Byron & Jessica Engagement Sneak Peek

My beautiful sister-in-law Jessica is getting married to Byron in June.  We did a quick little engagement session last weekend – got another one coming up, too.  They are so cute together – here’s a sneak peek:


A Card a Day – Book Review

I can feel myself getting carried away in the joy and therapeutic qualities of paper crafting.  It’s wonderful.  I honestly never thought I’d get sucked in, but now it seems almost like a natural extension of my photography.  It’s another creative outlet for me and I’m loving it!

So, my sister-in-law is getting married this summer (YAY!) and I’m helping to plan the wedding.  There will be LOTS of DIY stuff to keep the cost down, and I’m really excited about that because I LOVE TO DIM (Do-It-Myself).  I went to Barnes & Noble today looking at craft books and wedding books and such, and I came across a really great book that I had to have:

A Card a Day – Over 365 card ideas by Wendy Sue Anderson and Jennifer Schaerer:  It’s just what it says it is – over 365 card ideas packed into a beautiful and vibrant book.  It’s like mini-scrapbooking!  🙂  Check it out:

Sneak peek inside A Card a Day

Another sneak peek

It’s great because of the full color pages, but I also love it because there are step-by-step instructions, a shopping guide, and it even notates the cards that only take about 5 minutes to make!  Great for when you want to be creative but have little time to spare.  🙂

I was so excited that I came home and made my first card tonight – here it is: 

It’s not perfect, but I like it for my first card ever!  I’m really looking forward to making more.  Enjoy!

Allow me to retract my previous statement….

I could also title this post, “My new addiction: scrapbooking”.  So in an earlier post, I mentioned that I don’t scrapbook.  I talked (in length) about the joys of Becky Higgins and her creation, Project Life, which I L.O.V.E.  I talked about the mess of scrapbooking and pointed to that as my main reason for not doing it.

Well, guess what?  I lied.  And I blame Becky Higgins.  🙂  You know how people say that some drugs are “gateway drugs” to much harsher drugs?  Yea, well, for me, Project Life is the “gateway drug” to real scrapbooking, complete with all the cute cardstock and papers, embellishments, alphabet stamps, loads and loads of ribbon….. 

I’m seriously addicted.  Through the Project Life site, I have discoverd Big Picture Classes, a website dedicated to scrapbooking.  There are free classes and those you pay for, and there are some self-paced projects, too.  I just recently signed up for a very cool workshop called “i.scrap”.  It’s taught by Stacy Julian, who, I’m discovering, is a long-time super scrapper and very famous in the scrapping world.  She’s so creative!  Anyway, I want to share my project with you as it is so far, but in the mean time, go to Big Picture Classes and sign up – membership is free – and you just might find a new outlet for your own creativity!!!

So, the jist of i.scrap is to take 9 “I statements” – you know, “I will…” or “I am…” or “I believe…” – and find a picture from last year that goes with each I statement.  Stacy gave us the “I statements” to use for this project.  We made our book as an 8×8 book, one picture per page, and a coordinating journaling page.  I thought I’d share before I write the journal section of each page:

I was....conflicted.

I went...crazy and back again, but I'm OK now.

I once…thought life was easier than this.

More pages later – there’s 9 layouts total, plus the title page.  Hope you enjoy these!

Extreme frustration….

So, I think my picture of the day explains how I’ve been feeling lately:


So, life has been stressful to say the least.  Those who know me will probably tell you that I’m a pretty happy and optimistic person.  I roll with the punches.  When life hands me lemons, I make a margarita on the rocks with salt thankyouverymuch.  But sometimes, I really feel like I might explode. 

I have been raised to completely trust that God will not give me more than I can handle.  And I guess I should feel honored that God thinks I’m so strong, because I’ve been given a lot of stuff to handle all at one time.  I’m dealing – not alone, mind you.  I couldn’t maintain my sanity without my faith, my family, and my friends.  I never ever ever want to try to go through life alone.  That would seriously send me over the edge. 

So, to those of you who have reached out to me to just say hello, or tell me you love me, even when you didn’t know what I was going through…  And to those of you who do know what I’m going through and you love me anyway!  And to those of you who keep me and my family in your prayers, even though things in your own life are falling apart, too…

I love you back.  And I couldn’t make it through each day without you. 

God bless.

Saturday morning quiet reflection…

It’s 9:12a.m. Saturday morning and the house is quiet with the exception of my new Jason Aldean CD, “My Kinda Party”, playing on my laptop.  🙂  I tried to sleep later but my eyes popped open at 7:37a.m. and I got tired of laying in bed around 8:30 so I just got up.  I hate that, but, oh well….  I’ll try to appreciate this rare opportunity of quiet reflection.

My mind wanders regularly.  And I let it.  I’m amazed at some of the thoughts I have, and how weird and random my imagination is sometimes.  I’ll create whole story lines in my head and just imagine little “what if’s”.  It’s kinda cool, actually.

I remember, when I was in elementary school, we were given a creative writing assignment and to this day, I still vividly remember my story.  I wrote a story about a giant mosquito who ate pickles (stay with me now…).  There was a little town who was famous for their pickles, and this giant mosquito was terrorizing them because he was eating all their pickles – plucking them right out of their gardens.  (Hey! I was in elementary school!  I didn’t know how you made pickles!)  So, all the townsfolk got this idea – there was a restaurant in town with a giant fake hamburger on top, so they took the burger down and put a giant fake pickle up there instead to lure the mosquito.  They ended up capturing him and saved the town!  Random, right? 

I see it in my daughter.  That kid has a crazy imagination, but I love when she kicks it in high gear.  You know how teachers hang kids’ classwork outside on the wall sometimes to display for the parents?  When they hang their stories, all of them are one sheet of paper…except Marley’s.  Hers is always 2 pages…with illustration…and lots of descriptive words.  🙂  Her 2nd grade teacher loved her for that – she said most kids would write something like, “The little dog ran away.”  Marley’s sentence would be more like this:  “The little brown spotted puppy would run away from the boy to chase the grey squirrel to a creek, where they would become friends and introduce themselves to the fish in the creek, then hop across the creek on the backs of the turtles…”  I remember one story she wrote started off simple enough – she and her grandparents were walking by the river.  Ok, good start.  Then she said that she saw something move in the river so she stayed behind and checked it out – and it was a shark!  And it was trying to eat her!  And she had to form a plan to capture it…and on it went from there.  Priceless.  And classic Marley.

I guess I’ve said all that to say this….  Let your imagination run wild sometimes.  Sure, as an adult, we have to think logically and make reasonable decisions.  But when you find yourself with a few moments of free time for quiet reflection, take advantage.  Pull out a pencil and some paper, or grab your laptop and open a Word document, and start writing.  Take a simple thought and expand on it.  See where your imagination takes you.  Nothing is going to be too silly or ridiculous, and nobody even has to read it but you.  You might surprise yourself.  Some of my best ideas have come from my wandering mind….

Have a great weekend!  I’m going out to conquer the world from all the giant pickle-eating mosquitos!

Happy Birthday Marley!

Today my sweet baby girl turned 9 years old!  I can’t believe how fast she is growing up.  In honor of her silly self, this is – word for word – a voicemail that she left for me Sunday night when she was spending the night at my mom’s house.

Sunday night, February 20th at 8:20pm – from Marley to me:

(all in one breath) – “Hi Mommy I wanted to call you I’m about to watch Ghost Whisperer but you can even ask Mama because we went by a train and it had 106 cars in it right?”  (Mama in the background said, “Right!”) Marley continues, very excited now, “And that’s right because it’s TRUE!  106 FREAKIN’ CARS! (Calmer now…)”Call me back cuz I love you.  And I like pie.”


Dear self at 22 – HOLD ON TIGHT!!!

So, one recent topic on the PostAWeek site was “What would you tell yourself 10 years ago?”  Well, here goes…

Dear me at 22,

Well, what can I say?  You won’t turn out the way you think – way better and way tougher than anybody gives you credit for right now.  Life is a lot harder than you imagine, but well worth the ride.  I know, you’re really excited right now because you’re engaged to be married in a few months.  I’m tempted to tell you not to go through with it, but then you’ll miss out on some seriously important life lessons, and you won’t get the most precious gift known to man – your sweet baby girl.  Oh she’s GORGEOUS!  Word of advice though: EPIDURAL.  Seriously. 

Don’t be too trusting when it’s time for some big decisions.  Make sure you listen to your gut.  Fall in love.  It’s OK!  Oh, and you’ll get a chance to go to a concert in Hawaii – GO!  Don’t pass it up – it’ll only slow the process of falling in love again.  Trust me, just go.  You’ll never hear the end of it if you don’t.  🙂

Find your faith again, and hold on tight.  You’re gonna need it. 

Don’t try to perfect, just always be true to yourself.

That’s it, I guess.  No details – it’s more fun to find out for yourself.  God Bless! 


Kirsten at 32

How to make a ribbon wreath (a.k.a. Mom’s birthday gift)

Please visit me at One Tough Mother for TONS more crafts, home decor, and other awesomeness.


So, I wanted to get something cool for mom’s birthday this year, but she’s hard to shop for.  Mom likes things that are practical (so do I), so I didn’t want to get her something just to get her something.  And I didn’t want to spend a ton of money, well, because I can’t, and she’s OK with that.  So I decided to get crafty.  And I’m SO glad I did! 

Mom decorated her home in pretty blues and chocolate browns, so I used those colors as my basis for this project.  I saw something similar to this on The Polka Dot Market’s site and thought, “I could make that!”  Well, guess what?  I did!  I had to give it to mom early for several reasons, and she loves it, so now I get to share – here it is:

I picked out A LOT of really beautiful grosgrain ribbon – 40 yards or so – in the color scheme that I chose for this project:

I also bought 3 yards of thick satin ribbon that I used to wrap the wreath.  I knew I didn’t have to cover every inch, because I would be covering it in loops of the grosgrain ribbon.  Here’s what that looked like:

Then, I started with one pattern at a time, cut 3″ strips, made a loop and used a straight pin to attach it to the wreath.  I did 20 or so strips of each pattern, randomly placing each strip on the wreath….


Then, voila!  It began to take shape!  I used a long strip of one pattern of ribbon to attach a loop to the back for hanging the wreath.  I’m so happy with how it turned out!  What do you think???

Dear blog…I’ve missed you

Dear blog,

I know I haven’t been by to visit lately, but, well…life happened.  It does that sometimes, and it’s not always fun or easy or happy.  But you can’t stop it.  My family and I have been dealing with the loss of my sweet father-in-law and we’ll be picking up the pieces and working on finding a new “normal” for a while. 

So, dear blog, I’m sure you understand that this past week has been complete hell, but I have really missed you.  I have a lot that I’m working on, because when I need to get my mind off of things, I craft.  So, I’ll be sharing some things that I’ve been working on.  Crafting and scrapbooking is amazingly therapeutic for me.

I’m also hoping to update the blog itself over the next few weeks, and make it a little more aesthetically pleasing. 

So there.  I promise to be nice to you, dear blog, from now on.  I won’t neglect you anymore.  Promise.


Kirsten  XOXO

It’s a family thing…

So, I’m all crafty lately and wanted to share one of the projects I’m working on.  Yesterday my Project Life kit came (YAY!) but it’s for 2011.  I started a 2010 album a couple weeks ago based on the ideas behind Project Life and I’m loving it.  🙂  I normally do a digital album on Shutterfly, but for 2010 I decided to do something more scrapbook-y (yea, that’s a word – look it up).  So, here’s what I am working on:

First, I found a big photo album that has room to add pages – got it in a pretty bright green – and I bought that “Family” sticker in the scrapbook section:

I gathered all my goodies together before I started working – the album, some cute month-by-month stickers, a book of seasonal scrapbook paper, a corner rounder, scissors, a ruler, a straight-edge cutter, Sharpie’s, and note stickers:

I laid out my pictures, arranging them so that I left one or two slots open per layout to put notes about each event, and I rounded the corners of the pictures as I went.  Then I started making mini scrapbook pages, 4×6 like my pictures, to describe the events in the pictures:


I’m still working on it – I’ve only used pictures from the first half of 2010 – and I’m going to go back and redo some of the description sections, but I’m liking what I see so far.  It’s fun to go through it and see what I’ve done.  My daughter Marley made the picture for the cover:

I’ll post more pictures as I do more work on it.  And I have a cool idea involving ribbon (love!) to finish it off.  🙂