Friday, December 14, 2007

Desktop calendar

I finally finished the desktop calendar I started several weeks ago. I was having a difficult time committing to the layouts I wanted for each month and then, all of the sudden, I knew what i wanted and BLAM - there it was. I thought I'd give it as a Christmas gift but now that it is all put together, I'm going to keep it for me :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Scrapbook kit-of-the-month memberships

I recently signed up for several kit of the month clubs and I have been like a little kid on Christmas Eve waiting for the packages to arrive! My first kit came from Sweet Pea Scraps which cost $28.00 with a membership. I really liked the combination of papers and elements - they are gorgeous and I know I'll use each and every item. Next months kit looks amazing too. What I like about their kits is that you get a ton of paper!

The next kit to arrive came from Simply Obsessed which is only $20 / month with membership. I have to say that this kit was my favorite based on quantity of items for the price. I just loved the variety of papers, plus they included sugar coated chipboard letters, KI lace cardstock, a large metal flower, Making Memories Hillary Pebble Clips, an American Crafts silver marker and more. What an amazing value and I'm really impressed with the coordination of items. There is a perfect balance of paper and embellishments.

In addition to the December kit, I purchased their Halloween add-on kit and the November kit. The owner, Shauna, gave me the member rate so I only paid $20 for the November kit and $10 for the Halloween plus no extra shipping. I could not believe how much product I received! I expect to remain a member at Simply Obsessed for years to come. Their customer service is top notch and their kits are incredible.

The last kit to arrive came from Studio Calico which is the Ann Taylor of scrapbooking kits. From the website to their online community to the packaging of their product, they are top notch. Every detail has been carefully considered and their kits are to die for. With a membership, their kits are $29.50 / month. The include an amazing variety of products from the hottest scrapbooking lines.

There are several add-on kits each month but you have to tune in at the midnight release EST on the 27th of each month to order one because the sell out before the sun comes up. I purchased 2 add-ons this month sight unseen because I had heard so many great things about them. I was not disappointed! The add-ons run from $3.00 for additional Bazzill to $28.00 for a whole other coordinated kit. I had Christmas money this month to purchase 2 add-ons but I don't think I will be able to indulge regularly since it was an additional $55 for the 2 add-ons I purchased.

I also want to mention that April and Scarlett (the owners) provide amazing customer service and are present on the message board all the time. Speaking of the message board, everyone there is so welcoming and there is a real fellowship amongst the members.

Studio Calico is a "must have" membership for the serious scrapbooker.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas crafts with the kids

Doing crafts with my kids has been an amazing way to get in the Christmas spirit. One of my most treasured memories from my childhood was making an ornament with my mother. I couldn't have been older than 5 or 6 because we had to wait until my sister went down for her nap to work on it. Mom had purchased a kit at the grocery store. It included a ball most likely made of Styrofoam that was covered with white silk threads (we called it angel hair) plus velvet and silky ribbon, decorative stick pins with crystal heads and an assortment of loose beads. We quietly constructed this ornament together sitting at our kitchen table- I'll never forget how I felt so close to my mom.

I wanted to have the same kind of experience with my kids this year, so I hunted to find a similar kit but it seems they don't make them anymore. Since Aidan (4) and Eva (2) are so little, I decided to improvise with age appropriate materials.

We started out with the glass ball ornament - Aidan punched snow flakes out of white bazzill bling and put it in his orb along with a little clear glitter. Eva helped by placing a few snowflake stickers on the outside.

The next ornament swe did together was an impromptu creation that we will treasure for years to come. First, I had the kids color pictures. Then I punched out sections of the pictures with a large circle punch. I also punched out circles of thick clear plastic (part of a product package that I saved just in case I needed it) and placed the plastic over his drawings. I used the small hole punch on my crop-o-dile around the edge of the circle and hand stitched the plastic coverings over the drawings with embroidery thread. I attached a ribbon. at the top and viola- Aidan is so proud of his ornament- I often catch him taking it off the tree, staring at it and then placing it in a more visible location.

Our ;last Christmas ornament adventure was last Sunday. I put out an assortment of materials so the kids could invent their own project. There were jingle bells, pom poms, craft sticks, shiny covered wire and a bin full of craft foam shapes I've collected over the years. The kids saw the foam people cut outs and immediately decided to make our family. I had a bag full of foam hair style, clothing and even shoes which they explored thoroughly. When they finally decided on outfits, we glued it all down and punched holes through the head for the ribbon so they could be hung on the tree. Aidan decided that girls should be on one side of the tree and boys on the other and he loves the idea that he is as tall as his dad. :-) These are the memories that make Christmas so special.