Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Love You

June 2007

Today would have been Dave's and my 19th wedding anniversary. I look back on wedding pictures and can't believe how young we were when we got married! But I wouldn't have had it any other way. We had fourteen beautiful years together, and I don't regret a single day with him. We were very happy together and so much in love. I hope when I see again in Heaven he will be proud of how the boys and I continued to live, laugh and love. We carry his love and legacy with us, even when we blended our family with Jim and his girls. He may not be here physically but he is always in our hearts.

This photo captures memories of a fun day! We were both in my brother's wedding and their photographer, who had also photographed our wedding, took this picture of the three of us.

Jess shared this photo with me after Dave passed away. I love our smiles, but Caleb, who was four months old, had no interest in looking at the camera - he was too busy watching all the dancing going on in the next room!

Scrapbooking Tip:

I wanted a layout to focus on just this picture, and I took the color from the bridesmaid dress as a starting point for my color palette. I had just gotten some patterned paper from The Stamps of Life and loved how it complemented the turquoise in the pictures. I took various sizes of circle punches and created a pile of circles. 

I then drew a heart on the page and starting pasting circles onto the page to fill in the shape. It took some trial and error to get the look I wanted, but I was very happy with the result.

What I probably would have done differently is ink the edges of the circles. I typically ink any paper I adhere to my layout, but I'll be honest, the pile of circles I needed for this layout was a little intimidating, and I didn't want to take the time. If I ever do this type of layout again, I'll definitely take the time.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Count Your Blessings Note Card

This was a simple fall/Thanksgiving card. I used pattern paper from The Stamps of Life along with their cranberry colored cardstock. To get the fun edge, I used edgelits dies. This card came together so quickly and I like its simplicity.

Check out The Stamps of Life Edgelits dies here: Sizzix Edgelits Brackets, Bevels & Lace

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Nothing is better than jumping into a big pile of leaves! We were at Nana's & Papa's and we were headed home. As we were walking towards the van, Zach made a beeline for the leaves. Caleb was looking longingly at the pile and I knew that it was more important to capture the moment. When Caleb asked to go in the leaves, I plunked him down in the pile.

Being able to jump into a pile of leaves was something I took for granted until I had a child with a disability. Little everyday moments are not possible for Caleb unless someone makes it happen for him. I'm so glad I took the time to let the boys play rather than rush to the next thing on my to-do list.

Scrapbooking Tips:

I made this layout based on a sketch from Scrapbook Generation. I discovered Scrapbook Generation through Allison Davis. Allison was featured many times in Creating Keepsakes Magazine and I was always drawn to her bright, clean layouts. 

When I was at a Creating Keepsake Convention, I was sitting next to a woman who introduced me to Allison Davis' blog and the store Allison, her mother, sister and aunt ran - Scrapbook Generation. I found that I could purchase sketch books and read her blog full of scrapbooking inspiration! I have learned so much from following her on Pinterest, Facebook and her blogs.

One technique I learned from her was to decorate your journaling block like I did here. By adding a strip of paper and a button, my journaling block becomes a page embellishment!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

All Time Favorite Fall Card!

I made this fall note card using paper scraps and the new leaf dies from The Stamps of Life. I had a left over gingham bow from one of my card kits and added it as a final touch. This was so simple and I love the bright, colorful fall wreath!

To purchase these amazing leaf dies, you can check them out here: Leaf Dies

Monday, October 8, 2018

Little Boys Love Tractors

The boys loved to sit on my parents riding lawn mower - even though it was perfectly still and made no noise. I loved the smiles and thought these photos deserved their own layout.

I had these beautiful sheets of pattern paper from SEI and used it as my background paper. In hindsight, I probably would have picked more youthful looking paper, but this was before I had really built up my "stash". 

Scrapbooking Tips:

I took my design inspiration from Becky Higgins. I really liked her clean look. She does not use many embellishments and I thought this paper was so busy it really didn't need much. I did use circle punches to add some circular elements to my pages - like I had seen on a Becky Higgins layout.

I even added the journaling in circle! Again, if I did this over, I would have hand wrote my journaling.

I like the look of photo corners, but sometimes adding them to every corner can make the photo seem "heavy". Here I added photo corners to the left side of the left photo and the right corners of the right photo. You still have some visual balance and it creates a photo group.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Pumpkin Carving 2009

Have I mentioned that I love the fall and all the activities it brings? Here is Pumpkin Carving 2009 where Logan and Zach were so little they had to be in high chairs! I had so much fun making this page. This layout is unusual because it is totally my design - I didn't scrap lift anything! I had a lot of photos I wanted to include so I trimmed the pictures and laid them out in a grid design. I had adorable pumpkin carving and jack o'lantern stickers from Jolee's Boutique that had been in my stash and I designed my layout around them. 

If I could change anything, I would hand write the journaling. Since Dave died, whenever I find a scrap of paper with his handwriting I save it. I now write out my journaling, even though I don't like my handwriting. 

Scrapbooking Tips:

Don't be afraid to cut through your photos! I laid out my photos in a way where the overlapped both pages. I make sure that I don't have any faces where I need to cut my photos. I adhered them down on one piece of cardstock and then carefully lined up the page on my paper trimmer and cut through the pictures. I carefully adhered the loose half of the photos on the other page, making sure to line them up. When the pages go in page protectors, the photos can be seamless.

I LOVED these stickers! They were absolutely perfect for this layout. I like the brand Jolee's Boutique even though they can be pricey. I wait until they go on sale at Hobby Lobby then get the stickers I've been eyeing.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Fun Fall Cards

This was a fun card to make. I used supplies from The Stamps of Life including the stamps, pattern papers and dies. This is a fun flip-it card designed by Stephanie Barnard. Watch what happens when you open it up . . . 

. . . there's more room to decorate! The right flap also folds open giving you lots of room to write a note!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin carving has got to be one of my favorite fall activities! Before the boys started school we made this an annual event with their cousins, Logan and Chase . . . and we have the pictures to prove it.

Here is Pumpkin Carving 2010. We were at Nana and Papa's house so grandkids were allowed on the table - LOL. It was nice because my mom took pictures so I actually got to be in the photos this year. I wanted to include many pictures because the boys were too cute and having so much fun. 

Scrapbooking Tip:
I used a sketch from Scrapbook Generation to create these pages and they suggested using scraps of paper to create a border. I loved the look so much I used the same technique again on another layout of the boys! I didn't really change anything but the color scheme. I even kept the photo sizes the same, and the title and journaling are in the same place. 

This design is a great way to use up all those scraps in your paper stash! 

Since creating these layouts, I'm no longer intimidated by using the same inspiration for various pages in my scrapbooks. Most times I'll change up the embellishments, reverse the photo orientation, or keep it pretty much identical. If I scraplift myself and keep it similar I'll just try not to put both layouts in the same album.

Why reinvent the wheel when you have a look you like?

To check out Scrapbook Generation's multiple sketch books - my go to place for inspiration - visit their online store here: Scrapbook Generation

It's October . . . Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I love October - it's my favorite month of the year! I love the fall and changing leaves. But October is also known for Breast Cancer Awareness. 

The Stamps of Life supported breast cancer research a couple years ago when they released the stamp set and coordinating dies called ribbon4cure. I bought it to support them but did not use it until recently. While I've had loved ones that have battled cancer, I've never known anyone who has battled breast cancer until now. One of Caleb's previous teachers was recently diagnosed. Caleb and I put together a chemo care package and I made this card. The inside reads, "Fight like a Girl! We're praying for you." 

You can check out this awesome stamp set here: ribbon4cure

Monday, October 1, 2018

Caleb & Zachary

My Favorite Boys in 2009

I take so many photos of each event that there is no way that I can fit them on an entire layout, or even two or three layouts! Especially when the pictures are fall or autumn themed! I had two, in my opinion, adorable pictures of the boys I wanted to highlight. So I enlarged them to 5x7's and gave them their own layout.

Although I made this layout a couple years ago and my style has definitely evolved over the years, there are some aspects of the page I really like:

  • I gave my favorite photos prominent positions on the page. To give the two page spread balance I raised the placement of Caleb’s photo while lowering the placement of Zach.
  • I stretched the main brown background piece across both pages to give them continuity. The colored bordered strips I staggered and overlapped to add visual interest.
  • I attached photo corners to opposite corners of the photos, again to add balance.
  • I placed the picture of Caleb on the left because he was looking to the right. And I placed Zach's picture on the right because he was looking to the left. Where you're photo subject is looking will actually draw your eyes to that area, and in this case it is the two smaller photos in the center of the page. If I had reversed the photo placement it would draw your eyes off the edge of the layout.

My favorite element of this page is the paper flowers I "doctored". The cream colored flowers looked a little too stark against the darker backdrop. So I took a small clear acrylic stamp and stamped in the center of the flower!  I think adding the brown ink to flowers gave the embellishments an aged / antique look that fit the page's color scheme. It helped “tone down” the flowers. I hesitate to use flowers on pages having to do with boys. Sometimes they just look girly, but the brown centers helped "man up" the paper blossoms. What supplies do you have that you can "doctor"?

Happy Scrapping!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Zach's First Apple Picking

My goal for this layout was to find a way to showcase multiple photos. I found a sketch from Scrapbook Generation that allowed me to scrap 9 photos but not sacrifice on the design of the page.

For the colorful strips I used the same pattern paper I used on the Bopple Picking layout to keep continuity in my albums. (Because I have learned that it is impossible for me to do just one layout on an any given event!)

Scrapbooking Tips:

You can see creases on these pages and can tell this layout has not held up well – and I’ll tell you why. The background paper I used was inexpensive and wrinkled the very first time I slipped it into a page protector.

One very valuable lesson I have learned is not to use inexpensive card stock or pattern paper for your background. One technique I use a lot in scrapbooking is to mark my pages with faint pencil lines to help me place things straight on my page, or I might write something in pencil and go back and trace over it. Cheaper paper or card stock does not hold up well if you use erasers!

Now I exclusively use Bazzill cardstock. It’s more expensive than regular cardstock, running about a $1/sheet, but worth every single penny! I will stock up on colored Bazzill cardstock when it goes on sale for 2/$1 at Michael’s Arts & Crafts. I also buy black, white, and kraft colored 12x12 sheets in packs of 25 from Scrapbook.com. I can confidently say, I won’t go back to discount paper – it’s just not worth it. If I’m going to put my time and effort into a layout I want it to last and that means using quality card stock and adhesive!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Apple Cards - Part II

I had so much fun making this shaker card! A shaker card is where you add glitter, sequins, confetti, beads, etc in between two layers. When you shake the card the pieces all slide around crating a fun and pretty effect!

I could painstakingly write out step by step instructions on how to create a shaker card, but I decided to add a link to a Youtube video I used to learn this technique. It's taught by Stephanie Barnard from the Stamps of Life. 

Happy Stamping!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Apple Cards - Part 1

Not only do I love fall scrapbooking, but I like making fall themed notecards! The Stamps of Life have an adorable apple2stamp and patterns4apples clear stamp sets, along with the coordinating dies. I have used this set to make many cards and scrapbook embellishments. 

Here is a simple notecard. I used scraps in my stash, and stamped the apple to mimic the apple on the pattern paper. 

Tune in for more apple cards in the coming weeks!

Bopple Picking

This layout captures Caleb’s second trip to the apple orchard. He was 20 months old and we had just found out that something was medically wrong with him, but we were months away from a diagnosis. Even though our hearts were heavy we kept on with tradition – after all it would be Zach’s first trip to the orchard.

"Peek-a-Boo, Mommy!"

Photo Tip:
Caleb thought it was so funny when Dave would lift him up to pick an apple and he would see me through the leaves. Dave would say, "Peek a Boo" and Caleb would belly laugh. I got the camera ready and when Dave lifted him up, I snapped this picture between the branches. As you take pictures ask yourself is there a new and funny way you could frame or pose your picture? You might just love the results!

Scrapbooking Tips:
Other than the adorable photos, there are two things I particularly love about this layout. The first is the apple tree. I hand drew a tree trunk and cut it out and adhered it to my page. I used a scalloped circle punch and created leaves. To make my apples I used red apples threaded with green embroidery floss. 

The second element I love from this page is the title “Bopple Picking”. Bopple was how Caleb said apple. I'll often use these words in my titles and journaling as a way to remember all the cute little things the boys said.

This was a fun page to put together. It held fun memories and I really enjoyed trying to figure out how to make the perfect apple tree!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Apple Picking

I love autumn – hands down it is my favorite time of the year! One fall tradition that I used to do every year was to go apple picking at Bowman Orchards. Dave and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary with a trip to the orchard and day dreamed about one day bringing our kids there.

After Dave died it was just too painful to go for a couple of years. I couldn’t bring myself to take the boys without their Dad. Caleb went in 2014 with Grammy and Grampy while I was working one day and Zach was in preschool. I was happy that he enjoyed the day but knew that I wasn’t ready.

Thankfully my heart continued to heal and I am happy to say we are now apple picking again every year! In honor of this season and a reminder that there is time for everything, I’ll be showing various apple picking layouts from over the years.

This was apple picking 2009. Dave’s grandmother and aunt were spending a few days with Grammy and Grampy and we decided to go together. (At that time there were only three Cunniff grandkids – we’ve grown a little since then!)

Scrapbooking Tips:

I wanted to use larger and busier photos so I kept the background simple. I cut a 3 or 4 inch strip from a page of apple pattern paper and layered a photo on top. I kept the title in a neutral color so it did not compete with the colors from the pictures. I cut pictures down to a 3x4 size to create a grid design on the right page.

The colors were so rich on the pattern paper that any apple stickers I had were way too bright. So I improvised. I fussy cut apples out of the pattern paper scraps. That way my embellishments were a perfect match! I overlapped them and adhered a couple with a pop dot to give it dimension.

Photo Tips:

I loved the look of the deep red apples on the trees with the vibrant green leaves so I snapped a few scenic shots. When I was putting together the photo grid I included just an apple shot.
I also zoomed in on the picture of my sweet niece Olivia trying to chow down on an apple. Cropping the photo down to a 3x4 size really draws your eye to her sweet little baby fingers!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Mickey, Minnie & Goofy

This layout records the special photo op the boys had with Mickey, Minnie & Goofy - all together! I ordered one 8x10 photo, and then used 6X4 photos that I trimmed down. I loved how Caleb was playing with the button on Mickey's shorts. 

This was busy page, but it still looked empty without a border. I had a very bright colorful sheet of Disney character pattern paper. I knew that I would never use it "as is" because it is just not my style. As I was going through my stash of Disney stickers and embellishments, nothing was the right size for a border - either too big or little. When I saw the pattern paper I decided to trim it down and cut out pictures of Mickey, Minnie & Goofy. I adhered them with adhesive foam and then overlapped them to add a little texture and dimension.

Because I had already done layouts with the individual characters, and this layout will follow those in the vacation album, I didn't feel the need to add a title or journaling.

I will admit this layout is a little busier than I traditionally make, but it's a Disney layout so I thought I could get away with it! 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Bright & Cheery Thank You Card

This is was a fun card to make! I created my own background paper by blending ink in my favorite color combinations onto white card stock. The "Thanks So Much" stamp also came from The Stamps of Life. I cut out two rectangles using scalloped rectangle dies from The Stamps of Life, and then adhered them to a card base. Quick, easy and eye catching!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Meeting Minnie Mouse

In addition to meeting Mickey and Goofy, the boys met Minnie Mouse. It was cute to watch because while Mickey and Goofy hi-fived the boys and patted their shoulders, Minnie gave lots of hugs and kisses. They weren't quite sure what to make of it. Zach eyeballed me as if to say, "This giant mouse is kissing me - do something!"

Scrapbooking Tips:
Like the Mickey and Goofy pages, I stretched myself to make my own embellishments. I used similar busy pattern paper from Scrap Your Trip and I added more photos to this page, so I had to be creative and minimal adding anything else. While I love pages where I can include many photos, it’s always a juggling act making sure you leave enough white space on the page for your eye to rest.

Unlike the Mickey and Goofy layouts, I couldn’t use the Minnie Mouse stickers I had because they simply overpowered the page. I need something physically smaller. I had felt Mickey heads that I had purchased probably four years earlier. But they were  Mickey not Minnie. So I took ribbon scraps and painstakingly tied three tiny bows and adhered them with mini Glue Dots to turn them into little Minnie’s.

To Journal or Not to Journal?

I find with most Disney pages I can get away without having to add journaling. The layouts are in the vacation albums so I know the date, and unless something exceptional or cute happened, like getting an autographed Darth Vader lightsaber, I tend to leave off any journaling. It greatly spends up the process when I’m trying to get albums done.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Cards from Scraps

I absolutely LOVE finding new ways to use up my scrap stash! I had strips of pattern paper left over from other cards I had made and they didn't even need to be trimmed. I added some stamped sentiments and some embellishments and created three generic note cards in less than ten minutes! How do you use your scrap stash?

Meeting Mickey & Goofy

If you’ve been to Epcot Center in Disney World  you’ll probably recognize the photos in these layouts. It’s the character meet and greet with Mickey, Minnie & Goofy! Because we were there as guests of Give Kids the World Village, Caleb had the magical Genie Pass and that means Disney staff took notice and went above and beyond to give Caleb a magical vacation. This photo shoot was no exception because even though the characters were in individual locations, the photographers brought Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy’s location so the boys and I could get a group shot in addition to the individual character shots.

Scrapbooking Tips:

In my vacation albums I really strive for a consistent look and I ordered paper and embellishments from Scrap Your Trip. Then I went to my favorite spot for inspiration – Scrapbook Generation Sketches. I found a sketch that would work with both layouts and made mirror image pages. If you notice they are very similar but reversed. I had to play around with the photo placement because I did not have the same number of vertical / horizontal photos with each character – but in the words of Tim Gunn from Project Runway, I “Made it work!”

Because the background paper was so busy, I custom made embellishments that would break up the pattern. I had clear character stickers but if I placed them on the solid color background they disappeared. My solution was to stick them on white card stock then carefully cut around the sticker.

Then, using my dotted tag dies from The Stamps of Life, I die cut three large tags out of solid cardstock. I adhered the character stickers with foam adhesive and added complementary ribbon left over from one of my Stamps of Life card kits.

Although these pages are a little busier than I usually make, I like the finished product. I also liked the challenge of having to make my own embellishments out of my stash . . . .. I’m planning on doing that more often!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Daddy's iPod

I love these pictures of Zach listening to Dave’s iPhone while waiting for the bus. Whenever Dave was wearing his ear buds the boys always wanted to listen too! Even though Dave was using his iPhone Caleb continued to call it Daddy’s iPod when listening to music – so I kept the title "Daddy’s iPod" to remember the cute things the boys used to say. It’s these everyday moments I would forget if I didn’t scrapbook them.

Scrapbooking Tips:

When I saw the So Rad paper collection from Simple Stories I fell in love! I knew the color palette would work with so many of the photos I had taken of the boys. And when I saw the iPhone and headphone stickers I knew it was perfect for this page!

I also mixed two different types of letter stickers for the title. I loved the look and the tiny letter stickers added the turquoise color to balance out the journaling block in the opposite corner.

I don't like that many sticker sheets do not have apostrophe stickers. Sometimes I will cut apart an "x" or "k" to make an apostrophe but it didn't work with the square letter stickers, so ever the English major, I added it by hand!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Birthday Cards

I absolutely loved the Birthday Wishes card kit from The Stamps of Life! It was full of bright primary colors and included the circle Birthday Wishes die. I made these birthday cards:

I love the look of a simple card - not to mention it doesn't take too much time to put together. I also like the rainbow color pallette. It works for boys, girls. kids and adults!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Darth Vader's Lightsabers

These are a couple of layouts from our Baking Memories 4 Kids Disney trip - and what an amazing
experience they capture! Caleb LOVES all things Star Wars and he had an fantastic time doing Jedi Training, after which we headed over to the Star Tours Ride. While we were waiting in line we saw Darth Vader posing for pictures and the boys went to get in that line, but we were  told that this photo op was for kids who were not able to do Jedi Training. Even though the boys were disappointed, they didn't say a word and kept going toward the entrance to the ride.

About two minutes later we heard someone calling, "Caleb! Caleb!" We turned to see a Disney employee looking for Caleb. We were shocked when we he said, "Darth Vader would like to meet you," Caleb took off following the employee. Darth and his stormtroopers were waiting for him and Darth handed Caleb his lightsaber! At first Caleb thought it was just to hold for the picture, but then Darth pointed to where he had autographed it and said Caleb could keep it. Caleb was ecstatic! 

Even three years later, that lightsaber still holds a special place in Caleb's heart. We don't take it out or pass it around too much, and Darth Vader's autograph is still legible. Caleb has already said that when he has a son (who will be named Luke), he will give him this special lightsaber.

Scrapbooking Tip:

I have many Star Wars stickers but no lightsaber stickers that were big enough or " just right" for these layouts.  I searched "lightsaber scrapbooking embellishments" and saw many versions of a paper pieced lightsaber. So I grabbed a pile of scraps, and through trial and error, and put together the hilt of the saber, using an enamel dot for the power button. I wanted the embellishments to be a focal point so I stretched the blade of the lightsaber across both pages.

To keep continuity between the two layouts I used the same lightsaber technique and the pattern paper. 

On an Unrelated Star Wars Note:

To write this blog entry I actually had to consult a Star Wars style guide! I didn't even know that it existed until I googled "Do you capitalize lightsaber?" You can find this invaluable resource on dailydot.com. The article title even made me smile, "Our 'Star Wars' style guide will help you avoid Wookie mistakes."

Monday, September 10, 2018

Spinraza Day

You may think it odd to see pictures of Caleb in the hospital on a layout with a celebratory feel, but this truly was an amazing day! When Caleb was diagnosed we were told, “No treatment, no cure,” but that is no longer true! On December 23, 2016, the FDA approved the very first SMA drug treatment, known as Spinraza. This drug goes into the spinal column through a lumbar puncture, and although he knew it was going to be an uncomfortable procedure, Caleb couldn’t wait to get the drug!

However, this was not an easy endeavor. Caleb went for his first dose which was scheduled at bedside. Caleb’s scoliosis complicated the procedure. After 90 minutes of attempting to get a needle to enter his spinal column with no success, the doctor sent the medicine back to the pharmacy, and we called it a day. I don’t think I have ever been as disappointed.

 Our next step was to wait for an appointment to do the spinal tap under fluoroscopy, which would mean that an x-ray would guide the needle. On our second attempt we all were holding our breath, but once the procedure got under way it only took 30 minutes before Caleb was being wheeled back to the recovery room! I got to go into the procedure room with him and when the doctor administered Spinraza I cried happy tears. I took that picture of him with a big smile to post on Facebook for everyone who had been praying and waiting for the good news.

I loved Caleb's smile right after his procedure! 

Since Caleb started getting Spinraza we’ve noticed many positive changes. His voice and breath control are stronger. His hands are stronger and he can do more with them before they fatigue. His handwriting is darker and he is able to move his legs a little more. We even took a video of him leaning forward in his wheel chair to pick something up and sit back up! So for all of these reasons, I wanted this page to capture the joy we were feeling as a family.

Scrapbooking Tip:

I used Simple Stories’ Let’s Party paper collection. I liked the bright colors and the banner and streamer stickers.

Once again, I love banner stickers! I overlapped them in the upper left corner. I placed them there because there was so much going on in the bottom right of the page. By having a small embellishment in the opposite corner, it helps balance the page. I added the top banner with dimensional adhesive to create the look of real banners. 

Love You

June 2007 Today would have been Dave's and my 19th wedding anniversary. I look back on wedding pictures and can't believe how...