Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sponsorship on LKiC

Writing here at Laura Kate Is Crafty is something I love. I enjoy the way that blogging can be a totally solitary activity in the writing and photographing and putting-it-all-together, but then suddenly the words I've written and the photos I've shared strike a chord in someone enough that they want to leave a comment, or click "like" on Facebook, or start to follow the blog regularly on Bloglovin'. Though I've been writing here for almost 7 years, it's really in the past year that the blog has really grown to develop regular readership and see numbers of any big significance. I love you, my readers! I love the blogs that I read regularly, as well. Interacting through comments, entering contests, and sponsorship are things I enjoy doing. Perhaps some of you with small, growing blogs or even big and sparkly blog would consider sponsoring here in November.

All the details are on my sponsorship info page, but the basics are 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 October, I'm happy to have three fabulous returning sponsors:

----> At Every Hour Here, Denise has been doing a lot of Project Life blogging, but I got super excited about the Polaroid Quilt she's working on. How cool is that?

----> Over on Misfit Isle, Alli shared a bit about her adorable pet hedgehog. My sister kept tiny hedgies for years, so seeing that post brought a big smile to my face.

----> Lauren from Tastes Like Love offered a little peek into her home recently. She's got a great style and the quirky decor of her place is adorable.

Please take a minute to check out my October sponsors' blogs and maybe next month I'll be sharing about your blog or business!

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

Bloglovin - Facebook - Pinterest - Twitter - Instagram 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Project Life: Weeks 32-34

Here I find myself even more caught up with my Project Life. Which is a great feeling. I really love this take on memory-keeping and getting behind with it really made it a bit less fun. So getting things back on roll has been really enjoyable.

Week 32 saw us landing back in London - I created a fun little card with my Silhouette to remind me in the future of the journey. While searching for a new flat we stayed with a friend. As it happened, we found a new place on the Tuesday, but it took aaaages to get all the paperwork sorted. I used an insert page to feature the business cards from the many many estate agents I visited and signed up with!

This filler card got spiced up with an Amy Tangerine sticker. I love the versatility of the Seafoam b/w stripe cards! The rest of the week is mainly BH Seafoam with one BH Jade and one Studio Calico card.

The next week we finally got to move in to our new place. (Yay!) But not until Friday. (Boo!) I documented the week using all BH Seafoam, along with one card from my Arrowed collection & another Amy Tangerine sticker. (I've blurred out our new address here).

While working on catching up with my Project Life, I've been keeping everything relatively simple and mostly sticking to the Seafoam core kit only. Tossing in a few Martha Stewart labels or a little bit of washi makes it all come together. I've also been absolutely loving my Tiny Attacher lately!

During this catch-up season, I've realized that while I do love Seafoam, I'm getting to the point where I'm ready for something different. I think that 2014 will be not based on one kit in general. We'll see what I'm feeling like in a few months. BH Jade is pretty fun, and I've only used a bit of it. This summer, I picked up BH Honey for an album that I made my mom and have quite a bit of that - but I'm not sure much of it is really me. I've got the Amy Tangerine mini kit coming my way (well, both of them after that HSN blunder), and my eye is on BH Sunshine too. While the Studio Calico kit is waaaaay too pricey for me to afford over here in London on a standard subscription, I might just pick up a kit here and there.

What are your plans for Project Life next year?

As usual, I'm linking up at The Mom Creative.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Treat For You (No Tricks!)

Fall is full of lots of great things: an excuse to wear cozy clothes, the changing colors of the trees, and all foods pumpkin-related. It's also full of a handful of holidays that all happen within a week of each other! Halloween, Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Night).

As an American, I love me some Halloween. Growing up, until I was middle school-aged, my parents held annual Halloween costume parties that were rather epic among their circle. Having long known of Bonfire Night (and even attempting to celebrate it in the US, to little understanding from those around me), I like that I now live in the place where it's from. We're hoping to get down to Lewes for their amazingly huge Bonfire Night celebrations one of these years. Being neither of Mexican heritage, nor really knowing anyone who celebrates, Day of the Dead has always been more of something I appreciate aesthetically. It's becoming more popular as a Halloween tie-in these days, but I think it's fascinating in its own right.

In celebration of the many faces of Autumn, I created a set of cards as a freebie using some vintage Halloween illustrations*, a take on a Mexican sugar skull, and a stylized Mr. Fawkes. The little jack o'lantern is my favorite, and I hope you'll find a favorite as well!

Fall holidays cards by LauraKateIsCrafty
Grab them > > > here < < <

Feel free to use these in any of your personal projects and if you'd like to share, I'd love to see how you've used them!

Happy Haunting!

*from what I can find, the vintage illustrations are in the public domain.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tunes to keep the pace up

Yesterday, after a much-too-long break, I pulled on my running shoes and got my butt off the couch and found a decent route to get going with my #2MilesADay plan again. While I'm currently stuck with a crappy old phone that can't get new apps, thereby not having any official distance tracker or a voice in my ear when I hit a mile mark, I do still have motivation and the ability to draw my route on a distance tracker online! So I have some options that I know the approximate distance of until I get a new phone and can get back to better habits.

With the idea of getting back into better habits, I decided my old walking tunes playlist needed a revamp. I put one together that varies in pace a bit: starting a bit faster, slowing, speeding up again, and ending with Mika. Because Mika.

My powerwalking in NJ averaged 13-16 minutes/mile depending on the weather and the terrain, and these tunes are of a good BPM for me to do that comfortably. If you're into walking for fitness, would like to be into it, or if you already jog or whatnot, I hope you might like this playlist! Or even just for jamming out to. Old favorites, new likes, a bit of silliness, and a lot of catchy pop tunes overall. While the length of this playlist is longer than I need right now, I like having the option of skipping forward if the mood strikes/the pace of the day calls for it.

Power for Walking by LK on Grooveshark

Now it's time for me to put the shoes back on and get out there this afternoon!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Project Life weeks 30 & 31 + a cut file freebie!

After far too long an absence, I have some Project Life pages to share! I've gotten the basics of the past few months done, and am working my way through the individual weeks to add details, journaling, and such.

Week 30 was pretty full of little photos. So much was happening in our life and we had lots of things that I wanted to include. Instagram to the rescue! The lower right hand side even got a faux double 3x4 use. I used the BH Seafoam kit exclusively this week (plus my favorite Martha labels & a tiny touch of washi tape).

One thing that I quite liked was incorporating both more photos and a bit of a story without words by using a little snapshot of some Instax photos from our "leaving do." The actual Instaxs will be used in my 12x12 annual book later.

Week 31 mixed things up a bit more. This was the week when we packed up the last of our boxes, sent them away, said goodbye to our NY/NJ friends, and hopped on a plane over the Atlantic. I used mainly the BH Seafoam kit, along with a couple acrylic pieces from Basic Grey, a pocket (for some more personal journaling) from Recollections, a lovely quote freebie from Elise Blaha Cripe, and one card ("Go") from my Arrowed collection.

You may also spot the little cut frame used on my Union Jack manicure photo. It's one I used before that I'd mentioned would eventually end up as a freebie. Well, today is the day! It's part of a set of 4 cut files for 3x4 cards that I designed. The feather-like arrows can be a bit putzy with thicker papers/cardstock, but I like them nonetheless and I hope you do too!

Trendy Frame cut files for Silhouette by LauraKateIsCrafty
You can download the cards > > > here < < <

I'll be happily updating more weeks of Project Life on days other than just Tuesdays in coming weeks as I get caught up with the past months and back on more of a schedule. It feels so good to get scrapping on my new craft desk and create some new pages!

I'll be linking up to The Mom Creative.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Our DIY wedding and reception

After yesterday's anniversary, I realized that since our wedding I've actually gained a lot of readers. Many of you who now follow the blog regularly might not have been reading when I shared about our wedding prep and such and I thought I'd do a little wrap up of the posts I created to share ideas and photos!

Our wedding was definitely a DIY affair, and was done a reasonably small budget (compared to the average wedding cost info that I found). Although a number of our vendors/suppliers were local to the Madison, WI area, I sourced lots of things from throughout the US and thought I'd share a bit more about the who/what/where.

*Getting Ready* ---------------- *Saying 'I do'* ---------------- *Snapping Pics*

The biggest splurges were my dress (which, while custom, was still less than the majority found at most bridal salons), the bar catering (our reception venue had a required company - though they worked with us as best they could), and hiring a great set of local planners Zoe K Events for a few hours to set up the reception space for us (since our venue had a weeeeird timetable that only allowed set-up during the time that fell between our ceremony & the start of the reception when we were taking photos!). Our biggest saves were our invitations (which fell between print at home kit pricing and full suite cost), our amazing taco buffet, and our delicious cake. We were lucky to find vendors for our food that worked with us to keep things on budget and still have something wedding-worthy. While the groomsmen paid for their own kilts, I wanted to mention that should you ever need kilts in the US, KiltRentalUSA were absolutely great to work with.

Many people these days DIY their wedding flowers. For me, it was a no-brainer. I got most of my flowers from Russ Wholesale, who were absolutely great about getting in contact to discuss availability and best delivery dates. I also got bulk carnations online and used a fab local florist for the heather and for a lovely birthday bouquet for my grandmother (we celebrated her 90th at the reception, too!). My bridesmaids and I assembled the bouquets and boutonnieres the day before as best we could before sticking most them back into some water and all into the fridge until the next day. For the most part, they all came out well. The most fun part of flower prep was ripping the heads off 80+ carnations to make the tossing flowers for the flower girls (who, hilarious, barely sprinkled any as they all wanted to keep them!).

*Party Time!* ---------- *Handkerchief Invitations* -------- *Badge Favors*

The reception decor didn't involve flowers and wasn't allowed to involve candles (as per the rules of the venue), but this was all great as I am a big fan of honeycomb balls. I took the wedding as a great chance to use them everywhere! Hanging in strands from the ceiling, in vases like a lollipop for the table centerpieces, and in a little garland across the head table. Once again, I went the wholesale route. Yes, I spent about $150 on paper balls. But they made me super happy! I made the strands to hang from the ceiling (a la Martha) and my bridesmaids helped me get them opened up and fully assembled the day before. It was a bit hectic, but they added a great bit of whimsy to the decor.

Our handkerchief invitations and button badge favors have already been given their own write-ups, but I did want to reiterate how much I enjoyed the process of making both things and how many lovely comments and compliments I have gotten (and continue to get) about both things. The invitations really helped convey a special bit of us to our friends and family, and the favors helped our guests feel like part of the day. To me, our marriage is about us, but our wedding day was about sharing our commitment with important family & friends in our lives - so making them feel like they're a special part of the day was important to me.

If you're planning a wedding or other special affair, I hope you've been able to snag some ideas or at least get your own mind going with unique ideas of your own for your day! Planning our wedding was sometimes stressful, but mostly fun. I used the Martha Stewart Weddings online tools for the guest list & reception floor/seating plan, and felt it was pretty indispensable to me. Weddings don't necessarily need to look like they do in Martha, so long as they make you happy! Have fun with it!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Three hundred sixty-five

Last year on this day at a bit after 3:30pm Central Time, I walked down the aisle of a tiny country church to stand next to a man in a skirt and marry him. Ok, yes, it was a kilt. And the poufiness of my skirt rather dwarfed him. The minister wore running shoes (something which both baffles me and cracks me up due to the total impropriety of it). My aunt & uncle sang. My brother & sister read. The Brits in attendance (mostly Scots) found things a bit different, but they seemed to like it. The Americans (mostly Wisconsinites) seemed to enjoy that things didn't drag on for ages. It went by in a flash.

Our DIY wedding and reception were a blast. But the year since has been the real thing. The wedding is one day, the marriage is forever. It's no secret that, apart from getting hitched, I had a personally rough summer 2012 - summer 2013. Moving, a hurricane, moving, lacking work, visa stuff, moving, still lacking work - it's been a challenge. I try to not get too much into the rough stuff here on the blog, but I wanted to make a point today to thank my most amazing husband, Alan (aka: The Scot), for helping me get through it all. (I know he always peeks at my blog posts).

The traditional first anniversary gift is paper. While I've got something paper-based as a big gift, this is a little gift for my husband that I also thought would be fun to share here on the blog. We have a tradition of taking silly self-portraits (this happened far more in the past year than is shown on this video) and I love that we have many of them to document places and events and such. It makes me smile.

The music was our first dance and was a surprise for/gift to The Scot on our wedding day. The mixing isn't perfect and the recording isn't pristine, but that doesn't bother me. It still made me happy to give.

Here's to getting as many more anniversaries as we can squeak out of this life!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sew a reversible Blythe skirt!

At BlytheCon UK in Glasgow I led a sewing workshop in hand sewing a simple reversible wrap skirt for Blythe dolls (while I haven't tested it, it would likely work for most 1:6 scale fashion dolls). I wanted to share the pattern as a freebie here on the blog and I hope you enjoy it. The instructions were written in plain English with the intention of being understandable to a complete sewing novice (as well as those at BCUK who might not have English as a first language), so if you're a more experienced sewer they might seem over-simplified, but you'll whiz through sewing the skirt in no time. If you choose to machine sew the pattern, it'll go even faster. It's easy peasy and a lot of fun!

credit: Babastrzelec vel Jaemigrantka

I know I'm not the first person to share a simple skirt pattern (nor will I likely be the last), but I do hope you'll enjoy my take on the idea. It's designed to print correctly at 100% on A4 paper (so US folks will need to print at 97%ish).


Happy sewing!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

BlytheCon UK 2013

It's been a week now since BCUK2013 in Glasgow and I'm still a little sad that it's over.

This year's Con was substantially smaller than the past 3 years. The organizers did a nice job at putting things together, but a number of factors led to it not being particularly well-attended. That being said, it was still a fun day and everyone who did come was very friendly.

As I have at previous BlytheCons, I had a stall for my dolly fashions. Since my rainbow sweaters were such a hit in Dallas and sold out, I knit up gobs of them for Glasgow. Oddly enough, my dresses proved more popular this year. Oops! More for Etsy then! :)

There were 20ish vendors selling every manner of dolly creation from dresses to shoes and hair to eyechips and more. It was great to see stalls from people I know/know of as well as to see some new crafters' creations. The raffle was full of prettiness as well, though this year I didn't win a thing.

In the afternoon I led a sewing workshop. It was a bit of a last minute request and so I went simple with a make-and-take reversible A-line skirt. The workshop was far more of a success than I had anticipated. There were 16 students and nearly everyone finished. The seasoned sewers found it a simple & fun project, and the newbies didn't feel daunted by the prospect of making something themselves which was exactly how I was hoping people would feel about it! Sadly, I don't think anyone got any photos of the workshop. (The Scot was watching my stall at the time and neither of the organizers popped down). Oh well. I know it was a fun time! The pattern will be up here on the blog soon as a freebie.

This year the "featured doll" was just any doll with red hair - aka Red Haired Lassis. They did the redheads group shot nearly first thing, so it wasn't very big, but The Scot very kindly took my Diana out to snap some photos while I stayed with my stall. I think they looked lovely.

The organizers hired a band for the day called "Banjo Lounge 4." They're a band who do bluegrass-y covers of pop songs and were absolutely fabulous! The Scot took some videos and I hope he'll share them eventually. They were just great. Hearing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on banjo was pretty awesome.

While the day was a bit slower and smaller than years past, I think that everyone who was there had a really good time.

It was hard to not go crazy buying up all sorts of lovely things. Since this trip was a bit of a treat in and of itself (after the marvelous special visit to Ireland 2 weeks before), I didn't really have a lot of pennies for buying. But I did end up getting 2 dresses for my middie, Phoebe (as she has pretty much zero wardrobe), and 2 lovely regular sized dresses. The Scot picked up a copy of the album the band was selling which I'm sure we'll be enjoying a lot in the near future!

Now I'm really looking forward to next year. I'm again one of the organizers and can't wait to get together soon with the others to brainstorm ideas that will go well with our beautiful as-to-be-announced venue. I can't wait!

Photos throughout by both me and The Scot. See them all here.