November 28, 2012

Gingerbread Houses in Asheville, NC

This was my favorite of the competition. While technically not a "house" the multiple layers of
gingerbread that made up this tree and decorations were gorgeous.

My husband and I kicked off the Christmas season with a trip to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.  I've always wanted to go and catch The National Gingerbread Competition and this was my chance. I snapped pictures of a few of my favorites to share, but I would highly recommend seeing them in person. They are truly amazing and inspirational. You'll want to give it a try yourself  (or at least buy one of the $100 plastic versions in the gift shop!).

I loved the different interpretations of houses, like this windmill.

The glass windows in this traditional gingerbread house were the best in the competition.

If you're as inspired as I was, check out these "How to Make Gingerbread House" instructions I found.

November 25, 2012

Project Life

You know when you run across something and you say to yourself "Why on earth did I not come up with that?" Well it has happened to me again. Meet Project Life -- maybe you've heard of it?  I certainly hadn't until I ran across some examples on Pinterest... I have now started a Pinterest board to collect all the good Project Life ideas I've found.

Basically, it's slot-and-scribble scrapbooking for people like me.
1.) I don't have time to scrapbook with a toddler running around trying to get into everything I do; and
2.) I'm not that creative when it comes to scrapbooking and I'm never, ever happy with the results, which is why I've abandoned most scrapbooking projects over the years.

Project Life works like this: You buy the plastic sleeves, the binder, and journaling cards, you slide the cards in with some pictures, and you're good to go. While it isn't sold in Jo-Anns or Hobby Lobby, it is available on, and I lucked out with free shipping on mine, which was awesome.  Project Life also is available in a digital version you can build, but that just seemed like more time in front of the computer, which I'm trying to avoid.

Most Project Lifers seem to focus on books featuring weekly journaling spreads, which gets you 52 weeks worth of content, but I've decided to focus this first year on monthly spreads with a few extra sheets thrown in here and there.  That's really the most I can handle during limited nap times and that brief window of time in the evenings -- you know, the after-she-goes-to-bed-but-before-we-go-to-bed time.

Here are a few ways I've kept up with Project Life over the past months:
  • I have a Project Life large envelope in the binder for each month. Throughout the month, I will put trinkets, pictures, artwork, tickets, and other memorabilia in the envelope; when I'm ready to work on a page, I pull out what I need and leave what I don't. I don't want to throw anything away, so the envelope allows me to store items that didn't fit in the binder display, and they're still available to riffle through later.
  • I have started saving my photos with filenames ending in the month and year. I now have a set of picture_Oct12.jpg photos ready for printing. I know exactly what month I took them, so it's easier to keep track if my plans change and I can't get to my October pages for a little while.
  • I bought a color printer. There was a sale at Best Buy, I had an online coupon, and when it was all said and done, having a $100 printer that prints wirelessly from my iPhone and iPad and scans just about anything saves me printing dollars, gas to pick them up, and/or the wait when I have them sent through the mail. It was just worth it. When I'm ready to work, there's nothing stopping me, and I can photo edit on the fly.
  • I'm keeping it simple. There are some amazing, creative Project Lifers out there, but I had an honest conversation with myself about my time and goals. For me, ensuring that I can walk into 2013 with the 2012 Project Life album done was more important than creating embellished layouts and designs. I'm doing my best to stick to the basics and enhance things here and there.
There are some really excellent scrapbooks spreads I found inspiring and amazing on my Project Life Pinterest board . I'm going to work to add more designs and journal cards... you gotta have goals right?!?

November 22, 2012

Sneak Peek: Sliced 4-Patch Baby Quilt

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I have a book review posted over on Craft Buds today as part of the blog tour for the new quilting book Modern Designs for Classic Quilts by Kelly Biscopink and Andrea Johnson.

In addition to the book review, I decided to make one of the projects from the book to feature here on Inspire Me Grey.  I was a little short on time, so here's a sneak peek of my work-in-progress.  I used the sliced 4-patch quilt pattern from the book, specifically Kelly's smaller variation, La Femme de la Mer Quilt.  In order to use fabric that I already had on hand, I made my quilt scrappy with a fat quarter bundle of Riley Blake's Woodland Tails that I won in a giveaway from Hawthorne Threads earlier this year. I picked fat quarters from the blue and green palettes for a gender-neutral color combination.

The quilt top still needs a border, but here's a sneak peek.  This pattern was really easy to follow and came together quickly.  The finished top will be around 36 x 46.  (My piecing isn't always perfect, so my blocks are a tad smaller than the pattern in the book.)  The great thing about making the quilt with lots of prints is that they disguise my straight seams that don't line up perfectly.  Who cares about perfect corners anyway when there are frolicking lambs and little skunks to admire? 


November 9, 2012

October Ornament: More Letters

October: Letters

Before I head off on a little vacation sans laptop, I wanted to share my second ornament from October.  (Here's my first.)  I decided to try something different with this one and bought a piece of 12x12 scrapbook paper with "Merry Christmas" printed all over it.  I used this tutorial from Bird's Party Blog to assemble the paper ball.  I don't have a large circle punch, so the most tedious part of the process was probably cutting out all the circles. I like the print on paper design of this ornament, the dimension, and the fact that the words are going in all different directions.


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