Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Storybook Countdown - Epiphany Crafts

Hello! Wow, what a week! Getting sick followed by Thanksgiving is a good combination for not getting a lot of blogging done! But, the week was good (in the end) and I'm ready for a new one. Before Monday gets away from me, though, I wanted to post my latest project for Epiphany Crafts.

This year we are counting down to Christmas in a new way - with a Christmas Storybook Countdown. My boys all love to read, so I thought this kind of advent calendar would be a great fit for our family. Epiphany Crafts teamed up with Simple Stories, and I was given the Handmade Holidays collection to play with. I cut apart the title/journaling cards and created 25 tags, one for each book:

I embellished the tags with stars, banners and circles by Epiphany Crafts. I also added a bit of gold airmail washi to each one.

I wrapped up 25 storybooks in tissue paper and matching yarn, then clipped the tags in place.

I decided to use clothespins so that I can save and reuse the tags next year. No sense in tearing them with the wrapping, right?

Now my boys are getting excited for bedtime stories and Christmas. I hope this is something that turns into a tradition for us :). For more Simple Stories/Epiphany Crafts wonderfulness, stop by the blog here (and enter to win!). Thanks for stopping by today! I am sharing another advent calendar tomorrow, featuring one of my favorite holiday stacks by DCWV. See you then! Tessa

Attitude of Gratitude Day 26: I am grateful for my health, and the health of my family. I don't mind the little bugs we catch when I know how other families are suffering through incredible, physical hardships. I really can't complain and am truly blessed.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Family - The Studio

Hello! Attitude of Gratitude - Day 19: Today I am grateful for the written word because if you could hear me now, well, you wouldn't hear much. I'm going on day two of being voiceless, but I am feeling better today and am looking forward to checking off some easy things from my to-do list :). One of those things is to share my latest layout for The Studio:

My LSS announced that they were closing, so I decided to sub to Studio Calico. I already get great kits from my favorite place - Scrapbook Circle - but I figure the SC kits will help replace what I would have bought at my LSS. We'll see how it goes :). Anyway, this is my first project with SC kit(s).

This layout is based on a sketch challenge now up at The Studio:

I chose my background "tags" from my tag stash, then filled in the rest with SC supplies (and that awesome burlap heart from a past Scrapbook Circle kit). One of those tags is the back of some Studio Calico packaging.

If you'd like to play along, you can find the details here. Oh! And just a heads up - all the new Ruffle Blossoms and Satin Swirl flowers are now up in the shop :). That's what happens when you are forced to stay home all day - computer stuff gets done ;).

Well, I've got to go try to get the boys on task - without a voice. They're on break for Thanksgiving. All week. My dance skills are coming in handy with all the gesturing I have to do :). Have a great day! Tessa

My thanks to Shanna Noel for featuring this layout on her blog :). Thank you for your sweet, kind words!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fall Boots - SEI

Hello :). I'm sorry for being quiet the past couple of days. I thought I was dodging it, but now I think it's just slowly taking me over. Yep, I caught a bug. Hopefully it won't last long and I can get back to my routine with full energy soon. One bright spot for today, though, is my first post up on the SEI blog:

I used the Mirelle collection to create this layout about my new favorite shoes. I have been living in these boots this season. I love, love, love them! So comfy and warm :).

I think the foiled papers in this line are beautiful, so I used a couple of my favorites to create my title and the background piece. The velvet leaves are really great, too. I love the texture they add to the page.

You can find the post at SEI here. I hope you have a fabulous day, and really great weekend. I plan to sit down on Sunday and catch up on documenting my Attitude of Gratitude thoughts. I'm just a bit cloudy today and I think it deserves a more clear head :). Thanks for stopping by! Tessa

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My 3 Favorite Products from Zazzle

I have shopping on the brain :). Here are some things that caught my eye.



Please tell me that I'm not the only one who hasn't started their Christmas shopping yet ;). Have a good one! Tessa

Disclaimer: As thanks for my time and participation in writing this post, Zazzle did compensate me with a gift card. I'm off to shop - now you should, too! :).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happiness is a Grateful Heart - Epiphany Crafts

Epiphany Crafts challenged me to make a fall decor piece. Inspired by one of my favorite quotes about gratitude, I created this:

My fall decor consists of traditional autumn colors, with a bit of pistachio green thrown in. I wanted this project to be all about the green, so I pulled my favorite green-blue papers from Crate Paper's Acorn Avenue line (picked up via Scrapbook Circle). I used Epiphany Craft's round and button tools to create custom shapes, and I filled in the smallest spaces with rhinestones.

I love the sparkle! With all the natural fibers and materials in my fall display, it's fun to have a little bling now, too :). You can find my project at the Epiphany Crafts blog today. Be sure to enter to win their giveaway!

Attitude of Gratitude - Day 13: I am grateful for my boys' teachers. It always so happens that parent-teacher conferences happen during November, and after meeting with my boys' teachers, I am always reminded of how hard they work. I am grateful to them for their dedication to my children's education. And for their patience, and sense of humor. :) :) :)

Thanks for stopping by today! Enjoy your Tuesday :). Tessa

Monday, November 12, 2012


Day 10: I am grateful for the cub scout program. On Saturday, our pack put on a Veterans Appreciation night in conjunction with pack meeting. Several veterans from our area came and it was pretty amazing to see our 8, 9 and 10 year old boys talking to them about their service; saying thanks for their service; and serving them (ice cream!). I am grateful for a program that instills important values in our young men. I am proud of each and every one of the boys in our pack :).

Day 11: I am grateful for children. For the example they are to me. For all that I learn from them. Sunday was the Primary Program at church - a time when the children (ages 3 through 11) lead our main worship service. They sing, they read prepared messages that they wrote themselves and they (loudly into that microphone!) share their little (and yet, so large) testimonies with us. It was a beautiful program. I am so grateful for my children and the children that I get to work with through church, dance and school. Each one is absolutely amazing in their own, special way.

Day 12: I am grateful for Colten. Colten is my oldest, and the child most like me personality-wise. This often leads to parenting with greater understanding and increased patience because I tend to "get" him more than my other kiddos. I'm not the Colten-whisperer, though, so sometimes we have our moments. However, a very wise friend told me yesterday that even though I may not think he is listening, he really is. And he understands. He demonstrated this over the weekend. He was a rock star! He did his chores - willingly, happily. He did a great job in the Primary Program with his part. He was helpful at every chance he got. I just really, really appreciated him and his sweet spirit in our home the past few days. I am so grateful to be his mama.

I'll be back tomorrow with another fall/gratitude/thanksgiving project to share :). Thanks for stopping by! Tessa

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Girl Mini Album - Epiphany Crafts and My Little Shoebox

I had the pleasure of working with My Little Shoebox for a recent Epiphany Crafts project. I don't have a little girl, so I made a mini album for a friend with the darling My Little Shoebox papers I received:

I used 4x6 chipboard pages as my base. I simply covered each page with patterned paper and created a pocket on every other page with a patterned paper strip. I used the journaling cards as in between pages and tags.

I embellished the front with a MLS flower and Epiphany Crafts buttons and a vintage setting. I also used the buttons on the inside of the album. I love that they are dimensional, but also flat and completely custom - great for mini book embellishments!

Thanks to My Little Shoebox for the opportunity to play with your sweet, sweet products :). You can find the post at Epiphany Crafts here (and enter to win an EC/MLS prize, too!).

I've slipped in posting my Attitude of Gratitude thoughts here on the blog, but I have been posting them on Facebook and Instagram. It was a rough week with a pulled muscle in my back and a little boy with the flu, but it was a good week. Just one where I wasn't on the computer much ;).

Attitude of Gratitude - Day 6: I am grateful for the country I live in. I really, truly am.

Day 7: I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ because it gives me hope and peace.

Day 8: I am grateful for Jaxon. He does this thing where he blinks his eyes rapidly with a devious little smile when I'm trying to scold him. He knows it will make me laugh! I love this kid with all my heart and soul. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father saw fit to send him to me.

Day 9: I am grateful for my job. There is a lot of sad talk around here about jobs - strikes, unemployment, underemployment, etc. As a dance teacher, I am offering a service that is pretty much a luxury. I would imagine that it's one of the first things that gets cut when families are having a tough time. And yet, I have classes that are past their maximum and I have had to turn down private lesson students due to lack of time. I do not take this for granted one bit. I work hard to offer my students the best class every week. I love my job and my students know it. The income I am able to bring in to our family budget is a HUGE blessing and I am very, very grateful for it.

I hope you had a great week, too! Thanks for stopping by today :). Tessa

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vintage Chalkboard Calendar - SRM Stickers

I am guest designing at SRM Stickers today :). Susan sent me the new mini calendars to create with, and this is what I came up with:

I found this vintage chalkboard in an old home that was being remodeled. It had been colored on with markers and crayons, but otherwise was in good shape. I cleaned it up the best I could and realized that I still wasn't going to be able to use it as a chalkboard. I held onto it for quite awhile, and when the mini calendars arrived, I knew exactly what it would become - my 2013 calendar!

I embellished shipping tags with patterned paper by DCWV. This is the Sweet Blossom stack (my current favorite). I added wood veneer birds (Studio Calico), doilies (Freckled Fawn), and feathers. I also added some shiny gold sequins for a little sparkle.

The tray of the chalkboard is filled with flowers. The large orange and pink flowers are Prima, as well as the medium and small yellow flowers. The mustard felt roses are from my shop, as well as the denim Ruffle Blossoms.

It's flowery and girlie and I love it! Thank you to SRM Stickers and Susan and Jenyfur for inviting me to guest design. I really do love my SRM Stickers :). You can find my post at SRM here.

Attitude of Gratitude - Day 4: I am grateful that my passion for creating can help others. In the past week or so, beyond my normal hobby-creating and DT assignments, I have had the opportunity to bless several lives with something I have made. I'm grateful that I can be called on at 7:00 a.m. for a flower brooch to match an outfit; I'm grateful that I can whip up a Harry Potter wand at the eleventh hour for Halloween; I'm grateful that I could notice the upcoming birthday of a new friend and pull together something she loved. I'm grateful that something I love to do is also so useful to others. And I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father for entrusting me with this ability.

Attitude of Gratitude - Day 5: I am grateful for the many opportunities I have to create within the crafting industry. This past year I have been blessed to work with several new manufacturers. I will see my work in print and on store signage and even more at CHA this coming year. These opportunities have helped me grow in so many ways. The relationships that I am forming with fellow designers and companies are a huge blessing. And again, I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for entrusting me with the talent needed to be successful in these personal pursuits.

Have a wonderful Monday! Tessa

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Right Now

I'm doing a lot of introspection this month as I count my blessings, so I decided to make my page for The Studio today about where I am right now:

The challenge is to use die cuts. I used my Silhouette Cameo to make the green floral design and my title.

All the materials for this layout come from the November Scrapbook Circle kit, Harvest Moon, and add-on. I pulled the green and teal papers that matched my photos, but there are many other autumn colors in the kit. The "today" subtitle is an SRM Stickers sentiment :).

If you'd like to play along with the challenge, you can find all the details here.

As for Attitude of Gratitude, I decided that I wanted my daily gratitudes to come to me during the day. I don't want to pre-plan them. I want to be in a moment and then realize the blessing. So, many of my posts will likely come later in the day, or I might have to mention it the next day. Yesterday was my long day at the dance studio and I came home exhausted. The kiddos were full of energy, there were chores to do, dinner to make, and I just felt overwhelmed. And not very grateful :(. And then I realized what I was grateful for.

Attitude of Gratitude - Day 3: I'm grateful for the Sabbath Day, a day of rest. I'm grateful that one day of the week is set apart for family time, worship, and rest. Rest from the cares of the daily grind, rest from the to-do list, and rest from hard labor. I need this day to reset, regroup, and renew.

Thanks for stopping by today! I am sure that I will share my Day 4 gratitude a little later on if you're up for a return visit :). Have a good one! Tessa

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Little Lighter

Being a dancer, I didn't have a hard time staying fit and trim. That was before my boys. I gained a lot of weight with my first pregnancy (80 pounds!) due to complications, and then Carson was coming along before I had even lost a fraction of that. I allowed a busy schedule and stress to dictate what I ate over the next few years, which led to very little weight loss. Then came baby number three and since then I've been content to be "slightly overweight." People have told me that I look fine, but try working at a dance studio next to ballerinas. Yeah, slightly overweight resembles beached whale.

Over the past couple of years I've seen people in my life make positive, amazing changes and I finally realized I needed to make one, too. I literally woke up on October 1st and decided before I got out of bed to download an app that could help me keep track of my eating and exercise. I've stuck to it. I've learned as I've gone along. And good change is happening.

Jaxon took these photos a couple of days ago. The same day I woke up and was 10 pounds lighter. One month of dedication and I am now the weight I was when I got pregnant with Jaxon. Three months from now I'll be at my goal weight.

Attitude of Gratitude: Day 2 - Today I am grateful for my body. I am sorry that I haven't nourished it properly the past several years. My body can do some pretty amazing things (like break dance on mountain tops). To continue to treat it poorly would be very ungrateful behavior. I am grateful for the ability to carry children and for my post-pregnancy body, but I am also grateful for the tools at my disposal to get back on track. I don't need to look like my sweet ballerina teacher friends, but I do need to find the healthiest me and keep her around for as long as possible.

Now I'm off to bed. I just finished teaching for five hours and I have eight ahead of me in the morning :). Good night! Tessa

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gratitude Advent Calendar - GCD Studios

Hello to November! I love this month. It's always one of my favorites, year after year. This time around, we are approaching November and my Attitude of Gratitude project a little differently in our home. To involve my entire family on a daily basis, I made this advent calendar for GCD Studios. You may have seen it in the latest issue of The Paper Cut:

I simply decorated thirty little coin envelopes with the Splendor line and hung them by jute twine from a frame. Each day after school my boys will open an envelope to find a thought on thankfulness and an accompanying activity. Today's thought: "I am grateful for rainy days. Snuggle up with your family and read a good book." I've got pillows and blankets piled up on my bed. As soon as homework is done, it's snuggle time.

I am writing each day's gratitude and activity as we go. That way I can write something specific for the day and include an activity I know will fit into our schedule. Simple. Meaningful. Done :).

I really love the idea of recognizing blessings, expressing gratitude for them, and enjoying those blessings. I hope that at the end of the month my boys and I are more in tune with how much good stuff is in our lives. I think that will set us on the perfect path for December.

Attitude of Gratitude: Day 1 - I am grateful for friends - the women I know well, and the women I am just getting to know. I am grateful for their positive influences. I am grateful for their encouragement. I am grateful for opportunities I have to serve them. I am grateful for opportunities I have to work with them, to learn from them and to grow because of them.

What are you grateful for today? How will you act upon that? Have a good one! Tessa