Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just For Treats

I thought this was a really fun idea....simple too! This is what I love so much about Close To My Heart. They give you exactly what you need to make the greatest handmade gifts that truly come from your heart without breaking the bank or being so difficult. I go this idea after working on an end-of-the-year gift for a much loved teacher of one of my girls. I made a recipe box filled with one family loved recipe from each of her students. Each recipe card had with it the recipe and a picture of the child it was from. She was left with a really sweet box filled with over 20 recipes that she can enjoy with her family. So with that, this is what I came up with for a possible gift for some teachers this year.

Close To My Heart has these wonderful 3x3 mini albums (currently found on Pg 94 of the Fall/Winter Idea Book). Each album comes with 8 pages protectors. I used the Kraft with Jute which is only $2.50. Each album can hold up to 16 cookie recipes. Yes, you heard me right, 16 recipes. If you are really creative you can fit more! I decided to ask each mom in one of my daughter's classes to send me 1 recipe (only stipulation is that it is an easy one) so I can add it to the book. For the holidays, the teacher will receive a Class Holiday Cookie Recipe Book. Here is the cool part: the book is the perfect size to pop in your purse (ingredients list on hand) or leave on your kitchen counter without taking up so much space. Can also be stored easily with your holiday decor so you will have it for next year. Here is one simple book I made:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Our Tree Has Arrived

Speaking of holiday traditions, one of ours in the Valentino household is to cut down our Christmas tree at Pruitts Little Farm in Round Hill, VA

We grab a saw and start our trek to the far back of the farm to find that perfect tree. The cold wind always seems to find us, but when we look up in the distance and see the Blue Ridge Mountains it doesn't bother us. While we wait for the kind farm hands to prep our tree for the ride home, we can sit by the parlor stove with some hot chocolate and candy canes. This year we kind of bailed on that part of the tradition and sat in the warm car instead. After putting up the tree, giving it lots of water, and putting on the lights and decorations, this is what we now see in our dining room. Check out my blog tomorrow to see how I add this to my premade scrapbook layout.....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting Cristmasized!

There is nothing that bothers me more that rushing through the holidays and looking back asking myself "what just happened?". Especially now that my girls are getting bigger-the reality sets in that they are not babies anymore. I really want to make the extra effort to enjoy the holiday season. I am jotting things down so I can journal my scrap pages later, taking pictures, and taking lots of deep breaths in between. And this holiday season, I refuse to not make time to get together with friends for some fun things....I can never be too busy or commited to forget what wonderful people I have in my life. So even though our holiday decorating has begun, it started because it reminds me to stop and smell the roses. I hope I can encourage many of you to do the same......

Last Minute Gift Tag Workshop

Hello, all. Hope you are all having fun getting ready for Thanksgiving. If any of you are traveling, be safe and enjoy being with your loved ones. As per the request of some of my scrapping peeps, I will be holding a last minute gift tag workshop. here is the info:

When: Saturday, November 27th from 3:30-5:00.

Cost: $10 per person

Cost includes all materials to complete 8 (each 6 1/4"x3 1/4") holiday gift tags.
Contact me if you are interested in joining us!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Photo Tips

With the holidays approaching, many of us are looking for a few helpful hints about capturing those precious moments in photos. I saw this article today and thought I'd share


Saying "Thank You" With Love

I feel so thankful for all that I have been blessed with this year. Being a preschool teacher, you can probably imagine how crazy things can get. I have three classes and they are filled with the sweetest little munchkins ever. I have also realized that I have some pretty awesone parents as well. They are always willing to support, help, and organize. For that, I cannot thank them enough. With that, I decided to spend some time creating a fun card for those who have been extra helpful and wonderful this year. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did making it......

Bring Out Your Inner Craftiness

Good morning and happy Monday! I have been chatting with some wonderful new people over the passed couple of weeks. You all know that when getting to know someone new, the question always arises (whether subliminally or forthright) "what do you do?". Being a person who wears many hats I find myself going through a "list". I am a mommy of three busy daughters, I am a teacher, and I am a crafter. When I explain my love of teaching the art of scrapbooking, cardmaking, and stamping and being a consultant for a fantastic scrapbook and stamp company-Close To My Heart, the two things I almost always hear is "I wish I had more time to do that" or "I am so not crafty". STOP!!!!!

I cannot tell you how rewarding it is to feel inspired about making a card or preserving your families memories and than actually doing it. It gets even better when you watch others enjoy your creations. There is always a little bit of time to put into yourself and doing something that makes you feel good. Consider yourself like a bank account. If you keep withdrawing from yourself without depositing something, eventually you will be at a zero balance. Take some time to invest in you: read a magazine to get that new recipe or pop in a CD and sit back and listen to some music, or watch that television show that you TiVo'd and if you have ever wanted to learn the art of scrapbooking, contact me for a calendar of upcoming workshops. Let me show you how you CAN be crafty and what a small amount of time can do for you. Let's create together!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Speaking of Traditions

What is better than a new tradition added to the holiday season? Cooking and baking is one of the biggest things we do this time of year. My three girls get so excited to try something new and fun each year. This year, I saw this super fun recipe from one of my favorite "cooks", Paul Deen. The recipe is for Stuffed Sweet Potato Balls. Here is my finished product and boy was it yummy. It also passed the taste test of the most important food critics, my kids & hubby.

Here is a copy of the recipe which can also be found on


  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups shredded coconut, sweetened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large marshmallow per potato ball


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the potatoes until tender, then peel and mash them. Stir in the brown sugar, orange juice, zest and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, toss the coconut with the sugar and cinnamon. Press mashed potatoes around each marshmallow, creating a 2 to 3-inch diameter ball. Roll the balls in the coconut mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Watch carefully for the last few minutes of cooking; the expanding marshmallows can cause the potato balls to burst open.

These are the recipes that I plan on having on hand for years to come so that they may be passed on to my daughters. Another good thing to preserve in your scrapbooks...(hint hint ;))

Family Traditions

It is that time of year that the kids start asking when we are doing our favorite holiday activites. I never realized how many traditions we really do have. Cutting down our family Christmas tree at a nearby tree farm, baking favorite cookies, playing special holiday music, finding the traditional ornaments in the box and recollecting what they symbolize are just a few of them. I thought this year I would preserve some of those traditions so they can be remembered for always.

Pictured here you will see how I incorporated the 6x12 memory protector flip flaps from Close To My Heart that I love so much. They help add more space for pictures and journaling to your favorite layouts.

When you open up the flip flaps, you unveil a whole other page and then some.....This will be the layout I use for scrapping our tree cutting and trimming traditions. I got this idea of a tree design from a recent issue of "Creating Keepsakes" magazine. I thought it was cute and would be perfect for our tree pictures.

Pictured below is the beginning of my scrapbook layouts for Christmas 2010. The paper I used was "Mistletoe" from Close To My Heart". I am loving this paper more and more as I use it for cards, gift tags, and scrapbook pages.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Another day of feeling grateful for what I have in my life. An amazing husband, three healthy and beautiful little girls, a wonderful home, my friends. I can go on and on with the list. Today I need to remember my gram for it was her last day here with us. There are so many memories of her that I will always keep in my heart. I know she is now at peace and I will forever remember her. I love you, gram.....

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Chip Off The Old Block

My nine year old has been home sick since Sunday. Poor baby picked up a flu bug. Today was the first day she had a little of her spunk back. I was working hard on some new creations and every time she would come to my craft spot, she would look at all the pretty paper, and stamps. So I asked if she would like to make something. Her little eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. Here is a picture of a Thanksgiving card she made her teacher using "Olivia" from CTMH........not to shabby!

A Little More Magic

The second of two Christmas card workshops I am hosting will be on November 18th @ 6:00p.m.. Here is a few of the designs we will be working on. The last workshop was more traditional where this one will be a little fun and wintry. Once again we will be embossing, inking, stamping, distressing, and adding fun little pearl and sparkle embellishments.

Take a look at our fun snowman (on CTMH's "Share The Magic" stamp set)...his button are licorice, adhesive pearls:

and for those of you who have always wanted to try embossing or who already do and love what it adds to your papercrafts, here is an embossed "snow flurry" (CTMH's "Snow Flurries" stamp set):

If you would like to join us, feel free to contact me by November 13th The cost is $23 per person. you will complete a total of 16 cards-2 each of 8 designs. Come "share the magic".............

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Being "Thankful" Daily

Each day in November leading up to Thanksgiving I like to reflect on something I am thankful for. Of course, I am forever grateful for my family, my health, my home, and great friends, but what about the little things? I find that this time of year, I am more diligent about taking in the precious "little" moments...those small things that make me smile. With that, I decided to journal my days in November. Each day up until Thanksgiving I will preserve that special something that brings me comfort or happiness. Here is a picture of such a sweet moment (at least I think so). Something so simple yet warm and comforting. It was a cool, fall day at the barn in Waterford, VA where one of my girls rides this great paint horse, Brick. While waiting for her to tack, I turned and noticed this precious moment pictured above......

Let the games begin!

So tonight is the first night of two (2) holiday card workshops I'll be hosting. We will be making sixteen (2 each of 8 designs) cards using CTMH "Mistletoe". I am so excited to share these fun designs. We will be doing some distressing, stamping, inking, and embossing. We will also add some fun embellishments like gold, satin ribbon, pearl adhesive gems, biti bling (AKA CTMH Sparkles) in red, pink, and purple, mistletoe brads, and snowflake dimensional elements......Take a look below for the finished product.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Live The Moment To The Fullest

It is this time of year that I find it so difficult to savor the moment we are in and not "rush" through this precious time we have with our loved ones. I love the holiday season and I am trying so hard not to fly through it. I am really enjoying taking this time to take in all the signs of this fabulous season. The colors of the leaves, the cooler air, the cozy nights. I love it all.

What does any of this have to do with my love of scrapbooking and teaching others to preserve their memories? EVERYTHING! It makes me remember how important it is to make time for my family. Make memories that are worth preserving. Make time for myself to do the one thing I love to do. It gives me the chance to regroup, decompress, and really think about the moments shared. Fall is one of my favorite seasons and the main reasons are the crisp, cool air, and the amazing colors. Close To My Heart offers this beautiful paper, Olivia, that has the awesome fall colors, and amazing textures and prints . Pictured here is the fanned out deck or tags I added to my recent layout to add more space for pictures and journaling. It is a super fun technique and it is shown in our new "how to" book "Magic".

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It has been awhile.....

since I have posted on my blog (I am so sorry about that). As many of you know, I wear many hats. I am a wife, mom of 3, a teacher, and a crafter. Since the beginning of school, my schedule has been something fierce BUT I love every minute of it. Though I have taken a break from my blog, I have NOT taken a break from creating. Matter-of-fact I have been whipping up some pretty cool creations and I cannot wait to get the ball rolling again with sharing them all with you. So let's get started with catching up.

We just finished up one of the first holidays of the most exciting time of year for me and my family. Halloween was so fun this year. My younger two girls decided to "create" their own costume this year (I wonder where they got that from). They were hobos. As for my oldest, well she was a fortune teller. I spent some time thinking about whether or not this will be the last year trick-or-treating for her. She still seems to have so much fun with the neighborhood gang.

The girls and I also had fun making some fun treats this year to share with our teachers and others that are a part of our daily schedule. We decided to try making chocolate dipped pretzels. We used some fun molds like, pumpkins, skeletons, and rats. Of course, I had to make some fun tags to put on them using CTMH's Hooligans paper. What a fun paper! I am having a blast using this cute pack. Just add some assorted, felt "Hooligans" and some opaques and you are all done.

I have been having a great time hosting the "Do you believe in magic?" club. I am helping my girls put together some really cool layouts and making the most of the page "space" by making them more interactive. We meet once a month and get down to work.....pictured here is the most recent layout we did using CTMH's "Olivia". The layout was in the newest How-to book "Magic" and we altered it using a gift tag style "deck" that you can add pictures and journaling to. What is really neat is how the deck fans out (like a deck of playing cards). A ribbon attached to the base cardstock holds your tags in place when pages are closed.


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