Thursday, June 30, 2011

Make Up

Tomorrow morning we head to MN to spend the long weekend with my family at my parents cabin in Wahkon. The girls have been bursting with excitement all week. Bennet wants to help Grandpa "make a puddle in the driveway that goes all the way to the lake". And she wants to play in the loft, hold Morgan ("But you have to re-teach me how Mom"), and go swimming. Scout wants to make sure I bring her toothbrush. And she can't wait to help Grandma with her make-up. Of course- the make up!!

The journaling in this layout says it all. It's a tradition that I'm glad I put to paper. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

I am almost finished with this book and I loved every page. I have always been intrigued by World War II and tend to read a lot of WWII fiction. Most of the books I've read focus on the German and Nazi element of WWII. This book was a departure from that.

Unbroken is about a young man named Louie Zamperini who had a great future as an Olympic runner until WWII caught him up and put him in a plane bombing islands in the Pacific. As the subtitle attests, it's a story of survival. His plane crashes in the ocean and he is eventually taken prisoner and sent to a prison camp in Japan.

In 1994 I spent a year in Japan as a Rotary Exchange Student. I visited Nagasaki around the time of the 50th Anniversary of the atomic bomb. I found myself recalling my experience and perspective of the Japanese people compared to what Louie experienced 50 years earlier. It was two different times and two different worlds.  

This book was well-researched, fabulously written and a must-read for anyone who enjoys World War II fiction/non-fiction.

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life with you is as Sweet as Candy

Even though Scout was sick on and off last weekend I still managed to sneak some scrap time in. Both layouts are based off of sketches from the latest Inspired to Scrap sketch class.

I put in my girly-Nick-is-out-of-town movie, Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron is cute. He is.) and started handstitching the lollipop. At the end of the movie I was still stitching. I'm still 100% sure that I like it, but after investing that much time with the stitching I just went with it. I grabbed the girls crayons and colored in between the lines.

TITLE: Life with you is as Sweet as Candy.
Journaling: Nothing says childhood like a giant lollipop and a smile. June 2010

I've been wanting to scrap our Holiday card from 2010 and this simple layout allowed me to do just that. Lots of machine stitching on this one.

TITLE: The Card 2010
Journaling: A postcard with highlights of the last year in photos and a recap of events made up

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Sunshine, Sickies and Skirts

Last weekend Nick went to the cabin with his brother Mark and some friends to fish and relax- otherwise known as Piper Weekend. The girls and I had a laundry list of things we wanted to do. Last year when he went on the same trip the girls and I went to St. Anne's Polka Fest and played at the carnival. We'd been talking about the bouncy house for days.

Well, around 6:40 p.m. Friday night Scout came up to me and ASKED to go to bed. 102 fever. She slept 14 hours. She had a 102 fever off and on throughout Saturday. What do you do when 1 child is healthy and dying to go to the carnival while the other is not feeling 100%? If you're me, you force an early afternoon nap for all 3 kids, dose out some meds to Scout and decide to brave it.

Once at St. Anne's the girls enjoyed the petting zoo and carnival games. But, their favorite was the bouncy house which this year was upgraded to include a slide. Both Bennet and Scout enjoyed their first 10 minute session. Bennet and Scout want to live in skirts and dresses this summer so I have alot of underwear photos. Here are two that are slighly demure.

We went and played some carnival games in between and then went back for another session. Less than 2 minutes in Scout said she was done. A quick hand to her forehead confirmed that her fever was back and she was ready for pj's and a movie. 

The girls took their first-ever Sno-Cones to go and spent the rest of the night snuggling on the couch. It isn't exactly how I planned on spending our Girls Weekend, but that's just life!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fun Friday Facts

1. It's been raining most of the week. The sun is finally shining today. However, our planned trip to the splash pad has been thwarted by a tree that fell there earlier this week. It's closed for 2 weeks for repairs. Boo.

2. We are revisiting this craft this weekend. Bennet specifically asked to make the "good tasting" art project. Crazy since it was almost a year ago to the day!

3. I sewed a new valance to go in my newly painted bathroom the other night. Scout said, "I don't like it Mom. Just kidding." Thanks- I think.

4. Everytime Ryan Reynolds comes on the TV Bennet says, "Mom , your boyfriend is on TV". Now Scout's started to do it too.

5. Speaking of my boyfriend, Bennet, Scout and I (not so much I) watched the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996) movie the other night. He plays the popular DB in that movie. With a really bad haircut.
5. My co-worker gave me some scrap denim back in January and it's been hiding in a bag under my desk since then. I finally used it this week and made Bennet a super cute skirt with 3 layers of ruffles. My friend Trinka complimented her this morning and she said, "My mom makes me pretty skirts". That made my heart flutter a little bit. (grainy photo)

6. Last weekend I finished The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. I really enjoyed it.

7. Then I devoured the last Spenser novel in less than a day. Robert B. Parker passed away in 2010 so Sixkill is his last book. I will miss Spenser, Hawk and even Susan.

8. I am getting very excited about our annual trip to MN for the 4th of July. My sister Megan is coming home from New Mexico and I get to meet my new niece Morgan. SO excited!!

9. Came to the realization this morning that Scout will turn 4 in a little over two months. WHAT?

10. I plan on spending some quality time with both my sewing machine and scrap supplies this weekend. I have a couple of sketches I want to work on for the Inspired to Scrap sketch class.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Embrace Life

It seems that each and every day lately that Ellie grows up exponentially overnight. I put her to bed with a smile and wake up to a bigger, brighter, funnier little girl. Then I look at photos like the one in this layout and I feel time flying by even quicker. The baby in this photo from early October has been replaced by a rambunctious, adventurous 17 month old. 

I didn't include any journaling on this layout which is a rarity for me. Perhaps I'll print this blog post and add it to the back. And then here she is last month. A head full of brown hair with the most adorable little curls.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wildwood Wildlife Park

On our way to the cabin last weekend we stopped at Wildwood Wildlife Park in Minocqua. On Friday morning, Nick suggested stopping at the Park on our way up north. We normally don't do too many touristy things, much less when we're heading to the cabin. But, if he was up for it then I was game!

We didn't tell the girls we were going. When we pulled into the parking lot Bennet still didn't get it even though there is a giant sign with animals all over it. Scout was the one who shouted, "It's a ZOO!" 

It's not exactly a zoo, but it's much more than a Park. Tigers, zebras, river otters, camels, peacocks, bald eagles, monkeys. Plus-all sorts of hands on things to do. Feed the free-roaming deer and fawns, get up close with a pot bellied pig, pet a giant turtle. . .  

Or feed a Brown Bear a special sugared soda pop.

Or feed the parakeets in the Aviary.

Or snuggle with baby bunnies.

Or have your feet licked by a Mama and baby goat.

It was so much fun. All three girls were bursting with excitement. Ellie got right up close and personal with the goats. I am so glad we made the visit. It seems like Friday afternoon was the perfect time to go. It felt like we were the only people there- no crowds. Of course they are already asking when we can go back.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day!

Happy Father's Day to my Dad, Dad-in-Law,
brother-in-laws, Grandpa and
 last but not least, Nick.

We are up at the cabin for the weekend where hopefully Nick is catching a monster muskie. Right now I am probably enjoying a cup of coffee while I get mentally prepared to give Nick his Father's Day gift from me- mowing the lawn once we get home.

I recently scrapped this photo of Nick taken last summer at my parent's cabin. I've had those alphabet stickers in my stash since 2004. Can't believe I still had an 'e' to use. :)

I made the polka dot paper on the left. I was inspired by this idea. I used acryllic paint instead of ink. 5 shades of blue with cream, green and brown accents.  Once the paint dried I sanded the paper to give it a slight weathered look.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Vintage Hand-Me-Down

A while back my mother-in-law brought me a box full of sewing notions. Bias tape, snaps, clasps, zippers. Some of the goodies were Barb's and some were her mothers. I had been wanting to make a little zipper bag to protect my External Hard drive since I transport it in my purse daily.

I went to the box and found several brand new zippers still in the package. Well, brand new in 1955. The zippers were actually Nick's Grandmother's. She is no longer with us, but I think it is so cool that I am using something from her to create something new.

I love the idea images on the side. "For Sunbacks" is my favorite.

My finished zipper bag is about 7 x 7. The perfect size. I may have to make a couple more. They are so handy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I took this photo of Scout last August after a morning at the Wisconsin Valley Fair. It makes me smile. Her arms across her chest- a classic Scoutie thing. I am always amazed at what a difference a year makes. Last summer we were growing out her hair and it was long. Now she has a bob. Although she,  along with her big sister, have big plans to grow it as long as Rapunzel.  Good luck with that. Thank you Tangled.

TITLE: Scout Spunky
I machine stitched the circles on the background paper and then journaled right on the photo.
Journaling: You are, without a doubt, 100% Scout. Your name fits you to a tee. You walk to the beat of your own drummer. I often say that you are fearless, always finding the single most dangerous way to do something. And doing it 'by my ownself' I simply love your crazy sense of adventure. Just happy & carefree. There is no denying it, Scout, you are.  .  .

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fun in the Sun

I recently participated in a super fun photo swap at the Scrapbook Nook.  The premise is that a fellow scrapper would email you some of their photos, you would scrap a page and then send it to them. I was matched with the fabulous Pam Brown. I've known Pam for years from and then I was on her DT when she owned Kraft Girls Kit Club. She is also Echo Park's first Fresh Face Designer.

Since I have 3 girls, she sent me some photos of her adorable son Kieran. I grabbed my stack of fabric scraps and sewed the little flags for the banner.  I added some yellow handstitching as well.

Pam lives in sunny Florida so I thought she might enjoy scrapping some Fall photos. I sent her these photos of Scout. I LOVE what she did with them. I have been wanting to make a page with that exact title for a long time. How did she know?  This is the layout she created. Isn't it amazing? I just love everything about it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

At the Cabin

Here are some of my favorite photos from last weekend (June 3-5th) at the cabin. Now that Nick and I are both working full time and we have 3 little chillins', it's tougher for me to just 'get up and go' to the cabin. But then the second I get there I remember how much I love it. I remember how much it revitalizes and centers not only me, but the whole family. It has such a special place in my heart. I just LOVE spending time there. I feel very grateful that my mother-in-law and father-in-law have this retreat and that they let us make memories there.

 The Worlds BEST Bloody Mary at Bent's Camp.
 Bennet looks so tall and old to me here.

 Watching Dad get the fishing poles ready.
 This photo cracks me up. She insists on weating skirts AND fishing. So this what I see. Such a dainty outdoorsy girl.
 My guilty pleasure at the cabin is looking through old People magazines and Entertainment Weekly special issues. This one is a 2003 review. The EW one is from 1999. It's like a Where are They Now in reverse. I love seeing who is still together, what stars were hot then and no longer around. I've read them countless times.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sky's the Limit

Since the weather today is gray, cloudy, cold and rainy I thought a happy, sunny layout was in order. I took these photos of Ellie last September. This little polka dot dress is a favorite of mine. I should find a photo of each of the girls wearing it for a layout. 

Thanks to my friend Jess for letting me raid her Bella Blvd. scrap pile so I could really put my circle punches to work! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cool Baby

My term on the Design Team at Inspired to Scrap ended last month. But, as part of my Design Team role at I get to take the next class for free. Talk about a great perk! Right now they are having a Sketch Class. I made this layout using one of the sketches from class.

These photos of Ellie were taken Easter morning. Just thought I should explain the chocolate covered face and pj's.

Title: Cool Baby
The stitching is pink, but it doesn't show up very well here.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why I Scrapbook

Life is unpredictable and always crazy.
I often feel like the 5 of us are on
a merry-go-round.
Round and round.
Day after day.
I can't slow down time.
I only get 24 hours in the day.
But those hours are filled with little moments.
Moments that seem ordinary now
but will become the moments of legend
as the years pass on.
As I grow older I find myself
remembering random memories
from my childhood.
Hide-and-Go-Seek tag on
 hot summer nights.
Monday night pager tests.
The way my Mom always says,
"Oh ha! You liar!"
The top row of the fridge filled
with blue and pink cartons of
milk from the milk man.
How my Dad used Duct Tape and a Sharpie
 to labelthings in the garage.
My 3 siblings and me in the Suburban
driving to South Dakota listening
to one oldies tape
Someday my girls will
remember their own little moments.
Things that right now seem insignificant.
That is why I scrapbook.
It's a chance for me to take a
snapshot of our lives.
From my perspective.
I hope someday that my girls
sit down with their
 books and say
"Oh- I'd forgotten about that.
Hey Scoutie- do you remember. . ."
"Ellie- look how little you were!"
"OMG- remember when Mom's hair looked like that!"
This is why I scrapbook.

This layout captures one of those everyday moments that would have been forgotten had I not put it to paper. The event happened on April 11th and I scrapped it on the 12th. I just had to get it down. The layout was inspired by Karen Grunden.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Ball

Summer is here! I've often said that those of us who live in the Midwest truly appreciate the summer more than anyone else. Each year we somehow survive the endless months of cold weather/winter/snow each year. We wear shorts as soon as the temperature hits 50 degrees. We try to squeeze as much time outdoors

Last summer I didn't have a job so we really took advantage of that and did all sorts of fun activities. This summer I am lucky enough to have my Friday afternoons off. Today is my first half day and we decided an impromptu trip to the cabin was in order. I'm embracing the last minute, fly-by-the-seat of my pants decision! No internet, no laptops, no Facebook. Just the 5 of us hanging out together.The laundry won't get done and the house will still be messy when we get home on Sunday, but it's worth it!

And because every blog post deserves a photo, here is a summertime layout.

TITLE: Summer Ball 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ugly Paper Challenge

My friend Monica hosted a challenge at ScrapChicks to create a layout using UGLY papers. It was a really fun challenge. Here were the details:

1. Find the ugliest 12" x 12" paper you have in your stash. (I feel bad for the person who got my paper. It was REALLY ugly. Gray with giant maroon koi fish on it)

2) Cut that paper into six (6) 4" x 6" pieces.
3) Mail the pieces along with a SASE (self-addressed stamped enveloped) to her.
4) When all the papers are received, she mixed them up and send me an envelope back with 6 other ugly papers.
5) I had to create a layout using at least 4 of the ugly papers and they need to be a decent enough size to be able to determine it's an ugly paper.
These are the papers I received. Some were double sided so I had 9 patterns to work with. I used 6 on my layout.

Title: You 2 are One of a Kind
Journaling: Only the two of you could take a simple strawberry sundae & turn it into an interactive activity. Who needs spoons when a straw gets the job done?  The Mint Cafe. 04/11