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July 2012

More from my KAF weekend getaway

Hello all!
I realized last night that I never downloaded the pics from  my camera that I took while tooling around VT & NH.
On Friday, with an entire day to scope out the area, I decided to head over to Woodstock (no, not that Woodstock) and go to this outdoor book fair they had going on all weekend.
Vintage and second-hand books?  Yes, please!  The town was not far - maybe about a 25 min ride from the inn.
I mean, honestly.  These old buildings are just gorgeous.
The above pic I took in the town library where they were having the rare book sale.  I thought it was super cool, espeically since it's crafty & such.  Here I am, 7 hours from home, and I find something done with mixed media in the least likely of places!  I don't even know what it was doing there!  Just chillin, I guess, on that bodyform.  Whatevs.  Cool, nonetheless ;-)
This, I think, was an inn.  Well, a large inn...but I think it was called the Woodstock Inn.  It's hidden behind those pretty trees, but you can still get an idea of how big it is.  And it was a beautiful building.  I felt so touristy taking pics in this quaint little town, so I tried not to whip out my camera too often, which is why this is the only pic of this building that I took.  
This is a little shop along the main street in Woodstock.  Suspended over the river.  So cool.  So peaceful.
This was just a little cafe that I walked past on my way to the local coffee shop, and I loved the flower boxes and the umbrella tables. 
That's all I have of lovely Woodstock, VT.  Oh, and Bookstock wasn't as thrilling as I wanted it to be.  I'd hoped to snag some Nancy Drew books in the original printed text, but I didn't see one Nancy Drew in any of the places they were having the book sale.  Oh well.  I'll just have to keep my eye out at antique shops & such.
After I was done with Woodstock, I decided to go to the Shaker Museum in Enfield, NH.  This was...interesting.  I don't really know what I expected when I went here, since I knew absolutely zero about the Shakers going into it, but I still figured I'd stop by since I wasn't far.
The surrounding area is beautiful - the museum is right on the river - and must be stunning in the fall when the leaves change.  I didn't take any pictures of the building, since you had to call ahead to ask permission to take pics, which i didn't know, so I just took the tour.  There are no longer Shakers there - in fact, there are only 3 remaining Shakers in the entire country, & they're in Maine - the property was sold to the La Salette order of Catholic missionaries, who owned it until the 1970's.  So, there's a beautiful Catholic chapel on the premesis, which is a far cry from the very plain Shaker building.  
Belinda Karls-Nace, of Blue Ribbon Designs, taught a cross stitch class here last fall, and designed a teaching piece specifically for this location.  To read more about her teaching experience (and I believe she was able to take some pretty great pics), go to her blog posts about it here and here.
That's it for today!  My little side trips through VT & NH before heading to my wonderful baking class at KAF!!!  
Have a wonderfully creative day everyone!!!!!
Much love ~~~
J :-)

My King Arthur Flour Weekend!

PEEPS!!!  Hello!!!!  I just got back from an amazing roadtrip!!
This past Thursday, me and my Philly girl attitude headed up to Vermont to the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center and took a gluten-free baking class!!!!  For those of you unfamiliar with King Arthur Flour, check your grocery store - their high-quality products can be found on their shelves!
Ok, so, how did I end up 7 hours away for a baking class when the culinary institute is right here in Philly?  Well, I figured, who better to teach me about how gluten-free flours behave in baking than flour people! Amiright???  
Besides.  It's King Arthur Flour.  And it's an opportunity for a road trip to a state I haven't been to yet.
And...I got to stay at the Butternut Lane Bed & Breakfast.  For any of you who follow me on Instagram, you saw all the pics I posted from this weekend which involved the absolutely phenomenal breadfasts I had all weekend.  OMG.  To.die.for.
Case in point.
An omelette, gluten-free toast, & bacon from a local farm.  Holy delicious.
Gluten-free toast, gluten-free chicken sausage, and an egg souffle with goat cheese & onions.  Amen.
Ok.  Mop up the drool.  These pics do the breakfasts no justice, btdubs.  I tried so hard to eat slow & savor every morsel.  Ohsogood.
Best part?  The owners are a couple who lived in the Philly area for 30+ years, & the husband, George, is a descendant of the original owners/builders of the house!  The house was built in 1820, & expanded on in 1860.  Awesomesauce.  The house had the original WORKING doorbell.  You know, the kind with the wire that runs all the way over the wall & rings a little actual bell????  THAT KIND.  I'm not sure even the old houses in Old City (Philly) have any of them in working condition!!! 
Seriously.  If you go to VT in that area, stay at that b&b.  You will NOT be disappointed.  Check out the link so you can see the pics of the house.  So awesome.  Oh - and I forgot - Carol, George's wife, emailed me my confirmation when I reserved the room so long ago, and asked if I had any dietary restrictions so they could accommodate (OK!), so I told her I was gluten-free.  And poof - all these gluten-free goodies at breakfast.  They are amazing people and you need to stay there.
Now.  The actual purpose of my trip.  Although, staying at that b&b could have been the purpose of my trip.  For serious.
This is baker heaven, my friends.  I love to bake, although I haven't had much time for it lately (plus, it's been too friggin hot to want to turn the oven on), but I do love it.  I will not be sharing the recipes we tested at the baking education center during class, since their recipes are not posted anywhere, including their website, so I'm honoring their copyright, if you will.
However, this pic, which I also posted to Instagram, is the fruits of our labor - 
Imma tell you something about those pumpkin muffins.  Holy Mother of God.  I will not be able to make these and keep more than 3 in the house.  If I don't give most of them away, I will eat the ENTIRE batch.  They are SO.FRIGGIN.GOOD.  Now, I've been trying to be grain-free these days, too (like I need to be "free" of something else, but grains tend to be inflammatory for us auto-immune sufferers), but I've been treating myself to pieces of this ah-may-zing sandwich bread we made.  It's hearty.  It's yeasty.  It's delish.  YUM.  Ohsodelish with peanut butter slopped on top.  (peanut butter is my biggest weakness, btw.  before sugar.  the entire jar has gone missing in mere days & i've blamed ghosts b/c i don't want to believe i polished it off myself. plus, poultergeists get hungry, too. you've seen ghostbusters. slimer eats all that food off the room service tray. love that movie.)
I really don't know what else to say here, other than I had a great time learning a few new tricks about gluten-free baking!  I would definitely go back there, even if it's not a gluten-free class; there are baking tips that are universal, and I'm always open to baking do's & don't's!  If you ever have the opportunity to take a class there, DO IT.  Their store is also fantastic - just walking through the store was worth the trip.  
I have to run - but I hope you all have a wonderful Monday!!
Go forth & be crafty.....or BAKE ;-)
Much love ~~~
J :-)

"Halloween Eve" - no longer a WIP!!

Hello all!!!!
It's been way too long since I've sat down here at my trusty computer and written about something I've created!  I feel like this entire month has been a giant whirlwind!!  It's weird...even though my birthday is in early July, I always feel like once my birthday is here and gone, the next thing I know, it's Christmas!!
Speaking of Christmas...I've already started on my Christmas cards for this year.  A note about them, in case you don't know: each one I make is completely unique.  I don't make a set of the same card, then send them out.  Nope.  I made each one completely different from the other, so when you receive one of those spiffy cards in the mail this December, know that it was handmade and picked especially for you :-)  
I wonder how many people will be requesting to get on my Christmas card list now.  HA!
Ok so.  The title of this here post is about "Halloween Eve", so I guess I better get to it.
I'll start off by showing you the overall pic of the total stitched piece....
This piece was SO much fun to stitch!!  If you never do another Halloween piece again, DO THIS ONE.  It's awesome.  Just awesome.
Now.  Some of you may have seen the graph for this in the store or online and are thinking to yourself, "Hold up.  Wait a minute.  Don't stop.  Get it. Get it.  There's a sampler portion of this piece....right?"
Right.  You're not that crazy.  I might be, but you're not.  I've said it before, I'll say it again.  I'm not exactly what you'd call a fan of samplers.
So, I took the entire top portion of this piece and chopped it off.  Not literally, but figuratively, if you will.  But what I did do, which I think turned out better than I expected, is take the alphabet and use it to put my initials in place of the "Y" and "Z" from the original graph instead.
Like so -- 
If you haven't seen the original graph, go here so you know what I chopped outta this bad boy.
Since I chopped out the alphabet, I had some dead space up there with the dead plant and my I threw in some of those little 4-square star sparkly doo-dads in there to eat up all that linen.  I just put them in at random - no rhyme or reason for where I placed them. Swear.
Now.  In all honesty, this is the BEST part of this piece --
THAT PUMPKIN.  TO.DIE.FOR.  Also - it takes FORRREVERRRRRRRRR to stitch on 40 count.  I about lost my mind filling in those teeny tiny itty bitty squares. BUT.  SO worth it.
Oh yeah - before I forget - I stitched this on 40 count Cider by Silkweaver Fabrics.  Not too dark, not too light, but perfect for a fall/Halloween piece.
Also note - I made a change from the original graph as to how my initials went into the stitched piece and how the year was stitched in.  As you've already seen, I stitched my initials in at the top.  Totally new and different for me - usually I do it super duper small down in the right-hand corner so it's not so prominent in the piece.  For the year, instead of putting it between the cat and the house, I decided to stitch it long and skinny down the outside of the house, right by the border.  Not so obvious, but when this thing comes up for auction in 100 years (HAHA), they'll know precisely how when I stitched it and that it is clearly worth eleventy billion dollars and will make one of my great-great-nieces very rich.  ;-)
Here's a shot of the middle, so you can see the raven on top of the pumpkin.  Not as cool as that crazy cat, but still pretty awesome --
For those of you wondering just how big this sucker is...I wont's kinda big.  Jusssst so you have an idea.....I took this pic ---
Yes, folks.  That's 11.5 in high.  To recap:  I eliminated the entire alphabet on top of that dead plant, AND this is on 40 count fabric.  I shrank this bad boy, and it's STILL 11.5 in high.  Something to keep in mind when you do this piece - it's no joke large and in charge.
Pretty cool, huh?  I love how this turned out and can't wait to head to my LNS to pick out a rustic frame for it!!  PS....if you haven't already, head to their site and search under "New Stitched Models" and look for my "Skeleton Crew" piece!!!  It's there and in living color for everyone to see!  If you buy the graph from them, you can check the boxes that give you the fabric and color changes I made!  Those ladies are AWESOME and I cannot thank them enough for having my piece on their site!!
Sadly, that's all the fun I can pack into this post.  I have some MUCH needed vacation time coming up this week, and I CANNOT wait to share with you what I'll be doing!!!!!!!!  
Until then, go forth and be crafty :-)
Much love ~~~
J :-)

Bridesmaid Mini Album Preview

I know I keep saying I'm going to post pics of my sis's wedding, but I just can't seem to get around to it!  Especially when I'm up in my crafty room creating fun mini-albums for the bridesmaids :-)
Here's some snippets of the first one I made -- the approximate size of this album is 6x6, with some other random sizes thrown in there, too....
This is what I made for the front cover --
One of the inside pages  --
How cute is the lil' ring bearer???  These pics are wallet size -- they come 4 to a sheet, so this way I was able to get a bunch of the pics as wallets which fit perfectly on the 6x6 paper I decided to use.  Less bulk, but all the great shots Hayley got are still all able to fit in the album!
Know those lil' journaling tags you can get?  This one is from K&Company (no clue what designer sorry folks....), and OMG perfect size for these little random wallets that I didn't totally have a home for on the bigger pages!!!!
This is the inside of the back cover.  I thought it was a perfect way to end the book - all of our hottttt shoes in a circle ;-)

Here are all the pages all lined up and ready for a little bit more embellishing!!  I just have to get some binder clips, and it's all set and ready to give to Hay!!  Woop Woop!!!
That's it!!  I loved working with these papers - I used the same line that I used for the background paper in my sister's shadowbox - it just works so well with all the pictures, even though the yellows don't quite match up, it's still pretty great.
Thank you so much for taking time this weekend to see my crafty creation!!!  I hope you all have a spectacular day/weekend!!
Until next time -- go forth and be crafty :-)
Much love ~~~
J :-)

"Skeleton Crew" Update!!!

You guys you guys you guys!!!!!  GUESS THE FRIG WHAT!!!
I'm featured in  The Strawberry Sampler's newsletter for Friday the 13th!!!!!!!!
They're having a sale for Friday the 13th -- all Halloween stuff is 20% off from midnight to midnight today only.  
Now, how do I fit into all this crazy??
Remember this piece???
"Skeleton Crew" by Cricket Collection
 Well.........I took it to TSS to get framed, and it's done!!  It's all framed and done!  The framed piece can be seen HERE on their website!  And guess what else!!  If you go to their site to purchase the graph, you can check the block that says you want my color changes!!!!  HOW COOL IS THAT!!!??!!!   The fabric they have listed - Haunted by Picture This Plus - is the fabric I used!!!
If any of you loyal followers live in the Philly/Delaware County area and want to see it live and in living color, head on down to the shop - it's on loan with those lovely ladies until I bribe them with treats so Beth will let go of it head down there and pick it up in time to hang it in my living room for Halloween :-)
I LOVE YOU LADIES!!!  Thank you SO much for having my piece so prominent in your newsletter!!

Just when you thought the wedding was over...

...there's more fun things to do!
I've FINALLY seen some pics from my sister's wedding.  Like, finally.  No one was posting anything to facebook, etc., and I took a whopping total of 3 pics the entire day, so I've been DYING to see how things looked!!!!  One of the other bridesmaids burned the pics she took to a DVD for me, so I now have a bunch I ordered from Snapfish and can start making wedding scrapbooks for all the girls.  I want them all to have pics of the shower, bachelorette, and the wedding day in their own little books, and I have sooooo many ideas flip flopping all over in my brain as to how to do it for them all, so keep an eye on this site for the final products!!  ;-)  
Now, I know you all thought my crafting for my sister's wedding was done since the shower was in April.  Au contraire, my good friends.  Remember how I made a shadowbox for Danielle?  Well, I can't make one for my work sister and not make one for my actual sister.  That's just bad form.
Since I now have some actual photos to work around, I went and got some yellow & grey paper (because, believe it or not, with the chaos in my craft room, there is nothing in those colors. i know, right. crazy.) 
I started off with a piece of yellow textured core'dinations (is that apostrophe in the right place? oh well.) by Ranger/Tim Holtz.  I layered two pieces of 6x6 My Mind's Eye patterned paper (Lost & Found Sunshine) on top, and got this --
Next, I took some gems I had laying around (I think from a Martha Stewart set), and glued them to the little paper in the little box under "Lovely" --
Then, I took another of those keys I used in my shadowbox, and also one of the chipboard elements I used for that same shadowbox, along with the invitation.....
...and then I found some yellow flowers I had laying about...
...and now that I have a cute pic to put in where that placeholder is, it's all done!!!  
I love the pic for this -- Hayley took all our shoes, bouquets & purses when we were in the limo going from the ceremony to get our pictures taken, lined them up on the seat, & this is what she got!  LOVE.
It's so much fun to create a memory box/shadowbox with the invitations from weddings; they cost so much money to make or to buy, and they're gone in an instant.  Plus, you never send one to yourself, so the likelihood of remembering to save one isn't that great.  All the more reason why I should create this keepsake as often as I can :-)
That's all on wedding stuffs for now, kids!  I have more coming, since I'm still working on my sister's actual wedding gift (this is just an appetizer wedding gift, if you will), and I'll be making those scrapbooks soon, so keep an eye out -- some good things are coming!
Much love ~~~~
J :-)

Big changes are on the way, kids!!! Keep a close eye on this site --- you won't want to miss it!!! :-)

Also....I have a giveaway in the works!!! Stay tuned!!!!

A quick weekend post

Holy Hera is it HOT in Philly.  I'm in no way complaining, because I HATE being cold. Like, hate.  With a vengeance.  So, even though it's a scorcher, and I'm pretty sure it'll stay above 90 degrees through the end of August (jusssst a prediction based on the fact that it didn't really dip lower than 40 over the winter. unheard of around here...), it didn't stop me from spending some crafty time. 
I spent a lot of time stitching (since it's even really too hot to anything else), but on Saturday afternoon, since I was tooootally procrastinating from cleaning my bathroom, I decided to do a sewing project.  Way better than cleaning the bathroom.
I saw this tutorial for a tote bag over at Sew4Home and decided that I had to make this bag.  Just because.  I had some fabric laying around that I'd bought with the intent of making a new nook cover for myself, but was over that once I saw this tutorial.
IMG_4160  I have no idea what I'll use it for, but I can't wait to use it.  I tried it out (you know, like any normal person, I walked around my 2nd floor hallway all sassy and whatnot with it on my shoulder), and naturally, it's amazing.  It actually fits a file folder in there with no trouble, so I might make this my new travel bag for work, since it's much, much lighter than my briefcase, and I could just shove my wristlet and cosmetic case in here rather than carrying my big purse, too.
Here's the inside of the bag.  Oh so cute.  The dimensions of this bag are approximately 18" wide by 17" high.  Not so small it only fits your lip gloss, but not so big it fits a small child with no problem.  Just right.
As I'm sure you've guessed, I've already thought of ways I'm gonna make this just a smidge different the next time I make it.  The original tutorial has you put ribbon on the handles and two smaller pieces as tie closures.  I was over the ribbon, so I eliminated it all.  Plus, without the ribbon, I don't have to worry about it getting ruined in the wash, b/c yes, this is 100% cotton and therefore, washable.  Clutch.
If any of you stitchers out there are sewers and need a quick gift for someone, or just want to make yourself something funky and fun, head on over to Sew4Home and grab the tutorial to make this bag.  It's easy, and didn't take nearly as long as I anticipated.
I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  4th of July festivities have started already, since the holiday is on Wednesday, so I think a lot of places did stuff this weekend, and others will be next weekend.  I went down to Penn's Landing in Philly to see the fireworks display, which is always a good time.
Stay cool if it's hot where you are, and enjoy your holiday! I hope to post this week with stitchy progress, so stay tuned!
Much love ~~~~
J :-)