Friday, April 26, 2013

{ 2/30 - ten pet peeves }

This week's 30 Things is...
Describe 10 pet peeves you have.

Oh, sometimes I feel like I could go on and on with pet peeves but I'll stick to the ones that really bug me.

1. When someone leaves less than a cup of something in a carton.
It drives me crazy when I open the refrigerator to get something to drink or pour milk and find out the carton in practically empty.  Thanks a lot.

2. People who don't follow the flow of traffic in the school parking lot.
Our school did a wonderful job restructuring the parking lot this year so there is plenty of space to wait in your car and for other cars to go around you.  But there's always that one car that double parks so NO ONE can get around.  

3. Drivers who don't use their blinkers.
Pretty self explanatory.  I think our county has more than its fair share though.

4. The heavy mechanical noises in some music lately.
I like pop music and a lot of contemporary music but I can't stand the heavily processed music all over my radio lately.  I'm looking at you Demi Lovato.

5. Shoppers who park their cart on one side of the aisle and then look for something on the other side of it.
Does this happen to you?  The Meijer's I shop at has pretty big aisles so it really shouldn't be the issue that it is.  Why take up on side with your cart and then stand in the open space?

6. When I find dirty clothes laying around after I've already done laundry.
My oldest is so guilty of this right now that I had to actually make it a chore that she has to check off at night from her list.  And to my husband- if you try to make a free throw of  your socks (and anything else) at the laundry hamper and miss...well, please pick it up and go for a layup.

7. The absolutely awful commercial that are on tv.
I can't believe some of the awful commercials on lately.  Some are so sexist that it makes me cringe or just so awkward that I can't believe the company actually paid someone to come up with it.

8. Chewing with your mouth open.
I don't really have to explain that do I?  It is kinda cute though when my little man does it though because of the face he makes.  Hopefully, he'll grow out of it?

9. Seeing children out in winter with no shoes, no hat while the parents are bundled up within a inch of their life.
I don't like being cold and I always dress my kids up or send them with more than they need.  You don't need your hat?  That's okay but at least you have it.  I hate seeing little babies with no shoes on in winter time or just pj's at the the store.  It's 20' out people!

10. Having the television up too loud.
I don't mind noise.  I like hearing kids run around and play.  I even like loud music.  But a loud television sounds like sitting next to the speaker at a rock concert to me.  I wish there was a way to lock the volume control.  

Most of these are really no big deal in the grand scheme of things and may seem eye-roll worthy to some but it's another part of what makes me, me.  Some days they can really bother me and others I can let it go. Except the blinker thing.  I really can't stand that.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

{ strangest book you've read }

I admit a first that this week's book chat topic from Jessica and her co-host Stacey had me a little stumped at first.  When I thought about the strangest book I've ever read many different books came to mind.  I also debated on what strange meant to me.

The definition of strange is something unusual or surprising and something not previously or encountered.  Most of the time strange has a negative feeling attached to it as well.  We don't usually like "strange".  So for this week's book chat I decided to take a positive look at "strange" and go with a book that left feeling strange but in a good way.

I don't often read outside of my comfort book zone so when The Night Circus was chosen for the Literary Junkies book of the month a few months ago I had never heard of it.  Like most people, I made my first judgement of it by the cover.  The cover was pure black with dashes of white and red thrown in.  It made me think of a psychedelic Alice in Wonderland at first.  It looked haunting and dark but with the promise of something bold.

I was absolutely freaked out.

It looked so far out of my comfort zone that it took me most of the month to even pick it up and open to the first page.  And I'm so glad that I did.  The Night Circus is a strange book but in the absolute best of ways.

Erin Morganstern is a beautiful writer.  Everything was described in such  fantastical imaginings but so easily accessible. When I was reading The Night Circus I felt like I could see the what was in the tents and smell the carmel in the air.  The writing drifted through different points of view and each brought more of the circus to life and you were able to see what what going on.  But at the same time felt like you were only being given part of the puzzle and you had to keep reading to see more.

I had never read a book with such imagery and it was unnerving to me at times.  It wasn't the safe and happy books I typically read but it worked its way into my head and I couldn't put it down.

My original copy was from the library but the book is so beautiful that I went out and bought my own as well.  The pages have elegant black and white flourished with tent striped endpapers and the section breaks have a quote on one side and images of constellations in the night sky on the other.

The Night Circus is strange but I learned that some strange is a good thing.  I've feared the strange in books for a long time and reading Erin Morganstern's writing made me realize that stepping out of that comfort zone can be rewarding.  I would have missed a wonderful book if I let my feelings of "strange" stop me.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

{ life-n-reflection - quick pages and storyboards }

I am thrilled to bring you my favorites this month from Life-n-Reflection. They are right up my scrapbooking and blog alleys.

{ Spring Day Quick Page }

Sometimes when I'm scrapbooking I get stumped. I have wonderful pictures on my screen but I don't know what to do with them or worse, I'm in a hurry. Quick pages are the answer to both of dilemmas.

What are quick pages? They are already put together scrapbook layouts where all I have to do is pop my pictures in and I'm done. The Spring Day Quick Page is the perfect mix of whimsical and summer love. The set includes files and examples of the following:
- 1 PSD Quick Page 8"x 10" 300dpi
- 1 PSD Blog Boards 800 x 1000 pixels

Below is how I used the Quick Page for some of favorite shots of last summer.

If you want to tryout Quick Pages and Blog Boards, try the Maisy Quick Page for free. Oh, yes, FREE! It has the same features as the Spring Day...
Set includes files and examples of the following:
- 1 PSD Quick Page 8"x 10" 300dpi
- 1 PSD Blog Boards 800 x 1000 pixels

Here I used the Blog Board to show off some of my favorite backyard flowers from last year.
And for those who need a little Photoshop help, check out the video from Life-n-Reflection below.

Monday, April 22, 2013

{ project life printables - bingo cards & what's new in the shop }

{ d o w n l o a d   h e r e }

I've been working with some new ideas lately and one of my favorite styles lately have been Bingo Cards.  They have been very trendy for the last few years and I am a huge fan of them. I've created these Spring style Bingo cards for this week's printable.  

You can download individual png files and a printable jpeg sheet here.  

You can now find Pretty Little Prints on etsy and in addition to storevny.  

I'll be busy adding inventory to etsy over the next few days but I have a few new designs already in stock.  

{Cocoa Love Journal Cards}

{Vintage Paper Vol.1 Cards}

In celebration of my etsy opening, I am also offering 20% off with the special blog only code below.


Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 19, 2013

{ 2/30 things - real fears }

This week's 30 Things is...

Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.

1.  Something happening to my children.
This is my number one fear.  Sometimes I just want to wrap my children up and keep them home forever.  When horrible events like the ones of this past week happen it just adds another layer to it.  And it doesn't matter if it's their feelings either.  My daughter is just like me when I was her age and she takes everything to heart.  We've dealt with our fair share of hurt feelings this year and it's hard as her mom to not just "fix" it for her.  I know that deep down I can't protect them from everything but that doesn't mean I don't want to try.

2.  Absolutely anything to do with snakes.
I almost had a full blown panic attack a few weeks ago when my husband called to tell me that he was getting a snake from a friend.  I freaked out to the point where I was physically ill.  It's a probably a irrational fear as well because I've never been around actual snake for any amount of time.  I've never had one run across my feet in the garden (my neighbor did though) or even touched one.  My earliest memory of the fear is when I was in elementary school and for some reason there was presentation in our classroom about animals and the speaker actually put the snake on the floor and let it crawl around the desks.  I couldn't even walk on that part of the floor for days with out it creeping me out.  If I would have been in Harry Potter's shoes we would have lost the battle as soon as that huge snake started crawling across the ground.
English: Amelanistic Stripe Corn Snake
 The snake in question... Corn Snake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3.  Making a bad decision.  
Not a bad decision like "those pants do not match that shirt", but those decisions that have ramifications that can have consequences for perhaps years to come.  Actually, I even have problems with the decisions that are even on the smaller side.  "Is this the right punishment?", "What kind of tv should we buy?" and "Is he the best dentist?" are just some things that I've had to think about lately.  Once I make the decision I stand behind it but I'll still second guess myself in my head for a long time.  

What are your fears?

To find out more about my 30 Things start here...

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

{ coffee table books }

This week's with Sweet Green Tangerine talks about coffee table books.  I don't know about you, but when I was younger I thought coffee table books were sooo boring.  We didn't even have a coffee table so why on Earth did we have to have coffee table books?  But when I was old enough for my first apartment one of the first things I bought was a coffee table book of National Geographic photographs from a thrift store because I thought it made me look more grown-up.  Go figure.  

Since my early days as a broke college kid I've come a long way in my tastes in coffee table books.  I also have a small confession to make.  While my day-to-day style is just jeans and a nice (and not stained) shirt, I have a secret love for fashion books.

I've never owned Louis Vuitton, Dior or Jimmy Choo (and probably never will) but I love all of their styles and colors.  I love looking at fashion through the years and memorable moments in fashion.

My real love though... is Audrey Hepburn.  I've loved Audrey Hepburn since I was 12 years-old and saw Breakfast at Tiffany's for the very first time.  My pre-teen mind thought she was so pretty and so sophisticated.

I've amassed quite a collection of Audrey Hepburn books over the years and while I don't have a coffee table, they do sit on a shelf in my room where little fingers can't touch them.  There isn't many things that I put up and away from my children, but my Audrey books are be at the top of that list.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

{ best earth day books for children }

Earth Day is this coming Monday and my children's school has been planning activities for awhile.  Our school has been recognized as a "Green School" for a few years now and the kids take great pride in their efforts.  Part of the Earth Day events in my kindergartner's classroom will be planting a tree, recycling bottles and a reading center.

I've complied a list of some of the books that we will be reading will be in class and at home that are centered on Earth Day specifically and others are about the Earth in general.  Does your school celebrate Earth Day?  Do you do anything special at home?

You can learn more about Earth Day here and Tip Junkie has so many great ideas and even recipes that center around children here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

{ literary junkies - april }

This month's Literary Junkies read the book The Paris Wife.  I just finished it this morning and it sucked me in right away. Even though it is a fictional account of the marriage of Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson, it doesn't feel that way.  Paula McLain does a wonderful job bringing their marriage to life and showing Paris in the roaring 20s.  It's not the typical chick-lit book and even though I already knew the ending, it was still so sad to read.

And instead of a few questions this month, we have a list of either/or questions.  I LOVE these kind of questions...

Amazon or brick and mortar? Amazon.  My closest brick and mortar is almost an hour away.
Locally owned bookshop or big name chain store?  I prefer locally owned bookstores but the last local one closed up a few years ago.
Bookmark or dog-ear? Bookmark.  We can't be friends if you dog-ear my book.
Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?  Alphabetize for sure.  And sorted by height.  I'm kinda crazy that way.
Keep, throw away, or sell?  Keep.  I usually give a book away to someone that would appreciate it though when I'm for sure finished.
Keep dust jacket or toss it?  Keep.  Some of them are so pretty.
Read with dust jacket or remove it?  I do remove it when I'm reading though.  I don't want to rip it.
Short story or novel?  Depends on my mood but mostly novels.
Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?  Anthology.  I like the diversity and story changes.
Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?  Chapter breaks!  I have to get to the end.
“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?  "Once upon a time".  I'd flounce a book if it started with "It was a dark and stormy night."
Buy or borrow? Both.  The library is my best friend.
New or used?  I prefer new but some used books are in excellent condition as well.
Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?  All three.  Some books I buy automatically but if it's a new author I check it out before I commit.
Tidy ending or cliffhanger?  Tidy ending!  Unless it's a series then it's sorta okay.  I hate waiting for the next book though so tidy is better.
Morning, afternoon or nighttime reading?  Whenever I can fit it in.  Usually nighttime though after the kids are in bed.
Single volume or series?  Series.  I love getting to know characters and seeing them again.
Favorite series?  In Death Series by J.D. Robb.  I love Eve and Roarke.
Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?  I love A Political Affair by Mary Whitney.  It's a great romance set in big time Washington politics.

What would your answers be?

Monday, April 15, 2013

{ welcome to pretty little prints and more free printables }

I have a wonderful announcement to make.  I am so excited to tell you that I have now opened a shop for all of my digital items called ...

You can find all of my previous designs there are well as some new ones below.

{ Typewriter Days of the Week Cards }

{ Punctuation Journal Cards }

{ Chalkboard Calendar Journal Cards }
In honor of my new opening I am including having a 20% off sale on all items in the store with code...


I'll still be making weekly freebies and this week's free printable is a collection of vintage baby birth certificates.  Each image is roughly 8x10 in size and adjustable.  You can download them here.  
{ d o w n l o a d  h e r e }
I'm really excited about this venture and I welcome requests and custom pieces as well.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

{ 1/30 things - 20 things about me }

I'm beginning my list of 30 things things this week (see this post) and the first topic up is 20 things about me.  Just 20 random things about me...

1. I have my very own set of crayons and colorbook's that I keep separate from the kids. I love to color but I'm so picky about wearing down the tips of crayons.
2.  I've only ever owned 4 cars in life.  I drive them until they fall apart it seems.  My very first car was an old Cavalier that my Grandpa bought when I was 16 and I the first car I bought myself was a 92 Explorer when I graduated high school.  I drive another Explorer right now too.  In the middle was a minivan but I don't like remembering that.  It was the most insane vehicle ever.  That's all. 
3. Peanut Butter Cups are my favorite treat ever. I always have an emergency Reese's peanut butter cup in my purse. I learned the hard way not to leave them in my car. Especially in the summer.
4.  Red is my favorite color. I love red cups, red shirts and red shoes but I'll never paint my nails red.

5.  I would rather read a book than watch tv. Unless it's a show about a book. Then it's ok.

6.  I love cats. I love curling up with on the couch with my cat Charlotte.

7.  Laundry is my least favorite thing to do. I will wash and sort all day long but I dread the folding and putting away part. I try to keep up with it now but before I had kids, my laundry basket was practically my dresser.

8.  I can't eat a hamburger unless it has mustard on it. I love lots and lots of mustard. And I'll put it on almost anything too.

9.  I've been to Mackinaw City more than 20 times in my life. It's my favorite place to vacation. My grandparents used to take me every year when I was younger and I've been a few times since I've "grown up" but not as much as I'd like. I love seeing how the city has changed over the years but it still the same.

10.  I can wander through the woods for hours taking pictures. We have a small wooded area behind our house and my father-in-law has 40 acres of just woods. Except I don't go out at night. I'm also scared of the dark.

11.  Baseball is my favorite sport and the Detroit Tigers are my favorite team. Who's your Tiger?

12.  The Backstreet Boys were the very first concert I ever went too. And I was 18. That's all I want to say about that.

13.  I've used only Neutrogena face products since I was 12 years-old because that was what my best friend's older sister used. I've graduated creams as I've gotten older but it's the one brand I am extremely loyal to.

14.  I love anything with polka dots. My purse is polka dots, my iPad case is ploka dots, my phone case is polka dots. It's a compulsion.

15.  I collect old and new Coke bottles. My husband works outdoors and I love when he brings home old bottles that he finds while he's working. And not cans- just bottles.

16.  I've visited almost every lighthouse in Michigan. Well, in the lower Peninsula at least. I love old lighthouses.

17.  I want to write a children's book someday. I love making up stories to tell the kids at bedtime and I swear that I'm going to write them all down someday. 
18.  I love listening to the fan when I go to sleep.  It's such a relaxing sound to me.  Even in the winter.  And I like how it cancels out the tv from the living room at night if I go to bed first.   
19.  I can bake anything...except chocolate chip cookies. I have no idea why either.  I can bake cakes and cutout cookies but I've burnt or under baked almost every chocolate chip cookie I've ever tried to bake.  I just buy them now. 
20.  I still have my very first Cabbage Patch Doll.  I wanted one of these soooo bad when I was little.  She's been re-sewed many times and her hair is falling out but I love her still the same.

Next week... Three legitimate fears I have and how they became fears.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

{ celebrate by the porchlight's 1 year blogaversary giveaway }

Celebration's are a wonderful thing and Lesley from By the Porchlight is celebrating her one year blogaversary with a big giveaway that I am thrilled to be apart of!

I'm giving away a $20 credit to my new store Pretty Little Prints and there are so many other wonderful prizes up for grabs as well!  Good luck!

One very lucky winner will receive:
$45 Amazon
$15 Starbucks
$20 shop credit to Pretty Little Prints
Choice of item from ThreeInchStitch Etsy shop
$15 shop credit to Bamboo Blossom
1 hr We Talk: You Write session

{ - books set in europe }

In honor of Jessica's move to Germany this week the book chat is all about books set in Europe.  When I started to think of books I had read that were set in Europe I realized...that there wasn't any.  I've read lots of books set in Texas and Wyoming though.  I wonder why that is?

When I began searching for books that were set in Europe I had another realized that I have read books that were set in Europe.  I've read a lot of children's books set in Europe.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe | Charlie and the Chocolate Factory | The Borrowers | The Secret Garden | Pippi LongstockingMadeline 

It never dawned on me that a lot of children's classic books are set in Europe.  I remember reading Madeline for the first time in school wanting to visit Paris.  My friends and I would talk with fake, silly French accents and pretend we were drinking out of "fancy cups".  I also remember wishing that I didn't have anyone to tell me what to do like Pippi Longstocking.  At least until I realized that I'd have to do my own laundry.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Secret Garden, The Borrowers and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are all set in the United Kingdom.  Do you remember what's also set in England? 

Yes, the Harry Potter Series is set in London and I even included the European covers of the books as well. Do you "hear" yourself read in other accents when you know you are reading a book where the characters have one?  I know that I do and I'm hoping that someone shares the same quirk with me.  Because that's not weird, right?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

{ code red blog tour and review }

Title: Code Red
Author: Amy Noelle
Genre: Contemporary romance
Source: review copy from publisher  
Published: April 11, 2013
After getting hurt in college by a gorgeous man, Nicole Magette vowed never to risk losing her heart again. Now she lives a structured and satisfying life. Her work is easy, her friends are her family, and the only consistent men in her life are her two cats, Winchester and Huntington Peabody the Third. She doesn't date, and she hooks up only with losers—men she has absolutely no risk of falling for. But if she finds herself in danger, she has her old fail-safe in place—the Code Red.
In college, she and her four best friends came up with the system as a way to keep away the good-looking bastards that might worm their way past their carefully constructed walls. Seven years later, three of her friends have succumbed to their last Code Reds and are happily married. Now it’s just Nicole and her closest friend, Jen, who are still on their own, and Nic is just fine with that.
That is, until Joshua Daniels is transferred to Nicole’s office from New York and assigned to work with her on a special project. He's everything she's avoided and everything she claims she doesn't want, so why can’t she get him out of her mind? He's persistent, dangerously handsome, and sexy as sin. In other words, he’s her worst nightmare. She turns to her friends to help her resist Josh’s considerable charms and the inescapable draw she feels every time she gets near him. Can the Code Red save her this time, or will Josh send her perfectly balanced life into chaos?

I liked that Nicole was an independent woman.  She was happy with her life and comfortable with herself. And she had the best group of friends that I've read in a long time.  Their emails back and forth were hilarious and they didn't tell each other what they wanted to her, they told each other what they needed to hear.  The idea of the "Code Red" was pretty ingenious too.  I wish I would have thought of that in college. 

I absolutely loved Joshua Daniels ( I love saying his whole name).  I think I've fallen in love with a new book boyfriend.  He understood that Nic was a skittish woman and didn't push her before she was ready.  He had the patience of a saint at times. Joshua Daniels is the ultimate guy to take home to your parents and bonus- he was funny too.

Sometimes (like every chapter there in the middle) I wanted to thump Nic upside the head.  I sympathized with her broken heart from when she was in college but her practice of dating men she didn't really like or see a future with was a little off-putting.  And it did seem like that she was looking for any reason to drop Joshua Daniels before they had a chance to really get started.  

At least he didn't steal any hearts. Josh did. He's a thief, too. A cat burglar.
~ Nicole Magette

* find amy noelle here *


* buy code red here *


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