Saturday, July 12, 2014

Upcycling packaging using DCWV cardstock

I have bought a few of the pocket page card sets for scrapbooking but I do not like keeping the cards in the containers once I start using the product.   I instead store vertically so I can flip through the cards to quickly find what I need.  I purchased one pocket page scrapbooking set a while back and felt guilty discarding the packaging because it  was so nicely constructed and very sturdy.  I recently bought a another few sets at Michael's on sale and instead of throwing the boxes away I decided to upcycle these into storage containers.  The boxes shown here are from "Project Life" kits by Becky Higgins

For this project I decided to use Die Cuts With A View card stock  because the paper is thick and sturdy yet the prints are intricate, the colors are vibrant and most have a little glitz (foil, glitter, embossing, etc.) - perfect for a project like this.

For the first box I decided to use the DCWV Black Currant Stack.  I selected a centered print for the lid and a coordinating fuchsia, patterned foil for the sides and the inserts.  After carefully trimming I used washi tape to trim the edges.  To make sure the washi would stick I also re-enforced with double sided tape.  The bottom of the box was covered with felt.  To finish off the project I added a layered button and rhinestone embellishment for a "handle".  (The box has a hidden magnetic closure so the button is more for decorative purposes and to show where the box opens).

I now have my scrapbook essentials stored in it - these are the things I use constantly - a pair of scissors, a small pencil sharpener, chalk ink for edging in the colors I use most, my favorite acrylic block for stamping, etc.

For her project Miss E. selected papers from the DCWV Cherry Limeade Stack.  We used pink swiss polka dot and lime washi tapes for the trim and a pink/purple plaid printed paper for the edges.  She plans to use her box for her jewlery and hair accessories. 

I am making the third box for my friend Anna using the DCWV French Country Stack.  She loves victorian and shabby chic decor so this will be something fun.  Instead of paper, I may line the inside of her box with linen or velvet.  I will probably eventually do that with the other two that I made also.

What is great also is that with the left over trim from these projects I can create more 3x4 and 4x6 cards for pocket page scrapbooking.  (I usually use a 50/50 mix of cards I have made myself and those that are with sets).

I would love to hear about what projects you have made using containers or what you think of this project.  Please feel free to leave a comment before departing and thanks for visiting!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Cook With Kohl's - Review and Sweepstakes entry info

It is summer time again and that means plenty of get togethers with family, friends and neighbors.  Many memories are made over the summer months - the longer days and nicer weather are a perfect formula for more celebrating.  An intregal part of these celebrations is the food of course!

The next potluck, picnic or backyard BBQ, consider visiting Kohl's for all of your food prep, serving and storage needs.  I recently visited Kohl's and was astounded by the variety of items carried in the Food Network Line.  I shop at Koh's often but usually in the clothing, accessories, jewelry or Bath/Linens departments.  I have to admit that I had never really ventured over to the kitchen section before.  I really was taken aback by the vast selection.  There area a few select Food Network Kitchen items available on, but at the store I visited there are literally hundreds of items to choose from.
Flexible silicone measure and prep set
Silicone utensils

My Kohl's Haul
For this review I really had a difficult time selecting what to purchase but I finally settled on new cookie sheets, flexible silicone measuring bowls, a silicone spoon,  2  silicone spatulas and a cooling rack.

When I came home with the new goodies my girls were so excited and we decided to make cookies.  Although these are not a summer dessert per se, cookies are great year round and perfect for any occasion.  We actually found a recipe at the Food Network's website and decided to make that.  

Review:  I really enjoyed using my new cookware.  My favorite items were the silicone spoon (HEAVY duty) and the baking rack which was very sturdy and stable.   I liked also that the measure and prep cups were silicone as well.  It was useful to be able to gently squeeze the bowl to pour ingredients out more easily and the silicone also gave it a good grip in the counter and when handling - we had NO slips or spills!

Here is the recipe that I used:  There were a few different ones to select from but this is the one the girls and I liked best.  We did add walnuts also but otherwise stuck true to the recipe

Cooling Rack
Also, if you get a chance check out twitter and instagram for the #CookwithKohls sweepstakes.  You can tweet or post to instagram using the #CookwithKohls hastag and a note or picture about the weekly topic - this week it is Summer Desserts!  Make sure that you tag @Kohls and use the #CookwithKohls hashtag.  More information can be found on the Koh's Facebook page at  there are only a few days left to enter so make sure that you get your name in the hat!  Also, I will be hosting a Kohl's card giveaway later this week so make sure to check back!

Disclosure:  I received a gift card for review purposes.  I was not required to give a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Delay in updates

My site as flagged by Google for having Unnatural Outbound Links. I did my best to correct recent links (2012 - present) but ended up deleting most review posts prior to 2012. I did try to edit as many as I could but the amount of work involved to convert links on over 1000 posts was too daunting considering that I work full time and have three active kids. I made the difficult decision to delete posts instead of convert links which would have taken weeks.

 I have resubmitted my site for review and hopefully all is well. I do hope to be back now with a few reviews, giveaways and updates on the girls.


Scrapbooking and Papercrafting Resource List

My favorite places for Scrapbook/Papercrafting supplies are vast and numerous.

Michael's and AC Moore  are"standby" local craft stores that are I frequent what I consider my my ever faithful standby location. 

PROS:  Both have great sales regulary, a vast selection of papers, stamps, punches, markers, glitter, glues, embellishments, storage solutions and more!  Both also have apps available to download to your phone (with a compatatile system).  Now I am never without a coupon!  Both also have rewards programs. 

CONS:  Although the variety is great and there are excellent prices at both, you will not find speciality lines at these stores. 

Archiver's is a local chain speciality store.   

PROS:  What I love is that they have a really extensive collection of papercrafting items.  They also have interesting classes and 2 fun, functional and inspiring work areas.   If you need to buy items as you go, the store will keep a running tab for you! 

CONS:  Warning - 1) Speciality stores can be pricier than mass retailers and 2 ) may not be as flexible as larger retailers  if you don't have your coupon with you.

On my last trip to Archivers I addicentally left my coupon at home once and the coupon would not come up on my phone.  The sales girl would not give me any sort of discount so I left my items at the store, on the counter, unpurchased and went home irritated.  When I arrived home I found the same items online and then purchased the same items from a different retailer - at a discount.  Sadly Archivers lost a sale over not giving a 10% discount.


 I also really love to find buys online or hunt for deals in unxpected places.  A few successes

Discount Retailers - I have had successes digging for items at Big Lots, Tuesday Morning, Marshall's, and even Walmart.

PROS:  Great prices

CONS:  You have to dig.  Do not go in the store with something in mind, because chances are you will not find it.  If you keep an open mind, you can score some great deals!

Yard Sales - Many Scrapbookers will decide that they need more space in their homes or simply decide to discontinue papercrafting/scrapbooing.  Most are looking to simply offload materials. 

I te

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire.

If you are a Hunger Games fan, I have a guess where you are planning to be this weekend!  The moment we have all been waiting for has finally arrived - The Hunger Games, Catching Fire has finally hit the theaters!

Earlier this week I had the privilege of screening the movie.   I am a huge fan of the books and although I enjoyed the first movie, I did not think that it was "great".  I liked it and thought Jennifer Lawrence did a great job portraying Katniss but it simply was not as good as the book.  Catching Fire is different.  This movie was much, much better than I expected or could have hoped for and cannot wait to see it again.

The movie is a little lengthy - Ii am guessing around 2 hours and 45 minutes.

The beginning of the movie takes us back to District 12.  Katniss and Peeta have returned to the games and are living in their new homes.  On the surface everything seems hunky-dory but it very quickly becomes apparent that this is not the case.

The movie stays pretty true to the book - there were a couple of things I noticed were missing but overall the movie captured much of the key points from the book.  Our old favorites return - Gale, Prim, President Snow, Haymitch, Cinna, and, of course, the unforgettable Effie who finally shows us a softer side.  Outstanding performances by newcomers Phillip Seymour Hoffman (the new GameMaker), Same Claflin (Finnick) and Jenna Mason (Johanna Malone).  Jenna had a very memorable scene where she really captures the fire and volitility of Johanna.

Take a fun but emotional ride from District 12 to all the Districts 

Hashtags:    #CatchingFire #TickTock

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Mother's Day Journey - Review and Giveaway

Sunday May 11th is Mother's Day.  If you are looking for ideas look no further!

I have worked with Harvey Prince since their first fragrance, Ageless, was released.   You can see my original review here: Ageless.  Harvey Prince is not only one of my favorite companies to work with (wonderful people!)  - they are also an organization that creates truly unique and innovative products.  This is not an easy accomplishment when you think of how saturated the market is for bath and body products.  Find out more about the company HERE.

I regularly use Fling and Ageless and love both!

Recently I was given a bottle of a new scent - Journey.
Out of all of the Harvey Prince Fragrances I have tried, I have to say that Journey is the most feminine.  It is a beautiful, soft scent but it is not weak nor is it cloying.  With a marriage of a variety of unique floral notes and earthy undertones, this scent makes a subtle but lasting impression.

I normally do not like scents with floral base notes - I usually prefer a fruity or earthy scent with underlying floral notes.  This scent is definitely primarily floral though.  What is really interesting is that I and all three of my girls loved it.  We all have completely different tastes and it is extremely rare that we all like the same thing.

I could not put my finger on what Journey reminded me of but I finally realized what it was.  When I was very little I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house.  She used to let me go through her jewelry, makeup and perfumes - ts scent is very similar to one that she used to wear.  If I had to describe it I would say a very feminine and sophisticated, warm, sweet floral.

When first sprayed, Journey gives off a Gardenia like scent.  As the top note dissapated, the scent was slightly powdery and sweet.  Slowly the other scents emerge creating a wonderful floral scent.

Notes: Indonesian Clove Bud, Australian Sandalwood, Moroccan Rose, French Bergamot, Indian Tuberose, Japanese Orange Flower, Lebanese Cedarwood, Turkish Cyclamen, South African Freesia Style

Thanks to Harvey Prince 5 winners will win a bottle of Journey each!  To enter to win a Journey Tall Spray bottle, simply tell me what other scent you would want to try from Harvey Prince and why.  Easy!    Have fun browsing and good Luck to all!

Simply complete the rafflecopter form below.  Extra entries area available after mandatory requirements are met.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, April 07, 2014

Alice in Wonderland birdhouse

Raulston Blooms

Every year in Raleigh there is a local birdhouse competition at the Raulston Blooms festival.   This is a local bird and blooms festival that is structured as a family event at the JC Raulston Arboretum.  There is also a plant sale, food trucks and games and activities for children.

Above are some pics of Miss E who joined my friend Cat and I for the festivities:

Here is my friend Cat with her awesome Peacock house.  She used feathers, peacock print paper, a feather stamp, cute outs and more!.  The inside is decorated also but unfortunately I do not have a picture of that.


For several years I have hoped to enter the competition but usually forget until the event is over.  This year I planned far enough ahead and was able to actually submit an entry.

I have a large collection of vintage children's books (Classics to Grow On) that I purchased at a garage sale (circa 1960's).  The pages are yellowing and have that authentic aging that can only be achieved with the passing of time.  I thought it would be great to use these papers for an altered art project, especially the images.  The birdhouse project was a perfect opportunity and I decided on an Alice in Wonderland theme as I also had matching acrylic stamps and immediately knew how I wanted to execute the idea

I know absolutely nothing about woodworking so I decided to construct the birdhouse from foam board (sides), cardboard (bottom) and a large children's book (roof).  I created a pattern and cut out the front, back and sides,  I then covered with colored card stock and hot glued together.  Once that was complete I used washi tape to clean up the sides and give a nice, crisp finished look.  I found that the washi tape did not adhere to the paper properly so I also used a tape runner to secure it.

Once the structure was complete I constructed the roof out of an old children's book, covered with harlequin-argyle pattered scrapbook paper and black card stock.  The roof was just a tad short so I extended this with cardboard treated with gesso and paint on one side and covered with scrapbook paper on the other.  Happy accident!  This added to the overall effect.  Before securing the roof, I raised slightly with vintage fringe trip and red and white raised-dot disc beads.  I secured the left side of the roof with hot glue and left the right side to be lifted.

Now the fun part - decorating!.......
I cut and individually colored each of the selected vintage images with distress ink markers, gelatos and water.  Once complete I edged the sides with chalk ink and cropped onto black paper.  I also used a few Crafty Secrets "Greetings from Wonderland" stamps in the same manner.  I then dove into my craft supply to embellish the rest of the house.   A wooden spoon was painted with gesso, wrapped with wire, decorated with a cameo pin, baker's twine, a blue sequin circle and a red ribbon bow.  I adhered to the roof to function as a handle.  Lift it up and look inside to find a large fabric heart and another stamped image.

On the exterior a good number of paper roses were added - on the back there is paint brush and a pink rose with red coloring - You guessed it!  For "Painting the Roses Red".  There were also feathers, heart icon wooden bingo chips, heart cutouts and chip board, black beads, stamped flowers, rhinestones and more!  (Many of the embellishments used were from href="" rel="nofollow">Maya Road) .

I finished by mounting on a stand made of tea cups and saucers hot glued together.  I had a small fiasco when dropping off the birdhouse at the Arboretum when half of the base broke.  Fortunately I brought my hot glue gun with me and fixed what could be salvaged onsite.  (The lady who worked there thought I was crazy I am sure but I knew that there was a good chance that the base could break during transport so brought it to be safe).

Here is the first prize winner's creation.  It was really awesome - the flashlight (demonstrated by Miss E.) is aimed through the hole.  Take a peek inside a view a variety of decoupaged bird images!  Miss E. was so impressed with this birdhouse that she told me I had NO chance of winning. (Gee...thanks.  LOL).

Here is the 2nd place winner.  Me!  I was so excited and had no idea that I placed!   I had so much fun I will probably enter again next year but until then on to the next project :)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Justina Pelletier case - PLEASE READ

If you are not familiar with this story please take five minutes and read. This should scare the hell out of any parent, especially as this is NOT an isolated incident. This can happen to ANYONE.

Photo credit from A-Miracle-for-Justina FB page
In summary Justina is a teen who was diagnosed by doctors at Tufts with a rare Mito syndrome.  This is especially difficult to diagnose but her sister has a similar diagnosis so it appears to be hereditary.  Tufts is a highly respected institution and the doctors that diagnosed her were experts in the field. 

After diagnosis, Justina was taken by her parents to another hospital, Boston Children's, for a completely unrelated issue - complications from a cold or virus. While under their treatment, the team at Boston Children's disagreed with the other diagnosis saying that the symptoms were psychological, not physical and accused the parents of "medical abuse". Keep in mind that none of the doctors at Boston's who examined Justina are experts in Mito disorders and a proper psychiatric exam was never fully conducted.

 Long story short, Boston Children's called in MA DCF and gained custody over the girl so they could keep Justina under their care.  Their "care" reportedly involved stopping all medical treatment for the Mito issue so during this time (several months) the girl, Justina, has not been getting the treatment that she needs. The parents have had limited visitation and Justina has literally been wasting away over the last few months.  If she does not receive the proper care it is very likely that she can die.  The before and after pictures of how she looked right before admittance to Boston Children's and how she looks now are alarming.

In a final custody battle, the state of Massachusetts "permanently" stripped the parents of custody, not based on the medical facts, but based on the fact that the father had been extremely vocal during this process. The judge claimed that he was "verbally abusive") to DCF staff, drawing attention to the incompetence of DCF and Boston Children's. This has NOTHING to do with the medical reasons of the case or their ability to parent their children.

 One concession and positive outcome of the new ruling is that is that she will finally go back to Tufts to receive medical care but as a ward of the state, not under her parent's custody.  In an even bigger powerplay, the parents are being denied any type of visitation which is unprecedented for this type of situation. This has completely torn the family apart.  This entire situation shows an abuse of power by both DCF and Boston Children's.  This includes a misinterpretation and deliberate abuse of laws which have been put in place to protect children.  A disagreement over a medical diagnosis between medical professionals should never result in this sort of outcome

This has received wide media attention.  The thought that this can happen today in a democratic society is terrorizing. Even worse is that there are children who are truly being abused. The time that DCF has spent on this case could have been spent where it is really needed. Think of all the cases where children were hospitalized or died and it comes out that social services was involved but missed a visit or did not probe deep enough into a case because of huge caseloads and a shortage of staff.  Here are parents who are obviously loving and caring yet being denied access to their child.

Other Americans are completely disgusted and distressed that this can happen in this day and time.  Some people are even threatening DCF and Boston Children's.  I do not agree with threats of physical harm but it is imperative that people bring attention to this matter until the situation is resolved.   That includes signing petitions, writing letters, placing calls, etc.  Many people are calling for individuals to boycott the state, including the upcoming Boston Marathon, which brings in a huge amount of money.

 Justina belongs back at home with her parents.  Ask yourself if we do not do anything, who or what is next?   More importantly ask yourself how you would feel if this was your child.   Here is how you can help:

Official Website:
Follow on Facebook for updates from the family:  A Miracle for Justina  This site includes a list of websites and numbers posted by users that people can visit and call to protest


Thursday, March 27, 2014

American Dream Builders - Information and Giveaway!

The American Dream Home is something everyone fantasizes about. Whether it’s a new closet, a larger family room, or simply a place to put all your stuff, there’s always something we want to change about where we live!

AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS – a new show on NBC airing on Sunday at 8/7c – and Lowe’s want to make your dream a reality. Hosted by famed interior designer and best-selling author, Nate Berkus,

AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS follows the nation’s top 12 designers and home builders as they compete to be crowned the Ultimate Dream Builder and take home a $250,000 cash prize. It’s the home competition that will change everything! From the producers of Survivor and The Bachelor, don’t miss

AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS, Sundays at 8/7c, only on NBC. 

You can enter for a chance to win $100,000 in products and services from Lowe’s and a consultation with the winner of American Dream Builders!
- Enter to win your dream home -  You will have the opportunity to earn 5 bonus entries when you “Dream It Yourself”!
- Upload a photo and description of a home project you are working on and EARN 5 BONUS SWEEPSTAKES ENTRIES.
-  Finally, follow the show on Facebook and Twitter for a chance to win more prizes from American Dream Builders and Lowe’s!

Interested?  #DreamBuilders Get Social With It!
 • You can LIVE TWEET with the judges - Nate Berkus, Eddie George and Monica Pedersen! #DreamBuilders - Join the judges and contestants on Twitter as they LIVE TWEET along with the show.

What if you could make your home into your Dream Home?  

What I would do:
- New Flooring
- New Window Treatments
- New Furniture
- New Throw rugs.
- Remodel the kitchen
- Get rid of the ugly popcorn ceiling!

What would you do?  Thanks to Lowes and American Dream Builders look what I have to share with one very lucky reader!  Simply comment here on one change you want to make and then fill out the rafflecopter form.  Extra entries available.  I DO verify so make sure you follow the requirements.

Have fun dreaming of your design wishes and good luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I did not receive any form of compensation for this post.  This giveaway information and gift card will be provided directly to one qualified random winner from American Dream Builders.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Divergent Movie - Review

If you missed opening weekend for Divergent and have not read the books you may be wondering what all the fuss is about.  I was lucky enough to see and early preview last week.  Because I knew the movie was coming out, I made sure to read the book.  Why?  I watch the movie first without reading the book it is unlikely that I will ever read it because what is the point if you know how the story ends?   I took my oldest daughter to the movie with me and she did NOT read the book (she does not like to read period).   We both loved the movie.

Reading the book helped somewhat with understanding the plot but it is definitely not a pre-requisite to seeing the movie.  I answered maybe one or two questions for my daughter early on but after that she got the gist of the story and enjoyed the film.

Divergent is a story about a young teenager living in a post apocalyptic world,.  In this future there is little left of the US outside of Chicago, IL.  The lakes are dried up and the land surrounding the city is destroyed - miles and miles of wasteland surround the city.  In order to keep peace, a system has been established where at the society has been split into five factions - each member is to be aligned to one faction, selected at the age of 16.  The factions are as follows:
Abenation - selflessness
Amity - peace
Dauntless - the protectors
Erudite - knowledge
Candor - honesty

For each individual to commit to a faction there is annua ceremony
- First all 16 year old children are tested for predisposition to a certain faction
- Later at the celebration they select the faction they belong to regardless of the test results.  The testing is simply given to guide them.  Many, despite their predisposition to another faction, will chose their home faction.  To chose a faction outside of the one you were raised in means turning your back on your family (thus the mantra faction before family).   Selecting a faction does not guarantee acceptance however.  The faction must also accept the individual - those that are not accepted by their faction cannot join another and essentially become factionless - this is very similar to being homeless.

Tris, the lead character shows us early on that she is not cut out for the faction that she was born and raised in (Abenation).  She is not naturally selfless and struggles with having the innate instinct to help others - for her it is always an afterthought.  Tris is really counting on the test results to help her determine what faction she is best suited for but when she takes the test, the results are inconclusive.  In panicked secrecy the test administrator tells Tris that she is something called Divergent and that it is very dangerous - if the government finds out that she is Divergent her life will be in danger.  Tris has never heard of Divergence before and is not sure what it means and why it is dangerous.  The test administrator purposely "loses" the results of the "inconclusive" test.

Not being a natural fit for a faction makes Tris anxious about the ceremony.  She is still not certain what she will do but she is confident that her twin brother will stay with Abenation as he is naturally selfless and has always seemed "in place" at home.   Her mother encourages Tris and her brother to follow their hearts but she struggles with this as she does not want to turn her back on her family.  Tris soon finds that she does not know her brother's heart - or her own - as much as she thought.

From this point on we see Tris fight and struggle to find her place and fit into society.  While she acclimates to her home, she tries to hide any indications of being divergent, she discovers that being divergent is only one danger.  There are many who wish to change the structure of the factions but these plans are built on corruption, repression and inequality.  With the help of four, her group leader and mentor, she starts to learn more about herself.

I felt like the movie stayed mostly true to the book - there were a few notable differences but overall I was pleased with the results.   Many people were mixed on their feelings of Shailene Woodley being cast in the lead role.  I do have to say though that after reading the book I can see why she won the part - The character Tris is a complex one - on the surface she seems reserved, quiet and plain.  Her personality seems flat and she keeps her emotions to herself.  Underneath though there is a fire inside Tris.  As she grows as a person and gains confidence in her abilities and her place in society, she begins to find her voice and her purpose.  Shailene seemed to understand this and was able to bring the character to life.

The most important thing that Tris learns about herself is that being diveregent means not being able to be stereotyped or put into a category - as a divergent she is multi-faceted and less likely to conform.  This ends up being critical to her place in fighting repression of the government.

I found that I actually enjoyed the movie better than the book - this happens almost never.  I find that the book is consistently better than the movie,  This was a pleasant surprise because although I enjoyed the book, I found myself constantly comparing it to the Hunger Games which is unfair.  Both series have similar themes but they are separate and should each be weighed on their own merit.

My teen daughter LOVED this movie.  She definitely identified with the Dauntless faction so it was interesting to see her response to watching others who were a little wild and crazy but ultimately want to protect others (that is completely her!).  She was also assigning each of us their factions.  My husband would be Dauntless too, while I would be Erudite and my youngest would be Candor.  We still are not sure where my middle daughter would fall - (maybe she is Divergent!)

There really is too much to put in a review - there are so many other pieces to the story that are best revealed by viewing the film.   If you are looking for a good movie I do recommend this one.  Some movies I wait for the DVD but others I categorize as worth a theater visit - this is one that is worth a trip to the theater.  Please keep in mind that this is not appropriate for younger children as it is geared towards young adults.  There is quite a bit of violence and other content that is more appropriate for mature audiences.        

Want more official details?  Divergent goes digital!  Check it out....
Official Site: "

Disclosure:  Movie passes were provided to me for review purposes.  I did not receive any form of compensation nor was I required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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