Wednesday, December 30, 2015

App Happy

Well friends, Christmas has come and gone in what seemed like a flurry of preparations, sparkley lights, gift wrap and holiday outings. What's left is really fabulous: lot's of beautiful memories, telling photos, and well, gift wrappings. Oh, let's not forget the tunes still being joyously caroled about, and those Christmas cards!
This weekend I managed to devote some time to cleaning up my current albums. Current, meaning, these are the albums I'm currently still filling in with printed pictures and pretty papers. I always have two albums going; my most recently semi completed, and one that is current to the actual date and season.  There are lot's of unfinished pages in albums I started prior to the beginning of fall, but these two are the one's I'm focusing my attention on. This week at least :-)
So what does album clean up look like? Alas, I have no video, but I couldn't promise that if there were one, it would be very entertaining! Basically, I start with a stack of photos. Strike that, first I thumb through my album and try to put myself back in time a few months to remember the feeling of those days and some of the stories I'd intended to tell.
I've been hoarding our children's artwork as long as they've been making it and have started including some choice pieces within our family albums in clear plastic sleeves. There are gingerbread men drawings from school, fall leave wreaths, and then for our most recent pages, colored reindeer, snowmen, and holly berry clusters.  Slipping those in, where they seem to fit, ended up being a big part of what I accomplished too.
 With my photo stack, I go through the pages already created and slip extras in behind completed layouts. I can always add pages later, but I will not allow unused photos to hold me back (or taunt me by being on show). If there are empty spaces, I look for a large paper background that fits the feel of the photos, and put that in the sleeve too. Sometimes, I even go looking for the memorabilia I know I have lying around...somewhere.... okay, I'll go back for that later too.
There are times when I find I have all the necessary items for a page within an album sleeve. And so I stick it all together and call it done! And it doesn't always look "perfect"- so I turn the page and move on! Cause I'm in production mode, people! My glue is flexible, too if I need to go back and revisit that mess.
I was having such a good time scrappin, I hardly noticed that my few hours were up, and when I showed honey what I'd been up to, he commented, you did all that? Just now? and gave me the look... the one that says both, How did I get such a talented woman to document our lives, and How did you just spend 3 hours playing with paper? I had jazzed up 5 pocket page spreads, finished/completed 3 12x12 single pages, and even created three more from thin air. Thin air being comprised of tiny plant fibers. I used supplies I'd obtained at the Creating Keepsakes Convention last month. I didn't overthink or over embellish because I didn't want to travel the 25 feet to my craft room haha.
Best of all, I was having a really good time... like, unwrapping Christmas presents good time. Oh who am I kidding, it was like the WRAPPING presents time- I love the thrill of anticipating, what will they think of this?! so much more than, oh, that didn't go over well.
When my album is looking finished (to the untrained eye), I look for any more of those empty sleeve spaces. Our books almost always start right in with photos as opposed to a title page of any sort, but there are a few that have one, and this fall album I worked on ended up with a fun opening page. It's so simple, and lovely, and a great reminder, that all those things I have in the craft room do not have to go onto one page. There is one sheet of 12x12, one sheet cut down to 5x12, and a chipboard title that reads, Celebrate Together and a matching chipboard banner in the corner.

Some simple photo editing
courtesy of my Samsung Note3
 I love the way it looks so much, I went a little app-happy and filtered it to this sepia image. Now this pretty background has an extended viewing platform: my phone's lock screen! Next time you have a page you love and want to show it off, upload it as you facebook cover image- you may have to play a little bit to get your details on show, but any play is good play when its a scrappy -appy- day!
Now I want to know, friends, how do you transition from the happy holidays to the New Year and all the promise of that date change? Are there photos involved? Pretty papers (please say some sparkle)? Would you rather pull the blanket over your head an hibernate until the flowers bloom? I want to know, comment below~

Thursday, December 10, 2015

What to do with those Christmas cards!?

Our classes at the local youth hang out, Key Center's Red Barn, are always a lot of fun! There were four girls who sat down with me and my two assistant crafters to repurpose old greeting cards into new ones. Boy, did they ever create a ton of cards. They really seemed to enjoy the creative process and listened attentively to the tips and techniques presented while we brainstormed from card to card. I would have liked to involve more kids but there was a lot going on; at the Red Barn, kids can play foosball, ping pong, billiards, basketball,  just sit and chill with their friends, or, get involved with a cool art project.  
The project was to use old greeting cards to make new ones. We used a manual due cut machine (gifted early to me by Ray- my very own Big Shot) which they thought was pretty cool. Also, used a new product gifted from the generous folks at Queen & Co.:  tensile -not tinsel- string to make Christmas light strands. Lots of Bling being used! And, as always a delight to give permission to play with product with abandon.
Along with the tensile string, all of the glue, stick on rhinestones etc was donated last month by Queen & Co. What a blessing, huh?  The greeting cards were donated in part by our own Key Center librarian, Dorothy, and another local photographer in Gig Harbor, Nina Barcott. Cardstock was supplied by Two Water's Art Alliance.
Another tool we used which was a big hit was the Wink of Stella pen. This is a brush tipped bottle of glitter water. It's amazing lol. We also added some vintage to our cards by distressing with chalk ink pads.
With all the fun we were having, and the big pile of Christmas cards being created, I wondered, who would the girls give these beautiful new cards to for the Holiday Greetings.... It really was neat that almost all the cards made were donated for Red Barn's managing director, Laura to use as thank you's ♡
Next week we will use the tensile string and the greeting cards to make ornaments... I have green glitter paperclips to use for hanging - maybe we will even string them about the Red Barn?!
So, I'm wondering, what do you do with your old cards each year. Do you still send out holiday greetings, or is an email or text, or a general facebook post sufficient to extend your well wishes? And then, what about birthday cards.... I'd love to read your comments below!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New Traditions

Rainier has started a sweet tradition in this corner; meet the Christmas chair ♡ Adorned thus far with goodies she bartered for in exchange for her handmade cards, a few of which are also on display. Beneath is a gift I received from a MOPS mentor, a mug emblazoned with words of encouragement. I know it's not about the gifts, but I think Jesus would approve... #ReasonfortheSeason

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Tree With Windblown Trimmings

Day 8 of our Journal Your Christmas prompted remembering invites us to explore our Christmas tree trimming memories.

PNW screenprinting in action at the
 Nordstrom Holiday Party
I think back and see the twinkling of the personalized ornaments made to commemorate each Christmas that my brothers and cousins and I received each year from our aunt and uncle.
 I smell the fresh pine of our live tree inside, mingling with the cast iron tea pot of potpourri, the smoke of logs burning in our woodstove beneath, and the sweet, spicy, and oh-so- special cinnamon candle in a tin, brought out this time of year and lit exclusively by my mom.
 Almost forgot- the music! The well known and loved sounds of the season! No decorating party would be complete without them... because, It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... deck the halls with boughs of holly... and soon enough, we'd be rockin' around the Christmas tree!
Out of concern for our children's exposure to toxicities, I am usually the one to take care of hanging the decorations now, and our tree is usually outside to keep busy hands from exploring those hanging baubles, so I am content with capturing my daughter's gaze of adoration through the window.

With eyes shining with wonder,
she gazed in delight~
No tree that I'll trim
will shine nearly so bright.
No soundtrack for this moment; instead, I hear the memorable voice of my German step-dad singing proudly O Christmas Tree in his native tongue...
and, I smell the faint scent of our animal pens and think of Mary's first moments with her new baby ♡

As Pastor Dan Whitmarsh commented Monday morning to our MOPS group; having a baby-in a barn- probably a little messy. Even if it was God's son!
A windblown tree may need to be up-righted more often, it may look a bit soggy, but it's twinkling lights shine even brighter against the black backdrop of night. Without worry of small hands touching, it invites observation, reflection, and dreams of what may still come this holiday season.
Hoping your tree is just as inviting,
(but if it's not, maybe a Welcome to Christmas ornament is in need) ~Anna

Monday, December 7, 2015

December Scrapbooking Plans

I love and adore the concept of a December Daily album. As you may have read in previous posts, I'll be following along with Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas class again this year. It's always interesting to see what the prompt of the day will be, as well as my family's reactive conversations.

For instance, I don't think I realized just how much my mother-in-law enjoyed shopping for Christmas ornaments, or that my older daughter had picked up on  (and insists that we carry on) many of the traditions we shared from our youth with last years journaling prompts. These small smile-abouts have only been tempered by knowing that, despite my best intentions and pre-plans for success, I'm still staring at empty pages in last year's album for this month. I still have stories that are not included in those album sleeves, too. I guess there is no wrong time of the year to continue recording, and I have put chronological scrapbooking way out of mind, but the way I do scrap is by putting my pages into a "current" album. And without that album at least purchased, that's a little harder for this crafter to do!
This year I decided to put some of my pre-holiday shopping into a plan of action that will be fun to use. Starting with a few scrapbooking kits I picked up on discount from, I've now got plenty of product and pretty patterned paper to choose from once I get a few photos printed and make time to document our month's happenings.
A trip to Michael's on Black Friday brought home a gorgeous new addition to our memory hoarding library, which, coincidentally was just moved into a new location. This new album features gold roses outlined on a kraft background~ simple but stunning! What a joy it will be to place inside our memories of Christmas past and present, and now, housed within a few chosen sleeves of various sizes, are those gorgeous kit contents. Embellishments galore from Fancy Pants and Simple Stories, sparkley rhinestones, and perfectly coordinated twines and ribbons are included too!
You can see what I'm talking about, and maybe even get some ideas you can incorporate into your December scrapbooking process, in my latest video:

One bonus I did not mention in this video: with all I need within a grab-able place, I could actually take it with me while I travel about spending time with family. This album has the most potential to include hand written pieces from family of any that I've created to date. If even one sentence written in another's handwriting gets included, I will have a very merry memory indeed :-)
So, what are you doing (or not doing) to record the sights and sounds of the season so far? I'd love to hear about them~ leave a comment below or on the video and as always, thanks for stopping by to CraftWithAnna today!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December, Start Your Engines!

Everthing's better in December- Just Add Sparkle
  I gotta hand it to ya....
December is one of my favorite months! It includes my birthday, but that's not til the very last day, so until then I relish the joy of spoiling my honey on his birthday mid month, and our annual family reunion at my grandmother's house Christmas Eve, followed by a casual day at home with our kids, relaxing before the fire and chatting online with our cross country kin. Somehow the hustle and bustle of increased traffic, downpours, dark-end days, and party invites to choose from can kind of wear the cheer right out of a soul though, but I'm doing, and am going to continue to do, my best to do something to prohibit that effect.
 Inspired by Shimelle
 Last year, I joined Shimelle in her Journal Your Christmas class online for the first time. Never have been a fan of journaling myself, but I've practiced quite a bit these last few years, and I always love a good reason to scrap. I've decided to participate again for 2015, so every day I'll receive a prompt that will allow me to reflect on the past as well as the present(s).
Do you hear what I hear?
Now that I am in a family that I've had a hand in creating, there are so many more stories to tell about Christmas traditions. I not only have my own memories, but those of Ray and his family too- East coasters do things a bit different I've found :-) So we usually reflect on the daily prompt as a family over our morning meal. Sometimes there ends up to be a really golden remembrance, and sometimes we think about what we've heard of other people doing, but the best part for me is that we. are. talking.
How often does that really happen?
That we listen with our heart to our most intimately known loved ones... that we share stories that really don't have a point and it's ok... that we ask our children what they think of what we are sharing? That we ask them what they enjoy without promting their answer to fit what we want to hear, i.e "Honey, don't you want to see Santa?" Um, I'm thinking no, Mom.  Cause, to me, the stranger in the red suit you want me to sit with every year- kinda weird if you want my honest opinion.( I've got the cutest pictures to prove it too :-)
Old Saint Nick brought me more candles this year!
The interesting thing I found about last year's prompted conversings is that it wasn't just contained to our home. Nope, I pretty much chatted up anyone I came in contact with about the ideas of the day. I encouraged my photo app savvy friends to add sparkle to every pic. I listened in rapture as families described their "Best Christmas Ever." I peered into the homes of every newly lit entry way to see what their tree theme would be. Do I remember every conversation? no. Did being available to conversating help me to develop deeper relationships with people I care to do so with? YES!
I also found myself thinking about my family, near and far. About how few cards I was mailing out even as I mass produced them for resale. About the people I've shared holidays with over the years- about friends I no longer see, about relatives whose company I savor because of the rarity of our mingling. Considered the debt-to-feel-good ratio of gift giving. I thought about the decorations that mark the season's start for me...and how would I document all of this while enjoying it too!?
Hoping you have a heartfelt holiday ahead
 I had all the best intentions and filled an album ahead of time. I should have known better- what could be more stifling than staring at an unfinished album before the pictures are even taken lol. This year, I'm going to focus more on the writing and sharing some of those musings here with you. I've got a hardcover journal to record stuff in, and plenty of pretty papers to pull from as the mood strikes.
Today I started setting up a display that will run through the end of the month at our local library- pretty cool, huh? Scrapbook pages, mixed media, even the busts I painted from when I was pregnant will be on display on the Key Center Pierce County Library's main space. There will even be an album with a guest sign in page~ I hope you'll feel compelled to comment, either here or there, friends! And that wherever you are, or how you're feeling about this time of year, a little bit of glitter finds it's way into your day.
 Now, to get my vocals warmed up with a bit of Pitch Perfect... hey, new traditions, right?


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

CKC Contest Winners Drawn!

Thank you to everyone who entered and have been or are now following along on my mildly epic CraftWithAnna-dventures!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Queen of the Crop Contest Details & A New Video Too

The last few years, at the close of the Creating Keepsakes Convention, I've drawn the winning name for a prize from one of my favorite vendors, Queen & Co.! This year is no different, and there are quite a few ways to win.
You can subscribe to this blog. Doing so will get you emailed versions of all my blog posts- so you never miss a chance to CraftWithAnna!
You can subscribe to my YouTube channel, which is just a purple icon click away- look for that on the right hand side of this page with other social media icons.  Instagram follower yet? That will get you an entry too!
You can also comment on any of my recent videos, including the one that hit YouTube TODAY- the November scrapbooking layouts from

Or, you can comment on this blog post. I loved hearing from a follower at the convention this year!

With so many ways to win, I bet you're wondering what the prize is... well all I will say is, it's going to be some bangin' bling bling baby (the contest name is Queen of Bling)!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Favio Flavor

 It's not every day you encounter a large group of ladies that each bring a smile to your face whenever you encounter them just by their sheer exuberance of FUN. One of the bunches I spent time with at the convention this weekend was having a lot of fun playing with our Red Carpet Crop theme, and being the blogger that I am, I snapped pics and promised to put their hilarity online... your welcome!
But really, thank you ladies, for inspiring me to get my own card board cut out selfie with the dreamy young dude from the Vampire Diaries. At least, that's where his card board claimed he was from. It's a truly sad day when you realize, not only are you too old for a guy on tv, but that you're old enough to not even know why he's on tv. Just that he's cute. And that's kind of creepy. But I'm ok with that.

Stay tuned in this week as I debut another incredible kit from the fine crew at, as well as my Queen of the Crop convention closing contest. Hint- you'll want to be a subscriber!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

A tale of two Shelbies

 For the past few days I've been working in Tacoma as a volunteer with the Creating Keepsakes Convention. This event is one I look forward to all year long. About six years ago my DF took me to my first show in their old Maydenbauer Center location, and I've never looked back! Lucky for me, Ray picked me up after that first show and was immediately aware of the craft hysteria that both precludes and concludes each of these weekends. He has graciously given me the gift of time away and sometimes even sends me off with some Make and Take money :-)
 Thursday afternoon I TA'd for one of my favorite teachers, Shelby Bywater! I love her sassy crafty instructions and there were cool techniques flying left and right. I will never look at a transparency the same lol.

She created a custom flair necklace!
Later in the day more ideas for creativity were introduced at the Technique Workshop. I thought it was so clever that one of the students was making cards from her scrapbook kit. So you know what I did- made layouts in my cardmaking class the next day!!! What a rebel. A copycat rebel but still.
When my volunteer shift started Friday afternoon I was reunited with my new class crashing comrade, Betty- what a sweetie! Since I'd got her coffee the night before, she returned the favor and got my night Rollin right. Craft without coffee? I don't think so!
By the time I got back home, my mind was reeling from all the exposure to (caffeine ) like minded crafters. Cause, you know we speak our own language, right. "Crop," "distress," "inking;" all verbiage that's part of our toolbox.

Janice has the warmest smile
Tammy, my late night bird of a feather
Shelbi & I getting Lei'd at a crop- a first for us both (I think)
I slept not a wink and decided to make that video I put up yesterday.  So I started the day with another favorite teacher, Shelby Dredge. At the crop THAT night, I caught a pic getting lei'd with Shelbi B., so I started and ended my day right I'd say.
With more fun for the day in store, I've got a lot more pics to put up and the details for my convention-closing contest, featuring a prize or three from one of my favorite companies, Queen & Co.! If you aren't already a subscriber to this blog or YouTube channel, now is the time. It's just one of the ways you can enter this year's Queen of Bling contest. Consolation prizes will be from email updates of the latest blog posts from this CraftWithAnna channel, so, it's pretty much win win... 
Waiting in line to hit the vendor fair

Friday, November 13, 2015

Start Planning Today

It's that time of year when I really start cramming things into our calendar space. Well, truthfully I have a tendancey to do that all year long, but we get more invitations to attend events as a family starting about now, and I figured that was reason enough to order a Christmas themed planner pad from
I also wanted to take a peek at their just-released planners... all I can say is WOW! Pre-orders are shipping out at the end of the week and that is almost too long to wait for me to get one of these fully customizable goodies into my hot little hands. If online shopping is your thing, you might want to take a look at those notepads the WriteIt folks have premade- they are cute, funny, and would be perfect stocking stuffers too.
Hope you enjoy my early morning excitement in the video I made in the wee hours; after a night of creativity in Tacoma with my super-crafty cohorts I was abuzz with ideas and lay awake imagining all sorts of happenings for the coming months. Now that I think about it through writing this post, I bet that's what led me to hop on before checking to see if has posted her new design team.
I'm guessing wildly that she is super busy and is contacting prospective members already, and that sadly I am not one of them. On the other hand, she could just be so busy that she hasn't sent me word of my acceptance lol. I did get notice that her Christmas stamp set is shipping soon, I'm pretty excited for her number set because to me it looks like tiny twinkling lights.
I hear my family stirring, and I've still got voice overs to finish on my new kit preview video for November's layout, so have a Happy, Crafty Friday, friends!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Lest We Forget: Veteran's Keepsakes

  Last night the Friends of the Key Center Library sponsored another CraftWithAnna class: Veteran's Keepsakes. All anyone had to do was stop by with a photo or a story to share and I brought all kinds of crafty goodies for participants to create with.
We even had special guest stop by, a member of our local Key Peninsula Veteran's Association that I'd met earlier in the day at Evergreen Elementary's assembly. He and our Storytime librarian, Carol, shared that although they did not fight over seas during their service years, they were still honored that the youth was showing their appreciation for the sacrifice of time away from their family. A lot of times the glorified versions of Hollywood war times don't match up to the real life experience of estrangement from loved ones, the fear of the unknown, and of course that drill sergeant barking orders at you. Ok, maybe that last one the movies usually DO do a pretty good job of showing.  I made sure to give the layout I had made to our librarian at the end of the night; I was so touched by her sentiments, and it's always interesting to find out something new about a person you spend a lot of time around.
As usual, my students for the evening showed me a thing or two as they made their tributes. We talked about what service to our country means, and I think I made a good point when I mentioned, how much can change in a person's life in just four years. How many moments with our family we would miss out on if we didn't live with them, or maybe lived nearby but not close enough to come home every night. We talked about how the families left behind make sacrifices for our country too. Moms and Dads alike take care of families while the other parent works over seas for undetermined amounts of time.
Another point I made is that, sometimes Veteran's don't want to talk about their experience. What a treasure their words are when they choose to share them, and how, as the recipients of that knowledge, we should honor them by not forgetting their stories and the lessons they contain. We talked about how those stories are actually part of our family's legends and history. And how we can document that history in all sorts of ways! But, that just like a soldier returning home may have a hard time "putting it all out there," we may have a hard time expressing what it really means to us that they did all that they did in the name of God, Honor, and Country.

Enter one of my favorite techniques: hidden journaling!  Using an old greeting card with a ship on the cover was an excellent place to write a note to grandpa in appreciation for his time in the Navy. This wall hanging features anchor print paper, gold chevron washi tape (donated by Queen & Co.) and Amy Tangerine thickers that spell out Grandpa. What a neat way to show some love!

Thank you to all the families who made their way to the library and stopped to CraftWithAnna! Our next event will be Saturday, December 19th from 2-4pm; I'll bring everything we need to make some awesome Holiday Greeters. Could be a card, could be a wine bottle topper- it's up to your imagination :-)
To my friends and family who have served for us all, thank you for your time and dedication. And if you have any pic of yourself in uniform, I'd love to scrap 'em! Happy Veteran's day.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Winter Warm Up of the Heart

Family and Friends traveled from afar to Warm Up with me!
Towards the end of Summer I received an email inviting me to participate in the annual, Winter Warm Up and Chili Competition at our local Civic Center. The booth fee was reasonable and I figured it'd be a great way to help people remember that I'm a local craft diva lol. I procrastinated quite a bit until a retreat I went to at the beginning of October, when I realized how much I needed to get done to be successful. After a couple more weeks of pro-craft-inating, I had over 80 cards, 7 mixed media canvas, 10 paper crafting kits, and some personalized notebooks for sale, as well as notecards that read the card types I have, plenty of business cards, next-event flyers, and this really cool sign that my family and I are holding in the picture above.
I ended up securing two tables to use in my perfectly placed window space- the one I'd hoped for, thanks Patti! I decided to use the stash of supplies I had packed along with me to set up a make and take station and collect donations for our local Youth Center, the Red Barn of Key Center.  What a hit that table was! A lot of students I've met from the library or Home School or the Red Barn or our Preschool stopped by and made something, and I got to interact with some new faces too.

Why, hello friends!
Oh you little monkey...
Favorite Student Alert!
"Chris" was SUPER helpful <3
The family that crafts together...
A card for a buddy
Waiting in line to CraftWithAnna

Right when I was setting up I spotted a familiar face- one of my best friends from High School was there for the day as well. What a treat to be able to spend time catching up with her. It was interesting because the day before Ray heard from someone very important in his life after over a decade of not hearing from each other. After the coincidence of me and a friend both losing our family dogs this week, this similarity was noticeable but much more refreshing and a lot more smiley :-) My friend's two daughters were my last students, and just when it was time to clean up, my family arrived and introductions were made all around. Just before they came in, my good friend and fellow scrapbook and stay up all nighter, Becca made an appearance. I also saw some customers of mine from when I worked for the bank in Port Orchard. What a neat day of reunioning, and in such a festive atmosphere.
Can you guess I would say it was a success, especially since I earned back my booth fee- which paid for the purse I bought from my neighbor booth- raised funds for the local youth center, and sold 12 cards and a canvas. I'd also go so far as to say I got a big fat paycheck of the heart!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Goodbye, Carrot

Our beloved family dog, Carrot, an eager red heeler, passed away Monday was very sudden and tragic but our family has accepted the loss with as much love as we can show for our friend. Thankfully, we were watching my parent's dog; having Rex around really made it easier to transition back to a one dog house hold.
Keep Smilin'
Carrot was really sweet. When I first met Ray, I loved how she would heel to a sharp "Ch!"  She loved the girls and was fiercely protective of us on our walks and runs and bicycle rides. When ever a car would come she would stand right next to us with out a leash. If you've ever had a dog that doesn't do that, you know what a wonderful quality that is in a dog.
She was my dance partner when I got wine-y. And I liked having her trotting around beside me as I ran errands around "the farm." I'll be the first to say I won't miss her signature presents left in just the most walkable places. I will miss her signature smile though. And the way she would clean up for me around the house with food and kids. I never had to put any mat down unless she was on vacation somewhere! Mornings in the kitchen are not the same. She had a hearty appetitive and ate healthy like us :-) Rex and Spunky, aka "Tata," aka "Little Rat Dog" (mine) are not into their fruits and veggies! One funny thing about her, she wasn't very good at catching food when I threw it at her- it would bounce right off her head or straight to the floor. Could have been some pitcher-related erring involved though hehehh.   
We had  nice ceremony in the front yard for her; she is buried within a scoop of poop's throw from the front porch. For a few days we'll have a chair out there that the girls can sit in if they want to visit her. There is a stunted red maple tree nearby and I sprinkled a few of it's rusty purple leaves within a circle of stones above her- a few carrots are within licking distance down below.
Just after we put her to rest, the sad news of my friend's little Chihuahuas' passing hit my fb newsfeed. I was tagged as Auntie, and that really made me break down, honestly. I really loved that little dog! I remember the first time I (or anyone else) saw or got their first glimpse of "The Woo." She was super tiny and had a big old bug eyed head and could lick right up in between your fingers if you didn't keep them closed tight. Someone once asked if she was a real gremlin... but really she was adorable and super sweet. But she had grit, too; you look over, and here she is, guarding a bone as big as her body ...always a moment of hilarity. Even after being in a terrible car accident, she lived far beyond what she might have if not for the fact that as a dog loved by an entire community, she continued to thrive and allow people to love her. I realized Carrot was a truly loved dog, all of the supportive comments that came with our own "announcement" online helped me to remember that losing friend is never easy, and so we must focus each day on loving those around us and contributing to society honestly and from the heart, as you never know what can happen the next moment. Live, love and laugh, REPEAT!
If you aren't crying yet, I leave you with the words from a sentimentally appropriate and classy classic song,
And I never thought I'd feel this way
And as far as I'm concerned
I'm glad I got the chance to say
That I do believe, I love you
And if I should ever go away
Well, then close your eyes and try
To feel the way we do today
And then if you can remember
Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me, for sure
That's what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I'll be on your side forever more
That's what friends are for
Well, you came in loving me
And now there's so much more I see
And so by the way
I thank you
Oh and then for the times when we're apart
Well, then close your eyes and know
The words are coming from my heart
And then if you can remember
Keep smiling and keep shining
 I'll be on your side forever more
That's what friends are for

Read more: Dionne Warwick - That's What Friends Are For Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Monday, October 26, 2015 August Card Create A Kit!

Wedding cards are always good to have on hand, but it seems like mine always say "Mr. & Mrs." and not much more. This kit from fills the gap in my stash of smoochy supplies with the beautiful Simple Stories collection, The Story of Us. Dreamy!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Crafter's Retreat

I finally used that cork! and those stickers! and it looks
bonding with grammaD and increasing flexibility too

Rainie, my mom, and I were able to attend our first overnight crop together. My friend Lynn from church got me in with this group and this is the second time I've taught at their retreat. Now that my oldest daughter is nearing 5, she's to the point where an all day, 24 hour craft sesh (or two) is not unappealing to her, and with her level of endurance I knew she'd be up for it if the other ladies wouldn't mind her being there. After we got the okay, sent in our reservation fees, and confirmed our plans with dad, it was all she could talk about. In fact she was so excited that it made me excited to go all over again each time the subject came up. The idea of letting grandma make us breakfast while we made cards first thing when we woke up in the morning just delighted her (and I). 

CraftWithAnna TP Roll Mini Album by Barbara

I had also sent out an email offering the recipe for a fun CraftWithAnna class. I kept it a surprise, but it turned out to be Toilet Paper Mini Albums. These are really cute, economical to make, and hey it's fun to save the toilet paper rolls and pretend you're going to do something with them. Rainie would be teaching her first public class, TP roll Owls, made with a variety of circle punches and those same multi-purpose  cardboard tubes.
Her class was a hit, but her favorite students arrived just after it concluded- so she got to do it again! My aunt Lisa and her mom, Ivy made the trek to join us at Valley Camp above North Bend. The scenic location offered us some beautiful fall backdrops and we went on a family photo shoot walk before lunch. All of us out enjoying the brisk breeze as it swirled cascades of autumnal toned maple leaves in every direction. Now that we are all sporting less than shoulder length hair, that didn't bother us too much but Rainie's long strands kept blowing around her face. Coupled with her bright blue eyes and the corduroy jacket she sported, the photos I took are going to be really fun to set on patterned paper. Hmmm, maybe the left overs from the upcoming November 2, double paged layout kit will find a home? I've got pictures in mind for the two pages that directions are provided for, but before I get into November's goodies, I'm going to make some wedding cards with the August 2014 cardmaking kit, which features beautiful black, white, and woodgrains from Simple Stories. I've been doing a fair amount of facebook stalking and unauthorized saving of pictures of my families when they post, and I hope to use that kit's dazzling array of die cuts to embellish a wedding themed mini album for my cousin Lori.
I'm falling behind a bit on my project list as I anticipate an upcoming craft fair I've committed to. Good thing I've got those handy planner pads and note pads from to keep track of my obligations! I finally decided it must be the pressure of having my art judged under holiday wanderers that keeps me from getting anything done... but I was able to create enough cards this weekend that I no longer feel the need to make my products fit witin a 4.25x5.5" perimeter.  After today I'll be focusing on getting the tools part of my display set up, the card rack I've never used, packaging all my cards and stuff like that, so I'll be hard pressed to finish the edit on my kit preview videos. But if you're a subscriber on YouTube, you'll get first rate notification on all my latest releases. So just do yourself a favor and hit that red rectangle next time you're watching a CraftWithAnna video.
I hope to find a few moments to dabble in Mixed Media canvas'... as if my list of to-do's isn't long enough, I want to throw in some modge podging lol. I'd better get started for the 15th time today...Until next time, friends~ Stay Crafty!

We're crafty and we know it!


Here's a paper sampler that's so cute, it's SCARY

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

DIY Door Decorations

Fall is a fun time to decorate your entry way, right?  The Friends of the Key Center Library sponsored a fun, free, Family friendly event last weekend, and we had a blast creating our own door decorations. With the generous donation of supplies from one of my favorite scrapbook suppliers, Queen & Co., we were all set up with patterned papers, twine, and washi tape galore to decorate with.
Just look at these smiles! And imagine my own :-D
My older daughter Rainie was along to assist with any of the younger kids, and we were having quite the time by ourselves, waiting for our first victims er, participants :-)
Soon enough, our first family came in and we all got down to the business of crafting up a storm! Then I had the pleasure of a repeat CraftWithAnna student, and his sweet enthusiasm for repeating back info he'd gleaned from other classes was the cherry on top of a really fun filled afternoon.
I'm always surprised by how unique everyone's projects turn out. Actually, I always hope they will look nothing like my examples, because then I feel like it's really theirs.
The other part of this class that I got a kick out of was using more of those donated Queen & Co. supplies. You'd never know it, but those are all summer papers we're using! So, take a look through your stash and see if there are some "B" sides that can be used throughout the year. You might just make a surprise discovery of a really right now piece that just has to be used tonight... or maybe that's just what I'll be hoping to do myself~ so go ahead, get crafty!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mixed Media Masters!

My last teaching session, I taught our local Homeschool Association youth the joys of mixed media. I wasn't sure how the lesson was going to go, but I knew we would all enjoy the thrill of a new project... I wasn't wrong. In the first session, a mixed group of ages 4-16, we talked about the colors of fall, what this time of year reminds us of, and how all of that information can be transformed into a piece of home décor.

Teach 'em young and learn in return <3
With that in mind, each kid began with their background. I encouraged them to mix colors, add texture with their paint brush, or even move the paint around with some paper towels crumpled up.
In our second session I was working with the older half of the group. As they entered our classroom, I could sense their excitement and that always makes it more invigorating for the teacher (me). Some of the students had already started building a scene with images from old greeting cards I'd brought along. Others were starting from their backgrounds. Each canvas transformed into works of individual expression- a win for everyone!
Below are some links to media mixing youtubers that I have watched and learned from.
A work of mine still in progress.
After shading with some markers,
this jar will jump off the canvas! Amazing stamping techniques and interactive die cutting. The sweetest guru for all things amazing- and do-able. Inspiration awaits on this site!

Rainier's little canvas surprised us all