Nov 30, 2013

sweet november

I am so bad at taking photos! Like, really bad. Sometimes I even don't remember until late at night, long after there is any natural day light left, and other times I just don't feel like picking up the 5 pound camera and lugging it around with me. I think I can honestly say, that I probably (most likely) will never again want to do a 30 day photo challenge. I can't make it. Thinking back, I probably should have started off with something easy, like a 7 day challenge.

So, I wasn't feeling great on Thanksgiving - no photos were taken. Then yesterday, I didn't even bother getting dressed yesterday. It was just one of those days, the kid's and I made an executive decision to stay in our pj's all day, and we did. The only thing that happened yesterday was our family elf, Elfie, made his first appearance of the year!

This time Elfie arrived with a package, but it was much too heavy for his tiny arms to carry and so he had to leave it on the front porch. He left the kids a note sticking to my lamp, saying his generals hellos and welcome back and told them to check the front door for a surprise. It's like an incentive for what's to come so they can be on their best behavior this month. The box came addressed to them from the Toy Shop @ the North Pole, complete with a return label stamp and 'special delivery' tags. Inside, the box was filled with pretty wrapped packages full of little toys, crayons, stickers, candy canes, lot's of "hand-made stuff from the North Pole," (- Alaina's exact words) some Christmas ornaments to share and a special holiday book for Alaina to read Chase at bed time. 

Both kids said yesterday was the best day ever. I'd have to agree, it's really fun watching them so excited about a little Elf that likes to hang out around the house. 

Last day of November, hope you're having a fun Saturday! 

xo~ Tara

ps. didn't take a photo of myself today either - I told you I was bad at this! 

Nov 27, 2013

sweet november: tiny & new

I missed a day! I let my nerves get the best of me yesterday and by evening time all I wanted was to call it a day and head off to bed. Today was better though, photos were taken, grocery shopping done and plans were made for the weekend. I did take this photo yesterday of little Maggie sleeping in her corner of the couch. She is so sweet! Whenever Chase sees her curled up like this he'll motion for me to come over and see her -"no, mom you HAVE to see her this time!" I'm thankful for this tiny girl dog, she's been such a wonderful part of our family. 

As for new - I've been working on this new collection for the shop. It's called Silver and Gold, lots of bright gold and shimmery silvers. Still editing photos and getting things all packaged up. 
 Thanksgiving morning means getting up early to watch the parade together. I have pumpkin waffles and maple sausage on the menu for breakfast. I think I look forward to Thanksgiving Day morning the most - so simple and yet so much fun for the kids and I! 

good night all, and Happy Thanksgiving! 
xo ~ Tara

Nov 25, 2013

sweet november: window view

Just another quick post tonight! We have lots of little kid stuff going on tomorrow to get ready for, fieldtrip, class party, and a preschool party in the afternoon. It's a fun week but it's super hectic!

Oh! and my fellow Sweet November friend is having a pretty little giveaway on her blog. Don't miss it! 

xo ~ Tara

Nov 24, 2013

sweet november: pretty

Just a quick post tonight before bed. Pretty to me is flowers, especially peach roses! 

Nov 23, 2013

sweet november: on screen + (giveaway winner)

Today was a really lazy Saturday. We cleaned, I cooked, we ran errands, the kids played and then we settled in to watched Sister Act. Apparently, I've never had them watch it before. Alaina is in choir this year at her school and she seemed to really like the movie, so much so that she stuck around to watch part 2. I loved both of those movies! 

Tonight, I was able to work for a few more hours on my Christmas collection for the shop - it's very pink this year! There was a brief break in the work when a stuffed dog had a minor emergency and needed his ear sew back on. (Chase's little face as he peeked around my craft room door "Mommy, my dog needs help, tears in his eyes as he held some of the stuffing in his hand. He has me wrapped around his fingers, he is so sweet.) I'm hoping, fingers crossed that the sun make an appearance for decent photos, I'll be adding everything to the shop mid week. Taking photos, I think, is the most exciting part for me. Love seeing everything come together!

As for the winner from last nights post.... congrats to: 

Sandra Flores said...
Rain outside, hot tea inside. Books to read, warm bed to sleep. Someone to hug. Dreams to follow, hope in my breath ... Love in my eyes.

I think your idea of comfort sounds pretty wonderful! Please send me your contact info to:

I have another giveaway - a holiday theme - to do next week that I'll work into one of the posts. Thank you for stopping by tonight! Have a peaceful weekend! 

xo ~ Tara 

Nov 22, 2013

sweet november: comfort (giveaway)

I'll say it right now, I don't have a photo for today's post. It's wet, it's cold and it's very grey out and I don't really feel like taking a photo. With this type of weather though, I can tell you what Chase and I have been doing today! It started with hot chocolate this morning, warm fleece sweaters being pulled on, grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, pine scented oil in the warmer, old Christmas records being played. It's kind of a perfect day for comfortable things, especially food! 

Because I don't have a photo I thought we would do a giveaway instead! It's a good trade! I wanted to give away some Fall themed items from my etsy shop this month. I'll put together an envelope of handmade embellishments and some fun vintage papery things and my favorite book page leaves! 

Leave a comment below or tell me what 'comfort' means to you. :) I'll choose a winner tomorrow night! Happy Friday everyone! 

Nov 20, 2013

sweet november: pumpkin (recipe)

Tis the season for pumpkin everything. I wonder when pumpkin became so trendy? Of course it has wonderful health benefits, but when exactly did everything about the season include the word pumpkin....? I have no idea, but I can't say I mind either! I love pumpkin, I like using it throughout the year and especially when it's in desserts. :)

I cheated a little today - I'm reposting the pumpkin dip recipe that I posted on Flickr 7 years ago! (7 years ago! I was shocked when I saw the date. How has that much time gone by!) Since then, I've swapped out some old ingredients for more updated ones and adjusted the sugar content. This is such a great dip, and with Thanksgiving next week it makes a perfect appetizer!  

Pumpkin Dip 

1 container (8oz) of Weight Watchers whipped cream cheese (at near room temp.)
1/3 C. packed light brown sugar
1/2 C. canned pumpkin pie mix
2 T. maple syrup
1/4 t. roasted ground cinnamon
apples slices, ginger snap cookies
Add the cream cheese, brown sugar, pumpkin, maple syrup and cinnamon into a mixing box and beat with an electric mixer for 2 or 3 minutes, or until smooth. Cover and chill 30 min. Serve with sliced apples, thin gingersnap cookies or cinnamon pita chips.

If I have to use cream cheese, I'll use Weight Watchers. I don't notice a difference in the taste at all. The only difference, and it's when I use it for this recipe, is that the cream cheese isn't as thick (because it's been whipped) so in order for the dip to set and thicken a little, you have to put it back into the frig. I also found this new cinnamon, it has a smokier/warm flavor to it, so I cut back on the amount. If you're using regular cinnamon start with a 1/4 tsp. and then add more to your taste. I was originally using 1/2 tsp. 

This is the second time I've made it in the past couple of weeks. I'm not sure how long it lasts for in the frig because the kids have never let this dip stay there too long. Try the recipe and let me know what you think! I think you're going to like it! 

Happy pumpkin everything! 
xo ~ Tara

Nov 19, 2013

sweet november: light

So today's prompt was light. I've been thinking about this prompt for a few days, knowing that it was coming up, and I kept going back to the idea of sun light. I got up somewhat early - for me anyways!-  and took a couple of quick photos this morning as the light was filtering in through the windows down stairs. This is my little reading corner. It's also our tv room, but since I don't watch tv I made my own corner filled with magazines and my old comfy chair. Even Chase has his mini leather chair there, although he likes to use the space to plug in his I-pod and play. Someday though, he will join me in reading. 

 I realized a couple of things about myself when looking at these photos:
1. I like natural colors and textures - especially shades of cream/brown
2. I've collected alot of random things from our travels 

Even the mini dog blends in to the room! 
I filled 2 large glass jars up with the driftwood we painted this summer in Oregon and stuck them next to the tv. I love seeing them out, it reminds me of fun times being had on the beach! 

and guess who got her old camera out! 

xo ~ Tara

Nov 18, 2013

sweet november: thankful

It's so simple really, but I'm truly thankful for how I feel right now. Last year at this time, I wouldn't have been able to say that. My new recently found health that seems to be pretty good, is something that I stumbled on randomly this last January. I've spent most of my life being, for lack of a better word, being sick. I lived on one prescription after another, month after month, trying to figure out what would help. Diagnosed with more than 5 chronic illnesses, I wondered how I would ever just be normal? How could I make plans when being sick kept me either in bed or at home 2 to 3 weeks a month? How would I be able to spend meaningful time with the kids? Then, while laying on the couch sick yet again one night, an idea popped into me head: I know what's been making me sick. From that moment on, much like a light switch being turned off, all of my 'chornic illnesses' were gone, problems that I've lived with almost since birth ~ no longer an issue. I cured myself - much to the disbelief of all my Dr.s - and I haven't been sick since. (Well, except for one time in Oregon, but I'm not going to count that, it was an accident.) I'll write more about this later on, it's such a long unbelievable story.

No longer being sick meant that we could start making plans and we started traveling - alot. Flagstaff, Tucson, San Diego, Oceanside, Nor Cal, Oregon, Pinetop and Sedona a few times. I've become the traveler I always wanted to be. Looking back on my blog this year, it looks more like a travel blog rather than a crafting blog. My absence on my own blog has been substantial as well. Before, I was always stuck at home, there was nothing else to do, so I would spend time crafting and blogging, but now I'm not home that much because I don't have to be. 

The kids have a healthy mom now too. I can make plans to be in their classroom without having to cancel the morning of. I can take them places and we can travel and explore together. I don't feel like I'm constantly missing out on their lives and that means so much to me. I really am grateful that I'm finally the healthy person I had always hoped I'd be - it took about 31 years to get to this point but I intend to make up for lost time. 

This year, and hopefully for the coming years, I'm thankful for my health.

Nov 17, 2013

sweet november: layered

Hi there! It's going to be a quick late night post today, there are little kids to get ready for bed and Alaina has her Endocrinology apt in the morning. (Never a fun a apt to go to as there's blood work involved and she invariably works herself into a panic the night before her apt. It's sad, she's 9 and has been doing this since she was born, she has Congenital Hypothyroidism, but it's still so upsetting for her and yet it has to be done. It's the part of parenting that brings on such an incredible amount of guilt. I think we loathe taking her to these apts. probably as much as she detests going. I really hope that one day it will get easier for her or just less stressful!) 

Today's prompt was layered. I originally intended to complete a couple of scrapbook layouts - but that certainly didn't happen today. Alaina and I ran errands for much of the day. I took her out for a 'girls day' of shopping and lunch - anything to take her mind off of tomorrow. So it's back to Polyvore ~ my trusty back up plan!  

We're getting ready.... I'm mentally preparing for a trip up North that we have scheduled for next month. Snow and sweaters, jackets and boots, I'm so excited. I've been putting together this mental list of cozy sweaters and really heavy jackets to bring along with us. Last year when we got off the train it was -9 degrees, this year I'll be ready for it! I made a quick collage using my favorite color: grey! Grey really is my happy color! 

I'm off, to take some notes and get kids into bed for the night.  
xo ~ Tara

Nov 16, 2013

sweet november: warm

 Today was gloriously cold. I woke up to a dark sky, a light drizzle of rain and temperatures that barely reached the 60's. It's not often that it's cold here and even more, it's not often that we need a sweater. Today though, was one of those days. It's crazy to think that just a few months ago in summer, the temperatures had peaked at 120 degrees. Today at nearly 60 degrees cooler and with a very obvious chill in the air, sweaters were a welcomed sight. I love the cold, I find it refreshing and motivating.... ironic since I call the Valley of the Sun home, but days like today I'm perfectly happy that the sun stayed hidden away and the best part - I didn't have to turn the air conditioner on once today! 

Warm was today's prompt, so I combined some of my favorites; hot chocolate and old wool blankets. They just seemed to fit our grey day! (I inherited a set of these cute pinecone mugs from my Grandmother. I had been looking forward to finally being able to use them this season!)

I also played around a bit with Polyvore. It's been such a long time since I logged in over there but it's really fun to play with clothes, especially sweaters and mittens! 

Have a good night and I'll see you here tomorrow! 

xo ~ Tara

Nov 15, 2013

sweet november: leaves

Leaves. Paper leaves vs. real leaves. I've taken quite a few photos of the real variety this season, so today's focus will be on the paperish kind!  

 I wanted a quick and simple garland to string up around my chalkboard and I wanted to use something that I had on-hand. I had plenty of different leaves to choose from, but I opted for these brown crepe leaves. (I think I found them at the dollar store last year!) They had a longer wire stem, which made it really easy to tie together using some silk seam binding. I just made a knot at each of the leaf stems. In all, I probably spent 5 minutes making a Fall garland for our front entry! Quick projects are the best!  

Little hands are seemingly always drawn to chalk. I smile as I type this, because no matter how many times I erase my chalkboard globe and re-write my welcome sign it's a sure bet there will be little kid finger smudges in the chalk. I'm also pretty sure I did the same thing as a kid... apple doesn't fall too far from the tree in this family! Here's another idea for crafting something this season! I believe I bought this bird while out antiquing with Jessica while she was visiting us down here in the desert and no, I didn't absolutely need another bird, but I knew eventually I'd think of something good to do with it!

I started off scrapbooking last night with the idea that I would only use vintage fabric and some paper leaves. I wanted to be able to scrapbook a few more layouts but today got the best of me. (I'll try it again this weekend!) Since we've been out hiking a couple of times this season, combined with the kids' photos, I thought putting together a Fall scrapbook would be fun!


I'm off to do some tidying up and then I'm going to get a jump start on tomorrows prompt! Hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead of you! 

xo  ~ Tara

Nov 14, 2013

sweet november: everyday

I thought today's prompt was going to be really easy, but it actually took me awhile to think of something. I have, for the most part, the same schedule everyday. A true creature of habit. I like to do the same things, in order starting from early morning to late night. Taking a photo of my routine wasn't as easy as I had hoped and it wouldn't be an interesting photo either! A constant though, throughout the day is music. Whether I'm playing the trumpet or piano, listening to the music channels on tv, or playing an old record, there is almost always music being played in some room of this house. 

That's what I chose for everyday: music - in the form of vintage records. My record player was a Christmas present from Peter a few years back. Since then, I've collected some great records, mostly old instrumental records and Christmas records that remind me of the music my Grandparents played during Christmas time at their house. Then there are some of my favorites - Joan Jett, The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, and Frank Sinatra. I think the kids know those records by heart from listening to them so often! 


That's my everyday! I'm off to go pick up some photos and then I have my fingers crossed that I can spend some time scrapbooking tonight! I love getting new photos, it's just the motivation I need to get started on some new projects! 

~  Tara

Nov 13, 2013

sweet november: old (tutorial)

Today's word was old. How old? Well that was up to you, but when I think of old I think vintage. Of course. This project was one that I meant to post way back in Spring and for whatever reason I never made it happen. So, I thought old as in old jewelry and a tutorial - what a great combination! We're going to make pretty Fall inspired magnets to hang up little kid artwork, schedules or just to-do lists. These magnets will make anything hanging on your fridge look infinitely better and with only a few materials you can whip them up in no time! 

First, you'll need to collect some older jewelry, preferably vintage clip on earrings - the type that your Grandma most likely had. I don't recommend using Grandmas heirloom jewelry collection though, instead check your local thrift stores! They're usually really inexpensive to purchase at thrift stores! After you've collected a few pairs, you'll also need a pair of small pliers, E6000 glue and small magnets. (I love using Rare-Earth magnets.)

Start by removing all of the backs from the earrings. Use the pliers to gently snap off the clip on parts. Add a small dot of the E6000 glue to the back of each earring back. (E6000 glue has a history of oozing out and making a mess, so I like to work quickly with it and get the lid back on asap.) Once the glue has been added, place a small magnet into the glue.

E6000 glue is also really smelly, make sure the area you're working in is well ventilated. Take each magnet separately and move them to a place to allow the glue to set. I suggest out in the garage. Just remember to keep them separated with enough space in between each magnet. The rare earth magnets are incredibly strong and they will attract to each other making a mess of the glue. It's possible I know this from experience. :) 

Let them dry at least a full 24 hours before you use them. I love how they look on the fridge, vintage jewel magnets that sparkly in the light - what's not to love! I'm also thinking they would make lovely little hostess gifts this season, displayed in a pretty box all wrapped up!

Thanks for stopping in tonight and happy crafting! 

xo ~ Tara

Nov 12, 2013

sweet november: black & white

Looking back on today it was really similar to yesterdays events, where I sat glued in my favorite spot editing photos and getting packages ready to be mailed. I tinkered around with this camera for awhile, debating on what to do with it since 1.(I have 2 of them) and 2. this one still has film in it, and it came with a couple of extra boxes of film. Could I develop my own photos? What would the photos look like from a Kodak Brownie? What photos did someone already take with it? That's the questions that intrigues me the most! What would I find if I could figure out how to develop the photos!

So, this camera got me thinking about my ttv photos. I've been wanting to take out the Anscoflex again, there's something about old cameras, that despite the crazy looks I get, I love using them. Not lately though it seems, I've been really unmotivated to use my favorite little box cameras. They've sadly sat on a shelf collecting dust all summer.  Then, this idea popped into my head today: 12 days of TTV photos in December. I could totally come up with 12 different Christmas/winter themed ideas to photograph! 
 Anyone up for doing a Christmas photo challenge? 

Back to editing photos tonight and possibly cleaning that disaster of a room - also known as my craft room!

Happy evening to you! ~ tara

Nov 11, 2013

sweet november: special


Special, that word could mean so many different things and it could be depicted in many different ways but as I was editing photos last night, I glanced over to my notebook and discovered this little gem of a drawing. 

I have notebooks in almost every room of our house. That way as I'm walking around I have paper close by to jot down ideas or notes or important stuff to remember. Lately, Chase has been leaving me these little scribble drawings at the bottom of my paper. I find them everywhere, my shopping lists, grocery lists, to-do lists. Mostly happy faces; pumpkins with happy faces, sun and flower happy faces, people with smiley faces. I love his little stick people and that he draws them for me. I never thought scribbly doodles could be something special and yet they are. 

xo ~ Tara

Nov 10, 2013

sweet november: to-do list

Rather than post a photo of my to-do list, which only had one thing on it today, I thought I would show you what I did instead. 

To do: go on an adventure

My sweet friend Erica and I decided it was time to take an adventure up North together, and although our plans hit a bit of a bump once we got there, it lead us back down the road to this trail: the Huckaby Trail in Sedona. Sometimes plans not working out is the best thing to have happened! 

We parked in the tiny lot right off of the bridge and followed the carved in stone steps down to a look out point. Since neither one of us had hiked this trail prior, we didn't really know what to expect but happy to see that the trail went down to the water below! (Us desert dwellers get really excited with the idea of water; rain, creeks, monsoon floods - all good things!) From there, there's a steep switch back trail for a half mile until you reach the first creek. It's amazing to be at the bridge and within minutes to be on the canyons floor looking up. (I won't lie, hiking down the canyon was a whole lot easier than coming back up! It was a slow moving process for us there at the end of our hike.) I think both Erica and I agreed on this one, it's a hike worth taking! Especially right now during Fall when the colors are vivid and crossing portions of the creek is still manageable. Hope you enjoy the photos!   

Thanks so much for visiting tonight! Hope you're having a lovely holiday weekend! 

xo~  Tara