calendar cuties | june 2013

Our Summer Break has begun and we have been going full speed on being lazy, being busy, Mommy school work, ice cream breaks, painting toe nails, Oma Day's and, finally, a dip in the swimming pool yesterday. 

In case you need a June calendar to keep your days you go! You can find all the 2013 Calendar Cuties here, in case you want to add them to your Project Life albums or use them for scrapbook layouts.

may flowers | the twinery

I love flowers.

They always seem to bring a smile to my face, especially if they are of the hand-picked variety and are presented in the sweaty, dirty hands of my kiddos. Let me share with you a secret...I like to create home decor that presents a positive message. Some days, I find, it's nice to walk by and see uplifting words to remind me how good my life really is. And this is what I created for the May Flowers challenge round:

I love to pick up these mini canvases, they're perfect for gifts and quick projects. I popped a piece of cardstock on top of the canvas, which I trimmed out with Buttercream baker's twine, created my paper flower on top of that and then to dress up my flower a bit more, I added a twine ball in Shore to the center. For extra bling, I added another twine ball alongside my stamped sentiment.

Be sure to link up your May Flower Challenge projects on the original challenge post here where you can get all the details on how to win a fabulous prize!

NOTE  |  If you'd like to make your own paper flowers, you can find a tutorial here using book pages and here using patterned paper.

right now | may 2013

When I filled out this month's right now page, I felt like I was just repeating myself even though I guess that I am not. Dare I say that perhaps my life seems not as exciting as I believe the next person's life to be?

Next month, I think I'm going to try a new approach. I'll let you know how it goes.

may | 5.21.13

like i really need to get my roots colored, i feel so old with the gray.

on the to do list
finish up our summer bucket list

my guilty pleasure
staying in my jammies until 10am if i want to. i'm my own boss now.

palmetto cheese...i can't stop eating it once i start. love!

dreaming about
having the time to read lots of good books this summer.

grateful for
friends i have met online that are coming and kind and real

If you'd like to create your own right now mini book, begin by downloading your right now page template
Here's the post where I share how I created my mini album.

right now archives

studio sneak peek | craft storage ideas

My Studio is finally on its way to being organized. And pretty. And functional.
And today, I am sharing a peek into where I spend most of my day designing and creating.
But you have to head over to Craft Storage Ideas for the reveal.

I hope it makes you as happy as it makes me!

* Psssst! I'm also sharing a coupon code for all CSI readers.

Find more project STUDIO posts here.

projectSTUDIO | 6x6 paper pad storage

Until I was invited to join the My Mind's Eye Design Team, I had only a handful of 6x6 paper pads and storage of them wasn't given a thought. I don't know why I didn't have more at the time, because I've found that they're great starting points for card designs and mini album pages, not only for their size, but because their patterns are scaled down.

Remember when I showed you my washi tape storage solutions? I even have room for that wild mess of book binder rings in the back of this basket, that is until more 6x6 paper pads arrive on my doorstep!

Find more project STUDIO posts here.

things i love about you | a mini album collection

What began as a gift for Gordon has become a best selling tem for the shop! Surprisingly, all of the mini books that I've made for him and also put in the shop {at a later date} are popular gift giving items. I attribute that to the fact that it's just hard to find something for a guy that's somewhat sweet, but not too sweet.

It all began with the 10 Things I Love About You and has blossomed into a collection of six different mini albums. If you visit the listings, you'll see that many of the mini albums offer wording variations so that you can somewhat personalize them. If you want to go even further, you can add your Sweetie's name to the cover and even add the option of changing the color. All the details are in the shop listings.

In order as you see them in the photo above:

write one thing each week beginning this year to gift for your anniversary next year
or, just come up with 52 awesome reasons they rock your world!

great for a 40th birthday gift and even a 40th anniversary gift!

for your Sweet 16

I've had adult children purchase these for their Mom's birthday gifts. I've had spouses of military members deployed all over the world gift these in care packages. Brides have given this mini album to their husband on their wedding day as they begin their own story together. 

And, sometimes, it's just nice to give this to someone in your life that needs to be reminded how beautiful they've made your life just by being in it.

And, just in case you don't follow me on Facebook, I announced there that until Father's Day when you purchase this print, you have your choice of any color shown in the 4th photo of the listing. Usually, it comes in just navy and seafoam green, so this might be one way for you to celebrate the wonderful Dad's in your life.

projectSTUDIO | stamps

Stamping is not my crafting obsession, but I do own my fair share of stamps. In this installment of projectSTUDIO, I thought I would share how I store my stamps in my tool chests.

My favorite way to use stamps is in mini albums and journals and even stamping on patterned paper to make my own embellishments and journaling spots for layouts. I seem to get a better impression with the old-fashioned red rubber stamps with a wood handle, probably because I'm a smoosher and the smooshing style does not partner well with acrylic stamps. But that's another story.

For a large number of my rubber stamps, I rely on my recycled gift boxes idea. You'll see that I stack a layer of stamps in what was the lid of a sturdy gift box {red box seen at left} and the bottom of the box {white} fits nicely inside the lid with another layer of rubber stamps. The right side shows how the bottom fits inside the red lid, making a home made two-tier organization system.

As I could never get the acrylic stamp sets I own to fit back into the packaging as nicely as it should, I wondered if they would fit inside the glassine bags I stock in my shop. And they did. And it makes me so happy to not have to wrestle with the original packaging, which always seemed to stick on me. You can see that there is plenty of room to slide the stamp sets inside the bags {below} with room to spare. 

The stamp sets even stand up nicely inside the glassine bags stacked inside my recycled shoe box container, along with some other smaller acrylic stamps that are a perfect fit for the smaller glassine bags I stock.

The clear acrylic containers you see standing up with more rubber stamps are from Stampin' Up.

And for the stamps I tend to use all the time, I keep them out in the open so I don't have to hunt for them on a daily basis. They're stored in a two-tiered pedestal just above the drawers that hold all my stamping supplies.

Read more of my projectSTUDIO posts.

49 lists and one to grow on

To celebrate the last year I'll ever have in my 40's, insert a very long sigh, I decided to share a bit of who I am, how I feel, what I think and what makes me, me, with my future generations. I doubt that my children will find this very interesting right now, but in years to come, I'm hoping that it will help them to understand who their Mommy was during her 49th year of life. 

I would love to know how my Mom felt at 49. And most certainly my Oma since she lived all the way in Germany.

Hi all, today I'm sharing the April edition of Mini Albums with Monika. My theme of 49 lists this month works out just perfectly for me. There are 52 weeks in a year which means I'll be reminded to create a list at least once a week. I'm not quite sure what to title my mini album though and once I decide, I'll proceed with decorating my cover. Any ideas?

I've already journaled 5 list topics since my birthday in late March. Want to take a peek? This type page is a lovely way to hide a more private note.

My journaling card already had the numbers and all I had to do was add the places I've called home in my 49 years. It's hard for me to believe that I've lived 15 years in one place...longest streak ever for me. After removing the book pages, use a variety of Decorative Tapes to cover the spine area and add a few more strips to the back cover as well. See how I've utilized my tapes to signify the number 49 below?

And I just had to include a page from the original book I recycled. Using the library card from MME, I created a pocket and added a Decorative Brad.

big cartel spotlight + giveaway | eeny's design studio

I love to share news of other small business owners and I'm thrilled that today's spotlight is on a friend I met while reading a blog where one of her crafty projects was highlighted. I hopped over to her blog and left a comment. We began conversing every now and then through blog comments and then e-mails and through all that, I've learned that Eeny is a lovely young lady and just happens to be German, like my Mom. She shares the best recipes. She shares herself. And best of all, she's carving her path in the world and blogging her experiences. 

You may have noticed that I've been playing around with my blog design the last week or so. Well, it was all inspired by the social media buttons Eeny designed for me. 
Aren't they cute and colorful and no-nonesense all at the same time? Love them. Now, my blog readers can e-mail me, join me on Facebook, find me on Etsy, see what's inspiring me on Pinterest, receive blog posts via RSS feed and follow along with me on Instagram. 

Everyone, I'd like to introduce you to Eeny.

Hello lovely I Love it All readers, 

I am Mareen or eeny for short - i blog over at eeny‘s universe and i just opened my little design shop eeny‘s design studio.
I have my shop stocked with a couple social media button designs which are color customizable so they fit your blog color theme perfectly. I also do custom designs - not only social media buttons but also blog and shop headers, sidebar titles, logos or even over all blog designs. If you are interested in seeing some of my designs, check out my design portfolio on my portfolio blog


Today I want to give away one set of any social media buttons in my shop to one of Monika‘s readers. To win, simply hop over to my shop and comment below which social media buttons set you‘d love to win.

For extra entries like eeny‘s design studio on facebook and/or follow eeny‘s design studio on twitter - just leave an extra comment for each. Winner will be drawn next Wednesday, May 15th and contacted by e-mail shortly after. 

Thanks so much for having me, Monika. 

+ + + + +

I know you'll find Eeny's design shop fresh and appealing. Don't forget to leave an e-mail address in your comments as well if there's not one linked in your profile so that you can be contacted if you're the winner. Giveaway closes next Wednesday. 

world's best mom card download | the twinery

Did you ever think getting paid in hugs and kisses and I Love You's, okay and runny noses and skinned knees and tantrums as well, would be adequate pay? I never did...until I had kids of my own. And if it weren't for our own lovely Mother's we wouldn't be here today.

All week, our team of designers at The Twinery will be sharing projects and inspiration during the Mother's Day Celebration. For my project today, I designed a free card download that I spiffied up with a bit of  Rainbow Teal Shimmer baker's twine. I color matched the card to coordinate with any of the five shades I'm showing below, but you choose your favorite.

I use a length of floral wire as my "needle" because it's easy to thread and fits through the tiny holes. Here's a quick tutorial from the archives on how I do that. And now, let me show you how easy it is to sew on a card!

print your free 5x7 card download on a piece of 8.50 x 11 cardstock
trim card on cut lines provided.
use your paper piercer, thumb tack or other sharp object to pierce each point on the letter "M"
thread your favorite shade of The Twinery baker's twine through your needle
begin sewing your letters, just 4 long stitches for each M
adhere loose baker's twine on the back side of the card
trim a piece of cardstock, piece of art from the kids or even a photo to cover loose strands

If you're feeling extra crafty, use the same technique to outline the heart shape in Pink Sorbet!

projectSTUDIO | drawer organization

Welcome to the blog series that will slowly reveal my craftSTUDIO.

In this post, I shared a few of the larger pieces I've recently purchased, but I notice now that there are a few more I need to share with you that have proven to be winners. Slowly but surely, we'll get through this reveal.

Before I go any further, though, I want to say that if it were not for the fact that I am a work-from-home small business owner, I would not have two-thirds of the items in my Studio. I love to craft and create and would have happily remained in my little nook in the laundry room if not for the growth and success of I Love It All, my online shop. While all of the furniture and tools I now own and use are nice, I was equally happy using an old dining room table and a 3-drawer Sterlite container for my supplies.

I'll begin today with my tool chest organization and how I organize the drawers. There are three tool chests lined up in a row along a bank of windows in what was once our Sun Room, but is now my gorgeously bright and sunny craftStudio. I had two of them when I was still using Zach's old bedroom for my office, but the move up here allowed me to snag one of the chests Gordon used in the garage.

Three chests times 10 drawers each equals 30 drawers. Just to buy bins and containers for each of those drawers would have been a fortune that I had already spent on my tool chests. Here's where I got smart, I started upcycling and recycling cartons and packaging from food items we consume. You know, those empty mushroom containers, snack pack fruit bowls, cracker and Velveeta cheese boxes. I supplemented those freebies with some dollar store and close-out store finds as well.

click on photo to open a larger image in a new window

  1. using recycled packaging from snack crackers, like those 6 to a pack peanut butter packs, line your drawers to separate adhesives by type.
  2. repurpose lids and bottoms from those nice gift boxes, too. the large one came from the iPad cover Gordon bought and the green bins are Clinque gift with purchase freebies.
  3. purchased from a dollar store {4 for $1} this drawer is colorful and fun. i punch all my scrap papers into shapes to add into a freebie pack for customers that purchase mini books and journals from my shop. the square green bins are from the Target dollar spot.
  4. the blue bin is recycled from the grocery store and once held sliced mushrooms.
  5. i'm not too proud to recycle packaging, as you see here again, it allows me to save up for the larger purchases i make. and yes, i still use my decorative scissors sometimes.
  6. tired of searching for my chipboard letters, i dismantled them from their packaging and added them to more snack packaging.
  7. the large fluted bins are from a closeout store and i liked that they were a bit taller.
  8. the small, clear plastic containers are from Jello-O or pudding cups and I use them to store the different colored tabs I punch for my Gratitude Journals.
  9. just do it! cut the lids off those shoe boxes and use them to corral larger supplies. sometimes it takes a bit of thought, but you CAN make them fit!
  10. my beloved tool chests...lined up three in a row. this photo was taken on a rainy day, but normally this room is bright and beautiful. you can find a similar tool chest here. mine are an older model purchased on clearance and we did not pay nearly this much. 
  11. old iPhone boxes, plastic lids from cheese containers, fruit cup containers and shoe boxes. it all works for me!
There are plenty of posts out there with absolutely gorgeous items used for organizing. Clearly, you can see that this is not one of those posts. But when the drawers are closed, no one sees my cast off packaging an I happen to think it's pretty thrifty.

Join me next time when I'll reveal how I store my stamps, but until then take at a recent post sharing how I store my washi tape stash.

Find more projectSTUDIO posts here.

5 on the 5th | may 2013

I realized this morning that today was the 5th day of the 5th month for our May 5 on the 5th photo  project. So, I thought, why not capture 5 things at 5pm on the 5th? I use the hashtag #5onthe5th on Instagram if you want to follow along.

1  |  Getting everything out of the fridge that we'll need for dinner tonight, and when I do, I spy...

2  |  ...these individual banana pudding bowls I made Friday. I couldn't resist the temptation and ate one, yes at 5pm, hurriedly as I was waiting for Gordon to bring the girls back from their Sunday with Nana. Man, was it good and I didn't feel guilty a bit. Gordon and I just finished up the last two with a cup of coffee as we waited for the girls to fall asleep.

3  |  Waiting for a sweet little girlie to splash away all the day's dirt...trying to squeeze in two quick baths before dinner is ready.

4  |  Beef. It's what's for dinner. At least tonight.

5  |  Six new fish to join the two remaining fish. Several of our fishies went to a new pond and we hear that they are doing so well and enjoying all the space they have to splash around.

all photos made using my iPhone with the Instagram app and edited with the Earlybird filter

5 on the 5th 2013 Archives
January | February | March | April |  May  | June | July | August | September | October | November | December 

teacher appreciation day gifts

I admire and commend each and every educator for their patience and determination as they greet their students each day with a smile and encouragement, telling them that they are the best they can be. All week the team at The Twinery have been sharing gift ideas for teachers and I have one more.

Today, I wanted to show how you can take a simple note card set and package it into something fabulous. I carry these note cards in my shop and have been packaging them in glassine bags with a cardstock belly band and wrapped with Stone baker's twine.

* find note cards here

After creating a personalized note card suite for Victoria's teacher, I decided that I should also show our appreciation to the Teaching Assistant as well. I'll pop Mrs. H's set into the tote bag I featured on the blog on Monday, which means I'll probably need to make another one for the Teaching Assistant...she's totally worth it!

Now, you've turned a simple glassine bag and some eco-luxe Stone Baker's Twine into a gift with a bit of wowYou probably saw my embellished tote bag, but here it is again just in case you missed it. Okay, it's not specifically for Teachers, I agree, but I love cute tote bags and hope that Mrs. H. does as well.

Me and free are always friendly, so I repurposed this tote bag from blah to bee-ewe-tee-full. If you don't have a free one hanging around, I've also seen them at craft stores in a sturdy canvas and have used them in the past for these tote bags.

Here's how I did it:
  1. Gather blah tote bag.
  2. Find some felt, or fabric, and your favorite shades of baker's twine.
  3. Using a punched shape as your guide, trim a variety of free form circles in pleasing colors.
  4. Stack felt shapes and use a french knot, or two, or three to adhere stack together.
  5. Hot glue baker's twine embellished felt flowers to your tote bag.
  6. Do you see your tote bag quickly going from blah to beautiful?
  7. Punch holes in a shipping tag to form a letter and "sew" your letter with baker's twine.
  8. Hot glue ball trim to tote bag and embellish with more baker's twine.

What's your favorite Teacher gift idea?

one very fine may day mini album

When I began thinking about the May Day challenge for My Mind's Eye, I decided to create a quick and easy mini album to share with Isabella and Victoria while we ate breakfast. Something for them to look forward to all day, adding a little anticipation to their day. Each page of the mini album outlines what we will be doing after school pick-up today.

They kind of need this pick-me-up as Isabella just finished TCAP testing and Victoria has begun her DEA testing. Some fun distraction is certainly in order!

What made this mini album move along so quickly for me was that I allowed the Chipboard pieces from the My Girl collection to dictate what our day's agenda would be. Here, take a look to see what I mean. Oh, and you may notice that my "binding" for this mini album is simply an assortment of Decorative Tapes to adhere the pages to one another.

before the adventure

Really, you could just leave this mini album as is and it would stand on it's own with just the embellished pages. I planned to add photos of our our adventures and left room to add in smallish snapshots of our days' adventures;

Ride Our Bikes.
Take a Pic!
Blow Bubbles Together.
Eat Ice Cream.

after the fun-filled afternoon

Continuing with the Decorative Tape theme, I backed two photos of the girls on their bikes and added tape to make a "page" that appears before page with the chipboard bicycle. I have a super crush on the new Alpha Stickers from the new release collection Find Your Wings and Fly | Sky's the Limit from MME and I think you will, too.

I used the same blue flower layered sticker one the front and back, which you might  see didn't quite line up, but I let my hang up about that go. On the front {with Victoria's bike photo} I used it to cover up the wheelbarrow full of weeds on the path to the barn. On this photo with Isabella {above}, my horizontal strips of Decorative Tape hold the photo to the right side page.

I snapped a few photos of me {with my iPhone} while I was riding my bike. Definitely not easy to do and this shot was the best of the four I took. It was an I didn't wash my hair, messy bun kind of day, can you tell? At least I'm in a photo and part of the story of our very fine May day.

Empty ice cream bowls are not an uncommon sight in our house these days. With warmer days, ice cream and popsicles are our favorite after-school treat.  And some thoughts on our afternoon. Lately, I'm having a tough time with my kids growing up. Dang hormones.

And a view of our home from 1/4 of the way down our driveway. We don't live in a subdivision, but our driveway is very long so it's really just very perfect for bike riding. My goal is to make it to the top of our steep driveway on my bike. One day I'll take a photo to show you just how tough it is to make it to the top. On a bike. At least for me.

favorite features

  • created a pinwheel and used a Decorative Brad for the center attachment
  • added Decorative Buttons and Enamel Dots to my chipboard elements
  • border punched and stitched on the cover allowing my bicycle Chipboard elements and Twine to peek from underneath
  • at the last minute, I added in a shipping tag and adhered it on both sides with more Decorative Tape and was able to pop on a larger Chipboard Element
  • love to decorate the inside cover as well...this time with layered Chipboard Elements