Friday, December 5, 2014

Our December Advent Tradition

If you've followed my blog for a while, then you probably know that my family takes a little different approach with our holiday advent calendar, instead of chocolates or treats for every day of December, my kids open a box with a holiday activity inside.

The activities range from reading a holiday book together or watching a holiday movie, to decorating cookies or making gingerbread houses and so on. This year the big surprise is that we've decided to take a small daycation to Midway, Utah and take the kids tubing at Soldier Hollow, so that will find it's way into our advent calendar as well.

After three years of service, my little matchbox advent has had to be this year I made some simple envelope ornaments with the numbers 1-24 on them and hung them from our tree.  It's extra fun this year because Jasper is learning his numbers and gets to search for the number each day and Caleb is learning to read, so he gets to reveal the surprise and put those mad sound-out skills of his to use!

Advent Ornaments by Amy Kingsford | Supplies: Deena Rutter: Journal Card Envelope Cut Files. Stolen Moments Design: Merry Papers and Number Frames; One Little Bird Merrymaking Journal Cards; Studio Calico: Wood Veneer; Jenni Bowlin Studio: Rhinestone Hearts; Recollections, Wood Veneer, Stickers; American Crafts: Thickers, Twine.

So far we've decorated our tree...

We took the kids Christmas shopping in the city and visited Temple Square.

We made Broncos fleece scarves...

We read Charlie Brown's Christmas...

And we're watching The Muppets Christmas Carol tonight after dinner (it's on Netflix, yay!!!)


With plenty more fun little activities to come, I'm really looking forward to this Christmas! 

And I won't lie, I do put quite a lot of thought and time into this tradition, but I do it so that December doesn't fly by us and then we are left with the feeling that we didn't do anything memorable.  I do it to teach my kids that there is so much more to Christmas than presents and goodies. I plan these little things every day to help remind each of us to delight in one another other's presence.

What special Christmas and/or Hanukkah  traditions do you and your family celebrate? 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

December Daily 2014 | The Plan

Wow I can't believe it's that time again already! Time to start thinking about December Daily...

It seems like just last month that I was finishing last year's December album (oh wait...that's probably because I did just finish it up last month :blush:).

Well anyhow, this year is a new year right?! And I have to say I'm proud of the planning and progress I've made so far, largely due to the inspiration that I've received from Wilna Furstenberg's holiday workshop Heartfelt Christmas. It was just what I needed to put me in the right mood for a little holiday crafting.

Now I'm off to the best start I've had on my holiday album in years and I'm excited to share my plan with all of you! So here it is my "2014 December Daily Plan."


The Album

I decided to go with this 4x4" Kraft and White Instagram Binder from DCWV. I picked it up at my local Joann's along with the page protectors all for only $14.00. The page protectors come in 4x4", 2x2" and 2x4".

The Supplies

I decided to take a hybrid approach this year and I'm printing out digital papers, word art and journal cards along with using plenty of digital cut files for my album. Here are the key pieces I've chosen to work with:

The Making Spirits Bright Collection by Sahlin Studio 

Cut files by iHeart Studio (Wilna Furstenberg)

I'm sure I'll add a few more journal cards and digital word art as I go, but these were the pieces I chose to build my album around.

I'll also be supplementing with quite a bit of leftover Christmas themed product from my paper stash, including wood veneer, stickers, twine, washi, mini clothespins, glassine bags, sequins and more.

My Approach

I've completed my cover and begun building my 4x4" foundations leaving spaces in my protectors for photos and journaling and I'll also be adding a few patterned glassine bags to hold memorabilia. 

With 40 page protectors I have enough for each day to fill three pages, plus a few leftover for title pages, etc.

I'll be digitally cropping most of my journal cards to fit inside of the 2x4" pockets.

And I've cut patterned 2x2", 4x4" and 2x4" patterned paper blocks to slip into my album as needed.

I'll be using the printable number tiles by Sahlin Studio shown above, black and white striped number diecuts by Hiedi Swapp and one or two other number variations to highlight the date on my daily spreads.

And finally I'll be using my phone and instagram to capture most of my daily photos--making sure to capture our daily advent activity in addition to any other notable daily events.


Stay tuned for more about my progress and for specific details including a quick tutorial + template for cropping and printing your journal cards, ideas on creating tags, memorabilia pouches and adding word art directly to your photos, plus plenty more.

Thanks for joining me on my December Daily journey again this year and if you are making a December album please link me up in the comments, I'd love to follow your progress too!

Happy Holiday Crafting!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Amazing Light | Beus Pond, UT

I've never taken pictures at Beus Pond before, despite having visited it a number of times with my children and our dogs over the years. So I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to witness its amazing light, when my friends asked me to take a few shots of their family there.

Here are a handful of the shots I took...aren't they a beautiful little family!

Fall seemed to be over in a flash for us this year and winter is right on our heels, but every time I look at these photos I am reminded of its beauty and I can almost feel the Autumn warmth on my face.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Make Your Own Autumn Leaf Garland

Those of you who know me, know that I love fall!  And once October rolls around the signs of autumn begin to pop up both outside my house and in!

My kitchen sports a hint of fall year round because I love its beautifully warm colors, but I decided to turn up in honor of my favorite season with this simply, yet fun leaf garland.

Read on below to see how you can make your own hybrid garland and bring a touch of this beautiful season inside your home.


Make Your Own Autumn Leaf Garland

What You'll Need:

  • Autumn Leaf  Cut Files by Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs
  • Patterned paper (digital or physical)
  • A stick or small branch
  • Sewing machine and thread.

1. Decide on a color scheme and print a selection of digital papers or gather physical papers from your stash that pull from this scheme. I printed 6 sheets of digital paper from Karla Dudley's Zephyr Woodgrain Pack onto 8.5 x 11 cardstock.

2. Open the different leaf cut files you wish to use from the set in your Silhouette Studio Software. Then duplicate/size them appropriately to fill your sheets of paper. I set up a different document for each style of leaf and positioned 9-12 leaves on each 8.5 x 11" document.

4. Then load and cut each sheet of leaves.

5. Decide on a color/shape sequence for your leaves so that you will have a good mix of colors and shapes throughout your garland. 

6. Create strands of leaves by stitching over a leaf with your sewing machine, pulling threads and then stitching over the next leaf. Remember to leave your threads long on one end so that you can tie your strands to your stick

7. How many leaves go on each strand and the spacing between is up to you but remember to consider the space you'll be hanging your garland in.  If you have high ceilings make longer strands if you are working with smaller spaces like I me, you may only want 4-5 per strand. 

8. Find a stick and tie your strands around it, spacing them evenly across the stick and so that the leaves/strands are staggered vertically.   

Note: Kelleigh's template + cut files offers you a lot of solutions, including layered templates, printable templates, cut files, etc. So determine whether you are planning to use digital papers or real papers a cutting machine or your trusty scissors and proceed with the method that will work best for you. The method listed above is the method I used, but it's definitely not your only option!

Have a lovely Autumn day!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Write. Click. Scrapbook. | October 2014 Reveal

It's that time again!!!  Time to head on over and get your first look at Write. Click. Scrapbook's October Gallery where you'll find lots of great ideas for having fun with your scraps.

Here I've recreated the look of using scraps in my digital page, with this fun foundation made of patterned paper strips.

Have Fun by Amy Kingsford | Supplies: Amanda Yi Designs: Let's Play; Mommyish Designs: Templated Trios 1 & 2; Karla Dudley: Dad's Day Cardstock; Amy Martin: Blanc Stitches.

To read more about my approach to this page and to check out the rest of the team's pages head over and check out the Write. Click. Scrapbook. October Gallery!

Have a great day! 

Monday, September 29, 2014

UPDATE: 14 Books in 2014

As you may remember from my post earlier this year, I made a resolution to read 14 books in 2014 and though I'm a bit behind on my goal I wanted to check back in and update you with my progress and my thoughts on those books I have finished.

As it stands I'm at 55% of my goal, but I've developed quite a bit of momentum since I've started listening to books while doing my housework.  You see I'm one of those weird people who enjoys cleaning (or rather the satisfaction that comes from it). Pair that with a good audiobook...and well as they say, "that's my jam."

And if I keep this up not only will I have tackled deep cleaning and some much needed organization in each of the rooms of my house, but I might also make my reading goal as well!

Insurgent Book 2 in the Divergent Series (read)

by Veronica Roth

I read the first book in this series last November. Divergent was actually one of the books that got me excited about reading again.  So it only seemed natural that I would read the next two installments. I was truly excited to see how this dystopian YA novel series played out.

UPDATE:Though this book was a bit of a placeholder in the series (as most second books are) I thought this book provided us with some fascinating information about secondary characters like Marcus Eaton, Jeanine Matthews and Caleb Prior.

Allegiant Book 3 in the Divergent Series (read)

by Veronica Roth

After reading Divergent I had pretty much committed to finishing the series, there really wouldn't be any reason that would keep me from finishing the final book--plus the twist at the end of the second book was certainly enough to keep me interested.

UPDATE: I know many people were disappointed with this book and the way the series ended, but I didn't feel disappointed at all. In all I liked the way the book played out and felt a sense of closure turning its final pages.

The Fault In Our Stars (read)

by John Green

I will admit this book was chosen largely because EVERYONE WAS READING IT and I felt almost obligated.  I actually had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up, but I'm actually glad for this because I felt like I was able to lose myself in this love story even more fully as a result.

UPDATE:I really fell in love with this book. The story of Hazel and Augustus was beautiful and real and sad. I thought the author did a great job of conveying the voice and emotion of his protagonist and I also really love "the book-within-a-book" element that he created. This is one of those books whose words really stick with you, with lines like "Some infinities are bigger than other infinities" and "The world is not a wish granting factory."

The Kite Runner (read)

by Khaled Hosseini

I chose this book because I wanted to expose myself to a new culture and to identify with that culture on deeper level.  I knew a little about the plot of the story before I picked the book up and I knew that it would be a difficult book to read.

UPDATE: I was really moved by this book. While I'll admit at times Amir's story did make me feel very sad and and a little hopeless about the world we live in, it was also an amazing tale of redemption and a great reminder of the small but beautiful things that we find a midst the darkness. The author is a beautiful storyteller and I enjoyed listening to this book read by him as the description of Afghan customs and pronunciation of Afghan words in his voice made the experience that much more authentic.

The Maze Runner (read)

by James Dashner

What can I say?! I'm a sucker for the young adult, dystopian society genre, so I couldn't pass this up--especially since I definitely want to read it before seeing the movie this September.

UPDATE: I really liked the idea behind this book, but  I had a very hard time making it through the broken speech of the "gladers." I really wished I had listened to this book instead. However now that I've made it though I must say I'm excited to see what the next installment has in store.  

On another note I saw the movie recently and I think it felt rushed and a bit shallow in comparison to the book. In fact if I hadn't read the book I'm not sure I would have known what was going on enough to have really enjoyed the movie properly.  

 I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't)... (read)

by Brene Brown

While I've found Brene Brown's recent TED talks very inspiring, that's not what initially inspired me to pick up this book.  I bought this book before I'd even heard of Brene Brown simply because I strongly identified with the title/subtitle: "I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Making the Journey from 'What Will People Think?' to 'I Am Enough' ".  Little by little I've been making room in my life to be a better me and I know this book will have some great insights to help me on my way.

UPDATE: Shame is a difficult subject to talk about let alone read a whole book about, but that being said, I absolutely loved this book.  This book literally changed the way I look at shame--specifically how I define it, how I deal with it (both my shame, as well the shame of others) and how I too dole out my very own forms of shame.  There were a lot of aha moments for me in this book and I already see a difference in the way I let shame affect me and my awareness and reaction to the shame of others.

The Hundred Foot Journey (read)

by Richard C. Morais

I really can't wait to read this book.  I was inspired to read it after seeing the movie trailer.  And as much as I would love to see the movie, I couldn't help but think while watching the trailer what a wonderful life journey this would be to read about.  It combines two things I'm very interested in: world cultures and international cuisine and its message of acceptance and being able to learn from one another as different as we might be is one I strongly believe in.

UPDATE: This book was absolutely wonderful--like a good meal I savored every last page. The characters in this book had so much depth and watching them grow throughout the story was such a treat. Seriously, this book made my soul warm and my stomach growl all at the same time!!!

Gone Girl (currently reading...)

by Gillian Flynn

This is another book that I had no idea what it was about when I bought it, just another title that I had seen several friends reading on Good Reads, so I thought I'd add 'er to the old list. I'm not much of a suspense/thriller fan, but then again its been decades since I've sampled from this genre so I figured this was a good book to start with--who knows maybe I'll love it and be inspired to read more from this genre.

Life of Pi

by Yann Martel

This book I chose not only because of its popularity, but also in hopes of it being one of those books where you can lose yourself in the world that the author creates.  I have held off watching the movie in hopes that this will motivate me to read the book, but from what I have seen from trailers an amazing story and an exotic world awaits me!


by Cheryl Strayed

I love reading stories about personal reflection and redemption, they give me hope and inspire me to reflect on my own life in new ways and to strive to be a better person.  Though I don't think I'll be tackling The Pacific Crest any time soon, I do look forward to reading about how being lost in the wilderness helped this woman find herself.

The 5 Love Languages of Children

by Gary Chapman

I read Chapman's original book on the five languages of love some years back and it really changed the way I looked at some of my closest releationships.  After giving birth to two beautiful boys, I have bought a number of books on parenting--most of which I have not yet found the time to read.  So I'm starting with this one and looking forward to applying what I learn to the relationships I have with both of my boys--who are so very different but deserve the very best love that I can give them.

Specials - Book 3 in The Uglies Series

by Scott Westerfield

Another young adult dystopian series that I started reading and then put down almost five years ago.  But I figured it was time to finish this series up and get some closure.  So this last winter I re-read the second book in the series and now I'm ready to find out what's in store for Tally, Zane, Shay, The Crims and Dr. Cable.

Daring Greatly

by Brene Brown

Everyone's talking about this book and while I elected to read some of Brene Brown's earlier work before tackling this one, I'm still really excited to read this.  It's refreshing to hear someone talking about vulnerability and insecurity openly and in a way that can really help people to grow and transform their lives.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

by Steig Larsson

I started this book a few years back before the movie came out.  I have since seen the movie (the American version) and it was a bit dark for me. I had trouble identifying with the main character because the movie's portrayal of her seemed cold and shallow and I couldn't help but feel that I would understand Lisbeth better if I had actually finished the book. I also heard an acquaintance talk recently about her feelings on this book and the fact that it was empowering to her and it was really her passion for the book that inspired me to pick it back up again.

I'd love to hear about what you're reading right now or any recommendations you might have--leave a comment below!

Happy reading!