Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Crafting with Students: Christmas Tree Cards

Like last year, I have early childhood literacy with the 1st and 2nd graders.  Thankfully, I only have one period of it a week since the classes are small and were combined for this (as opposed to the 5 literacy classes I had last year - PreK twice, K, 1st, and 2nd).  The last Friday that I had with the kids before Christmas was an easier one to do because I knew it would be a Christmas book.  As you can see, I chose a Berenstain Bears book.  This one is longer than the regular books, and it rhymes.

I had the kids make layered Christmas trees for Christmas cards!  They really enjoyed it, and I was glad because I was very happy to show it to them before we started.  I had cut strips out of my leftover cardstock (a lot of my older cardstock that doesn't cut well in the Cricut so it was the perfect opportunity to use it) and used a Martha Stewart border punch to punch through each strip.  Then I layered it on a white triangle and trimmed off the edges.  The last step was to add the tree stump.

Each kid got the white triangle, and then I allowed them to come up and choose 2 strips of color each so that all the kids would have a better choice of colors while putting their trees together.  They would glue them down and then come up for 2 more colors.  They kept doing this until the tree was filled.  I then gave them the  Oriental Trading foam adhesive squares to pop the tree up from the card.  I used the thickest squares that come in the package, which I don't really use in my own crafting as it makes it difficult to fit in the envelope. I was happy to finally have a use for some of them!  Plus, the kids really liked that it was really popped up from the card.

There was just enough time for most of them to write their messages in the cards.  Here are the 2nd graders with their completed cards (the 1st grade had already gone back to their classroom).

I'm eager to figure out if there are other papercrafting ideas I can use with the students at my school!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Giveaway at Creating from the Heart!

Melissa from Creating from the Heart is having an amazing end of the year/Christmas giveaway!  It includes a $150 gift card to Michaels (all those cartridges and paper!), a Copic air-brushing starter set system (it'd be amazing to find another way to use my Copics), a Copic color swatch book (so difficult to keep track of what colors I have and how they look), and a 36 Copic Ciao marker set (it'd be cool to have more colors so I can actually blend!).  Click here to check it out :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Crafting with Students - Christmas Ornaments

Every year at school, we put up a big Christmas tree in front of the main office.  The students in all the classes make an ornament that will be put on the tree (that's how small our school is; we can fit all the ornaments on one tree!).  Since I'm now officially a papercrafter, I knew I wanted to do something fancier with paper!  Most teachers get those fun foam sets (ex. the ones from Oriental Trading), but I wanted to expose my kids to the fun of paper!

The night before, I cut strips of paper out.  I didn't mind using this because these papers (a DCWV value pack) actually made my Cricut mats really fuzzy.

Then I scored all the strips.  It wasn't difficult, but doing 14 of these gets kinda tiring especially when I was so ready for bed!

I taught the kids how to fold the strips back and forth like an accordian, and then I glued it with Mod Podge.  We let it dry, then we put on a circle of cardstock in the opposite color on top to hold it together.  

I also taped silver ribbon to the backs of those first circles so that it could hang on the tree.  Each kid then got 2 white cardstock circles to design.  One side had their name.  The other side had a Christmas picture (trees, penguins, snowmen, etc.).  It was then glued to both sides.  

I think they turned out really well (the one in the top row isn't finished because the girl needed more time, so I glued it on the next day)!  I didn't realize that paper rosettes were so sturdy.  The kids really liked them, and I was glad to share with them some fun with paper!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

That Extra 20%

I've been watching those Michaels ads for a sale on Recollections paper for a few weeks.  Every Sunday morning, I have checked.  There was a sale for 3 for $10, but I'm in it for the REAL sales!  And alas, this morning there was the 4 for $10 sale WITH the extra 20% coupon to use from 4-9pm today only!  Yay!  I had to make sure I hit the store after church because I am completely out of some colors!  (I apologize for the sideways pictures; I rotated them, but they won't adjust.)

I bought 3 packs of the primary colors.  I never thought I'd need just the primary because I had the Wausau 12x12, but I guess after Cricut-ing for quite some time, I eventually ran out!  I love all the other Recollections colors like Soda Pop and Butterfly, but I guess when it comes to some cuts, the basic colors are a must!

I also use a ton of black with the Cricut as it's often a layer.  It's also awesome for those silhouette cuts!  I have the Wausau 12x12 of that too, but I'm getting close to finishing that pack, and I'd like to save my 12x12s for things that actually need to be that big.  That's why I bought 3 of these as well.

Since it was 4 for $10, I needed to pick 2 more packs.  I have enough of the other colors and the kraft for the moment, so I got a pack of just red since that is the color I ran out of quickly due to it being used rather often AND for Christmas cards.  Then I got a pack of white so I can use it for card bases (I have a 250 stack of Wausau white cardstock that's good for layering and such, but it's rather flimsy for card bases).  I hope it's as durable as the colors.

As I was just strolling up and down the aisles, I stopped by the punches since they were 40% off.  With the extra 20% off, it made it a teensy bit cheaper than just a 50% off.  I have been looking at a lot of paper flower arrangements for parties and weddings, and I was thinking about doing the centerpieces for my wedding.  I don't know if it'll be possible, but I'm always intrigued by the pictures I find!  I saw this when it first came out on, and I was tempted to get it.  Thankfully, I saw the picture of this in the Michaels ad because I had never seen it at my M's beforehand!  Yay for sales + coupons!  It cost $8.15 (regularly $16.99).  I'm excited to try it after I watch some videos and make sure that I want to keep it.

The last thing I purchased was Recollections cling stamps.  I had seen this nativity set way before the Christmas season, but when I went there recently on Black Friday, I couldn't find it!  For some reason, I was able to find it today.  It was on clearance for $4.99 so I couldn't use the extra 20% off, but I bought it because I didn't want to miss out on it.  Personally, I'm not so sure I like the kids dressed up as animals, haha, but I love all the other stamps!

Well, that was my mini haul!  Hope you enjoyed seeing some of my new goodies!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ice Cream Sundae Happiness

This past holiday weekend was spent making 3 different Christmas cards (one was the stocking one I already posted), but after a while, I was kind of tired of Christmas images and paper.  I wanted to do something fun!  I think what inspired me to use different cartridges was the fact that they had carts on sale at Michaels, AC Moore, and Joann.  I didn't buy any new ones even though I had plans to go out early (I'm watching the price of Campin' Critters, and I'm hoping has a sale so I can get some Lites because the Walmart by me doesn't have Lites anymore!).  Instead of spending money, I really sat and examined the images on the carts I already have.  I decided to use the ice cream sundae from the Just Because cartridge that I wanted so much and that my fiance Howard bought for me fairly recently as a surprise!  

I love the idea of having an ice cream sundae in a metallic dish.  It just reminds me of old-fashioned ice cream shoppes (haha, not that I've ever been to one!).  There used to be this restaurant in the Poconos in Pennsylvania called Beaver House where we got parfaits at the end of our meal.  From what I remember, they served them in these tall, metal dishes, and I loved it!  That's why this image was really something I wanted to use.  However, when I cut the pieces out, it seemed a little plain, so that's why I had such fun adding all the faux stitching in different colors using my ultra-fine Bic Mark-It markers.  I really like the added lines.  

I used a Martha Stewart border punch to add a white strip of paper over the striped paper for 2 reasons: (1) I needed something on which I could stamp the sentiment [Pink by Design's "Big Thoughts"] and (2) I had a lot of extra strips of white cardstock since I keep having to trim it down to fit A1 envelopes (when I accidentally bought 1000 A1 envelopes instead of A2!)

Though my cards are typically really simple, I still have a ton of fun making them.  My "real life" friends really like them too since they're still purchasing them from my Facebook store (  It makes me happy to make sales especially now as I'm hoping to eventually gift every type of animal available on World Vision (I've decided to set aside 50% of what I make for it).  Right now the goal is the $50 for 4 chickens!  Hopefully, the more cards I make, the faster I can reach that goal!  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Stocking

This past Friday, I went out to Michaels during the Black Friday sale!  I wasn't going specifically for any major purchases.  My goal was Christmas paper for cards!  I have a lot of paper pads from Michaels already, but none of them worked with Christmas cards that I wanted to make.  I initially found all the DCWV stacks, but I wasn't that crazy about them because there were only 48 sheets in each.  Plus, they were oh-so-pretty that I knew I'd have trouble cutting into them!  Those pages would work better with scrapbooks anyway, in my opinion.  My mom was with me, and she found the huge 180 stack called "Jolly and Bright."  It was perfect!  Tons and tons of pages with different color schemes!  Lots of variety for only $7!  The paper pads were 50% off, and there was an extra 30% coupon that I used on top of it.  Oh, how I love a good deal!

This was one of the cards I made during this Thanksgiving break using the new paper.  The stocking was cut from Joys of the Season, which is a cartridge I had not yet used.  I've been getting better at using the cartridges I haven't touched yet.  Having the Gypsy makes that so much easier.  In the past, I was too lazy to deal with cutting out so many pieces from a certain layer just to get all the right colors I needed.  Gotta love that "hide" feature on the G!  It also makes it so much easier to make multiples AND to use scrap paper.  Even with Cricut Craft Room finally out and being free to use doesn't make me regret having my G at all.  I'd much rather design on the whim instead of having to turn on my desktop and be online.  Wow, talk about a digression ...

After I cut out the 6 stockings, I knew it needed a little extra something.  That's why I added the faux stitching with my white Recollections marker.  Then I added Stickles to the "bell" part of the stockings to add some shine.  I think the background paper works really well with it because it has the same 3 colors.  Plus, I love paper that has text!

I'm actually really happy with how this card turned out.  When I initially cut out the stocking, I thought it was kind of a lost cause.  I'm glad I stuck with it instead of tossing them in my box of cut images!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Kind of Weekend: Cake and Crafting

I had a really rough week at work last week, so I was glad to be enjoying a weekend of not that much to do.  I did my lesson plans on Friday night (although not all were completed because I completely forgot the 8th grade math textbook at school, which is the only one I need to transport back and forth), and I also input grades into Engrade.  I seriously cringe when I think about what I did during my first and second year of  teaching before I knew about Engrade!  There are a bunch of teachers at my school who use it now, and it saves so much time because no calculations have to be done.  Yay for that!

On Saturday morning, I graded a few more tests and input those into Engrade when they were done.  But I was ready to do some relaxing.  Howard came over in the early afternoon, and when I answered the door, he was carrying something in a big, brown bag.  I didn't know what it was, but apparently it was a surprise for me!

He made me "box cake"!  That's what I call cake made from a boxed mix, haha.  I have been wanting "box cake" since my birthday back in September, and he made it for me because of the rough week I had!  How sweet is he?  Hehe, and you can see that I had to eat some before taking this picture ... whoops!  I thought it was so loving of him to do something to cheer me up.

That was clearly the cake part.  The crafting part was relaxing too.  My mom got flowers last week from the family of the little boy she works with at school (she's a para for him in kindergarten). She asked me to make him a thank you card, and she specified that the little boy loves horses. I was excited to finally use the horse cut from my Create a Critter cartridge. I didn't have 3 different shades of brown that went together, so the snout part of the horse was cut using white cardstock, and I colored it in using one of my Copic markers.

I used a Martha Stewart punch for the stars on the red cardstock, and the sentiment is from Inkadinkado. I did end up filling in the gaps in the word with my Zig Writer black marker, but I had it downstairs so that was after I took the picture.  Simple card, but I like it!  I thought about adding some faux stitching to the bandana or something, but I didn't want to ruin anything just in case I made a mistake.

Ahhh, good weekend, and thankfully, there are 2.5 days this week until THANKSGIVING, which is my all-time favorite holiday.  Yay!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Crafting with Students: Appreciation for Veterans

Last week, we had our student council assembly for those students who wanted to run for any of the positions available.  We also combined it with our Veteran's Day assembly since there were 2 days off this week, throwing off our schedule a bit.  The grandmother of one of our students spoke about being an army nurse. She explained the importance of Veteran's Day to the students. She asked that we make cards for those in the veterans hospital so that she could bring them today. She explained that when the soldiers come back injured and wounded, they just get moved to the hospital and there isn't the same "fanfare." She said that she wanted to give them the recognition they deserved.

I teach 6th and 8th grade English Language Arts, so I was responsible for those classes. These cards were made by my 6th graders (I introduced them to stamps!). They really understood the sacrifice the soldiers made and the honor they deserve. Their heartfelt words really amazed me (way more than the 8th graders did!), and they took the time to make beautiful cards! (I think that class also understands it more because we're doing WWII historical fiction in class.)

8th grade cards (they were amazed with the stamps; I brought in the thank you set by Inkadinkado)

6th grade cards (on this day, I forgot to bring in the acrylic block, so I thought we couldn't use the stamps; I ended up sticking the stamps to the lid of the StazOn ink pad!)
In the past, we all look forward to Veteran's Day because it's a day off from school, but I hope that from now on, they all truly understand it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Life's Better in Flip Flops

One of the Cricut cuts that I mass produced but didn't end up using on cards for the bake sale was the flip flops and sunglasses from Pack Your Bags.  That was the latest cartridge that I purchased due to an AC Moore sale and the lovely $10 gift certificate I got from their rewards program (WHY did they not come out with sooner?!  I have spent SO much money at AC Moore over the years!!!).  I decided to stray from my usual pink color choice and go with purple instead.

I then chose a polka dot pattern paper, which I actually really like.  I tend to not use my pattern papers very often because I don't know how to layer them very well or match them.  I literally went through almost every single one of my paper pads with the Cricut cut in hand to see if it would "match."  Once I saw the polka dot, I knew it would be perfect because it just reminds me of the beach (even though I personally don't like the beach!).  To go along with the beach-y theme, I used a strip of kraft cardstock because it reminded me of sand.

The sentiment is from Pink by Design's "Summer Vacation."  That was one of the sentiments that really pulled me to that particular set!  I keep finding more and more sentiments that I love that I end up wanting, but thankfully, I've been really good about my spending lately.  A ton of sentiment choices means that there are a TON of cards that I still have to make!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cuz Everyone Needs Birthday Cards

This past Sunday was my church's bake sale to raise money for the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist convention.  I've been making cards for that cause, so that's why I haven't posted anything here on my blog for a while.  Thankfully, Howard was able to help me with some of the coloring, and he helped me package everything too.  Boy, I really do love how the boxes and bags from really make my stuff look even more professional!  Of course, I accidentally ordered A1 envelopes instead of the A2 that I needed, but that's a whole different story.  I also love my PSA Essential stamp that I won from a Casual Fridays challenge back when I still entered challenges!

I stamped the back of all the single cards I've made in the past for challenges.  Some of those sold at the bake sale too.  Since the ink is so wet, I have to make sure it dries before I pack it, so that's why they're spread out everywhere like that.  And yes, my room is an absolute mess from crafting, but I love it!

Anyway, I think my sales were pretty good!  I was able to raise $227 for missions from the sale of my cards, which was almost a quarter of what the English congregation of my church made!  The other things that were available were lunch items and desserts.  I was happy to be able to do something I love for a good cause.  And I was thankful that so many were willing to buy!

Well, even though the bake sale is over and I should be getting back to school work, I can't.  I'm just way too distracted and stressed, so I still crafted today instead of grading papers.  It was definitely much needed relaxation time because I took my time today whereas crafting for the bake sale was a little bit closer to the frenzied side!  Anyway, I'll show you one of the cards I made today.

I had 12 of these cupcakes from Sweet Treats cut a while ago, and I made 6 cards with them for the bake sale the night before because I realized I didn't have many birthday options!  I had one of my friends buy 1 of them, and then another friend bought the box with the remaining 5 in it!  I know a few others wanted this card too, so I made the other 6 today since I still had another sheet of that pattern paper from a KI Memories paper pad.  My cousin already claimed 2 of them, so I had 4 to sell.  After posting them in my Facebook store for just a short while, I'm already down to 1 left!  I really need to make more birthday cards!

I decided to go with blue accents instead of the normal girly colors I usually use.  It might still be a tad girly considering there are big polka dots, but at least it's not all pink and purple.  I used the Cuttlebug D'Vine Swirls embossing folder for the frosting on the cupcake (chocolate frosting, of course!).  I popped up the image using my Oriental Trading Co adhesive squares.  I love how I can use a ton of those on one image and it's okay since they're so inexpensive.  The sentiment is from Pink by Design; I love this set called "Birthday, Birthday" because it just says "Happy Birthday" in many different styles and fonts.  Perfect for any type of card!

That's it for now, but don't worry.  I won't leave this blog for such a long period of time anymore!  Well, at least that's what I'm hoping not to do!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quorra at School

As promised, I took a picture of Quorra out and about having some adventures!  She was excited to see where I worked.  This is my classroom; it has been my classroom for the past few years (I'm in my 5th year of teaching!).  For once, I teach ALL of my classes here, so I don't have to move everything around from room to room.

Quorra's standing on the 8th grade math textbook.  She's ready to solve some equations that have variables on both sides!  After this picture was taken, she scurried on back to my bag.  Although she wasn't on my desk during the day (I don't want my kids' grubby hands on her, haha), she did listen to my ELA and math lessons.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Meet Quorra!

The last update that I wrote on my blog was about the giveaway Jennifer was having for the Cricut Collectible over at her blog, The Country Life.  I was so happy to see that I had won it!  And the mailing was super quick, as I got it today!  Jennifer packaged it up so cute.

It was such a fun thing to get coming home today as I was so exhausted from work.  I was frustrated as there were a handful of kids in the 7th grade who still did not understand how to make a table of values or write an expression based on a table of values.  I don't think I was speaking in Martian or any other foreign language that they couldn't understand because the majority of them did understand.  I just couldn't spend any more time on the subject because I had already devoted 2 whole class periods and part of another to the topic (and I've never had trouble teaching it in the past, and this is my 4th year teaching 7th grade math).  That was just one of the many interesting things from my day, so finding a package in the mail for me lifted my spirits.

I plan on taking this little pink cutie around with me so I can take pictures out in the "real world."  My fiance, Howard, has a few Disney Vinylmation characters, but I didn't get into it because I didn't want to spend on that (during the last trip, I just kept thinking about the cartridges I could buy instead of Disney souvenirs, haha).  Then the Cricut figurines came out, and I knew for sure that there was a reason I didn't get into Disney Vinylmation!  Of course, I couldn't justify spending the $10 because of the costs of the wedding and apartment.  That's why I was even happier that I won this one!

Although most of my plushies are boys, this little one is a girl because she's pink!  I named her Quorra (pronounced Cora).  I'm curious if anyone knows where the name originates!  Well, in the summer, Howard finally got me to watch Tron: Legacy (he LOVES Tron, even the original; and yes, I sat through that one too).  I actually really liked the movie as well, and I liked the girl character in it named Quorra.  I was fascinated by the weird spelling of it, and since then, we have been saying our future daughter's name will be Quorra.  Of course, that probably won't happen considering our family members will think we're a bit wackadoo (and relatives might pronounce it as "Quarter"!).  We're only partially serious when we say it (we've had other names that we've gone through and chosen; we just rotate often!).  Well, that's why this little pink Cricut will be Quorra so that that name will be used!  

Thank you so much, Jennifer!  I'm going to have so much fun!  I hope to get a picture taken tomorrow!

I also have to give a huge thank you to Jo from JoBoogie Stamping.  She sent me a package full of goodies for a belated birthday present after she read that my 27th birthday back in September really wasn't that special (I guess it comes with getting older?).  I also received that package today as well!  I'm so excited about my goodies!

I don't know if it's because I Just don't see them or something, but I don't often see the big Studio G stamps around, so I'm really excited to have those now.  I like the "Happy Birthday" one because I can use that for cards where I want the background to be the main focus.  I also really really really like the leaf one; I've been really liking leaves and trees lately on other people's blogs!  The little stickers are also awesome; the apples are the BEST!  Reminds me of my cousin's chocolate-covered caramel apple from Goofy's Candy Co in Downtown Disney that we all tried during our last trip!

Jo also included an adorable card in pink and green, which is absolutely fantastic because those are the colors that represent my fiance and me!!!

I'm just so grateful for the kindness and generosity of my fellow crafting buddies.  There have been other lovely ladies out there who have been very generous with me as well, but I didn't take pictures and post them yet.  I will definitely start getting back to updating my blog; I miss being here!  

I haven't been posting any cards because the things I'm working on right now are for my church's bake sale on November 6th.  We have a bake sale to raise money for a mission fund, so all the money from the sales of my cards will go directly to that.  I didn't want to give anyone a sneak peek just yet, so that's why I haven't posted much.  I just hope I have enough time to get a bunch more done!  I'm seriously lacking in variety!  Haha.  Anyway, thanks for being patient with me; I'll hopefully be updating more regularly even if it's just a pic of Quorra enjoying life!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Giveaway at The Country Life!

Check out Jennifer's blog at The Country Life.  She has a giveaway where you can get either a pink Cricut collectible or an unopened mystery color!

See post here.

So adorable!  During my last Disney trip, my group was getting the Vinylmation figurines.  I just didn't want to get into it, and I'm so glad I didn't because THIS is definitely more my speed!  How adorable would it be to have a Cricut Collectible as a mascot?  It would be so easy to fit in any bag with your camera!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The 9/24/11 Wedding Card

This past Saturday was a day of 2 weddings!  A couple from my church had their marriage celebration and my cousin finally married his long-time girlfriend!  It was the perfect timing for me to make my first wedding card.  I wanted it to be something simple and elegant.  I decided to go with the bride and groom silhouette cuts on the Sweethearts cartridge.

I was very surprised at how well it cut especially since the things coming down from the flowers and the bride's arm are very thin!  From what I remember, I cut it at 4 inches.  The card itself is not an A2 (I don't know my sizes, but it's the one bigger than that!).  I chose red for the background because it's supposed to be a "lucky" color in the Chinese culture for things like weddings.  I also chose the yellow ribbon to be the "gold."  Very traditional Chinese colors for good luck (not that I believe in the power of colors, but it's nice to use them because they're so traditional for us).  The sentiment is from Pink by Design's "Scripted Year" set.

The bride and groom at church told me that they loved the card, so I was very excited!  My cousin got the card from my parents (I made a different card from my fiance and me).  It was a bit of a challenge doing this because it wasn't a cutesy card, but despite how simple it may look, I really like how it turned out!  It's definitely the kind of card that can be easily mass produced.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Muy Delicioso!

Back in August, one of my friends who moved to California got married.  I couldn't make it out to the wedding, but my cousin went because she was a bridesmaid.  Since she was heading to the West Coast, she asked on Facebook for any restaurant recommendations, and someone we know from our church who also lives in California gave her many suggestions.  Because of that, my cousin asked if I could make a card that had food on it.  Although this took a lot of time to do because of all the pieces, it's so far one of my favorite custom order cards!

I cut the images from Simply Charmed.  I used my Gypsy to hide all the faces because I didn't want them on this particular card.  I don't know what foods my cousin ate while in California, so I picked a variety of food that would be colorful!  My favorite is actually the ice cream cone.  Normally, I would've thought it'd be kind of plain, but the extra white pieces really make it more interesting!  I actually had to cut the hamburger out again because when it was way too large when I cut it at the same height as everything else, haha.  Monster burger!

I adhered it to white paper that was then put on the purple cardstock.  I'm loving the long cards, so I made this one 4x9 since it'd be able to fit all the food on it.  It's a great size for business envelopes.  I think that's fun too because it'll make people not suspect that it's a card, and they won't know until it's opened!  I also added the sentiment from the Inkadinkado "Thank You Words" set (I bought it for 50% off the last time stamps were on sale; I figured it'd be useful to have "thank you" in all different fonts and sizes).  The last thing I did was add the bling at the corners to tie together the purple theme.  Really fun card to make especially because there aren't many occasions for me to use these food cuts!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Birthday Presents!

Birthday presents are always fun even at 27!  Though it's different than getting a Polly Pocket or Barbie as a child, there's still excitement involved.  With my mom's side of the family, the aunts agreed to stop giving gifts after the age of 25, so I only got a gift from my mom and my fiance, Howard.  That's okay by me though because they were things that I wanted!

On Labor Day, my mom ordered a Boat and Tote from LL Bean for me.  I wanted it as a carry-on for future vacations, particularly for my honeymoon to Walt Disney World next May!  It was perfect because there was an extra 15% for card members.  Plus, there's free monogramming for card members as well (otherwise it'd be an extra $6)!  I was going to pay for it, but then later on, she said she would pay for the dress I knew I'd have to buy for my cousin's wedding, but I said the bag was fine.  The bag will have more fun memories!  I received it only 2 days later, so it was an early birthday present.  I would've waited until my actual day, but I wanted to check to make sure it was okay.

It so easily stands up on its own!

The Boat and Tote bag is one that has been popular for 65 years and is made to hold up to 500 pounds.  Though I can't imagine what in the world I'd be carrying on a plane that weighs 500 pounds, I loved the fact that the reviewers raved about its durability.  I want to be able to throw something heavy in there and not have the tote be misshapen.  I chose the large size because I wanted to be fit as much stuff in it as possible as a carry-on.

I put my rules and expectations letter for school in front of it just so that you can see the size comparison for the large.

I love this bag so much already!  It's much sturdier than I could have ever imagined, but it makes sense since it was originally made to carry ice or wood or something.  I love the cool green color of it as it's bright and different than my usual black or pink.  Plus, it reminds me of my Howard!  It's so great that I think I might want to order the medium size in a pink-ish or purple-ish color when there's another sale.  I can't wait to use this next May when Howard and I go to Disney World!

HOW for Howard and RAE for Rachel!  We're Team HowRae!

The Saturday before my birthday, Howard and I celebrated since he couldn't be with me on my actual day.  The first thing I asked for was birthday California rolls!  There's a restaurant called Tenzan near his house that we used to go to all the time.  That's our beginning sushi place!  So many memories there!  We don't really eat raw fish anymore.  It's very sparingly just to be on the safe side even though we LOVE it, of course!  Haha, I wouldn't be "love and sushi" if I didn't.  But sometimes we also just want those Cali rolls with that yummy avocado!  Of course, silly me forget to get a picture of the Cali rolls; I only got one of the salad!  AND I didn't even get a good shot of the delicious ginger dressing either!

Funny thing is, I took this picture with the cover on, and Howard said, "Why don't you take the cover off?"

I got two other gifts this year, and they were from Howard.  We had already agreed not to get each other birthday gifts and Christmas presents since we're saving for the wedding, our apartment, AND mainly annual passes to WDW!  Haha, being realistic, it's mainly because we want APs.  This way, we won't feel "guilty" spending $500+ each on APs.  Howard still wanted to get me something, so he bought me some goodies that I absolutely love!  The first was Hershey's Milk Chocolate Drops.  I had seen this on TV while with him, and I immediately knew I wanted it.  Last year, I had something similar to it when one of my students went to Lancaster and brought back a baggie of chocolate.  When I felt faint at school due to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), it was the perfect thing to pop in my mouth for a sugar rush.  After I ran out, I had M&M's, but I'm not a fan of the candy shell.  These were perfect especially since I LOVE Hershey's chocolate (haha, and Godiva, but that's a bit too pricey; the only reason I tried it was because I got it as a gift from a student!).

Waiting for me at work in my desk drawer!  I really put it farther in the back because another teacher uses my room 5 times a week, hehe.

Howard also got me another gift that was a surprise!  Back in February when we were in Disney World with our friends and my cousins, I stopped by Basin at Downtown Disney for the first time.  I saw a bar of Mickey soap that smelled like ginger ale.  I really liked the scent!  When I'm nauseous, I sip ginger ale, so it has a very calming effect on me.  I was going to buy it, but I decided against it because I figured I wouldn't use it because it's bar soap (I like liquid soap).  Plus, it was just another souvenir that I knew I didn't need (although who really NEEDS souvenirs, haha).  Well, this was the other thing I got, and I had NO clue whatsoever!    

I know you're wishing you could smell it!  This was taken at school with my desk calendar.  I had brought the soap to school for my "Me in a Bag" project with the 6th graders.  I like modeling the projects I assign as much as I can.

That night, I got to pick dinner, and what I wanted was a yummy burger from Outback.  Nothing fancy but still absolutely delicious (especially since we brought it back to my house, and we relaxed and watched movies - The Sorcerer's Apprentice, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and Ip Man!)  Of course, I forgot to get a picture of the cheeseburger and fries too, but Howard got one of the Bloomin' Onion.  I had done the survey on the receipt from the last time I picked up food, so it was free.  Since we were bringing it back, we were able to cut it in half so my parents and brother could have it too (it's way too much for two people!).  It wasn't the best one that we've had; the onion wasn't as thickly cut, but at least it was a nice free appetizer.

Well, that was my 27th birthday!  I also bought myself a bunch of stamps from (cute 99 cent ones and a bunch of background stamps from the clearance section for the buy 4 get the 5th free) a few weeks earlier.  I had saved the box to open on my birthday, so even though that wasn't the intention, it was fun to get to open something crafty!  Anyway, I promise to eventually get back to some crafty posts.  I did make some cards as custom orders, and I was holding on posting them since I'm not sure if they were sent to the recipient just yet.  Thanks for sticking around!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Today is my 27th birthday!  As I woke up this morning, I had two thoughts:
  1. I'm so glad it's Saturday, so I can sleep in!
  2. Boo, it's not Saturday.  I wish I could stay home and make birthday cards (haha, for other people).
Alas, my day will not be a crafting day as the start of the school year this past Monday has taken up all of my free time.  I've been good and signing off around 10pm and having my head to my pillow by 11pm.  During the second half of the last school year, I would finish my lesson plans and grading as fast as I could and craft before sleeping, but that just hasn't been a possibility just yet.

This year, my fiance and I decided not to get each other birthday presents or Christmas presents (hehe, or at least not big ones because we're saving for annual passes to Disney World!).  He got me goodies that I really wanted, but I actually have them at school so I can't post a picture.  I'll try to get pictures of them today.  He did email Disney, and they mailed him a birthday button for me!  I can't wait to get it on Saturday!

Regardless, I look forward to this year of being 27 (even though I keep forgetting how old I am and sometimes have to ask my fiance)!  It's my last birthday as Miss Love and Sushi because next year, I will be a Mrs. come May!  That also means my honeymoon at Disney World is approaching, which will be a huge event that I really want to scrapbook!  Haha because we all know, everything comes back to crafting (even when we don't have the time right now to do it!). 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 10 Years

Today pains me.  As my dad watched part of the memorial ceremony this morning before we left for church, my eyes filled with tears, so I had to just walk away.  Though I didn't lose anyone I knew personally, there are so many around me that have.  Hearing the names being read out loud makes me sick because it just makes the reality of each individual life that was lost more prominent.  I think all New Yorkers carry this day around with them day in and day out.

In September 2001, I was a senior in high school.  It was going to be a great year finally being at the top of the school!  I remember walking from one side of the school to the other through the hallway that passes the library.  My friend walking in the opposite direction said, "Someone just flew a plane into the WTC," and I casually replied, "Probably terrorists."  When I heard "plane," I didn't think about the large passenger planes; I was thinking about the really small ones that you take to islands or even a 2-seater.

When I arrived at my next class, however, I began to understand what really happened as my teacher shared with the class what he knew so far.  There was no way we could do any work especially since one of my fellow classmates was in tears trying to call and locate her mother who worked there.  That day, it was difficult to get in contact with anyone by cell phone.  Then I realized that WTC was very close to where my father worked, and I started worrying.  There was nothing we could do at that point but just wait for more news.  It was a really uneasy feeling as we didn't know if that was all of it.  Was anything else planned?  Were we safe where we were?

We weren't allowed to leave the school and go home.  The only way we could leave was if our classes were done (we had to show our schedules) or a parent had to pick us up.  I went to each class, and all we could do was just sit there.  I remember my AP Biology teacher tried to make us work because he said there was nothing we could do about it.  I don't know if he was trying to distract us or trying to distract himself.

When I finally made it home and saw that my dad was home and okay, I was relieved.  He made it on one of the ferries after meeting up with my aunt, and they came back to Staten Island together.  My aunt worked MUCH closer to the towers, and when the planes hit, they were told to stay in place.  My aunt disregarded that and left right away, thank God.  They were in the city when the towers collapsed, and they couldn't see a thing in front of them.  My dad said that when he held his hand right in front of his face, he couldn't see it.  I can't even imagine what that must've been like.  I had to stop watching the news footage after a while because it was day after day of sadness.  I do remember that I started watching the TV show Third Watch during those next few months as they included 9/11 in their storyline as they film in NYC.

I saw the news footage, and I knew the world would never be the same again.  That Sunday before, I had my eyes closed while on the Manhattan Bridge.  Every other Sunday before that on our way to church, I'd look out the window to stare at those two buildings and how they soared over all the other skyscrapers.  I couldn't believe that I would never be able to lay eyes on WTC again.  I thought about the time when my aunt took my mom and me to Windows on the World at the top of the North tower.  I remember how they at first didn't want to allow me to go up because I was wearing white Keds with my summer dress instead of fancy shoes.  I ordered chicken pot pie, and it was the fanciest chicken pot pie I had ever eaten.  Looking down at the streets was a view that I'll never forget.  But knowing that there were so many that jumped from the building from that height makes me nauseous.

My middle school students don't remember that day.  They were too young.  Even my younger brother doesn't remember it because he was just a baby.  When we had memorial ceremonies at school during the prior years, they'd fidget or act as if it were a lighthearted issue even though our school family would go up to the microphone to announce the names of those loved ones they lost.  I hate that they don't respect the day, and I also hate that they have to grow up in this world (even if they may not know it as any different).

Year after year, the world remembers what happened.  For those in NYC, it's more than just an annual memory.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Lure of Paints

I'm a paper crafter.  I've always been into paper crafting since I was really young.  I use stamps and now the Cricut, but that's pretty much it.  I don't explore other mediums rather often.  That's part of the reason why I started The Greeting Farm's HeART Journaling because I wanted to be "forced" to try new things without worrying about making a mistake.*  Paint is one thing that doesn't seem as if it's made for me because it's a bit too free form!  I'm not artistic; I'm crafty!

Well, our crafty friend Martha is making that a bit difficult for me though!

Back in August, Howard accompanied me on a trip to Michaels.  We were just taking our time and walking around when we saw the paint aisle had changed since the last time we had been there.  They were stocking the aisle with new products by Martha Stewart!  Wait, glittery paint?  Um, I want some!

I don't know what I'd do with any of these paints, but putting glitter or shine or shimmer in anything definitely lures me!  Maybe I'll look into wood pieces or other things around the house to up-cycle or alter.  No, I haven't purchased any yet, and I don't intend to, but boy, I always love looking at all the new products and tools she makes (haha, even though I'm not a fan of actually watching her).

*Alas, I have dropped out after week 5.  I debated it for a while and discussed it with Howard.  I was having issues doing the assignments because although I had fun doing them and was happy to complete them, it hung over my head like a homework assignment with the Thursday due date.  I knew that if I was feeling that way during the summer, it'd be even worse during the school year.  Now that I've been back to work for 3 days (teachers only), I'm glad I made that decision.  Too much to do!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Crafting with Irene

Last Friday was a very different Friday than the one I just had tonight.  Tonight I watched the Pink by Design September release on Ustream!  Last Friday, I was nervous about Hurricane Irene as I was rushing to clean my room.  One of the things I did on Saturday as I continued to tidy up was say goodbye to my Cricut.  To the left, you can see my Cuttlebug.  And you can see that my Gypsy wire is always connected to my Cricut too!  I <3 my Gypsy!  And I'm totally going off topic here ...

I have an air conditioner somewhat close to my Expression, so I wanted it packed in the box so that there'd be no possibility of water damage or anything like that if those worst case scenarios in my head actually occurred.  The last time my E was in the box was when I brought it home!

The rain began coming down on Saturday.  It was like a regular rainy day.

However, the nighttime was a totally different story with the intense winds and the tornado watch.  I was awake from 3:30 to 6:30am before I finally fell back asleep.  Around 11am, I woke up and all seemed so calm outside except for a little bit of wind!  We had survived!  Phew!  Later that day around 5pm, the winds were really intense again, and we ended up losing power.  I was exhausted from the crazy early morning, so I ended up napping before dinner.  Silly me; I should have spent that time crafting when I still had daylight!  

After dinner, my family was supposed to watch a movie on the little DVD player that was charged, but we couldn't agree on anything that we all wanted to watch.  Haha, this is probably why we don't do the whole family movie night thing.  With nothing to do to occupy my time and no desire to sleep EXTREMELY early, I decided to craft ... in the dark!  I had a crank flashlight and a Sabbath candle (hehe, we're not Jewish).  In this picture, you can see just how dark it was!  No one had any lights at all.  The red you see there is from an emergency vehicle that was just driving around the neighborhood.  I took the opportunity to take the picture so that you could see the contrast.  It was especially odd for me because there's a street lamp that shines into my window because I'm at the front of the house on the top floor.  Strange!

Well, I decided to challenge myself and see if I could make a card in the dark.  I was excited to have something to do!  I couldn't craft at my little table though because I recently brought up the breakfast tray for crafting, and I had it set on top of my table so it'd be off the floor during the storm.  I didn't want to deal with that so I actually crafted on the low table since my Cricut wasn't there.  It was also easier to sit on the floor too and have much more room around me. 

Obviously I could only stamp, and I wasn't about to deal with my Stamp-a-ma-jig in the dark since I often had to hold the flashlight in one hand to see, so I chose a clear stamp.  I bought this Inkadinkado set just a week or so prior to the storm when AC Moore had their 50% off ALL clear and wood mounted stamps (I purchased a TON!).  I went with the little chocolate covered strawberry!

I then chose to use Pink by Design's "Big Thoughts" set since I figured it'd be a lot easier to stamp than thinner text.  I wanted a longer word because I knew I wanted to stamp 3 strawberries.  Once my stamp was chosen, I put it on my block and pulled out Memento ink.  I just gotta say just how wonder Memento is!  I read reviews before buying ink, and many suggested Memento and StazOn.  I had been using StazOn all this time but needed Memento for Copics.  I love both of them, and they both work better with certain stamps, but I really am happy that I can use a black ink sometimes and not have to worry about getting high on fumes, haha.

I chose "CELEBRATE" because who doesn't love celebrating birthdays, wedding, anniversaries, and days ending with "y" with chocolate covered strawberries?

Then I stamped those 3 strawberries.  One for me, two for you.  I mean, two for me, one for you.  I mean, three for me.  Haha.  In actuality, I don't like ALL chocolate covered strawberries.  They're not all created equally.  Sometimes the chocolate just doesn't meld well with the fruit.  Ooo, chocolate covered pineapple, on the other hand, is just absolute yum!

I colored the strawberries in with Bic Mark-It markers in ultra-fine because I was not about to deal with Copics bleeding all over the place.  Plus, these were small, and I wanted to have more control over it.  You can also see the candle in this picture.  It didn't stay lit for long because I kept wanting to leave my room, and as we all know, we're not to leave candles unattended!

The card needed something more, so I used my Martha Stewart Ribbon Loop punch.  I initially wanted the strips to go vertically, but in my trimming, I used the wrong measurement!  Whoops!  I wasn't about to dig for another paper in my scrap stash, so I just trimmed it to fit the top and bottom.

Here's the completed card!  It's not as fancy as other cards, but at the same time, I really do like CAS (clean and simple) cards so maybe it kind of sort of is!  The blackout gave me a reason to stick to my favorite CAS.

I lied.  I wasn't done.  It still needed something else, so I decided to put Glossy Accents on the chocolate part the next day in the light.  Then I thought, "I can't say I did all of it during a blackout with a flashlight," so I pulled out that lovely glossy stuff and applied by flashlight!  Silly me shook the bottle before I remembered that you're not supposed to shake it because of bubbles!  I had one small bubble, but I was able to pop it.

I still had time before heading to bed, so I put together another card.  I don't quite know why it won't rotate because I fixed it in Photobucket.  Oh, you can also see that I got tired of taking pictures of everything, so this is the final shot. Haha.  The stamp was from the same Inkadinkado set, and the sentiment is from Pink by Design's "Simply Everything," if I'm not mistaken.  I made the patterned paper with some Versamark ink and a stamp.  Don't you just love Versamark?  I didn't think I could make a tiny bow using the comb/fork method while it was that dark, so I just put the first piece of ribbon on and taped it to the back before taking another piece to tie a bow.

Alas, I STILL had some time to craft!  I decided to stamp these pieces of candy and the "EAT CANDY" phrase on 2.75x2.75" cardstock for 3x3 mini cards.  I colored them in quickly since I only did 5.  At this point, I was done.  I was happy with what I had done and thought it was quite the crafting adventure!

Special thanks goes to my pig rechargeable flashlight as seen in the picture above (the two lights come out of its snout).  I couldn't have done it without you!