Sunday, May 31, 2015

Birchbox May 2015:Cupcakes and Cashmere

*Referral Link Included

I've been meaning to share what I got in my Birchbox, but somehow almost the entire month is gone and I never got around to it!  The May box was curated by Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere, and while I'm not sure what exactly that means - perhaps she picked the samples that were pulled from to make up all the various box combinations?  What I do know, is that I really like what I got!

To be honest, at first glance the box looked a little light.  Especially since two of the samples came inside the pillow box.  But after a closer examination, I realized I got samples that I am really excited about.  Plus...there are NO shampoo or conditioner samples, YES!  I clicked on my profile and unchecked description.  Hope that will prevent them from coming in my box for at least a few months!

I did get one hair related sample, but it's the one I selected.  I do like hair styling products and have really liked all the hair oils I've tried so far. I've heard really good things about Macadamia Professional, and this sample of their Nourishing Moisture Oil Treatment will last me a long time.  It works really well too, worthy of all the hype in my opinion!

I don't know quite what to think about the various kinds of water sprays.  While I'm intrigued by Smashbox's Cosmetics Photo Finish Primer Water is it just mainly water?  I mean most water sprays like this one, say things are added, in this case it's electrolytes, and Smashbox says that during the production process it's passed through positive energy fields too.  But is this all enough to justify paying $32 for 3.9oz?  I mean, that's some expensive water!  While doing some online searching for the ingredients, I found this interesting discussion.

It's supposed to help prime the face for makeup and help it stay in place.  When I used it, I definitely smelled a faint scent, it was pleasant.  I didn't notice a real difference in my make up application or wear time.  I do think that it would be refreshing to spritz on during the course of a hot day, but so would some regular ol' water from the fridge.  Still a cool sample to get and try.

I am really enjoying this Marcelle Hydra-C 24H Energizing Hydrating Gel.  While the sample looks small in my hand, a little big goes a long way and I did feel like my skin was more hydrated when I used it.  It certainly felt more so vs using my regular moisturizer.  It's nice and light going on and absorbs quickly.  It doesn't have SPF so I'm undecided about switching over to using it full time.

My opinion of Coastal Scents would be better if they'd package their samples in a nicer manner.  I got one of their samplers before, last June.  While the eyeshadows from their Revelaed 3 Palette are nice, I plan to pass this along to a friend.

As I know from past experience, these will make a big mess when being used and I don't feel like getting fall out all over my makeup bag again.  Mess aside, this is a nicely sized sample to receive and I know my friends' teen aged daughters will be very excited to get this. The shadows themselves are nice quality and they'll have fun playing around with them.

This Yogini perfume sample was the only one that was a bit of a miss for me.  Described as: The light, clean fragrance features top notes of purifying sandalwood, refreshing grapefruit, and sensual Egyptian myrrh. Subtle cues of golden amber, incense, and star jasmine turn each spritz into a mini aromatherapy break.  

I'm trying to expand my fragrances from straight up citrus and thought this sounded promising since it's supposed to be light and clean.  It's okay, but feels like a fall scent to me.  I'll put it aside for the summer and break it out when the kids go back to school.  I like it enough to finish the sample.

That was May!  I've already selected my June sample - it's sun care related, and am excited to get some summery samples!


Friday, May 22, 2015

6X8 Ring Bound Mini Album: Featuring DCWV's My Sunshine Stack

As I was creating the mini albums gifts for the caregivers at my MOPS group, it occurred to me that I should make one with a more masculine theme.  I know two of the ladies have daughters but not as sure about the other two.  I think one other could sort of be gender neutral as it's got a lot of primary colors but two are for sure all out feminine.  For this one I used My Sunshine Stack by DCWV, that I picked up half off at Joann's awhile ago, and it was perfect.

I also used some journaling cards both 3X4 & 4X6 from the Heritage Core Kit.  They were quick "tags" in this front cover pocket.

One of the papers in the stack was half lined with these hand drawn like lines that was perfect for using on the tags.  Now there's a place to write.

The cream photo mat on the right side is what was on the other half of the lined paper and will provide a nice neutral spot to add a picture.  Only a tiny bit should be visible after adding the image.

The next page I added interest using the stub side of my WRMK's corner chomper on the photo mat and a Fiskars border punch on a scrap of paper.  I think the red is a nice pop of color.

This is what's on the left side of the spread shown above.  It's hidden a bit by the journaling card, but I added a red photo corner to tie in with the punched border on the left side.  The kraft circle has paper attached on the top half of the back so the photo can be slipped underneath.

The next spread has a pocket page and attached with a paper clip is a photo mat, two journaling cards, and a little tag from my stash.

I think this is the only book I remembered to take pictures of the tag inside the pocket page.  Above are both sides.  As you can see, I layered scrap to embellish.

This is one of the more basic pages.  No photo mats, so that the recipient can decide if the photo should be vertical or horizontal.

The last page has an embellished photo mat, I like using my brads and eyelets leftover from when I first started scrapbooking, to give a little dimension to handmade albums.  A little half diagonal pocket, mainly because that's the size scrap I had of that color, and more tags on the left.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

6X8 Ring Bound Mini Album: Featuring MAMBI Sunny Summer Days & Doodle Friends

I haven't been in a Tuesday Morning for the longest time, but found two really cute paper pads there while looking for supplies for my Brownie troop's end of the year memory books.  We used Sunny Summer Days and Doodle Friends, both by MAMBI for the Girl Scout craft and then I turned the left overs, and some other things from stash, into one of the four mini albums I made for my MOPS group's caregivers.

The front and back covers are both made out of paper covered chipboard.  I layered scraps, washi tape, labels, wood veneer, and die cuts to decorate it.  The "Polaroid" has the middle black portion cut out and the outer frame is lifted up on foam.  The recipient can drop their own picture into the frame.

I made a pocket on the inside front cover and added three handmade tags.  On the other page is a photo mat with just a few embellishments.  The flowers on the corners are pre-printed onto the paper with an embossed like texture, very pretty!

The "friends forever" and doodles are also pre-printed.  They add a lot of interest so I just added a bit of washi, punched half circle, and sticker up at the top.

Inside this, and each of the other four mini albums I made this time, I added two 4X6 Project Life cards through out the album.  I added a little bit to this one.  To the left is another photo mat, punched tab, and ribbon.

Besides the Project Life cards, I also added a small pocket to each of the albums.  This one I messed up on and punched the folded side.  Whoops!  I just sealed the open side with washi.  No one need ever know that was a oops☺  The purple dotted paper beneath the pocket was left plain.

Each of the four book in this set has a pocket page as well.  To make it, I used my 2-inch circle punch to make a half circle notch on one side.  Then I attached the two sheets of paper together along the top and bottom ONLY.  The rings keep the insert from falling out.  I forgot to take a picture of the one inside this pocket.

The cards and little tag are held in place with a paperclip so more photos can be added either on the actual cards or beneath them.

Here are the last page, Project Life card, and back inside cover.  I made another pocket back here to add a few more tags.

This one was my eight year old daughter's favorite out of the bunch and she really wanted to keep it!  If I'd had enough time to make another one to replace it, I might have let her.  But, this was the fourth out of four completed and just the day before I had to turn them in!

I'm glad she liked it, since I know some of the ladies who volunteer their time also have daughters the same as or close to, her age.  It should be a hit, with whoever gets it.  Our MOPS leader promised to help match the books with the caregiver who would most likely enjoy it the most.


Monday, May 18, 2015

6X8 Ring Bound Mini Album: Featuring Craft Smith

My daughter picked out a Tea Party paper pad by Craft Smith when they were offered as a Hot Buy at Micheal's, just $5 for 48 sheets of paper!  The patterns and colors inside are so soft and feminine, really lovely combinations of two of my favorite colors - pink & aqua!

This is my first Craft Smith purchase and I'm pretty impressed with the brand so far!  The paper is nice and thick, excellent quality for constructing mini books, when you want a little extra bulk so that the pages stand up repeated handling.  This paper pad came with 12 pages with gold foiling, two of which are cut apart pages.

I used one of the foiled cut apart pieces to add a tuck spot on the inside cover.  The "Friends" tag is only attached along the left edge.

The pocket for this album is at the front.  I just added a strip of paper to the tag.

The pages in this mini album, and all of the others in this series - besides the Martha Stewart Crafts design, are made by attaching the 6X8 sheets back to back.  I use a tape runner around the four sides.  It's a pretty adhesive intensive project, but since the binding method is so inexpensive I think it all kind of balances out.

Here is one side of the tag inside the pocket page in this album.  The other side is the tea cup paper.

Unfortunately while photographing this album, I noticed it's one page shorter than the rest.  I think the flowers I added to both of the Project Life grid cards are one reason I didn't notice the lack of a page.  They made the album as chunky as the others.

To make up for this, I quickly added another page, made up of a 12X8 sheet of paper folded in half and glued together.  It has gold foil dots on a teal background so it looks very fancy without extra embellishment.  Since these are all being given to the caregivers for my MOPS group, right after photographing them, I didn't have time to photograph the last minute page.

For the last page, I added a double layered photo mat, ribbon, and punched tab.  I really like using up leftover scraps from cutting down the 12X12 sheets into two 6X8 pieces, by punching out tabs and labels!  Then I have perfectly matching embellishments and layering pieces.

I did a diagonal pocket again on the inside back cover.  The ampersand on the You & Me tag is foiled, so pretty!

I think is my favorite out of the four made, my daughter already asked me to make another one so she'd have one too. Thank you for coming by to see the second out of four gift albums I made for end of the year gifts.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

6X8 Ring Bound Mini Album: Featuring Martha Stewart Crafts

This is the first of the four mini albums I just finished making.  It's also the only double sided paper pad I used, and it really help speed up the process, making assembly faster since I didn't have to adhere single sided papers back to back anytime I needed something double sided, like tags.

The paper pad I used is called 12X12in school days multimedia pad by Martha Stewart Crafts and is several years old.  What I like about it, that not only does it come with double sided papers but it also has four sheets of stickers, labels, borders, and photo mats.  These helped add some quick but still special touches, like the frame I used for the cover.

I've been doing so much Project Life lately, that it took me awhile to get back into the mind set of album making!  This one is a little plainer that the others in some aspects but also has special touches like doilies and some bling that the others do not.

The book opens with a neutral brown mini dot and a handmade pocket.  I just folded a sheet in half, made a notch with my 2-inch circle punch and slipped in a tag I cut out.

The first page is a double sided sheet with the large graphic print and a plain cherry red on the reverse.  For the plainer side, I added a pocket embellished with a doily, gem stone "laugh" sticker, washi tape, etc.  The four tags inside were made out of scraps I had leftover after constructing the album.  They are all double sided, so quick and easy to make!

I like lots of pockets, I guess!  Here's another, this time in the form of a pocket page.  I used two sheets of 6X8 paper to form it.  Then I adhered them back to back but only used tape on the top and bottom, pretty much just underneath where the red washi tape is placed.

The card on the left was included in the paper pad.  It is attached to the page just along the top so a photo can be slipped underneath.  Another punch out frame is on the right side, layered with foam tape for dimension and some more bling too.

I used plain green cardstock to build this half of this spread.  I though the patterned paper on the other side was a bit busy and that something plainer would look better paired with it.  The embossed butterfly chipboard piece is attached only on the bottom so a photo can be slipped under the top part of the wings.

On the last page, I cut a doily in half to make an extra layer underneath the green photo mat.  I created a diagonal pocket for the back inside pocket and slipped in more tags.  I clipped on a few fun things too.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

6X8 Ring Bound Mini Albums: Making End of the Year Gifts

All other crafting has been on hold the past two weeks while I made four, yes FOUR, mini albums.  Whew, that was a lot for me to commit to getting done!  As in, they had to be completely finished and not 95% done and then sit around as almost but not quite finished projects for way longer than they should.

I'm so glad I made it by the time they were due for the gift baskets, especially since during the same time period I had to plan and prep supplies for making EIGHT other mini albums, this time for my Brownie troop.  Add Mother's Day preparation and crafts on top of that...and well, I was busy!

These four are going to be wrapped up and given tomorrow as thank you gifts for each of the four care givers that watch the babies, toddlers, and preschoolers while my MOPS group meets.  I hope they love them and feel my appreciation for their time.  My little guy was in preschool during our twice monthly meetings but I'm well aware that without them for all the other Moppets, we couldn't have had MOPS.

I'll be sharing pictures of each album soon!  Please come back and check them out :)
Album Posts from Left to Right: Hip & Girly, Pretty & Feminine, Bright & Colorful, and For the Boys.

Have you been making for end of the year gifts for the important helpers in yours or your child's life?  I'd love to know what are your go to gifts this time of the year.  When I can't get it together to hand make something, which let's be honest is most of the time, a lovely plant that is already potted or can be hung up to enjoy are my defaults.  Everyone loves flowers!


Friday, May 1, 2015

Project Life: August 2014

I can't believe the school year is winding down!  Especially since I'm still on sharing my Project Life pages from last summer!  Let's pick up with some from August.

The first few spreads are typical, showing highlights from several days.  We were busy with two weeks of Vacation Bible School, our town's yearly festival, play dates, and so on.

Brad and I also had our fourteenth wedding anniversary.  I made an insert and printed out the text from my Hello 14 post.

I added pictures from one of our rare date nights downtown on the reverse side of the insert.  On the right side above are pictures from the last day of the second VBS, I loved the colorful stage decorations they had, and some from visiting Daddy on the way home and eating treats, just for fun.

Most of the remaining pages in August are theme or event based.  One of my best friends was in for her summer visit from AZ and since we normally take E out for girls days, this time we took the little guy out.  We took him to this cool wooden outdoor play area, it's in the town over from ours so we don't go often and in fact, it was his first time there.

Then we took him to an indoor climbing area.  He loved it, but it actually would've been an even bigger hit if we had, had big sister there for him to run around with.  I think she's the only one with enough energy to keep up with him!

Another fun to create spread is about the day Brad and the kids did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  The kids loved it so much, they kept refilling their buckets, putting the ice back in, and redumping.  Since everyone was wet, Brad got out the water guns and then they have even more fun trying to get Daddy.

As August and summer was coming to an end, we asked E what she wanted to do and I was kinda surprised she mentioned going to the farm.  I thought she had kinda forgotten about it.  This was another first trip for my three year old and once again E's Godmother came with us.  He loved it, they've added a train car you can walk through since our last visit so that was very exciting for him.

I've scrapped pictures of E visiting this farm before so I did one layout focusing on my son and then a pocket page with favorites from the visit that summarize our day.  On the next spread, not shown, are more pictures of each of the kids with the various animals etc.

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