Vlogging in my jammies!

I'm a blog slacker. So here's a vlog, from me, to you. Just filling you guys in on where I've been (if you've been following my Instagram you already know the answer) and showing off a few new stamp sets I bought.

Sorry for the slight camera shaking - the laundry is on our second floor and it tends to shake the house when the washer spins. And I realized watching this play back that I talk with my hands. A lot. Sorry. :) This was shot with the front camera on my iPhone 6. Not too bad quality, I think!

Let me know if you like this type of thing...maybe I'll do them more often.

Flip It Father's Day Card

Today I wanted to share with you a Father's Day card I made for my Father-In-Law using the Triple Circle Flip-its Dies. I picked up this die set at CKC from The Stamps of Life booth. This is my first flip card and it was both fun and challenging to make.

Here's the front of the card, held flat. I used all scraps from my scrap bin to complete the cared, which makes me happy. I love using up scraps. The only part that wasn't a scrap was the card base, which is Stampin' Up!'s Midnight Muse card stock.

The "Happy Father's Day" stamp is from the Stampin' Up! Teeny Tiny Wishes stamp set. I just inked only part of it at a time so I could stamp it vertically. The little banner under it was actually from the Memory Box Banner Parade die, but I chopped the ends off and placed them under my circle to make a tiny banner.

When you open the card, you see this on the back of the circle part.

The hard part for me was leaving the inside plain. I think it could have used something on this polka dot paper but I left it as it was. I also had a hard time resisting signing the inside of the card, so instead, I stamped "Love, Austin" using The Stamps of Life's miniabc2stamp set on the back and heat embossed it with Recollections Pearl Snow embossing powder.

I plan to make more of the Flip-its cards with my scraps soon. They do look cute when put together!

Newest Obsession: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish

Guys, I'm in love. With a line of nail polish.

About 6 weeks ago now I tried out the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel no light polish, and I am hooked. It's a polish and top coat system, no base coat. This stuff doesn't last two weeks as it claims, but it does last a good full week for me with only minor chipping/edge wear. I can go three full days without a single chip, where all my other polishes have always had a chip by day two if not the first day. So now I can do my nails over the weekend and I can go all week and not have hideously chipped nails on Fridays. Plus it removes easy with regular nail polish.

Here are the ones I've tried so far. I started with the pink, which came with the top coat in a two pack (top left below).  I've forgotten the name of the pink, but the others are Combusteable, Creme de la Creme (which I don't like much), Grey Matters, Red Eye, and Game of Chromes. Grey Matters is my top fave.

Here's the pink when it first chipped after day four. You can see the rest of my nails still look great.

And the other night I picked up three more colors. Street Flair, Tidal Wave and Purplexed, I believe. (Don't have the bottles with me right now).

I've found the best price for these is Target, at $7.99 a bottle (in MA anyway). You can also get this price on their website. The three in the photo above I got at CVS. Right now they're doing a $5 Extra Bucks coupon when you buy two bottles, so I bought two, and then used the coupon on the third bottle, so each bottle was just over $8 each.

I have read that if you use the top coat over regular nail polish it should make that polish last a bit longer as well, but I have yet to try this. However I am definitely working on switching over my nail polish collection to this stuff. Why go back to daily chipping when I can get away with this for a full week? Also, it seems to have strengthened my nails quite a bit. I'm not splitting my nails like I was before I started using this polish. Perhaps because it lasts longer around the tips, I'm not sure.

Have you guys tried the Miracle Gel polish? What were your results? I have seen more people like it than not, but I did see a few people didn't care for it, so I'm curious. If you didn't like it, why not?

Candle Birthday Card

Today I wanted to share with you a simple, but super fun one layer birthday card.

A few months ago, Simon Says Stamp released the Big Birthday Wishes stamp set as part of the monthly card kit. I don't get the kits but I just had to grab this set. The candle is what got me. I don't know why, but I couldn't resist it. I've used the stamp set on a few cards already but in my mind the whole time was this simple card with different colored candles.

I stamped the candles and flames across the card with various colors of ink - Hero Arts Butter Bar shadow ink, and Stampin' Up!'s Daffodil Delight, Pumpkin Pie, Certainly Celery, Baja Breeze, and Crisp Cantaloupe.

The sentiment is from a free stamp set Simon Says Stamp sent me for my birthday. It's called It's Your Birthday, and it has some really great small birthday sentiments. I used one on the outside of the card and another inside.

To finish off the card, I added some Wink of Stella clear glitter to the candle flames. They were hard to photograph so I took a shot held up to my window for you to see:

I just adore this card, and it's so versatile. You could send this to anyone for their birthday, and it would be perfect.

Hexagons Thank You Card

Today I wanted to share a card with you that I made with the Stampin' Up! Six Sided Sampler stamp set and Hexagon punch. I've had this set for awhile because I am drawn to anything hexagon, but I haven't done a whole lot with it.

I was inspired by this beautiful card by Julie, that I found on Pinterest. Julie used a butterfly on her card, but I had recently used butterflies on another card so I thought I'd switch it up a bit. I also made mine a thank you card, using the 'thanks' stamp from the Hero Arts Thanks Stamp & Cuts stamp set. I stamped it with Versamark and used Stampin' Up! white embossing powder to heat emboss it.

I used Stampin' Up!'s Calypso Coral card stock for my main color, and for the inks I used Calypso Coral and Versamagic's Night Sky and Turquoise Gem. I stamped each hexagon, punched them, and attached to the card front panel. Then I attached that to my card base, and added the flowers and center bling with glue dots.

This card was actually quite simple to put together but I love the little something special the flower adds to it.

Happy Ever After Card

Today I have a card to share that I made for the upcoming wedding of a friend of mine. My first attempt at a shaker card was rough. But I had an idea for one and thought I would give it a try again. I'm happy to say this one was much easier and I like the results much better.

For this card I die cut the front panel using the largest rectangle in the Large Stitched Rectangles die pack from Lawn Fawn. Then I ran the card stock through again using the Stitched Hearts dies from Memory Box.

I used some spare transparency sheets to make the window in the large heart. To attach the transparency behind the card front I just used Scor-Tape. The tape is really strong and I can rip it and place it where I need to. Next I lined along the edge of the heart on the back of the panel with Scotch foam tape. I placed more foam tape around the rest of the panel so it would pop up from the card base. Before attaching it to the base I added white and silver sequins. For the base I wanted a little color to show through, so I used Pink Pirouette card stock from Stampin' Up!

On the front, first I stamped 'ever after' with an older Hampton Art stamp I had onto the smaller of the hearts. I just colored those words only with Tuxedo Black ink, stamped it, and then attached the heart to the front of the transparency panel.

I die cut the 'happy' using the Avery Elle Simply Said Happy die. Before die cutting I used an adhesive sheet from Sizzix to add adhesive to the back of the card stock, which made it easier to attach to my card later. I temporarily adhered the die cut to a sheet of card stock, then stamped all over it with Versamark, and added Stampendous Sterling Silver embossing powder. I heat embossed it, carefully peeled off my die cut, and added it to the card front.

I hope my friend likes this card! I actually had a lot of fun making this shaker card, so I feel much more confident about making more of them in the future.

First Hero, First Love

Today is Memory Pockets Monthly release day! The June kit, Viewpoint, is gorgeous, as always, but I'm most excited about all the add-ons Amber LaBau has this month. My favorite is this great mini kit, perfect for Father's Day, called A Father's Love:


I used the mini kit, the coordinating pocket cards, The Little Things Journal Cards, and the Viewpoint main kit to make a page dedicated to what an amazing father I think my husband is:

I love how perfectly all the colors coordinate in this month's collection. Grab the kit and all the add-ons today while they're on sale!

Traditional Scrapbook Layout - Hello Four

Today I wanted to share a double page scrapbook layout I made last week. I really wanted to make a layout using the photos I took of Austin for his fourth birthday, so I found a couple of sketches on Pinterest (here and here), put them together, and created my pages.

When I had taken the photos, I'd made my own back drop using circles punched from card stock. I used most of the same colors of card stock to put the layout together.

On this page, I added a card from the Project Life Azure edition. I love the '4' and the four hearts. I also used a couple of the circles leftover from the backdrop as mats behind some the wood car and chipboard button embellishments. I also added a '4' from an October Afternoon alpha sticker pack. 

On the page on the right, I added my title using more stickers from October Afternoon, and thickers from American Crafts. I like the Scrabble tile thickers because they tie in to the photo of Austin holding 'four' in Scrabble letters on the opposite page.

The background paper here (the dark grey) is from a Crate Paper stack. 

I added homemade enamel dots in three clusters across the two pages. I've found the best way to attach these is using a Pick Me Up stick and Tombow Multi Medium Matte. I like this matte adhesive because when it dries, even if a little bit squishes out from behind the dots, you can't see it because it doesn't dry glossy.

It had been awhile since I had made a scrapbook layout, so it was nice to get a chance to work on one. It's fairly simple but I think makes the photos stand out more.

You're One Birthday Card

This past weekend we celebrated the first birthday of the son of a dear friend of mine. His actual first birthday is today. Happy one, little Desmond!

I made a birthday card for him that I wanted to share with you guys:

The layout of the card was inspired by this card I found on Pinterest. At CKC last month, I picked up the Baby Jungle stamp set from Jane's Doodles, and I knew it would be perfect for the card. I stamped the animals with Memento Tuxedo Black ink, and used my Copics and Spectrum Noir markers to color them in (Copic colors Y17, C-1, C-3, E37, E35, Black, Blender, and Spectrum Noir OR1). Then I chopped them square and added them over a strip of yellow card stock. I found some yellow polka dot paper from my scraps bin (always happy when I get to use up scraps) and added both panels to the card front.

I stamped the 'you're' with the minitags2cut set from The Stamps of Life, and added some American Crafts white foam thickers.

Inside the card I stamped 'happy birthday' with the Simon Says Stamp Big Birthday Wishes stamp set. I love the little heart after the 'y.' Such a fun card for such a sweet little boy.

Around Here

Around here we are...

...enjoying the springtime weather. It's finally warm enough (but not too warm) to keep our windows open. I love sleeping with the fresh air and waking up to birds chirping outside.

...anticipating the installation of our solar panels. We signed up for solar panels through Next Step Living,  after having the free energy audit as part of the Mass Save program. After a very long, thorough presentation, we jumped on these. They won't cost us a penny. Nothing up front, and they will make money in the long term. This is managed through several methods. A huge rebate from the Federal government, a smaller rebate from MA. An instant rebate from Next Step Living. A loan that is split into two pieces, the longer portion being low interest. Savings on energy bills and, over the next ten years, National Grid will also pay us annually for everything our solar panels produce. Once the panels are paid off they just save you money on your electric bill, and they're guaranteed for 25 years. Only a small percentage of homes can actually have solar panels, so being qualified is pretty neat. They should be installed and running sometime around September.

...looking forward to two upcoming vacations. We'll be bringing both Austin and Summer to Las Vegas, then on to California to visit Brad's parents, with a stop at Disneyland and California Adventure in the middle. We're also going to be going on our second Disney cruise, a 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy. We absolutely loved our cruise last year, more than we ever expected to, so going for longer this year is just going to be amazing.

...loving Pac-Man and Paw Patrol (Austin) and Game of Thrones (Brad and I). Austin has been all about playing Pac-Man or watching Pac-Man videos on YouTube. He also has been starting to watch Paw Patrol after collecting a few of the toys. Game of Thrones Season 5 started last month and Brad and I of course tune in every Sunday on time to watch. I can't believe the season is half over already. We do hate the year long break between seasons.

...starting a new job (Summer).  She's picked up a new waitress position at a fancy steakhouse nearby, and she's quite excited.

...eating healthy. Mostly. We are counting calories and cooking things like pork with veggies and brown rice. We are also working out often. Both of us have extra pounds that we're trying to shed, and both of us would like to drop at least some of them before our trip to California.  We like using the My Fitness Pal app for tracking our calories, and I sync it with my Fitbit too.

...preparing for a semester in Spain (Summer). She'll be attending Berklee's Valencia campus for the fall semester. It's going to be hard on Brad having her so far away but we know this is a really big opportunity for her. She's going to have a blast.

...reading all the time. (Me). I'm on book number 51 of 2015, and I'm currently wrapped up in the After series from Anna Todd. Which is driving me bananas. It's entirely too long but I just have to know how it ends! Other recent favorites of mine (I'm sorry these are all romance, but that's what I'm hooked on) have been Tangled and Twisted from Emma Chase, the Hacker series from Meredith Wild, and anything from Beth Kendrick. I also LOVED The Duff (which is now a movie that I can't wait to also see). And for a pretty amazing non-fiction book, read Brain on Fire.

...listening to the Serial podcast. I had this bookmarked for a long time but never got a chance to listen. Once I started I had to hear the whole thing, so I listened to it all in one weekend. It was so good. It was kind of like listening to an episode of Dateline, which I love.

I hope you are all enjoying your springtime (or fall, if you're in that part of the world).