Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 11 Layouts of 2011

As kind of a year-in-review and as a look back, I thought I'd share 11 of my favorite layouts I did in 2011. Thanks for coming along for the ride. :)

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Friday, December 30, 2011

All That Jazz

A few weeks ago, Tom and I had the opportunity to observe Alexa's jazz dance class (we would have been able to see her in action in tap too, but we had to get to the school orchestra concert). This girl dances all the time, and it doesn't matter who's watching. She dances at the bus stop, at school (her teacher asked me if Alexa was a dancer because her feet are always tapping and shuffling under her desk, LOL!), in a store, etc. She doesn't mind dancing, or even singing, on stage but don't ask her to talk (as in perform in a play).

The journaling reads: You are a dancer through and through. It’s in your blood and your heart. Even when you’re not at dance class, you still dance...around the house. At school you tap and move your feet under your desk. True story! December '11, age 10.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In Concert

My hubby says he's not creative, but look at the sweet invitation he designed and sent to me last week. :) My Hanukkah gift was tickets to the Jim Brickman concert. We've seen Jim perform two other times and I think the show gets better and better each time. For those of you who don't know who he is, he bills himself as "America's Romantic Piano Sensation" but he's much more than that. He's funny, he's talented and he surrounds himself with an amazing group of special guests. This year he performed with his sidekick, Anne Cochran (vocals) and Tracy Silverman (electric violin). Tracy designed and built the first electric violin and boy, can he work that instrument...everything from acid rock to classical! Joining the group this year was Ben Utecht, former NFL star and Superbowl champion. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, never having heard of him (not a big football fan, sorry, LOL!) He has a really beautiful voice that worked well with the rest of the group. Anyway, if Jim is performing in your area, I highly suggest seeing the show. OK, review over. LOL!
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

All the Trimmings

Every year I like to take a photo of our tree. Even though it may have pretty much the same ornaments on it, it always looks different, at least to me. :)

Journaling reads: So, it’s Thursday, December 23rd, 2011 and there’s no snow on the ground. There really isn’t any in the forecast either. Looks like we’ll be having a green Christmas this year. That’s okay because it’s plenty festive inside the house. The tree is decorated and there’s other holiday decor (including Hanukkah) out as well. It’s so much fun watching you decorate the tree. I love revisiting the ornaments and talking about their history with you. I realized the oldest ornaments are the winter- and Christmas-themed sun catchers Mommy made as a little girl. Hopefully they’ll be yours some day...
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Monday, December 26, 2011

8 Nights of Lights

(As seen on

As Hanukkah nears a close for another year (tomorrow night is the last night), I realize I haven't taken any photos. Gasp! I'd better rectify that tonight. LOL! It doesn't help that both Tom and Alexa have been sick.

This is another oldie, but goodie, about Alexa making me a hand-painted plate as a gift. Not only do I cherish the gift, but I love that my husband recorded the process for me. Is he a scrapbooker's husband or what? LOL!

The journaling reads:

You and Daddy stole off to Color Me Mine so you could make my Chanukah gift. You painted a beautiful yellow plate, complete with a brightly lit menorah and a “C” monogram for Chanukah. I’m so glad Daddy took these photos so I could see you hard at work!
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Hanukkah Letter

(As seen on

For Hanukkah '09, Alexa (at the age of eight) wrote me a beautiful letter as a gift. The words speak for themselves. :)

The journaling reads: Sometimes I think you are an adult trapped in a child’s body. You have such a way with words and a sensitivity to you that far exceeds your years. I am frequently blown away by all that you say and do and by the mature notes and cards you write to me and other people. This Hanukkah letter is just one example. I left everything exactly as you typed it so years from now you can see how you wrote and typed at age eight. I’m especially touched by the comment you made at the end about keeping the spiritual lights in my body burning. It’s not something most eight year olds know about or even think of. You are so special, amazing, and loved!

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Hanukkah is Special

Each night as we light the menorah, the three of us place bets on which candle is going to burn out first (sometimes we get really wild and try to guess which one will burn out last instead. LOL!) We usually place a coin or some other trinket in front of the candle of our choice. Alexa won tonight and she decided her prize would be to open another present. LOL! If either Tom or I won, we were going to get five kisses from Alexa. :)

So, in the spirit of my Hanukkah daily, here's another oldie, but goodie. A page I did in 2007. It's called "Hanukkah is Special". I can't believe how small Alexa looks.
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hanukkah Daily

(As seen in Scrapbook Trends)

I know a lot of you are doing a December Daily album and I love popping on to your blogs to see all of the wonderful pages you are creating. I had an "aha" moment yesterday and decided I'd do a Hanukkah Daily post on my blog this week, in the same spirit. :)

That said, this is a page I did many years back about Alexa's first menorah, a gift from my Dad. It's a row of little ballerinas, all lined up at the barre during a dance class. There's a mirror that goes behind it to reflect the light of the candles. The journaling for the page was written by my Dad:

"The eight candles on the Chanukiah commemorate the miracle of the Jewish people reclaiming the Temple in Jerusalem from the Romans. There was only enough oil for one night, but the lamps burned for eight. As recently as the beginning of the 20th century, the family of your great, great grandmother (Ida Rukin) who grew up in Ekatrinaslav (today Dneipropetrovsk) used potatoes to hold the candles. They did not have money to buy a fancy one, like your Ballerina Chanukiah. I bought it for you, when you were four, because you were a ballerina. I collect Chanukiot and have lots of them, including one made from Mah Jhong tiles.

The miracle of Chanukah is also remembered by eating oil-fried foods. Most western (Ashkenazic) Jews eat potato latkes. In Israel they eat jelly doughnuts (soufganiyot), which are also fried in oil. The objective is to not eat too many of them, otherwise you get fat."

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Handpainted Hanukkiah

(As seen in ScrapStreet magazine)

We now have five menorahs in our house. We used to have two. Our collection expanded after my Dad passed away in February. He was a great collector of hanukkiah (menorahs) and most of his collection has been donated to a museum. One of the newest additions to our collection is fish-shaped and I blogged about it here. I call it "The Luchas Fish". Another is a tall blue, whimsical, metal moose with a red cardinal sitting on its back. It's more of an art piece (something else my Dad was into) so I don't think I'll ever light it. The third is one Alexa painted as a gift for my Dad two years ago. This is the one you can see on the layout above. This is the one we lit last night. This is the one that makes me cry. This is the one that means the most to me because Alexa knew how special her PopPop's collection was to him and she wanted to contribute something to it. As we said the prayer over the candles last night, I thought, "This one's for you, Dad!"
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eight Nights of Lights

Happy Hanukkah to all of my friends and family!

Alexa gave me this drawing as a gift (yes, an early one, LOL) and I love it. I wouldn't mind having an artist make this into a real menorah for me. :)

(As seen in Scrapbooking & Beyond)

Here's a page I did last year for Crafting Jewish Style. I had some fun with it by "hiding" eight 8s on the page. Can you find them all?
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Monday, December 19, 2011

Sweet Gingerbread Creations

It has become a yearly tradition for us to visit the gingerbread house exhibit at the George Eastman House. I'm always excited to see which creations will "wow" me with their creativity and which ones will make me smile. This year the awards go to the replica of the Taj Mahal ("wow" award) and a room made ready for a Girl Scout sleepover, complete with a different quilt on each bed (made me smile award).

Based on a sketch by Becky Fleck. :)
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chocolate Goodness in a Pancake

(Photo from Nestle's web site)

I needed a quick and easy dinner for tonight, so I went with a tried-and-true Nestle recipe for Mini Morsel Pancakes. I've been using this recipe for years and we love it. I freeze the left overs so Alexa can enjoy them during the school week. I would have loved to serve strawberries with them, but they haven't looked great when I go to the market so we had mango and pineapple instead.


  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I leave this out)
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • Directions
COMBINE flour, morsels, baking powder, brown sugar and salt in large bowl. Combine milk, eggs, and vegetable oil in medium bowl; add to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened; batter may be lumpy.

HEAT griddle or skillet over medium heat; brush lightly with vegetable oil. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto hot griddle; cook until bubbles begin to burst. Turn and cook about 1 minute longer or until golden. Repeat with remaining batter.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Movers and Shakers :)

Last night's orchestra concert was impressive (and I'm not just saying that because Alexa played first violin in it, LOL). One of the pieces they played was composed by their teacher. It's called Mixin' It Up and it's a fun, playful piece with a catchy melody.

The concert was preceded by parent observation night at dance so we got to see what Alexa's been learning (at least in jazz since we had to leave for the concert before tap class started). Here she is doing some stretches before practicing her moves.

It was a busy night, with a quick bite to eat in between, but I'd never miss it for the world!
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Sharing a page I did last year at about this time because Alexa has her 5th grade orchestra concert tonight. She's been playing for a year and has not only moved from a half-size to a three quarter-size violin, but her playing has improved tremendously. I really enjoy listening to her practice (especially with Daddy strumming along on his guitar). Right now, Alexa's talking about dropping violin next year in favor of chorus. I'd love to see her continue because I think she has potential (don't all parents say that? LOL!) but definitely don't want to push her into something she's not going to enjoy. We'll see how it pans out...For now, I'm looking forward to tonight's concert and to hear her play along with the rest of the orchestra.
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Sweet as Butterscotch

We adopted our cat, Butterscotch, two years ago (at about the age of one). He is so patient and is the sweetest cat, putting up with all of Alexa's antics (like dressing him in doll clothes and teaching him to "kiss" her on command, LOL)!
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Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Bounty of Blessings

With a bit of help from a wonderful sketch by Becky Fleck, I got a layout done today. :) I mixed up some Imaginsce, Jillibean Soup, and Bella Blvd. for this one. Hope you're all having a great weekend.
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sharing Some Holiday Favorite Blog Posts

I've been poking around the Internet, reading all of my favorite blogs, and stumbling upon new ones. There is so much inspiration out there (and I don't even have to become a member on Pinterest to find it, LOL!) that I thought I'd share five of my favorite posts with you today.

1. Santa List Ornaments by Amanda Probst. So simple and creative!

2. Gingerbread Playdoh. Just think of how wonderful this must smell!

3. Santa is Stuck in the Chimney Cookies. This woman is an amazing decorator!

4. Totally Target because she helps me save so much money when I shop at Target (and elsewhere).

5. Stephanie Howell's blog because she always "tells it like it is". I especially loved today's post about making the time for creativity.

What's your favorite blog (other than your own, LOL!)? I'm always on the hunt for ideas and a good read. Thank you!
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Crafted Creatures

I'm still working on Halloween photos. I couldn't resist scrapping about these adorable crafts Alexa made at her school party. I love them so much that I want to leave them out all year. They just make me smile. :) What's making you smile today?

Based on a Basic Grey sketch by Nancy Burke.
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stop and Scrap Gift Certificate Winners...

Thank you all for participating in my fun contest yesterday! Alexa sold 219 boxes of cookies this year, just a bit shy of her goal. :)

The winner of the $25 gift certificate is Julie E who guessed 229.

The winners of the $10 gift certificates are: Pamela (200), KathleenB (244), and Houses Built of Cards (175).

Congratulations to you all!

Please email me at LSwift1110 at frontier dotcom and I will send your gift certificate codes to you once I receive them from Maria at

Happy shopping! :)
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Rock On!

Happy December 1st! I'm going back in time a bit today. Don't worry, it's just to the end of October. I took a break from scrapping fall photos and did a Halloween page for a change. I realized I only had bits and pieces of Halloween collections, so I pieced together some Doodlebug, My Mind's Eye, and Hambly to get this page done. Now that I have my Halloween supplies out, I'm going to do a page about the adorable Halloween crafts Alexa made at school this year. What are you working on today?

You have until 11:00 a.m. EST today to get your guess in for the contest. I'll be picking the winners later today...Until then, have a great day!
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