Thursday, June 30, 2011

:LINKS: Freebies for Independence Day...

WOW!! Subway art and other printable home decor freebies are just EXPLODING on the web and I LOVE it!!

If you are lacking some festive decor for the upcoming holiday, you now have absolutely no good excuse!

Here are five of my favorite online finds for free 4th of July printables...hope you find an item or two that you like as well.

Have you seen other printable 4th of July printable freebies that you adore? Please share the love and leave a link.
:LINKS: Freebies for Independence Day...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

:BOOKSHELF: Water Ghosts by Shawna Yang Ryan

Water Ghosts: A NovelI just finished a very interesting read called Water Ghosts: A Novel by Shawna Yang Ryan.

My edition has a different cover than the one currently available on Amazon and from what I have read, this book was also previously published under another name (Locke 1928).

Here's the story summary from Booklist:
On a foggy morning in 1928, the arrival of a boat carrying three women upsets the equilibrium of Locke, a small California community created by Chinese immigrants in which the minister’s wife is the only white women not a prostitute. No life is more altered than that of Richard Fong, manager of the Lucky Fortune Gambling Hall, who left his wife, Ming Wai, in China 10 years earlier to make his fortune in America and has yet to return to see her. One of many men in Locke without a woman, he consorted first with brothel operator and seer Madame Poppy See, then with one of her younger girls—until he finds that a worn Ming Wai is one of the women in the boat. Poppy, who still loves Richard and is disturbed by the arrival of the women, must determine whether her concerns are dreams fueled by jealousy or premonitions of danger.

The story is intriguing, no doubt, and while there several things that I really liked about this book, there were a few things that I mildly disliked as well.

Let's start with what I liked.

First of all, the prose is SO beautiful...often quite poetic which was a feast for my imagination. The scenes and characters really came to life as I was reading.

I have always been a fan of cultural and historical novels and this one fits both. There is a very strong infusion of the Chinese culture even though the novel is set primarily in California. The entire novel has overtones of the Chinese myth of water ghosts which adds and ethereal quality to the story. I also liked the fact that there is some fact to the fiction. While these precise characters and story are fictional, Locke was a real community populated by Chinese immigrants; primarily men who had to leave their women behind in China.

Okay, now for the things that keep me from giving this novel 5 stars...

First of all, the character from which the story is told changes from chapter to chapter and while this does help to develop each of the characters at a deeper level, it did make it a little harder to get a grasp on the story in the early part of the book.

On top of that, the author also shifts time periods throughout the book...same issue...just makes the story a little hard to follow at times.

My only other complaint is that there are no quotation marks! Sometimes I found myself thinking, "Did they (the character) say that...or just think it?" (See, quotations help!)

Despite my last few comments, I have to say that due to the haunting story, the complex characters and the lovely prose, I am still quite happy that I saw this novel through to the end.

Have you read Water Ghosts: A Novel (or Locke, 1928)? If so, what did you think? Have you read any other historical novels involving the Chinese culture that you enjoyed?
:BOOKSHELF: Water Ghosts by Shawna Yang RyanSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

:QUOTES: More proverbial wisdom...

I had fun sharing the Chinese proverbs with you for the last word art freebie pick, so I thought we'd continue with some more proverbial wisdom...this time I mixed it up a bit.

“Everything that is not given is lost.”

“May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home. May good and faithful friends be yours wherever you may roam...”

Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours!”

Vote for your favorite quote and I'll create a word art freebie with the 'winning' quote to share with you sometime next week. In the meantime, check out my other word art downloads.
:QUOTES: More proverbial wisdom...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, June 27, 2011

:LAYOUT: Shopping for Fireworks

The 4th is almost here!! Kailtin and her daddy had a great time shopping last year and here's the layout I made to prove it.


1. Divide your layout in half using a solid color on one half and a patterned paper on the other. Use a scallop (or other decorative edge) strip to separate the two halves.

2. Use a sticker to embellish a photo and enhance the theme of the layout.

3. Create a custom banner with hand cut triangles and string them together with a line of gems.

If it would have been up to Kaitlin, we would have left with the entire store! July 2010

Patterned Paper: We R Memory Keepers, Bo Bunny
Stickers: We R Memory Keepers
Letter Stickers: Making Memories, Pink Paislee
Gems: Paper Studio
Ink: Colorbox
Corner Rounder: Marvy
Pen: Zig
:LAYOUT: Shopping for FireworksSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, June 26, 2011

:REVIEW: 11x14 Canvas from

Megan of contacted me recently about the new website she had just launched that creates canvas prints from photos or art and asked if I would be interested in reviewing one of their products and sharing my thoughts with all of you.

I have no lack of photos that I love of Kaitlin, but since every photo that I have on the wall of here currently is at least four years old, I thought this offer was just one more sign that it was time to swap out a few.

So, of course, I took Megan up on her offer and visited her new website the same day!

I found the ordering experience exceedingly simple! First, I could choose from canvas sizes in a variety of sizes starting at 8" x 8" and ranging up to 30" x 40". There is even a handy preview screen that allows you to see what the print size you choose will look like on a wall in relation to an average sized couch and floor lamp.

You can then choose from a 3/4" wrap (which is ideal if you wish to frame your canvas) or a 1.5" wrap for a more gallery-style look.

Then, I found my photo on my computer and selected it for a fast upload. (PNG, JPG, GIF, BMP, and TIF files are accepted.)

EasyCanvasPrints also has an image quality check at this point to make sure that your selected image is of a high enough resolution to produce a quality canvas at the size selected.

In the next part of the ordering process, you simply choose which type of wrap you would like and their are

three options: mirror, image wrap and border color. You can preview each to see how each will look and decide which you like best.

For an additional charge, you can change your image to black and white or sepia toned, but in my opinion, it would make more sense to make that adjustment before uploading to avoid the additional charge.

Also for an additional charge, you do have the option to request minor or major retouching. After you select either, a box pops up where you are able to type in further details on what you are requesting.

Then, it's into the cart and the checkout procedure is just as simple.

Literally a few days later, I received the package in the mail. It was well-packaged and I was pleased that they had marked it as fragile. I can't tell you how many times I've received a package (even photos) that I could tell was NOT handled with care.

Now, for some pictures...

The color and texture of the canvas was just beautiful!

I chose the mirror wrap and like the way it turned out.

The corners are tight and crisp.

And the canvas looks so lovely on our wall!! I must certainly order more of these canvases to continue replacing all of my old wall photos!

I would definitely encourage you all to give a look and now would be a great time for you to give them a test as well. They currently have a sale running offering 25% off all canvases as well as FREE SHIPPING! A great deal, for sure!
:REVIEW: 11x14 Canvas from EasyCanvasPrints.comSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, June 25, 2011

:WORD ART: Happiness Quote Word Art Freebie

It was a tie between quotes #1 and #3 on the Chinese proverbs from last week, so that means I got to pick which one to create a word art freebie for all of you with.

I picked quote #3 and I hope you enjoy what I came up with!

Be sure to check out my other word art downloads to make sure you haven't missed any.
:WORD ART: Happiness Quote Word Art FreebieSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, June 24, 2011

:PRINTABLE: Summer Day Quote Printable

I've got a new printable freebie for you to celebrate the first official day of SUMMER!!

I don't know about you, but I sure wish that I had more time to spend my summer days just the way this suggests.  How are YOU spending the first day summer this year??
:PRINTABLE: Summer Day Quote PrintableSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

:FIVE FAVES: By Motif...Doilies...

doi·ly : n. pl. doi·lies
1. A small ornamental mat, usually of lace or linen.
2. A small table napkin.

Doilies may be generally thought of as a lacey item used in home decor, but they function just as well as a lovely touch for our scrapbooking creations.

Doilies don't always have to be round either! This doily-like pattern would be a beautiful way to dress up a plain cardstock background.

These mini-doilies can serve as cute little flowers. A decorative brad can dress them up even further and also serve the function of connecting them to the page.

Maya Road - Kraft Collection - Die Cut Doilies
Take these kraft cardstock doiles and customize them with color however you please...or leave them plain for understated elegance.

Unity Stamp - Bella Blvd Collection - Unmounted Rubber Stamp Set - Bella Doilies
This is another great product that gives doilies extra mileage. Stamp embellishments, backgrounds and more in any color you choose.

Websters Pages - Designer Threads - Fabric Embroidery Pieces - Doilies
These embroidered doilies look so elegant and delicate. I love the muted colors, too!

What other scrapbooking products have you seen lately featuring the doily motif that have fallen in love with?
:FIVE FAVES: By Motif...Doilies...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, June 23, 2011

:LAYOUT: A Wonderful Summertime Tradition

This past weekend was my hometown's annual celebration of our Czech heritage (Czech Days) and, of course, Kaitlin and I took part in the festivities on Thursday and Friday including a baseball game, fireworks, a parade, carnival rides, ethnic food and more.

A highlight this year was that the last play of the game was a home run and Kaitlin got the ball. She ran out onto the field with her uncle Lee to get the ball signed by the hitter and was SO excited. She even left her daddy a note on the bathroom cupboard to wake her up when he got home from work at 4 a.m. (he works nights) just so that she could tell him about it!

Here's a layout I created last year highlighting our favorite entries in the big parade on Friday.

I used a standard 4x6 photo as the focal photo and then created several 4x6 collage prints (with four photos each) to highlight our favorite entries in the parade. This is a great way to include lots of pics on one layout.

(click for a larger view)

Instead of a THREE THINGS TO TRY with this layout, I'd like to encourage a little discussion with an "I'M CURIOUS" instead.

This year, I opted to NOT take my camera along as I have SO MANY pictures of Czech Days over the years. Do you ever purposely leave your camera at home? If so, when do you tend to make this decision and why? Do you ever regret it or feel guilty about not filling the role of family photographer?

Summertime just wouldn’t be complete without Czech Days for this family. June 2010

Cardstock: Prism
Patterned Paper, Stickers, Journaling Block: Echo Park
Pen: Bic
Circle Rounder: Marvy
Scallop Trimmer: Fiskars
:LAYOUT: A Wonderful Summertime TraditionSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

:SALES: 10% off all NEW products at only!

Add any BRAND NEW* item to your cart today to receive an additional 10% discount at only!

No coupon code is required. The discount will be applied to all eligible items in your cart and will appear at checkout.

Hurry, this offer expires at midnight PST.

Have fun shopping!!

*All products where name includes "BRAND NEW" are eligible once they are added to your shopping cart.
:SALES: 10% off all NEW products at only!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

:MEMORYWORKS EXPRESS: July 2011 Sneak Peek - "Independence"

Watch for further details on this kit coming soon!

In the meantime, enjoy the details of a few past MemoryWorks Express Kits!

A MemoryWorks Express Kit subscription is ONLY $29.95 (plus $6.50 S&H) per month! They are chock full of the latest and greatest in the scrapbooking industry, the items are always timely in terms of the current season or holiday, and the price can't be beat!

The monthly kits are often sold out by the time the full details and contents are released, so if you are interested in subscribing or would simply like more information, please don't hesitate to contact me!
:MEMORYWORKS EXPRESS: July 2011 Sneak Peek - "Independence"SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, June 20, 2011

:WORD ART: Father's Day Word Art Pack

Hopefully you were able to get some great photos yesterday to remember a special Father's Day.

If you'll be creating any projects to showcase those photos, I have a brand new word art pack available that might just help.

Check out this and all my other word art packs available through MyMemories,Scrapbook Boutique and PrintMaster.

While these designs are in available in several formats for use with any digital software program, if you are looking for an easy and affordable digital scrapbooking software, you should definitely give My Memories Suite a look. It is great for digital scrapbookers of all levels or even traditional scrapbookers that are looking to supplement their paper crafting in order to complete more layouts and/or be able to craft even when away from home and supplies.

My Memories Suite is currently the #1 rated digital scrapbooking software on the market.

Read more about all the great features of My Memories Suite here.

GET $10 OFF!!
My Memories Suite already has a great price, but I have a $10.00 OFF coupon code for you to try it for yourself! Simply copy and paste the code STMMMS74998 at checkout to receive you discount.
:WORD ART: Father's Day Word Art PackSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, June 19, 2011


"Sometimes the poorest man 
leaves his children the richest inheritance."  

Ruth E. Renkel
:HAPPY FATHER'S DAY:SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, June 17, 2011

:SPONSOR GIVEAWAY WINNER: American Crafts Margarita Prize Pack II

Congrats, Cheryl S.!!

Please watch your email inbox for further details on how to claim your prize and the following AC Magarita prize pack will be on its way to you very soon!

If you didn't win this time, don't worry...the complete line of American Crafts' Margarita collection is also now available at

Also, don't miss out on more great giveaways coming soon! If you haven't already, sign up for updates to the AMOM blog by email subscription or your favorite blog reader through the links in the left sidebar. Maybe will make your number lucky next time!
:SPONSOR GIVEAWAY WINNER: American Crafts Margarita Prize Pack IISocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, June 16, 2011

:MEMORYWORKS EXPRESS: June 2011 Kit - "Just the Boys"

This month's kit is about the "Boys" in your life. 

From the rich rustic reds to the fun summer splashes of yellow and green, this kit is all you need to highlight your "Boys" that mean the most!

Check out the inspiring projects created by the MemoryWorks Design Team with this beautiful kit in the June Idea Express!

June 2011 MemoryWorks Express Kit Contains:

Patterned Paper
{1} 12x12 Travel Notes - Destination (Simple Stories)
{1} 12x12 Going Places - Destination (Simple Stories)
{1} 12x12 Beach Huts - Good Day Sunshine (My Mind's Eye)
{1} 12x12 Bold Dots - Good Day Sunshine (My Mind's Eye)
{1} 12x12 Writing on the Wall - Good Day Sunshine (My Mind's Eye)
{1} 12x12 Butterscotch - 5 & Dime (October Afternoon)

Solid Cardstock
{1} 12x12 Kraft (Bazzill)
{1} 12x 12 Desert Coral Dark (Bazzill)
{1} 12x12 Spring Willow Medium (Bazzill)
{1} 12x12 Sugar Cream (Bazzill)

{1} 12x12 Good Day Sunshine Accessory Sheet (My Mind's Eye)
{1} 5x9 Kraft & Black Mini Market Stickers (October Afternoon)
{1} Noah Mini Chipboard Alpha (Maya Road)
{4} Kraft Mini Ticket Strips (Maya Road)
{1} Kraft Library Pocket (Maya Road)
{1} 6x8 White Embellish Me Frame (Fancy Pants)
{1} 12" Zipper Trim - Chocolate Brown (Maya Road)
{1} ½ Yard ½" Oatmeal & Cream Dot Ribbon (Creative Impressions)
{1} ½ Yard ½" Rust Grosgrain Ribbon (Creative Impressions)
{1} ½ Yard ¼" Green Apple & Cream Check Ribbon (Creative Impressions)

{1} 5.5 x 8.5 Kraft (Bazzill)
{1} 5.5 x 8.5 Desert Coral Dark (Bazzill)
{1} 5.5 x 8.5 Spring Willow Medium (Bazzill)
{1} 5.5 x 8.5 Sugar Cream (Bazzill)
{1} 5.5 x 8.5 Sunflower Light (Bazzill)
{5} 5 3/4 X 4 3/8 Natural Envelopes

ALL FOR ONLY $29.95!! (plus $6.50 S&H)

Due to high demand, it is quite possible that this month's kit is already sold out! If you are interested in subscribing to the MemoryWorks Express Kit Program and guaranteeing you spot for next month, please contact me today for further details!
:MEMORYWORKS EXPRESS: June 2011 Kit - "Just the Boys"SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

:SALES: 12% off All Summer-Themed Embellishments @ only!

You'll have lots of great summer photos to scrap soon! Stock up for all you embellishment needs today using this great discount opportunity at!

Take 12% off the lowest marked price on ALL Summer-Themed Embellishments, today only! No coupon code is required - discount will appear automatically in your cart.

Shop Summer Embellishments Now!

Hurry - this offer expires today at midnight PST!
:SALES: 12% off All Summer-Themed Embellishments @ only!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

:LINKS: Printables for Father's Day

Do you still need some inspiration for a Father's Day project?  It will be here before we know it.

Here's a few of my favorite Father's Day freebies found around the web!

Have you found other great Father's Day finds online? Share a link!
:LINKS: Printables for Father's DaySocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

:QUOTES: Some proverbial wisdom from the Chinese...

These are a few of my favorite bits of Chinese proverb wisdom:

Quote 1:
"Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”

Quote 2:
“The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.”

Quote 3:
"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will never be shortened. Happiness never ceases by being shared.”

Vote for your favorite quote and I'll create a word art freebie with the 'winning' quote to share with you sometime next week. In the meantime, check out my other word art downloads.
:QUOTES: Some proverbial wisdom from the Chinese...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, June 13, 2011

:SPONSOR GIVEAWAY: American Crafts Margarita Prize Pack II [CONTEST CLOSED]

I am proud to have American Crafts as a sponsor of the AMOM blog for the month of June!

Last month, I gave away a great prize package of items from their new Margarita line and this month I have a second prize pack from the same line to give away (all different items) which AC has so generously provided.

This lovely prize pack includes:
12 patterned papers
1 set of chipboard thickers
1 stamp set
1 booklet of letter stickers
1 package of dimensional stickers
1 package of plastic flower brads
1 package of decorative tags
1 package of layered embellishments
1 package of stickers
1 package of paper flowers
1 package of badges

All you need to do to enter is answer the following question in a comment to this post by 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 16, 2011:

What is your favorite flower? will choose and I'll announce the winner on Friday.

:SPONSOR GIVEAWAY: American Crafts Margarita Prize Pack II [CONTEST CLOSED]SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, June 11, 2011

:BOOKSHELF: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

Unaccustomed EarthWhen I started reading Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, I didn't realize that it was actually a collection of short stories.

I was confused for a bit into the second story because I kept looking for a connection to what I thought was the previous chapter.

However, while the characters are different, the themes are all very similar. Each of the stories is related to families from India who have moved to America to raise their children and pursue careers...and all seem to be dealing with various types of great loss.

The title story, Unaccustomed Earth, follows the story of Ruma who has moved to Seattle for her husband career. Her mother has passed away and she is struggling with her feelings of obligation to 'take care' of her father while unaware that he has very much moved on with his life.

My favorite part of the book is actually a collection of stories that follows Hema and Kaushik at different periods of their lives. In "Once in a Lifetime", Lahiri explores how the two met as children and the connection of their families due primarily to their similar origins through Hema's voice.

In the second story, "Year's End", Hema disappears and Kaushik (as a young adult) shares the death of his mother and the story unfolds to explain his choice to lead a rather nomadic life.

In the final installment, Hema and Kaushik meet again in Italy about 20 years later and reconnect under interesting circumstances. This last story has an omniscient narrator and tells of Hema's life as a college professor and impending arranged marraige. Kaushik, on the other had, has been traveling the world and become quite a successful photojournalist.

Hema finally develops the relationship with Kaushik that she dreamed about as a child, but she is faced with a choice between two men. Her choice...and the ending of this story...are quite dramatic.

While Lahiri is clearly a talented writer, I found her prose to be somewhat dry at times. And, I am sure that this has to do with the short-story format, but I often left the stories wanting though the story was not finished.

Have you read Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth? What were your thoughts? Also, I do believe that Lahiri has some full-length novels as well. If you have read any of these, which were they and what were your impressions?
:BOOKSHELF: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa LahiriSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, June 10, 2011

:GIVEAWAY WINNER: The Big Book of Scrapbook Pages: 500+ New Designs for Capturing All Your Memories


Please watch your email inbox for further details on how to claim your prize and The Big Book of Scrapbooking Pages will be on its way to you very soon!

If you didn't win this time, don't worry...The Big Book of Scrapbook Pages is also now available at Amazon for only $16.49!

Also, don't miss out on more great giveaways coming soon! If you haven't already, sign up for updates to the AMOM blog by email subscription or your favorite blog reader through the links in the left sidebar. Maybe will make your number lucky next time!
:GIVEAWAY WINNER: The Big Book of Scrapbook Pages: 500+ New Designs for Capturing All Your MemoriesSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, June 9, 2011

:LAYOUT: Celebrate

I can't quite believe it, but my little girl turns NINE today!! What can I say...she is growing up WAY TOO FAST for my taste!

I'm taking the day off work today to help her celebrate. I'm not sure exactly what we're going to do yet - picnic in the park...afternoon movie at the theater...perhaps - but that's have the fun of it, right? We'll just have to see where the day takes us...

We also have an annual little backyard barbecue get-together with family to celebrate and we are getting ready for that this weekend, so I thought I'd share a layout today that highlighted last year's party.


1. Create a long strip of photos in various widths (but the same height) that spans the width of a two page layout.

2. Use a circle punch to create a base for journaling and other embellishments on your page.

3. Don't by scared...handwrite your journaling.

(click for a larger view)

2010 ~ Kaitlin’s birthday is always a great excuse to celebrate with family. Kaitlin looks forward to the festivities each year – great food, fun and, of course, a few gifts!

Cardstock: Unknown
Patterned Paper: Echo Park, October Afternoon, Fancy Pants
Sticker: Echo Park
Rub ons: Fancy Pants
Chipboard: Basic Grey
Pen: Bic
Circle Punch: Marvy
Corner Rounder: Marvy
:LAYOUT: CelebrateSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend