Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Expenses

John and I started a new budgeting system this month, which is working well so far. We each get a cash "allowance" for our wants, and eating out, and I knew that it was time for me to set a craft budget.

I am allowing myself to spend up to $40 a month on crafting supplies. Right now, that includes photo printing, our photo books and classes, but I do have some flexibility in my budget. We get enough money not to feel deprived, but we still have to think carefully about our purchases.

Early in the month, I spent $28 at Papertrey Ink. I split this order with a friend, so we qualified for free shipping. (Yay!) I bought white card stock, pink card stock, buttons, ribbon, and two small stamp sets. This was my first order from this company, and I am happy with the items.

Late in the month, I bought some letter stickers at Target. I did not watch the racks carefully, and they were $4.99, which is more than I like to spend on letter stickers. Next time I will check prices more carefully at Target.

I made it $7 under on my craft budget, but it will be tough to stick to the budget in September. There are a few online classes that I am interested in taking. Do I buy supplies or take classes???

Sunday, August 28, 2011


We had a fun Saturday with an impromptu trip Downtown. First, Alex wanted to explore the kitchen, and he likes to get his stool and says "high up."

We learned about Dinosaur Quest and headed Downtown to check it out. Alex had a blast running around and wanted to ride the dinosaur models...

We headed to Schilo's for lunch, which was very yummy.

Here is a look back at Alex's first trip to Schilo's in May 2009.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Today is the first day of classes at UTSA. Work has been crazy busy. Today is also my mom's birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! We went out for a yummy dinner to celebrate.

I ordered my mom's gifts from a relatively new site, Paper Coterie. I am really happy with the photo calendar and swatch photo book that I ordered. Ali Edwards and Jessica Turner shared products on their blogs if you are interested. A $40 coupon code is available through the end of the month, and you do still have to pay the shipping and handling. The details are here.

I am still slowly working on the words from the Big Idea Festival. I like that I can go at my own pace with an online class.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blog Hop Follow-Up

I worked this morning and then visited a friend, so I did not make it through the blog hop until this evening. There were many great layouts, cards, and photos that inspired me to use this color combination. I was able to think about using orange for more than just fall and Halloween projects.

I loved the card at Snaps and Snippets, and here is my interpretation:

Supplies Used
Card Stock: Papertrey Ink White, Stampin' Up! Peach Parfait
Patterned Paper: Stampin' Up! Designer Series Paper Patterns Pack - In Color (retired/hostess)
Stamps: Papertrey Ink Think Big Favorites #3 and Stampin' Up! Doodle This (retired)
Inks: Stampin' Up! Pear Pizzazz Marker, Memento Tuxedo Black, and Distress Ink Spiced Marmalade
Buttons: Papertrey Ink Spring Mix Vintage
Tools: Stampin' Up! Ticket Corner Punch and Square Lattice Embossing Folder
Misc: Flowers

August Color Combo Blog Hop

Welcome to the August Color Combo Blog Hop. If you have been following the hop, then you should have arrived from Sugar and Scrap.

Here is the August Color Combination from Design Seeds:

Now I have a confession... I did not make a new project for this month. Instead, I thought more about the process of using a color combination.

For some reason, this color combination makes me think about fall. It certainly does not feel like fall is coming to South Texas anytime soon! Maybe I will be more inspired to use these colors more when the it cools down here.

I also find it difficult to use the color orange. I do not use it often, but I did find a couple of past layouts using orange.

I mostly associate orange with Halloween and Fall. I am having a hard time breaking away from that, and I want to buy this stamp set mainly to color the pumpkin orange: This is a good pumpkin stamp too: I may have to work a pumpkin stamp into my fall crafting budget.

I do have some supplies on hand that will work with this color combination. I have a mix of the card stock and some copic markers and colored pencils. Orange with a hint of yellow would work well when coloring some flowers.

This is as far as I got for now. When I have some more free time, I hope to make a project with this color combination. For now, I would love to hear about how you decide to use different color combinations in your paper crafts. Please leave me a comment and continue on the hop. The next stop is Sue Althouse.

Here is the entire hop list: (You are here.)

Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Today's word for the Big Idea Festival is wonder from Tami Morrison. In contrast to yesterday's post, I do not have anything specific to share. Sometimes it is helpful just wonder to ourselves. In my late twenties, I thought that I would have life all figured out in my thirties. Oh, I was wrong! But, it is the questions, the challenges, and the changes that keep us moving forward. I wonder...

Monday, August 15, 2011


The (free) Big Ideas Festival began today at Big Picture Classes. Today's instructor is Amy Tan and the word is share.

I am hesitant to take on too many projects during the summer since work is so busy. This class appealed to me because it is FREE and I can use supplies that I have on hand. I think that I am going to make a mini album using Becky Higgins 3x4 journaling cards. (I bought them from, but her stuff is being restocked this fall.)

I immediately thought of my blog for this word. This is the place that I can share with my friends and family both near and far. I enjoy sharing my pictures, stories and creations.

Journaling Cards: Becky Higgins
Ink: Riding Hood Red & Chocolate Chip from Stampin' Up!, Chestnut Roan Color Box chalk ink
Stamps: Pedaling Past from Stampin' Up!
Letter Stickers: Reflections

Project of the Week #8: New Card Size

When I started making cards on a regular basis, I gravitated to the "standard card size" of 5 & 1/2 x 4 & 1/4 inches. I was inspired by the CAS-ual Fridays Blog to try a new card size, 9x4 inches. The appeal of this card size is that it will fit in a business envelope. It does take a couple of trys to get used to this size, but it is fun to play with some new layouts and options. I really like using letter stickers right now.
Supplies Used
Card stock: Tempting Turquoise, Kraft and Whisper White (textured) from Stampin' Up!
Ink: Broken China Distress Ink from Tim Holtz
Embossing folder: Tim Holtz Retro Circles
Stamp: Hero Arts Graph Background
Tools: Sizzix Big Shot & We R Memory Keepers Corner Chomper
Letter Stickers: Glitz Designs

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday Morning

Alex wanted to help me wash the dishes. He was helpful and nothing was broken!

Now he is watching Elmo. He is a kid who "zones out" when watching TV and videos. He has John's Xbox controller and my "baby."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

10 Things We Love about Living in San Antonio

These are in no particular order.

1. It is a big city with a small city feel.
San Antonio’s growth really took place after the 1968 Hemisfair. The city retains the feel and friendliness of a smaller city. As long as you can avoid rush hour, you can get around the city quickly. During the week, we can get to work in 10 minutes and on the weekends we can be in Downtown or Alamo Heights in 20 minutes.

2. So Many Good Restaurants!
This is not always good for the waistline or pocketbook, but it sure is fun to go out to eat around here.
Favorite Pizza: Rome’s Pizza
Favorite BBQ: Rudy’s
Favorite Deli: Shilo’s
Favorite Tex Mex: I could not pick just one...

3. The city has a unique character.
San Antonio has been influenced by Texas, the South, Mexico and German immigrants. All of this mixes into a culture that I don’t think can be replicated. Where else can you find the Alamo, Riverwalk, and surrounding Hill Country towns?

4. Spring, Fall and Winter
When it is not 100 degrees, the weather here is great.

5. Our Friends
We have made great friends here. They are the friends that you can have fun with who will also be there for you when you need them. We are grateful for the friends we’ve made over the past seven years.

6. Having Family Here
John's sister lived here for a few months and now my parents live here. We’ve tried to persuade more family to move down but no luck so far...

7. We’ve created a home here
We been in our house for five years and have slowly made it our own. (Well, Alex’s stuff quickly took over when he arrived!) It has been satisfying to work on projects including Alex’s room, the garden, and the shed, and we have many more to do. (I’ve torn down about half the wallpaper in the master bathroom...) We have good neighbors and can walk to the swimming pool and playground.

8. Being part of UTSA
I started working at UTSA in 2004, and John was not far behind in 2005. We have both held a couple of positions within the university, but we have been “part of the university” from day one. We have seen the campus continue to grow and change over the past 7 years. We are now watching the University start a football team and have our season tickets.

9. There is so much to do in San Antonio
We have lived here for seven years, and I still have a list of things I want to do here. We still need to visit Sea Word, The Witte Museum, and the Children’s Museum. There are fun annual events including Fiesta San Antonio and the Texas Folklife Festival.

10. There is so much to do just a short drive from San Antonio
There is the Hill Country and Austin within an hour or hour and a half from the city. In a few hours, you can be on the beach.

Fore more "10 Things" posts, visit Coincidentally, she wrote ten things about her city today.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Papertrey Ink

I listened to the newst Papertrey Radio podcast while making a card tonight. My call was aired about 7 minutes in and was a response to the following question:
"Do you try to vary the stamps and sentiments you give to one recipient? How do you keep track? Or is it just something you don't worry too much about."

I realized that I do not vary my sentiment stamps much. I have a few "go-to" sets that I use over and over again. I am assuming that my recipients do not notice since I do vary the color, style, paper, etc.

I actually just placed my first order with this company, Papertry Ink, and purchased a couple of sentiment stamps to add to my collection. I'm tracking my craft spending and will blog at the end of the month about how I did with with the new budget.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

This Morning

At about 7:15 AM, I heard this over the baby monitor:
"Mommy... where are you?"

"Mommy, open the door... now."

Friday, August 5, 2011

Conversations with Alex

Here is a morning conversation that Alex and I have most mornings when I get him up:
Mommy: How did you sleep?
Alex: Big Boy Bed
(Alex does not seem to now exactly what "how" means yet, but he often reminds me that he sleeps in a big boy bed now.)

Another morning conversation while getting dressed:
Alex: Car shirt?
Mommy: Sorry, it's dirty
Alex: Let's wash it!

For some reason Alex approaching two and a half next month sounds older to me. I am not ready for him to be two and a half yet...

Alex is pictures on 7/23/11 wearing Grandma's sandals.

Monday, August 1, 2011

August Happiness Blog Hop

Welcome to the August Happiness Blog Hop organized by Scrapworthy Lives to connect the lessons of The Happiness Project and scrapbooking.

This month's theme is Buy Some Happiness and you should have arrived from Scraps & Sass if you are hopping along.

When I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I enjoyed this chapter. This blog hop challenged me to relate the chapter to scrapbooking and crafting, but you can follow along on this hop and Gretchen's blog without reading the book. This topic is timely as my husband and I have been discussing a new family budget. Gretchen's key points from the chapter are to:
1. Indulge in a modest splurge
2. Buy needful things
3. Spent Out
4. Give something up.

Two "modest splurges" from the past year or so came to mind as I typed up this post. The first splurge was the "My Digital Studio" software, which allows me to make digital scrapbook pages with less stress. I find the software more intuitive than Photoshop Elements, and I can jump back into using it after taking a break. I am happy with this splurge. My second modest splurge was the Big Shot die cutting machine. I resisted buying a die cutting machine for a while, but this one has been worth the cost. I can use it for both card making and scrapbooking, and I love it.

Gretchen discusses the balance between overbuying and underbuying as it relates to "buying needful things." This is a challenge for many of crafters that I know, including myself. It is easy to overbuy, and it is also easy to get stuck during a project when you run out of a necessary item such as adhesive. After paper crafting for a few years, I learned from the experience about over and under buying. I learned not to overbuy themed items. (I bought way too much stuff for my wedding album...) I learned to stock up on some basics including quality card stock and lots of adhesives. (I have a drawer dedicated just to adhesives and another one full of card stock.)

Stephanie wrote a great post about "spending out" on Scrapworthy Lives recently. For me, spending out has been about donating craft items that I am not using. I try to purge my supplies a couple of times a year. I am a happier crafter when I can focus on using products that I enjoy. It also helps me keep my supplies confined to a smaller space. I do not find myself missing the items that I have given away, and I hope that someone else is able to use them.

For two and a half years, I participated in a Stamp Club with a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator, but I gave it up last spring. Through the club, I fell in love with stamping and card making. I learned many new techniques and made dozens of cards and projects. For the club, you agreed to spend $25 per month on product (not including shipping and tax.), and received their "hostess benefits" about twice a year. Over time, I built up a nice collection of stamps and supplies. I was continually impressed with the quality of products offered by the company. Unfortunately, I rarely stuck to just my $25 order. I found it too easy to buy more than I needed each month, so I gave up Stamp Club last spring. I have continued to stamp and shop, but I have been able add in products from other companies. I have enjoyed trying some different supplies and experimenting and learning on my own over the last few months.

My husband is supportive of my hobby and has not been surprised by the money that has been spent on paper crafting. As we put together our new family budget, I knew that it was time for me to set a crafting budget for myself. Even though my craft spending what not causing conflict between us, it is too easy for those little purchases to add up over time. I have set a limit of $40 per month on crafting, including supplies and classes. If I want to purchase anything big, then I will need to "save up" for a few months. I think that this new plan will allow me to continue to find happiness in my hobby but also to be more aware of my spending.

Thank you for visiting my blog, and the next stop is a Slice of Life.

Here is the complete list of participants in case you missed any:
Scrapworthy Lives
Scrapping Mojo
Pie for Breakfast
Scraps & Sass
1200 Some Miles (You are here.)
Slice of Life
Our Life with Spiky Potatoes
Abstracts Mixed with Extracts
Your Memory Connection
Kiss and Tell Scrapbooking
Melissa's Blog

Week in the Life: Sunday

Alex slept in until 8:30 A.M., which is rare. After breakfast, he played with his new puzzle and some spatulas.

The toys continued to take over the family room, but they are now cleaned up at the end of the day.

Sundays are usually quiet days spent around home. Alex and I dropped off a donation to Goodwill and then put gas in my car. While Alex was napping, I took Frida to the vet for a check up.

After his nap, we went to the neighborhood playground.

Alex tried some corn on the cob at dinner. After dinner we Skyped with both my dad and brother, since my dad is visiting him for about a week.

Alex was being a difficult two year old today. He was moody and whiney at times and into everything. In the spirit on Sesame Street, the Word on the Street is No and today's blog post was brought to you by the letter A and the number 2.

This post wraps up The Week in the Life. It was my first time trying this project, and I learned two things. First, even a simply version of the project takes time and dedication. Second, I want to continue to work on my photography skills. I am still thinking about making a photobook from the week using the photos and blog posts.