Welcome Blocks and basket

I wanted to share a little something I made for Gina K’s store.  She asked me if I would make some “Welcome” blocks for display.  So here they are!  (my half-tutorial on blocks can be found <here>)

(Oh – and I am editing my pics a new way.  Let me know if they ever look funky or something!)


Supplies: 2 in wooden blocks; Heidi rub on letters by Making Memories (from Gina K’s retail store); primas; glue dots; Spotlight acrylic paint and mod podge (from Gina K’s retail store); sanding blocks; $1 tree jewels; and Two Scoops paper by Basic Grey. 

And I finished the basket for school this weekend.  I’ll show you what it looks like all finished up, but I don’t have time to run through the contents right now.  I’ve got a few errands to run.  So I’ll get to the individual shots of what’s inside later.


I think it turned out pretty nicely!

yipee, I scrapped!

Since Kimberly and I challenged each other to do two pages a month – one due on the 15th and one on the 30th…..well, here are my two for March!  I was gone on the 15th, so I’ll show you both at once.  And you know what’s really funny about these two pages?  One was started back in November.  The other was started in March.  They both use the SAME template!  Too funny.  Anyway, here they are!

Oh and I got a FAB resizing action from Paint The Moon at Oscraps.  I asked about getting it to resize to 500×500 because that is what my blog takes (the action takes 600×600).  And Annie kindly re-made it for me so that they would be the right size!  I love it!  It works fabulously and I use it on all my pictures now!



I love Halloween.  I don’t know that I always loved it, but I love it now that I have you boys.  I loved dressing you up when you were babies and I love seeing you dressed up in the costume of your choice now.  I love carving pumpkins.  I love seeing your faces when we light them.  I love the fun we have as a family.  It’s the one holiday where we can all act like kids.  The day where you can go to the store dressed as The Wolverine and no one looks at you too funny. And then there’s the candy, who doesn’t love that?!

template – 2 Sisters – Our Closet: Journaling
Green Stitches – Kim Christensen – Tied Flossy Stitches (recolored)
Paper –Holliewood Studios – Paper Essentials
Date – Amber Clegg – Date It
Staples – Jenn Patrick – Backwards Staples

Font – Darcy Baldwin – DJB Another Mandy
Alpha – Emily Merritt – Wicked Collab Crayon Alpha

drop shadows – Traci Murphy
photo actions – Natasha Whiteley

And the second page uses a quiz from an back issue of Simple Scrapbooks magazine.  There are 20 (I think?) quizzes in there and I love the idea of doing them every year or so with your kids to see how their answers change.  It was funny to hear some of their answers on other quizzes too!  You can find the magazine <here>.


template – Two Sisters – Our Closet: Journaling
frame – Nancy Comelab – Dani Mogstad b-day gift goody
Crumpled Paper – Tracy Ann – Verse Bits

Background Paper – Holliewood Studios – Paper Essentials
Stitches on pic – Kate Hadfield – Neutral Stitches
Stitches at bottom – Bren Boone – Messy Lil Stitches
Fonts – Darcy Baldwin – DJB Another Mandy and DJB Teacher
Alpha – Kate Hadfield – Newspaper Alpha

Alpha – Kate Hadfield – Doodled and Stitched Alpha
Title Font – Pea Lacy Chunky
Date – Amber Clegg – Date Stamps

drop shadows – Traci Murphy
photo actions – Natasha Whiteley – Vintage

Ok, I have a few finishing touches to put on my gift basket for the boys school silent auction….I’d like to hear what you think – I really want it to be good!

sisters are so awesome….

cause they share fabulous photos like this with the world….

Nice, huh? Actually, we are pretty darned cute! My mom made those outfits for us too! I’m sufficiently impressed with her sewing skillz! All I ever made was a pillow in 7th grade!

Kimberly shared those the other day, you should see the one of her losing a tooth! <see it here> but NO making fun of my awesome hair….and um….do I look naughty in all the pics?  Hmm…..maybe now I know where the boys get it from.

Toothfairy Tin

I think this is one of the cutest things! I love the new set Melanie Muenchinger put out through Gina K Designs. You can use those little tins for all kinds of cute gifts! I couldn’t wait to make a toothfairy tin for Andy because he’s lost 2 teeth so far this school year. And 2 more are very close! So, with Andy supervising all color/embellishment choices, here’s what I came up with!


supplies: What’s In Your Tin? Set 1 by Melanie Muenchinger for Gina K Designs; “altoid” tin; wild wasabi cardstock; white craft ink (SU); American Crafts white pen/marker thingie; grosgrain ribbon from my ribbon share; sticky strip (1/8 in); around the block space paper; dimensionals; and Bling and Dazzle Button Babies.

And I stamped one of the solid images on the back of the around the block paper so I could cut an insert the same size and put it in the bottom…..


Andy loves it! Both the other two want ones made for them for whenever they start to lose teeth. Katie and Libby requested them as well. I guess I’ll have to make them for all my nieces and nephews…..gosh, that’s like 11! Plus my two boys that still need one……better order some more tins!

Go Big or Go Gnome…..love it!

Dude – look what I found today! And on clearance for $10! A little birthday present to myself!

Ahh – isn’t it the bestest?!?  Matthew and the boys are celebrating “30 days til Mommy turns 30” right now….or as the boys like to call it “30 Days of Mommy”.  Isn’t that cute??  Anyway, so far they have given me several colored pictures of various gnomes – some are even the Travelocity gnome.  Very cool – my fridge will soon be COVERED with gnome pictures!  I was also surprised with a two part gift when I got home from the airport.  They had planted some flowers out front.  We have a small tree there and it’s got landscaping bricks around it, but we’ve never planted anything there.  Just left the wood-chips.  Well, they planted flowers while I was gone.  The second part of that is that in the fall, during bulb season, Matthew will plant lots of daffodils there.  I can’t wait til next spring!  I love daffodils, even if they are only in season for like a week.

I do have something way cute to share (if you were at GinaK’s release party earlier this month – you’ve seen it!) but I am behind schedule today  and  I must do my Pilates first.  Dang – the Intermediate one I moved up to is torturous to my abs!  Some day I’ll notice a difference though, right?

Oh and I’ve got another ribbon share for y’all!  I happened upon a good deal right when I got home.  I couldn’t take pre-paid orders because I had to purchase that day.  But I did order double (that was as much as I could swing on my own) this time.  So there will be 17 slots.  I *will not* take orders/fill slots/take names until I post the share with details.  So please don’t ask me!  It’ll be up some time next week after we get it all cut and packaged up.  It should be all the same pricing as last time though.  Sorry I couldn’t take preorders, but I couldn’t pass up the same sale I got the first time!  Helps keep the cost down for everyone!

And tonight I am going to a scrapbook evening at my church.  I am dying to get some of these half-finished pages I have on my hard drive finished.  So I am excited about going and hopefully finishing something!  So hopefully tomorrow I’ll have some scrap pages to show you!  I am also working on a donation basket for the boys school.  They are having a silent auction and carnival and one hope is that they raise enough money to get a cover for the playground.  Believe me – this is a necessity in Texas!  So I am trying to make my basket as awesome as possible in order to raise more money.  We’ll see how that goes!  I’ll show y’all what I come up with.  It’s going to be a baby theme – everyone around elementary schools always knows someone having a baby, right?

The rest of my trip…

Alright, here’s the summary of the rest of my trip in China.

We went to Karaoke on Thursday night.  Wow was that interesting!  They really need Karaoke bars like this in America!  They are really nice!  Like huge fancy buildings with lots of rooms inside.  Each room has lots of comfy seating, a big screen tv, a little computer doodad for choosing songs, a coffee table for drinks and snacks….odd lighting and mirror walls…and buttons to push to make a clapping sound, laughter, etc.  Very fun!  And the best part – all the songs have the WORST VIDEOS EVER!  Like totally not the right ones.  It was awesome!

Favorite part – when Kimberly and I rocked out to You’ve Got It (the Right Stuff)! by NKOTB.  Yeah,…that was awesome, lol!  Oh and totally NOT their video either.  They were so not doing the dance right….

Other favorite part – when the girls sang Old McDonald Had A Farm.  It had a video of some kids playing on a beach.  Cause that’s where you farm!  And the verses rocked!  There was a Buck that said quack……a dog that said ouch!  Awesome fun!

Friday in Beijing was different.  I liked Tianjin much better than Beijing.  I think there is a lot more ‘community’ feel to Tianjin even though it has over 10 million people.  You get in a cab in Beijing….and they might totally rip you off…..like when you ask to go to the nearest subway stop and they pass like 7 and drop you within 2 blocks of your final destination.  Like that.

We did go to Silk Alley – that was an experience.  So many people wanting your attention.  “Hey pretty lady – want to come see my bags/clothes/underwear/etc?”  I put off a pretty strong *don’t touch me* vibe so I didn’t get accosted too much.  I am fine with the grabbing the sleeve a bit.  But when one guy grabbed my hand OUT OF MY POCKET and tried to pull me into his shop….that was a little much.  Kimberly started rattling off some Chinese at him…I’m pretty sure she told him to step off.  It was very interesting to see how the bargaining process went.  Like I wanted a silk embroidered robe for myself and for my SIL Tiffany.  They started out at 300 yuan each.  After much dickering that included Kimberly sharing pics of her girls, saying she was from Tianjin, etc….we got 2 robes for 95 yuan.  Much better!  And some people actually pay the original prices!

And here are the last pics I took there…..they are mostly from the hotel in Beijing.  Kimberly, Katie – aka the bed hog, Libby and I shared a supposedly King size bed.  That was tons of fun!


horrid angle on me, but cute shot of the girls!


Katie hanging out on the bus/van that we took to Beijing.


The girls wearing their tees I bought them at Silk Alley – Libby loves the Disney princesses and Katie loves Hello Kitty.  Katie was being special that morning.  This was just before I headed out to the airport.


Libby was in a much better mood though.  I am glad I was there then because I think it really took her mind off her surgery so she didn’t stress about it too much.


And Kimberly and I took a pic before we went to the airport.  We got like two shots together the whole trip!  We’re always the ones behind the lens.

Kimberly made hats for the boys – she mentioned the story <here> on her blog.  Adam’s was knit and the other two were crocheted.  They each have something different about them so I can tell them apart too.  They loved them!


Adam even slept in his – he calls it his China Hat.  When I asked if he wanted to take his Chinese outfit (a traditional costume) to school to show his class….he wanted to take this hat.


(That’s my bed though – he likes to fall asleep there and then we move him when we go to bed.)

So that’s all!  Several people asked why Kimberly and her family live in China.  I know I’ve mentioned it, but her husband teaches 3rd grade at an International school there.  They met in Hong Kong during a semester abroad program and have always wanted to live there.  This was their chance!   Thanks for following my journey!

Jet Lag stinks~!

Like I totally have so much to do, right?  I mean, there is a lot that I need to catch up on….bills, grocery shopping, etc.  Thank goodness the house was absolutely SPOTLESS when I got home!  THANK YOU, BABE!  (and boys!)

But I am outrageously tired!  I think it’s a combo of jet-lag, stress from the whole airport ordeal and just coming down from doing SO much with Kimberly every day.  Anyway, I had a horrible time waking up today.  And I got nothing done.  Oh well!  I did post the Color Challenge at SCS – but I didn’t do a sample.  You can find it <here>.

However, I do have something I made for Katie and Libby.  I made this the day before I left – you know….when I was supposed to be packing….and I brought it with me to give them.  It was made from the 6×6 quick page book I did for our relatives at Christmas.  Kind of a year-in-review of the boys.  We have done videos before that use various pictures and camcorder clips as year-in-review things for family.  This was just a different take on it.  I figure grandparents and such appreciate something like this more than a present I could afford to buy, ya know?  At least I hope so!

This was done just like the last board book I made – you can see some instructions on that <here>.  Basically, I use the quick pages, paste them on to a 4×6 blank page in PSE 5 (so that I can The book I used was the Cuddlebug Album from Shabby Princess.   I love quick page albums for projects like this.  And unlike paper scrapping – I just printed several copies of the finished pages and gave them to lots of people!  I used a template and stuff from the Silly Boy {Cuddlebug} Kit to make the front and back covers.  And if you get a quick page book that doesn’t have enough pages – just try rotating a few of them for a different look!


Front Cover


one of the inside pages (there were 8 coasters – two sides to each)


Back Cover

I used 1 1/2 in white zutter coils for my Bind It All to make it.  4×4 in medium weight coasters, mod podge to put pics on (no sealant on top – just matte photos), and various ribbons all approved by Andy.

Album credtis:
template – Colleen Brady
paper – Shabby Princess – Smarshmallows and Cuddlebug
ricrac – Shabby Princess – Cuddlebug
photo corners – Shabby Princess – Cuddlebug
staples – Jenn Patrick – Wrong Side staples
red foil – Rachel Young – Fa la la la
blue stamped – Gina Miller – Goopy Stamped Alpha (recovered)
stitched paper – Dani Mogstad – Under Construction
font – Darcy Baldwin – DJB Heather G

I added a few things – journaling, a few dates (sometimes on tags), etc.  Pretty easy!  It takes me just a few hours to make an entire book this way!  I think all the family enjoyed theirs – I know the boys love their copy!  I also gave a copy to their cousins, they enjoyed it as well.  And it cost about $9 to print an entire album at Costco.

I will show you the rest of my China stuff, tell you about Beijing, and karaoke.  But I just was not up to it today!


Well, I was supposed to be back in Texas Saturday afternoon. Didn’t happen.

Our flight from Beijing was delayed 3 hrs. So I spent 3 hrs in line with Kimberly in Beijing trying to rebook another flight home once I landed in San Francisco. No luck.

I got to San Francisco – waited in line another 3 hrs only to be told there was nothing left that day. So I was given food and hotel vouchers and a ticket for the following day on US Airways. Get this – I would leave SF at 9am and fly to Charlotte, NC then to DFW. I would arrive in TX at 8:20pm. Totally sucked – but what could I do?

So I went to the hotel, got a little sleep, then went to the airport Sunday morning. All the while lugging ALL my suitcases. I go to the US Airways counter where I am told I have NO seat! WHAT!?!?! So I lug all my junk 2 terminals away over to the United counter and pretty much freak out. I told the lady I knew it wasn’t her fault, but I was hungry, tired, in need of coffee, and I WANT TO GO HOME! I am told there are no seats until MONDAY! I was given a standby ticket for a direct flight arriving in TX at 4pm today (Sunday) and thank goodness – I got on!

So finally, I am home. Exhausted, but home.

I’ll update the rest of my trip and pics later…..

Oh and uh…..United left one of my bags behind on the way there and then had so much joy for me in getting home…..I’m just sayin…..


I wrote a whole post about yesterday and karaoke and stuff….but it’s gone in cyberspace. So I’m done. I’ll rewrite it later, but I don’t have time now. There were no pics yesterday because I forgot the flash card in my camera.

We are leaving for Beijing soon and then I will be home in the US on Saturday. (Think my boys will greet me at the airport with signs where they have drawn me at the stove because they have missed my cooking??)

Anyway, I may or may not blog from Beijing, not sure on that one. If not, I’ll share those stories when I return home. Thanks for following my journey this week!

Tianjin – Day Four

Good morning! Or evening…..

We didn’t do a whole lot yesterday – I think our feet needed a little break from all the walking! We did eat lunch with her Korean group of students. They are all wives of various execs of large companies here in Tianjin. Kimberly is teaching them English. We went to a restaurant where we sat on the floor. It was really nice – they are a fun, chatty group. Some of the food was not my thing, but they had the best BBQ’d pork ever! So tender and delicious! And they are so sweet – they brought me a gift! A tea set with some of the tea we had with lunch. I had given them postcards from Texas and Kimberly brought some of the conversation hearts I brought over because they had never heard of them before.

However, I did take a few pics later in the day. Kimberly was giving me some photography lessons. I bought the same camera she has and only knew how to use auto mode. So she gave me some tips.


Katie and I were snuggling on the couch watching Ratatouille yesterday while we were waiting for Keith and Libby to get home.


After they got home (and we ate dinner- ayi made Chao Mian for us) Kimberly and I took Libby outside and practiced some different camera stuff. Libby is pretty tolerant of modeling for you! I took that picture of her yesterday.


There are many fruit or veggie stands around the entrances to their apartment complex. This is the fruit stand we have been frequenting. It is important to build a relationship with your vendor of choice so that they will give you good prices, good produce, etc. Some of the things we got were great, some were not (the strawberries one night – wonderful! the next night – over half were rotten.) You cannot pick your own strawberries, you tell them how much and they fill the bag. The other fruits you can choose which one you would like.


And then we swung by Elle – previously Ann Taylor Loft/CK/etc. We took a peek inside and it is a small shop with some racks of clothes – all really nice western stuff. We are thinking samples or something small was wrong with them. All really nice brands. I have no idea what they cost – but I am sure they were cheaper than here! But there was only like one of each item.


And there is your local friendly butcher. See how the meat is all laying out on the counter? It is like that even in the heat of summer…. We did not buy any meat there, but Kimberly said ayi does sometimes. However, I have not gotten sick from anything here so far!


Want some fish? From the man with the cigarette hanging out of his mouth?  All of this is within a two block stretch outside Kimberly’s apartment. Some of it is there all day – produce, butcher, etc. Some of it is out only at night – clothing, dvd’s, bras, panties, hair stuff, jewelry, etc.


One hairdresser shop had some ROCKIN’ music pumping out of their doorway so Libby decided she needed to bust a move…..she’s got some great moves too!


And should you need any DVD’s – you can get them here for about $1 per disc – but unlike the US, there are MANY movies per disc. Like we saw the 2 disc set of ALL the Academy Award winning movies from THIS year (I think there were 18 movies on it). For $2. Somehow I don’t think that is approved by Hollywood……


The entire point of this walk was that Libby wanted to take just me to the McDonald’s that is 2 blocks from their apartment all by herself. So we let her lead the way (Kimberly went along in case we had language issues……). We stopped in and got ice cream cones (they do not have much chocolate here though – no chocolate ice cream on the menu at all.)

At your local McDonald’s, can you pick up the entire series of The Soprano’s for a couple of bucks right outside the door? You can here! And notice the obligatory peace signs, they thought they were quite funny too.

Today we are going to Libby’s school to eat lunch with her. Then to find some authentic Chinese outfits for my boys. We have pictures of Andy in one from way back when Kimberly and Keith went to China before. I think they’d love some to wear now! I did tell Matthew that I wanted a whole box of Reese’s Puffs ready when I get home. I love my cereal! Here, at the import store, they cost $11 US a box!!! Yikes! So yeah – they don’t eat cereal, lol!