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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 3: Totes For All Reasons Blog Tour

Crocheters! The Crochet Dude himself—Drew Emborsky is all about tote bags today for Day 3 of our celebration of Marty Miller’s Totes For All Reasons! Join the party at http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day3! You might win a copy of Totes For All Reasons for your very own!

Since you won’t want to miss a single day or a chance to win, here’s the schedule for the rest of the Tour:

August 29: Marty Miller http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day1

August 30: Ellen Gormley http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-TourDay2

August 31: Drew Emborsky http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day3

September 1: Kimberly McAlindin http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day4

September 2: Doris Chan http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day5

September 3: Vashti Braha http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day6

September 4: Kate Steinke http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day7

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Mexican!

I love, love, love Mexican food, and, currently, I’m drooling over this South of the Border Salsa and White Cheese Dip from the Teen Fiesta party section of our new cookbook: Celebrating Party Foods!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Writer’s Block?

I write. Somehow, that’s what I do…at least five+ days a week anyway. So you’d think that when it came time to write something worth reading on a scrapbook page there’d be no problem, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong…

Like every scrapbooker, I suffer from writer’s block when it comes to journaling on a page. For me, it’s easy to pick the paper, paste down the pictures, and stick on a few do-dads, but when it comes to adding words that future generations (or even the current kids) might read, it’s a whole different kettle of fish. It’s so personal. I end up scribbling the names of the folks in the photos and stickering a title ’cause I don’t even (on most days) like my handwriting. Not interesting!

But I have hope…I’m placing my faith in a new book from Creating Keepsakes—Journaling Solutions for Scrapbooks that features over 175 solutions, quizzes, and ideas for getting those words on paper in a meaningful way.

Chapter 1: Write From The Heart has a great section geared exactly for people like me to help them learn to love their handwriting and use it.

Chapter 2: Quizzes, Questions, & Quotes provides lots of prompts to help you put pen to paper…like 10 creative ways to journal about your baby, the Slice of Life Quiz, questions that make you think from Tracy White, inspiration for each month of the year, and more.

Chapter 3: Form & Function teaches the journaling-challenged to use lists, timelines, calendars, and more to inspire worthwhile writing.

Chapter 4: Creative Journaling demonstrates the use of fonts, stamps, and other creative formats to enhance the look of your layouts.

And the book ends with a page of Printable Quotes For Scrapbookers. Sometimes all you need is a good quote to get you started!

I think Chapter 3 is my favorite. (I’m an obsessive list maker, so I should be good at this style!) And I’m feeling inspired to journal now (You might have noticed in the photo of the book that I’ve already marked several pages that I need to refer back to.) Are you inspired now, too?

Day 2: Totes For All Reasons Blog Tour

Crocheters! Let’s all get together to celebrate Day 2 of Marty Miller’s Totes For All Reasons Blog Tour with Ellen Gormley at http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-TourDay2! You might win a copy of Totes For All Reasons for your very own!

Since you won’t want to miss a single day or a chance to win, here’s the schedule for the rest of the Tour:

August 29: Marty Miller http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day1

August 30: Ellen Gormley http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-TourDay2

August 31: Drew Emborsky http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day3

September 1: Kimberly McAlindin http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day4

September 2: Doris Chan http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day5

September 3: Vashti Braha http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day6

September 4: Kate Steinke http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day7

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 1: Totes For All Reasons Blog Tour

Crocheters! We’re celebrating the publication of designer Marty Miller’s new crochet pattern book—Totes For All Reasons with a Blog Tour! For Day 1, Marty herself is sharing secrets about her love of tote bags. Find out what she has to say at http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day1! You might win a copy of Totes For All Reasons for your very own!

Since you won’t want to miss a single day or a chance to win, here’s the schedule for the rest of the Tour:

August 29: Marty Miller http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day1

August 30: Ellen Gormley http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-TourDay2

August 31: Drew Emborsky http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day3

September 1: Kimberly McAlindin http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day4

September 2: Doris Chan http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day5

September 3: Vashti Braha http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day6

September 4: Kate Steinke http://bit.ly/Tote-Book-Tour-Day7

August Blooms in Arkansas…

{Happy Monday Everybody! There’s not a bloom to be had at my house thanks to the heat we’ve had this August, so we’ve got a guest blogger here on Everyday Life at Leisure today to share what’s blooming in her Little Rock yard—Susan Wiles, our Leisure Arts Special Projects Director! Enjoy!}

What’s Blooming in August?

Merrilee’s been lamenting the lack of flowers blooming at her house lately, so I volunteered to show a picture of my Portulaca, which some of you may know as Spanish moss.

Portulaca thrives in sun-drenched heat, but you have to come at the right time of day to find the blooms fully open. Mornings and evenings, before and after going to work, I always found the little petals rolled tight. Finally on the weekend, in the bright sunlight of midday, I was able to snap a photo.

August in Arkansas has not been a good month for flowers. With scorching heat and a long stretch without rain, many outdoor plants are barely surviving. At a glance, my landscaping looks forlorn. But if you focus in on little spots here and there, you can see some very lovely sights. Out front, my Knock Out Roses have been knocking themselves out with blooms all summer. The bush as a whole is definitely suffering from the summer heat, but I got a decent picture by focusing in on a single bloom.

Just a few feet away, totally unexpected, was a stand of pale pink Surprise Lilies. It’s so odd how the flower stalk comes up out of the ground without warning, before the leaves arrive. (The leaves in the background here are Liriope, what we call monkey grass.)

A few feet in the other direction, I got another surprise: a single blossom of Purple Coneflower. I put out the young plant months ago, but I’d lost sight of it in the thick bed of Liriope. Very frail and faded-looking, the little survivor was still a welcome sight!

Out back, along the fence line, I spied a few solitary blooms on a spindly Rose of Sharon bush. The prettiest bloom was way up high, probably straining to get a bigger share of the sunlight filtering down through the oak tree above it.

We had some refreshing rain last Sunday morning, and I found this peachy-pink bloom on my potted daylily. The dewy petals remind me of the gorgeous cross stitch flowers that Barbara Baatz Hillman designs.

My most prolific plant this summer has been my chocolate peppermint, so I wanted to include it, to represent all the leafy green plants that are beautiful even without flowers (this one especially, because it smells like Andes chocolate mint candies when you touch the leaves). But when I zoomed in with my camera, there was a teeny little lavender bloom on my peppermint plant!

I’m thankful for every blossom that I found, for all my plants have had a hard life this year. With this in mind, I had to stop typing and go to the kitchen to get a little plaque that I love, so I could share with you The Gardener’s Creed that it bears. It says, “Care for the flowers with patience and love. Appreciate each blossom for its own beauty. Receive sunshine and rain with equal grace and gratitude. Remember each season with pleasure…and use each day wisely and well.”

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August Toy Pincushions

Hope you’re having a wonderful Sunday! I’m playing with pincushions. The month of August is almost gone, the kids have started back to school, and I’ve raided the toy box for my August pincushion project inspiration.

What I’ve come up with couldn’t be easier! I’m using mini vintage toy trucks and tea cups for my pincushion bases. (The kids will never miss them.)

What do you think? Aren’t they cute?

Here’s what you need to make them:
• mini tea cups & trucks
• scrap fabric
• fiberfill or packing foam
• needle & thread or double-sided tape

For the Tea Cup Pincushions, I just used the fabric, fiberfill, and needle and thread.

Just cut out a circle of fabric, and stitch a running stitch around the edge of the circle to create a poof of fabric stuffed with fiberfill. Then just stuff the poof in the tea cup.

For the trucks, I measured the truck beds and cut a piece of packing foam to fit each bed. Then I wrapped each piece of foam with fabric (like a Christmas present), securing the fabric with double-sided tape. Next, I placed each present in the back of its truck.

Done. Simple. And it‘s kind of a cool way of bringing a little something neat out of the toy box (or off your shelf of collectibles) and making it useful.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer

Hope you’re having a glorious Saturday, and I hope today’s as pretty a day as it was on Friday. We celebrated the Dog Days of Summer at Leisure Arts yesterday with a picnic on the patio (or in the breezeway as the case may be)! It was a beautiful, not humid, 84 degrees outside! Aren’t you envious?

Goley and friends grilled the hot dogs.

Here we are, in line, (we got to wear our shorts and T-shirts) waiting to select the most perfectly burnt hot dog and to load our plates with all the fixins!

Look at the goodies…I love cookies!

Then we proceeded to do what Southern folks do best—eat and visit!

It was really hard to go back to work! (Best of all, we can have leftovers for lunch on Monday!)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy National Dog Day!

Every dog will have its day—and it’s today: National Dog Day! Let’s party with the puppies! I’ve got the free patterns for the party hats, pooch presents, and even a free recipe to feed those canine munchies!

Puppy Party Hats
Your pup will be ready to party with these super cute and easy-to-make, no-sew felt Party Hats.

Doggy Quilt
Sew up this easy, tied quilt for your favorite Fido.

Dog Yard Sign
Paint and proudly display our yard sign design to let everybody know how important your dog is in your life.

Knit Dog Coat
On your next walk, you can really show off your knitting skills as your pooch wears the colorful coat in style!

“Doggone” Cute Sweater
Grab your hook and crochet up this adorable sweater for your favorite puppy dog.

Dog Bone Treats
Your pampered canines will love these homemade doggie treats!

Ingredients:
2-1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 egg
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in
1/2 cup hot water
1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring until well blended. Knead dough 2 minutes. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Use a 2-1/2-inch-long bone-shaped cookie cutter to cut out “bones”. Bake 30 minutes on an ungreased baking sheet. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: about 4 dozen dog “bones” or treats

Meet Jojo, the canine companion to Leisure Arts Special Projects Director Susan!

Jojo’s having a blissful Dog Day wallowing in the sunshine, and she’s ready to party!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

100 Any-Size Appliqué Blocks

My quilting friends tell me that one of the hardest parts of any appliqué project is creating the necessary templates. If you find that to be true, then designer Linda Causee of Creative Partners just might have the solution to your problems!

Discover the wonders of Linda’s new book from Leisure Arts—100 Any-Size Appliqué Blocks and its accompanying CD! Just pop in the CD, click on the desired block in the size you want (includes blocks sized from 3" to 8"), and print as many as you need to complete your project. If you need more, just print more. Too easy!

For inspiration, take a peek at a few of the pretty block designs in this book:

Flower Blocks

Heart Blocks

Wreath Blocks

Basket Blocks

Tropical Blocks

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Lunch!

It’s still so hot in Little Rock that I can’t stand even the idea of eating hot food. I wish this was what I had planned for lunch today instead—Hearts of Lettuce with Caesar Dressing. Cool, crispy, yumminess! (I’m really having leftover chicken enchiladas for the third day in a row…)

You can find this recipe and more in the new Leisure Arts Celebrating Party Foods cookbook.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trying to Crochet a Tube Scarf!

The kids and the husband were all gone for part of last weekend, so I actually got a little me time…I read a little, watched a lot of Cary Grant movies, and started crocheting a scarf.

Have you seen the new Leisure Arts Tube Scarves book by Barbara Shaffer? I think I like it! (It’s from our Little Book series, so it fits right down in the gallon zip bag that I like to store my WIPS in.) All five of the scarves in the book are made with light weight yarn (so I picked mocha Lion Brand Micro Spun) and are at the intermediate skill level. Until I actually got started, I was a little intimidated because I’ve never crocheted with yarn in the round before, I’ve never worked with Micro Spun before (but it feels yummy), and usually my crocheting skills are rank beginner…

Here’s the scarf project I chose, Wrapsody in Blue (except mine’s going to be mocha).

Since I seem to be math-impaired (can’t count sometimes…), I goofed making the initial chain and ring, but once I got that right, this scarf just started flying along in a pattern of double crochets and front/back post double crochets. Amazingly enough, I’ve discovered that I like crocheting in the round on this scale and with the Micro Spun (you just have to be careful not to split the yarn) and, evidently, my skills will extend to this intermediate scarf pattern. I’m feeling a little proud!

Take a look at the other patterns in Tube Scarves:

Cloud White

Rose Garden

Pastel Pleaser

Blushing Beauty

Wanna try your hand at something different? Try tube scarves, and I’ll try to keep you updated on my progress.




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