Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Cupcake Birthday Wishes

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was good. I am sorry for not posting yesterday, the day just got away from me and I just ran out of time! I don't think you can ever have enough birthday cards on hand. So that is what I have to share with you today. This fun cupcake card features a set from Inkadinkado that I've had forever! I stamped and masked the cupcakes on some Neenah solar white card stock in Ranger Archival Jet Black Ink and then colored them in using Copic Markers. (Y00,Y11, Y13; BG45, 49, 57; RV32, 34; BV11, 13; YR15; R27.) I added some stickles, and some Wink of Stella clear glitter pen for some sparkle to the cupcakes. I stamped the sentiment from Altenew above and below the cupcakes in Dusty Concord Distress ink. I layered all the elements as shown and finished up the card!


Have a great day and I'll be back again tomorrow!

Supplies: (non-affiliated links)

Paper: PTI Wisteria, Chartreuse, Hawaiian Shores, Autumn Rose, Sweet Blush
Stamps: Altenew Birthday Greetings

Affiliated links (If you purchase these items through these links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. At the moment, I am currently participating in two affiliate programs: Amazon and Scrapbook.com





Challenges: All the challenges listed are "Anything Goes"

1. 613 Avenue Create
2. Amusing Challenges: 
3. Great Impressions: 
4. Little Patch of Crafty Friends
5. Robyn's Fetish
6. Stamping Sensations:
7. Crafting From the Heart: 
8. Craft Your Passion: 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

How Being an Unsuccessful Blogger Has Made Me a Better Parent

Truth be told, I've been an unsuccessful blogger for a while now. In fact, this blog has been through various reincarnations complete with more than its fair share of stops and starts, name changes, redesigns and more since I first started it back in 2009. It has been a source of satisfaction and frustration on more levels than I can explain! My stats on this blog have never been great. Sometimes I'll get lucky and I'll get a few posts that will generate more than 4 or 5 comments. Sometimes, I'll get a post that will be viewed by more than 60 or 70 people. A couple of times, miracles have happened and I've had some posts that have more than 100 views. (I'll admit, on those days, I do a bit of a happy dance!)


However, the simple fact of the matter is most of my blog posts top out at about 30 or 40 views, which in the blogging world is really kinda pathetic. I'll be the first to admit that a lot of that is probably my own fault; and I could be doing more to increase my traffic. I've googled the appropriate "how to" articles, made a secret board on Pinterest (because I don't want all my friends to know I'm THAT desperate, right?!) I've even tried to actually READ all those articles. Here's the problem: I don't get it...I consider myself to be pretty intelligent person; but those "how to increase your blog traffic" article just lose me! Seriously, it's like the Charlie Brown teacher in my head...Whah Whah Whah! Monetizing, SEOs, optimization...say what?!
So, why do I do it? First, let me be clear, I put a LOT of time and work into this rather unsuccessful blog. As a blog specializing primarily in crafts and cards, I have to actually make the things I share here. Then there's the photography element, prepping the posts, (and the affiliate links...which is really pointless because I still haven't been approved by two of the merchants I applied to). Saturday Morning Coffee Cafe takes a lot of prep time and research throughout the week as well. All in all, I would conservatively estimate that I spend roughly 25 to 30 hours a week doing something related to my blog.


Do I feel like I'm wasting my time? This is a question I've thought a lot about over the last year or so as I watch the stats of my blog either plateau or decline. I can honestly say, no. No, I don't feel like I'm wasting my time because the work that I put into the blog helps me find a purpose in the week beyond just meal planning, carting kids around to school, practices, appointments; doing laundry, cooking and cleaning. I feel like crafting, prepping, researching and blogging makes me a better parent, and a better wife. It allows me to do something that I enjoy, that is fun and satisfying and gives me energy to be a better mother to my children. I view crafting and blogging as my job in some ways. It also forces me to keep up with my multi -tasking skills and time management skills that's for sure! I think it's so important for moms who stay home to find something they love to do that is just for them...that's not about what someone else needs you to do. There is a satisfaction that comes with accomplishing something for yourself!  I blog and craft while the kids are at school, and the hubs is at work. I plan my week carefully to ensure that I'm staying on task with what I want to get done as well as making sure the "mom duties" get done. When it's time to pick everyone up after school and help with homework and make dinner etc, I step away from the craft desk and the iPad and am ready to focus on my family....just like if I was leaving work for the day.
Do I wish that my blog was more successful? Do I wish that I could unlock the secrets of thousands of followers and commenters? Do I wish my blog was a viable source of income? Yes, yes and yes. I mean...of course I do! I'm not THAT unselfish! I've just come to realize that the traffic and the money are not what my blog is about. My blog is about sharing the passion I have for "handmade kindness" My blog is about sharing the things I find that others have taken the time to create and share. It is about helping me to put into focus the most important job I have, which is being a great mom!
So far, I may not be the best blogger in the world; but I have been blessed with three beautiful children who have been known, on occasion to tell me I'm doing a pretty good job!

Have a great Sunday everyone! Enjoy your families and I'll be back tomorrow!




















Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday Morning Coffee Cafe

Good Morning Everyone!

I hope you all had a great week. Mine was actually pretty uneventful, which is perfectly fine with me! Anyhow, welcome back to the cafe this week. For those who are new, the Coffee Cafe is a weekly post in which I share 4 recipes, 3 crafts, 2 parenting articles and 1 pretty picture or quote that have inspired me or caught my attention around the interwebz during the past week.
Ready? Great! Grab your coffee or beverage of choice and let's get started!



Recipes: 

1. DIY Easy Spice Blends. Although this isn't a recipe, per say...I do think it is a very handy guide to have in your kitchen! Most of the spices used to make the combinations are ones probably already in your cupboard too!


2. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes. If you were a child of the 70's and 80's and a college student of the 90's like I was, chances are cookie dough was pretty close to being an actual food group! The best thing EVER was when Pilsbury put it in a package already made and you could just take a spoon and eat it!! Now, of course, we all have to be responsible grown ups and make sure our children aren't poisoned by salmonella etc. Thank goodness people like Cheryl over at Tidymom.net have great recipes like these cupcakes to help us miss the the real dough a little less!

3. Baked Buffalo Chicken Taquitos: This recipe from Jenna over at Recipe Diaries looks like a wonderful and easy weeknight meal that everyone will love! Who doesn't love anything that has Buffalo Chicken in it!  I can't wait to give this a try soon!

4. Cheeseburger Gnocchi: I have shared recipes from Keving and Amanda before and I've always loved them!  I think this Cheeseburger Gnocchi is going to be another winner for sure! It looks like warm and comfort and deliciousness all in one big bowl! Can't go wrong with this one for sure!



Crafts: 

1. Kindness: The bold, rich and vibrant ink blending on this card from Lydia took my breath away! You should just take a few minutes and stare quietly at it. It'll make your day so happy!


2. Easy to Make DIY Gifts: This is a great list of fun and mostly easy DIY gifts to inspire your next crafty project! I especially like this photo collage monogram!

3.  Friends: this card from Crystal is more beautiful than I can really put into words! I love the crisp clean white with the colorful gingham patterns behind the outline flowers. I just heart this so much!




Parenting:

1. Google Dad Day Off. If you haven't seen this super adorable letter from the little girl asking Google to give her dad a day off from work, you have missed quite possibly the sweetest thing EVER! (Or at least...this week!)


2. Lessons for Our Sons:  Last week I shared an article meant for daughters. This week, I thought I'd do the same for our sons. I love this list from "Been Bitten" So many simple and great points. Honestly, #26 is probably my favorite! Cause if you have boys...you know that putting things in simple terms like this can be the most effective way to ensure productivity!

That is it for me! I ran out of time this week and unfortunately did not have a chance to find a picture or a quote to end our time this week.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday with a new card to start the week (or maybe tomorrow...)















Friday, August 26, 2016

Verve Stamps: Summer Loving Coffee

Hi Everyone!

TGIF!! The weekend is finally here, yay! Perhaps you have a busy weekend ahead, perhaps you plan to just spend a quiet weekend at home. Whatever you choose to do, I hope you have a fabulous time!

So, let's talk about today's card. Now, I realized after I completed the card that I may have been "slightly" off in my color palette choice, given the sentiment I chose for the card. I chose a rather Christmas looking color scheme to go along with my "summer loving" sentiment. Like I said, perhaps not the wisest of choices; but I was committed by the time that realization really clicked in my brain! I tried to make up for it by once again taking the picture outside! The outside pictures seem to be working pretty well. I hope you are enjoying them as well.


I wanted to keep the coloring simple, so I reached once again for my prismacolor pencils and just colored the three flowers and added some simple neutral shading to the coffee cups. I added some Wink of Stella also to the flowers. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a mishap with the last one and got a little too much on there! So that last flower on the right is VERY Sparkly!! Haha.

Anyhow, that's about all for me today. Have a great weekend and I will see you back tomorrow for this week's "Saturday Morning Coffee Cafe"


Challenges:

1. Simply Papercraft: Anything Goes
2. Creative Fingers Challenge: Anything Goes


Supplies:


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Enjoy Your Day: PTI Butterfly Doodle

Hi Everyone!

I hope you're all having a fabulous week. I am playing a bit of catch up today since yesterday was just a completely off day for me. I didn't sleep Monday night, so my Tuesday was just all about of whack. Ever have days like that? Anyhow, I got a good night sleep last night and am tackling the day today as planned.


It is a gorgeous day here in Southern California, so I thought I'd take advantage of the nice sunny day and photograph today's card outside this morning!
I'm sharing a simple card today with lots of white space and layers. I originally was going to leave the entire border around the butterfly layer blank; but it just looked a little too stark, so I added the simple tiny flower border.  I stamped the butterfly in black ink and then used my prismacolor pencils to color it in. The supplies I used are listed below. (A quick word on that, I am currently in the process of working on being approved for some affiliate programs. Right now, Amazon is the only one I'm currently a member of; but I am looking to add more. I still wanted to give you a variety of places you could shop for the products I've used, however. Right now, I am just linking to Amazon and Simon Says Stamp; but I am looking to add other stores as well.)

Thanks for visiting with me today. I hope you have a fabulous day and I'll see you again on Friday!

Challenges:

1. Creative Moments: Anything Goes
2. Crafty Sentiments: Anything Goes
3. Lemon Shortbread: Anything Goes
4.  Through the Craft Room Door: Anything Goes