Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

Hi there everyone! You may or may not know this but I have been on a major wellness and meal planning kick since April. I was tired of feeling sluggish and I really needed to shed what I thought were only a few pounds. You can read about why I started the wellness journey HERE  and see my weight loss progress and weekly menus HERE.

I thought I'd share my latest wellness update in today's Transformation Tuesday...

27 LBS TOTAL weight loss since starting the shake/cleanse/clean eating nutritional re-balancing program on April 1, 2014


29 LBS TOTAL weight loss since eating healthier (started on March 24)

I only added exercise to the mix in June (and haven't been regular with it) so I am really proud of the results!

PERSONAL GOALS:
I set a goal on April 1st when I started this program. It was a single goal to lose between 25 - 30 pounds before we leave for Hawaii this month.***See Hawaii disclaimer at bottom of page.

I met my conservative goal of losing 25 pounds and I am just 3 pounds away from meeting my loftier goal of 30 pounds.

What's better is that I am down 3 & 4 dress sizes!

I have found that setting both short term and long term goals are way more valuable than I ever imagined.

My next goal is to not gain much back, if any, while I am on vacay. I think this can be achieved if I balance meals and eat the Hawaiian fare in moderation.

OTHER GOALS:
  1. Continue to teach my family the importance of unprocessed, clean and healthy foods.
  2. Become more religious about exercise - I really need to tone up!
  3. Set a new short-term goal - work on what my next goal will be while I am on vacation.

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED:
  1. I don't need caffeine in my life. I know y'all are all gasping and so was I when I heard I would have to cut that from my daily ritual. I decided to give it a go and I am soo glad I did. Sorry Starbucks but I'm saving what I was spending on you to buy new SKINNY clothes!
  2. I was severely lacking energy, which I have gained back 10-fold!
  3. This program was so EASY and definitely NOT a diet!
  4. It's not just about the weight. It's about the inches lost, the 3 - 4 dress sizes I've lost, and the way I feel about myself!
  5. We have barely eaten lunch or dinner out in 3 months and it's saving us a ton of money.
  6. I am soo proud of my progress but I need to lose more weight than I originally thought and mostly, I really need to tone up. I am on track to do so with my eating and exercise plans.
  7. Eating healthy does not mean eating plain chicken day in and day out! See my weekly menus HERE.
  8. Veggies are not the enemy when prepared deliciously and healthily (is that a word?)
  9. I will stick to this healthy eating lifestyle for-evah!
  10. I love that I have so many friends and family who are saying YES! to themselves and doing this with me (and loving it too). It makes me feel great to know that I am positively impacting their wellness and health. I love hearing how their entire families are benefiting! That's really the absolute BEST feeling!
***HAWAII DISCLAIMER: 

Yes, I am announcing to the world that we will be on vacay and I am also announcing that we have a house sitter who will be staying there with our ferocious dogs while we are away so don't get any ideas to throw a party in our absence. Oh and we also have two police detectives next door. Mahalo!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Fun

Summer Fun | Simple Stories Good Day Sunshine collection
 
I'm happy to say that the sun is shining and the pools and beaches are packed, which means summer is well underway.  

We spend a lot of time in the water during these hot Texas summer days so I thought I'd scrap this photo of my oldest in her water gear - goggles, braid and swim suit. Does it get any better than this?!?!


As I was looking through the papers to find my background, I decided to go a different route and use a strip from the 3x4 Elements paper. I found the perfect cards, cut them out, folded up the edges and stitched them to the rainbow background paper. 
 

I adore the banner stickers and I decided to simply line them across the top of the page and top it with the beautiful cloud paper.
 

The journaling is hidden in the little blue insert card at the top of the photo. Although the 3x4 cards have fun sentiments on them, I added a larger title at the bottom of the page. I love the large yellow chipboard dot. It helps being a definite end to the title statement, like a super-sized period.
 
I hope you are having a fantastic summer (or had a great one if yours just wrapped up).  As for us, we'll be in the pool (with a trip or two to the beach mixed on here and there) for the next couple of months so I'm hoarding this collection so we can scrap our memories.
 
Care Free 12x12 Paper #5805
Blue Skies12x12 Paper #5804
3x4 Journaling Card Elements12x12 Paper #5810
Fundamentals Cardstock Stickers #5802
Chipboard Stickers #5828
6x6 Paper Pad #5822
Enamel Dots #5831
Decorative Brads #5827
Bit & Pieces #5829

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thank My Lucky Stars...Kerri Bradford | Simple Stories Giveaway

I'm here today with another baby layout (see Month 1 and 2 HERE) using the new Hello Baby collection AND....and Kerri Bradford collaboration / giveaway. She blessed me with some of my favorite cutting files and today I'm going to share how I used the Thank My Lucky Stars cutting file. 
 

 
I chose to super size one of the stars and use it as my bold flagplant on the page. Once I sized it how I wanted it, I sprinkled little clusters of stars in the white space, making sure to leave lots of room for the title. 
 

 
I backed each of the little stars with pattern paper from the Hello Baby collection and then either stitched around the stars or right over them. I trimmed about 1/4" of the edges where the large star was cut and adhered the white background paper to the subtle music sheet paper. I took the large, cut out star and adhered different coordinating papers in each section of the star and then added it over the music sheet paper. Last step here was to stitch around the outside border of the star and then again right over the inside cut for the star.
 

Can I just tell you that Kerri's fonts, especially the hand writing ones are INCREDIBLE?!?! I just love how it completes my page and ties everything together.
 
Thanks Kerri and Simple Stories for the amazing designs and baby collection.


How how about a giveaway?!?!  
This week Simple Stories and Kerri Bradford will be giving 3 random lucky winners a $25 Spending Spree to Kerri's store

Hop on over to her site, check out what her design team did today with our products, then check out her store.  Then head over to the Simple Stories blog and leave a comment here telling them what you saw and loved (and leave me some love) and you'll be entered in the giveaway.  Also, Kerri's giving away some fun new Simple Stories product on her site as well, so head on over!
If you find some things there that you jneed RIGHT NOW, you can save 15% off on orders over $20.  

 

Supplies:
Kerri Bradford Thank My Lucky Stars cut file
Simple Stories Hello Baby: Pink Wood/Hearts, Blue Wood Stars, Wood Veneer/Music Basics 12 x 12 papers; 6x6 Paper Pads; Expressions Cardstock Stickers; Fundamentals Cardstock Stickers; Chipboard Stickers; Decorative Brads; Bits & Pieces

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Top Dog Dies Guest Designer | Mini Album & Cards

I'm thrilled to be guesting on the Top Dog Dies blog today and giving you a chance to win $50 worth of dies. But first, I'm going to show you a sweet little mini album I created for one of my girls to document her 2014 summer acting camp highlights. I also created 2 cards.

The cards were created with the new Camera Finishers Set. I love the Instagram and film strip frames with the fun emoticon type image dies. Soo cute. 
I used the new Simple Stories The Story of Us collection to create these Love cards, just in time for wedding season.



The mini album came together very quickly thanks to the Top Dog Dies Signature Antique Die. When I saw that die, I knew it would make the perfect base for a mini album. Let's take a look at the process:



I pulled out a few sheets of fun pattern paper, embellishments and of course some new Top Dog Dies.



I ran all my papers through my Big Shot at the same time, matched the colors and patterns and then stitched the base pages together on the left. It was easy peasy to run through through my sewing machine. I made sure to use a long stitch so as not to perforate them.


Once everything was stitched together, I embellished the cover, using the beautiful butterfly die and a sweet sentiment.


I added the embellishments on the heart paper by adhering only a small bit on the left. That way, it lifts up and my daughter can still add photos underneath. The embellishment on the left is adhered with foam dots.


This little darling of mine loves any stage and acting camp is no exception so I embellished the star page with a diamond and adhered another sentiment to the opposite page.


The papers on this mini were already so busy so I chose to cut another butterfly our of the pink pattern paper and do an tone on tone treatment.


I finished off the last set of pages with another busy pattern that I chose to leave blank and a basic page that I doodled and embellished.

I intentionally under embellished the mini so that my daughter would have ample space to add her photos. I made her a little mini kit so that she can add more embellishments after she adds her photos. 

I hope you've enjoyed this mini album. Thanks again to Top Dog Dies for having me this month! In case you didn't know, Top Dog Dies is a new online store that offers their own brand of wafer-thin and steel-rule dies, along with dies from brands you already know and trust, including Little B, Lawn Fawn, Taylored Expressions, Savvy Stamps and Cheery Lynn Designs. Top Dog Dies is also the leading U.S. retailer for Tattered Lace, a new line of intricate dies designed by British designer Stephanie Weightman.



Top Dog Dies is doing a guest designer giveaway for the whole month of June! The winner will receive $50 worth of exclusive dies from Top Dog Dies (your choice!). To enter, visit http://www.topdogdies.com/guest-designer-giveaway Deadline to enter is Monday, June 30 at midnight Central Standard Time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cutie Patootie | Pattern Play for Gossamer Blue

I'm up with a new rendition of Pattern Play for Gossamer Blue, where I'm cutting it up. Literally. Let's take a look at the page.
 

 
You may think I'm crazy but I love fussy cutting. It's so therapeutic to me. I love the flowers in the Basic Grey Mon Ami collection but with such a busy pattern, I knew I couldn't use the entire 12x12 page.
 


I cut the paper just slightly larger than 1/3 or maybe it's slightly smaller then 1/2. I adhered it to the bottom of the page, leaving a small border at the bottom. Then, I started cutting up the flowers on the leftover paper. I scattered them over the grey paper at the top and even popped some up on the bottom half, using pop dots.
 


Next, I chose coordinating patterns that pulled out the greens, yellows and greys in my photo and used them in layers around my photo. I sprinkled embellishments around the photo and here and there throughout the page and as it is with 90% of my layouts, I added the title and journaling at the end. Lucky for me, it always works out. Maybe I'm thinking about it during my planning without realizing it.

So....am I crazy or are you with me in my love for fussy cutting? I hope to see some fussy cut layouts in the Gossamer Blue gallery this month.

Supplies:
June Main kit, Main Add-on, Main Add-on 2, Life PagesKit, Life Pages Main Add-on, Life Pages Themed add-on

Friday, June 6, 2014

DIY Lemonade Stand, a Banner Tutorial and Fun Decor Sign Tutorial

Lots of goodness here with 2 tutorials using American Crafts #summer collection.

Our neighborhood has an annual garage sale and my girls look forward to having a bake sale and lemonade stand. In years past, we would set it all up on a tiny little table, since all the big ones were being used to display the garage sale items. And the signs were floppy on poster board. Still, the girls were happy.

Well this year, I decided about a week before the garage sale that I wanted to build a lemonade stand using old pallets I had been saving for something, anything...hubby was on board and the day he was supposed to start he got sick. He insisted that he could still do it but several days later, he was still down for the count.  I called my dad and he jumped into action, as he always does. I sent him a few "need to haves" and "want to haves" and here's what he did...in TWO DAYS!!!!


Does my dad ROCK or what??? And this is what it looked like before.

My list of must haves included:
  • a canopy for shade for the girls and to hopefully keep the ice from melting too fast - CHECK!
  • a big counter to hold all types of things - CHECK!
  • storage underneath big enough for an ice chest and to keep their money out of view - CHECK!
My "want to have list was only 1 thing....I wanted the ability to be able to break it down for easier storage. You can't tell but...
  • it all starts with the base at the bottom
  • then you add the counter, which kind of lays over all the sides perfectly so it doesn't shift around
  • then the pillars holding the roof are inserted into these great holes in the back
  • then the roof is placed on top of the pillars.
It was actually iffy whether we would pull this off but in that time, I worked with my girls to create decorations using the new American Crafts #summer collection. I had really grand ideas for decorations, which included what I'm going to show you how to make below but I also had plans for pom-poms, fabric tassels, giant accordion flowers but between caring for a sick hubby, caring for the kids, work. gathering things for the garage sale, etc. etc. I didn't get it all done. You know what that means though right? We need to do another bake sale/lemonade stand!!!!
Until then, let’s talk about how my girls and I decorated their new lemonade stand in preparation for a hot day serving some up lemonade, along with sweet treats.


First, we decided on a name. Actually it was decided through our previous stands – Two ‘sweet & sassy’ Sisters.

Then my girls and I created a banner and 12x12 sign to brand their lemonade stand.

Two Sweet & Sassy Sisters Banner

Step 1: Gather an assortment of banner styles and colors from the DIY Shop collection, along with 3" doilies (American Crafts has some great Silhouette files), and cut banner 1" x 5" long strips from the #beachtowel paper. 

Layer the banner strip and doily over the large banners and staple or adhere with adhesive.

Step 2: Cut large letters, approximately 2 1/4" h x 2 1/2" w and adhere them over the doilies using foam dots. Add a selection of embellishments from the #summer collection to really make the banner stand out.

Step 3: Display in a prominent place and be ready for people to flock to your lemonade stand. ;)

Supplies: #roadtrip 12x12 paper (366948) - #SUMMER, #swimsuit 12x12 paper (366956) - #SUMMER, #beachtowel 12x12 paper (366954) - #SUMMER, #popsicles 12x12 paper (366951) - #SUMMER, #catchawave 12x12 paper (366958) - #SUMMER, #smile 12x12 paper (366952) - #SUMMER, #sunglasses 12x12 paper (366955) - #SUMMER, #bicycles 12x12 paper (366949) - #SUMMER, #vacation wood veneer (366964) - #SUMMER, #picnic flair  (366966) - #SUMMER, #sunscreen die cut shapes (366971) - #SUMMER, #sodapop cork stickers (366965) - #SUMMER, Kraft Pennant (DIY-BAN-66648) - DIY Shop, Kraft Notch (DIY-BAN-66649) - DIY Shop, Kraft Scallop (DIY-BAN-66650) - DIY Shop, Chalkboard Pennant (DIY-BAN-66651) - DIY Shop, Chalkboard Notch (DIY-BAN-66652) - DIY Shop, Chalkboard Scallop (DIY-BAN-66653) - DIY Shop

#funsummerdays Sign

My girls wanted to create a little sign to display on their stand. This was a fun group effort as you'll see from the little helping hands in all the photos below.

Step 1: Their daddy cut a wooden board down to 12x12 while we gathered 2 sheets of busy pattern background papers and 3 sheets of tone on tone pattern paper, Mod Pdge and some embellishments.

Step 2: Apply Mod Podge to the board and then lay your background paper over the mod podge. Use a straight edge to work out any air bubbles and to ensure the paper adheres well to the board.



Step 3: Cut a 10" - 11" circle, apply Mod Podge to the back of it and adhere in the middle of the 12x12 paper, that is already adhered to the board. Use your straight edge again.



 Step 4: Cut the words (4"h) and letters (2"h) and adhere to the circle. You can download "fun summer days" and the large circle cutting file I made HERE. Doodle some faux stitching and add embellishments.



So there you have it. Just add lemonade, treats, kids and FUN (and the extra decorations we ran out of time to do THIS time)! They are sure to have a blast and learn a lesson or two about running a small business. 

After refilling the lemonade 3 times, selling out of treats, water and Cokes, and people actually just donating extra money because they said my girls were so sweet and cute, my girls walked away with over $50, which they split and are saving for something super special.
Supplies:  #roadtrip 12x12 paper (366948) - #SUMMER, #swimsuit 12x12 paper (366956) - #SUMMER, #beachtowel 12x12 paper (366954) - #SUMMER, #popsicles 12x12 paper (366951) - #SUMMER, #catchawave 12x12 paper (366958) - #SUMMER, #blueskies 12x12 paper (366953) - #SUMMER, #icecream die cut shapes (366968) - #SUMMER,Chalkboard Signposts (366638) - DIY Shop

Here's a few shots of everyone in action. I asked everyone if I could take their photo and post to my blog so I have their parent's permission...
 2 of my friend Lara's kids. Actually, we weren't friends before this day but this brought up a scrapbooking conversation and it turns out she scraps and I scrap and now we're fast friends!
 A random garage sale mom's daughter
 Look at Reese's face...pure joy!
 A sweet family we don't know with 4 beautiful kids!
Lots of happy customers, several people saying we put their lemonade stands to shame and a couple who asked to rent it out, which we politely declined. Can't wait to do this again and you better believe I'll show you the enhanced decorations....

Monday, June 2, 2014

Color Splash & Dash

We did our first family color run in May, as part of a fundraiser for our local middle school that my daughters will eventually attend, if we don't move before then. Anywho, my mom joined us and we had a blast.  We started out in our white t-shirts (and the person we asked to take our photo cut off hubby's head in all the before photos. Sigh). Since it was a family kid dash, they only planned a 1 mile run but they let us go around until the colors ran out so Rheagan, daddy and I ended up getting 3 miles in. My mom stayed back with Reese because little bit was D.O.N.E. done.
Pictured: Rheagan, my awesome mom, me, Reese, my incredible hubby

And then we were off. I had a waterproof digital camera and took some really fun shots. I plan to create a coordinating Pocket Page so I can get more photos documented but for now, here's some favorites. I created this for a guest feature on Shimelle.com. Go check it out HERE.

I created this fun page by writing super-sized words in my CAMEO software and then adding paint splatters around the page. Like I said, I had more photos that I wanted to use but the page needed more balance of color so I added patterns behind some of the letters and then photos in the individual letters and one large photo for the word "DASH". At the end of the run, they gave us a ziploc of color for us to throw into the air. You can see my family in the left to middle of the "D".
I mixed phrases into one of the paint splatters and ampersand and then used water colorish patterns for the other paint splatters. And I used a die cut within a CAMEO cut for a sub title "This Messy Saturday".

I used the tiny mixed washi tape, which I love soo much to create journaling lines.

Now check out our After photo and a few other shots....






If you haven't done a color run yet, I highly suggest it. I really didn't know I was exercising and it was great family fun! We are already looking for another one we can do.
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