ways you have to display your calendars...leave me a comment so I can check it out.

and the winner is...

A nice package of scrapbooking goodies from Momenta, to include some puffy alphas {wink, wink} will be on their way {with help from} to:

Ruth, please contact me no later than Monday evening with your mailing info or another winner will be chosen. And a big thank you to Momenta for allowing me to share some of my Design Team goodies with my fabulous readers!

hoppy easter basket tags

#hoppy easter #happy easter #gift tags #tags #easter basket tags #easter #free printable #printable gift tags

Using the iron-on word art I used for Victoria's t-shirt last week, {there are other designs on the same download} I created these shipping tags to attach to the kids' Easter baskets. They would be so nice to attach to a hostess gift for your Mom or Mother-in-Law, too. 

Just print, trim, punch a hole and add some baker's twine and your Easter Bunny will be ready to hop on down the bunny trail!
#hoppy easter #happy easter #easter #easter basket tags #gift tags #free tags #free gift tags

52Photos :: open

my 52Photos capture

open heart
full of love
full of joy
full of thanks
i'm a lucky girl and i need to remind myself of that a little more often're a lucky girl

next week's theme


the wrap-up

Only 36 more weeks of 52Photos | 2011. How is that possible? It feels like we just started and now it's almost May. Is this year slipping away for the rest of you, too?

If you're new to 52Photos, go here for an explanation, a blog button and an invitation to join our 52 week journey of discovery! We'd love to have you join us...just jump in now and see where your photos take you.


I am so proud to be the newest member of the Momenta, Inc. Design Team. I know, exciting right? Meet the rest of the Design Team...I'm guessing that you'll already be familiar with quite a few names.
Momenta has been introducing their new product lines and something that caught my eye was the innovative and brand new Design Your Own Sticker. Here's a video that explains it all.

Be on the lookout for projects and layouts featuring all the fun Momenta goodies. Until then...

Leave a comment telling me what your favorite Momenta product is and when my goodies arrive, I'll package up some of them and pass them along to the winner to play with. It may be a few weeks, but it will be worth it!

Winner will be chosen on Friday evening and it is your responsibility to check back to see if you are the winner. Good Luck.

let's get sketchy...

...together. Be sure to stop by Ella Publishing Co. today for another inspiring sketch by my friend Donna Jannuzzi of the

Says Donna:

Visit the Ella blog every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from now through September to see a brand new sketch and layouts created by me from the sketch.  Along the way I'll share some of my favorite tips and tricks for getting the most from your sketches.  Plus, each week I've invited one of the Ella Friends to stretch the sketch and create another layout based on that same sketch so you'll get double the inspiration!  Each month you can join in the fun by making your own layouts based on the sketches presented to be eligible for some great prizes.

Want to join in the fun?  Here's how to play:  First, create your layout based on the sketch.  Next, post it to your blog or any online album and be sure to mention where you got the sketch in your post or caption.  Third, come back to this post and share the link to your layout.  All entries must be posted by April 30, 2011, 11:59 pm PST.  The winner of each month will be chosen at random and will be announced on The Daily Trumpet.

I'm honored to be the first Ella Friend to have the opportunity to use a sketch Donna created and to play with it and make it my own. To see the original sketch and to enter your layout based on this week's sketch, be sure to stop by the Ella blog for the details, the sketch and the prize reveal!

8.5x11 | paper {american crafts, pebbles, kraft} sticker {cosmo cricket} pen {zig} foam tabs, embroidery floss, jewelry tag {craft supply}

The journaling says most of what was in my heart. I still can't get over the fact that Victoria was so completely entranced by blowing her poofyhead to make a wish that she totally forgot that I was crouched down so near to her trying to capture it all with a photograph. And, this, just after she had told me not to listen to her making her wish. If you just could have heard how sweetly she whispered her wish. Oh my. I hope that I will always remember just how soft her voice was. And just how she said her words. Makes my heart melt, still.

Here I scored some patterned cardstock and folded in half, then used my Threading Waters Fiskers border punch {the only border punch I have}. I punched the holes to "sew" my punched border to the kraft with my paper piercer and then used embroidery floss to attach.

i'm somebunny special

We all have special little cuties in our life, so why not make them a t-shirt telling them just how special they are to you! I used the same bunny template I used for this bunny garland as the focal point of this t-shirt and then ironed on the free "I'm Somebunny Special" download design.

#bunny #iron on download #I'm Somebunny Special #free #printable #t-shirt

I sewed the felt bunny onto Victoria's t-shirt {$5 from Old Navy} with an aqua blue embroidery floss. No stabilizer, no Wonder Under...just pinned it and used a running stitch. I have done similar t-shirts with the cheapy Hobby Lobby 4/$1 felt and have had no problems putting it into the washer and dryer and coming out fine and dandy. 

This download was designed as an iron-on transfer. You can use Avery 3271 iron-on transfers or a store brand {mine were from Office Depot} but I have to say that I preferred the Avery 3271 that I used on my St. Patrick's Day t-shirt download.

the inspiration collective

Aly Dosdall, Celeste Smith and Erin Sweeney, part of the Inspiration Collective at Write.Click.Scrapbook., are on the blog today {at 10am today after the winners are announce} to WOW you with their creative mini album creations using Jenni Bowlin Studio kits and I am sharing a Bonus Project crafted with more jbs buttons and some LemonDrop baker's twine from The Twinery modeled by the cutest 5-year old girl ever, my spunky little Victoria.

and the winner is...

My goodness, you guys are too good to me.  I adored reading your comments about your fave mini's and projects and what made them appeal to you. It really warmed my heart to think I inspired you even just a little bit to sit down and try a mini for yourself. 

{It still amazes me that people other than my family like what I do.}

I didn't think anyone would notice that I snuck a giveaway onto my blog, too, even though I only mentioned at w.c.s. and the giveaway at jbs in the post title. It really was just a whim, but one that I am glad I acted upon. Everyone loves to add a bit to their stash, especially is it's free!

I am pleased to announce {even though it's earlier than I Sweetie and I have plans to watch a movie once the kidlets are in bed} that the winner to a smorgasbord of my crafting extras will be on the way to carriep. Please contact me with your mailing address so that I can clean off my desk and get to work on my next project. 

52Photos :: me

my 52Photos capture

I included a photo of me not too long ago for the "wrinkle" challenge, so I wanted to get a new photo of of me are rare. I thought about one of me driving my new car, but thought that that wasn't too safe. Well, not safe at all is the true statement. Then I thought of one of me reading, because I do really love to read and don't seem to find the time to do it all that much lately.

So, I pulled the tripod I got for Christmas out of my closet, set it up and read up {again} on how to use my camera's self timer and put it outside. I thought I would get a photo of me doing some gardening. Because that really is a true springtime assessment of me. Assessing what needs to be moved, pruned, divided and bought for the yard.

And this year, there's been a lot of head shaking as I see where our little chocolate lab pup, Cocoa, has decided to dig. Cute as she can be, but man does she chew and dig. Good thing she knows how to use the sad puppy eyes look to her advantage or Big Mama would be scolding her way more than I do.

She dug up a perfectly beautiful azalea, leaving the dead azalea sitting right next to it in its place.
I dug that one up. Hmmmpphh.

next week's theme


the wrap-up

Can you believe that we're already entering into the 16th week of our 52 week journey? Working on a solution to housing my 52Photos and stories...and hope to share that soon.

If you're new to 52Photos, go here for an explanation, a blog button and an invitation to join our 52 week journey of discovery!

double your chances

Holy mini albums, Batman, it's...

and helping us to celebrate MINI ALBUM WEEK is Jenni Bowlin Studios. They're hosting another giveaway on their blog.

Double the chances, double the goodies, double the fun!

But wait, if you leave a comment here on iloveitall telling me your most liked mini album or bonus project that I've featured at Write.Click.Scrapbook. thus far, you'll be entered into my drawing for some random scrapbooking items I have lying around my craft space right now...might be new, might be gently loved, might be partially used...and they might soon be yours!

Winner will be drawn tonight at 8pm EST. It's your responsibility to check back or another winner will be chosen.

hard things to say

glassine bags in 4 sizes

On the Write.Click.Scrapbook. blog this week, where I am a member of this incredible collective of talented designers, Erin Sweeney has been hosting. On Wednesday, her post was about journaling. And Digging Deep for that journaling, actually.

Many of you know that times have been tough with my oldest, Zach, during his experience as a college Freshman. Intelligent as he is, with numerous academic scholarships under his belt, he decided to blow off attending some classes, completing class work, homework assignments and respect for his parents. Therefore, he is no longer a college student. He blew the chance of earning a degree at a top-notch local college {Gordon is a graduate of this same College} that has been included in the U.S. News and World Report lists of America's Top Colleges several years. He threw $18,000 in tuition, books, meal plans and scholarships down the drain. And that's the cost for just one semester. It just did not mean as much to him as it did to us. It really hurts me, even still. And my eyes are pooling with tears as I type just thinking about it.

Instead he has enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He will be leaving in September for basic training and then heading to Charleston for his 18-month training stint in the nuclear program. Yes, 18-months in training alone before he ever sets foot on a submarine or a ship. That's how intense this program is.

He is not a highly excitable kind of guy. At all. 

And, for him, he's pretty excited about this venture. He's excited about the fact that he scored very high on the ASVAB test and had the choice of any field he wanted. He's excited about the fact that this will be a lucrative career choice, whether he stays in the Navy and earns even more signing bonuses or leaves after his initial enlistment and re-enters the civilian world with some wonderful skills learned and promising career opportunities. He's excited that he could have the opportunity to attend Officer Candidate School. He's excited.

I don't know if he's thought so much about the fact that he will be away from home and what that all means. Probably, right now, it seems pretty exciting to him. I'm thinking that it might not be as exciting after a time, knowing him as I do. 

I cannot say that this would have been my first choice as a career path for him when he graduated from high school. And it's probably still not my first choice, but it IS something that is making him happy and fulfilled. And I am thrilled with the opportunities that lie ahead for him.

My Father was in the Air Force. Zach's Father was in the Army. Gordon's Dad was in the Marines and now we have a Navy man in the house. We're covered, aren't we?

The layout I am sharing with you today is one featuring Zach. The Digging Deep journaling is contained in that small glassine envelope on three journaling cards that are filled back and front with my story of his one semester college experience. 

Here's what I shared with the w.c.s. readers:

The journaling for this layout has been in my head, and in my heart, for several months. It's a story that is not particularly pleasant, but I wanted my son to know how I felt about the experience. Looking at the layout, no one would ever imagine the powerful story that is contained within that glassine envelope...three journaling cards front and back full of a Mama's angst, hopes, dreams and words of wisdom. So, the journaling was not all that hard to do, I knew I wanted to document this phase in Zach's life, but actually making the layout and reliving the events were. On the up side, I purposefully chose a happy photo and an inspiring die cut. If someone wants to read the story, they can, but they are not subjected to these private words unless they want to be.

I used a dictionary page that has the word success highligthed with my punched kraft arrow...
I added a punched heart to the glassine envelope...
I used a punched tab from some boxer short packaging from Old Navy {I think this will make him smile, he will remember this and how he helped me to punch out the shapes}...
I used a smiling photo of Zach {taken on New Year's Day}...
I used a more feminine paper, offset with the kraft, so it wasn't so serious...

...all in an effort to make this layout seem less intimidating, as my words
to Zach are powerful. I did not hold back. I did not fluff.
...I am honest.
...I am his Mom and I love him.
...I hope this will all make sense one day.


And I do believe that. Some stories are tough, but they are a part of our life's history. This isn't the first layout I've done that show a less-than-sunny-side of our lives and it probably won't be my last. 

Have you ever shared some tough journaling on a layout? More than once? Never?