Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hanukkah stories and a couple more layouts

Hanukkah has come to an end.  We had eight fun-filled nights of family dinners, present-opening, candle-lighting, latke-eating and dreidel-spinning.  My girls said it was the "best Hanukkah ever."  That makes a mom happy!

My husband and I have a fun tradition that we started years ago.  Rather than buy each other big gifts for Hanukkah, we challenge each other to buy eight little gifts (one for each night of Hanukkah) -- and all of them have to be purchased at the 99¢ Only Store.  It's always a fun challenge to find gifts for each other that cost under a dollar.  Some of them are practical, some are meaningful, and others are just downright funny!

This year I bought Robert the following:
1.  A picture frame.  I put our family picture in it.
2.  A set of mini screwdrivers.  A guy can never have too many mini screwdrivers, right?  Plus I needed them for one of my recent craft projects.
3.  A box of Junior Mints (his favorite candy).
4.  A multi-pack of his favorite chewing gum.
5.  A book about science facts.
6.  A Springer Spaniel puppy calendar.  He had two beloved Springer Spaniels who have gone on to doggie heaven.
7.  A nose hair trimmer (hehehehehe).
8.  A combination flash light, level, and drill bits/screwdriver doo-hicky thingy (cool, huh?).

Robert bought me:
1.  A kitten calendar.  I love cats, so this was my favorite gift.
2.  A book light for late night reading 
3.  A multi-pack of purse-size kleenex packs.  My grandma always told me, a "lady" should always carry tissues in her purse. 
4.  A shower cap***
5.  A pair of wine glasses.  Surprisingly, they're very nice quality!  I think I'll go back to the 99¢ Store and get more of these wine glasses to complete the set.
6.  A jigsaw puzzle.  It has 500 pieces.  That should keep me busy for a while.
7.  A fly swatter.  Huh??? Because a girl can never have too many fly swatters??
8.  A necklace.  Actually, I bought this gift for myself at a local gift shop.  Halfway through Hanukkah Robert realized that he only got me 7 instead of 8 presents at the 99 Cents Store, so I volunteered to go pick up a little sumpin' sumpin' for myself to open on the last night of Hanukkah.  Very thoughtful of me, huh?

We always have a lot of laughs over our 99¢ Only Store gift exchange, and it doesn't break the bank!

***The shower cap was a reference to a laugh my family shared on our trip to Disneyland a few months ago.  The four of us went on Splash Mountain our first day there, and we all got soaked.  It was so much fun so I said I wanted to go on it again the next day.  Robert and the girls said they would go on it again, but only if I would sit in front -- the seat that gets the wettest.  I happily agreed . . . but I had planned ahead.   When I sat down in the front of the log with my family behind me,  I pulled out a plastic shower cap from the hotel and put it on.  There were a couple dozen people looking on, so it totally embarrassed my daughters -- something that gives me a twisted pleasure {insert evil laughter}.  I wore the shower cap the entire ride, but the rest of me still got completely soaked. If you've been on the ride, you know that no dinkie little shower cap isn't going to keep you dry.  But I digress . . .

Here are a couple more Hanukkah layouts I created for Creating Keepsakes magazine.  Here's a 2-pager featuring my girls opening their presents:

As seen in the December 2011 issue of Creating Keepsakes.  Copyright Creative Crafts Group.  Posted with prior permission from the publisher. 
I made the little presents and gift bags out of chipboard pieces, paper scraps and trim:

I had the pleasure of playing with Faber-Castell products on this layout:

As seen in the December 2011 issue of Creating Keepsakes.  Copyright Creative Crafts Group.  Posted with prior permission from the publisher.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice and/or any other holiday you celebrated recently!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Oh Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah, Come Light the Menorah...

Hanukkah begins tonight at sundown, so that means 8 fun nights of celebrating at our house.  In honor of the holiday, I wrote a post for the Creating Keepsakes blog today.  I'll also share my projects here.  

Hanukkah is filled with many wonderful traditions:  lighting the candles, playing dreidel, eating latkes, and opening presents.  This means that there are a lot of photo opportunities.  Check out these Hanukkah Photo Tips to make the most of these opportunities.

Taking pictures of the menorah indoors at night can be somewhat tricky.  I often end up with some “clunkers” – photos with poor lighting, distracting backgrounds, or unattractive shadows on people’s faces.  Sometimes photo editing software can provide the perfect fix.  For example, I had a photo of my daughter gazing at the menorah, but the photo had a harsh yellow cast and unflattering shadows.  My solution was to use a selective color technique.  Using Photoshop Elements, I converted the photo to black and white and then colorized only the menorah.  Problem solved!   I used the color-selected photo on this layout:

As seen in the Scrapbooking Holidays and Celebrations 2011 special issue. Copyright Creative Crafts Group.  Posted with prior permission from the publisher.

Although there are many Christmas scrapbooking papers and embellishments on the market, there aren’t as many Hanukkah and Jewish scrapbooking products.  This year I challenged myself to create a Hanukkah card with paper from a Christmas collection.  I used papers from Prima’s North Country line (Christmas/winter themed) to create this Hanukkah card:

I couldn’t find any large Star of David scrapbook embellishments, so I made my own.  I traced stars (printed from the internet) onto chipboard, cut them out, then covered them with silver glitter glue (Ranger’s Stickles).

Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Just breathe, just breathe . . .

Just breathe, just breathe . . . it will all get done and everything will work out.  That's what I told myself last night right after I almost worked myself into a anxiety attack.  I don't think I've ever had a real panic or anxiety attack, but I think I came pretty close last night.  I have waaaaaayyyy too much on my plate right now (and for the next month and a half) and too many stressful things being thrown at me at once.  But I know I will get it all done, and everything will work out (as it always does).  I just have to tackle one thing at a time.  My mantra for the next month will be "just say no" . . . to any further social engagements, extra scrapbook pages, holiday parties, school volunteer duties, favors etc.   That's what I need to do in order to maintain my sanity and also save time for my family, sleep and meals.  Breathe in, breathe out. 

To lighten this post, here's a Prima layout I made a little while back.  The title is "Jeune Fille", which in french means "young girl" (to my French blog readers, please correct me if I'm wrong!).

I know the holidays are a busy time for everyone.  Just don't forget to take of yourself!  Eat well, get enough sleep, and say "no" if your plate gets too full!!  It's okay to say no sometimes. :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Just a quick share . . .

I know I've been a bad blogger lately, but it's been a very busy couple of weeks.  I was in Colorado earlier this week shooting a series of scrapbooking videos for Creating Keepsakes.  It was freezing cold there -- a low of 3 degrees below zero, to be exact.  It was quite a shock to the system for the Southern California girl!!  But I had a lot of fun hanging out with some of the CK gals.

With the holidays and CHA approaching, I anticipate another extremely busy couple of months ahead of me.  So I thought I should come and write a quick post so that my blog doesn't start to collect dust and cobwebs. I know Thanksgiving has come and gone, but here's a layout I did that appears in the current issue of Creating Keepsakes:

As seen in the November/December issue of Creating Keepsakes magazine.  Copyright Creative Crafts Group.  Posted with prior permission from the publisher. 

I used my Cricut (speaking of something that's been gathering dust!) to cut this little turkey, then I dressed the little fella up with feathers, Stickles and a jeweled eye.  Isn't he purty?

Oh wait, I have another Thanksgiving layout to share.  I created this for CK's "Holiday and Celebrations" special issue.  This layout is definitely different from my normal style -- it's a two pager and it's very clean and simple.

As seen in Creating Keepsakes' 2011 Holidays and Celebrations special issue.  Copyright Creative Crafts Group.  Posted with prior permission from the publisher.  

It was for an assignment to use a scallop punch and buttons to create simple page accents.  I made these easy peasy accents:
I guess I'm a little late posting these Thanksgiving layouts, but better late than never, right??  I promise to post my Hanukkah scrapbook pages and projects during Hanukkah.

Have a wonderful weekend!