Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Roll on 2014!

2013 has been quite a year.

In my personal life I had the craziness of going through the process for a new UK visa, moving country (yet again), setting up a new place, getting re-settled back in London, celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary, and working toward some professional goals (while remaining out of traditional work).

Here in blogland, things really took off. Prior to this year, this blog was a quietly humble little corner of the internet with a few hundred views a month. In 2013 the average number of pageviews each month increased by about 2,000% compared to 2012. To me, that's nothing short of amazing. Thank you to all of my wonderful readers, both old and new. It's been such a fun year writing about my adventures, sharing my Project Life pages, offering some favorite recipes, and giving away scrapbooking card designs that I loved to make. My hope for 2014 is more of the same as well as new ideas and excitement!

Throughout the year, I've been lucky enough to have had some great sponsors. It's my hope to grow the sponsorship program in 2014. It's been my pleasure to work with wonderful bloggers & business owners throughout the year, many choosing to partner with me for months at a time. You can read all about options on my sponsorship page. For January I'm offering a promo on large and small ads of 3 months for the price of 2. A great way to promote your blog or business in the new year!

This month, I'm happy to have as sponsors:
- Alli at Our Misfit Isle
- Denise from Every Hour Here
- Amanda of Wayfaring Magnolia
- Katie at Wanderer's Palace
- Lauren of Tastes Like Love

Here's to making 2014 a year full of health, wealth, and happiness!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Project Life: weeks 46 - 49

Happy Christmas Eve!

I'm posting this from Scotland as well as from my phone. A small break from trying to finish the last of my handmade gifts before the night's happenings happen. It's unsure if I'll succeed.

Project Life 2013, however, has been very successful. Lately life has been busy and making pages has been of far more importance to me than sharing pages. Before we left London for the holiday, I snapped quick pics of the last 4 weeks' worth of pages. In the album, on my craft table - nothing fancy.

The pages for this week just past, this week, & next are all prepped with fun cards (mostly from my Christmas set . It'll be great to wrap the year up with gusto!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

There's Still Time - gift ideas for Christmastime

Christmas is fast approaching, but if you haven't gotten a gift for that crafty-type person in your life, fret not! Here are some ideas that you might just be able to get before you're out of time.

For the knitters

Knitters Christmas gift ideas

A great yarn swift, an upcycled needle bracelet, embroidered yarn ball necklace, my favorite needle set (KA Switch), blocking mats, stitch markers - heart ones are fun!.

For the scrapbookers

Scrapbook Christmas gift idea

a subscription to a kit club like Freckled Fawn, Gossamer Blue, or Studio Calico; an official Project Life corner rounder, a washi tape holder, the best (in my opinion) paper trimmer around, a Project Life core kit - I like Sunshine, some great journaling pens, a Silhouette machine, great albums - mini or otherwise

For the kitchen adventurers

Kitchen Christmas gift ideas

a fab cast iron pan, a great Bundt pan, a butter bell, something wonderful from Penzeys Spices (in the US), an ice cream maker, a Thermospatula, a Silpat (or 12)

So there you have it. Some ideas. A few of these are things that are either on my actual Christmas wishlist for this year or things I own that I enjoy and think others would like as well. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Getting ready for a new year

2013 will be gone in a mere 2 1/2 weeks. I've been a busy bunny lately with lots of Christmas present making. While I'd love to share more about what I've been sewing and knitting and overall creating, I know some of my gift recipients read the blog now and then. Hopefully I can share more after the holiday is done.

Around here, I've been getting into the Christmas spirit with baking and decorating as well. Although I've already given you lovely readers a little Christmas gift, I've got a little New Year themed offering to share. 14 cards to help you document your year through Project Life or

2014 monthly calendar cards by LauraKateIsCrafty
Download them > > > here < < <

My 2014 calendar cards remind me how much my style and my blog has changed since my first freebie offering about a year ago of 2013 cards. I'm still pretty crap at creating crop marks on white cards, but I really enjoy how I've grown in my designing and hope you do too!

This will be my last freebie of 2013. Don't forget that you can always check them all out here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Instalife: Kitchen edition

Zoinks. Where has the last week run off to? I totally blanked on PL Tuesday and have been quite wrapped up in the course I'm doing and prepping for Christmas (must send gifts to US very soon) and knitting and Doctor Who. Somehow the blog went quiet.

My kitchen, however, has been buzzing of late. Thankgiving last Thursday, a party for The Scot's 30th on Saturday, and various bits of kitchen adventuring all the while. The colder it gets outside, the more I want to just live by the stove and the oven.

Yes, strictly speaking orange & clove pomanders aren't a food. But they're made of food. Jello shots might also fall into that category. But that shelf was full when the party started, so clearly they were edible...

I hope your first week of Advent has been joyous and lovely. I'll be back to more bloggy things very soon.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thankful for lovely sponsors!

The leftovers are stowed away in the fridge, the guests have long gone, the dishes are nearly all cleaned, and I ate pie for breakfast. That must mean that Thanksgiving has passed for the year and November is rolling to a close. Here in London, the cold is really setting in (at least as much as it does here) and the leaves are getting sparser and sparser on the trees. The stores here have been pushing Christmas for weeks, but I'm still in a mood of giving thanks. I am certainly thankful for sponsors here on the blog. I'm always happy to have new faces supporting!

November has been a fabulous month ever here at Laura Kate is Crafty with pageviews hitting an all-time high! December looks to be just as great. :)

You can read all the fine print on the sponsorship info page, but the gist is this:

  • 3 sizes available
  • some offer bonuses like giveaways, tweets, etc.
  • all include a monthly mention
  • prices are super-de-duper affordable with a swap option available, too!


In November, I'm happy to have 5 new sponsors, and 2 fabulous returning sponsors:

Katie from Wanderer's Palace

Hello! I'm Katie, creator of the Wanderer's Palace blog. I'm a Canadian living in London, and I have a passion for patterns, movie-going, and all music, all the time. I work in online publishing, and live in a compact little apartment in London's east end with my partner Zach.

Like most people from Gen-Y, I'm a perpetual renter. A lot of the magazines I read featured beautiful homes that were completely customized for the owner, but there were no tips or ideas for my generation, the people who rent. Thus, Wanderer's Palace was born; we feature DIY ideas (the latest one being how to make a side table from stools and inexpensive round trays), style inspiration, and portable decor that you can pack up with you when you go. I moved to England about 2 years ago, so the blog has also evolved into a retelling of my travelling adventures.

I'm always up for partnering, so if you like my blog and you suspect I'd like yours, get in touch!


Nicole from Mercantile 519

Hi there! I'm Nicole, and I am a knitter. I've been knitting since I was 11 or 12, and haven't put the needles down since. I now own a business selling all the crazy things that come off my needles. My goal for the next 5 years is to open an actual, physical store selling handmade items from South Western Ontario, which is where I live.

On the Mercantile 519 blog, I write about my knitting projects, craft shows I've done, and every Wednesday, I have a series called Wednesdays are for Gratitude, where I share things I am grateful for that have happened the week prior. I will soon be interviewing artisans and crafters local to me and posting them, as well. You can find my knitwear shop here and my accessories shop here.


Miriam from Cats Lifestyle, & Interior

Hello, my name is Miriam and I am an online marketer, blogger + cat lover living in Liverpool, home to The Beatles, The Bunnyman and Elvis Costello.

My blog, CATS, LIFESTYLE + INTERIOR, is a design and lifestyle blog featuring my favorite places, interior design, photography and my little cat, Woody (aka Woodstock). Since 2011 I've enjoyed expanding and growing my blog to write about home decor, life in the UK and my love affair with second hand furniture.

Something you might not know… Until David Hasselhoff knocked down the Berlin Wall with his power cords, I was living under Soviet rule in East Germany and didn’t have a landline until 1995.


Amanda from Wayfairing Magnolia

I am a vintage lover, singer, graduate student who somehow finds the time to blog and sell my vintage finds on Etsy. I've been in love with vintage since I was about 14 and I was one of those weird kids who wore vintage dresses to prom...before it was cool. I'm originally from Michigan but I live in New York with my boyfriend Shawn and our pup Emmylou and we love to travel anywhere we get a chance.

My blog is a little bit of a mix of everything. I love finding vintage photo - I make collections of great things I find on Etsy, style guides, I share travel stories, sometimes you'll hear me sing and when I'm feeling crafty - some recipes. Find my shop at http://wayfaringmagnolia.etsy.com


Natalie from Genuine Major
was also a new sponsor in November. Check out her blog here.


----> Alli from Misfit Isle shared about a great article she had published. (Congrats!).

----> On Tastes Like Love, Lauren wrote a fab little post about what a difference a year can make.

Again, a big thank you to all my November sponsors. (Maybe next month I'll be writing about you!).

Don't forget that you can connect with me in lots of ways!

Bloglovin - Facebook - Pinterest - Twitter - Instagram 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tips for catching up and staying on top of Project Life

My Project Life posts of late have been pages that were part of my big catch-up. A move abroad + settling in saw me fall behind in my weekly memory-keeping and though I had anticipated a few weeks of a lull, it ended up spreading to a couple months. EEP! Now that I'm mostly up-to-date, I wanted to share my tips & tricks to catching up and staying there.

As I prepared to get things back on track, I needed to get organized. Photos were being pulled from my US phone, my UK phone, The Scot's new phone, my little point-and-shoot, as well as his DSLR. So I made folders, week by week, on my desktop (as I don't like to get my iPhoto all mingled up with Instagrams and such). When I edited them I put a "to print" group in each folder and named them week by week.

Once the photos arrived, they got sorted out properly. Week by week. I also sort photos out this way when I order a big batch of prints for my regular, annual, 12x12 albums as well.

Each week's plastics get organized through popping in ephemera and sometimes notes. Nowadays, I do this each week as I live it. Went to the movies? Stubs get slipped in when we get home. Interesting business card? Slip it in. They may not always get included in the end, but I like to keep that sort of thing should I want to use it. (The weeks in prep here ended up looking like this and this.

Now that things are looking a bit more on-task, I can focus on keeping track of life on a daily basis such that it is easy peasy to put together a week's spread later on. My personal favorite helper is the Evernote app. Each week I create a new note with the days of the week and pop in any pre-planned details such as parties, events, birthdays, etc. and then as the week happens I add in little details. As you can see, the week shown (week 45) ended up not featuring all my jotted down elements, but keeping a good record of all the things that we've done during the week. I quite like Evernote because it's got a lot of options and is free.

What are your favorite ways to keep your photos and goings-on throughout the week organized? Do you have any tricks for keeping on track or getting caught up?

I'll be sharing this at The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tune in/tune up

This week I've been continuing on a kick of finishing off the decorating in the flat and adding things in where I can to help it really get homey. Winter is coming and winter needs homey. That got me thinking about goals which got me thinking about my 31 for 32 list. It seemed a good chance to check in. The list hasn't gotten a lot more crossed off numbers since last time, but a lot of the numbers are getting further along to completion. I'm happy.

31 things to do before 32

1. Do something new/different with my hair
2. Move back to LondonYAY!
3. Get more houseplants and it continues!
4. Start a garden (of some variety respective of living space)
5. Get back in shape. Working on it!
6. Walk a mile a day for at least 1 month.June-July this happened more or less. I've been doing as best I can in the fall now.
7. Attend a NYC sporting event
NY Rangers vs. Winnipeg Jets, 1 April 13
8. Try 12 new recipes (proper recipes, not "I threw this together and it is dinner")  11 of 12 tried!
9. Make a new friend (of the "in person" variety, not just the online variety)
10. Visit Paris again
11. Visit the Statue of Liberty (because I've never been).
12. See 3 Broadway shows. Newsies, 4/13
13. See 2 West End shows.
14. Finish Project Life 2013
15. Get caught up on my scrapbooks
from 2011 & 2012 & get at least most of 2013 done. still working on it!
16. Finish the Valentine socks.
17. Find a job I like (if not love).
18. Learn to embroider19. Visit Boston
20. Put together our wedding album
21. Spend more time outdoors This has been happening a bit since returning to LDN
22. Visit Washington, DC
23. Get a new fishtank + fishies
24. Adopt a shelter dog
25. Sew and/or knit at least 50 items for BlytheCon UK 
26. Put together our mini-moon album
27. Drink (aka: buy) less soda weekly This is still improving. Every little bit!
28. Take a class or long workshop on a subject I'm interested in
29. Volunteer for something
30. Keep in touch better with my girl friends
31. Go on proper date nights at least twice a month Mostly happening!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Project Life: Weeks 42 - 45 + a bonus!

Holy crap, kids. That's me pretty much current on my Project Life spreads both in creation and in sharing! This makes me so incredibly happy.

Week 42. Another week where I was without much in the way of any documentation. Almost no photos. No tweets of note. I was still lacking a new phone, so no Instagram possible from me. The boy came to the rescue with 2 photos. I had them across a few 4x6s and made it work. The Scot even did a little journaling. Woo!
We *did* manage to keep one bit of Friday night-related ephemera. Have you been to Dirtyburger? If not, you should. Nothing fancy or revolutionary, but excellent late night noshing.

Supplies for W42 included BH Seafoam + some washi tape. Ridiculously simple.

This was the week of our 1st anniversary. Yay! Being married is ace. Not pictured is the insert of anniversary cards (from each other and from family). I included a cut-down version of an image (from a promotional brochure) of the Rob Ryan lasercut I got from The V&A. We both like Rob Ryan a lot and he did this image especially for the museum. It now hangs in our bedroom. (The Scot made me 2 lovely shadowbox maps with hearts: WI and the UK. They're fantastic).

Supplies this week were mostly BH Seafoam, with 1 BH Jade card, 1 Studio Calico card (cut from a 12x12), some Basic Grey letter stickers, and a bit of washi.

Halloween week! We didn't do much for Halloween. Some news happened that I wanted to write about, but also keep a bit private - I really like using envelopes for journaling of this nature. Sometimes there are thing that you totally want to document, but perhaps don't want the casual flipper-through-er of your album to read without a bit of effort (or perhaps they won't even notice it's a journal card). So tucked away into an envelope in a pocket is ideal. I left this one without any ornamentation as it wasn't really happy stuff. Seemed weird make it shiny.

Although our Halloween was a bit quiet (we had an event the following Sunday - not part of Week 44), I wanted to include it, so I used the little jack o'lantern card from my Fall Faces freebie set.

Supplies for Week 44 were BH Seafoam, one of my own cards, a Recollections envelope, Hero Arts stamps, some washi, & I just realized I forgot to give a label to the bottom right photos from the Craft Beer Social Club night we attended. So they'll be getting a Martha Stewart label soon!

Onward to the 4th week I'm sharing! It started off with a late Halloween event on Sunday evening and ended with a fab party at a friend's flat. In the middle I was sick in bed with a cold, but forced myself out on Thursday to see our friend Dave's band, Black Orchid Empire, play in Camden. They fully do not suck. You might like to check them out!

This week I really was liking things on angles. I chose card to repeat the motif and used journaling and such to accent it throughout. Sometimes little elements help pull things together.

Supplies were simply BH Seafoam and some Martha Labels. Easy peasy week!


And now.......

If you're a regular reader of the blog, then you probably saw my post last Thursday night featuring my new card set. As a little holiday treat for fans of Laura Kate Is Crafty on Facebook, I'm sharing a mini version of my Ho Ho Holiday kit. All you have to do is like the page - and it's a great way to keep up to date with my goings on and projects!

Christmas mini kit by LauraKateIsCrafty

Now I'll get my brain back into Thanksgiving mode. Lots to prep for next week. We'll be having 10-12 people in our flat and I have to figure out where to put them all!

As I do each week, I'll be linking up at The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Breaking the habit

This picture may not look impressive to you, but it was like climbing a mountain to me

Last night The Scot and I did some sorting out of our living room. We got this great shelf a few weeks back, but hadn't really done anything with it other than put the Cavey collection on a couple shelves. The room all in needed a good tidy and a vacuum, but between me being sick for a week and then him being sick for a week (and still a bit), we'd really just let it go. So the evening started with a good clean up and sort out then vacuuming and enjoying the clean and clear nature of the space. Later, I decided to attack the shelf. Books and movies and games and framed things found homes. Some of the Caveys share the space, while some ended up back by the tv (we love them there, and to be honest the big tv looked sad and lonely all by itself.

I'm one of those people who is terrible about keeping things neat and tidy. My room as a kid was one that you could've run a bulldozer through and not notice much difference. Clean laundry would constantly sit in folded piles without being put away if it weren't for The Scot taking it to the bedroom and sticking it in the middle of the bed where I have to deal with my own! Last winter I wrote about how I'd made it a habit since we got married to make the bed daily. For the most part, I've been really good about keeping that up. When we're not feeling well, sometimes "make the bed" is more "pull the comforter up in a mostly straight fashion" but I've gotten to the point that I can't get started with my day if I come back to the room to get dressed and it's unmade. It just rubs me the wrong way. Now this may have taken 3 decades to achieve, but I'm glad for a new habit. I bit my nails for nearly as long, too, and now I hate it when they're short - and my current description of "short" is what I would've considered an impressive length to reach without chomping on in years past. Change is sometimes good. Positive changes are just that: positive.

With the happy feeling of a clean living room and a lovely sorted out shelf, I decided it was time to pull out the big guns. Time to climb aboard the bucking bronco and not let go until I won. It was time to clean up the craft area.

Our new place has a lovely mezzanine level which allows for lots of storage space, an Xbox & guitar area for The Scot, and a crafting area for me. Plus some extra space. It's crazy that we found some place like this in London. Flats with this much useable space just don't happen that often. The problem with my craft area is that I got about 80% moved in/sorted out and then I stopped. (We moved in 3 months ago). Along the way, I set things down here and there. My prep for BlytheCon UK added to the mess. There were literally 4 piles of this and that on the floor. I also don't yet have a little trashcan, so the scrapbooking detritus ends up on the floor. For the most part this is a lot of photo corners from Project Life rounding! It was all quite simply a huge mess.

The mess took some order as I sorted things into sections (doll stuff, sewing stuff, knitting/stitching stuff, trash, miscellaneous other bits). Then I put each little pile into its place and/or created a place for it. The trash got gathered up and taken away and in the end I was left with a lovely open space. Yes, it was still covered in tiny paper scraps to vacuum up at a more suitable time (aka: it was nearly midnight and that's not nice in a shared building), but it was open. It was airy. It was the reason I fell in love with this flat.

My craft table itself still needs some love. Before it will be truly fully functional I need to get a bit more storage for PL cards and such. But today it's getting a mini sort out. And soon I might even have a real office-type chair instead of a borrowed dining chair from the kitchen. But these things happen in steps. Small steps are good, if you're still moving forward.

Now I get to really think about how to decorate/use the space well. I do so like things when they're clean and orderly. Maybe I can make some more new habits.

Friday, November 15, 2013

An early peek under the tree

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a firm believer in keeping Christmas during Christmastime. AKA: no trees or treats or decorations or carols or various other holiday stuff will be tolerated by me before Advent begins. Advent is the time to prepare for Christmas and it seems like plenty enough time to properly do it. This year, Advent starts on the 1st of December. So I'll not be thinking much about trees or candy canes or mine pies or stockings before then.

But I've made an exception.

I've been working on a new card set on and off over the past few weeks. One that I quite like. The Scot even thinks some would make nice Christmas cards for sending to family and friends. It seems like everywhere I look people are prepping for December Daily projects and the like. So I thought I'd pop them up in my shop tonight and share here on the blog.

Click on the photo to be taken to my shop on Storenvy

For now, I'm keeping Christmas in my heart. I'll be all about keeping it in my home and in public in a bit over 2 weeks. And anyhow, have you seen Dinovember??? Epic.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Project Life: Weeks 39 - 41

This week I'm sharing the last 3 weeks of my big catch-up. Yes, this still leaves me about a month "behind" but that's fine. When I started my catching up process, this is where the calendar was and so I had all the weeks up to that point printed up. Having only about 4 more weeks to print and scrapbook will be a breeze. In fact, I already have a number of cards & ephemera slipped in to pockets for the weeks to follow these.

Week 39 was the week I finally hit that point that many Project Lifers find themselves at: the week where you just didn't really take pictures. All the photos here are from the Saturday of the week. I'd been sewing in anticipation of BlytheCon UK most of that week (I did take a photo, but hadn't printed it and frankly didn't feel like going back to do so) and we'd both just been wrapped up in living life rather than documenting it. And that's totally ok.

I took advantage of the change of approach and mixed it up a bunch with supplies: BH Seafoam, BH Jade, & a Studio Calico cards all made up the mix. A few BH arrow stickers helped me write about what we actually did during the week, and some tweets (I've been a big fan of using these in my catching up phase) helped tell the story of our flatwarming party.

The following week we headed to Scotland for time with family & friends and wrapping the week up with BlytheCon UK 2013.

A lot happened that week, but I just added one insert page (cut down to make a 3-up 4x6 panel). For the most part, I let the pictures do the talking, though I did add a bit of journaling. The pages were mostly made up of BH Seafoam, with a BH Honey thrown in for good measure, along with the "♥ this" card I cut on my Silhouette using an Ali Edwards file. This is the only week of the 3 I'm sharing where I used some Martha Stewart labels, which is pretty shocking as they're my usual go-to! Instead of writing a title for the BlythCon UK photos, I attached the button badge I received as an attendee to my journaling card on the righthand page & really enjoy how it turned out.

Week 41 was another week a little low on photos. After all the excitement and busybusybusy of the previous week, we both just chilled out a lot that week! I again looked to BH Honey to add some new cards to the mix of BH Seafoam and also included one Studio Calico card (supporting the ephemera & journaling from the textile show I attended). A bit of washi and a bunch of tweets helped to pretty things up and tell about what we were up to. A bit of a slow week, but it ended with a giant new tv, so that must be good!

It's such a great feeling to be done with my catch-up pile. I hope to finish up the weeks that I'm still not quite up-to-date with this week, so that from next week forward I'll be back on track to just be offset by a week with my pages. I quite like it that way and find I am better about adding/writing about the little things then.

I'm already starting to think about how I'll be approaching Project Life in 2014. Will you be continuing with PL next year or if you haven't ever tried it, would you like to give it a shot?

I'll be sharing this at The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday.