{Freebie Friday} Cross Event Stickers for Your Planner

 photo Cross Stickers_zpsankch9mj.jpg

Hey guys! I meant to get this free planner printable up last month, but I never got around to it. I’m sorry! I have to say, I love these cross event stickers! I use them in my Erin Condren planner to mark down my kids’ CCD classes, as well as designate church and church-related events. I use them a lot! They’d also be great for Bible study, or really anything Christian-related.

Download my FREE Christian Planner Stickers HERE.

The floral cross image is free clipart from 123FreeVectors in case you want to download it yourself for any crafting.

As usual, my free planner printables are for personal use only and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Use an electronic cutting machine like a Silhouette Cameo to cut your stickers, print them out on regular printer paper and then cut and paste into your planner using a tape runner, or else print them on full-sheet labels and just hand-cut the stickers. I always appreciate being tagged (@carolwrites) in your IG pics if you use any of my free printables in your planner!

Print Friendly

Handlettered Alphabet

Handlettered ABCs

Well, time just got away from me today and by the time I had a chance to take a photo of the yarn I’m using for my scarf, the light wasn’t any good. So that will have to wait until tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m just sharing today’s photo from the extended #handletteredABCs challenge on IG — writing the entire alphabet. This was probably my fourth or fifth attempt, and right around the letter “v” I realized that my dinner was starting to burn. That explains the funky-looking w, x, y, and z!

Still, any practice is good practice, and a blog post is still a blog post, right? I just wanted to keep my word.

For now, I’m calling it a night. I have tea and a donut and my cozy bed calling my name! Crochet stuff tomorrow, I promise!

Print Friendly

End of January? Already?

Woah, wasn’t it just Christmas? And here we are, the first month of 2016 done and dusted. That’s just crazy. And try as I might to have been a better blogger, well… LOL! We know how that goes. I’m going to attempt something different for February though and try to make blogging part of my evening routine. Hopefully that will help.

I also am going to try to get back on track with my “Freebie Friday.” I’ve had a number of people write and tell me how much they liked what I have up here already, and if I’d consider adding more freebies. How can I say no to that? So I will tell you that I already have this week’s totally free planner sticker printable queued up and ready to publish on Friday morning. I won’t say what it is, but I will say that I use these particular stickers a lot and I am hoping they will be useful for a lot of people!

OK, so what else can I tell you? Things have been moving right along and I have a busy week ahead putting all the finishing touches on our Cub Scout Pack’s Blue & Gold Banquet. So hard to believe that Noah will be serving up the pancake breakfast with the rest of the Boy Scouts a week from today! I think I have everything under control, but I’m sure there will be something that goes askew. There always is.

I have just started playing around with the Silhouette Cameo I got for Christmas. I’ve made a couple sheets of planner stickers, but because my printer really needs the ink changed, and I am really lazy about doing it, I have not done too much with that. Today, however, I attempted my first HTV (heat transfer vinyl) project! I wanted to make a Valentine’s Day-themed shirt for Laura. I wanted to keep things really simple for my first try (i.e., no complicated designs to weed out the extra vinyl). I just purchased an image from the Silhouette store and hoped for the best. It’s not perfect, but she loves it and I was just happy it all basically worked out!

Untitled

As for crochet, I picked up my Stitchation afghan from two summers ago. I have to get this finished because it is now a thorn in my side. I have invested so much time into it already that I just need to work up the last few squares and put it all together. Also, for February, I’m going to be making a mood scarf. I didn’t purchase the kit because I have a lot of stash yarn, so I will be using that. Tomorrow I’ll share my colors with you! (See? I’m giving myself a reason to blog.)

Untitled

I also, on a whim, because I was in a bad mood the other day and needed shopping therapy (LOL) I purchased on clearance at Michael’s… a Happy Planner. I know, I know! I have been an Erin Condren girl for years. What would possess me to do this, especially since I am pretty happy with the hourly layout I’ve been using since December? Well, I am considering switching for next year because of the disc system and all of the fantastic accessories MAMBI has for this planner. But when I found out that they are releasing a punch (tomorrow, actually), I thought it was a game changer. So, for the $8.00 it cost me, I felt it was worth it to get a feel and see if I really want to jump ship. I’ll be using this planner for February. 

Untitled

OK, well this is getting long. January was kind of a blah month. I’ve missed the snow. I have been eating a ton of junk food. And I’m still relying too heavily on my iPhone’s camera. I have some pretty lofty goals for February, but I’m ready for it!

Print Friendly

Taking a Break

 We love tea.

No, no! Not from the blog, don’t worry. It’s just that I have been going all day so I decided to take a break and check in on blogs, Facebook, etc. and pop in and update here since it’s been a while. I’ve been keeping up with my #HandletteredABCs over in IG, but I probably won’t get to post them here today. But here’s one of this week’s letters.

 

A photo posted by Carol Bancroft (@carolwrites) on

Honestly, I’m just wiped out! I’ve been cooking, cleaning, doing laundry… Drew and I brought in wood for the wood stove stove and stacked it. I poached chicken, made peppermint brownies, made turkey tacos for lunch, then cleaned up all the dishes from that. Might not seem like much but as many of you know, all those little things add up.

Finally, I’ve decided it to call it quits for the day. I made a fire, made a cup of tea, and that’s about it! Let’s see… what else has been going on? Drew was in Boston for work this week, and I admit I was a little jealous. It was funny — he texted me that he drove through the same intersection we went through all the time when we were dating and he’d drive me home from his apartment in Framingham to mine in Somerville. A lot of stuff has changed; it’s been almost 18 years, after all!

So, he got home around lunchtime on Friday and then Friday night was Cub Scouts. Aside from Blue & Gold Banquet in a couple weeks, it was the last pack meeting we will ever have to do. While we have certainly enjoyed our time as Cub Scout leadership, I have to say that I’m ready for it to be over and let someone else take the reins. Noah will be bridging over to Boy Scouts, and we will be taking a back seat. Drew is still very involved because he has a lot of fun, but it will be nice to relinquish the responsibility, you know?

On a completely different note, I’ve been having fun playing around with the Silhouette Cameo I got for Christmas. I am still learning, and there’s a lot of trial and error, but I’m figuring things out. I bought some vinyl the other day, so I am looking forward to making a custom travel mug for myself. The hardest part is deciding on a design! Mostly, I’ve just been making stickers for my planner. It is really cool to have the machine make the detailed cuts. Using an X-acto knife or small scissors is so much work. This speeds things up considerably!

A photo posted by Carol Bancroft (@carolwrites) on

And while I haven’t actually done any crochet, I’ve been organizing my yarn and patterns with the intention of getting back into so projects this week. I bought a lidded basket to keep my current project stashed away, safe from playful cats. And I’ve been putting my patterns into a binder so they’re all in one place. 

Well, I guess that’s about all for today! Hope you are having a great weekend!

Print Friendly

Handlettered ABCs 2016 – Week 1

Untitled

I’m not sure if I talked about it on the blog, but last summer I decided to really start putting in the effort to learn Copperplate calligraphy. I have long been interested in calligraphy, going back to high school. I’d purchase those markers with the angled nibs and my writing would look OK, but it was never quite what I wanted.

When my dad was young, he also had an interested in calligraphy — but the gothic and illustrated letter styles. Here’s an example of his work:

 

A photo posted by Carol Bancroft (@carolwrites) on

Gorgeous, right? But what I fell in love with was elegant, flowing, feminine script. I thought I wanted to try my hand at the Modern Calligrapahy style. You are all familar with it, I’m sure — it’s really popular right now. But I found that I just couldn’t relax my hand enough. Instead of looking casual, my letters looked forced and awkward.

After months of browsing the Internet, looking at handlettering examples, I finally found what I was looking for: Copperplate (also called Roundhand or Engrosser’s Script). It’s very old-fashioned looking, and there are specific ways to form the letters. In a way, it’s really more like drawing letters, not writing them.

I found that Instagram has a fantastic and supportive community of calligraphers! And just about the time I was really to give it my all, there was a Handlettered ABC challenge starting up. Every day was dedicated to one letter, in whatever style you like. Perfect! It was a great way to get excited about script.

Flash forward to the fall. With school starting and all the kids activities, I just couldn’t get it together and my lettering practice fell by the wayside. So one of my goals for 2016 is to work on improving my skills and hopefully be able to address next year’s Christmas cards in Copperplate script. Well, wouldn’t you know it — a reboot of the Handwriting ABCs challenge started as well! So this time I thought I’d start sharing my journey in learning this amazing style of handwriting. I have so much to learn, and so much to improve on, but you know what? I have been keeping all of my practice sheets in a binder and seeing how much I have already improved encourages me to keep going.

So here are the letters from week 1! First up, obviously, is A. I wrote two examples — the first is brush calligraphy using a Zig Millenium brush marker (from my scrapbooking days about 12 years ago!), and the second is Copperplate.

Untitled

For the letter B I pulled out one of my sheets from the last challenge in July to compare and contrast.

Untitled

C gives me trouble. I never think the majiscule (capital) looks right.

Untitled

D is also a challenge. The majiscule is one stroke. I need a lot of work here.

Untitled

E is fun and loopy.

Untitled

F can be tough, but it’s so fun to write out that I don’t mind doing it over and over. 

Untitled

And that brings us to today’s letter: G. I was really happy with this example, even if the lowercase isn’t quite right. The descending loop is cutting into the oval. But I was just so darn proud of that squared off top that I used it anyway!

Untitled

I think one of the reasons I just love this style is because it forces you to slow down. If you zip through the strokes, you’re going to get messy, inconsistent letters. You have to take your time and really pay attention to what you’re doing.

If you’re interested in getting started, I highly recommend following @anintran and @masgrimes on both Instagram and Periscope. I have learned so much from them! Next week I’ll put up another post with some of my favorite resources, including the tools that I personally use. The greatest thing about calligraphy is that anyone can do it! It’s all about practice! Trust me, if I can do it, so can you!

Print Friendly

{Recipe} Hearty Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

Hearty Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

The holidays are over, but maybe you still have some leftover ham? Or maybe you’re just craving a stick-to-your-ribs soup on a chilly winter day. There’s nothing like a hearty bowl of split pea soup. Over the years, I’ve tried several different recipes, but none of them seemed like “the one.” They were too smoky, or too salty, or just had the wrong flavor.

Desperate to satisfy a craving, I gave one more recipe a shot, adapting it a little bit, and I finally came up with a winner. When your husband exclaims, “This soup is awesome!” and your 6-year-old asks to take to school for lunch the next day, well… you know it’s got to be pretty good.

Hearty Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

1 1/4 cup of dried split peas, picked over and rinsed
4 cups water
2 chicken boullion cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1/2 – 1 lb. of ham, diced
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Check on the soup about halfway through. Add more liquid if necessary. Prior to serving, use a potato masher to mash ingredients slightly and thicken the soup.

Hearty Crock Pot Split Pea Soup

This recipe can easily be doubled, and next time I may have to do that. Top the soup with oyster cracker or croutons, or serve with a buttered roll.

Print Friendly

2015 in Review

Happy new year!

How is it possible that another year has come and gone? But I guess that’s the same question we ask every year, isn’t it? Well, 2015 has been an interesting one for us, and sadly I didn’t document anywhere near as much as I wanted to. Luckily I do write down a lot (okay, everything!) in my planner, so I can use that to help recap. Let’s take a look back!

January – Laura enjoyed a winter tumbling class, and Noah’s Cub Scout den placed 5th at the Eskimo Run (kind of a big deal since there were only 3 of them). We went up to Lake George for a quick overnight.

February – Our very snowy winter continued this month and lots of events had to be rescheduled. Jake’s Boy Scout troop went on their annual winter campout in frigid temperatures (there was no snow shelter building this year!).

March – More snow! It didn’t seem to stop this year. I guess the major event in March was when I sliced off the tip of my finger while cutting onions on the mandoline slicer. It has since healed, but still feels a little numb. And while I haven’t tossed the mandoline, I haven’t used it since!

April – Finally, the weather started to get a little warmer. Noah raced in his very last Pinewood Derby and came in 1st place! The Boy Scouts canoed in Wappinger Creek race, as usual, and Jake and his partner came in last for their Troop (and thought it was hilarious). Drew celebrated his birthday, and we also got the unfortunate news that his job was going to be “defunded” at the end of June.

May – We were all a little stressed over last month’s news, but hopeful about an interview Drew had at the beginning of the month. The kids all had their spring concerts in school. Jake went on a band trip to see “Something Rotten” on Broadway. We went camping with the scouts and marched in the Memorial Day parade.

June – June was a full, fantastic month! We were relieved because Drew got offered the job, and we were able to relax. We celebrated our 14th anniversary and Laura turned 6. The kids all had pink eye. The kids all finished up the school year with fantastic report cards. I stopped working at the library since Drew would soon be back to working in an office daily (after telecommunting for almost 10 years).

July – We started the month with a vacation to Plymouth, MA which was so much fun! I am still convinced that I had a paranormal experience at the John Carver Inn! We stayed home for the 4th of July and took it easy. Drew started his new job as Creative Director on the 6th. Noah and Laura had a blast at the town’s Rec Camp. Jake attended another week of DEC Camp at Camp DeBruce and had a fantastic time. Laura also participated in Library Camp where she made tons of creative projects.

August – The month started out with Drew and Jake both attending Boy Scout Camp in the Adirondacks. Laura, Noah, and I went up to my parents’ house for a few days while the guys were away. The boys celebrated their birthdays — Jake turned 13 and Noah turned 10. I attended HarneyFest with my friend (hello, tea heaven)!

September – We started the month with one last quick getaway up to Lake George. Then it was back to school! We are now in 1st grade, 5th grade, and 8th grade. Jake participated in Battle of the Books again. I started doing a little freelance copywriting and copyediting again.

October – It was another camping weekend for scouts at the beginning of the month. It was cold and rainy — not the best weather for it! Laura lost her first tooth. I got to meet two long-time blog friends at the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival! I also celebrated my 40th (gasp!) birthday. Halloween was fun and we Trunk-or-Treated at a local church and also trick-or-treated in the village on Halloween.

November – We finally got the rest of our house painted! I love our sage green house now. It is much more “country” looking to me. Noah’s class went up to Howe Caverns and Jake’s science project came in 2nd place at a school science event. Laura officially became a Daisy Scout. We enjoyed Thanksgiving with Drew’s mom and aunt. My parents came up for a visit that weekend, and we had a great time.

December – And here we are! I feel like this month was an absolute blur — so many activities and events! From teacher conferences (both stellar) to school concerts to the holiday it was non-stop. Noah had the fantastic opportunity to sing with his school chorus at The Fisher Center at Bard College. There was lots of carolling and scouting events. Drew came in 2nd place at his office’s ugly sweater contest (I crocheted a ridiculously big Christmas tree for his get-up). Christmas was fantastic! As usual, we spent Christmas eve with Drew’s family and that was fun. Christmas morning we opened presents and ate a big breakfast before heading up to see my family in the afternoon. Everyone was spoiled for sure (especially me — I got a Silhouette Cameo, so stay tuned for lots of craft projects in the new year)! But it was so much fun.

I don’t know about you, but I always feel lost during the days between Christmas and New Year’s, LOL. I’ve slowly been putting away Christmas stuff and looking forward to some serious cleaning once the kids are back to school. Tonight we will be celebrating with friends and tomorrow hopefully just watching movies and enjoying a day off.

Thanks for those of you who have stuck with my blog over the last year. I know I have NOT been great about updating regularly but it’s definitely one of my resolutions for 2016. So stay tuned!!! It’s going to be a great year!

Print Friendly