Monday, January 31, 2011

New Idea Book Tomorrow!!

It's almost here!  The new Spring/Summer Idea Book from Close to my Heart is released tomorrow!

Get your copy from me ASAP!  We have a new format... with MORE new papers, MORE new embellishments and MORE great ideas!

Here's a little sneak peak of items from the new book.  We will be using this in February clubs!

"Like" me on facebook.  Alice's Attic - Scrapbooking.   Request a book by leaving me a comment on facebook or here.

Have a wonderfully whimsical day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

30 for 30 Challenge

It is time for a new challenge!  In January I challenged myself to blog everyday and I've been completely successful with that, so it is time to take on something new.  (Don't worry I'll continue blogging... possibly not every day, but I won't just disappear!)  

The other day I mentioned Kendi Everyday and her posts about Creating a Working Closet.  (Click here for my post.)  She has created a challenge called 30 for 30.  This is what I will do for February... and a couple of extra days... since February is a short month!

The challenge is to use only 30 pieces from your wardrobe for 30 days.  To mix and match them in new ways so that you wear a different outfit each day.  And... to not purchase any new items for those 30 days!

Shoes are included... however, underwear and outerwear items that are not part of your outfit are not.  So winter boots... practically my only footwear of the season, don't count.  Ditto winter coat.

Jewelry and accessories also don't count.  They will help to make the 30 items fresh and new over the 30 days.

What is the point?  To learn how to use the items that you already own, to think creatively, and to learn what your wardrobe really needs, vs. what you buy just because you like shopping.  The challenge will help you to look at clothes purchases in a new way.  Is this versatile?  Can I remix it?  

I can't wait to get started!  I'll post photos of my 30 items in a couple of days.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Project 365 Week 4

It's Saturday again, so it is time for the fourth instalment of my Project 365 photos!  If you missed the last one it is here. The goal of Project 365 is simple: take a candid photo every day for a year!  The photos can be of anything, people, places, activities or objects.  The photos will tell a story about the interesting tidbits of your life for a whole year.  If this sounds like fun to you, join in!  This project does not need to be started on January 1, you can start any date, your birthday, anniversary or today!

January 22 - One of the cakes I made for 4H speeches.

January 23 - The boys wrestling in the living room.

January 24 - Homemade chicken noodle soup!  Yum!

January 25 - Only 1 week until the new catalogue is released!

January 26 - The boys work on Limericks for homeschool.

January 27 - Playing with re-inkers in my monthly card club.

January 28 - Ryan and Joe at their Picasso art class.

Here's my scrapbook pages of last week's photos!
(Click to enlarge)

I hope you have a wonderfully whimsical day!  Happy scrappin'!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Creating A Working Closet

I have been inspired to update my wardrobe this year.  It was one of my New Years Resolutions.  So far, I have been trying new things, and generally having a great time playing with my clothes.  I have mentioned several websites I have been visiting for fashion inspiration and have found a new one: Kendi Everyday.
Kendi shares lots of photos of clothes that she wears, the way she remixes her wardrobe and useful fashion inspiration.  She has been doing a series on Creating a Working Closet and I'd love to share the links with you!

Creating a Working Closet: Part 1: Purge

Creating a Working Closet: Part 2: Assess

Creating a Working Closet: Part 3: Organize

Creating a Working Closet: Part 4: Shopping

Creating a Working Closet: Part 5: Remixing

I plan to walk myself through each step, and overhaul my wardrobe.  I will use her wonderful tips to help me create my own sense of style, with a working closet!

I will leave you with a recent photo of an outfit I put together, inspired by remixing!

The pink skirt is actually a dress.  
I paired it with this cute layered top and wrapped it with the belt.  
I love it!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Favourite Hot Drink

Yesterday I was over at The Dainty Squid and she shared her favourite hot drink.  With the horrible weather we have had recently I thought this was a great idea... especially since I love my hot drinks!

My #1 Favourite Hot Drink:  Read My Lips Tea from David's Tea

Here is their promo for the tea: 

Kiss me, kiss me

Okay, this is probably the world’s best chocolate tea. Honestly. Better than dessert. More reliable than sex. It’s a totally decadent combination of China black tea, vanilla, peppermint, chocolate bits and spicy red peppercorns. Plus it contains little red candy lips for a kiss of sweetness. In other words, it’s a completely satisfying spring experience with no guilt or strings attached.

Who doesn't like the sound of that???   (I add a tsp. or two of sugar to my cup... yum!)

Don't you love the little candy lips? and the mini chocolate chips?

My #2 Favourite Hot Drink: Mulled Apple Cider with Mulling Spices from Epicure Selections

I love making this drink using unsweetened apple juice and the spice... that's it!  You can mix things up with cranberry juice or even red wine... but I like it with just apple juice.  I always hope there is some left over... I refrigerate it and have it cold too!

Cinnamon, apple, cloves and more... mmm!

My #3 Favourite Hot Drink: Black Currant Tea from Tetley

I have loved this tea for years!  My mom used to buy it, and now whenever I find it I pick some up!  It is becoming harder to find, and I'm running low, so I am kind of hoarding it right now!

I love the subtle Black Current flavour of this black tea!

My #4 Favourite Hot Drink:  Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

I love the Carnation Hot Chocolate mix.  As a kid I used to eat it with a spoon... without water!   I don't do that anymore, but I do like it served with lots of marshmallows!  (Recently we tried the Cadbury hot chocolate... it's just NOT the same!)

I don't usually get the marshmallow variety, I add my own, that's way better! 

My #5 Favourite Hot Drink:  pretty much any tea!

Yes, this drawer is stacked two layers deep!  So many great choices!

I really love tea!  This is a photo of my tea drawer... well, the top layer! (there's two!)  I have quite a few different flavours.  Right now the drawer is pretty full, so I've been trying not to buy any more... I guess I need to step up my tea consumption!

I hope that you can grab a cup of your favourite hot drink, curl up with a good book, and have a whimsically wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Menu Planning Week 4

My third week of menu planning completely derailed!  We had an absolutely crazy week, and I only followed the first few days of last week's menu. If you missed the last week you can find it here.  I'm ready to get back on track and use my menu to create some great meals this week!

So here's my plan for this week!

Wednesday - Roast beef and Mashed potatoes

Thursday - Beef stew

Friday - Lasagne

Saturday - Dinner for Joe's birthday party... homemade pizza!

Sunday - Leftovers

Monday - Shepherd's Pie

Tuesday - Joe's 12th birthday!  Family dinner... Doughnuts, (special request from the birthday boy!)  rainbow cake, hamburgers, caesar salad.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reading: Holidays On Ice

Holidays On Ice by David Sedaris was another book club selection.  It is a collection of short stories based loosely around the holidays.

The first story in the book, SantaLand Diaries, was my favourite!  David tells the tales of his employment as an elf for Macy's Department Store.  The situations he described had me laughing out loud.  If you have ever wondered about the type of people that become Santa's Elves, or you would just love to hear some of the horror stories from behind the scenes, then I would definitely pick up this book!

As for the rest of the stories, all much shorter than the first, I wasn't very impressed.  I was often disappointed at the lack of humour, (Sedaris is a humorist after all!) or the attempt at humour.  Sedaris definitely has a different point of view, which can be difficult for me to identify with.  

Although a few of the stories failed to impress I would recommend Holidays On Ice, based solely on the strength of the first short story.
Happy reading!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Evil Mom!!

I sent my kids to play in the pool yesterday, and soon I could hear them complaining about the water being too cold.  The water is 87°F, which is well above normal pool temperatures... so they were just being wimps!  Suddenly I crack an evil grin... "I'll show them what cold water is!"  I say followed by an evil laugh.  

I fill two small Tupperware plastic glasses, you know the kind, your mom had them when you were a kid.  Then I plunk an ice cube into each glass.  After making sure the ice cubes were completely melted I snuck downstairs and ask my boys, "What's the problem?"  

They should have been tipped off by the sugary-sweetness of my voice, but they quickly answered, "the water is too cold."  

"Oh, too cold you say... IS IT AS COLD AS THIS?" I bellow as I proceed to throw cold water at both of my unsuspecting children.

"AAHHHGGH!!"  They both start shrieking, and vainly trying to splash me, but it is too late!  Evil Mom has prevailed and I cackle maniacally as I make my escape.  Evil Mom is triumphant!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

4H Presentations

I am so proud of my boys!  They did such great jobs on their 4H Presentations!

Ryan's Presentation was called, "How to Raise Chickens".  He talked about incubating eggs, what to feed chickens, and how to care for chickens.  He was very well received and placed FIRST in the Junior Presentation category at our club level!  He will now go on to compete at District Level.

Joe's Presentation was called, "How to Make a Chicken Dinner".  He talked about making a menu plan and then preparing your items in the correct order.  He walked through the steps of the whole meal... including setting the table and cleaning up.  He did an excellent job too, and he placed SECOND in the Junior Presentation category at our club level.  He is already trying to figure out how to go to District... instead of Ryan!

I was asked to make cakes for each day of the speeches.  (Day one was presentations and Day two was prepared speeches and impromptu.)  Here is one of the cakes I made:

And here's my boys with a piece of it!

Hurray!  Rainbow cake!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Project 365 Week 3

It's Saturday again, so it is time for the third instalment of my Project 365 photos!  If you missed the last one it is here.  The goal of Project 365 is simple: take a candid photo every day for a year!  The photos can be of anything, people, places, activities or objects.  The photos will tell a story about the interesting tidbits of your life for a whole year.  If this sounds like fun to you, join in!  This project does not need to be started on January 1, you can start any date, your birthday, anniversary or today!

 January 15 - Jonas rests on the couch after a fun night of visiting with friends.
 January 16 - Ryan LOVES his video games!
 January 17 - The kids bundle up to go and play in our snow drifts.
 January 18 - Alice style!
January 19 - Joe makes us a chicken dinner.
January 20 - Hmmm... it's 11 p.m. let's make pudding!
January 21 - Guess what I'm making?  Rainbow cake!!  

Here's my scrapbook pages of last week's photos!

Have a whimsically wonderful day!

Friday, January 21, 2011

When Shopping Sucks

We have had some miserable weather here this month!  Here's my proof... just trying to get some groceries...

Okay, okay, I'll confess...  this was taken behind one of our local stores... the "spare" carts... but the snow is ALL real!

Have a whimsically wonderful day!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Layout using the Sketch

On Tuesday I posted a sketch from Creative Scrappers, sketch #139.  This is the layout I made using their sketch.  See my Tuesday post here.

"Game Night" Layout by Alice.
Products:  All Products from Close to my Heart

Stamp sets: Game Night and Boys at Play
Paper: Silhouette
Ink: Black

I have been meaning to scrapbook our love for The Settlers of Catan board game for awhile, so I made sure we got a photo of us playing it recently.  (well... most of us love it... Joe... not so much!)

I hope you are inspired to get scrapping!  Maybe you can use this sketch and enter the contest at Creative Scrappers!

Have a wonderfully whimsical day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Menu Planning Week 3

My second week of menu planning had a few bumps in the road! I loved knowing what I was going to make for supper each night, however, due to an incomplete shopping trip... we have had extremely poor weather here lately, so I'm not just popping out to get groceries... I had to do some minor adjustments to our menu!   If you missed the last week you can find it here.

So here's my plan for this week!

Wednesday - Roast Chicken - to be made by Joe as practice for his 4H presentation

Thursday - Beef and Corn Casserole

Friday - Lasagne

Saturday - Crock pot Hamburger Soup

Sunday - Leftovers

Monday - Roast beef and Mashed potatoes

Tuesday - Shepherd's Pie

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sketch Challenge!

Need a sketch to inspire your next layout?  I recently came across the Creative Scrappers website and I love it!  Every Sunday they post a new sketch.  The sketch for January 16 was this one, #139.  

I love the layers of the elements and the white space around the photo.  I can't wait to make a layout using this sketch!  They have a contest right now to win a prize... you have to enter by January 31, 2011, so get scrappin'!! (I'll post my layout as soon as I have it ready!)  Go here to see examples of this sketch in action and to enter their contest!  

Also on their website there is a tool, down on the right side called Posts Labels.  There you will find the sketches organized by the number of photos, which is super handy.  Have 3 photos?  See sketches for 3 photos.  Wonderful!

Do you know of a great website for scrapbook inspiration?  Leave me a comment, I'd love to have a look!

Have a wonderfully whimsical day!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fashion Inspiration

This year one of my New Year's Resolutions is to develop my own sense of style.  I have found so many awesome blogs for fashion inspiration.  I especially love the ones where they post lots of photos of their outfits!  I'd like to share a few of the ones that inspire me... perhaps you will see their influence in my wardrobe this year!

A Beautiful Mess - Elsie has a truly inspiring style - lots of retro and vintage finds.  I love that she wears lots of cute dresses and interesting head attire!  (she wears hats, clips, bands and wraps that are awesome!)

The Clothes Horse - Rebecca shows lots of great outfits and has the cutest photo sessions!  She also shares lots of great fashion finds or things she thinks are cute!

The Dainty Squid - Kaylah has her own unique style and I love that she truly embraces the things that she loves.  She has an amazing ability to put bold colours together and make it look amazing!  (but be prepared... she loves her cats!)

What I Wore - Jessica posts photos of her outfits almost every day! Her style is a little less wild, a bit more classic, but still with lots of flair!

I love that all of these women experiment and try new things with their wardrobe.  They are not afraid to bend, or break the fashion "rules".  They have their own style and they make it look great!  Do I plan to wear what they do?  No.  I want to incorporate their sense of 'fashion freedom' to inspire my own wardrobe.  I want to make fashion work for me.  I want it to be a chance to play and try new things, and mix and match and see what works.

Do you have a style icon?  Do you make conscious decisions on what you will wear each day?  Do your clothes make you FEEL happy?  If not, why not join me on my quest to define my own style!

Have a wonderfully whimsical day!

P.S.  If you know of a "fashion" blog that I might like, please leave me a comment!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Reasons Not to Scrapbook - CHALLENGED!!

I often hear people talk about all of the reasons they can't or don't scrapbook.  I scrapbook because I enjoy the process.  I love that I have a beautiful outcome that my family and friends can enjoy, but for me that is just a bonus!  I'd like to address some of the excuses for not scrapbooking, and make suggestions on how to make scrapbooking a regular part of your life.

I just don't have the time. This is one of the most common reasons I've heard about why someone can't scrapbook. Yet, the same person will tell me all about the latest episode of Grey's Anatomy or Desperate Housewives or "insert name of favourite TV show here".  Now, I would never suggest giving up TV!  I like my shows as much as the next person!  With a small amount of preplanning I can EASILY scrapbook and watch TV at the same time.  You need to have all the "thinking parts" prepared before you watch a familiar show.  Once your plan is made you are simply assembling your page, which does not require your full attention.  If preplanning isn't your thing... you can do what I do, and plan during the commercials!  Note:  I don't recommend trying to scrapbook and watch unfamiliar shows or movies... you need to know the characters or you'll find yourself just watching the movie!

I don't know where to start. If you don't START this will not get easier! I suggest beginning with a holiday or trip that has a start and a finish.  This gives you a manageable project and you will have a chance to develop your style. So many times I have heard people complain because their first project was their wedding album and they are not happy with it. When you are unsure of what you are doing, or just starting out with a new hobby, please don't start with one of the most special days of your life!! Give yourself a chance to learn and experiment.  (You learn how to knit with a scarf, not a sweater!) A vacation has lots of emotional content, perfect for scrapbooking, but it will not be as precious as your wedding, so it will give you a chance to learn.

I'll never be caught up!  Why do you need to be?  Do you really need to scrapbook EVERY photo, and EVERY memory?  I am realistic, it is NOT going to happen!  So I give myself permission to enjoy the process and to accept what I'm able to do.  I have over 28,000 photos on my computer... and that is only for the last 3 years!  There is no possible way for me to scrapbook all of those photos!  By scrapbooking a few select photos and memories I can give a glimpse of our life; what we did, how we felt, and what was important to us, and still feel content that I have done enough.  I recently heard the saying, "How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time."  Well, I don't plan on eating the whole elephant... I only want the good bits!

I am not artistic.  There are so many amazing products and guides available that there is absolutely no pressure on you to be artistic!  That is the job of the designers and creators of the fabulous papers, embellishments, and how-to books!  Not every scrapbook page will be a work of art.  Sometimes they are simply there to tell the story.  I feel that the industry is too caught up in making scrapbooking about the products and not about the stories being told.  When I see a beautiful page with no journalling, I wonder about the value that page will really have in the future... it will be no different than a regular photo album... just prettier.  I still make pages without journalling from time to time, but the majority of my pages do tell a story.  The  reason to scrapbook is to tell your story!

I don't have enough money.  I will be the first person to admit that scrapbooking can be an expensive hobby!  There are so many tools, papers and embellishments that are fun to play with and can help to make your pages special.  HOWEVER, there are many ways to keep scrapbooking more affordable!  I will be teaching a class about "Economical Scrapbooking" in February.  I will demonstrate that scrapbooking does not need to cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars!  We will be using Close to my Heart level 2 paper packets to create several layouts and I'll show you how to get the most "bang for your buck".  If you are interested in this class you can sign up on my facebook page:  Alice's Attic - Scrapbooking, just "like" the page and you can leave me a message, or you can leave me a message on here!  I will post more information as soon as it is available.

Now, what are you waiting for?  Get scrapbooking!

Have a wonderfully whimsical day!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Project 365 Week 2

It's Saturday again, so it is time for the second instalment of my Project 365 photos!  If you missed the last one it is here.  The goal of Project 365 is simple: take a candid photo every day for a year!  The photos can be of anything, people, places, activities or objects.  The photos will tell a story about the interesting tidbits of your life for a whole year.  If this sounds like fun to you, join in!  This project does not need to be started on January 1, you can start any date, your birthday, anniversary or today!

January 8 - I'm wearing my new leg-warmers!!

January 9 - The naked space in my living room now that the Christmas tree is down.
January 10 - It was very difficult to get ONE nice photo of my boys in the pool.
January 11 -  Today I caught Joe doing his schoolwork!  And it was Math!! WOW!!
January 12 - Guess who is sneaking into the fridge when he is supposed to be in bed?!
 January 13 - I went to my friend Tina's for a spa party... this is her adorable daughter Ava.
January 14 - My dog Cookie LOVES to fetch pop bottles... even if they are bigger than her!

I though it would be great to make a simple scrapbook using the photos from my Project 365.  I know what I'm like, I love to procrastinate, so I thought I'd better get started sooner, rather than later!  I will be using the new Miracle paper from Close to my Heart, along with coordinating cardstock.  Here is my introduction layout and my first week of the project!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Scrapbooking with Wings!

The "only for January" Inspirations brochure from Close to my Heart features a beautiful paper line called Wings.  I am using this paper for all of my clubs this month.  I will also be using the features stamp sets and new tools... like the fantastic new spray pen.  I can't wait to show you the projects we are doing in class!  

For now I'll show you a different layout I made featuring my friend's daughter.  I love this photo I took of Lizzie at her sister's birthday party just over a year ago.  

click to enlarge

I hope you have a whimsically wonderful day!  Happy Scrappin'!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Reading: The Swimming Pool

The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw is a beautifully written book.  I loved the poignant feeling this book created.  It is a heart-wrenching story of loss, deceit, guilt and inadequacy.  This book was not fun to read, but still subtly compelling.

I loved reading the character's internal battle with solitude and the search to find a way to survive.  I am not a fan of books involving adultery, but the writing in this book was about so much more than the adultery.  The adultery became became a background to the mental struggle of the characters and their search to find joyful life.

If you like a book that is compelling to read, but does not hold you in a death grip until you finish it, this would be a great choice.  If you love to read about characters and their inner thoughts and feelings you may enjoy this book.  I find myself appreciating it more as I write about it, as I pay attention to the ways in which this story has stuck with me.  I enjoyed the humanness of the people, and that is why this is a great book.

Happy reading and have a whimsically wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Menu Planning Week 2

My first week of menu planning was a HUGE success!  I loved knowing what I was going to make for supper each night.  I also loved knowing that I had all of the groceries I would need as I had shopped with my meal plan!  I mostly stuck to the plan, which was easy to do. (I decided not to make Corn Chowder on Monday as we still had Beef Stew, and we opted for a quick meal from a can on Tuesday before soccer) If you missed the first week you can find it here.

So here's my plan for this week!

Wednesday - Meatloaf and Potato Salad

Thursday - Corn Chowder

Friday - Aussie Chicken and Brown Rice

Saturday - Homemade Pizza

Sunday - Lazy-Man's Cabbage Rolls

Monday - Chicken and pasta

Tuesday - Turkey Soup - Freezer meal! (this has been made ahead of time and frozen for later)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Just ONE Nice Photo?

Yesterday I thought I would snap a quick photo of my boys in the pool together for my Project 365.  This sounds like an easy task, but NOT that day!  Here are a few highlights from our mini photo session... as they say... Boys will be Boys!