blog makeover 101

I am enrolled in a self-paced class blog design class and I have to tell you, I am loving every single minute of it. It's a team collaboration of two mulit-talented designers. I first became aware of Kristina Proffitt by seeing her work published in scrapbooking publications and then by becoming a follower of her blog, One Happy Mama. {You might also remember this post.} I admire all of Crystal Wilkerson's designs for their fun, fresh, spunky vibe. They just scream HAPPY to me. And that's a good thing. 

From the step-by-step videos showing me exactly how to do it all, to the templates provided to help me design my own banner, background and post dividers, this class continues to hold my interest and is teaching me things that I have not been able to figure out by myself. I am so impatient to get it all finished so I can do a little blog makeover for myself. 

Sound interesting?

You have a chance to win one of two spots in the very same class I am taking. Blog Designs for Blogger, taught by Crystal Wilkerson and Kristina Proffitt, is up for grabs today at Quick, go now to enter the giveaway! You have until tonight at 8pm to enter.

If you don't have the time to take the class, or are not all that interested in designing your own blog, click here to see some blog design templates designed by Kristina and Crystal available for purchase. A pre-designed blog package for only $25, can you even believe that? They do it all for you and you get the cutest blog makeover ever.

Edited to Add: Kristina is beginning her maternity leave tomorrow. While she is completing current projects, she won't be taking on any additional bog design projects just now. You can visit her blog and click on her e-mail me button to communicate with her directly.

i'm an ella publishing friend!

I've been sitting on this lovely piece of news for a little while and I am...

...SO very happy, and honored, to be part of the newly announced Ella Friends with 11 other like-minded crafty, creative and inspirational paper and digi-loving souls. I'll be adding links to each team members' blog on the right sidebar so that you can visit with them and get to know them, just as I will.

Read all about the official announcement here. If you'd like to display the Ella button on your blog, you can get it in two different sizes here.

Let the fun begin!

books and displays and a tease, oh my!

Last week, Kim Morgan hosted a whole week sharing book-related layouts and projects at We're big readers in our family and we all think Reading is Fun {maybe Gordon not as much as the rest of us} and entertaining. Here are the layouts I contributed, but I strongly encourage you to see all the inspiration the team shared on how they captured their families' reading memories. You will come away inspired to sit down and create a few layouts of your own, I am sure of this.

Isabella was home from school sick on this day, and she was reaading her Nancy Drew book in bed when I went up to check on her. I didn't pose the photo or straighten the lamp shade or anything {which would be my normal inclination}. Just walked in and snapped a pic.

And because Isabella was laying in bed reading, Victoria felt she needed to do the same thing.  She doesn't yet read, but my goodness she can retell the most amazing versions of a story. I have quite a few videos of her sitting with a book and "reading" the pictures that will make you smile, laugh, and perhaps shed a tear all within 2 minutes. It's just so precious. 

I often create 2, or even 3, layouts for the kids using the same basic layout. My thought is that since I have all the papers, embellishments and adhesive out anyway, I might as well capture the story for each of the kids' albums. For these two layouts, I used this free download from Creature Comforts for the library card and the card envelope, which you can also find in my Tumblr. My journaling is written on the library card, so I attached a tab to pull it from the library card pocket, if someone wants to read the story.

I also contributed these two layouts showcasing some artwork from the girls.

As always, you can right click on any of the images in my blog posts which opens the image in a new tab or window {whichever you choose} allowing you to read the journaling or take a closer look at the photo. 

and displays

Wendy Smedley is hosting this week sharing creative, unique and inspirational ways to display photos in our homes. Today's post has this contribution from me, but it pales in comparison to the other 10 projects shared by w.c.s. team members.

honor the men in your life

Although this mini-album for my Father-in-Law was given as a gift for Father's Day 2009, I wanted to share it with you today. You might be wondering, "Why today?" No special reason other than I think that it's a gift that takes a little time, time to get the photos together that is.  There are three months until Christmas, so time you do have.

This would be a gift to your father-in-law at any time of the year that would be treasured more than any expensive trinket you could purchase. Trust me. When I presented this to Gordon's Dad, he was quite touched. From the cover photo above, you can see that it has seen some wear and tear. And I love that it gets looked at. Makes my heart happy.

And, even though I have gifted my mother-in-law with many a special mini-album as a gift, she looked at this album lovingly and in a way that I thought that she might like something like this for herself one day. Who wouldn't like an album full of Papa/Nana/Oma photos with the grandkids over the years?

Throughout the album, all the patterned papers are from K & Company as are the small journaling spots and the cardstock is WorldWin. The brown gingham ribbon is from Hobby Lobby, the heart punch is from Paper Shapers. I used pop dots behind each of the sentiments/quotes on each left side page and I used a brown Zig marker.

Left side and right side of the first spread which documents Papa's first meeting with each of his two dear granddaughters. There's no baby photo of Zach with Papa as the first time they met, Zach was already six years old. Zach is my son from a previous marriage and Nana and Papa have throughly enjoyed getting to know Zach and have loved him since day one.

ADORE bingo card (Jenni Bowlin)
circle stamp (Micheal's Dollar Bin) + date stamp
Left side and right side of second spread.  Lucky to have a Papa that really spends time with the kids. He loves to teach them some of the simple things he learned growing up in our mountains, like making a turkey call with a branch and a leaf.

apple card (October Afternoon?) + letter U (American Crafts?)

Left side and right side of third spread showcases some Zach and Papa time. Zach's most favorite gift ever came from Papa.

remember card (October Afternoon
I was so not loving that live snake Papa just had to show Zach this long ago afternoon.

Left side and right side of spread highlighting time that Little Bit and Papa have spent together.
Fun Times journaling spot (October Afternoon)

Left side and right side of Papa with his Squirt:

Can I just tell you that I adore this photo of Isabella and Papa walking on top of the mountain? Perfection. It was Zach's {early} birthday party. We squeezed it in so that Zach could have his special day before Victoria arrived {ten days later...she was 8 days early}.

Left side and right side of Mama catching Papa spoiling the girls with their own cup of Mountain Dew. But he always ask me first, and I can't deny him when he has that twinkle in his eye and crooked little grin. I'm a sucker for it every.single. time.

Left side and right side of spread showing just a few photos of our heavenly trip to Aruba with our in-laws. The girls still talk about the beach there!

I don't care for how the white pen I used wrote on the photos. I saw Ali Edwards do it on her photos and loved it when she did it, but obviously I wasn't using the right kind of white pen.

Left side and right side of the closing spread. Here you'll see a LUCKY bingo card from Jenni Bowlin, just like the ADORE bingo card on the opening spread.

Love. Love. Love. this photo. Love the contrast of the sweet, gentle hand of Isabella as she holds Papa's tanned, calloused, work-worn hand at the Father/Grandfather Breakfast at her school. 

Back cover. The "handmade just for you by:" stamp is from Stampabilities.

The page design is repeated throughout the album, which is a timesaver. The pages could be made ahead so that you can print the photos you might be taking for this album at a later date. You could even do it assembly line style and make several at once and gift one to each grandparent or set of grandparents.

I found a few of my quotes online by doing a search for Grandparent quotes and some of them I had in a notebook that houses my quote selections.

You can see what I mean about the time factor. It does take a little planning, so start NOW by taking photos of the men in your life with the kids/grandkids/nieces/nephews and make your own treasured gift in time for holiday gift giving.

happy fall, ya'll!

I am so ready for Fall! We've still had some very, very warm days, but the mornings and evenings are becoming cool. Just this morning my daughter said, as I was opening her blinds, "Mommy, it's still night time."

So, I've done a little crafting and a little decorating and it made me a whole lot of happy. I always look forward to changing things out with the seasons. And it makes me even more happy when the girls, and sometimes even Zach, get excited about "new" things on display.

In the kitchen, where I usually have this displayed, I replaced that frame for just a bit with an old wooden candlestick that I painted and tried to crackle a very long time ago that has a vine orb atop, a frame made out of barnwood and backed with patterned paper and a "W" that I painted and then applied a crackle finish to. You've seen the BOO artwork before, but here it is on a side table in the living room with more vine orbs and some decorative crystal-thingies on some iron bases that I got at Pottery Barn at a ridiculously low price. These iron bases stay out all year, always displaying something seasonal.

Aaaaah, our living room, which looks so different now than when we moved into Gordon's grandparents' home. I feel so comfortable in here. There were no built-in bookcases, or a fireplace, before we made this our home, we built those together a few years ago. My hubby can do ANYTHING! 

And see that blue vase on the top shelf? Is is from Tiffany's! It was a 3rd year wedding anniversary gift. And it came in their iconic blue box, which a white satin ribbon and a note dictated by my husband, in the most lovely handwritten script. Yep, I still have the box, the ribbon and the note. And, no ladies you can't have him. See, that's why I call him Mr. wRight!

Those are the pumpkins the girls decorated last week with DaDa during art project time. They're displayed on some iron candleholders. I was rather surprised at what a good job they did at making their cute pumpkins look a little scary.

orange patterned papers {My Mind's Eye} + black paper {K & Company, Paper Studio} +
kraft, black cardstock {Hobby Lobby} +  scalloped punch {Stampin' Up} +
round punch {Fiskars} + gingham ribbon {Hobby Lobby} + shipping twine {iloveitall}

The Trick-or-Treat banner on our mantle is from the Crafting Chicks. I pretty much followed it step for step, except...

...I reinforced the patterned paper pennants with cardstock, used an eyelet to make the hole more sturdy and used shipping twine, since my other twine {see above} was too thick to go through my small grommet holes.

The framed piece of art below was inspired by a Becky Higgins guest post here. I used what I had on hand, which happened to be some Buckeyes the girls collected with Gordon on a Jeep ride through the 'holler last weekend. We call them lucky buckeyes, but that's another story. And, you know me...3 kids, 3 buckeyes. Wish there could have been more.

I wrapped some patterned paper scraps left over from my pennants around some tea light holders and then tied some of that rough twine around it to finish it off. 

Pretty cute, huh? Glad I finally started a Tumblr to gather inspiration in one convenient place!

More buckeyes on the coffee table, a tray displaying some of our mini-albums and an urn from Pottery Barn several years ago that we paid too much for but I get 365 days of use out of it every year. The candle and filler change with the seasons.

This BOO decoration was inspired by some crafty person I found last year, and I'm sorry I can't give credit. I used Heidi Grace chipboard letters recovered in old book pages and brushed with ink, pumpkin stickers placed on white cardstock then fussy cut and adhered with pop dots and a spider punched out of the Target paper pack and adhered to black cardstock and also adhered with a pop dot. There is some super cute Basic Grey paper from the Mellow collection on the back side, so it's equally cute from either view! I painted raw chipboard before adhering the patterned paper and then brushed my ink pad around the edges to give it a spooky feel.

If you think it looks bare behind the BOO sign, the camera I am using to take all these photos stays on that table ALL.THE.TIME. The only time it's not there is when I am using it or I am downloading photos. The girls have their own cameras that Santa brought last year and they occasionally use our old point-and-shoot, so I feel safe leaving mine out. Plus, it's really heavy and they have a tough time holding it.   At first, they were intrigued by the camera but now they're used to it being around and it has lost its newness.

Happy Fall, Ya'll! Enjoy your weekend, friends.

giveaways galore!

That's right, lots of giveaways going on here at i love it all!

Feeling lucky? Well, in addition to:
And the newest freebie is over at today for the Thursday

There's a discount code in the post over at if you've been wanting a print but aren't the winner. Go check it out!

one happy mama :: a giveaway

I have linked you up and mentioned Kristina Proffitt's name before HERE on i love it all, so now I want to share something really fun and exciting with you.

You have a chance to be a winner of one item from my Etsy shop just by hopping on over to one happy mama between now and the morning of September 24, 2010. By entering a comment on Kristina's blog, you will earn one entry. Want more entries? Kristina tells you how to earn 6 more chances to win. Now, that's awesome if you ask go check it out now.

As much as I love comments, and please feel free to leave me some love...only comments left on Kristina's blog earn you chances in the giveaway.

Kristina's blog was one of the very first blogs I read, along with Ali Edwards, Cathy Zielske and {of course!}. Can I just tell you that I am tickled to be on her list of blogs she loves in her right sidebar? Well, I am. Thank you Kristina for believing in me and supporting a shared love of scrapbooking to keep family memories alive and in buying handmade. You're the best!

Don't forget that Kristina has teamed up with Crystal Wilkerson and together they are teaching a blog design class together over at Jessica Sprague. And they can create custom blog designs for you, too! Yes, your blog can be as stinkin' cute as Kristina's or you can choose one of several other designs available.

Before you leave to browse all the yumminess over at Kristina's, I've got something else to share...

Here are a few new items I listed in the shop yesterday. {Go HERE to see the full size prints.} These are all 4"x4" squares printed on matte 8x10 professional photo paper which allows you to frame it with a standard 8x10 frame.

And the first 3 people to purchase this 11x14 Holiday Memories subway art inspired print will receive their choice of any 8x10 or 8.5x11 print in my shop as a free gift from me! That's right, buy this 11x14 and get your choice of a free print. Leave me a message to seller in your PayPal or Etsy screens telling me which print you would like me to send along for free...don't purchase the {free} print, just leave a message. 

Happy {early} Holidays blog friends. 

Make today great!

learning on the go

These free journaling labels from Creativity Prompt were designed by Avital. And she shares new downloads each Friday, so you may want to bookmark the site!

Look what I created. Remember, these were just posted this morning and I've already printed, created, photographed and blogged. So you can do this, too, in no time at all. Trust me.

Victoria and I have worked on her "at" and "an" words so far in Mommy School, so when I saw these labels, I immediately thought of using them as flashcards for our new words each week. My plan is to keep this set in the car, so we can do a little practicing during our daily afternoon school pick-up wait at Isabella's school.

If you're wondering what's holding them together, it's a post bound album screw {that's the best way I can describe it} which will make it easy to add our new words each week. You could also use a ball chain, a binder ring, some ribbon or don't punch a hole at all and store them in a snack bag, envelope or recycled jewelry box.

Oh, and this project was so much more fun to finish than the one I left to do this. I'm cleaning out our crawl space and organizing all the bins and boxes and STUFF that's stored down there. Guess I'll have to go back to that now. That is, unless I find something more interesting to do before I get there. {Insert evil laugh here.}

give it a chance

You know what? It's...

over at Just go ahead and mark your calendars now...each Thursday, Marnie and Elizabeth showcase the latest, greatest and most sought after scrapbooking goodies and then give you a chance to win! No brainer, go now and enter!

reward me!

In a streamlining, cleaning-out, simplifying, clutter-busting kind of mood lately. And there were way too many store rewards cards hanging out in my wallet. 

What's a scrappy crafter to do? Get busy, that's what! Gather your cards, binder rings, grab your Crop-o-Dile and start punching holes! Now.

Next up, find a scrap of double-sided cardstock, like I did. I REALLY should have used some of the recycled cereal, mac-n-cheese and instant oatmeal boxes I save to use as chipboard backing for a lot of my mini-albums. Wouldn't that be cute?

I used some American Crafts rub-ons to spell "reward me" and then used a black marker to scribble scrabble {as Victoria calls it} a border because I didn't have a rub-on border that size.

Oh, and if you have any ideas on how to store letter stickers, please clue me in with a link or a comment. I am out of ideas. My collection is getting bigger and bigger and I really want to get my sCrap room re-do completed so that I can share a few things with you.

only 365 more days until...

...he's 40! My Mr. wRight is out-of-town on business today, his 39th birthday. So, I snuck out to his truck last night and arranged a few gifts on his seat for him to see when he left at oh-dark:30 this morning!

I am including this photo as part of my Get In The Picture challenge on Francine's blog. This is me getting in the picture and back to my "roots." I got a cut and some color that's maybe just a bit darker than my natural color, but  I am loving it. Yeah, and this is me with my famous squinted eyes. I ruin many a good photo with my overzealous camera smile. I have to actually think about toning down the smile and opening my eyes when I am photographed...obviously I was overcome with joy at having Zach take a photo of me and my unshaven, weekend guy. So, not a photo I think I would normally share, but I am in the picture {there's a link in the sidebar} and that was my goal.

So, for the cheesy gifts I left in Gordon's truck...

While at the grocery store yesterday, I saw some pistachios, so I plopped them into my cart. Gordon loves them and I thought that they would be a nice on-the-road snack. I made the nut container topper with Pages for Mac and attached it with pop dots since it was too big and I ran out of time. You might have seen a similar "Nuts About You" project here {as part of my Valentine's Day projects} and the Dollar Tree silver tray re-do project here {scroll to bottom of post} on

Cheesy gifts, part deux. From Bobbi Brown to Your #1 Fan! I attached the label with removable glue dots, they are one of my favorite things.

Ordered a free t-shirt from Vista Print. I had no choice on color. And you can't see it in the photo, but under the XXL {he's only an L} it says "together4ever" as a final step on my way into the "Cheesy" Hall of Fame! I added the crudely cut felt heart so that he sees that first thing after opening the box.

These are not Gordon's real presents, just a few things to remind him how goofy his lucky wife of 12 years really is. His real present will be a set of tires for his truck. How's that for romantic and exciting. I got a 4-day trip to Charleston for my birthday and he gets tires. I told you I was the lucky one!