Sunday, May 31, 2009

the end to soccer season--sunday showcase is back

One final, BIG, kick off by Miss Shelby.
Coming through the post game tunnel. That is her in the way back, the third green girl.
And the team, at our house, after the game for a little pool party celebration. How is this for 6 little pieces of cuteness?! They were lined up to get their trophies from Dave, who you can see holding one in the background.

And after a long absence, the return of the sunday showcase. Below are a list of current freebies and giveaways on the www. It takes so little time, and YOU could win. Seriously, I won something from House of 3 last week!

House of 3: Silver Bag
Imperfect: Zippered Pouch
Sew Mama Sew: huge list of blogs with fabric/sewing related giveaways
Blue Finch Studios: free downloadable card
Designer Digitals: weekly freebies that coordinate with the challenges
Sew Mama Sew: free fabric giveaway

Good luck and enjoy checking these sources out.
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

my little girl is growing up

layout credits: taylor made designs and designer digitals
This one, she has been a handful pretty much since the word go. It is well documented too! But slowly, and now surely, I am noticing a great change in her maturity and disposition. It is a welcome change and one that means she is growing up.

Now, that 4 year old sister of hers needs an exorcism b/c she whines just about all day long!! As I am fond of saying: good thing she is cute!
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Friday, May 29, 2009

making an impressive teacher's gift

for not alot of cash!!

(Ok, this is a complete knock off of the same post I made over at the Blue Finch Studios blog. I think it is good enough that it bears repeating here!)

Here, is a wrapped set of 5 YOUprint notecards. Mine are a variety, but you can certainly just buy one style and do the same thing. I used tulle I had to wrap them which I think is especially festive. You can buy this at your local craft store from a roll so it is the correct width, you just cut it like you would ribbon.
To take it up another notch, you can add a little tag from one of the sets. I punched a tiny hole in the corner, and attached the tag to the tulle with a small safety pin.
Invitation size envelopes are readily available at office supply stores, usually in white. For a colorful variety, check out an online vendor like Paper-Source. I found it was easier to attach the labels directly to each envelope in order to package them up neatly.

In the next day or so, I will show you a very fun, creative way to package up a set of gift tags. Thanks for reading.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

finally-a true crockpot success!

(photo from Woman's Day)
If you have read my blog for awhile, you may recall that although I just will not turn my back on the crockpot concept, it seems each thing I try has a funky taste that I just don't love. Well, the recent Woman's Day magazine had crockpot recipes with the gist being you can make a meal and not heat up the whole kitchen. It is hot and humid in Ohio this week. Hot and humid like Florida but without the ocean breeze!

So, I gave the Chinese Orange Beef a try and it was quite good. The sauce had a wonderful, orangey taste. It is sweet, so if that is not your thing, maybe add red pepper flakes? I did use stew meat, and that kinda tasted like a pot roast to me so I think maybe sirloin would be a bit better. Not sure you can cook that to death though. Also, adding the veggies at the very end kept them super crisp and bright. With brown rice on the side, it was one quick, tasty meal. Pin It

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

a very weird dream

I had the strangest dream last night about moving into this old apartment (formerly inhabited by a very old woman) and when I got there it was still full of her things (oh and I was alone, no family, a single girl, I was, in this dream). And the things were so appealing to milk glass bowls and dishes, vintage sheets and pillowcases, really old furniture with lots of character, some begging to be re-finished. I woke up this morning nearly laughing b/c I think it stems from my new fondness for blogs that focus on vintage and me acquiring a taste for such things. I mean, I am the person who bought vintage sheet fat quarters on etsy afterall! Right after I woke up, it was all very vivid. But as they day wore on, I forgot about the dream.(photo from craftzine)

And then I ran across this photo and I tell you, this EXACT PRINT, was in my dream. Weird. I cannot even begin to interpret what this all could mean. I do know this much, I will be making a little pillowcase laundry bag :)

In other news....check out all the new etsy listings over there --------------------> from the Blue Finch Studios shop. You can get a freebie from the blog but I highly recommend purchasing a set that includes the labels. Printing on the sticker sheets is just plain fun! These would make awesome teachers' gifts. I can guarantee no one else will have the same gift and you will be the coolest mom in the school. GUARANTEED. Just print out a set of 4 or 6 or 8 and tie them up with a bow. Pin It

Sunday, May 24, 2009

yum! and introducing Blue Finch Studios...

Grilled vegetables. Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Asparagus.

This is my second batch in one week. Last time I also did Red Peppers.

About 3-4 weeks ago, I attended a dinner at the Hilton in downtown Cincinnati. My fancy friend Jen was giving a speech and invited me as her guest. She did great! But let me get back to the food. The appetizer was a HUGE platter of roasted vegetables, garlic hummus and pita bread triangles. Can I just say this was likely the most tasty thing I had ever had from a hotel, catered event? I knew I had to recreate this at home and so...I did. You can grill up (or roast in the oven) a bunch of veggies, lightly coated in Olive Oil (and I have been adding Seasoned Salt) and they will keep for days. Yummy snacking and many lunches can follow.

Stay tuned tomorrow. I will have a link to the new Blue Finch Studios blog where you can download our first YouPrint freebie notecard. Not sure what a YouPrint card is? Read about it at the new, soon to expand, Blue Finch Studios etsy shop! You can also find that by clicking on the badge at the right. Who is Blue Finch Studios? Blue Finch Studios features the awesome creations of my forever friend, and former college roommate, Susan Young. We have teamed up to bring YouPrint to the world!! Sue is beyond creative. Check back frequently for many new innovative products and ideas.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

pool: officially open

The temperature outside was certainly hot enough but the pool water was quite cool. As you can see, that does nothing to stop the under 13 crowd. Not one adult got in.
Funny face #1.
Funny face #2.
Summer footwear.
Mass chaos. Seriously. At one point, there were fourteen kids in the pool! And we were not having a party. Just neighbors popping in & out, friends of neighbors, friends of kids, kids' a kid, there a kid, everywhere a kid, kid.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

oh my gosh--look what i won!!

I cannot quite explain the thrill when I saw this on Heidi's blog. It was like my name in lights, or better if you are me and get a huge high from digital scrapbooking stuff like I do! As the resident room mom, this is about to be put to good use.

Thanks Heidi. Check out Hof3 for a boatload of cool things. (my blog banner is a freebie from there!) Also, check out her blog and what she did with this kit: teachers' gifts. Pin It

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I met Diane Keaton last night...

and this is the only photographic evidence I have! A strawberry dressed in a chocolate tuxedo that I picked up at the reception following her Smart Talk Media presentation! Seriously, it was a no picture taking event, however, there was a professional photog there, who took two pics of my friend Amy, myself and the incomparable Diane Keaton. As soon as there is a link available online, it WILL BE HERE b/c seriously, how many times in life am I going to have this kind of brush with fame?!

More about Diane...she was a wonderfully charismatic and genuine speaker. Her presentation was peppered with slide shows, many of which, featured her own, personal home videos. Her personality was as I imagined, similar to many of the roles she has played on the big screen.

I think what resonates most with me is her passion for pictures, journals, telling a story, documentation---all the things I subscribe to in my real life. Had I not attended last night, I would not have known we both shared this passion along with an amazing and overwhelming love for our Mothers and our Children. Her stories were heartfelt and reminded me to continue doing what I love...taking pictures and documenting the life of me and my family.

What a fun night and wonderful, out of the ordinary experience, to have enjoyed. My thanks to Smart Talk Media for including me. Each speaker brings something new to the table and puts a spin on their story making it especially appealing, and relevant to women. Last night, being part of the sisterhood surrounding me in the audience (including my VERY dear friend Amy) was just an awesome experience. I look forward to the 2010 series!
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the people i love...

Right here...MANY of the people in my life who fill my heart up. So glad we all come together each year to visit the Butterfly Show. The butterfly pics in the post below are beautiful, but this crazy mob is what it's all about.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

extreme close ups: butterfly show edition

There is no place I love using my 50mm 1.8 lens more than the annual Buttefly Show at the Krohn conservatory. It is a picture taking haven. I was laughing about all the deja vu type moments as I feel like I have taken alot of the photos before in years past. The flowers were new though and I totally love how these came out. I also tried a new way to sharpen my pics for the web. Leave me a note if it is worth the extra steps meaning "yes, these do look crisper to me!".
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

rejoice: an angel

click to view larger--strongly suggested
Bless my soul, this is one of the sweetest captures of last weekend. I am going to print this out as a 12x12 scrapbook page. I think the simple treatment is plenty as the picture of this lovely girl, holding her prayer book, decked out in her white gown and veil, french tips on her fingers...says quite enough.

The word art is from Taylor Made, date from Designer Digitals, ttv overlay from Elaine Turola. All freebies downloaded from 08 and 09. I also used the 70's action on the photo from Pioneer Woman. Free, too.

As you are reading this, I should be at the annual Butterfly Show taking awesome photos, or so I hope.
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Blue Finch Studios

I am partnering with my ultra creative friend, Susan Young, to bring some new things to the blogging public. Heck, we are targeting the entire world wide web!
Last year, Susan, a graphic designer by trade, introduced a unique line of stationery: Wee Tidings. The product is excellent and the packaging is too cute to pass up! Our goal is to introduce a new line of products, but bring them to you in a new way...through pdf files you download straight to your own computer. What does that mean? Instead of ordering and waiting for a product to be delivered, you will download a file and be able to use it instantly (remember, I am a BIG FAN of instant gratification!). Not only that, you can use them over and over. Our ideas include cards, tags, calendars, bookmarks and we will not stop there. We also hope that the Blue Finch blog will become a resource for crafty and design ideas that Sue and I create in our everyday lives, plus those we find from other sites online.
Stay tuned to Little Birdie Secrets for a special giveaway the week of May 25th and the unveiling of some new ideas. In the meantime, check out the new Blue Finch Blog for updates and FREEBIES. Pin It

Friday, May 15, 2009

marshmallow pops

Not really sure who to credit for this because I have seen them quite a bit on the web. The ones that stand out in my mind, were marshmallows covered in milk chocolate, with red and green sprinkles, packaged in a cute cello bag at Christmas. Those might have been to accompany a hot chocolate type of gift. Note to self: do this at Christmas.
Anyway, I bought lollipop sticks early on in my party planning with hopes of doing these, or if I really applied myself, some cupcake pops ala Bakerella. This chick is seriously creative.
Moving on...I settled on covering the marshmallows and I just winged it and they worked so well, I made more last night as teachers' gifts!

Step 1: Melt a can of vanilla icing. I used a coffee mug so it would be tall and deep, offering the best coverage. Simple stick your stick into a large marshmallow, dip, swirl and let the excess run off.
Step 2: Sprinkle with fun sprinkles. Now you can either lay these flat on waxed paper to dry and harden a bit OR poke them into a Styrofoam ball...which is what I did here.
Step 3: Keep adding marshmallow pops to your Styrofoam ball. I covered mine with glass florist marbles to weight the Styrofoam into my container. Again, just something I came up with on the fly. In the end, I also added ribbons to some.
As you can see (by clicking on the above photo to view larger) they made an nice addition to my candy bar. They were actually the biggest hit and the first thing gone that night. I was thinking they would be sweet OVERLOAD and counted on them more for their cuteness factor, but honestly, I sampled one last night, and they are good in an over the top, sweet kind of way.

As for that kid in my photo, I really have no explanation for him :)

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

" i turned around twice and she was grown"

My neighbor used this saying years ago, I had never heard it, but I understand it. Today, Shelby graduated from pre-school and my 5 year career as a pre-school mom ended. Wow. Suddenly, it is like it flew by. It seems like just yesterday I was carrying Shelby in the car seat, dropping Olivia off there.
Anyway, Shelby asked to see "those books in my office today" (her scrapbooks) so we took a stroll down memory lane together.

Here is a scan of a layout from my paper scrapping days. Shelby spent about 24 hours in the nicu. That photo above is the view I had when they wheeled me into the nursery in a hospital bed, straight from the recovery room following my c-section. She made a fast escape from that place, thank goodness.
Here she is at 5weeks old. I think this was even published in a book or magazine. (This is also a scan which is why beauty appears to be spelled incorrectly) My friend Amy and I took all kinds of naked baby photos out in my garage. Relax, it was August and blazing hot so no babies were harmed during our experiment!
I also kept a 6x6 pregnancy journal which is so fun to look back at as well. This was me at 18wks pregnant. I look more thick than pregnant, huh?!

And here is my sweet girl today holding her pre-school certificate/diploma. Next stop on this ride? Kindergarten.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

check this out!

My friend Carla, a wonderful photographer hobbyist, who I sense is about to take the plunge into becoming a more serious business woman in this arena (lucky for the greater Cincinnati/NKY area) posted an hilarious photo on her blog. To read more, go here. To laugh out loud, look below:
Another totally great thing going on over at her blog...the GIANT photos. Love that! Miss Carla may be coming to pay a visit to me and the girls, camera in hand, and all I can think is yippee! Pin It

Monday, May 11, 2009

life 365: april

April 2009
I am 1/3 of the way done with my 2009 scrapbook pages for my "family album". So far, this is still something I am looking forward to doing each month, not dreading. I think alot has to do with the fact that what has happened is still current which helps lessen the dread factor about retelling the story properly, or just not wanting to go back in the "way back" vault to do them at all. Each month that I spend doing these pages, it really makes me want to document other stories in more depth. I have not yet set aside any time to do that but I want to. I have so many other good photos just calling out to be married with a story and few good scrapbooking products!

As a quick reminder, this template is from Designer Digitals and each month I am changing it up by turning the pages around and tweaking them slightly. The papers and elements are from We R Storytellers for the most part. The absolute best thing about this project has been limiting the products I am using. It makes the creation process go so much faster.
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

the smile that says it all...

The day went splendidly. Olivia was a joy. The day was beautiful. Church was lovely.

Olivia received a few gifts before she dressed and we headed to Mass. Receiving a $100 bill from Mama and Papa was a highlight. Is that a genuine smile or what?!
The only photo in church by a stained glass window even though I had thought long about all the gorgeous potential. That's OK, I can roll with it.
The dessert table, finished.
The buffet table, moments before 30+ descended upon it.

The night went perfectly. Big kudos to LaRosa's catering and delivery.

Now, I am trying to relax a little before tackling the rest of the clean up. Currently, I have a small child laying on the ground outside of my office sobbing, throwing one HUGE fit. Happy Mother's Day!
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Saturday, May 9, 2009

are you a Diane Keaton fan?

I am ! First, I love her sense of style. She has a signature look that I really adore.

And as an actress, I have enjoyed her in every role I have had the pleasure of seeing her play. An old favorite of mine, which many of you probably do not have at the top of your list, is Baby Boom, circa 1987. In 1987, I found myself working at a video store so this was one I played over and over. I have a few other sleeper hits from those days that I was quite fond of:
Stealing Home
Pretty In Pink
Anyway, back to Diane Keaton. She is speaking in Cincinnati on May 19 and tickets are still available. I cannot promise, but I have it on good authority, that you might want to continue checking back here if you like discounts! Hint. Hint. Pin It

Friday, May 8, 2009

the party is one day away

And here is some of the progress!
This table will actually house the dinner buffet. The garlands are from Martha Stewart.
Here is my pan of 24 iced cupcakes, done in a variety of coordinating designs. Many thanks to my neighbor for the instructions last week, making all of the icing for me and providing bags and tips. They turned out just adorable.
The treat boxes (also Martha Stewart) for people to fill with odds and ends from the dessert and candy bar/table.
I had my short lens on so it was hard to get far enough away to show the dessert table in progress but it goes a little something like this :)

I am beyond pleased with my OLIVIA banner now that it is in place, and there are 3 lanterns in all hanging above it. Again, those are from Miss Martha.

I have lots more cleaning to do in preparation and several more errands to run. I am off to do those now. I need to fill two tiers on that three tier cake stand and right now I have creme puffs for only one plate. I am headed to Madeira where there are two superb bakeries (Friedas and Ferraris) which I know will have some kind of white treats that will blend in just perfectly.

Olivia is really excited about what has transpired so far. I cannot believe this time in her life has arrived already. It seems I was just setting out desserts for her Baptism...which were from Ferraris!!
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