Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Shirt Pillows

My Grandma passed away a little over a month ago and as the saying goes, you find out a LOT about a person after they pass. One of the things I found out is that my Grandmother had an EXTENSIVE wardrobe! Throughout my years working as a nursing assistant in a nursing home I learned that most of my residents had about enough clothes to get them by for about a week or two at most. Well, my Grandma Alice had enough clothes to probably get by for at least two months!

She was always dressed so nice and I would always tell her that she was so soft and cozy with her warm fleece sweaters and fuzzy sweatshirts. This was true of my Grandma's personality too... she was ALWAYS warm and cozy and it radiated in the way she loved all of us! My sister and I decided that we couldn't pass along alllllll of these clothes to the Salvation Army and first wanted to make a few keepsake pillows out of them. So we set out on Pinterest for an idea and here you have it!

She's not too big of a fan of the camera so early in the morning. 

Hopefully these will give my family members some comfort in their time of loss. May Grandma Rest in Peace. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

PRODUCT REVIEW: Stamp-n-Storage Paper Holder for Ikea

For Christmas this year my husband was oh so nice and got me a Cricut Cuttlebug, which is an embossing machine. After purchasing several embossing folders for the machine I concluded it is truly designed to make custom cards (birthday cards, anniversary, Christmas, etc.). I decided this is a great thing because I now have another reason to also use my Cricut Explore.

As I began using these machines to make cards I decided my storage system for my supplies was not accessible enough. In order to make one card I had to pull out the Cuttlebug, the Cricut Explore, the bin of Cuttlebug embossing folders, the bin of scrapbook paper, the bin of Cricut tools/mats.... pretty soon I could hardly move around in my office because there were bins of stuff EVERYWHERE! Not to mention once the bins were out I still had to thumb through the embossing folders and paper in order to find the right materials I was looking for.

So I set out on a Google search to find some HELP and new storage solutions. I was completely surprised and excited when I found this paper storage system for 12X12 paper that would fit in the Ikea Kallax Shelving Unit that I already have in my office/craft room.

I hesitated at first because lets face it $76.75 for one cubic foot of storage a LOT! I researched other ways I could make this myself and found no instruction and honestly was so frustrated with my current storage situation I decided to take the plunge and purchase two of these paper storage systems from Stamp-n-Storage. The company is based in MN and does offer a frequent customer rewards program which I believe gave me $10 off and free shipping on my first order, so that helped out a bit.

When they arrived about a week and a half after I placed the order my paper storage/accessibility issues were taken care of! The units were super sturdy and well made, which makes me happy because they could be stand-a-lone units as well if I no longer use this Kallax bookcase, and they fit right into the cubicles like a glove. Take note that these are WOOD units. When I was doing my search I found a TON of inexpensive units on Amazon that looked like they would work out great as well but when you read the fine print they are made out of cardboard.

I am very happy that I made this purchase. Not only did I solve my storage problem, but I am 100% confident that if I were to have purchased another product I'd eventually hate it and purchase these anyways. Now to find the next innovative storage solution for the embossing folders etc. For now I'm one bin down when I dig everything out to create a Birthday Card! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Traveling the North Shore: Tips & Tricks

Spring is in the air and it is almost that time of year where people start to venture north to visit the many attractions throughout the north shore of Lake Superior. This has been a favorite spot for my family to spend summer days together so I decided I'd write a blog to inform readers of a few tips and tricks I have found out throughout our journeys up the north shore.

1. Waterfalls... if you love them, drive passed Gooseberry Falls! 

For the longest time, the only waterfall I knew of along the North Shore was Gooseberry Falls. Thankfully I discovered several years ago that Gooseberry Falls is only 1 out of about 130 waterfalls that reside among the 31 plus rivers that pour into Lake Superior. If you want something more quiet and not completely overrun by tourists, with more parking, and better photo opportunities you should continue to head north, right passed Gooseberry Falls, to discover other waterfalls that are just as beautiful and less overpopulated with people photo-bombing your shots. Here is a great book we have used as a guide to discover the many waterfalls along the North Shore! Enjoy!

2.  Understand & Utilize STATE PARKS! 

There are 8 State Parks along the North Shore, UTILIZE THEM! When we initially made our trips along the shore... which mainly consisted of taking a drive to Gooseberry Falls.... we didn't realize the value in the MN State Parks System. The parks provide you with maps to hike a number of interconnecting trails, campsites (back-pack, cart-in, drive-in, camper, RV, cabins), bathrooms, showers, beaches, and other geographical markers/attractions that enable you to discover so much more than 1 waterfall. Each park has a park office that provides souvenirs, maps, check-in/out for campsites, and staff that can help point you in the right direction or answer any of your questions. Campsites can be reserved online by clicking here.


The parks are free to use, but they do require you to purchase a "parking permit" which can range in price from $5 a day to $25 a year, per vehicle. My husband is a disabled Veteran and qualifies to receive a free daily parking permit. There is a simple form he has to fill out along with showing proof of his disability status, each day to receive the new permit. Your parking pass is good for the time period you purchase it as well as for ALL state parks! When you are on the North Shore there is a pretty good chance you will visit more than one State Park in the same day. One last note about parking... if you are also paying for camping I believe that includes parking so you may want to coordinate your check-in/outs with your needs for parking. 

Overall the fee for the amount of entertainment you get is minimal! Where else in the state can you spend $5 for endless amounts of entertainment for your entire family? Pay the fee! Don't pull in and be naive about using the park! This is a privilege, not a right, be respectful! The State Park system in MN is amazing and relies heavily on government funding to pay for the maintenance and further development of the operations. In order to receive any type of funding the state parks need to track attendance of users and the easiest way to do that is by tracking the number of people who pay for parking! Consider it a donation to show your support for MN State Parks! 

4. Weather! 

If you're not from MN let me give you a quick low-down on how the weather works up here.... it can snow, slush, rain, and be warm and sunny all in the same day! Basically you need to be prepared for anything! When my husband and I took our first trip up the North Shore in July 2013 we planned on it being hot and humid just like it was on the Iron Range (where we are from). The North Shore was completely different. It was foggy and damp outside, but it wasn't too terribly hot or humid. When traveling up highway 61 the inland side of the highway was much much warmer than the lake side of the highway. My best advice would be to bring multiple layers of clothing with you so that you can be prepared for any type of weather MN has to offer.

On a side note... there have never been any bad cases of mosquitoes when we have been up there! :) :) :)
July 2013, no bugs, but I went from an insulated rain jacket to a tank top all in the same day! 
I'm sure there are plenty more things to add to this list but this is all I have right now. Time to get back to watching the snow melt to bring forth spring and more North Shore Adventures! 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Toilet Paper CAKE!

Surprise 60th Birthday for the lovely Carol B, my L&M Mama! HECK YES!!! This lady is so special to me and always does the nicest and most thoughtful things for my family and I was so excited to FINALLY have something to celebrate with her! My first question was... what do you give someone who is turning 60? So I asked my Mother-in-Law who coincidentally is also turning 60 this year and her advice was that "gag gifts are still appropriate even for someone who is "60" because people that age don't usually need anything". So the ideas started flowing and I came up with this toilet paper cake! Sure we have all seen diaper cakes before... so why not toilet paper? 

It included: 
  • 14 rolls of toilet paper
  • a toilet cleaning brush
  • toilet bowl cleaner
  • pepto-bismol
  • laxatives
  • milk of magnesia 
  • gas relief tablets
  • hemorrhoid ointment
  • aerosol can of air freshener w/ a complimentary face-mask
And of course it wouldn't have been complete without a big "60" and some corny quotes to go right along with the theme! 



Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Corny Holiday Traditions I Can't Live Without

People often say that once you have a child you will start to decorate more for holidays because you want your child to experience each holiday as a special time of year.

For me, it didn't take the birth of my first child to fall in LOVE with holidays. I've always enjoyed traditions and reminiscing about how my parents were so wonderful at making my sister and I feel special around the holidays. I think each holiday is different but they are all magical in their own unique way.

Prior to giving birth to Elizabeth (now 18 months) I decorated for maybe 3 holidays; 4th of July, Fall/Halloween, & Christmas. Now I find myself collecting more and more "stuff" to decorate for other holidays as well like Valentine's Day and Easter. I want her to have every magical memory that I have from the holidays growing up. My Mom and Dad were the best parents for instilling so many traditions and magical moments into my childhood. I hope that our little "E" will feel the same about Matt & I when she looks back at her childhood memories.

Decorations are only a small portion of the holiday traditions in my life but I believe it's what brings to life the magic that is the holiday's. I recently made window clings with my Cricut for Christmas, Halloween, & Valentine's Day. It brought me back to the times spending an entire weekend at my Grandma Rosie's house fighting with my sister about who got to put window clings up, our favorite thing to do among the weekend long Christmas decorating extravaganza.

Yesterday, as I put out the Valentine Decorations (over 1 month prior to the actual holiday because I was so excited about them) I realized everyone is right, you do want your child to celebrate holiday's more so than you celebrated prior to having them. Decorating, making craft projects, going out into the woods and cutting a tree, making Valentine's, carving pumpkins, Easter egg hunts, decorating cut-out cookies, driving around looking at Christmas lights, picking out Easter dresses, trick-or-treating, visiting the pumpkin patch... these are all traditions I will continue to carry on with Little Miss E and any other kiddos that come along. It might be corny, but I LOVE corny. I have no problem celebrating, experiencing old and new traditions, and making magical memories for my family! It makes me happy!


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Cricut Explore Product Review

There, I got that off my chest. If you are a project person, scrapbooker, crafter, organizer, decorator, or even think you might be, even in slightest bit, GET A CRICUT! I received mine as a Christmas gift in 2014 and have been busy busy busy using it ever since. 

This machine is SO versitile and can create such a LARGE array of unique items it will literally make your head spin. Visit my Pinterest Board for Cricut Projects and Ideas if you do not believe me. I have personally used the machine to cut: 

stencil material
printer weighted paper
window clings
label paper

And that list is VERY small compared to what the machine can actually cut. I recently used the "custom" dropdown list when searching for the stencil material and found there are about 1000 items it can cut.  

I love that once you purchase the machine you do not need to purchase ANYTHING extra. You can upload your own images into the Design Space and turn them into cut images in the matter of a few simple user friendly steps. You truly do not have to purchase anything else. No cartridges, no stencils, no dies. IF you decide you cannot find the image you're looking to cut on the world wide web, you CAN view and design with Cricut's surplus of images and only purchase images once you are truly ready to cut. In the mean time you can play around with them for as long as you want until you get your design just right! 

I would recommend getting the 12" x 24" mat to be able to create larger projects if necessary.... trust me you'll use it. If your machine doesn't have Bluetooth (I believe the newer Cricut Explore Air does) I'd recommend getting that for convenience sake. If you want some tips on some good accessories here are a few of the tools I use A LOT: 

I've used it to create so many items already! Here are a few of the projects I have used my cricut with.
Window Clings.... and the green window cling roll was a gift to me so there will be Xmas trees next year as well. 

I use the vinyl to make stencils for easy vintage sing making like this. 

I used the cricut to cut out this apron recipe card holder that I used as part of a Christmas gift this year.

I used the cricut to cut out stencil material I used to trace out these patterns for burlap ornaments. 

Another sign made with cricut vinyl as a stencil. 

First cricut project ever! I used card stock to make this sign and modge podged it to a board. 

One of my favorite quotes cut with the cricut out of cardstock and vinyl for this cute Valentine decoration. 

Upcycled these old frames for a friend with some cricut vinyl. 

Made a stencil used to paint this planter for a friend. 

Custom Birthday invites from cardstock for my baby girl! 

Vinyl used as as stencil for these shabby chic garden signs. 

Another sign for a friend. 

These are only a few of the many projects I have completed with the help of my Cricut. Overall I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE my Cricut Explore and cannot say enough good things about the product and all of the accessories. My husband was 100% right when he decided to get me this gift for Christmas. Every-time I use it I remind him of how much this was the best gift ever! He got me the Cricut Cuttlebug this Christmas so watch for a review on that one in the coming months as well. 

Happy New Year!