Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Western Wind - Book Review

When a man dies, if there are no witnesses and there is no body, is it an accident or is it suicide? And what other secrets will be dredged up now that he's gone?

That's the premise of the new novel The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey. Set in the 15th century, the parish priest tells the story through his own point of view and in a backwards timeline, which may seem kind of odd when you first start reading, but there is a point to it and it also serves as a nice way to unfold the events leading up to Thomas Newman's death. 

You've got someone coming to investigate the death, possible suspects, and a priest who is keeping something a secret. But why? And what will he end up doing when time has run out?

This book was recommended to me as a book club read, and I think that it definitely offers some interesting discussion points, particularly in the ending. It did take some time for me to get into the book, so keep that in mind if you feel like you're slogging through the first part. Once you realize how the story is being told and you make it to the second part, things start to come together and the story gets a little more exciting.

The Western Wind is published by Grove Press and is available on bookstore shelves today. I received a free advance review copy at BookExpo America.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Queen of the Tractor Scrapbook Page featuring Cheeky Studio

Get ready! I went all out for this layout using the November Autumn Beauty kit from Cheeky Studio. There was an awesome Wild Flowers stamp set in it, and I used some of the stamps to create my own patterned paper. How cool does it look? You can find more details about what I did in my process video.

I also did some fussy cutting with the big floral piece from the Autumn Beauty patterned paper. I love the way it sits in the bottom corner of the layout. I used some of the cut-apart pieces to do my journaling, and then used up my last big white bow (LOVE THEM!) for more embellishment.

Aren't the colors in this collection gorgeous? They are so bright and fall-themed, and I've been having a great time using all the pieces in this kit. In fact, I'm actually running out of supplies now. I think I'll have to buy some more!

To add a little more extra to the page, I sprayed some Shimmerz Pop Art Pink on the background. It's kind of an orangey-pink color that fits so well with the oranges and pinks in this collection. You can purchase Pop Art Pink and other Shimmerz products from the Cheeky Studio store!

If you missed out on the kit, don't worry! The Autumn Beauty products can be purchased individually, and you can use my discount code CookScrap10 to save 10%! Happy scrapping!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Farm Girls Scrapbook Page featuring Cheeky Studio

Hi gang! If you think that I didn't use my November Autumn Beauty Cheeky Studio kit for fall layouts, think again! I went right out and printed up some photos of me and my daughter from a September trip to the farm because I knew they'd be perfect with this collection. 

The only thing I added to this one from my stash was some Tattered Angels misting spray in Harvest Orange. It definitely helped to complete the look, and I love how the orangey color of it matched so well with the oranges, reds, and yellows in the Autumn Beauty ephemera and patterned paper collections.

I tried to create a little diagonal line with my photos and the ephemera pieces. I can't remember now, but this might have been based on one of the sketches that came with the kit.

No matter where I got my inspiration, it was really fun working with this kit. I love fall and I love the colors in the kit! I also love the wide variety of ephemera pieces and how many you get - I have already made five layouts with this kit and I still have ephemera left over!

Stay tuned for Monday when I reveal my next fall-themed layout!

And don't forget that you can still subscribe to the Cheeky Studio kit club AND save 10% off any non-kit orders when you use my discount code, Cookscrap10.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Big Things Small Town Scrapbook Page

I've got another scrapbook layout to share with you AND a process video! Last month I was all about using up my scrap stash, and that's how this layout came about. Once I really paid attention to what was in my stash, I found that I had papers and embellishments that went together, allowing me to complete this two-pager.

The pictures are from a small side trip we took to Casey, Illinois two summers ago during our road trip. If you don't know, Casey is a small town with a lot of BIG things. In fact, eight of them are certified by Guinness World Records as the "world's largest". How cool is that?

We had a lot of fun exploring all the large sights! And I thought that the Vicki Boutin stickers from one of my past Cheeky Studio kits were just perfect to help describe our experience. I also used some old Cheeky Studio sequins, Cheeky Studio cut aparts, Crate Paper tags, and random travel-themed stickers (the manufacturer I can't remember).

I'm so glad with how this layout turned out. It is based on a sketch that I pinned to Pinterest and I've used it before for a two-page layout. It just makes things so much easier! I will, of course, be using it again.

What are some travel gems that you've discovered while out and about in the world?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

GFAF 2018 Recap Video

I managed to put together a little recap video from the Secaucus, NJ Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly Expo the other weekend. Check out all the cool things they have there and visit www.GFAFExpo.com to find an Expo near you!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Toy Gift Guide 2018: Best Dolls

The Toy Gift Guide continues this week with a category that is one of my favorites: dolls! I loved playing with my Barbie dolls when I was a kid, and while there are some Barbies on my list, I've included several other types of dolls that are just as fun and will inspire lots of imaginative play.

1. Luciana Vega Girl of the Year 2018 - American Girl, 8+
This doll was a hot seller at the beginning of the year when it was first introduced. But don't worry if you can't get your hands on her. For the first time, Luciana is going to be kept in circulation past her 2018 introduction. I love how this doll promotes science and exploration, showing girls how interesting STEM can be!

2. Barbie Crayola Color Magic Station - Mattel, 5+
Barbie is all about fashion, but what if you could create your own fashions for Barbie? That's what the Color Magic Station is all about, complete with Crayola-branded inks for designing fun airbrush designs on different included outfits. I love how easy this toy was to use and that the inks are washable, so you can keep creating different designs over and over.

3. My Little Pony 35th Anniversary Original 1983 Collection - Basic Fun, 3+
Kids today probably have no idea that My Little Pony existed 35 years ago and that their moms probably played with them, too. But that's where this anniversary collection comes in. Featuring the six original ponies (more figures have also been released), these would be fun collector's toys or just a cool way to introduce some classic pony play to little kids.

4. Barbie Inspiring Women Amelia Earhart - Mattel, 6+
The Inspiring Women collection is all about showcasing strong females in history, and Mattel did a great job capturing the likeness of female aviator Amelia Earhart. This is one that collector's will want, but it's a great first collectible for young girls. Or if you have a mom like mine, you'll take it out of the box and play with it!

5. Barbie Made to Move Baseball Player - Mattel, 3+
I totally wish this Barbie doll had been around when I was kid! Even though I was not athletic at all, I always dreamed about becoming a female pro baseball player. Well, flash forward 30+ years and not much has changed in the real-world in terms of women's equality in sports, but in Barbie's world she's the star pitcher! This doll is super poseable so you can really recreate baseball moves and poses.

6. Barbie Crayola Confetti Skirt Studio - Mattel, 5+
I know there is a lot of Barbie on this list, but as I said before, I loved playing with Barbie as a kid, and there are just so many good Barbies out right now! Mattel and Barbie teamed up again with Crayola for this super creative fashion design studio where kids get to add paper confetti and pom poms to skirts for Barbie. You can even draw and add stickers to the skirts or color in the designs on Barbie's washable top!

7. Disney Princess Comic Collection - Hasbro, 3+
These are available exclusively at Target, and if you're a fan of the Disney Princesses and cool stylized figures, then you'll definitely want to scoop up these dolls no matter how old you are. My favorite is The Little Mermaid set with Ursula, Ariel, and Eric. These are all based on a new series of Disney Princess comic books that bring a more modern-day twist to the princesses' adventures.

And that's my list for dolls! What is on your kid's wish list this holiday season?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Home Team Scrapbook Page

Hi all! I have another scrapbook layout to share with you this week. I was inspired by a fellow DT member to go through my scrap drawer and pull out coordinating papers that I could use to complete this two-page layout. I have a process video to share with you, too! I'm pretty pleased with the end result.

These are photos from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. I took A LOT of pictures there. I grouped these photos together because they are all of St. Louis Cardinals stuff that is on display in the museum. And because the Cardinals colors are red and white, I decided to stick to a red, white/cream, and black color scheme.

The American Crafts alphas were from a Clique Kit kit, and I spelled out "Home Team" because St. Louis is my hometown. I also broke out some October Afternoon embellishments in coordinating colors to go behind the title and elsewhere on the layout. Man, it feels good to use up stuff from my stash.

I had some scraps of an old Crate Paper patterned paper that I cut into strips so I could do my journaling. Sometimes that is the easiest way to create your own journaling spots!

So, what do you think? I encourage you to view the video linked above because I go through the whole process of creating this stashbuster in more detail. It was a lot of fun to put together. I still have LOTS of scraps left, so I should probably do another one of these layouts soon, huh?

Thanks for looking!