Sunday, July 15, 2018

Christmas in July Challenge

I still have Christmas card photos to scrapbook, so I was so excited to see that Bitten by the Bug 2 had a Christmas in July Challenge!  I pulled out my Anna Griffin paper, for the background and my Anna Griffin Cricut Cartridges for the cuts, a few extra embellishments left over from Anna's Christmas card kit and the page is done!  Thanks BBTB2 and Anna Griffin!

I used antique gold embossing powder along the edges.  Cartridges are Anna's Christmas Card and Embellishments for the red swirls, and Anna's Winter Wonderland for the Believe.  Just 2 hours left in the challenge, and a page is done.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Making the Most of Audio Books for Your Grade School and Middle School Children

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you may have noticed that I have been missing for a while.  I started a new job this year as a half time Grade School Librarian half time Para Educator.  I love it but had no idea how busy being a librarian could be! 

I really enjoyed sharing the importance of reading and encouraging parents to raise readers.  So, today I am covering a reading topic that I thought parents might want to know more about:  Audio Books and how to make the most of them as a reading tool for your grade school and middle school children.

  1. They are free or affordable. Many local libraries offer Audio books, so check out your audio book choices on both their website and the libraries digital reading site using reading application they suggest.  Many schools use sites like Tumble Books for their students and you can continue to use this site over the summer.  Libraries and school subscriptions offer free options.  You can also look for free trials through sites like Amazon.  Or, you can get a paid subscription that the whole family can use too, making this option affordable for some.
  2. They foster more reading.  This is a fabulous way to engage the first time chapter book child, or the tween who has begun to consider video gaming and friends more fun than reading.  For my boys, I would get the first book in a series on audio and the second book from our local library. Once they heard a few chapters,  they were hooked and read the rest of the series themselves.  Audio books can be the perfect way to engage your child in a summer reading program too.
  3. Easy Access.  When life gets busy with activities, sports, travel and more, you can download an audio book any place you have wifi or use your data at any time of day.  My local library Sycamore Public library uses the app OverDrive and Online Media of Northern Illinois Libraries.  You can also listen directly from your computer for devise by visiting their website and clicking on the e-audio book link (see photo at the top for example).  So, use this tool when your library is closed to prep for the next days reading!
  4. Provide Comfort and Sooth.  These are great for the overnight in a strange place, or to quite a child!  This was one of my go to's with a wound up toddler and vacation bedtime.
  5. Size Doesn't Matter:  well to your child anyway.  If you have a child who shies away from large or long books like "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince," audio books are a great tool. I can say that some audio book files downloaded from your library are downloaded in sections because they can be big, but in your child's perception this is not a "long" book.
  6. Productive:  audio books can help them get books read for school projects or reading groups. Our local school district has a Battle of the Book competition that requires student to read the Blue Stem award books.  This year that list includes 20 books.  So, audio books for road trips can help a child get through a large number of books without feeling overwhelmed by the number! Which brings up my next point...
  7. Portable:  Audio books take up less space for vacations.  These are perfect for road trips when your child can't read in a car without getting nauseous.  I love how this results in great discussions about the book we listen to, and books that we have read we all might like!
  8. They're Fun!  The actors and authors add a depth that will have your child loving books and wanting more!
So, audio books are like many other tools and can be used for good or bad.  Make choices that foster more reading, and life long reading habits in your child.   

Monday, May 28, 2018

Just a Mom and Her Gadgets Making Invitations

You can make professional invitations for your high school seniors open graduation open house!  I made mine and even took my own portrait with my iPhone!

Since I am not a professional photographer, I researched how to take a portrait on line.  I also saved a few poses and took photos of them with me on phone.  I waited for an over cast day and out we went.

I took more than I needed in the hopes that something would appeal to both my husband and I.  In the end we had three we both liked.  I used just two on the card.

Once I had the photos, I uploaded them to Walgreens and designed a card using their templates.  I chose to use card stock so, I could use both sides of the card, one for the portrait with name, and the invite on the back with a second photo.  Printing these with envelopes cost me  $1.05 each.

Because I am such a avid paper crafter and Cricut fan, you know I had to add a little embellishment!  So, I made a card sleeve with the school mascot for his high school and grade school in his high school colors. I cut the black paper with some card stock from Michaels bought with a coupon and some glitter card stock I won from Anna Griffin's blog.  I am a bit Anna Griffin obsessed and like to put a little Anna in all my paper projects.  Her gold glitter card stock cut like butter in my Cricut.  Thanks so much Anna Griffin, for letting me have a touch of AG and me in such a masculine project!  So, I only spent another $3.83 (for 40 cards) to add sleeves for all my cards.

It was a fun project that made me happy!  I feel the results are so professional and look expensive!  So, if you need some great party invites, give your own a try with a Cricut, an iPhone, and Walgreens! My total came to under $46.00.  The procrastinator in me was also so happy to be able to order the invitations and have them delivered the same day.  I cut all my sleeves and assembled in one day.  I had them in the mail three days after starting this project! 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Layers of Love Challenge

So I have been thinking about Heidi Swapp's idea of inviting a word into your life for the year and this year I want to invite the word "Love" into my life.  And I want to use the 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 definition, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." 

Working in a school, it is so important to love the children!  And in my own family, and community!  I wanted a reminder every day, so, I love the Cut it Up challenge:  Layers of Love and I am posting my new planner dashboard I made with my laminator and Anna Griffin die cuts made with my Cricut.  I am enchanted by this swirly "love."

On the back I put a die cut that came from Anna's Griffin planner embellishment kit.  I matted the love die cut on gold card stock and placed it on the Anna Griffin patterned paper.  Did you notice that I printed the Remember tab on the back of the patterned paper?!  I love this technique for a clear card, or scrapbook page too!
The green rose is also Anna Griffin, but I have had it in the stash so long I am not sure what embellishment pack it is from.  The small hearts are Close to my Heart and I hand wrote the "is" with some sharpies inside the laminate cover before I ran it through the machine to assure it never rubs off.  

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Something New with My Anna Griffin Planner

I recently stumbled across a blog with ideas from customizing your planner and loved a fold out pocket page that it had so much I wanted to make my own.  You can see the inspiration page below. 

The inspiration pocket page had holes punched in the left side and was clipped so that it could be put into the binder rings.  I wanted my page and Anna Griffin paper to last and chose not to put those holes in mine.

I started with Anna' Gracious Giftables Cricut Cartridge and sized up the pockets to be 8 1/2" tall and 5 1/2" wide.  One side needed no editing when I scaled it up and the other needed a rectangle welded to get the finished size.  I also cut a rectangle to attach my pieces.  To get the size page I wanted I had to cut this with a 24" mat and cut one piece at a time so that the second page was not cut short.  I actually delete one side and cut the other.  The file will still want a 24 inch mat but cuts a 12 x 12 page.

Fantabulous Cricut Challenge blog is having a Something New Challenge #317, and this is the first time I have had a chance to use Anna's Gracious Giftables.  I love that I have another use for this cartridge than gift giving!  And this idea would be fabulous for a mini album too.  If you would like the file for your AG planner here it is.  

Since I cut a one sided pattern paper, I created a pocket liner paper using some printed paper in Design Studio and some Anna Griffin flowers.  I just flattened the flowers on the paper and printed them on some Avery large labels.  It made great stickers that were flatter than printing on paper.

On top of the pocket pages, I cut pockets with Anna Griffin Holiday pocket dies.  I have discovered the joy of die cutting lately.  I love the dimension of embossed dies!

Anna Griffin Pocket Dies
Cricut Design Space
Avery Large Mailing labels
Gold Washi Tape
Anna Griffin Card Kit  (flowers, flourishes and butterfly)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Creative Embellishments Challenge

I love how a challenge can spark a great page!  So, today I am sharing a page I love that was sparked by Creative Embellishments January Challenge on Facebook.  They shared an inspiration photo below with champagne and ornaments. I loved the red ornaments in the photo and used the plain embellishment color as a substitute neutral for the gold in the photo.  Adding glitter was part of the challenge, so I added Stickles glitter to the berries on the Creative Embellishments wreath and with the Fancy Pants glitter curl in black and green.  I love Creative Embellishments so much I usually want to use there items with any alterations!

The title is from Close to My Heart Flower Market.  I cut this in red card stock and then matted it on white card stock and hand cut the the white card stock.  Beneath the Merry Christmas, I made a radiating star with some scrap paper.  The journaling mat is so old, I am not sure where I got it!  Paper is American Crafts Holographic (chevron) and Bazzill (red metallic).

American Crafts Holographic paper
Bazzill Basics Red Metallic paper
Close to My Heart Flower Market Cartridge
Fancy Pants Glitter Curl 
Journaling tag
Red card stock
White Card stock
Brown card stock
Red Stickles

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018 Calendar Planner with Anna Griffin

I am one of those crafters who makes things for others and often gives away my favorite projects.  So, I am really enjoying customizing my Anna Griffin Planner with all of the Anna Griffin tools, embellishments, papers and more!  

On my project bucket list has been a Quotes to Live by album, so I am using my planner to get it done.  This is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes in an Internet meme and I had a brand new Anna Griffin fan die (currently unavailable).  Under the tips of the die cut I used Anna Griffin rosettes cut in half.  Anna said that 2018 is all about layers, so I am layering this page up and loving the results.    
I am entering this in the Cut it Up Challenge #138 Calendars.  The flowers are die cuts from Anna Griffin card kits and I added a teeny, tiny button to attach the fan tassel.  

For many years, I purchased only Cricut cartridges and not dies, but I am so enjoying the embossed dies and how easy they are to use with my Cuttlebug!  There is nothing like the texture you get from an actual die.

Anna Griffin Planner
Anna Griffin Fan Dies
Anna Griffin Perfect Rosettes
Gold card stock
Anna Griffin flower die cuts


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