Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Couple of Mini's

Good Morning! I want to express how overwhelmed and thankful I am over the response to the last post. Crafting with my boys is a precious gift to me. They spend so much of their time playing sports and being rough and rowdy boys, that it is nice to have them slow down and use the other side of their brain. I hope that I can continue to add things to their lives that will develop them into well-rounded young men.

I wanted to quickly share a couple of mini album covers and a few interior pictures with you. The first is a 6x6 mini album that unfolds to form a display. I am taking this album to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. My boys, nieces, and nephew are going to make turkeys to finish the album. I am looking forward to crafting with them and I can't wait to see how it turns out. I got the idea after seeing this card from Ronda at Cocoa Daisy.

Here is the cover:

The interior fold out:

and my finished turkey that I will use to help show the kiddos what we are doing:

I can not wait to finish this mini and give it to my parents. It will make a cute addition to their Thanksgiving decorations and be a sweet keepsake.

The other mini I created was for the boys Christmas Journal. I plan for this to be similar to a December Daily (which I am doing) except that all the pictures, ATC art projects, and journaling will be done by the boys. I know that they will not be able to work on it everyday, but I have created enough pages for them to complete a page for each day of December.

Here is the cover:

and here is a picture of one of the interior pages.

Sorry the photos are a little grainy. It has been raining here in Central Arkansas for two or three days, making it impossible to shoot pictures in a good light.

I have not included tons of details in this post, but I will be back this weekend or the first part of next week to give more details about how I put the mini's together and also post some pictures of my December Daily.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

ATC Mini Art Projects

Tuesday, I posted that I was planning on continuing the mini art projects with the boys. This is something that I started doing with them this summer as a way to tear them away from technology. I was skeptical that they would enjoy doing them, but once we started they were hooked. We started out doing one every day, but then it kind of dwindled to every other day or whenever we got a chance with our busy summer schedule.

Below are three of the projects that we created this summer. The first is Carter's favorite-we painted the background with watercolors, then used a foam stamp and acrylic paint to stamp our first intial. The second is Ethan's favorite- we used the exclusivecoffee/tea ring stamp from the March Cocoa Daisy kit and stamped it in black ink, then used watercolors and Twinkling H2O watercolors to paint the whole thing. The final one is my favorite- We used Modge Podge and tissue paper to create pictures. I finished mine with a white pen and a rub-on word.

Here is a look at how I have been storing the mini art projects. We each have our own baseball card page and when we complete a project it is dry, we just slip it in. I am currently using an American Crafts D-ring album and these baseball card pages fit perfect.

Once we start to work on a project it was amazing how quietly and intently we all work. Many times the boys will work really hard for over thirty minutes on their little mini masterpieces. Thirty minutes of sustained work and attention span is HUGE for little boys.

I am also amazed at how much I enjoyed working on these little projects too. For me it is a chance to work in different mediums and to just play and create without worrying that I was going to mess up my end result.

All the art projects start with an ATC (2.5x3.5 in) sized piece of white textured cardstock. I usually have in mind what medium I want to use with the boys before we start, but sometimes I just let them choose what they want to work with. Most of the time we work together on projects that are all similar, but sometimes the boys will show up while I am scrapbooking and want to work on a project by themselves, so I keep extra ATC cards on hand for these type instances.

Here are some pictures of the boys working on our latest project and then a picture of the finished pieces.

Inking and using the Big Shot

Splatter painting and misting

Final result

Besides spending quality time with the boys creative playing and talking, which is the biggest benefit of the mini art projects, I also love that they are learning about different art mediums and learning that art is not perfect. Plus I am using up bits and pieces of my scrapbooking materials….Gotta love that!

I plan to continue these mini art pieces more consistently through the month of December; so that the boys can add them to their December journal (I will share this with you in a later post).

I am also thinking that we will continue these in 2012 as part of my Project Life album.

I hope you find the time to make mini masterpieces with your kids or even your husband. It is an amazing way to creatively play, talk, and share. There is nothing better than quality time spent together making memories.
Here’s to creative play and wonderful messy memories! Hugs!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Plans, Glorious Plans!

Before I jump head long into my plans, I want to share a few goings-on from around here.
This past weekend, I participated in the bi-annual Cocoa Daisy crop. I have participated in all the crops they have had and I can say by far that this weekend was the very best! Such inspirational challenges and fun camaraderie and silly banter back and forth on the boards! If you are looking for an online kit company with inspiring design team members and beautiful kits, Cocoa Daisy is the place to go. It is my absolute favorite scrappy spot.

Here are a few of my creations based on some of the challenges from this weekend’s crop and a picture of my desk during the crop. How is it that I have this big, beautiful desk, but I choose to cover it with stuff so that I leave myself a very small workspace? Crazy! I know...

The desk...Yikes!

This was the first layout I completed. It was a fabric challenge, where you had to use a large amount of fabric on your layout. I love how this one turned out!

I created this card for the clothing challenge. In this challenge you were to create a card based on clothing pieces that the challenge designer gave us to use.

This layout was created for the sketch challenge. Vicki Boutin, who is the guest designer for November created a sketch for us to use for this challenge.

For this challenge the wonderful Amy Tangerine inspired us to stitch words onto our projects.

I hope to finish additional layouts this week, so that I will be eligible for Queen of the Crop honors.
This weekend I did step away from the computer long enough to do this:

Woo Pig Sooie! What a great way to spend time with my guys! The wind was blowing like crazy, but our seats were perfect, out of the wind and warm underneath the upper deck seating. To top it off the Razorbacks won big over Tennessee 49-7.

So now onto my plans…. My mother swears that I was a planner from a very early time, I am beginning to believe her, because I am raising one just like me….and boy is he difficult when things don’t go has he has planned! Any who…here is what I am planning for the coming months:

  • A fall craft: for my boys, nieces and nephew to complete while we are at my parents for Thanksgiving week. I got my inspiration from Mrs. Ronda’s cute little card, using this exclusive stamp from Cocoa Daisy.

  • Use the mini album from this Cocoa Daisy add-on to make mini album about all the things I am grateful for right now.

  • Mini Art Projects with the boys…I started these this summer with them as a way to pry them away from technology for a bit. I never imagined how much we all would enjoy doing them. They still ask me to do art projects all the time.

  • My December Daily. I constructed most an album last year and got swamped and didn’t do anything with it. But the positive side of that is now I have foundation pages that are nearly complete, so I am ahead of the game for this year. WooHoo!

  • Start thinking and planning my Project Life, I am going to do it a bit different this year, and also start contemplating my one little word for 2012.

  • Also planning some projects for a possible etsy shop…

Man! That is a lot of bullet points and plans. I guess I am an over planner. But in all those thoughts and plans I hope to find a happy medium, where I can feel successful in capturing the everyday moments I don’t want to forget, creating wonderful, art that calms my soul and feeds my inspiration, yet still finding time to live in the moments so that I can enjoy them too.

Is there a happy medium? I believe so… I just gotta find it….Maybe it is hiding under that big pile of stuff on my desk….

Here’s to finding the happy medium in your life! May you find time to do what you love in the middle of all the chores and tasks that you have to do on a daily basis.
Until tomorrow…Hugs to you! (Ok, Ok, maybe not actually tomorrow, but you know I will be back eventually!)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

5 years of Cocoa Daisy

I have been a happy member of Cocoa Daisy for 5 years. I own every monthly kit they have put out and they just get better and better each month.

I was honored when they lifted one of my layouts for a challenge this September on the Cocoa Daisy boards. I decided as part of this challenge to complete a layout with kits from the five precious years, using the lift as my design. I also used pictures from those years as well. Here are how the layouts turned out.

2007- December Kit "A Winter's Eve"
Ethan's 1st Snow

2008-April Kit "Orient Express"

Snuggle Up

2009-September Kit "Ali's Favorites"

You Did It!

2010-February Kit "Memphis Belle"

Sweet Face

2011-September Kit "Printer's Drawer"

How I Relax

I love Cocoa Daisy, it has a wonderful atmosphere and creative minds always offering great ideas and inspiration. I am blessed to be part of such an amazing group of women.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I remember exactly where I was on 9/11/2001. I was in the hallway at De Queen Primary School, headed to get students from the Kindergarten for reading. Mrs. Dykes, our assistant principal came down the hall and asked if we knew that the World Trade Center had been hit. The other reading teachers and I were completely unaware of what had happened and were shocked to find what was going on in New York City. Later on we found out that a second plane had hit the other tower and at that point I realized that this was no accident and for the first time in my life my country was under attack. I was shocked and wanted to stop teaching and just watch the events unfold. Hoping that is some way I could make sense of it all.

I remember watching the remaining events unfold on TV. Someone set a TV up in the teacher’s lounges and I spent any extra minute just standing there watching the TV. Feeling like it was all so unreal, so hard to believe, so horrible to watch. Praying that the people in those towers were able to get out, knowing in my heart that they didn’t. I was trying to understand the amount of evil that would cause a person to put such an awful plan into motion. Wondering what it was that my country had done to these people to make them retaliate in such a manner.

I remember hearing and seeing the footage of the plane hitting the Pentagon and of Flight 93’s heroism. I felt raw and numb that it had happened again, then again. Wondering if it would happen somewhere else and if so who would be the target.
I remember watching footage of President Bush. I saw him being told about the attacks and how well he maintained his composure in front of the students in that Florida classroom. Feeling proud of my president and worried about his safety as he wanted desperately to get back to Washington. Instead he was flown all over the country in Air Force One in an attempt to keep him safe. Feeling proud that he landed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana for a just a little bit. I felt a little safer knowing he was very close to where I was.

I remember the lines that afternoon to get gas. It was something I had not thought of, but as I drove by the gas stations there were lines of people getting gas which was shocking to see. Nothing like this had ever happened here. When Jess got home he told me that he had waited in line a long time to get gas and was a little upset with me because I hadn’t had the forethought to stop and get some myself. He was afraid of gas prices going up even more than the dollar they had already risen and being uncertain about the availability in the near future.

I remember watching it all unfold again that evening. Jess and I just sat and watched the news footage of the day and spoke very little. I finally broke down and cried. It was just too much to watch and to know that these ordinary, average people were just going about their daily lives and were so tragically taken. Knowing that there was still a lot of uncertainty about what had actually happened and who had caused it.

I remember the days that followed. Still so much fear and uncertainty about how many people were lost. The amazing hero stories that began to come out and feeling proud to be an American because of the sacrifices that these people had made to try to save others. Seeing President Bush’s incredible speech at Ground Zero and feeling hope because of it.

I remember realizing that more lives would be lost because we were headed to war. The feeling of pride for my country and uncertainty of what the future would hold. Wondering if it was really safe to bring children into this world and how sad I felt, because I knew I wanted to have children.

I remember having to just turn it all off. It had begun to consume me, the constant TV footage of the attacks, the faces of the hijackers, the faces of the families of the missing and their pleas to find their family members, the remarkable stories of survival and loss. It all became too much to bear. I realized that I was allowing it to keep me rooted in one spot as a spectator and that I needed to get up and just live again. Not to be stuck in this moment forever. I also realized in those moments that I had just been a part of history, much like my grandparent's Pearl Harbor and the assassination of President Kennedy in my parent’s generation. Knowing that the generations before had experienced their own moments of shock and uncertainty. Knowing that they came through those moments stronger people and part of a stronger country. Taking comfort in the fact that I knew that the same would occur in my generation and praying that future generations would not ever have to live through something so tragic.

I will always remember. Ten years later that day still stands out in my mind, especially around the anniversary each year. I always stop to watch and in my own way honor the day and those lives lost. It is sometimes still difficult to watch, but for me it reemphasizes how incredible my country is and how proud and appreciative I am of those who serve America on a daily basis. I want my children to understand and appreciate 9/11 and I know they will not ever completely understand the day as much as those who lived it, but I want them to know about the people who lives were lost, the courage of the rescue workers, the courage of the heroes on flight 93, the courage and heroism of ordinary people. Because in those moments of 9/11 you see the true spirit of who we as Americans are supposed to be. I want my children to have that spirit and strength within themselves and the pride of being an American.

I will never forget. God Bless my beautiful America.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How about a little randomness..

So I have random stuff just bouncing around in my brain. Thought maybe a blog post would put it into better perspective and possibly shape it into a scrapbook layout or two.
BTW some of these photos were taken using my new smart phone...WooHoo upgrade, now if we can just upgrade the user. She is a bit slow with the touch screen and frustrates easily. She also now has a twitter account. You can follow her randomness there too @oliviasmartin
Here are just a few of my random thoughts and actions this week:

1. I am LOVING this cooler weather. The weather guy says it won't last, but for now I am enjoying every cool, breezy minute of it!

2. The boys played their first fall baseball game Tuesday night and they both hit the ball. Carter hit really well of course...but Ethan, who is 5 and is playing on his big brother's 7 & 8 year old team, hit for the first time...We were so super excited for him. He made it to first, stole second, and then Carter was up as our lead off batter and hit well enough for E to make it to third. The next batter got Ethan in on an RBI. It was so fun to see him score and to grin so big because he hit and scored. The look on his face was priceless. Carter said later that he was more excited when Ethan hit and scored than he was when he hit...Awww such compassionate little guys! I am so proud of both of them.

3. I made this Chocolate Sheet Cake for a family dinner Monday night. The recipe is my Mammaw's and it is incredible. I may or may not have eaten a big piece for supper Tuesday night. With a big glass of milk. But we aren't going to talk about that.

4. I have a weird fascination with VERY sharp pencil leads. This is a new thing and I'm not sure where it came from. In the past I have used mechanical pencils quite a bit, but now I have lots of regular pencils in the library and I always seem to have one in my hand or behind my ear. Weird... I know. My favorite #2 lead pencil is the Ticonderoga..You know just in case you are out shopping for me.

5. Carter wore socks to school Wednesday. This is nothing new he does wear socks everyday, but here lately socks have gone missing. Not just one or two, but lots!!!! I have no idea where they are at, but both boys are having a sock loss problem. Wednesday I know that one of Carter's socks was clean, but the cleanliness of the second sock is questionable. It didn't look dirty, it wasn't straight out of the dryer, and I refused to sniff it. I would have shared a picture, but...well... all the socks are missing. Grrr.

6. I have been playing with pretty paper lately. I came across some older pictures of Carter and my niece when they were babies (2004) and I knew that August's Cocoa Daisy kit would be perfect for this layout. It is completely sold out, but there is an add on left: Athena is a steal at $18.50 plus s/h. The banner was made using this exclusive banner stamp from Cocoa Daisy. It is still available in the store. I really love it, lots of versatile uses.

I hope your weekend is wonderful!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Week in the Life of the Martin's-Day Two

Day two- pictures and words. Day two was very much like day one. Lots of inside time because it is so hot outside. A little cleaning and a lot of playing. :)

Mr. Sleepyhead. Attached to his night night of course.

Morning Wii play, Mario of course.

The beginnings of a a little recycling project. Alcohol inks + glass jars.

Washing dishes. Yuck!

I have figured out if I wash fruit and put it on the table, the boys will snack on them throughout the day.

Ethan's peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This is his absolute favorite lunch.

Carter and I had cheese sandwiches (Daddy had eaten all the ham) and I ate some gazpacho.

Puzzle working.

Cat Napper

Water gun fight

Ingenious mini golf course built downstairs.

Dinner- Chicken Quesadillas

Popcorn, while watching America's Got Talent.

Cherry Limeade from Sonic. Jess is very thoughful!

Wrestling and giggling.

Playing with Ethan. He was a climbing, silly monkey all DAY!

Quite an enjoyable, lazy Tuesday.

See you tomorrow!