What's going on...

What's going on... what's going on... - such a fab song. Don'tcha think?

I haven't had a lot of free time lately. Well that's not completely true. I did just spend 5 wonderful days with friends and family scrapbooking at Memory Lane Inn, but I was "working" on scrapbooking, so not much "free time," if you know what I mean.

While on my wonderful retreat, I shared a "how to" Plan, Prepare and Pack for a Scrapbook Retreat over at the MLI blog. In addition, on Monday my mish-mash, scraproom on the cheap was featured over at Blissful and Domestic for Danielle's series on Creating a Beautiful Life on Less. It was truly an amazing opportunity. I am so glad that Danielle asked to feature my room because it is important for others to see that craft rooms are not always perfect. Most of them are not professionally designed, and they are not always the purdiest. They are places where memory making (and craft making) magic happens, and they get messy and are often a thrown-together mish-mash, like my room, which is still a work in progress. Would you believe that I am getting new flooring in there? I know it's all kinds of crazy in my house, and I am only getting updated flooring because of a mess of stuff that just came through the ceiling, literally.

JUNE
In June, we celebrated Sawyer's 2nd birthday. We had a sweet Mickey Mouse themed splash birthday party. It was a wonderful day for hot dogs, swimming, sprinklers, cupcakes and cookies. Our family likes to do birthdays on the cheap, so with a couple of tarps, old sprinklers and a pool, fun was had by all.






JULY
July has also been quite an eventful month. We spent some wonderful quality time together at Dinosaur World in Glen Rose, TX.  It is a great little park, where kids big and small can see almost life size dinosaur statues, find gemstones, and dig for dinsosaur bones.






Then we had a lovely time watching fireworks with my family and friends on Independence Day.



A few days later, a small leak began in our playroom. It started as a dripping bubble, so we punctured the bubble and repaired the leak to keep it from happening again. The next day the AC stopped working, so we called in our home warranty, and they sent someone to the house. On Thursday, the ceiling in the playroom completely caved in, I guess from the weight of the wet insulation and the leak that had spread across the ceiling. It was a nightmare!! We've been very fortunate that our insurance is working with us despite our very high deductible. I didn't realize it was so high or else I would've changed that ages ago.


Just a few tidbits about my home... in the past year (since January 2014), we've fixed a foundation leak,  replaced our hot water heater, dealt with a burst pipe and flood in all the carpeted rooms in the house, installed all brand-new insulation in the attic, resealed a broken toilet ring, fixed a leaky sink faucet, replaced a broken shower head, and now we are going to replace all the carpeting in the house, replace the lost insulation from the leak, fix the giant hole in the ceiling, and our house will be practically brand new.  The next thing to go out is the AC, and I am well aware of this. Hopefully this won't happen for at least another year because honestly, we absolutely cannot afford to do that ANYTIME soon. 

Our home is such a blessing and our shelter, but this year it has been a real money pit too.

Goodness, it just feels good to vent about this big mess. Eek. 


B.Y.O.K.

You might be asking yourself what B.Y.O.K stands for... and I have an answer for that: Build Your Own Kit! Why, yes! Now doesn't that sound like fun?



I love building scrapbook kits out of my stash. There are so many kits out there that inspire me. The kits that I create I take with me to crops (scrapbooking with others), retreats (again, scrapbooking with others, but overnight), or just plain scrapbooking at home. I know of some scrappers that build mini-kits and take them on the road even like Dear Lizzy. For me, having a kit on hand truly makes scrapbooking a bit more seamless and less stressful, especially if you feel overwhelmed by a large stash.

Like you, I have a tight scrapbook budget. Currently, I allow myself one kit subscription per month.  This helps to maintain my supply of papers and products. When my stash feels unmanageable or I'm not using up the kits that I purchase, then I cancel my sub for a time. Right now, I am subbing to Studio Calico. In the past, I've subscribed to Citrus Twist Kits, Scraptastic Club, and Gossamer Blue.

Now more about how to B.Y.O.K or build your own kit.

When I build kits, I follow a simple recipe. First I begin with an inspiration kit. This month I chose Gossamer Blue's May Main Kit. I was most attracted to the bright card stock and floral print.



I generally stick to four solid cardstock (including a neutral like white, kraft or black), eight pattern papers (including both large and small patterns),  large and small alphas, a stamp set, and embellishments (basically whatever floats my boat: doilies, stickers, sequins, buttons, brads, enamel dots).



Normally, I would start by finding a pattern paper that anchors the whole line, like the bright floral of the inspiration kit. For this kit though, I actually began with the card stock. I really loved the idea of combining teal and fuchsia, but I thought their brightness in the inspiration kit competed with each other; additionally, I didn't love the orange paper chosen for this kit. I know why it was chosen, but it really doesn't compliment the fuschia or the teal to me. For my kit, I chose a bright, chipper yellow to compliment my a lighter teal (which is more like an aqua) and bright purple based fuchsia (I actually couldn't believe that I had this purple/pink color. It's so unlike me.)
Cardstock (Bazzill, Cor'dinations)
Now that I have chosen the perfect color of cardstock, it is time to find a floral print that contains all of these colors. It was a process at first, but I settled on a beautiful print with a brown base and lots of color. Isn't it just lovely? Next, I began by looking for a strong stripe. I found a teal in a strong horizontal. A yellow gingham paper was a perfect too as well as a soft grey stripe. Next up, I wanted another paper that pulled some of the pink out without being overwhelming. Rather than choose a white based paper with a pattern like the pennant paper in the inspiration kit, I chose to go with this fun constellation paper. A neutral small print to replace the cream grid paper was next; I found this swell light taupe polka dot. Lastly, I needed something else to jazz it up and make it modern. I was looking for something white and black like the strong horizontal in the inspiration kit. I found this soft, yet masculine black and white chevron print and also these fun mopeds with a neutral base. Normally, I wouldn't add a competing patter against this strong floral, but I thought these were cute and they had all the colors to compliment the cardstock as well as the floral print, and ta-da. It comes together so nicely.
Cardstock (Bazill), Pattern Paper (My Minds Eye, Dear Lizzy, Amy Tangerine)
Stamps were next on my list because I often forget them. I wanted to make sure that I chose them before my embellishments. You see, I'm not really a stamper (or mister). I try, but it always feels so far out of my comfort zone, kind of like sewing on paper. I love how it looks, but it's been tough for me to master. Still a total beginner, but I digress.
Stamp (Amy Tangerine, Citrus Twist Kits)
When it comes to embellishments, I start by perusing through 'kit' leftovers. These are pieces from past kits that were never opened or I didn't use up all the pieces. For this kit, I found some glitter sentiments, die-cut frames, funky (boyish) stickers, a fun rub-on, small floral buttons, and other odds and ends that I had in my stash basket. And we can't forget about alphas. I am seriously obsessed with Thickers, and I have been since I bought my first pack (even paid full price) at Hobby Lobby in 2009.
Stickers (Heidi Swapp, My Minds Eye, Simple Stories), Tags (Chic Tags),
Die-Cut (Scraptastic Club), Rub-On (Jenni Bowlin), Washi Tape (Sticker Stop),
Brads (American Crafts), Poms (Basic Grey), Thickers (Amy Tangerine),
Doilies, Buttons (Melissa Frances), Label (Citrus Twist Kits)

And voila, I'm done.  Now some of you might like to include additional items in your kits, such as coordinating ink, mists, etc. I don't have very many of those, so I bring them ALL to each and every crop. They store very nicely in my little rolling tote along with my kits, so I can pick what I need in the moment. If you have too many to schlep around, then I recommend picking out a couple of inks and a mist to include in your kit for when you go to crops and retreats, that way you don't have to lug everything and the kitchen sink.
I transport my B.Y.O.Ks in lovely 2 gallon ziploc bags. Available at
Walmart; I purchased mine through a seller on Etsy for a steal.
So that is that. I create kits to use up my stash, streamline my scrapbook process, and to bring to crops and retreats. I have a lot of fun doing it. It is a very artistic and therapeutic process for me.

In other news, I was recently asked to guest blog over at the brand spankin' new Memory Lane Inn Blog. It was such an honor to be asked, so of course I jumped right on it. It was a fun experience, and I plan to share next week about how I plan, prep, and pack for an overnight retreat. They are looking for a few good bloggers, especially former/current retreat guests. Email me if you would like more details about blogging with Memory Lane Inn: tinyscrapper at yahoo dot com.

Tell me do you sub to kits? Which ones? Or do you B.Y.O.K.? Or a little of both, like me? I'd love to know. Tell me about your process; what works best for you?


This is where I get scrap happy.

Scrapbook room, scrap room, craft room, creative space, crop spot.

Call it what you will, but I am LOVING my updated scrap room.  Thing is, my scrapbook room is always a work in progress.  I freely admit that I have more fun organizing and rearranging my creative space than actually playing in it. Silly I know, but I like organizing. I also love scrapbook stuff, so it marries two of my passions.

My scrapbook room is a place where I go to unwind and get crafty. I have nine finished scrapbooks, and I am always working on new layouts.


So this is my scrap space. I have a dresser that houses tools, extra storage, fabric, washi tape, tags and extra adhesive. It also holds my Canon Selphy and Silhouette Cameo as well as a knock off Clip it Up from Hobby Lobby. My Ikea Expedit 4x4 bookshelf keeps cardstock and pattern paper on display with Display Dynamics ; punches, ribbon, stamps, and embellishments organized in locker baskets; scrapbook kits, finished albums, magazines, inspiration books, and other stuff. I keep a number of chick flicks on hand to watch on my new (to me) TV - would you believe I only spent $40 on this flat-panel Westinghouse? A steal, I know! I also keep all my photos organized in Iris Photo Keepers on the three-tiered wired shelf. That is also where I keep my sewing machine and Cuttlebug
This is what you see when you first step into my house.
In my updated room, I have a small sitting area.
I like to organize my Thickers by color. I keep kit leftovers on this 3-tiered plate stand.
A very full Ikea Expedit. The new system is called Kallax. My favorite craft movies, 
and who doesn't love to zone out with some Super Mario Bros. now and again?
A closer peak, the bottom shelf has locker baskets with ribbon, punches, stamps
and embellishments.
Old magazines. I hate that everything is digital now, but I'd hate for them to
go away entirely, so I'll take what I can get and won't throw a fit.
Buttons in a colander, crepe streamers in vintage Pyrex, and 6x6 pads, handmade
cards and other stuff from my travels and experiences to be scrapbooked
are housed in this vintage card organizer.
I finally invested in a tool carousel, and I keep brads in this little vintage Pyrex bowl.
This small drawer holds used Thickers without the packaging, and I keep
scrapbook kits that I've purchased or designed myself in this rubbermaid tote.
To keep clutter at bay, I put large kit leftovers in this yellow basket as well as my
most used and loved tools, scissors, pens, pencils and my handy stapler.
 On either side of the dresser, I have Iris Storage. The right set houses the kids
scrapbook and craft stuff. The one of the left holds Christmas/Holiday and Disney
kits as well as large format pictures and recently finished scrap layouts.
I keep extra tools in the dresser, like paper trimmers, a big bite, and
xyron sticker makers. 
I keep inks, mists, washi tape, tags, twine, and various adhesives in
these blue baskets (4 for $1 @ Dollar Tree).
Here you'll see all the fabric, that I don't know how to sew. Owning a sewing
machine does not mean I know how to use it.
Last but not least, what I am currently working on. Such a sweetie this little guy.
I hope you enjoyed the tour of my scrapbook room. Like I said, it is definitely a work in progress. Some of the things I would like to update include the lighting in this space as well as the paint on the walls, ceiling, and trim. I prefer neutrals, and well the whole atmosphere can be rather yellow in this room, making it hard to color match at night when I find the most time for my hobby.

As you can see, I also like to collect colorful vintage here and there (flea markets are my fave), so it is nice to be able to show off those pieces on a blank canvas.  And just if you're curious, there was a lot of art on display in this room. I am IN LOVE with Ping IrvinShe often comes to the Arts and Jazz Festival in Denton, and this is where my husband and I buy her prints. Her original art is AMAZING, beautiful, and it really speaks to me. It is just so unique, and I love her color palettes and beautiful imagery. Each year my husband and I buy a new fine art print from her. 

Have a great night folks, I hope that this little peek into my scrapbook world has inspired you to get to crafting or maybe even organizing! It's so much fun!








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Fancy fathers. Dancing daughter.

Happy ultra-belated Father's Day to all the men out there who raise children, who wipe snot boogies, who change diapers, who go to work, who support their spouses, who parent alone, who tie shoelaces, who scare all the monsters away, who kill household bugs, who plunge toilets and take out the trash, who wash the car, who mow the lawn, who always take care of business.

Being a Daddy is a tough job, but it is the most rewarding and valuable one that you will ever work to fulfill.

I am truly thankful for the fathers in my life. Without them I would not be where I am today: a grateful mother, a humble college graduate, and an all around sane person (most of the time).
My dad with Sawyer and my husband, GG.

I love my dad, Kevin Sr. so much! He taught me to never give up on my dreams, that family is always first and education is second, then comes all the rest. He is my role model. He served in the military, then went on to become a police officer. He completed two associate's degrees, two bachelor's degrees, and now he is finishing up his master's degree, all while supporting a family of six (eight including their dogs)! I can always lean on him for support and guidance. He is the best grandpa too.

And, I am so, so, so blessed to have GG in my life. Without him I would not be the mother that I am, and I would not have had the opportunity to finish school and continue on with my graduate degree after our babies were born. He is my rock and support. He loves his children dearly, and they love him (even more than me, I think). I love you Gavin, even more than words can express, and I am forever grateful that you chose me to be your partner in life and in parenthood. Goodness knows that no one could put up with my shenanigans quite like you do. Hugs baby.

Last weekend was terrific. Harper had her first ballet/tap recital, and completed her first official year of dance. It was rough sometimes getting to class on time with a fretful girl, who just didn't feel like dancing. Other times, she was elated to see her friends and play freeze dance. I think it was a great year, and we are so blessed to dance with such an amazing organization: Denton Dance Conservatory
Harper got a beautiful "rose" from her doting grandparents.

Harper is to the left of the tall girl in the middle. She's a star.
Harper was so proud of her accomplishment after her recital. She loved seeing all the big girls in their grown up point shoes and tutus. All of the dancers performed well, and the whole show was really terrific. Congrats dancers on another stellar performance!

We spent Father's Day with the Cooper family and Aunt Megan at Sixflags. As Texas summers go, it was very HOT and humid. We enjoyed several rides, slides, misters, and even a couple coasters. Too bad at the end of the day someone stole my good friend's cell phone. That was not cool. Not cool at all.
Bathroom breaks and sunscreen time.

Nice pose dad and trying on hats with mama.

The Watson family and Sylvester showed up just in time.

Cooling off under the by the misters.

Wonder Woman and our first ride of the day, a coaster.
Despite the phone casualty, we had a wonderful day with friends and family. It was a great Father's day weekend.

I forgot to mention this, but the kids and I spent Friday evening organizing Lita's (my mom) scrapbook room. It was a lot of work, but she was able to empty about 12 iris containers that will go up for sale online soon (that's a lot of scrap). She is donating all her extra 12x12 papers and embellishments to Denton Scrap, a non-profit organization in Denton to get kids and adults crafting outside of the box.

AND, this week baby Sawyer turned two! I guess he's not a baby any longer. I'll post pictures of his awesome Mickey Mouse themed splash party next week.
Happy Birthday sweet boy!

 Also, I rearranged my scrapbook room, reorganized my scrap drawers and storage unit as well as installed a new (to me) TV. It is awesome. I will do an entire post with lots of pictures next week. Just a little sneak for now.
Always a work in process; I'm super excited for the new TV.