Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One Little Word 2009

In keeping with my "non-resolution" resolution post from a couple of days ago, I have decided to join Ali Edwards in her One Little Word 2009. If you're not familiar with it, you basically choose one word that is your mantra for the new year. For me, in keeping with my other post, I knew immediately that my word was balance. I'm an excellent multi-tasker but like I said before, it is easy for me to push aside things that I deem aren't as necessary as other things and then things like creating, don't get done (or get postponed and postponed for long periods of time).

I do A LOT - not just running the store. We ALL do a lot. I know that and that is why prioritizing and having a list, written or mental, helps keep it all straight. But, I also have no doubt that as busy as 2008 was, that 2009 will be even more busy. I did a good job in 2008 of realizing that I can't do it all. I did some delegating of certain tasks, which was/is very hard for me to do. I paid people to do things I could do, but didn't want to do (like yardwork) and tried really hard to think about whether the time I could spend doing something was worth the cost of that time. For stuff like yard chores (which I LOATHE), I decided I'd be a happier person to just pay someone. As a result, I have a spiffy upgraded Koi pond that requires little maintenance - unlike the old pond which needed tending to almost daily. Yuck! I plan to continue this and maybe expand it a bit.

I want to do more delegating and maybe even hire someone to help me at the store later in the year. We'll see how things go but I do know that my virtual plates are already piling up with tasks for 2009.

So for me, my word this year is BALANCE. Back in the day when I did gymnastics the balance beam was always my favorite, with uneven bars as a close second. I loved the the challenge of doing things that I could do in floor exercises on a 4 inch piece of wood. The height, the texture of the was exhilarating. Maybe that feeling is why I thrive on making all the pieces of my life work. Who knows? But, I do love it and I know I could do it better. So, for 2009, BALANCE is the key and I want to bring that into focus. With that comes prioritizing, having the courage to say no (or yes!) to things and knowing when it is time to just shut off the computer, the Blackberry, the music and just take a few minutes and a hot bath. I am all too guilty of getting wrapped up in the "I have to do this and this and this and this and this" syndrome. Sometimes that just has to happen but I know it isn't healthy to have that be the norm. I need to better balance my health (gotta make those doctor's appointments! in Jan!), my personal savings, my spending on the store (I am a small business and need to realize that I can't stock everything that everyone wants) and a few other things.

There were a few other strong contenders for my word including simplify, prioritize, possibility and dare but I think that balance sort of encompasses a little bit of each of those. Don't be surprised if you see this graphic appear every so often as I give you my Balance Check throughout the year. I ordered a very simple necklace from Lisa Leonard Designs to wear as a reminder. For me, that is huge. I don't wear jewelry - any - and will probably take some getting used to for me, having this thing flopping around on me. It is the single tag necklace and comes with a little pearl. Simple, elegant and something I think I can wear every day.

If you don't know about Ali, you should definitely head over there and check her out. She is amazing.

OK, I really think this is my last post for 2009. I've got a big day and night planned so take care!

Happy Birthday, Kendra!

Happy Birthday! Yes, today is New Year's Eve but it is also the birthday of Kendra from my DT. I am so fortunate to have her on my team and I can't wait to meet her in real life at CHA in just a couple of weeks! (YOWZERS!!!)

Please stop by her blog and wish her a very happy day!

And, have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Blog Candy Alert and what I've been up to

So what have I been up to, besides packing some orders, making CHA plans and enjoying vacation? I've been painting and sewing! Yes, I decided over Christmas that my bathroom needed a renovation. It was yellow and rubber ducky themed. It actually never became the cute little ducky oasis I planned, mostly because shortly after making my grand plans for stamping on my walls I realized my walls have an icky texture and stamping on them really just doesn't work. So, the the whole idea half done, I kind of abandoned it. And it stayed like that for the better part of 6 years.

So...I headed out to find a new shower curtain and then knew I'd plan around that. I landed the cutest pink and orange polka dot shower curtain and coordinating accessories, of course! How cute is that?

I picked up 2 shower curtains, knowing that I needed not only the shower curtain but then matchy matchy real curtains.

I came home, grabbed my trusty Benjamin Moore fan deck and picked out the orange in the polka dots and then went a half tone of that and settled on Peach Sorbet. Yummy name AND the perfect color. Off to the hardware store I went.

First the moulding needed a nice coat of white and then a few days later, the walls were all painted.

I dusted off my sewing machine - poor thing must think I hate it - and put it to good use making a valance, two cafe curtains and a curtain for my IKEA cabinet.
And the final result (it's dark out and the lighting in the bathroom is a little weird...the walls match the color swatch and aren't as bright as they appear in the picture)...*drum roll please*

Cute right?? Meredith stopped by to pick up her order today and she approves, although she didn't get to see the curtains. They were still being worked on when she stopped by.

So...that is what I've been doing and why I haven't got any stamping for you.

In other news, Dee posted her blog candy so be sure to pop over there and congratulate her on joining the IHP design team and to leave her a comment for your chance to win!

Have a very enjoyable and safe New Year's Eve tomorrow and I'll see you next year!!

Less is More...resolutions and such

I'm not a huge resolutions kinda girl. I don't think that the calendar should dictate when a good time to make positive changes in your life should happen. But, with that being said, there is something that just feels right about a new year. It reminds me off the feeling I have in the Spring. A new time, new births, new things - it feels like a time for change.

2008 was a year of change for me, both personally and professionally. Most notably, i {heart} papers was born. When the idea first came to be, things were quite different on the economic front and in the world as a whole. But, by the time it all came together, it was too late to stop things, despite the shaky economy and turbulent world. And, now I'm thankful I didn't.

With the store (and all the other things in my life that require attention) it is easy for actual creating to take a backseat to the responsibilities that need to be tended to. It's easier to slip into a routine of blurfing, buying and stocking new inventory, paying bills, browsing the galleries at SCS, etc. than actually stamping. I've been trying to balance these things for many months and stamping always takes a backseat. I think in my mind I convince myself that it isn't as important as those other things.

I've got over 300 blogs in my Google Reader but I'm sure if I had to, I could cut that down to 30 or so that are must reads and my great sources of inspiration (outside of my own DT of 11, of course!) But, it is way too difficult for me to just unsubscribe from them. So, I'm in the process now of sorting my blogs into folders of daily must reads (those top blogs I know I can go to for an inspiration kick) and all of the others. That is my first step to making more time in my life.

Most likely, if you're reading this, you got into stamping as a creative outlet, not as a chore. I'm comitted to rejuvenating that passion in me. I'm a much happier person when I create, rather than just reading 300+ blogs everyday from other people who are creating. I want to be inspired by my own creativity rather than depending on everyone else to inspire me. So I guess my big stamping resolution is to surf less and stamp more.

So there it is. Of course, getting to the act of creating has other things that go with it such as organizing my supplies, using the stash of goodies I have, keeping my workspace clean, etc. Will all of those things happen? Probably not, but if I make a concerted effort to create then I'm hoping the rest of those things will fall into place. (And, if not, they'll just stay on the table or floor where they are now!)

So, what say you? Will you join me in creating more in 2009? Will you spend less time on the computer and more time in your creation place? If so, please leave me a comment so we can keep in touch over the year and see how we're doing. I'd love to see what you create!

Happy New Year and happy creating!

Friday, December 26, 2008


Hello! Thanks for stopping by! I hope you're all enjoying your holidays and taking some well deserved downtime. It's been very busy over here and it's time to make some big announcements! No stamping today but some big news so please read on!

First off, please join me in welcoming a new design team member - Dee Jackson (StampincuzILuv2). I had actually selected her back when the DT call was closed but she was still under contract elsewhere and I didn't want there to be any conflicts. she is ours! She is a wonderfully talented stamper and I know she'll be a great asset to the rest of the amazing team. Yay!!!! Please stop by her blog or leave comments here to congratulate her! She'll have some blog candy posted to help celebrate so be sure to stop by!!

And, because CHA is right around the corner - 29 days to be exact - I need to make some room for NEW GOODIES! gift to you - a 15% off coupon - for today - one day only - on your entire purchase. All you need to do is enter IHPgift as the promo code at checkout. Yes, that includes Nesties. Yes, it includes things already on sale. Yes, it includes the new stuff...and ther is some really yummy new stuff. And yes, STILL free shipping on orders $40 or more ($100 for Canadian orders). So, what are you waiting for? Help me out, would you? I need room for all the amazing new stuff coming out at CHA!

Thanks for stopping by during this busy time. I really appreciate it!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Today, one of my DT, Cathleen is celebrating her birthday. I am so lucky to have her on my team and I would consider it a personal favor if you would stop by her blog on this super busy day and leave her a birthday wish. She has a gorgeous style and I'm sure you will be inspired by her.

I can only imagine how difficult it must be growing up with your birthday close to Christmas, let alone ON Christmas. Everyone is so busy with the season that it is probably easy to get lost in the shuffle.

So...let it be known - today is CATHLEEN'S birthday (and her twin sister's, too!).

Oh yeah...Merry Christmas too! :)

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you're enjoying your time with loved ones and eating lots of yummy food.

Be sure to stop in tomorrow for some big announcements! You won't want to miss it. Trust me!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snowball cookies

One word. YUM!

I LOVE these cookies and I only ever make them at Christmastime. Good thing too - when you look at the nutritional information!

They are so incredibly easy and delicious and very, very evil.

I am NOT a recipe person, except for baking. I'm a pretty good cook - I even contemplated opening a personal chef business a while ago - but I am usually a "let's see what is in the house and what I can throw together with those things" kinda person.

I have generally good cooking instincts but that makes replicating some exceptionally good dishes very difficult. Because there are so many more variables with baking, I do tend to stick with recipes. Or, in cases like these beauties, I want them to come out perfectly every single time.

With that being said, I don't really have a recipe book. I have a very worn folder that I keep some of my handy baking recipes in. I don't have recipe cards that have been handed down from generation to generation. But, last night while I was making these I was struck by the recipe that I printed many years ago. You can see that it is a well loved recipe - the paper is worn and stained with butter. I don't know...something struck me about it.

So I figured I'd post it here for you. It should be legible enough if you click the picture to see the recipe (and that scary "nutritional" information at the bottom).

Let me know if you try them and love them as much as I do!!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Desk Calendar

It is an awesome thing when your design team inspires you! A few weeks ago Tracy made this adorable Winter Calendar and as soon as I saw it, I ordered the 4x6 cases and couldn't wait to make my own!

The only thing I'm not too happy with (and it is my own fault!) is that I over embellished my pages so they don't all fit in the case and close without bulging. Once it is standing and open, it is fine but I'll need to tie a ribbon around it to make sure it stays closed. I'll need to keep that in mind for next time! For the winter page I used a 4x6 piece Always Artichoke as my base, layered with Wassail Snow Dust cut with the second largest Megabilities Curved Rectangle. The calendar was mounted on a strip of Bravo Burgundy and the snowflake embellishment is from my random stash. The rhinestone on this is the main culprit why they bulge in the case.

The calendar was downloaded and printed for free from here and was printed on PTI white. The tag is from the Ribbon Tags Trio and the ribbon, of course, is more faux suede. Are you sick of seeing me use that yet?!! I printed out the seasons on my computer, traced the oval from the Nestie and cut them out and popped them up on a dimensional.

For the Spring page I used Regal Rose as my base and Perfect Plum as the layer. The DP is from the Eva collection and is called Extravagance. Isn't it adorable? And do you see the little beaded daisies? I LOVE this little suckers! The fit perfectly on a mini glue dot and add just the right touch of flower and shimmery bead.

The ribbon is the light pink faux suede.

I love the colors of this spread.

Then, moving on to the summer page....

The base of this is Riding Hood Red. Yeah, I know, I've been using that a lot lately too. The layer is Gable Green and the ribbon...any guesses?!!! I'll wait while you take a guess.
YES! The red faux suede! How did you ever guess?? :)

The little flowers are Funky Flowers in the color seaside. I justr trimmed off their little stems and they were a perfect match to the aqua blue in Dream Escale DP the from the Black Orchid collection.

Lastly, the fall page. I'm not sure what happened to my picture here. Sorry about that! The base is Kraft, layered with a piece of PTI Aqua Mist paper. The DP is Tuffet from Piggy Tales. I {heart} Piggy Tales. First, the quality is superb - 65 lb. AND it makes me feel good to know that all of their 12x12 paper is made from recycled paper - yet is still acid and lignin free (of course!) and is printed with organic inks! It's good to be able to make amazing things and still live green!

The flower are the light pink Funky Flowers and the ribbon is my old standby, brown faux suede.

I made four of these last night. I was able to get everything I needed out of one sheet of each DP. I used 12x12 paper for my bases and I was able to get all four from one sheet of that as well.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm off to shovel the walkway now and maybe do some more cookie baking a little later!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

First snow and lots of Christmas prepping

Today we had our first real snow of the season. I {heart} snow and it was a perfect day for it because I had nowhere to go. Bandit, even though he is almost 12 and very arthritic finds his inner puppy with each snow. Look at that face!!

I stayed home and baked, packaged up some Christmas goodies and crafted. What better day could I ask for?

So what did I do you ask? Well, first, I headed on over to PTI and purchased two of the My Time templates.

Then I preheated my oven and got to work on my gingerbread men. The dough has been waiting patiently in the fridge, well wrapped, for a few days - keeping my royal icing from my last batch, company.

Here there all are hanging out on the table, waiting to be packaged up. I'll get to that part later.

I did a few designs but they all have a white outline and white face. One was just plain white with no additional decorations. I did another design with a Christmas tree on the front, yet another with a heart and then a star version.

It kind of reminded me of Shirt Tales. Do you remember that show??

I was reminded of that show the other night when I found it on my Boomerang On Demand. They only had one episode available but it brought me back to Saturday mornings as a kid.

Here is a close up of them. Some came out better than others but for the most part I'm pretty happy with them.

Aren't they cute??

I also made a batch of Sarah's pretzel rings but the picture didn't come out so well. Oh, and I couldn't find the rings, despite a full on hunt that involved FOUR grocery stores, so I substituted the square waffles and they turned out just fine.


Then, after all that was done and I was exhausted, I settled down with some of my favorite Christmas movies and got to crafting! I made eight of the Lollipop boxes (minus the lollipop part and minus the boxey part at the top) and one of the Keepsake Boxes. The lollipop box is very similar to my bath salt box that I made a few months ago for a bridal shower. The only difference is that the cover is two pieces of acetate instead of a full sleeve. But...I bought it anyway because it was just so much easier than trying to find my measurements from a few months ago!

Speaking of acetate, you can now get it by the sheet here. This one is good for window sheets and boxes that are mostly supported by cardstock but I am also waiting for a much thicker version that I prefer for my card bases and boxes made mostly from acetate. I'll be sure to post again once I have it.

I used the Be Merry Snowball Fun for the DP on the boxes and SU Riding Hood Red for my cs. And, yes, I confess, I used the faux suede again, this time in red. I think I'm addicted.

Tomorrow I've got a few more baking things to finish off - mostly my favorite Christmas cookie, the pecan snowball. YUMMY.

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget Carolyn's blog candy!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Decor Elements and blog candy alert!

I finally spent some time last night finishing up two more Decor Elements projects that I had started. Only one more to go!

The first one is the silhouette sleigh shadowbox. It is a very shallow shadowbox that I filled with Diamond Dust for snow. It's fun to tip and slide it around. I love the sparkle of this!!!

Here is a close-up of it.

Isn't it pretty?

Yes, for those of you paying attention, this is the
6th installment of my "Difficult Things To Photograph" series. :)

Oh! Before I forget! Carolyn, from my awesome design team, is offering up some Valentine's blog candy. So, if you're ready to move off of Christmas and start thinking about the next holiday, head on over and tell her who you make Valentine's Day things for!

OK, my last project for today is the long ornaments.

This didn't turn out as nicely as I hoped (or imagined in my head) but it's OK. What I can't capture is that shimmery snowy white mat. It is really, really gorgeous. I used some fabric ribbon curls that were starched to help them keep their shape and stuck them down with glue dots.

I'll be back later this week with my gingerbread men cookies. I've got to put together my Christmas menu tonight and go shopping tomorrow before the massive snow storm hits. I'm SO excited!! I definitely {heart} snow. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. I'm just a little excited, can you tell?

Hope you're enjoying your Christmas preparations and taking some time to really relax. Thanks for taking a few minutes to stop by and say hi!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas cards! FINALLY!

So I know at least some of my cards have been delivered so I thought it is about time to show you them. I made 40 of these and then pillaged my stash for the others.

Here they are all laid out and ready to be addressed and written out. It's funny - I had this aha moment when I was finishing making them when I realized that was only half the work! I kind of forget when I get wrapped up in them that I need to write them all out! I was tempted to send them blank but I didn't. **kidding**

When I first did my mock up, I thought "yeah, that's easy...I can knock those out pretty quickly." Yeah, right. Once I had already cut everything then I remembered the Nestabilitying, paper piercing on the large oval, placing the little rhinestones in the corner, the Stickling and the Shimmerzing. Ah well...I like them!

The snowman is from PTI Made of Snow. I was a little intimidated by all the pieces but he came together nicely. I saved myself a lot of time by stamping him on scratch paper and then lining up my clear stamps on a large block for the body and hat on one and the head and buttons on another. Then I did scarf by itself. Saved SO much time.

The base is PTI Vintage Cream. The DP is from Good Cheer and is called Sugar Cookies. It's got the Night Before Christmas story printed on it. Totally cute. Then I used SU Soft Sky for the blue. I was going to use PTI Aqua Mist but my pad seems to not be a good match to the cs. It's very green - almost like a jade green. So, I reached for my Soft Sky (my last pack! *gasp*) and it worked fine. The ribbon is my other favorite (besides the faux suede stuff) - the reversible pink/light pink ribbon. It was a good match for the Regal Rose that I used and is so silky smooth and easy to tie. The little rhinestones are here. They come in lines on the sheet so I just cut them apart. I snipped two together and then one by itself, that way I only had to line up the one. Another quick timesaver.

The finishing touch was the Angel Wings Shimmerz for the snowman body and the Waterfall and Frosted Lace Stickles on the hat. Cutie right?

Monday, December 15, 2008

DT Challenge #2: Holiday Thank You

Today the DT was challenged to create a holiday thank you card or project. From the time I was a very small child I remember writing out thank you notes, under the close supervision of my grandmother. At the time I hated it but looking back I can definitely see how that influenced me in a huge way.

I decided to play along and this is what I came up with! Bonus is I get to use some of the cookies I made over the weekend! Isn't he adorable?! He is a die-cut from the Good Cheer line. The hat, scarf, heart, face and holly are all also included so you get some dimension. The holly and green accent on the hat are Stickled with Frosted Lace.

The box was formed from by cutting a clear card box in half. Then I layered some paper from Good Cheer onto a piece of Riding Hood Red cs (SU). Then I made a little oval tag from my oval Nesties and stamped the thank you image from Expressions in Palette L'Amour Red.

The finishing touch was my total favorite faux suede
. I'm usually not a red girl but I'll made an exception for this stuff. I know I've said it before but this stuff is SO luscious and soft. I wrapped a band of it around the whole box and tied a knot for an accent and then used it to make a handle. I used i {stick} papers, our very own redline tape, to adhere the ribbon to the inside of the box. It comes in a 60 YARD roll - that's only 22 cents a yard and obviously it sticks papers and ribbon...and lots of other stuff too!

You can also see in the close up shot I hw I popped up the hat and scarf and heart on dimension dots.

Cute eh? Now...I just need to figure out who to give it to!

Be sure to go and check out the DT blogs and see what they came up with!

Sarah Anderson

Cathleen Torina

Loretta Lock

Amber Kroening

Kendra Wietstock

Lori Tecler

Deb Felts

Tracy Schultz

Meredith Socha

Carolyn Mustopa

Have a great week! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Royal Icing recipe

I've had a few requests for my icing recipe from yesterday so here it is:


1lb powdered sugar

5 tablespoons meringue powder

1/4 cup of water + a little extra to get the right consistency

¼ teaspoon glycerin

½ teaspoon clear extract (vanilla, rum, lemon – my favorite!)

Beat together until smooth.

You know you have the right consistency when you lift your beater and the drips and ribbons sit on top of the icing for about 5 seconds before sinking back into the mix.

I then use Gel food coloring to color small amounts placed in ramekins. I love gel dye because it is neater and doesn’t dilute or water down your icing. I find it so much easier to work with.

The other big event from yesterday (as you can tell) is that my tree is finally not naked. We've had it for a week and it's been set up, looking quite pathetic, with no ornaments.

But, staying up until 2am…you can accomplish almost anything you set your mind to! Here she is – new crazy topper and all! (The topper used to be Tinkerbell but she was just too heavy and kept trying to off herself by falling off the tree.) Now she is being displayed from an archway (she had to get a noose around her neck to secure her...poor Tink!!!)

The new guy is adorable and totally unique. I love it! Yes, that is a T-Rex hanging from the hooky part. "Old Skool" T-Rex, since his tail is dragging on the ground. This little guy makes an appearance on the tree every year - kind of just because. Don't ask. :)

That's it for today! I'm heading out to visit a friend and maybe do some stocking stuffer shopping.

I also need to pick up something for Bandit. I mean, how could you look at this face and NOT buy him something?