Friday, December 19, 2014

gingerbread and bratwurst? (oh ja!)

we are officially into christmas vacation now, and the normally home-loving jeff has become a fireball of holiday activity, so i'm not sure how many more of my december daily pages are going to be made and posted before the big day. but that's ok; because there's NO statue of limitations on papercrafting! today, however, he's immersed in a marathon of marketing and cooking so i'm sneaking in a couple more while i can:

dd17: christmas lights and gingerbread

we live pretty close to an open-air shopping mall in bucks county, pennsylvania, called peddler's village which hosts a number of yearly events, our favorite being the annual gingerbread house competition. we usually meet up with our friends kim and dave during the holiday season, have a nice dinner together, and then go check out the amazing gingerbread creations, enjoy the display of holiday lights, and maybe do a little shopping. this year all of that happened on wednesday night and was absolutely awesome, as usual. for my page i printed a small instagrammed pic of one of my favorite g-bread houses and turned it into flip-card to hold my journaling. then i mounted it on a full page (5x7) print of faux-bokeh holiday lights that i made by putting a pretty strong dose of pse9's "palette knife" filter onto an ordinary photo i took that evening. i had to play around with saturation and light levels a bit, and of course it's a total cheat, but i'm FINE with that, lol!

on thursday we drove up to bethlehem, pennsylvania, to visit the annual holiday event they call "christkindlmarkt" which is kind of half high-end craft fair and half holiday party. jeff and my mom are both big fans of this yearly treat (well heck, so am i!) and have been known to wax lyrical about the amazingly creative artisans who display their work, the live music provided by a variety of local groups and the awesome decorations, all set against the unique backdrop of the historic steel stacks, but don't be fooled, because i'll tell you right now, in reality, the two of them are all about the bratwurst, which is admittedly wonderful, and served in the bavarian-themed food court! :) :) :)

dd18: christkindlmarkt see-through pocket page

i'm a big fan of including "real life stuff" in any journal project, and i tend to collect paper ephemera wherever i go. at christkindlmarkt i bagged a few brochures, a vendor's map of the artisan booths, a menu, and a postcard of the steel stacks at night which was handed over to me in the very cool clear plastic bag from the artsquest visitor's center. i was especially psyched about the latter, because it allowed me to neatly include all of the above AND a few photos i took on the day. score!

well i guess that's it for today, except to wish you a fabulous friday, darlings! ♥♥♥

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

makin' a list (or several)

two things in life that should *ALWAYS* have pockets, in my opinion, are casual trousers and minibooks! because let's face it, we all carry around a bunch of stuff, and we need our hands free to fiddle with our phones! :) 

dd16: "makin' a list" pocket page
this is pretty straightforward: to make a nice deep pocket that would fit in my 5x7" book i took a 9x7" piece of double-sided patterned paper (this one happens to be from basic grey's aspen frost collection) scored it at the 4" mark, and machine stitched along the two sides. i went with old school BG alphas for the title (b/c they are STILL my all-time favorites!) and added on a poinsettia i had doodled and cut out for another project, but never used. then i stuffed the pocket full of my current lists of things to do and buy and send and finish:

most of these will get chucked out as i complete the tasks, but one that will remain after the xmas season is the "master" list of presents given; because i know from experience that next december jeff and i will want to buy exactly the same gift for one person, and make sure we don't replicate something else, and the only way we'll know for sure is if i've made a detailed list with brand- and store-names for specialty items and the amounts of giftcards and donations.

another awesome use i've found for last year's december daily book is to figure out the logistics of various decorations. the most recent example is the garland that goes on our staircase. i like to change the "toppings" on it each year, but being able to look at a photo and see exactly which bannister posts from which it needs to hang in order to look centered* definitely speeds up the process and lets us skip the super-fun part where we take turns holding up the laden boughs single-handed. definitely a "labor-saving" device! :)

*you would THINK to make garland look centered you'd hang it on the CENTER post, right? nuh-uh. because of the angle of our particular stairs, hanging it in the center makes it look wrong. turns out, to make it look centered we have to hang it one post closer to the bottom of the stairs. tricky, eh? 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

*RED* alert!

ok, no, there isn't an emergency, unless you count the fact that christmas is only NINE DAYS AWAY!!! which is obviously not something that any of us around here are panicking about, no sirree bob. :) no, in this case, "red alert" is actually the title of this week's challenge at shopping our stash. or rather --in honor of the fact that we are approaching the big day-- this fortnight's challenge; and you'll no doubt have sussed that the brief is to make a project that features red fairly prominently. it doesn't have to be a holiday project; it doesn't even have to be ALL red; let's just say, we shouldn't have to look for the red. does that make sense? awesome. here's mine. i'm sure you'll be shocked to discover... it's another december daily page!!! :)

bells cut from a vintage songbook; patterned paper: pebbles; transparency: teresa collins; journal card + diecuts on lower page: crate paper; florals: prima; brads: mme; tape: october afternoon, love my tapes, martha stewart; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape

something else that might not be surprising at this point, either: it's another double page... a solid base, over which the title and some journaling is "floated" using a transparency. i'm not sure why i'm making so many of these at the moment, but it works for me, so i'm just goin' with it, lol!

as you can see, i've got this year's xmas playlist on the bottom page, with a little collage of new + vintage items riding on the clear top sheet. something i was pretty excited to see on ali edwards' blog last week was a post where she talked about not worrying too much about which day things fell on; she has a certain amount of stories she wants to tell this month and when she can place things on the "correct" date that's awesome, but when there are multiple events for one day, she's happy to spread them out. i would go further and say if you have a little extra time over a weekend (like i did on sunday) why not crack on with some "dateless" topics (like a holiday playlist, or a little feature on xmas collections, or a pocket page to collect all your lists) and then spread them out into the following week, mixed with actual "events"? because let's face it, as much fun as this december daily lark is, doing a page per day can be daunting. wilna furstenburg had another idea for approaching this project that i absolutely ♥LOVE♥: she sets up a foundation for just 12 days... and then chooses which ones to document as the month unfolds! how brilliant is that?!

speaking of brilliant: why not head over to SOS and see what gorgeous inspirations the other DT darlings have made to spur you on for the next two weeks? ciao, darlings! ♥

Monday, December 15, 2014

all is calm, all is bright

hello and welcome to the strangest and most random page i've made for december daily so far. it actually doesn't have much to do with christmas, but it would never have happened if i wasn't doing this project:

ok, yeah, so i know what you're thinking, you're thinking, "hey lauren, have you gone nuts?!" well, possibly, yes... luckily with me, that sort of thing is hard to tell, lol! :) but lemme essplain: on one of the elebenty nights i was outside around dusk trying to get a nice photo of the outdoor lights, there was a full moon in a sort of hazy blue sky, hovering between the bare branches of our neighbors' trees. and it looked REALLY cool, so i took some pics, which came out pretty well, considering i was just shooting up into the sky using my iphone. at the time, this fact was actually slightly galling to me, because the shot i was absolutely failing to get was the one i wanted, of the xmas lights. but that's the way it goes, right? anyway, at some point i added a few p-shop filters and printed my favorite shot on an inkjet transparency, intending to use it on a journal page in january or so. but every time i saw it on my desk, i just wanted to make something NOW. so, eventually i gave in, layered it over some creamy/white glitter paper, machine stitched on top* and decided to call it a december daily page. is it crazy to make something random and pointless when there's already waaaaaaaaay too much to do? possibly. but i can tell you that the most relaxed and focused i have felt in at least a week was the 20 minutes or so i sat at the sewing machine, stitching over the handwritten words; and looking at the finished page makes me smile. so there ya go. that's the kind of crazy i'll take, anyday, darlings! ♥

*exactly how i made the page: i printed the moon photo in reverse (aka "iron on mode") on the pebbly side of an inkjet transparency sheet. i layered it over some old doodlebug sparkly glitter paper. i wrote "calm" and "bright" on the shiny side of the transparency using the AWESOME new fine point white sharpie paint pen and let it dry. i applied the dymo labels in the correct position, and tacked the whole sheet to the glitter paper using some 1/8" score tape. then i took the whole thing over to the sewing machine (loaded with white upholstery thread and set on 12 stitches per inch) and sewed over the thin white line of my handwriting. i did a few layers, until the curves were nice and smooth and the stitching really showed up. then i inked around the whole thing with waterproof black ink, punched a hole for the bookring, and called it DONE.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

more december daily: 11, 12, 13

are you ready for some more december daily pages? ok, well, possibly not... but that's what i have today, so here they are, lol:

doilies, vintage music paper and lace from my stash; patterned papers: graphic 45, kaiser craft; glitter paper: best creations; journal card: october afternoon; florals: petaloo; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

dd11: JOY
a page assembled out of the leftovers from the three vintage-style xmas cards that made up my very first teaching experience, at paper anthology, which was completely awesome! :) (i've just finished the prototypes for my jan/feb class, which involve watercolor paint and machine stitching; i will tell you more later this month!)

dd12: i (miss) ny
here's a page i love about a subject that's bumming me out: this is the first year in... i don't even know how long... in which my mom and i aren't doing our gala nyc windows tour* because i've been having an issue with my foot** that makes prolonged walking or standing a bit of a no-no at the moment. to sum it up in a visual way, i've layered a snowflake transparency holding my title over a 5x7 photo i took a couple of years ago of the baccarat crystal unicef star that hangs above 5th avenue at 57th street, and added just a tiny bit of typed journaling on the lower layer. easy, peasy.

my nyc pic printed on hp 5x7 photo paper; snowflake transparency: creative imaginations; patterned paper: mme; thickers: american crafts; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, sewing machine

my photo of the gorgeous vintage mailboxes at the kenvil, nj, post office printed on hp 5x7 glossy paper; deer, elves and holly cut from various falling-apart vintage xmas books; vintage trading stamps; diecuts: october afternoon, studio calico, pebbles, mme; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape

dd13: goin' postal
so it turns out, i've been doing my holiday mailing WRONG all these years! see, i've always gotten all my cards and packages ready to go, and made one biiiiiiiiiiiiiig trip to the PO. that's the most efficient way, right? well.... maybe not... somehow this year i've wound up making 4 or 5 "little" trips with a portion of cards and/or gifts each time. and here's the thing that shocks me: I LIKE THIS WAY BETTER! it's less daunting, somehow; and i've avoided seeing that panic-stricken-reindeer look in the eyes of the various postal employees i've encountered! big win, darlings! :)  

*a couple of years ago, i wrote quite a long post detailing my favorite stops on our gala ny xmas decorations tour; that post is still right here for anyone who'd like to use it for a real-- or vicarious-- nyc holiday experience! 

**long story short: in september i mysteriously --and pretty suddenly-- developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot. i've had the cortisone injections, i do the stretching exercises, i wear a diabolical metal boot thing to bed every night and orthotics during the day, i've changed my gym routine, etc, etc, and though it's thankfully a bit less painful... it hasn't really gone away... in the range of health problems i realize this is very much on the "light" side, for which i am VERY grateful. but it's inconvenient and a bit disheartening. ah well, c'est la vie, non, chers?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

december daily: 8, 9, 10

this happens every time, so i'm not sure why it still surprises me: i have very little trouble keeping up with the pages of a daily project, it's the photos and posts that get me!!! luckily, there is no statute of limitations in papercrafting, so here's a lovely bonus round-up of december daily:

dd08: LIGHTS!
we actually had them up and running the sunday after thanksgiving, though we were tinkering with the little a-frame around the door for a bit (garland and a new kind of lights there this year); mostly, though, i had a hard time getting outside at the right time on a day that wasn't raining. i'm not in love with this photo, but it's infinitely better than all the others so i'm calling it DONE! :)

dd09: rudolph
i'll admit i built this whole page around the fact that last year my cousin ann sent me this awesome xmas card, and wrote inside, "have a holly jolly christmas!" but as a matter of fact, on tuesday night at 8pm, when jeff was flicking around the channels, i said, "hey, can you check cbs, i want to see what night rudolph's on" and it was just starting right then. score! (yeah, i'm pitiful, but it's been that kind of week, ok? this WAS "the big win" lol!)

dd10: up on the housetop?
the yellow illustration part of this page is from an old ideals magazine; it was intended for one of the etsy december journals, but i accidentally cut it too small. so i put it in the pile to use in my own book. but the funny thing is: any other year, i would just see a pretty picture of a cosy little house in the winter. but... having had a new roof put on our own home less than a month ago... right now all i can see is a potentially damaging build-up of snow and ice, and wonder if the contractors used the correct type of sheathing for harsh weather, and was the flashing around that chimney installed properly? because perspective is EVERYTHING, darlings! :) :) :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

holiday coffee lovers' blog hop? yes, please!

my lovely friend amy tsuruta told me about her awesome holiday coffee lovers' blog hop, so of course i had to play along! you can, too, and i think you might like to, because there are prizes galore! all you have to do is make a new project which references coffee, (or your other favorite hot holiday beverage) link it up on amy's blog, and leave feedback for at least three of your fellow players. easy peasy, right?! now, in my opinion, NOBODY beats miss amy when it comes to rockin' the coffee-related cards, she is the queen of that genre; so i didn't even try to compete. but it just so happened that on the same day i heard about the hop, i received a christmassy catalog in the mail which had the cuuuuuuuuuuuutest holiday cocoa mugs in it, so of course my first thought was, "those would look great on a card!" for the record, i stand by that judgement.

photo of mugs from a catalog, backed w/cardstock and fussy-cut; patterned paper: studio calico, oct afternoon, dcwv and basic grey; ribbon: making memories; doily die: cheery lynn designs; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape runner, scotch gluestick, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

seeing as how i was already thinking about amy t and card-making, it occurred to me that i hadn't got to play in the last two challenges at fusion, and i was really missing that. imagine how psyched i was when i realized the colors and shapes of said cocoa mugs would let me play along pretty easily with the current challenge!

another optional facet of the blog hop is to add in a little blog candy or share a favorite beverage recipe. now i do looooooooooove me a fancy coffee drink, especially one that tastes like the kind you get at starbucks, but without a gazzillion calories. so i was pretty psyched when my sister found this recipe on the hungry girl website. my secret to making it even easier is that i always have cold coffee and coffee ice cubes on hand. does that sound fussy? well, it isn't, honestly! instead of tossing out the leftover coffee each morning i just pour it into a pitcher that lives in my fridge. then, maybe once a week, i make a tray of ice cubes* with any coffee that's left in the fridge, wash the pitcher, and start over. thus iced coffee is never more than a few minutes away!

here's my lazy-girl version of 

1/4 c. light soymilk 
1 tbsp. hershey's sugar free chocolate syrup
1 tbsp. maraschino cherry juice
12-16 oz. cold coffee (or about 2/3 the size of your favorite travel mug)
coffee ice cubes

optional topping:
1/4 cup fat free whipped topping
1 1/2 tsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
maraschino cherry

place soymilk, cherry juice and syrup in the bottom of your favorite travel mug or large glass and stir until they are well-combined. add cold coffee and continue stirring, leaving a little room for ice cubes, and the topping if desired. enjoy at home or in the car! ps: there are a million variations on this idea, you can use any type of syrup paired with any flavor of soymilk or creamer you enjoy!

and now why not check out all the details on facebook or amy's blog and start planning your own bid for holiday coffee-loving world domination?

*it's the essential oils in coffee which give it the lovely fragrance and flavor, but they do leave a very faint residue on plastic kitchen items. thus i have one specific ice cube tray, and one specific pitcher, that i only use for coffee.

**i don't like very sweet drinks, at starbrucks i ask for HALF the amount of syrup in pretty much any beverage, so you might like to add a little more syrup than i do!