Wednesday, June 22, 2011

just another friday night


I think this just might be one of my favorite layouts right now:


Supplies (all May Green Tangerines Kit Club): Letter stickers Bella Blvd; Patterned paper: My Mind’s Eye, Crate Paper, October Afternoon, Pink Paislee; Jute Flowers: Jillibean Soup; ric rac, twine, embroidery floss (2 strands for stitching)

It’s based on the double page sketch #16 from Sketch Support.

After printing my photos in black & white, I knew they needed to lay on a white background. And I wanted LOTS of color in the patchwork below. So I pulled out my kraft cardstock and my May GTKC.  Then I just started laying all the papers next to each other until I figured out which ones worked best on this layout.


(yes, I noticed AFTER I took this photo that my lettering was coming up…thanks to a little glue & a page protector it’s A-OK now!)

The sketch calls for stitching. I didn’t want the fine line from my sewing machine, so I knew I’d be hand stitching. I just go the Sew Easy tool & it was so fun to use on here! It didn’t go thru all three layers of paper, but that’s okay. It did give me a partial hole that I just poked thru with my paper piercer.



I didn’t want to get my layout too flowery, since the main photo is my son and his best friend, but my kit had these cool jute flowers from Jillibean that I’ve been dying to use. I think they added the right touch without being too girly.



This banner here was one of the embellishments from my kit. The sketch had clouds over here, which didn’t really “fit” my layout. But I think the banner adds just the right amount of color without being over the top.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

how to host a star wars birthday party


and succeed!

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My son’s 6th birthday was almost 4 months ago (!), so it’s time I share the details of his super fun Star Wars party.

In case you missed my post yesterday, here is the layout I did of his party:

Invited you are, to a Star Wars birthday party

I started out by googling “star wars birthday party” and found some great ideas on these two blogs:

Hostess with the Mostess & Beauty from Ashes

There are TONS of ideas out there, but I liked these two the best.



I set them up in Photoshop Elements so I could print four on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper. You could also use Microsoft Word. I wanted to word them in “Yoda speak” and incorporate the Star Wars logo.

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I got the wording for the back (text) side of the invitation from a sample I saw somewhere online. The “docking bay” was our address, and the “password” is our gate code.

Stars Wars invite backsample_thumb[2]

The text font is Teen, and I don’t remember which font I used for the Star Wars logo. Here are the Star Wars fonts I found after LOTS of searching!

SF Distant Galaxy

Forced Re-entry

Star Jedi

(They all came with a word.doc “cheat sheet” so you can do lots of fun things with your letters (like connect the S to the T in “star”). One of them also came with cool dingbats that I used to create my cupcake toppers & bottle labels.)

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We downloaded a few Star Wars songs on iTunes and had those playing the whole time the kids were here. It was the perfect background theme while everyone arrived. I let the kids play for a bit until enough kids were here to justify serving lunch. We had “galactic pizza” (aka, LIttle Caesars), Dark Side punch (red gatorade with a Darth Vader label) and Yoda Soda (green Gatorade with a Yoda label), and cookies.

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My mom made these for us using the cookie cutter/presses from Williams-Sonoma. The white & green cookies were made using the butter cookie recipe that comes with the cookie presses. Yoda has a little “leaf green” Wilton color added. The black cookies were made with a chocolate cookie recipe and black Wilton coloring…they tasted like the cookie part of an Oreo! Yum! Recipe at the end of this post.

Treasure Hunt.

After lunch we embarked on a treasure hunt thru the house, so that the kids could become Jedis. The prize? Star Wars silly bands. I’ve done treasure hunts before, and I find it’s easiest to figure out how many steps you want, then where you want to hide stuff, and then decide on your wording. I used a Yoda translator I found online to come up with these clues.

1) Young padawans, been chosen to embark on a jedi journey, you have. Begin in the room where young minds play, you must, and the sun shines in. Yeesssssss.

2) Ah, found this you have. Continue out into the day, yessssss. For water seek the long green source. Looking for, there you find what you are. Yes, hmmm.

3) To where our birthday boy sleeps now go. Herh herh herh. Find his drawers of creation, there you will. Yeesssssss.

4) Almost reached jedi status, you have. Hmmmmmm. One more stop on your journey, there is. Watch young jedi, go to where you can. Yeesssssss.

5) Found it you have! Congratulations young padawans. Now jedi, you are. Yes, hmmm.

The first clue was “found” on the table as the kids finished eating. I love the translator added in all of Yoda’s “sounds” as he talks!

The Death Star

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Now that the kids were Jedis, we were able to destroy the Death Star! Otherwise known as, hit a piñata until the candy falls out.

I got a soccer ball piñata at Party City for about $10 (half the price of a Darth Vader one!). Then I painted it dark grey with an entire bottle of grey Ceram coat paint.

Note: the kids will want to use light sabers to destroy the Death Star. However, the light sabers aren’t strong enough, so make sure you have a baseball bat on hand. Because six year olds won’t believe you when you tell them this, you will have to let them attempt to whack it with their light saber first. Then they will complain & ask for the baseball bat :)

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General Grievous.

Now that these young Jedi were feeling pretty tough, they came back inside, candy bags full, and were ready to pin the light saber on General Grievous.

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I found the picture of General Grievous by googling him. Then I opened up the picture in PSE, resized it to my liking, and printed it in two parts on 12x12 sheets of white paper. I think it came out to be an 11x17 that is taped in the middle.

The coolest thing about General Grievous is that he has three lightsabers…so everyone wins!


I made the cupcake picks by creating a 5x7 photo in PSE and uploading it to Costco to print. Each square is 2 1/8”, and I used a 2” circle punch.

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I adhered two circles together, so there is a front & back that match, with a toothpick in-between the two layers. If I do this again (and I know I will, because it was SO EASY, I will just have a plain circle on the back because it was a PAIN to get both perfectly lined up.

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I made the fun drink labels by opening an 8.5x11 document in PSE, and dividing it equally into four sections. I typed a Darth Vader or Yoda dingbat in each section, and then printed on regular white paper. I then trimmed the paper into 2 3/4” strips and taped them onto the small Gatorade bottles. The kids were pretty impressed by the drinks!

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Chocolate Sugar Cookies:

2 3/4 cups (355 grams) all purpose flour

3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder

1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll. (I chilled it overnight.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.)  Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking.

Note: If you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you may want to sprinkle the unbaked cookies with crystal or sparkling sugar. 

Bake cookies for about 10  - 12 minutes (depending on size) or until they are firm around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost with royal icing, if desired. Be sure that the frosting on the cookies dries completely before storing. (This may take several hours.) Frosted cookies will keep several days in an airtight container. Store between layers of parchment paper or wax paper. Makes about 36 – 4 inch cookies.

Star Wars Cookies (from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen)

2 ½ c all-purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

12 tbs. (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

*Wilton leaf green food coloring paste, optional, for Yoda

Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

Over a small bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, slowly add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Stop the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has been absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the remaining flour and continue beating until all of the flour has been absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 2 equal balls. Shape each into a disk and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 3/16 to 1/4 inch thick.

Preheat an oven to 350°. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using the cookie cutters, cut out the desired shapes. If the dough sticks to the cutter, dip the cutter into flour before cutting out more shapes. Using a small offset spatula, transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart.

Bake the cookies until golden brown around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. If baking more than one sheet at a time, rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and 180 degrees halfway through baking.

Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the racks and let cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes about 8 of each cookie.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

invited you are, to a star wars birthday party


Brandon had a Star Wars birthday party for his 6th birthday this year. I think it was our best themed party ever! I’m not a Star Wars fanatic by any means, but I had so much fun planning the party (and even more fun scrapping about it, lol!).


Supplies: Bazzill  Basics cardstock; Basic Grey & American crafts letter stickers; My Mind’s Eye and Basic Grey patterned paper; American Crafts buttons

I started out by selecting a layout from my Sketches for Scrapbooking  volume 7*. (There were a few layouts I liked, so I kept going thru my photos to see which layout would work best with the photos I wanted to showcase.)  Then I went back thru my photos from Brandon’s party & resized them in Photoshop Elements so they would work on this layout.

*Rumor has it that another one will be coming out soon…And I get to have a giveaway for one since I’m one of the newest members of the Sketch Support design team!


I’ve been waiting to use my March GT kit for this layout, because I think the colors are nice and boyish. But it still took me FOREVER to figure out which papers I was going to actually use on this page when I sat down to scrap!


I did know that I wanted to use the blue letters from Basic Grey for my title. The funky font has always looked Star Wars-like to me (and yes, I know it isn’t!).


The original sketch calls for stars for embellishments. Usually I just use whatever I want for accents, but since this is a STAR Wars page, I thought it would be appropriate to use actual stars! I finally broke down & picked up two star punches, both Marvy Uchida Clever Levers (the “regular” orange one & “extra jumbo” yellow one). I started playing around & came up with my own embellishments by layering the stars and a 1 3/8” circle punch. I inked up the edges, added a button, and was pretty happy with myself :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

april (project 12)

Here is the sketch from Scrapbook & Cards today:


And here is my take on it:


I stayed pretty true to the sketch (again) and used my May GTKC.

Originally I had planned on using my April kit, because it has the corrugated butterflies from Jillibean Soup. But I’ve used that kit a lot recently & was excited to use my May goodies. So I used three buttons (from Crate Paper, in my May kit) in place of each butterfly. I glued them done with Tombo Mono Adhesive.


I used a border punch on the strip of orange paper here and then stitched it down to my page & journaling block. Unfortunately I thought I had enough thread in my bobbin…and I did not! Of course I started stitching under where the photo went, so I had to rip out all of the stitching, which left me with holes on my layout. Ugh. I was sure if I could get my stitches in the same spots so I then handstitched the strip.
I used some mini number stickers here in the journaling block to coordinate to each picture. I wish I’d typed up my journaling because it was really hard to write on the textured cardstock. Oh well. Live & learn :)


I pulled out my border punches again for the top of the page. This time I did one with a scalloped edge & one with the notebook edge.  I stitched them too.

Friday, June 3, 2011

project life 3/6 - 3/31

Those of you who regularly follow my blog know that I haven’t been too great at posting my Project Life photos this year, and that I was REALLY sick in March. So I’m playing catch-up today and sharing my photos from March.

Although I’m pretty good at taking a photo a day, I’m human & slack! That’s the beauty of this project; I can fill in the blank spots with photos taken on other days.

So you’ve been warned…this is a photo heavy post! :) Enjoy!

Shopping at Old Navy…Brandon asked if he could take some pictures & he got this one of me & Abbie.
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Olivia made this for me. It’s a picture of me (left) and her (right). The decorations on either side of us are girls. I love it!
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Playing games on the computer on a Tuesday afternoon.
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Going over the Scholastic Book Order forms after school. All three kids love going thru them & circling the books they want to get.
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We love the new car shopping carts at Whole Foods!
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Yummy pizza at Mary’s Pizza Shack! Gram came to visit for the weekend, so we all went out to dinner on Friday night.
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Brandon & Olivia spent the afternoon putting together a new puzzle with Gram.
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Putting together new Lego Hero Factory all by himself! Brandon picked this one out with his money from his birthday.
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The girls set up a book store in the entryway today, and even made money for me to buy their books.
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I am so thankful to have girls that play together so well, and are so able to entertain themselves! Today they set up a movie theatre in the hallway, while I napped on the couch all day…today was day four of the flu for me.
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I spent most of the morning at the doctor’s office getting two nebulizer treatments & new inhaler prescriptions. And a confirmation of the flu. The one year I didn’t get a flu shot….guess I learned my lesson!
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The Leprechauns left us some gold & necklaces on the table this morning.
(Brandon was disappointed it wasn’t real gold & that the Leprechauns didn’t do more. Considering I had the flu, the kids are lucky they got this!)
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We all love to eat apples around here…especially Granny Smith apples dipped in peanut butter :)
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Giddy-up Abbie!
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Just when we were about to get rid of Brandon’s Geotrax, Abbie decided she wanted to play with the trains. I guess we’ll hang on to them for a little bit longer since she spent most of the day playing with them.
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Brandon made chipboard (left) and pressboard (right) at school while learning all about wood. It is so amazing what he learns in kindergarten!
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My mom made this adorable Abby Cadaby doll quilt for Abbie, and then another one for Olivia.
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Baseball practice in soccer shorts, with soccer socks pulled all the way up…think he was cold?! :)
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The girls love picking out donuts on Thursdays at Whole Foods to have for breakfast on Fridays.
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We had the grand opening at Cook Speech and Language today. Holly & Brien hired a photographer & she got this great shot of the girls.
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Today we got to clean out the pantry after discovering TONS of rat droppings! Ewww!
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Today was AJ’s 5th birthday party…When it was time to open presents, Abbie joined right in. And AJ let her help! What a great kid!
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Blowing bubbles in the front yard…another lazy mommy & Abbie Monday morning :)
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That damn rat is too sly for the traditional traps! David picked up this fancy one at Ace and the rat was dead that night! So long ratty!
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Abbie came home from my mom’s today & announced that she had gone pee pee in the potty (which turns out wasn’t exactly true). But she did use the potty at home (with Olivia cheering her on). And I’m pleased to say that a few days later she was officially potty trained! After over six years of diapers we are all potty trained! Hallelujah!
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Playing at McDonald’s while grabbing a quick lunch.
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