Disaster!

Hi friends!

I am writing to you from a friend's house.  Our power has been knocked out by a freak Connecticut snow storm, and it looks like at least several days to come before it comes back on.  It is a disaster here.  The trees in our yard are wrecked and we have a lot of cleanup to do.  I will post the winner from the DeMoss giveaway as soon as I get back, and I have another great one to post.  I'll try and catch up on all my favorite blogs as soon as I can too!

Don't forget about me!

Weekend Plans

We woke up to frost this morning, and light snow over the weekend is likely.  How did that happen already?  It was warm and humid into the beginning of October, and then suddenly, 40 degrees and cold.  We're just sliding right into winter.

Anyway, it got me thinking about what we'll do this weekend, since it's kind of miserable to go outside.  Friday nights have turned into movie-date-night, in which the hubs and I watch a movie that we got (free!) from the library once we've put Gus to bed.  It's sort of mandatory relaxation time for us and we're still plowing through our bedroom and bathroom reno.  I make popcorn (the real kind, from the kernels) and we sit in our newly remodeled basement (since the living room now houses the bedroom furniture) and enjoy the show.  On tap for tonight: Dinner for Schmucks, which we've both heard is very funny.  Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd- has to be somewhat good, right?

The hubs will be working on the bathroom tile, which has become a long on-going project.  I'm going to try and get some sewing done and get some new paper items listed, and hopefully we'll just have a nice relaxing weekend.

What's everyone got planned for their weekend?  Sack races anyone?

Pinterest: I Tried It (Apple Chips)


Welcome Pinners and friends!  If you've tried something from one of your pinboards this week and blogged about it, you can link up your post at the bottom of this one.  I really love to see what you come up with and how you interpret your pins.

I saw this one just the other day and wanted to try it out right away, and luckily, it's so simple, I didn't need to buy anything extra from the grocery store:


Apple Chips


How good do those look?  Just apples, cinnamon and sugar, and cooking spray.  The directions are super easy to follow; you just have to have two hours to hang out at home while they dry in the oven.




Verdict: Easy and tasty, but not entirely crispy.  I used a honeycrisp apple instead of a red delicious (those and pink ladies are my favorites), like the original author did, so maybe that had something to do with it.  I also do not have a mandolin in my repertoire of kitchen gadgets (but somehow did have an apple corer, which was a surprise to me) so I probably didn't get them as thin as they should be.  The ones that did turn out crispy were delicious.  The ones that weren't were also good- as evidenced by the fact that they were ready at dinnertime and had disappeared by shortly after dinnertime- but just didn't have that snap to them.  I would definitely make them again.  Maybe I'd turn the heat up just a little bit from 200 to 250 degrees and see what happens.  I really like that they didn't take much effort and they are a tasty snack.

So how about you?  How were your pinning experiments this week?  Link up below or leave a comment!  And remember- same time next week!  I had a lot of fun trying this one out and may stick to the sewing board for a little while.

Feel free to grab a button to add to your post to share this link-up with your readers!
life by the book
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I'm a Winner!

I don't know how it happened, but since late July or August I have won five different giveaways on five different blogs.  Really lucky?  I doubt it.  Right place at the right time?  Maybe.  Thrilled regardless?  Yup.

First came these chevron stripe note cards from Row House 14 (you remember Heidi), who did a giveaway over at The Blue-Eyed Owl.  This was a funny win because I was already friends with Heidi and was already eyeing these cards:


Then Janee at Yellow Bird, Yellow Beard was giving these cute fabric coasters away on her blog when she decided to join Twitter.  I amazingly won that one, too:


Pam from Bates Mercantile Co. (remember Pam?) was doing a giveaway with these chevron stripe note cards on her blog Mercantile Muse.  I told you I have a thing for paper goods.  And chevrons, apparently.  I won two sets of these, one to give as a gift if I so choose (ha!):


Nancy from ScrappyTude Studios decided to open a second shop for her reusable gift bags, aptly titled GiftAgain Gift Bags, and did a giveaway with this lovely bag on her blog, and I managed to snag that one as well:


And then finally, just about two weeks ago, I entered to win a $25 gift certificate to Skye Reve fabrics over at Maureen Cracknell Handmade (if you haven't seen her blog yet, you need to go there now).  And even through I was entries #1 and 2 out of 598, I somehow managed to win.  (Crazy!!!)  This bundle from Skye Reve is on its way to me:


I've now probably jinxed myself from ever winning another giveaway, but I just had to share because these are all such lovely items from some great shops and/or blogs that you really should check out if you haven't already.  It's really fun to develop a connection and interact with such a wide variety of people whom I've never met.  So I thank you all for your giveaways and know that I am loving all of these items.  There's one more spotlight and giveaway left in this fall series (have you entered to win this one yet??) and then I may have a little giveaway of my own.

Cheater!

So, I broke my own rule.  I'm not surprised, but I'm a little disappointed in myself because I was doing so good.  Remember when I said that I wasn't going to buy any new paper because I had plenty in stash already to work from? (here)  Yea.

I had to go to one of my very favorite paper stores in order to get some replacement paper for the Christmas garland kit I have in my shop.  Someone ordered one and I didn't have enough of the decorative papers that I had shown.  I dragged myself down there with the sole purpose of getting just those papers, but then I looked around. (hangs head in shame)  And while there were plenty of new things I could have gotten, I just got three sheets.  Really.  That's it!  One is for some birthday cards I'd like to make, one is for some bookmarks I had planned on making but didn't have a good backing print, and the third is this, which I cut apart and made into magnets/gift tags and already have them listed them in my shop:




So if you are a cat or dog lover, or know someone who is, send them my way.  They can be backed with magnet to put on the refrigerator, or punched and tied with a ribbon to make gift tags.

As you can see, I'm back on a paper theme for the time being, and have just finally made the decision to leave my shop (for now) as by the book paper.  I'm not going to try and turn it into something it's not just to make the name a little bit better.  As for the fabric listings, they'll stay for now and I'll just have to make a decision on what to do with those a little later on.  No harm, no foul for the time being.

Humor

I really like ending the week on a happy note, so I'm going back to humor once again.  All via my So Funny board on Pinterest (where else?).









Happy Friday!  Make sure you enter the giveaway- it's such a good one!!

Pinterest: I Tried It (Love Notes)


Welcome Pinners and friends!  If you've tried something from one of your pinboards this week and blogged about it, you can link up your post at the bottom of this one.  I really love to see what you come up with and how you interpret your pins.

This week I was trying to find some inspiration for new items for my shop.  Though I'm in the midst of a small shop-name crisis, I still love working with paper, it is the main feature in my shop, and it's going to remain that way.  So I hit up my paper projects board, on which I have plenty of cute things that I'd like to either try to make, or there is some element in what I saw that I'd like to do something with.  This week's project:


I just love how simple and fun these are!  And trust me, I have plenty of paper hanging around that I could play around with.  I had to decide whether to use a thinner paper or a slightly heavier-weight cardstock.  I ended up going with the stock, but I think they would work out just as well (maybe better) with thinner paper.  I guess it just depends on your purpose for them.  Here's what I came up with:





So cute!  I had three coordinating papers that I frankly had no idea what to do with, and now they are love notes!  Perfect for lunchboxes, briefcases, coat pockets, you name it.  Or, you can glue them together and use them just as envelopes.  You can find them in my shop here.  I love a little bit of inspiration!

So how about you?  How were your pinning experiments this week?  Link up below or leave a comment!  And remember- same time next week!  I had a lot of fun trying this one out and may stick to the sewing board for a little while.

Feel free to grab a botton to add to your post to share this link-up with your readers!

life by the book


Decisions

Just a week ago, right here on this blog, I waxed poetic about the upcoming Etsy shop name changes and how excited I was that I was going to be able to change my name to be more universal and versatile.  Thank you all for your great suggestions and for giving me something to think about over the past week.  By yesterday I had pretty much decided that I was just going to drop the "paper" part of my name and be "by the book".  Simple, easy, clean, and.......totally taken

Imagine my complete and total disappointment (and, frankly, outrage) when I so joyously went to the shop name change page and typed in my universal and versatile name only to see the red print pop up telling me "that name is already in use".  By who??  Quick research showed that "By the Book" is a user who signed up in 2007 who has no feedback, which means to me that they are inactive.  It was then suggested to me by a few people to contact the person about the name, but here's the rub: because the name has already been used, it can't ever be used again, even if that person was to not use it, because future searches will link the old name to the new name.  Frustration!!

And so now here I am again, a week later, pondering the fate of my shop name.  Suggestions I have received or thought of on my own:
  • By the Book Shop/Market/Boutique
  • By the Book Designs
  • Always By the Book
  • Buy the Book
  • By the Book Creations
  • The Paper Book
Then there is the another thought, lurking in the back of my mind: just keep By the Book Paper and be a paper shop and be done with it.  Would that be so awful?

Sorry for two virtually picture-less posts back to back.  Lots of pictures tomorrow for Pinterest Thursday!

Hobby Lobby

Ok, so I have just been enlighted on this crafting super store called the Hobby Lobby.


Now, I have seen this store mentioned on several of the blogs I follow, and they are all by people who live in other parts of the country from me, so I just assumed it was a regional store, kind of how there are different grocery stores or restaurants in different areas.

But yesterday I got to talking with Traci from Luci Rae (remember Traci?) about a comment I left on her post where she was talking about thrifting at Goodwill for a dress for a costume and then there was a Joann's right next door for extra supplies (read here).  I commented that we have a Joann's next to our Salvation Army, but Goodwill was across the street.  So she wrote back and said that if there was a Hobby Lobby there, too, she'd never leave the area.  I wrote her to say that sadly, we don't have a Hobby Lobby around here, at which she wrote back and told me I should pack up the car and find one (this was quite an involved exchange over this small detail).  So for fun I googled Hobby Lobby to see just where the heck these things are.

Well folks, apparently you all have one near you.  They are in every state but Oregon, Delaware, and every New England state but New Hampshire.  Now, I know our states are small, but even a drive from Connecticut to Manchester, New Hampshire is no quick trip.  I looked at the store tour, and I have to say that just the size of the place seems incredible.  It looks to me like a Joann's, a Michael's, and an A.C. Moore cram-jammed together in one awesome crafting store.  Is that what it's like??

If you have a Hobby Lobby near you, fill me in!  I want to hear all about this place I'm missing out on.

Overwhelmed and Overly Busy

Here is my to-do list for today, and this is just the stuff I can remember right now.


So I hope you all have a great weekend, make sure to enter the giveaway if you haven't already, and I'll see you back here Monday!

What are your plans for today or the weekend?

Pinterest: I Tried It (Bread Tie Tape End)


Welcome Pinners and friends!  If you've tried something from one of your pinboards this week and blogged about it, you can link up your post at the bottom of this one.  I really love to see what you come up with and how you interpret your pins.

I will fully admit that this week's try-it will seem like a cop-out.  It's not; but it was kind of an accident.  I have been so busy this week, I basically forgot to plan on something.  Not good.  The whole point of this endeavor is to plan ahead to make sure I am trying out the neat-o things I pin instead of just looking at them, saying, "Oh, maybe one day..."

But, you know how life goes and this week, it just got overlooked.  Fortunately for me, I remembered that I actually did do something from one of my boards- this, from my Things To Try board:


I was using my packing tape to seal a few outgoing packages, and I always make a little triangle in the end of the tape so I can find it again the next time.  Easy, but then I always have a loose triangle-corner stuck to my package.  And I remembered this photo, and I just so happened to have saved a few of those bread ties just in case I got around to this, and so I attached one to the end of the packing tape roll.  Success!  When I needed it a few days later, no looking for the triangle because I had this big 'ol plastic thing stuck to it.  The only problem: the tape stuck pretty well to the plastic so I had to fiddle with getting it off without wrinkling the tape.  Maybe it's better with masking tape, like it shows above, but it works pretty darn well regarless.

So how about you?  How were your pinning experiments this week?  Link up below or leave a comment!  And remember- same time next week!  I had a lot of fun trying this one out and may stick to the sewing board for a little while.

Feel free to grab a botton to add to your post to share this link-up with your readers!

life by the book


Names, They are A-Changing?

I cannot contain my excitement!  When I logged in to Etsy yesterday I saw this little flag up by my name that said "Coming Soon".  So of course my immediate thought was, "What the heck is that?" and so I clicked on it to determine what the heck it was exactly.  I was so pleased to read that Etsy is going to allow people to change their shop names.  (article here)


If you are non-Etsy, whatever username you put in when you first signed up for the site is the name you see everywhere.  It is your personality, and for all intents and purposes, it is your shop name.  For example, if you signed up as HRN1978 because that is the username you use everywhere, then you have been stuck with it up to this point.  Your shop is identifited as HRN1978, even if you want to call it Bubbles and Bows or something like that.  Now, people have gone ahead and do have different shop names from their usernames, but it makes it all very confusing.  And that doesn't factor in your actual name.  So you become known as HRN1978 and people will call you HRN for short even if your name is Henry, because you have to actually go to someone's profile to find out what their real name is (if they show it), and no one ever does that.  And up to this point, you have not been able to change that username once you stuck yourself with it.


I myself have actually been lamenting my choice of name for the past few weeks.  I thought I did a post on it here, but I must have just been talking to myself instead.  Anyway, I have been wishing that I used something more generic, like The Purple Butterfly or Manmade Design (ok, not really), that would allow me to expand my shop without being pegged into one type of item.  By the Book Paper seemed like a good name at the time.  I was going to make bookmarks.  I wanted the name to have something to do with books.  "By the book" is a common phrase.  I was using paper.  Bing, bang, boom...that was my name.  But then I had note cards, and bookplates, and garlands, and magnets, and so on.  And then I got onto the fabric kick with my Pinterest projects.  But my shop still said "Paper".


But now this news brings a whole range of possibilities and questions.  First, should you change your shop name if you've been known as something else for awhile?  If you do change, what will you change it to?  A whole new name, or some version of your old name?  Is it worth it to change business cards, and banners, and avatars, etc.?  And for me, for consistency purposes, my blog address and twitter and Pinterest are all bythebookpaper (once a username, always a username!).  But I want to change it!  I have been thinking about a total name change to something generic that can be used for any crafty medium, and I have been thinking about a slight change like "by the book" or "made by the book" in order to keep it familiar.


So here is where I need your thoughts: Please today fill up my comments with ideas and suggestions and your thoughts on this whole name-changing thing.  Will you consider changing your shop name?  Should I change mine?  Do you think I should go for a total change, or something slight?  I have a week to decide this (because you know I will be all over it on October 18) so I would really, really love to hear what you, the independent-of-my-shop have to say!

Guest Post at Mercantile Muse

Hello readers!  My post today is over at the Mercantile Muse blog! (remember Pam?)  I'm doing a tutorial on this garland:


I hope you'll wander over today and check it out!

Humor

I felt the need for some humor for the end of this week.  All of these are via my So Funny board on Pinterest, and they just crack me up:




Happy Friday! (And don't forget to enter the giveaway!)

Pinterest: I Tried It (Clothes Labels)


Welcome Pinners and friends!  If you've tried something from one of your pinboards this week and blogged about it, you can link up your post at the bottom of this one.  I really love to see what you come up with and how you interpret your pins.

This week's try-it comes out of necessity: our big boy has started preschool.  Our Gus is still only in his two's, and I never thought I'd be that parent who would sent my very small child to school so early.  However, thinking about it now, when I was growing up, I had a lot of cousins around me all the time, like extra brothers and sisters (or surrogate brothers and sisters, since I don't have any of my own).  My mom and her three siblings all live in the same town, and our grandmother's house was a congregation area on Saturday nights.  We'd play and fight and have a general good time with each other, like built-in friends you had to like because you were family.  Gus doesn't have that.  We don't live that close to all those cousins now, but none of them have kids yet anyway.  Our neighborhood has lots of kids, but they are all several years older.  We do programs at the library, but 30 minutes once a week doesn't really amount to too much.  So, when I saw the sign outside one of the local churches stating that they had a 2's class, we had to check it out, mainly for Gus to have some solid interaction with other people his age.

So then after you register, you worry and fret and discuss whether he's actually going to like it and will he stay there, or will he freak out and scream and cry?  Very fortunately for us, Gus loves school.  He loves wearing his backpack, he loves his teachers, he loves playing with all those toys.  He's a little wary right when we walk in the door, but he's distractable and I can slip out the door, and then he's fine.  He's really a pretty great kid.


Anyway, sending your two-year-old to school means putting a label in everything, since he may or may not know what belongs to him.  Thus begins the label search.  If you've ever heard of Mabel's Labels, they are like the Mercedes of iron-in labels.  Everyone uses them.  So I decided to look them up.  $25+ for 50 labels.  What????  I don't think so.  Luckily, I had also found this tutorial and pinned about two days before that:


You get fabric iron-on transfers and some ribbon or muslin and make you own right in your home on your own humble little printer.  $7.48 for a pack of 6 at Walmart, plus $1.11 for 3 yards of twill tape.  Do you know how many labels I can make for that?  These are super easy to make, as long as you follow the directions that come with the transfers (and the tutorial is awesome with all its steps).  Each label I made is about 2 inches long, and granted, I have to sew them into his clothes, but I can do it just like in the tutorial with a little "x", and then it's removable.  Love it!

In the office supply section at Walmart

Make sure to print it backwards!

Now I just need to practice ironing them on straight. 
Plus, make sure there's no goop on the iron, like there was with this one.  Oops!

That will sew in nicely!

So how about you?  How were your pinning experiments this week?  Link up below or leave a comment!  And remember- same time next week!  I had a lot of fun trying this one out and may stick to the sewing board for a little while.

Feel free to grab a botton to add to your post to share this link-up with your readers!

life by the book



Wordless Wednesday