Saturday, March 31, 2012

12 Days of Spring - Day Twelve

Usually, I sleep in on Saturday morning, but for some reason, I was up much earlier today. Daniel made coffee, and I sipped and watched Mythbusters with him and the nephew until I got a hankering for Panera.

An assortment of bagels with two types of cream cheese in that bag. Oooh...yum!

Mom got an egg souffle. Also very yum!

In the afternoon, the nephew and I headed out to shop for clothes...

...with a stop at Starbucks first, of course. :)

At Old Navy, we both found tee shirts, three for me, one for him. Our next stop was the mall where there were Christmas-like crowds, wall-to-wall cars and wall-to-wall people inside. Crazy.

After that, we were hungry, so we stopped for a quick, late lunch at the nearest Big Boy. The nephew had something called the kitchen sink, and I had a taste for fish and chips. Our last stop was Target where he found some clothes, and I picked up a few groceries we needed.

At home, we all relaxed for the rest of the afternoon and into our evening. I watched some TV with Mom, chatted with my husband about our plans for possibly redecorating our front living room--I'm dreaming of a roll-top desk--and played a little Angry Birds.

* * *

And that concludes the 12 Days of Spring. I'll be uploading the rest of the photos for the project and ordering prints soon. Once those arrive, I'll put together the mini-book and post pictures. The next 12 Days project will begin in June.

Favorite Photos - March

Those are some favorite photos I've taken this month, either with my iPhone or with my digital SLR.

And that's one of my Daniel that I took with the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone. I totally dig the effects, and I like that I can shake it to get different settings, thus different looks. Nifty.

Picks of the Month - March

I love picks of the week. I used to do my own at my previous blog, inspired by the Paperclipping Roundtable podcast. The only challenge for me in selecting weekly picks was seven days wasn't enough time. I want to really experience something before I recommend it, so here at LaLa Creates, I'm going to do monthly picks instead.

A month gives me plenty of time to use products (or whatever I'm picking) enough to get a feel for it, take photos perhaps, and fully report on why I dig it. For March, I've got three picks to share. Some months, there may be more; other months, there may be just one thing setting my creativity afire, though that's hard to imagine. I do tend to like a lot of things, and I like sharing what makes me happy.

So, let's dive in.

My first pick is spray mist by Mister Hueys for American Crafts in Calico Shine.

I bought it at Archivers a couple weeks ago. As I was browsing and chatting with a friend who works there, one of the other sales associates came out of the stock area with a tray full of brand new bottles, all different colors. I was going to get the white shade, but I changed my mind and bought the plain shine instead. Imagining all the different uses for it, all the things I could add shimmer to, I had to have it.

And I have used it. A lot. I've used it to add shine to a painted surface. I've used it to dilute paint enough to make it more splatterable. (Yep, it is a word; I just made it so!) Using a paintbrush, I've used it to add shimmer to paper flowers and flowers I've fussy cut from patterned paper. (I'll post that layout once there's enough decent sunlight to capture a decent photo.) I'm sure I'll find all kinds of other things to shine with this stuff.

Pretty sure it was $5.49 at Archivers. I'd like to link up to an online retailer, but all the ones I checked were sold out. Popular stuff!

My second pick is Shimelle Laine's starting points. Taking her class at Two Peas really got me hooked, and I've been using the concept ever since. What I love about Starting Points is that the playing portion of creating a layout comes first. I get a running start without being held back by planning where all of my page elements will go just yet. I feel more freedom to be inspired to try new things along the way. Working with Starting Points has rekindled my love for scrapbooking, my excitement for the creative aspect of it, in a big way.

To see some of Shimelle's more recent starting points, click here and here and here. Check out the ones I've previously posted here and here.

And here's one I did  a couple weeks ago that I haven't had a chance to share yet:

(Supplies: Card stock and swirl stamp by Stampin' Up! Patterned paper and stickers by Bo Bunny. Chipboard elements by Maya Road. Chalk ink by ColorBox. Dye ink by Tim Holtz Distress. Chipboard buttons by Heidi Grace. Green gems, unknown. Blue gems by TPC studio. Letter stickers by American Crafts. Die cut by Recollections.)

My third pick of the month is something I've done for March two years in a row as part of the One Little Word class by Ali Edwards at Big Picture Classes. In 2011, I participated in the class, and this year, I'm doing the monthly prompts on my own.

At the beginning of the month, I committed to writing at least 15 minutes every day. No rules about what I wrote or how much, really. Just that I wrote something daily. Most of the writing I've done was in my personal journal, and I did miss two days, but perfection was not the point. The point was to cultivate a practice in daily life that somehow nourishes me and helps me manifest my word. Showing up at the page, any page, sets the table for tea so the muse feels welcome to visit. Which is exactly what happened because I wrote a short story in one evening this month, the impulse and inspiration so strong and compelling, I simply couldn't resist the urge to write.

I love when that happens!

So, those are my three picks for the month of March. What are yours? If you care to blog about them, be sure to leave a comment with a link to your post so I can read it. Or if you give any of my picks a try, let me know how it worked out for you.

Friday, March 30, 2012

12 Days of Spring - Day Eleven

A day at home for me and Mom today. Daniel had to work, of course, and the nephew needed to meet up with fellow students to work on a group project at school.

I started my day off right.

Oatmeal for breakfast, cooked with milk. A little butter, a little brown sugar, some walnuts for me. So yummy.

I worked on pricing more of my wares for the garage sale at the local scrapbook store in a couple weeks. More coffee, of course.

Typical spring day in Michigan, with rain in the forecast for all day long.

It did not disappoint.

Wait...what is that sound? Is that hail?

Yes. Definitely hail. Although with the chilly temperatures, I wasn't sure whether it qualified as hail or freezing rain.

After I got some items on my to-do list done, I had a little time to play.

Still raining as Daniel and I headed out to pick up dinner.

Pizza night again!

When we got home, we gobbled up our pizza. Then, the nephew, Mom and I watched a movie on DVR, while Daniel got some work done.

Another Surprise!

Just sat down with a cup of coffee (from the 2nd pot, shhh!) to read blogs, and saw this!

The layout I created for the sketch challenge at Burlap and Buttercups won the prize.

I'm so thrilled!

Check out the sketch right here.

And this is the layout I created:

It was such fun to make, and I think the sketch is one I'll use again and again. So many great possibilities for a small photo and all that space to play with.

The Burlap and Buttercups blog is a lot of fun with challenges and tutorials and lots of inspiration, but be sure to check out the kit club, too. Looks like a lot of scrumptious goodies every month.


There's a song that's been going through my head a lot lately. I listened to it in the car the other day, and it's been singing in my head ever since.

"Lucky I'm in love with my best friend.
Lucky to have been where I have been.
Lucky to be coming home again..."

That's a photo of me and my sweetheart taken on the coast of California in the spring of 2007. We were on vacation, and my good friend Janet snapped this shot.

It's probably my very favorite photo of us.

He does make it easier when life gets hard, and I do feel so very lucky that he and I still make it work.

(The song is by Jason Mraz and Cobie Caillat if you want to check it out.)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

12 Days of Spring - Day Ten

Grey all day today, and I wasn't feeling well, so it was another day I was running a bit slow.

I got up and took Daniel to work so I'd have the car to take the nephew to work and pick him up. I should call Thursday my taxi day.

In between, I worked on sorting and assembling stuff to sell at the local scrapbook store's garage sale, coming up in a couple weeks. I wanted to get a jump start since it's a big task, and I don't want to wait until the last minute.

Looks like I'm finally ready to let go of my Stampin' Up! ink. I hardly ever use it, but at the same time, I was having second thoughts as I was attaching price stickers to each one. Is that weird or what? Does anyone else become attached to stamping supplies?

Alright...well, I'm over it. :)

I still have a lot of sorting to do. I did extract some Stampin' Up! stamps from my collection to put into the sale. Let's hope it is a lucrative venture for all the sellers. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has a wish list of goodies to buy with the store credit I get.

After I picked up Daniel from work and dropped the nephew off at school, Daniel and Mom and I ate dinner at our favorite Mexican place. Yummy as ever, especially the hot sauce. It's different every time, and tonight, it was especially zesty.

Before picking up the nephew from school, I stopped in at Target to buy a few things we needed. (Seems like I'm there every other day.) Now, I'm home, in for the night, ready for some relaxing and television with my sweetheart before we go to bed.


That's Patty, my Daniel's mother, dancing with him on our wedding day almost ten years ago.

She and I actually "met" for the first time on the telephone when Daniel was visiting me in Texas, November of 2001. From the first moment, she treated me with kindness and affection. We became close very quickly. She treated me not like a daughter-in-law, but like a daughter, and I love her for that.

Along with a lot of other reasons.

Patty was full of love and kindness for everyone. She gave of herself like nobody I've ever known. When she died in 2004, she left behind a phenomenal hole in the lives of many, many people who knew and loved her.

Including me.

She taught her son that dance they're doing in the picture. I stood on the edge of the dance floor, watching them, so full of happiness, laughing with delight.

I miss her. I always will.

12 Days of Spring - Day Nine

Just one photo today.

Beautiful tulips opening up in the sunshine.

This was one of those normal run-of-the-mill days. I kept the car to take the nephew on an errand. I love those moments while taking Daniel to work in the morning. He makes me laugh, and even that few minutes together are precious.

I didn't feel well most of the day, so the pace was slow, relaxed.

Late at night, I sat outside with my coat on, soaking up chilly fresh air.

That was today.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Check THIS out!

I was randomly selected as the winner for the most recent challenge at The Paper Variety.

How awesome is that?

And after the layout I created was selected to be one of the Top 5? Even more awesome.

Big thanks to the ladies over at TPV. I'm just beaming.

The Paper Variety Top 5

This layout I did for the most recent challenge at The Paper Variety was selected as one of the Top 5.

I'm both thrilled and humbled. Oh, and happy, too. :)

Check out the other four great projects that were chosen right here.

12 Days of Spring - Day Eight

Tuesday is date night, which means Panera night for Mom and the nephew. Daniel and I usually get smoothies.

Peach for me, so tasty.

For Christmas, my friend Janet got us a gift card for Olive Garden, and Daniel and I went there for our date.

This feast of beauty greeted us as we approached the front door.

We were seated at a large round table, as if there were going to be others joining us, but was just us two.

Rarely do I order a spirited beverage, other than a beer, while we're out, but there was a cocktail on the menu that looked too tasty to resist.

Fruity and bold and bubbly. So good, I splurged on a second one. Daniel had raspberry lemonade.

Both of us chose soup with our meals. I savored zuppa Tuscana, one of my favorite things about Olive Garden. Daniel tried chicken gnocchi. He said the zuppa is a little better.

We also both tried the new parmesan crusted steak with ravioli, and wow, was it ever yummy! I said, "I wish I could cook like this at home."

The best part of the evening for me, though...

...getting to be with Daniel. Time with him, with just the two of us, is a gift.

I love date night.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mini Book - In Full Bloom

One of the challenges at Burlap and Buttercups this month is to recycle something to use in a project. (Find the details here.)

I created a mini book of flower photos, beginning with a spark of inspiration.

I bought two of those packages of Prima flowers awhile back and used one up on a layout I created about my senior prom. (Check that out at my previous blog, here.) The leftover plastic packaging caught my attention as something I could repurpose to use on a layout, somehow.

First, it needed some color, so I got out my alcohol inks and inking tool, choosing two shades of green.

Next, I used my tag punch and 1/4" hole punch to create a tag.

Originally, I planned to create a layout with flower photos from late spring last year, with this piece serving as a title block, "In Full Bloom."

I printed the word "bloom" on a piece of plain white paper and put the tag on top of it, using it as a template to place gems.

By the time this step was complete, I already knew I wanted to use the tag as a mini-book cover. I added letter stickers to finish the title, lots of flowers, shimmer ink, and glitter.

For the pages, I selected kraft card stock and gathered punches: quarter inch circle, tag punch, and corner rounder.

I also used chalk ink in a color similar to the alcohol inks I used on the cover, and I used label stickers to do a tiny bit of journaling. The last step was putting all the pages on a jump ring, tying on a bunch of ribbon scraps in different colors.

Here's the completed mini-book:

I had such a good time creating this mini-book, and I love that I used a piece of packaging that I would normally have discarded. Thanks to Burlap and Buttercups for the inspiration and to Prima for including that piece that looks meant to be re-used.

There's still a few days left to participate in this challenge. What do you have lying around that you could recycle into a beautiful embellishment or other element to use on a scrapbook page or in a mini-album? Be creative. Play. Have fun. You never know where that will lead!

(Supplies used: Card stock by The Paper Company. Label and letter stickers by October Afternoon. Most gems by Kaiser, K&Company, and Marcella by K. Paint by Ranger. Swirl stamp, unknown manufacturer. Chalk ink by VersaMagic. Most flowers by Archivers. Alcohol ink and blending solution by Ranger. Shimmer ink by Mister Hueys for American Crafts. Glitter by Stickles. Ribbon by various manufacturers. Punches by Fiskars, Stampin' Up! and EK Success.)