Pinterest Pantry - First Edition

They say you should write about what you love. I am THE luckiest girl in the world because I love what I do for a living and crafting is my life, but my real love is food. I love to buy it, I love to talk about it, I love to make it, I love to eat it. I research it, I pin the heck out of it, I plan road trips around it, and I will eat just about any of it. I like easy and (mostly) healthy cooking at home, and Don and I try at least three new recipes a week. Did I mention we love food? So I'm kicking off a new feature on the blog - Pinterest Pantry! Twice a month I will share some of the recipes we've tried and link to them on Pinterest. We'll talk about taste, healthiness (is that a word?), difficulty and things we'd do different. We hope you'll join us - and we hope you'll find a few recipes to add to your menu!

CRACK SLAW

We've been overindulging a bit lately (see my Cadbury Mini Egg problem at the end of this post) so I found this recipe from Laa Loosh one afternoon when I was desperate for something SUPER healthy. Honestly - I didn't even pin it because I thought I would hate it. SURPRISE! We made it two days in a row - the first time to have for dinner and the second time for Don to take to work as leftovers for a few days.

GRADE: A+
HOW HEALTHY: SO HEALTHY!! This is a Weight Watchers recipe and each serving is only 2 points. High in protein, low in sugar and carbs.
DIFFICULTY: SO easy - especially once we made two slight changes in the recipe (below).
RECIPE CHANGES:  Instead of shredding our own cabbage (no thank you) we just bought a bag of pre-shredded cole slaw mix when we were picking up our broccoli slaw. The second time we made it Kroger was out of broccoli slaw so we just doubled the cole slaw mix and it was still delicious! We use squeeze ginger instead of grating it (again - no thank you), and we also used ground turkey instead of chicken just because we already had it on hand.

PERFECT ROASTED BROCCOLI

Keeping with the "clean eating" theme - when Kroger had broccoli crowns on sale I found this recipe from A Spicy Perspective and thought it would be the perfect easy and healthy side dish. And I was right!

GRADE: B+
HOW HEALTHY: VERY healthy. Gluten free, low carb, vegetarian.
DIFFICULTY: RIDICULOUSLY easy - especially if you use broccoli crowns. Less cutting!
RECIPE CHANGES:  Don likes his veggies "mushier", I like them crispier, so when the cooking time was done we took half of the broccoli off the baking pan and put the rest back in for another few minutes to make it a little extra crispy for me.

GARLIC BUTTER BAKED CRAB LEGS

The photo is horrible - but the crab legs? AMAZING! Our Kroger fairly often has crab legs on sale - so when they do we stock up and treat ourselves with a date night "in" rather than going out. This recipe from food.com makes it a one-pan meal, and we literally take the pan out of the oven, cover our kitchen island in towels, and eat straight out of the pan soaking up the buttery juices with the meat as we go.

GRADE: A+
HOW HEALTHY: well...crab meat is pretty healthy, but ummm...you are baking it in butter.
DIFFICULTY: RIDICULOUSLY easy
RECIPE CHANGES:  Rather than using fresh garlic we use minced garlic, and lots of it. Makes the recipe even easier!

ATLANTA FALCONS RICE KRISPIE BITES

Rather than try to explain what happened when we made this recipe I'm just gonna leave this little video from my Instagram Stories riiiiiiiiiiight here. They were damn tasty though. They had that going for them!

GRADE: B+ (total failure appearance wise - but they are rice krispie treats. how bad could they be?)
HOW HEALTHY: Again. Rice Krispie Treats.
DIFFICULTY: You know it's time to give up when you are bested by a dessert that has been around a hundred years.
RECIPE CHANGES:  Ummm...pretty much all of it.

LOADED WEDGE SALAD (aka How to Make Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing)

I pinned this one night looking for a great "healthy" salad recipe - and instead uncovered a homemade blue cheese dressing from Tasting Table that is SO easy and amazing that I've made this THREE TIMES in the past two weeks.

GRADE: A+
HOW HEALTHY: Don't do what I did and drench your salad in the dressing, and you'll be ok. Also take note of the recipe changes below.
DIFFICULTY: VERY easy - the hardest part is dicing and cooking the scallions and that takes five minutes
RECIPE CHANGES:  We cut WAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY back on the oil for cooking the shallots, we used three (3) tablespoons (instead of one cup) and that was PLENTY. We omitted the green onions altogether, and just added the Tarragon and the olive oil right in to the dressing rather than putting it on the salad at the end. AND - we actually cut the blue cheese in half - from 4oz to 2oz.

CADBURY MINI EGGS - CHOCOLATE CRUNCH & CREME

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This isn't a Pinterest recipe - but it IS food, and IS the reason why I have been frantically looking for healthy recipes. HAVE YOU TRIED THESE????? If you love Cadbury Mini Eggs and you love Oreos then you MUST GET THESE IN YOUR MOUTH ASAP!!! Here is where I admit something I don't tell many people...I don't really like chocolate. I don't HATE it, but generally I can take it or leave it. I ate an ENTIRE BAG of these. For BREAKFAST. That is what is happening around here. This Chocolate Crunch & Creme version is available exclusively in store at Target - I mean, you CAN get them for $12 a bag on Amazon, but we're not QUITE there yet.

Repurposed Rake Spring Decor

A $1 yard sale rake (and its pitchfork buddy) and a few 40% off stem bundles from Michaels make the EASIEST Spring decor project I think I've ever done!

SUPPLIES:
rake/pitchfork
glue gun
stem bundles from Michaels (see below)
scissors
6' of ribbon

Why buy the stem bundles instead of loose floral stems? Flower arranging is not my strength, so picking up a few of these pre-"assembled" bundles saves me a TON of time. They are also cut shorter so I don't have to trim anything before gluing them on to the rake!

And just so you don't think I am getting too fancy...this in-process photo epitomizes my creative life. I haven't showered in two days (I mean - look at my hair!), I am still wearing my pajamas, I am trying to hold the rakes still and stay out of the way so Don can get the photo, and Bizzy Bee is supervising the whole ridiculous mess. This is classic Kingstons!

Tips and Tricks for Applying to a Design Team

A few weeks ago Xyron held a Design Team Call. I am lucky enough to have been their DT coordinator for almost 10 years and during/after the call we got a lot of requests for feedback so I decided...why not do a Facebook Live and see if I can answer some of their questions? So I did - and the response was amazing. Everyone who participated was so much fun and I got some great questions - so for those of you who missed it (or folks who wanted written notes) I've included the entire FB Live here. I have NO idea how the audio and video got so out of sync - so just avert your eyes if it makes you nutty. :) I've also written some quick bullet points below (the video is almost 40 minutes long) that cover the basics. Please feel free to post if you've got any questions - I'm happy to help and hope this encourages you to try out for a design team or two!

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR APPLYING TO A DESIGN TEAM

Focus on the photos. This would be in all caps with flashing lights if I knew how to do that. ;) Take a look at photos of people who are selected for DTs and see how your photos compare in quality. Are they high resolution? Do they have good (natural) light? Do they have a clean or well styled background? Taking a class on "how to take better photos" was one of the best investments I made in my business. This is THE most important thing companies look for when selecting designers to work with. Photos, photos, photos, photos, photos!

I shared these on the FB Live - but here is a quick comparison to the photos I was posting on IG two years ago (santa ornament) and the kinds of photos I am posting now (deer head). See the difference in clarity and quality and light and background?

Be active on your own social media and online. Post frequently on your blog and other social media channels (we check). Know your limits/strengths and focus on the social media platforms you know you can do well (for example - I don't do Twitter. I don't "get it" and know I won't enjoy it, so I just don't do it and have to be ok with knowing I won't be selected by companies that require it). If doing videos is something you feel comfortable with that gives you a leg up because many people don't do them yet. Instagram and Facebook are currently the two most important social media platforms for most companies.

Think of your blog/social media like a portfolio. Think about creating a separate FB page/IG feed for your craft work. Don’t just post stuff to create content - quality is more important than quantity. Make sure all links are working on your blog and that all your information is updated.

Make your blog work for you. Name and link to products you are already using ("Xyron Sticker Maker" instead of "adhesive"). Look in to affiliate links (amazon.com and scrapbook.com are both relatively easy to apply to). Go to Alexa.com (click on features/competitive intelligence/tools/website traffic statistics) to see where your blog stands in comparison to other blogs. Lots of pop up ads turns off companies - too hard to get to projects.

Look for ways to share your projects. Contests, challenge blogs, guest blogger opportunities are all a chance to work with a company without long term commitment and vice versa. Participate in crafting community groups online and share your work.

Apply to teams you use/love the product. Companies want people passionate about their product. Don’t just apply for everything out there. Follow companies you love on social media - many don’t advertise DT calls outside of their brand. Research them online. Do they have community boards? Challenges? Affiliates? Can you review products on their website? Look for any opportunity to get on their radar.

Be nice/positive/do not get discouraged. Be kind and helpful EVERYWHERE — in forums, on Facebook, etc. Companies are not interested in working with drama queens. This is a very small world and everyone knows everyone - so word gets around. Gracefully accept critiques and be ok with no - use it as a learning experience. Share projects you love from companies/other designers on your own social media. We're all in this together!

Follow the directions/know what you are agreeing to. When it is time to apply, send a complete application, spell the company name correctly, don’t just copy and paste - let the company know how much you love them/why you love their products. Answer all the questions. Don’t ask for special treatment. Know what they want - cards, mixed media, home decor? Do they pay in product or cash? What is the time requirement? Make sure you know what you are getting in to.

Know why you’re doing it. You are not going to get rich being on a DT, but it can open lots of doors. You have to be in it because you love it and the rest will come from that.

Be you. Don’t try to be somebody else or change your style just to get on a design team - it will be too hard to maintain if you are chosen.

Once you make a Design Team (hooray!) here are some tips for keeping your gig!

Keep your commitments. Turn assignments in on time. If there were specifications for projects (make a card, make a spring themed project) make sure you follow them. Don't make the coordinator track you down to get photos, links, etc.

Be passionate. Be the company's biggest cheerleader. Let your love for the product show in your projects and social media posts. If you’re just in it for the product/money, it’ll show, and you won't be invited back.

I hope that's been helpful! Look forward to seeing your work on a design team in the future!

Totally Tiffany Metal Maid Companion Cart

My fabulous friend Totally Tiffany knows I have been redoing my studio, and she also knows my studio colors are white and teal - so she sent me THE MOST amazing surprise in the mail last week and I can't wait to show it to you!

Best of all - Tiffany will be featuring it on HSN on March 8th (the next 24 Hour Craft Day) so you can grab one for yourself at a great deal.

And now I give you my very first "unboxing" video! You will notice two things. One - Don did 95% of the work. I was fiddling around with the inserts and next thing I knew it was done! Two - giant dogs are SUPER helpful when you are trying to assemble things in a small space. {FTC Disclaimer - I received this product for free, but with no agreement to review or promote it. It's called a gift! This blog post is mine all mine!}

Besides being easy to put together (even with help from Baloo) here are a few other things I've discovered about it now that I've had it in my studio for a few days.

It is very light when it is empty...which means even filled up I can lift it and move it around with ease. This will be PERFECT for me to take to crops - I can just roll it out to the car, load it up, and roll it right in to the event. 

I had been seriously eyeballing one of those IKEA carts that everybody has - but my girlfriend told me that sometimes it is hard to get stuff out of the lower shelves. In this cart the shelves slide in and out like a dresser, so I can easily get to what I want and even just take out the whole shelf and put it up on my work area if I want to.

This cart is also a little bit shorter than some of the other organization carts I've seen - so it fits perfectly under my desk if I need to get it out of the way.

While the color is perfect for my studio - it takes spray paint like a dream! Tiffany is painting hers gold and sent me an "in process" photo.

Can't wait for March 8th to get your hands on one? It is also available on totally-tiffany.com and on Amazon as well. Speaking of March 8th - I'll be there with some great specials on Xyron and Diamond Press - hope you all will join us for a fun day filled with all sorts of crafty goodness!

I also am about a week or so away from my final studio reveal - so you'll be seeing this cart again real soon! :)

Wood Words + Cricut Explore Air = Custom Wall Art

I love collage walls. Peek in to any room in our home and you'll find at least one wall covered in photos, wall art, memorabilia and more. So when I moved my studio at the beginning of the year I decided I was going to go all out and cover the ENTIRE room with pictures and decorations that inspired me. There was just one smaaaaaaaaaall problem. This space right here. 

No matter how I moved things around, or what I put on the wall, there was that one odd shaped space that I just couldn't figure out and it was making me nutty! Enter my Cricut Explore Air 2 to the rescue!

{FTC Disclaimer: I have received product/payment in exchange for this blog post - but all projects/opinions are mine all mine! This post also contains affiliate links so I might make a few pennies if you buy something!}

SUPPLIES:
Cricut Explore Air 2 with Design Space
Cricut 12x24 Cutting Mat
Cricut Vinyl in Caribbean
Cricut Transfer Tape
Cricut XL Scraper
Cricut Scraper
DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint in Teal Mint
wood word (different words available at any mass craft stores)
foam brush

I did the project in this particular order because it was more important to me to center the wood word and then add the letters - but if you prefer to do the letters first you can!

Paint your wood word and set aside to dry. 

Create your phrase in Cricut Design Space. Even though it was one phrase I created it in two sections so it would be easier to customize the sizing and spacing.

Before you cut the phrases, place the wood word on the wall (I used 3M Command Strips).

Then measure on either side of the word and size the phrases to fit. You may need to select "attach" so the phrases cut in the same direction on the mat. 

Cut the phrases on the Explore Air 2 and peel off/weed the excess vinyl, then cover both phrases with transfer tape and trim.

Tape or tack the phrases on the wall to make sure you know where you want them. If you can use a tape measure to line them up with other items on the wall...great! My sunshine wall art is not even - so I just did everything by eye.

The new XL Scraper is pretty much the greatest tool on the planet - it makes working on larger projects so much easier! I started at one side of the phrase - removed the tack/tape, peeled away the backing then replaced the tack/tape and used the scraper to adhere the phrase to the wall.

And voila! A piece of home decor that you customize to any theme, color, or size! Awkward empty wall spaces be gone!

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Speaking of home decor - Cricut and Hayneedle.com are having an AMAZING giveaway - head on over and enter to win over $2500 in prizes including a Cricut Explore Air 2 bundle and a $2000 credit to Hayneedle! Who doesn't need that? Hurry though...the deadline to enter is February 24th.

Looking for more fun ideas about using your Cricut Explore Air to add vinyl to just about anything? How about...

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Maya Road Signed Sealed Delivered Kit

Those of you who were around for "the good old days" of scrapbooking probably know Maya Road. A family owned company that has been around for almost 15 years - we became friends when our booths kept ending up near each other at consumer shows across the country - remember those? Gaaaaaaahhh!!! The industry may have changed but Maya Road's creativity and the quality and uniqueness of their products continue to be amazing. They've just launched a new website and sent me one of their card making kits to celebrate - so I made everything BUT cards with it! Well ok - I made two cards - and you know what? I loved it! Today I'm sharing instructions for SIX projects I made with the kit goodies, and there were PLENTY of leftovers for more! {FTC disclaimer: I did receive this kit for free, but the projects are mine all mine! This post also has some affiliate links - so I might make a few pennies if you buy something!}

Layered Border Card
items from kit:
patterned paper
yellow pom pom trim
blue ribbon
small kraft clock
white lace
thinking of you stamp
additional items:
black ink pad
acrylic block
double sided tape
foam tape
die cutting machine and border dies (I used Diamond Press)

Cut assorted strips of patterned paper and run some through border dies.

Stamp thinking of you image on to patterned paper and trim – leaving small border.

Apply double sided tape about 1” from the bottom of the card and adhere pom pom trim. Cut off excess.

Use foam tape and double sided tape to layer strips, blue ribbon and borders to card front.

Adhere kraft clock, small piece of white lace and stamped image as desired.

Mini Pallet
items from kit:
patterned paper
blue flowers
yellow pom pom trim
crystal heart
burlap flower
flower pin
small kraft clock
additional items:
4x4 mini pallet (Maya Road now carries 6x6)
strong adhesive (I used Xyron 3” Sticker Maker)
die cutting machine and hello die (I used Diamond Press)
Stickles (I used yellow)

Cut paper in to 7/8” x 4 1/16” strips and adhere to mini pallet.

Cut hello die and set aside.

Trim flowers from stem and set aside.

Put adhesive on either side of kraft clock. Starting on the outer edge, wrap yellow trim around clock in a circle until it is filled in. Trim excess and adhere crystal heart to center.

Apply flowers, pin and hello to pallet as desired.

Outline visible portions of patterned paper with Stickles and let dry.

Sending Sweet Wishes Card
items from kit:
patterned paper
tags
large kraft clock
lace
twine
typewriter pin
silhouette
sending sweet wishes stamp
additional items:
black ink pad
acrylic block
white pen
black cardstock
die cutting machine (I used Cricut Explore Air)
acrylic paint (I used FolkArt Aviary Blue)

Cut intricate lace image and adhere to top of card.

String twine through two tags and tie in a bow. Add adhesive to back of both tags and adhere to card – off set to one side. Trim excess tag.

Doodle around edges of tags with white pen.

Stamp sweet wishes image on to patterned paper and trim – leaving small border.

Adhere kraft clock, small piece of lace, stamped image, typewriter pin and silhouette as desired.

Floral Frame
items from kit:
patterned paper
pink flower
tulle flower
wood hearts
additional items:
frame with glass removed (check out this blog post for how I created the distressed pink glitter look with Rust-Oleum Glitter Spray Paint)
acrylic paint (I used FolkArt Baby Pink)
pearl embellishments

Paint small heart and set aside to dry.

Put adhesive on larger heart and apply patterned paper, then trim to fit.

Trim patterned paper to fit frame and add to frame – do not replace the glass.

Adhere pink flower, tulle flower and both hearts as desired.

Bottle Cap Magnet
items from kit:
heart bottle cap
patterned paper
silhouettes
small kraft clock
lace
blue flower
additional items:
acrylic paint (I used FolkArt Aviary Blue and Baby Pink)
magnet strips (I used Xyron Magnet Tape)
pearl embellishments

Paint two silhouettes (paint so they will be facing each other) and set aside to dry.

Snip blue flower from stem and set aside.

Use back of bottlecap to loosely trace heart outline and cut from patterned paper, then continue to trim until it fits inside bottlecap.

Adhere heart to bottlecap, then layer small kraft clock and small piece of lace on top.

Adhere silhouettes, then add flower and pearls as desired.

Add magnet strips to the back of the bottlecap.

Chipboard Heart Ornament
items from kit:
patterned paper
tulle
blue ribbon
medium kraft clock
burlap flower
metal clip
silhouette
scalloped frame
additional items:
chipboard
acrylic paint (I used FolkArt Color Shift in Blue Flash)
die cutting machine (I used Cricut Explore Air)
strong adhesive (I used Xyron Creative Station Lite)
liquid adhesive (I used Glossy Accents)
Crop-A-Dile

Cut ¾” x 1” oval from patterned paper and adhere to scalloped frame. Fill with liquid adhesive and set aside to dry.

Paint silhouette and set aside to dry.

Cut four 5” hearts from chipboard and apply adhesive to one side of each.

With adhesive side facing up, layer two hearts, then apply tulle around second heart.

Add third heart (adhesive facing up).

Adhere fourth heart to back of patterned paper and trim to fit, then apply to third heart.

Punch holes in top of heart and add blue ribbon to create hanger.

Layer kraft clock, burlap flower, metal clip, scalloped frame and silhouette as desired.

One Paint Three Projects with Rust-Oleum Glitter Paint

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The Kingstons have a garage full of spray paint that we use for furniture makeovers, but this month I was challenged by Rust-Oleum to use a can of their Rust-Oleum Glitter Paint in Bright Pink to turn items I had around the house in to something special. I loved it so much I did three projects instead of one! {FTC Disclaimer - I received the glitter paint for free but with no requirement to create this blog post. I do what I want. ;) This post does contain some affiliate links so if you buy something I might make a few pennies!}

If you love Target like I love Target then you might already know about these. If not - you're welcome, or I apologize. Either way. These are concrete jar candles and not only do they look cool...they smell AMAZING. If you live in the Elizabethtown area I can already tell you the Mahogany Embers scent is not available because...ummm...I bought them all. They are also re-useable so make great pieces of home decor. But I digress!

I wanted to create something for my girlfriends that they'd love but also had a personal touch for Galentine's Day. Thanks to my Cricut Explore Air, a scrap of vinyl and some Waverly Inspirations acrylic paint in Fuschia I made a custom stencil and then added some glam with my glitter paint!

To create this project, remove the rope from the lid, then sand it, paint it with acrylic paint, and set aside to dry.

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In Cricut Design Space, add a heart image and size to fit your project. Before you select "go" to begin cutting, move your heart image close to the center of your vinyl scrap (mine was 4x8). It does not have to be exact, you just want enough extra vinyl to "mask" your project.

Once cut, remove the heart image from your vinyl and peel the large vinyl piece from the backing and adhere to the candle. I mean - it looks like a HOT MESS - but as long as the heart stencil is flat you don't need to worry about the rest! Use a dauber to apply the acrylic paint to the stencil and let dry, then cover the rest of the candle with painters tape and spray glitter paint until you achieve the desired amount of glittery awesomeness. Don't forget to add glitter paint to the lid too! This glitter paint dries almost instantly so it is great for those of us who are impatient!

Add a piece of bright ribbon to the lid and you are ready for some Valentine's Day gift giving! I was so giddy with how this turned out I wanted to try a few other quick projects:

I bought this cute little frame from the "dollar section" at Michaels - but you could use any frame you've got at home. To create my distressed glitter look I sanded down the frame, sprayed it with Rust-Oleum Primer, then applied several coats of the glitter paint until I had the effect I wanted.

Did you know painted heart rocks are a thing? Oh yes they are (warning - you can EASILY get sucked in checking them out on Pinterest)! Don and I brought this rock home from our last trip to Washington State - one of our favorite places in the WORLD - and I had been waiting to paint it but was scared to do it by hand. With the same stencil technique I used on the concrete candle I was able to turn my rock in to a special memento in just a few minutes.

The verdict? Rust-Oleum Glitter Paint is easy (and fun) to use and adds the perfect amount of sparkle with minimal drying time and no loose glitter or sticky glitter glue to mess with. It does not give full coverage though, so if you want to create a look like the concrete candle or painted rock you'll need to paint your project first with a coordinating color. Now - go out there and glitter something!

Want more spray painting goodness? Check out these past projects:

Yard Sale Frame to Fun Home Decor - Tale of the Left Out Wall Hanging

We used to have a front room. Or formal sitting room. Or whatever you call it. The room that held our fancy (inherited) furniture that no one ever hung out in, except Baloo because he likes to be alone when he chews on his toys. The furniture is dark grey and yellow, the walls were light grey, and I thought it would be fun to make a quirky wall hanging to bring a little bit of my personality in to the room. So we created this guy.

Then I decided to take over the front room and make it my studio. My all white with bright pops of color studio. And we realized this guy had to go. So now I'm a little sad. This weekend he'll go to a new home, and I'll finish overhauling the front room - but in the meantime I've put together a blog post juuuuuuust in case I decide I need to make his cousin. :)

We used an old frame we found at a yard sale, some spray paint and wrapping paper, added a few embellishments from my scrapping stash...and got to overhauling!

We took the frame apart and spray painted the face, then repeated the process with the deer head.

I used spray adhesive to apply the wrapping paper to the back of the frame, then cut out and layered some scalloped shapes using my Cricut and my Xyron Creative Station.

I used a compass to draw an oval about 2" in from the edge of the frame, then added Stickles to the outline for a little bling!

We cut a hole in the back of the deer and adhered a wood block...

Then drilled holes in the frame and screwed the deer head right in to the frame base.

Added some flowers from my stash - and voila! The wall hanging I love but will never actually get to hang on a wall. I hope his new owners will love him as much as we do!

Creativation Recap - Giving Away Some Goodies!

I'm back from Creativation (formerly CHA, now AFCI - Association for Creative Industries) and now that I've unpacked and gotten a good night's sleep I wanna share a quick recap and give away some goodies!

THE EYE CANDY. Oooohhhhhhh the eye candy. I did not get a chance to walk the whole show floor because I was in the Xyron booth much of the time, but the creativity and attention to detail and talent that this industry is built on is second to none. Everywhere you look there is inspiration and there are gorgeous creations and there are entire booths you just want to pack up and take home with you. Below is just a small sampling! From top left: Jillibean Soup, Vicki Boutin/American Crafts, Tammy Tutterow/Spellbinders, Maya Road, Plaid Crafts, Vicki Boutin (AGAIN - because I am obsessed with her!!)

THE PEOPLE. This is why I am so thrilled to come year after year after year. These are my people. I only get to see my Xyron family a few times a year, and I have been so fortunate to make deep and long lasting friendships with other folks across the industry - and THIS is the place where we come to reconnect, share ideas, make new friends, and just enjoy being together.

THE JOB. The Xyron booth was hopping all weekend long! Teresa Collins did make and takes in the morning and I did make and takes in the afternoon. We were SO lucky to have such great partners - Jillibean Soup and Lawn Fawn brought the pretty to the party with great papers and stamps and embellishments! We highlighted our NEW recyclable 1.5" Sticker Maker, our 3" Sticker Maker and our Magnet Tape - and I'll be sharing quick videos for both of these projects later this month! Want to see us in action? We've got FB Live videos on both the Xyron FB page and my FB page...I'm just not cool enough to know how to link to them here!

THE NEW STUFF. Being at Creativation can be almost overwhelming with the number of new products that are coming to market...but I picked out a few favorites that I just can't wait to get my hands on! From top to bottom:

These DIY 1canoe2 globes are EVERYTHING! They come pre-patterned and you can embellish them with stickers, vinyl words, lights, and much more!

Vicki Boutin's new collection from American Crafts. In addition to being one of THE MOST amazing, kind, talented people I am honored to call friend - Vicki makes mixed media fun and easy and inspires me with her colorful creative projects. I CANNOT WAIT for this!!

I've been looking for a letterboard for my house for a while now - Heidi Swapp to the rescue! Heidi is releasing white letterboards complete with handwritten words and colorful alphabets and you will be seeing these all over the Kingston casa before too long!

I LOVED latch-hooking when I was younger and I've always wanted to try weaving - so when I saw the new Plaid Leave It & Weave It and Ryatie collections I was in HEAVEN!!! I feel the 70s coming back to me in a whole new awesome way!

THE FUN. If you are ever in the Phoenix AZ area you MUST swing by Pinspiration. It is the kind of store/studio/hangout we would all love to own or have in our neighborhood! It is a DIY creative space where you can come with your girlfriends, your kids, your spouse - and choose from TONS of projects to make your own. The gang from DecoArt invited me to tag along for a "friends night out" and it was EXACTLY what we all needed. I...ummmmm...was too busy talking (and drinking wine) and completely screwed up my project - but I've got a tutorial coming up next week to show you how I took a creative "opportunity for embellishment" (ie: mistake!) and turned it in to a fun finished project I'm happy to hang in my living room!

THE GIVEAWAY. ok now let's get to the goods! I was lucky enough to bring home a whole suitcase full of awesomeness - and I want to share! Just leave a comment here and tell me what you saw from Creativation (from this post or anywhere else!) that you are excited about and one lucky winner will receive the following:

--gold Diamond Press machine
--PlaidCrafts tote bag filled with a dozen 2oz paints and8oz of ModPodge Sparkle
--Maya Road make and take bracelet and card
--Lawn Fawn Hoppy Easter stamp set
--Jillibean Soup Chit Chat Chowder collection
--Xyron recyclable 1.5" Sticker Maker

Want more great Creativation coverage? Head on over to Scrapbook & Cards Today for another giveaway (ends February 2nd) and even more inspiration!

White Walls Wednesday - Customizing with Cricut and Washi Tape

White Walls Wednesday is baaaaacck - and today I'm sharing a project that I've been thinking about for YEARS but kept putting off until I got a great little tip about applying intricate vinyl using washi tape. Yep! Washi tape! 

So many military families have a wall hanging similar to this one - a record of all the places you've lived with new duty stations lovingly added along the way. I get mine from WordBoards on Etsy - I love to support other military wives in their small businesses!

The only issue? Unless you wait to buy your boards until after you've left a location you don't have the dates on them! This one hangs prominently in our kitchen and every time we have a new friend over we get the "when did you live in Hawaii?" or "how long did you live in Georgia?" questions - and truth be told, my memory is too terrible to remember! With my Cricut Explore Air, some gold vinyl that washi tape idea I was able to customize my sign in about 30 minutes. I'm just sorry I waited so long!

Ha! I didn't notice until I had this post all ready to go that Bizzy Bee is poking her head around the corner in the photo below. That sweet girl is like Where's Waldo! :)

SUPPLIES:
Cricut Explore Air and Design Space
Cricut Standard Grip cutting mat
Cricut Tools Craft Basic Set
Cricut Vinyl (I used Gold)
light colored washi tape
scissors

Measure the space you've got on your project where you want to put your dates, then select a font in Design Space and type out the dates, sizing to fit. TIP: use a "plain" font, because these are SO small that you will spend a hundred years weeding them if you try to pick something fancy. TRUST me. ;) 

Cut the dates from the vinyl, then use the weeder from the tool kit to weed the excess vinyl from the backing so only the dates remain. Instead of applying transfer tape to the dates - apply washi tape! It is smaller, easier to use, and semi-sheer so you can still see your images to set them in place. WASHI TAPE! Who woulda thought?

Once the washi tape has been applied, cut the dates in to individual sections.

Use the scraper from the tool kit to apply your dates to your project.

And voila! Working on this project brought back so many memories of beautiful places, houses that felt like home, and the incredible people we've met along the way. Luckiest, luckiest, luckiest girl in the world. 

Looking for more great inspiration from military spouses? Check out these amazing projects!