Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Hello Punkin!

Hello there Punkin'!  
Don't you love my new door decor!?!
I had a little bit to much fun with my vinyl cutter and am SO loving the extra floral and wired leaves.

Alone, my pumpkin was looking a little like a droopy bum, but with the flowers, I love it!

The whole thing was cut from 1/4" mdf.  If you wanted the pattern I could probably come up with one...

I made the swirls out of silver vinyl and cut it out on my Silhouette Cameo.

The floral came from the fall section at Hobby Lobby.

NOW I am ready for fall...I think.  It took my by surprise, but I have really loved the leaves.  I can't quite remember a fall as beautiful as this one, and it has lasted SO LONG!!!  

{Sister and Daughter at our photo shoot just over a week ago}

Beautiful.  Just beautiful.

Just don't snow yet.  I am not ready for THAT!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Photo Fun on the Farm!

Well hello there!  How have you been?
I have been out of my mind crazy busy!!!

The worst of it was riding in the ambulance with Madison so she could go have her head stapled shut after falling on her way to get the mail.  Yep.  That kind of thing pretty much has been the story of my last month.

Rather than having to remember all of those days I have been trying so hard to suppress...I think I will show you a handsome family I got to photograph!  I just finished their edits and really can't wait to show them off.

We took a few pictures at Heritage Acres Park in Fairmont, MN, then drove out to their family farm about 15 miles out of town for a few more pictures.

The most amazing thing about this picture to me is the sky.  You would never believe how grey it was, and still I was able to play around with the picture in Lightroom for just a minute or two and get this!

Oh how I wish that were my family picture!

I was totally excited when Melissa told me she wanted me to come down to the farm to shoot the family with the tractor.  I was NOT prepared for just how HUGE the thing was!  But it was beautiful.  I can see how the family could be proud of their little tractor ;0}

Thanks Melissa and your beautiful family for letting me take your pictures and have a little bit of fun on the farm.  Now on to more edits!  I have a whole pile of fall pictures from my Harvest Mini Session I shot last weekend.  Those pictures and more coming right up!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Progressive Companies Warm My Heart!

Recognize any of those yummy drinks up there?  They are all refreshing beverages made by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.  I am going to be honest with you, I have drank many of those beverages up there for years, but have seriously never heard of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group before this blog post opportunity.

I was invited by said group, along with, to take part in an informational webinar to learn more about the company and their efforts to meet the needs of Americans.

Promoting Nutritional Awareness 300x196
I know when you are thirsty it is easy to just plop your coins into the machine and push a button without thinking about all the effort that went into bringing that particular drink to market.  Here are just a couple fact I thought were interesting about Dr Pepper Snapple Group...
  • They sell more than 50 brands of carbonated soft drinks, teas, juices, mixers and other beverages.  
  • They own 6 of the top 10 non-cola soft drink brands.
  • Making your beverage required work from Scientists, Engineers, and a whole handful of specialists to work and perfect the formula and bring the drink to market.
  • When one drink is brought to your store shelves, most likely it has undergone an average of 40 variations before the perfect formula was discovered.  
  • When a new product is devised, it takes 2-3 years to get it ready to sell.  That is sure a long time to work on one project before ever bringing it into the light of day!!!
  • There are only  TWO people on this planet that know the entire formula for Dr. Pepper.  It is a very, very top secret!
  • The Dr Pepper Snapple Group employs over 19,000 people.
  • Each new flavored beverage is presented to a group of professionally trained tasters for scrutiny, probably each of those 40 tries.  Where can I sign up for that job???  And how much does it pay?  And are we paid in real money, or just in Hawaiian Punch?
Operations 380x248
I was super impressed by the company's involvement in the community and their aggressive goals to improve nutrition.  Not only are they making more lower-calorie beverages, but they are listening to consumers and using more natural sweetener sources, taking full-calorie drinks out of schools, and are part of an initiative to put the calorie counts on the front of the package to help consumers make informed decisions.  Dr. Pepper Snapple Group is also running an awareness program in local schools to make kids aware of balancing what they drink and eat with activity.

Did you know that America is suffering from a Physical Activity Deficit???
A few facts...
  • Only 20% of children live near a park
  • 2/3 of kids get less than an hour of play a day
  • Kids 8-18 spend an average of 7.5 hours on devices such as computers, TVs, smart phones, and tablets each day.
  • This physical activity deficit, along with poor diets, has tripled obesity rates.

This need for physical activity leads me right to the Let's Play initiative.  To help address the lack of active play, Dr Pepper Snapple Group {DPS} started the Let's Play initiative to provide tools, spaces, and inspiration to make play a priority.  As of today, they have built or improved 2,000 playgrounds in areas as diverse as rural Iowa to the busy suburb Brooklyn.  In the first three years of DPS's cooperation with KaBoom!, a national non-profit organization all about promoting active play, DPS donated $15 million towards the Let's Play playground build/repair project.  After such success in the first three years, the two organizations decided to continue for an additional 2 years and DPS donated another $10 million to the cause.  

I really think you should check out the Let's Play website.  There are ideas for play for the whole family, a park locator, and information on how to get involved improving your local parks.  Have a park near you that is in need of repair or updating???  Check out this page full of grants you can apply for to make the needed improvements.

The one other thing I learned about that was news to me {I don't get out often ;0} is that DPS is responding to consumers who want products with only natural sweeteners, so they have been testing naturally sweetened versions of Dr Pepper, 7up, and Canada Dry.  They are sweetened with a blend of stevia and sugar and have only 60 calories per serving.  

{Here is the part I was talking about was news to me} DPS has made a new line of drinks with only 10 calories.  Here is how it was explained to me...
"Consumer insights told DPS they were losing out on a segment of the consumer population, primarily male, who – as they aged and started watching their weight – didn’t want to shift from regular soft drinks to diets. They didn’t care for the taste or imagery of diets – that’s where Dr Pepper TEN came in, offering the taste experience of a regular soft drink, but with only 10 calories.
You have to love a goofy commercial like that ;0}  And here is a video for your Mr. Rogers/How It's Made side...
Well, long story short, I am really, really impressed with Dr Pepper Snapple Group!  They are a very progressive company, striving and accomplishing goals to improve the health of Americans, AND donating millions to bring about their desired change.  Thank you Dr Pepper Snapple, and for allowing me to tag along and learn so much more about the process of bringing a new brand/flavor to market, a peak at your goals and initiatives as a company, AND for letting me know about the new Ten line.  I am going to have to give a couple of those a try.  I told my aunt about the Ten Dr Pepper and she went out and bought one to try.  She said she really liked it.  I am not a huge fan of cola, but I am all over the Ten A&W Baby!  I will take some Hawaiian punch too while you are at it.  Just hearing that drink mentioned made me NEED to get some!

Man!  Anyone else thirsty besides me?  I guess it goes with the job, poor Dr Pepper Snapple Group employees.  They must be thirsty a lot ;0}

***This was a sponsored post.  While I was compensated for my time and efforts to properly review the information presented, the opinions of the product expressed here were my own.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It's Getting Spooky!

My front porch shutter is once again clothed with craftiness!  No more nakedness there.  Phew!

I used the font LHF Jami to create these letters.  I found it on Fonts2U a couple weeks ago.  I love that site!!!  I love that when I click download for their free fonts I don't end up downloading some strange critter of a file that changes my internet homepage or leaves me with more pop-up adds than computer screen.  Plus, they have fonts I have never seen anywhere else.  Seriously, I spend a side-tracked afternoon downloading over 100 fonts a couple weeks ago and then bribed Madison to open and install them all for me in exchange for me taking her dish day.  Score for me!  I was done WAY before she was.  Another strike against my Mother of the Year career-long goal :0{

Anywho, I cut these out of 1/4" mdf, painted them up, sanded, and used a ribbon this time to put the whole thing together.


It looks absolutely awesome from the street.  I have yet to get a picture from there, but I have to say I love this shutter filler sign better than any other so far.

Now to actually decorate for Halloween...Still failing.  One day these munchkins that live in my house will find a Mom to move in here and do all the fun things I just can't seem to get to.  Until then, they are stuck with "Spooky".

I did get my ghost finished too.  I finally settled on a face and got this guy together.  I would still love to add some fall floral picks or something around the neck area {sounds terrible, but looks great in my mind} but we can't wait for the moon and the stars to all align in order for me to get that done.  Can you tell I have been exasperated with my Adult attention deficit lately???  Must stay focused!

With all the vinyl I have been cutting for orders, I have just started cutting the faces out of vinyl too.  It makes them look all perfectly mouthed and such.  I decided to go with a smiley open mouth since I have the ghosty saying...
Don't you love it!?!  Halloween doesn't have to be all weird and gross.  It can be nice and friendly!

So, there sits Gordon the Cheerful Ghost next to the spooky sign, my sunflowers, and an American flag...I am thinking I will just leave one decoration out each holiday and then eventually we will never have to decorate again.  Each holiday will be represented EVERY DAY!!!

*sigh*  I need a vacation.  I think I have finally cracked.

Custom Orders Rock!

I have a little somethn' somethn' to show you!  I had the funnest time with this custom order I got recently.

My customer wanted a glue gun stand that was personalized for her friend that was starting a crafting show.  How EXcITING!  What a thoughtful friend too.  She had no real preference on color, just wanted a monogram put on and the jar for holding glue sticks.

I went with the teal stand because I LoVE IT!!!  It is such a bright cheerful color.  If you ask me, I would say it is the perfect color for any holiday or to mix in with just about any craftroom motif.

I think more than for making the stand, I was excited that she asked me to gift wrap the stand!  I love to gift wrap, but my financially practical side kicks in and I end up not getting to play as much as I would like to.

After about 2 hours of walking back and forth in the new Hobby Lobby up here in the Twin Cities, I finally settled on this combination.  I found this adorable box in the party section.  FYI, the party stuff never goes on sale or is ever included in the ad sales.  You CAN however use the 40% off coupon on party section selections.  That was what I did with this box{cause I just couldn't find an option as cute!}

I layered tissue paper in the box, put the stand in, then locked it in place with these wood scraps made into blocks.  They worked perfectly to keep the stand from shifting and the tissue hid the blocks from view.

I ended up having to fill the box with bubbles just to make sure that glass jar didn't bounce around, but covered the box with the lid and that tiny bit of ugliness was hidden from first view at least.

Everything was found at Hobby Lobby.  The flowers were on sale, the burlap ribbon was on sale, and the metal M, well, it was adorable.  Not on sale but adorable AND re-usable.  I love incorporating things that can be decorative AND re-usable.  I had a lovely turquoise door knob I drove around in the cart more than half of the shopping trip, seriously thinking about putting the door knob on as decoration.  Finally I decided it might just only be cute to me and ended up putting it back.

I found the little chalkboard pick in the scrapbook section and added the little "For You" in white vinyl.  

Ahhhhhh.  I love a good crafty tension releaser.  I needed one and SO loved getting in the zone with this project.  Now back to real life.  So much to do, so little time!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In My Photo Playground

My handsome red-headed younger brother proposed to the love of his life in the Grand Canyon last winter.  He set up a tripod to take these insanely awesome pictures of the day.  My sweet sister-in-law to-be asked if I could maybe touch them up at bit.  

I gladly ran them through my Lightroom program and was amazed at how much detail you could see with a little lightening.  SIL-to-be said it would be fine to share these pictures of their special day, so remember, these are not my pictures.  Just a couple pics I got to bring to my photo playground.

Above is the before...

And my after.  

Black and white :0]  I love a good black and white.



Black and White



Black and white

A little antiquing

Add some old parchment texture to the picture.  I love it!





Have I mentioned HOW much I LoVE Lightroom!?!  I LOVE LIGHTROOM!  
I ended up signing up for the monthly plan, $10/mo for Lightroom and Photoshop.
I wanted to try it for a year before investing in another photo program.  Can I just say it was totally worth it!
You can edit a whole folder of pictures at once.  Love.  That is all there is to say.

Thanks Dave and Davie for letting me show off your pictures.  I can't wait to see the wedding pics!!!
And yes, those are their names.  We just call them Team Dave or The Daves now ;0}

Novelty Print Quilt Pattern

I have had a hard time finding good quilt patterns for novelty prints the past couple times I purchased them.  I made up this pattern so tha...